break down plant and animal materials into more available forms suitable for application to the soil ( USDA, 2016 ). There are no compost use quality guidelines in the NOP that address the physical, chemical, and biological properties of compost for
Daniel C. Brainard and D. Corey Noyes
). The primary objective of this research was to assess the effects of ST and compost on establishment, quality, yield, and profitability of three processing carrot varieties. Secondary objectives included evaluating the impacts of tillage and compost on
Patricia Millner, Sara Reynolds, Xiangwu Nou and Donald Krizek
solutions ( Cantliffe et al., 2003 ; Peet et al., 2004 ), such methods do not reflect basic organic system principles. Most organic production systems are based on improving and maintaining high soil quality. Composted organic matter is commonly used in
Lu Zhang and Xiangyang Sun
used to produce potted, ornamental plants ( De Lucia et al., 2013 ; Jayasinghe, 2012b ; Zhang et al., 2014 , 2013b ). However, compost frequently has undesirable qualities including poor physical structure, low availability of nutrients, high pH, and
Matthew Kleinhenz, Annette Wszelaki, Sonia Walker, Senay Ozgen and David Francis
Successful organic farming requires synchronizing soil-based processes affecting nutrient supply with crop demand, variable among and within crops. We report here on two studies conducted in transitional- (TO) and certified-organic (CO) systems containing subplots that, annually, were either amended with compost or not amended prior to vegetable crop planting. Dairy-manure compost was added at rates providing the portion of a crop's anticipated nitrogen requirement not provided by a leguminous rotation crop and/or carryover from previous compost application. In the TO study, potato (2003), squash (2004), green bean (2005), and tomato (2006) were planted in main-season plots in open fields and high tunnels, and beet, lettuce, radish, spinach, and swiss chard were planted in high tunnels in early spring and late fall. Long-term CO open-field plots (±compost) were planted to multiple varieties of lettuce, potato, popcorn, and processing tomato in 2004–2006. Drip irrigation was used in all TO plots and CO lettuce and processing tomato plots. Treatment effects on crop physical and biochemical variables, some related to buyer perceptions of crop quality, were emphasized in each study. Yield in TO, compost-amended plots exceeded yield in unamended plots by 1.3 to 4 times, with the greatest increases observed in high-tunnel-grown mesclun lettuce and the smallest response observed in potato. Similar results were found in CO plots, although compost effects differed by crop and variety. The data suggest that: 1) compost application and the use of specific varieties are needed to maximize yield in organic vegetable systems in temperate zones, regardless of age; and 2) production phase management may influence buyer-oriented aspects of crop quality.
T.J. Radovich, C.G. Cavaletto and H.R. Valenzuela
The sensory quality of fresh basil (cv. Sweet Italian) was evaluated to determine if compost or mineral fertilizer applications affected flavor and aroma intensity. The four treatments, arranged in a randomized complete-block design with three replications, were: compost applied at 50 t·ha–1; compost applied at 200 t·ha–1; mineral N applied at 110 kg·ha–1; and a control receiving no amendment. Leaves from the first four nodes of young shoots were used in the evaluation. Twelve trained panel members scored samples of three leaves from each treatment for aroma and flavor intensity using a linear scale, converted to a scale of 1–10 where 1 = much less intense than a reference sample (control), and 10 = much more intense than the reference. No significant difference between treatments was found in flavor intensity. Significant difference between treatments in aroma intensity was found. Aroma scores were highest in samples from the compost and synthetic fertilizer treatments, and lowest in those from the control. Scores for aroma from the compost and synthetic fertilizer treatments were similar to each other. Aroma intensity increased with increased rate of compost application. No significant correlation was found between aroma intensity and plant tissue N content, sap NO3 – levels, or yield.
Compost is organic matter that has undergone partial thermophilic, aerobic decomposition. This environmentally safe process is called composting. The combination of raw materials and the chosen composting method yields a wide range of characteristics, such as organic matter (OM) content, nutrient content, potential for disease suppressiveness and other physical, chemical, and biological properties. The objectives of this review are describing the horticultural outlets for composts, defining compost characteristics important for the above uses, and describing composting procedures and raw materials leading to these characteristics. The two main horticultural uses of composts are as soil amendment and as an ingredient in container media. Soil-applied composts improve soil fertility mainly by increasing soil organic matter (SOM) that activates soil biota. Compost's nutrient content, and especially that of nitrogen (N), should be high (>1.8%). Composts having these characteristics are produced of raw materials rich in both OM and N, while minimizing their loss during composting. Typical raw materials for this purpose include animal manures, offal, abattoir residues, sewage sludge, and grass clippings. Various composting methods can yield the required results, including turned windrows, aerated static piles, and in-vessel composting. Composts are also used for substrates as low-cost peat substitute, potentially suppressive against various soilborne diseases. These composts must be stable and non-phytotoxic. Physical properties of compost used as substrate are important. Hydraulic conductivity, air porosity, and available water should be high. Reconciling the physical and biological demands may be difficult. Materials such as softwood bark, wood shavings, various types of shells or hulls, and coconut coir are characterized by good physical properties after composting. However, being relatively resistant to decomposition, these materials should be subjected to long and well-controlled composting, which may be shortened using N and N-rich organic matter such as animal manures. High temperatures [>65 °C (149.0 °F)] may cause ashing, which leads to reduced porosity. In addition to ligneous materials, composts serving as growing media may be produced from numerous organic wastes, such as manures, food industry wastes, etc. These materials are better composted in aerated static piles, which tend to minimize physical breakdown. Animal excreta are of special value for co-composting as they contain large, diverse populations of microorganisms, which accelerate the process.
Nancy E. Roe, Peter J. Stoffella and Donald Graetz
Compost (biosolids and yard trimmings at 134 t·ha-1) was applied to a sandy field soil with fertilizer at 0%, 50%, or 100% of the grower's standard rate (71N-39P-44K kg·ha-1 broadcast and 283N-278K kg·ha-1 banded in bed centers). Raised beds were constructed and covered with polyethylene mulch, and `Elisa' bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) were transplanted into the plots. Foliage samples taken at early harvest indicated that leaf N concentrations increased and Cu concentrations decreased with increasing fertilizer rates. Leaf concentrations of P, K, Ca, and Mg increased and Cu decreased in plots amended with compost. Marketable pepper yields from plants grown in plots amended with compost were 30.3, 35.7, and 31.1 t·ha-1 in plots with 0%, 50%, and 100% fertilizer rate, respectively. Without compost, yields were 19.8, 31.1, and 32.0 t·ha-1 with 0%, 50%, and 100% fertilizer rate. `Valient' cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) were seeded through the same polyethylene mulch into the previous pepper plots. Marketable cucumber yields were not affected by residual fertilizer, but were higher (26.8 t·ha-1) in plots amended with compost than without compost (22.7 t·ha-1). In a second experiment, a biosolids-yard trimming-mixed waste paper (MWP) compost and a biosolids-yard trimming-refuse-derived fuel (RDF) compost were applied at 0 or 134 t·ha-1 with fertilizer at 0%, 50%, or 100% fertilizer rates, respectively. With no fertilizer, total yields from pepper plants were higher in plots amended with composts than without composts. In 50% fertilizer plots, yields were similar between compost treatments. At 100% fertilizer rate, yields with MWP compost were significantly higher than yields with RDF compost or with no compost. In plots without fertilizer or with 50% fertilizer rates, mean fruit size (g/fruit) was largest with MWP compost, intermediate with RDF compost, and smallest without compost. With 100% fertilizer, mean fruit size was larger with either compost than without compost. Composts combined with low rates of fertilizer generally produced higher pepper yields than other treatments. Residual compost increased yields of a subsequent cucumber crop. Yields from pepper plants without fertilizer were higher when soil was amended with composts with added MWP or RDF, but, with fertilizer, yields were similar or only slightly increased.
Jen A. Sembera, Erica J. Meier and Tina M. Waliczek
growth, prevent pests and disease, and improve the quality of the products” ( Verkleij, 1992 ). Therefore, producing compost that uses seaweed as a feedstock has the potential to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment product ( Klock-Moore, 2000 ; Panda
Craig Cogger, Rita Hummel, Jennifer Hart and Andy Bary
, 2004 ). Beeson and Keller (2001) amended the entire planting bed and found 7.6 or 10.2 cm of yard waste compost incorporated to an 18-cm depth improved shoot growth, root elongation, and quality of transplanted azaleas. Potential benefits from organic