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Brent L. Black and Richard H. Zimmerman

Bottom ash from a coal-fired power plant and two composts were tested as components of soil-free media and as soil amendments for growing highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). Combinations of ash and compost were compared to Berryland sand, and Manor clay loam, and compost amended Manor clay loam. The pH of all treatment media was adjusted to 4.5 with sulfur at the beginning of the experiment. In 1997, plants of `Bluecrop' and `Sierra' were planted in 15-dm3 pots containing the pH-adjusted treatment media. The first substantial crop was harvested in 1999. At the end of the 1999 season, one half of the plants were destructively harvested for growth analysis. The remaining plants were cropped again in 2000. Yield and fruit size data were collected in both seasons, and leaf and fruit samples were collected in 1999 for elemental analysis. The presence of coal ash or composted biosolids in the media had no detrimental effect on leaf or fruit elemental content. Total growth and yield of both cultivars was reduced in clay loam soil compared to Berryland sand, whereas growth and yield of plants in coal ash-compost was similar to or exceeded that of plants in Berryland sand.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton, Philip A. Stansly, Robert McSorley, and Thomas A. Obreza

Many vegetable growers rely on methyl bromide or other soil fumigants to manage soil pathogens, nematodes, and weeds. Nonchemical alternatives such as solarization and organic amendments are as yet largely unproven, but do offer promise of more sustainable solutions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of long-term organic amendments and soil solarization on soil chemical and physical properties and on growth and yield of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus [Thunb.] Manst.). Main plots consisted of a yearly organic amendment or a nonamendment control. Four subplots of soil sanitation treatments consisted of solarization, methyl bromide, Telone, and nonfumigated. Each subplot was divided into two sub-subplots, one with weed control and one without weed control. Plant biomass was higher in plots with organic amendments than in nonamended plots. There were no differences in marketable pepper and watermelon yields between organic amended and nonamended plots during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, respectively. However, higher pepper yields were produced from organic amended plots in the 1999-2000 season. Soil pH and Mehlich 1-extractable P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Fe, and Cu were higher in organic amended plots than in nonamended control plots. Soil organic matter concentration was 3-fold higher in amended soil than in nonamended soil. Effects of soil sanitation and weed management varied with crop and season. The methyl bromide and Telone treatments produced higher yields than soil solarization. In general, weed control did not affect plant biomass and yield for any of the crops and seasons. The results suggest that annual organic amendment applications to sandy soils can increase plant growth and produce higher or comparable yields with less inorganic nutrient input than standard fertilization programs.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton and Deron R. A. Peach

Land application and landfilling are the most common destination for biosolids in the United States. When properly treated and managed in accordance with the existing state and federal regulations and standards, biosolids are safe for the environment and human health. Application of biosolids in vegetable production as an organic amendment to soils can increase plant growth and produce comparable crop yields with less inorganic nutrients than a standard program of commercial synthetic fertilizers. No application rate of treated biosolids alone will produce crop yields equivalent to commercial fertilizers. Biosolids may be used in conjunction with fertilizer thus lessening the application rate required. The major obstacles to public acceptance are issues concerning water pollution, risk of human disease, and odors. Additionally, heavy metals are an issue of bias with public perception. To ensure safe use of biosolids to a vegetable production systems the agronomic rate (nutrient requirement of the vegetable crop grown) should be calculated before application for the specific crop.

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Kyle Briscoe, Grady Miller, Scott Brinton, Dan Bowman, and Charles Peacock

was stabilized urea applied at an N rate of 12 kg·ha −1 /week coupled with activated sewage sludge at an N rate of 48 kg·ha −1 every 3 weeks. Uflexx contains N-(nbutyl)thiophosphoric triamide (urease inhibitor) and dicyandiamide (a nitrification

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Alfonso José Lag-Brotons, José Martín Soriano-Disla, Ignacio Gómez, and José Navarro-Pedreño

according to standard methods for soil analysis ( MAPA, 1986 ). Table 1. Physical and chemical properties of selected soils (mean values ± sd ). Sewage sludge compost (SSC) was used as cynara seedbed substrate as well as soil organic amendment. The reasons

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Monica Ozores-Hampton, Thomas A. Obreza, and George Hochmuth

Large volumes of compost produced from waste materials like yard trimmings, household trash (municipal solid waste), or biosolids (wastewater sludge) will likely become available for use by the Florida vegetable industry in the future. Using compost to produce vegetables has the potential to increase water and fertilizer conservation and reduce leaching from inorganic fertilizers in Florida's sandy soils. Compost quality for vegetable production systems should be based on soluble salts, phytotoxic compounds, C:N ratio, plant nutrients, trace metals, weed seeds, odor, moisture, pH, water-holding capacity, bulk density, cation exchange capacity, and particle size. In Florida, immature compost contained phytotoxic compounds that were harmful to crop germination and growth. Amending soil with mature composted waste materials has been reported to increase the growth and yields of vegetable crops grown in Florida. However, a beneficial response does not always occur, and the magnitude of the response is often not predictable.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton

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Mondher Bouden, Jaaues-Andre Rioux, and Isabelle Duchesne

The agricultural valorization of waste, rich in organic matter and minerals, is one of the best economical and ecological methods of disposal. This study was carried out to evaluate the release of mineral elements restrained in fresh bio-filters, composted sewage sludges, and composted de-inking sludges, and their effects on growth of Physocarpus opulifolius `Nanus' produced in containers. The physical and chemical analysis of the organic residues proved that the fertilization value of composted sewage sludges was greater than the other residues. Moreover, the granular characteristics of fresh biofilters and composted de-inking sludges were finer than composted sewage sludges. Each organic residue was combined, in proportion of 10%, with peatmoss, composted conifer bark, and fine crushed gravel. The regular leaching of container medium showed that the composted sewage sludges release a higher quantity of major mineral elements. Physocarpus opulifolius `Nanus' plants were larger than those plants grown in the control substrate (without residue). The results obtained in media containing fresh bio-filters or composted de-inking sludges were similar to those obtained in the control substrate.

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Mondher Bouden, Jacques-Andre Rioux, and Isabelle Duchesne

Three ornamental species (Spiraea japonica `Little Princess', Physocarpus opulifolius `Nanus', and Prunus × cistena) were potted in seven different substrates. The control substrate contained peatmoss, composted conifer bark, and fine crushed gravel (5:4:1, by volume). In the other six substrates, peatmoss was partially or completely substituted by different proportions of three organic residues (10% or 50% of the mixture made up of fresh bio-filters, 5% or 10% in composted sewage sludges, and 10% or 40% in composted deinking sludges). Four fertilization regimes (0, 200, 400, and 600 mg N/liter in the form of soluble fertilizer 20–20–20) were applied weekly onto containers. The experimental design was a split-plot with six replications. Physical and chemical analysis of the organic residues proved that the composted sewage sludges were richer in minerals than the other residues. Moreover, fresh bio-filters and composted deinking sludges were less granular than composted sewage sludges. The 10% proportion of each organic residue, combined with the other materials, was the most-adequate proportion and did not reduce the growth of plants (height, aerial and root dry matter). In addition, a dose of 400 mg·liter–1 generally gave good results, especially for fresh bio-filters and for composted sewage sludges. However, it is preferable to use a higher dose (600 mg·liter–1 if composted deinking sludges are used.

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Kimberly A. Klock-Moore

Growth of `Oasis Scarlet' begonia (Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum Hort.) and `Super Elfin Violet' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f.) was compared in substrates containing compost made from used greenhouse substrates and yard trimmings (GHC) and in compost made from biosolids and yard trimmings (SYT). Treatments consisted of 100% compost (GHC or SYT) or compost combined with control substrate components at 60%, 30%, or 0%. Substrates containing SYT compost produced significantly larger begonia and impatiens plants than substrates containing GHC compost. Higher initial substrate nutrient concentrations in substrates containing SYT probably prompted increased begonia and impatiens growth because substrates containing SYT compost had significantly higher initial soluble salt, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) concentrations than substrates containing GHC compost. Begonia and impatiens shoot dry mass and size linearly increased as the percentage of SYT compost in the substrate increased from 0% to 100%. However, no difference in begonia or impatiens growth was observed among the different percentages of GHC compost. Initial soluble salt, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations also linearly increased as the percentage of SYT increased while only initial P, K, and Ca concentrations linearly increased as the percentage of GHC increased.