Evaluation of pine bark or pine bark with goat manure or sewage sludge cocomposts as growing media for vegetable seedlings
Compost Science and Utilization
University of Fort Hare, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, Department of Agronomy, Alice, South Africa
The suitability as growing media of composts made from pine bark or pine bark cocomposted with goat manure or sewage sludge and either inoculated or not inoculated with effective microorganisms, was evaluated under greenhouse conditions with and without fertilization using cabbage as the test crop. The treatments were replicated three times and arranged in a randomized complete block design in a fibre glass covered greenhouse. Cabbage seedlings were grown in cavity trays for five weeks, after which plants were harvested and fresh and dry weights determined. Samples were also analyzed for N, P, K and selected heavy metal concentrations. Results revealed that pine bark-goat manure cocomposts supported good seedling growth and could thus be good substitutes for pine bark alone as a growing medium where goat manure or similar manures are available. The results also showed that despite the superior nutritional value of these alternative growing media, nutrient supplementation may still be necessary where seedlings are kept in the nursery for extended periods due to nutrient exhaustion through plant uptake and leaching. Pine bark-sewage sludge compost also had positive effects on seedling growth but could only be recommended as a growing medium for nonfood plants because its composting did not reach the thermophillic temperatures necessary for adequate pathogen kill. Inoculation with effective microorganisms improved seedling growth in sewage sludge and goat manure based composts but the mechanisms involved remain to be established.
Fertilizers; Growth kinetics; Manures; Microorganisms; Plants (botany); Sewage sludge; Soils; Fertilization; Seedlings; Composting; bark; compost; goat; manure; seedling; sewage; sludge; vegetation; Brassica oleracea var. capitata; Capra hircus