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Abstract

To determine the feasibility of using composted wastes as soil amendments for growing vegetables vs. the conventional use of commercial fertilizer in urban gardens, both cool and warm season vegetable crops were grown in plots amended with composted yard waste, cow manure or commercial fertilizer (10-10-10). Both composted materials were applied at a rate of 44,800 kg/ha and the fertilizer (control plots) at 336 kg/ha. Crops grown were the cool season varieties broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and onions while warm season varieties were bell peppers, collard greens, snap beans, and tomatoes. Seedlings were grown in a greenhouse and then transplanted in field plots when they were six weeks old. Cool season crops were planted on April 25 and warm season on May 10. Throughout the growing season, low-input sustainable techniques were used for crop maintenance so that no chemical pesticides were applied. Results showed that most of the varieties grown produced yields equal to or greater in the compost amended than in the fertilizer treated plots. Yield of vegetables crops showed significant varietal differences in yield responses to the composted wastes as soil amendments. For example, in Experiment If it can be seen that the yield of onions was about 24% higher in the Leagfro amended plots while in Experiment 11 the yield of tomatoes was 44% more in the composted amended plots. Generally, the vegetable crop varieties grown in soil amended with composted yard waste and cow manure produced yield that were equal to and sometimes exceeded that produced by plots amended with the commercial fertilizer.

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