Alternative method of compost application in organic vegetable cropping systems

E. Ebrahimi, J. Zinkernagel
Effective application of fertilizers can enhance nutrient use efficiency and decreases the accumulation of nitrate in runoff and groundwater bodies. There are many approaches to nutrient management, such as applying fertilizers at different times or using different methods and rates of application. However, there are only a limited number of studies that have investigated different methods of placing the organic amendments such as compost in organic vegetable production systems. This research aimed to compare different placement methods of plant-based compost (PC) in the open-field, especially the placement of PC under the root plug of the transplant. The overall aim of using this method of placement was to reduce the amount of fertilizer required whilst simultaneously improving nutrient availability for the vegetable crops. The study included treatments with two different amounts of PC, classified as low (L), and high (H). The PC was applied to the soil using two different methods: uniform broadcast on the surface (B) and placement in the transplant hole under the root plug of the transplant (U). The amounts of PC used for the B method were 10 and 15 t ha‑1, and for the U method, the amounts were 5 and 10 t ha‑1 for the low and high application rates, respectively. Throughout the two-year experiment, leeks and peppers were the test plants. Leeks with U method of application had higher yield, although the results did not show a significant difference in the first year. In the second year, peppers with U method and 10 t ha‑1 PC produced 6% more yield than the treatment with the B method and 15 t ha‑1 PC. This study showed that PC was a good medium to place close to the rhizosphere of the vegetable crops and the U method of placement was shown to be a suitable alternative for the B methods for field-grown vegetables.
Ebrahimi, E. and Zinkernagel, J. (2023). Alternative method of compost application in organic vegetable cropping systems. Acta Hortic. 1375, 73-80
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1375.10
leek, organic farming, pepper, soil conditioner

Acta Horticulturae