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Lindsay C. Paul and James D. Metzger

Vermicomposting is a promising method of transforming unwanted and virtually unlimited supplies of organic wastes into usable substrates. In this process, the digestive tracts of certain earthworm species (e.g., Eisenia fetida) are used to stabilize organic wastes. The final product is an odorless peat-like substance, which has good structure, moisture-holding capacity, relatively large amounts of available nutrients, and microbial metabolites that may act as plant growth regulators. For these reasons, vermicompost has the potential to make a valuable contribution to soilless potting media. The objective of this study was to evaluate the transplant quality and field performance of vegetable transplants grown in vermicompost. Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), and pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) transplants were grown in a commercial soilless mix including 0%, 10%, or 20% (v/v) worm-worked cattle manure. Growth of vegetable transplants was positively affected by addition of vermicompost, perhaps by altering the nutritional balance of the medium. Transplant quality was improved in peppers and eggplants while tomato transplant quality was slightly reduced. There were no significant differences in field performance.

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Sabrina J. Ruis, Humberto Blanco-Canqui, Ellen T. Paparozzi and Russ Zeeck

suitable as peat alternatives ( Alvarez et al., 2017 ; Margenot et al., 2018 ; Peterson and Jackson, 2014 ). Although the effects of such alternatives on plant growth and mix properties vary, the logistics and consistency of products limit their adoption

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Renee Conneway, Sven Verlinden, Andrew K. Koeser, Michael Evans, Rebecca Schnelle, Victoria Anderson and J. Ryan Stewart

than the control plastic pots in peat alternative containers, ranging from a pH of 5.19 in the Kentucky trial to 6.76 in the Illinois trial, and high in the manure alternative containers with values ranging from a pH of 5.79 in the Arkansas 1 trial to 7

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Brian E. Jackson, Robert D. Wright and Nazim Gruda

. Schnitzler, W.H. 2006 Wood fiber substrates as a peat alternative for vegetable production Eur. J. Wood Wood Prod. 64 347 350 Gruda, N. Tucher, S.V. Schnitzler, W.H. 2000 N-immobilization of wood fiber

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Gary R. Bachman and James D. Metzger

manner in which different media compositions affect plant growth ( Bunt, 1971 ; Fonteno, 1993 ). Concerns of future availability, excessive environmental degradation, and higher prices have generated much interest in sphagnum peat alternatives ( Barkham

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam, Jeff L. Sibley, Cheryl R. Boyer and Anthony L. Witcher

States on peat alternatives. Some of the more promising alternatives that might have potential in the United States are those made of wood fiber from coniferous trees. Studies by Gruda and Schnitzler (2001) and Gruda et al. (2000a , 2000b) demonstrated

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A.L. Shober, C. Wiese, G.C. Denny, C.D. Stanley and B.K. Harbaugh

substrate components like peat and peat alternatives to reduced nutrient leaching. Management of fertilizers should occur with the understanding that further research is needed to determine if a proportionate reduction in fertilization would affect plant

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Guihong Bi, Williams B. Evans and Glenn B. Fain

nonreadily renewable resource. In the last few decades, as interest in recycling and waste use has increased, researchers have studied a wide range of potential peat alternatives, including many agricultural, industrial, and consumer waste byproducts. A

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Federica Larcher and Valentina Scariot

., 2002 ). Other inorganic substrates may also act as peat substitutes, like expanded clay, volcanic lapilli, and pumice ( Fascella et al., 2003 ). However, little literature is available on the effect of peat alternatives in the production of

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Mary A. Rogers

vegetable production in greenhouse environments, where crops are grown for a longer time period and require greater amounts of nutrients to achieve satisfactory yield. Research on peat alternatives in conventional systems may provide useful information for