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Kimberly Moore, Scott Greenhut, and Wagner Vendrame

The objective of this study was to evaluate greenhouse techniques for the production of jatropha (Jatropha curcas). Jatropha seedlings were transplanted into 1-gal containers filled with bark mix, coir, or peat-based substrate and fertilized with 0, 4.1, 5.9, or 8.3 oz/ft3 of a 15N–4.05P–9.96K controlled-release fertilizer (CRF). Plants were watered every 2, 3, or 4 days for 80 days in the greenhouse. Jatropha plants grown in peat-based substrate had greater stem diameter and shoot dry weight (SDW) than plants grown in bark mix. For each growing substrate, plants fertilized with 8.3 and 5.9 oz/ft3 of CRF had greater SDW than plants fertilized with 4.1 and 0 oz/ft3 of CRF. Similarly, for all three substrates, plants irrigated every 2 or 3 days had greater SDW than plants irrigated every 4 days. Although jatropha has been classified as a low–nutrient and water requiring plant, the results of this study suggest that increased inputs of fertilizer and water produce larger plants. Further research needs to be conducted on the benefit of larger plants from the greenhouse on subsequent oil production in the field.