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Valerie J. Mellano and Robert F. Bevacqua

Municipal sewage sludge, previously amended with Eucalyptus tree trimmings and composted, was incorporated to a depth of 30 cm at rates of 0, 12.3 and 24.6 dry MT/ha for a field planting of onion, snapdragon, turf and spinach. In a similar subsequent planting, the sludge compost was incorpoated to a depth of 10 cm. Additional treatments address the residual effect of the material. The results indicated sludge compost incorporated to a depth of 30 cm had no effect on crop yields, but when incorporated to a depth of 10 cm there was a significant increase in yields for all test crops. No buildup of heavy metals, soluble salts or changes in soil pH that would depress crop growth were detected.

Two greenhouse experiments employed equivalent rates and the same four crops. Two materials, sludge compost and heat-dried sludge were compared. The former contained composted Eucalyptus tree trimmings. The latter did not. The results showed both materials were equally beneficial to crop growth and the presence of Eucalyptus trimmings did not decrease yields

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Robert F. Bevacqua and Valerie J. Mellano

Compost made from sewage sludge (40% by volume) and chipped trimmings of Eucalyptus trees (60%) was evaluated as a soil amendment for the field. production of onion (Allium cepa cv. Spanish Sweet Utah), lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Black Seeded Simpson), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus cv. Sonnet Yellow), and turfgrass (Festuca arundinacea cv. Marathon). Turf shows a strong reponse to preplant compost applications and is relatively tolerant of the buildup of soluble salts that can occur with compost applications. Also since it is not a food crop the possible uptake of heavy metals is not a major concern. These results indicate the amending of soil for the planting of turf is a likely commercial use of the compost. The authors are presently evaluating the use of the compost as a top dressing on turf plantings.

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Wayne L. Schrader, Karen L. Robb, and Valerie J. Mellano

The viability of urban interface agriculture (located near housing tracts, shopping centers, roadways, schools, and parks) depends on the ability of growers to allow their neighbors to enjoy the full benefits of their property. Growers must eliminate or minimize the noise, dust, flies, spray drift, odors, and field worker improprieties that can be associated with agricultural enterprises. An excellent way to minimize “ag/urban interface” problems is to grow a protective border planting between housing and agricultural production fields. Border plantings increase the aesthetic value of agricultural open spaces and screen out unwanted agricultural activities for those living adjacent to production areas. An ideal protective barrier planting consists of plants that 1) grow quickly and are easy to maintain; 2) provide a good physical barrier to dust, spray, and noise; 3) are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing; 4) do not harbor insect pests that would damage crops or surrounding landscape plantings; and 5) support beneficial insects that prey on crop insect pests. Border planting sites were developed to identify plants that are adapted to border planting use and to gather information on insect populations that are supported by those plantings. Early results indicate that native plants including coyote bush, wild lilac, buckwheat, coffeeberry, yarrow, deer grass, and purple-needle grass can provide the desired physical barrier and beneficial insect support. Bio-diversity is the key to increasing populations of beneficial insects and several different native plant species have, therefore, been incorporated into the border plantings. Beneficial insect populations have been increased with appropriate border plantings.