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Growing Substrates Comprised of Composted Materials and Reduced Peat Moss for Production of Greenhouse Potted Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii)

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Title: Growing Substrates Comprised of Composted Materials and Reduced Peat Moss for Production of Greenhouse Potted Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii)
Author: Dombrowsky, Maria Patricia Anne
Department: Department of Environmental Biology
Program: Environmental Biology
Advisor: Zheng, YoubinDixon, Mike, A.
Abstract: Peat moss is a major component of many plant growing substrates but is quickly becoming a limited resource. To reduce the reliance on peat moss a number of composted products, including pine mulch, manure, yard waste and aged bark - in combination with peat moss and/or coconut coir, were mixed in various combinations as growing substrates for greenhouse potted Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) production. Four new substrates were developed and compared to a commercial mix, BM6 in greenhouse production trials. Experiments were conducted to (1) compare the plant growth and quality of potted Gerbera in the newly developed substrates to BM6, (2) determine whether a pre-charge fertilizer was needed for the newly developed substrates, (3) determine appropriate rates of a pre-charge fertilizer for the newly developed substrates, and (4) determine the nitrogen drawdown index over the time of production and determine if there is a relationship between the NDI values and the nitrogen availability measured by pour through values. Two of the newly developed peat reduced substrates were successful in producing acceptable quality potted Gerbera. One of the substrates contained a low percentage of peat moss and the other contained coir fines. Fertilizer pre-charge rates, and some nutrient and irrigation management protocols were recommended for these two substrates.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3283
Date: 2012-01
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