VEGETABLE AND ORNAMENTAL RESEARCH IN THE GULF SOUTH
Location: Southern Horticultural Research
Title: Effect of Animal and Forest Waste on Biomass Development and Fruit Quality of Organic Blueberry, and Groundwater Quality in a Heavy Soil
| Panicker, Girish - ALCORN STATE |
| Spiers, James |
| Alhumadi, Ahamad - ALCORN STATE |
| Sims, Cedric - ALCORN STATE |
| Silva, Juan - ALCORN STATE |
| Matta, Frank - ALCORN STATE |
Submitted to: Abstract of International Horticultural Congress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2006
Publication Date: August 13, 2006
Citation: Panicker, G., Spiers, J.M., Alhumadi, A., Sims, C., Silva, J., Matta, F. 2006. Effect of Animal and Forest Waste on Biomass Development and Fruit Quality of Organic Blueberry, and Groundwater Quality in a Heavy Soil. Abstract of International Horticultural Congress. pp. 361-362.
Consumers are more concerned with health issues than ever before and numerous medical studies point to horticultural crops as a critical factor of healthy diet. While alot of research and extension activities have been carried out on sustainable production systems in agronomic crops, there have been very few studies on horticultural crops. Rabbiteye blueberry (Vacciniium ashei Reade cv. Tifblue) was grown on Memphis Silt Loam soil (Type Hapludalf, silty, mixed, thermic). Two treatments of organic manures (worm castings - W, cow manure - C) were applied in basins around each plant. Control treatment received regular inorganic fertilizer. All treatments received pine bark and pine needle uniformly. No chemicals were applied to control pests, diseases, and weeds. Leaf area index (LAI), percent canopy cover, canopy width and height, stem diameter, and yield were significantly higher in organic plants treated with worm castings. There was no significant difference in size, diameter, soluble solids content, and vitamin C of the fruit. No pathogenic organism from organic manures was found in the fruit. Concentrations of nitrate-N and P were higher in surface soils treated with organic manures, but there was no trend in N or P enrichment in lower layers of the soil. The leaching of N and P in to subsurface layers from inorganic fertilizer was highly significant. The results show that blueberry can be grown successfully on heavy soils with forest waste that can increase soil acidity and worm castings are excellent organic manure for this crop.