Building Soil and Plant Health with Compost and Compost Teas

Project Overview

FS20-324
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $12,443.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Finca La Jiba
Region: Southern
State: Puerto Rico
Principal Investigator:
Gabriela Medina
Finca La Jiba

Commodities

  • Vegetables: peppers

Practices

  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    As climate change begins to be a serious challenge to farmers it is precarious to have natural resources regenerate. By applying compost and compost teas large populations of beneficial bacterias, nematodes, fungi, and protozoa can correct deficiencies in soil food web regenerating soil health by increasing moisture and fertility and acting as organic/natural pesticides bettering plant health.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    In a term of a year, we will do three applications of fifty yards of compost in a fifty by fifty experimental space producing three cycles of peppers. Every week we will apply twenty-five gallons of compost tea at a rate of five gallons daily for five consecutively days giving it a rest of two days between weekly applications. Before and after each producing cycle we will take a soil sample to measure soil fertility and biota. Insect scouting will be held monthly and pepper yields will be measured at the end of each producing cycle.  A control area of fifty by fifty will also be produced with the same variety of peppers to measure differences in yields, pest incidence, soil fertility, and biota. 

    Compost and compost teas apply will be made and manage at the farm to ensure the best quality. For these, we will plant legume cover crops of Canavalia ensiformis which will be harvest every sixty days for composting with wood chips of Leucaena leucocephala an abundant bush on the island. At the end of the investigation control data will be compared with experimental results.  

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.