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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 779: International Symposium on Growing Media

CUCUMBER GROWN IN SHEEPWOOL SLABS TREATED WITH BIOSTIMULATOR COMPARED TO OTHER ORGANIC AND MINERAL SUBSTRATES

Authors:   M. Böhme, J. Schevchenko, I. Pinker, S. Herfort
Keywords:   cucumber, soilless culture, sheepwool, peat, rockwool, perlite, coconut fibre, biostimulator
Abstract:
The use of organic and completely compostable substrates is of rising interest in hydroponics. In Germany unclean sheepwool is available as waste material. The objective of this experiment was to investigate the development and yield of cucumber grown on sheepwool slabs in comparison with peat slabs, coconut fibre slabs, perlite and rockwool slabs. The experiment was conducted in a soilless culture system with trickle irrigation. The nutrient solution was recirculated separately for each substrate variant. Additionally, 50% of the cucumber plants of each substrate were treated three times with a complex biostimulator. This biostimulator consists of humic acid, lactic acid and Bacillus subtilis and was applied to the rhizosphere. The structure of all substrates was analysed before and after use. The air capacity of sheepwool before use was much higher (70%) than of the other substrates (18–58%) but decreased with use to 43%. The water capacity of sheepwool was about 23% before use and increased up to 44% after use. The bulk density of sheepwool ranged between 70 and 80 g L-1 and was significantly lower than that of the other substrates after use. On sheepwool the highest yield was recorded. In all variants with biostimulator treatment the yield was higher than without treatment. Sheepwool can be recommended as substrate for cucumber growing.
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