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Changes in Physical and Chemical Properties of Five Organic Substrates Used for Potting
Five organic media, spent golden mushroom compost (GM), peat moss (PM), rice hull (RH), sugarcane compost (SC), and spent Shitake mushroom compost (SM), were used to grow Impatiens wallprana and Begonia semperflorens in 15 cm pots for 6 months. As the planting period increased, solid phase of most materials increased; air phase decreased; liquid phase decreased significantly in golden mushroom com-post and rice hull; and yet three phase of peat moss changed less. Deterioration of the larger particle fraction and amount were the largest in Shitake mushroom compost but was the lowest and most stable in peat moss. After 6 months of planting, total porosity (TP) decreased. Phase change of the tested materials without any plant for 6 month, solid phase decreased except in Shitake mushroom compost; air phase incre-ased in golden mushroom compost and were closely in difference of other materials. Total porosity and bulk density increased. Soil moisture curve decreased less in ma-gnitude when water tension of the media exceeded 10kPa. Mean total water content and easily available water of the five tested media did not reach a favorable level bef-ore use. Except for rice hull, water buffering capability of the other four media was around 5%. But all of them reached favorable level except in Shitake mushroom co-mpost after used for six months. In comparison, organic media used before and after 6 months, available water of all media increased and was smallest in Shitake mushro-om compost and was highest in rice hull. In no-plant control pots, the trend of avai-lable water increased. Therefore, the primary factors on physical properties are the media themselves and the placing period of media. As the cultivation period increa-sed, EC decreased, pH approached neutral, CEC increased, total nitrogen changed less, organic carbon decreased, C/N ratio decreased.In comparison with dry and fresh weight of shoot and root, Impatiens wallprana was highest in peat moss and lowest in rice hull; Begonia semperflorens was highest in sugarcane compost and peat moss and lowest in rice hull and golden mushroom co-mpost.
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