Physical and chemical properties of compost and vermicompost from Zautla, Puebla, Mexico

A. Ruíz-Sagaseta, J.C. Patrón-Ibarra, J. Pineda-Pineda, J.F. López-Olguín, D. Juárez-Ramón
Two composts, two vermicomposts, and bokashi are the major locally-available organic fertilizers in the region of Zautla, Puebla, Mexico, which are produced from local agriculture organic waste and livestock. The aim of this work was to analyze the physical and chemical properties of these organic materials to determine their potential as organic fertilizers or as substrates in germination trays to produce seedlings for vegetable production. Physical (total pore space, total holding water, air capacity, bulk density) and chemical (pH, cation exchange capacity CEC, electrical conductivity EC, soluble nutrients) properties were analyzed in each organic material. Results of this study indicate that none of the organic materials possess the optimum characteristics to be used as substrate for seedling production, due to physical and chemical limitations, in particular, deficient drainage, a very low air capacity (less than 10%), high NH4/NO3 ratio, and high EC (7.29 to 16.21 mS cm‑1), but these organic materials can be used in mixtures with high proportions (over 75%, v v‑1) of pine sawdust, which is also abundant in Zautla region. Vermicompost-2 and bokashi are recommended to be used in mixture with pine sawdust in no more than 25% (v v‑1) of the total mixture in order to reduce EC (KLEINERDAN2.5 mS cm‑1) to avoid damage to seedlings due to high levels of soluble salts.
Ruíz-Sagaseta, A., Patrón-Ibarra, J.C., Pineda-Pineda, J., López-Olguín, J.F. and Juárez-Ramón, D. (2021). Physical and chemical properties of compost and vermicompost from Zautla, Puebla, Mexico. Acta Hortic. 1305, 293-300
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1305.40
organic fertilizers, bokashi, substrates

Acta Horticulturae