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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 841: II International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables: FAVHEALTH 2007

EFFECT OF WORM CASTINGS, COW MANURE, AND FOREST WASTE ON YIELD AND FRUIT QUALITY OF ORGANIC BLUEBERRIES GROWN ON A HEAVY SOIL

Authors:   G.K. Panicker, C.A. Sims, J.M. Spiers, J.L. Silva, F.B. Matta
Keywords:   rabbiteye blueberry, organic manures, anthocyanins, nitrate-N, biomass development, pine needle, pine bark
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2009.841.88
Abstract:
Blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidant phytochemicals, having a high level of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are phenolic compounds that posses antioxidant activities. Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade var. Tifblue) was grown on Memphis Silt Loam soil (Typic Hapludalf, silty, mixed, thermic). Two organic manure treatments (worm castings and cow manure) were applied in basins around each plant. The control treatment received regular inorganic fertilizer. All treatments received pine bark and pine needle uniformly, and no chemicals were applied to control pests, diseases, and weeds. 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, degree Brix, and vitamin C of the fruit, but the content of total anthocyanins was higher in fruit treated with worm castings. There was no difference in microbial load and no pathogens were 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 into subsurface layers from inorganic fertilizer was highly significant. Blueberry can be grown successfully on heavy soils with forest waste that can maintain soil acidity and worm castings increases yield and fruit quality of this crop.
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