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Compost utilization in vegetable crop production systems

Stoffella, Peter J., Ozores-Hampton, Monica, Roe, Nancy E., Li, Yuncong, Obreza, Thomas A.
Acta horticulturae 2003 no.607 pp. 125-128
application equipment, biosolids, composting, composts, foods, fruit quality, fruit yield, heavy metals, horticulture, industry, mineral fertilizers, municipal solid waste, pathogens, phytotoxicity, polyethylene, production technology, raised beds, sewage sludge, soil amendments, vegetable crops, weed control, yard wastes
Commercial quantities and quality of organic amendments are increasingly becoming available for use in horticultural industries. Generally, feedstocks such as; biosolids (sewage sludge), municipal solid wastes (MSW), yard wastes, and food scraps are blended in an array of mixtures to create a compost of sufficient quality that can be used as a soil amendment. Composts have been utilized as a partial substitute for inorganic fertilizer, biological weed control in crop alleyways, and as an alternative to polyethylene covers of raised beds in vegetable crop production systems. Heavy metal content, pathogens, phytotoxicity, and application equipment have been reported as limitations to compost utilization. However, in many investigations, compost utilized as a soil amendment has resulted in higher marketable yields or fruit quality as compared with those from standard vegetable crop commercial practices.