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Go Back       International Academic Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences | IAR J Nut Fd. Sci ; 2021; 2(1): | Volume:2 Issue:1 ( Jan. 20, 2021 ) : 1-6
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DOI : 10.47310/iarjnfs2021.v02i01.001       Download PDF       HTML       XML


A grochemical Analysis of Soil from Greenhouse Treated With Organic Fertilizers

Article History

Received: 05.12.2020, Revision: 22. 12.2020, Accepted: 09.01.2021, Published: 20. 01.2021

Author Details

Marija Boshevska1 and Zivko Jankuloski2

Authors Affiliations

1OSMU “D-r Jovan Kalauzi”, Bitola, Republic of North Macedonia

2Faculty of Biotechnical Sciences, St. Kliment Ohridski, Bitola, Republic of North Macedonia


Abstract: This study elaborates an agrochemical analysis of the soil in a greenhouse with miscellaneous crops, which has been treated with solid animal manure without any prior agrochemical analysis of the soil. Examinations were made both of a soil from the greenhouse and of a soil from an uncovered parcel adjacent to the greenhouse, where crops have been cultivated as well. The soil samples were taken from three depths (10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm), unified by 5 separate samples. pH, electro conductivity, total amount of nitrogen, easily available phosphorus, potassium and humus were determined. A difference in the values of all parameters was established, in both covered and uncovered area. It was concluded that the soil has fairly high pH values (8.41 in the greenhouse and 8.32 in the uncovered area), a medium level of total nitrogen (1.66 mg/100 gr in the greenhouse and 1.3 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area), quite high concentration of phosphorus (50.72 mg/100 gr in the greenhouse and 47.23 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area), quite high potassium values (39.01 mg/100 gr in the greenhouse and 36.33 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area) and high values of humus (3.97% in the greenhouse and 3.29% in the uncovered area). On basis of results obtained, it was concluded that the soil is supersaturated with phosphorus and potassium, and due to this, should not be fertilized in the upcoming few years.


Keywords: greenhouse, agrochemical analysis, soil fertility, organic fertilizers.


Introduction

Vegetable production in greenhouses around the world is increasing constantly. In the Republic of North Macedonia in 2010, greenhouse areas were estimated to be approximately 3 832 ha and this farming method was about 20 % of the total crop production (Facts and Figures. 2010). This percent has risen to 22.4 % in 2016, as greenhouse areas had reached 6415 ha (Figures and Facts. 2018).

Greenhouse crop cultivation is a production method distinguished by many advantages: better aquatic-aerial regime, faster heating of the surface, better development of the root system, decreasing the problems with diseases and pests and harvest which is larger and of higher quality (http://agencija.gov.mk).This enables ‘super’ intensive production of agricultural crops, whose fast growth and development often requires greater import of nutrients and adequate combination of fertilization and irrigation (http://agroalternativa.info).

For improving soil fertility, many of these production systems use solid animal manure, which contains all the necessary biogen elements. At the same time, individual cultivators add different types and quantities of animal manure, without any prior knowledge concerning soil condition and its necessity for supplementary import of nutrients. This type of natural and artificial fertilizeruse, often leads to increased nutrients accumulation in the soil, which results in soil fertility disbalance.

Although in agriculture the excess of nutrients in the soil is quite rare and isolated, the crop production in a protected areas (greenhouses and orangery) shows many examples of excessive use of fertilizers. This has a negative impact on the harvest’s quantity and quality (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017). Some data found in literature indicates that the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentration, as well as the humus quantity, increase along with the number of years needed for crop planting in greenhouses, and this maximum can be noted after 5 to 10 years (Li et al., 2001).

For these reasons, the only adequate approach regarding this type of production is an obligatory agrochemical analysis of the soil. The agrochemical analysis of the soil is the best indicator for the soil’s fertility, i.e. its actual capacity and the level of available nutrients. This refers to the need of artificial and natural fertilizers’ use on a scientific ground, aiming to achieve high quantity and quality of the harvest, as well as protection of the environment (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017).Thus the aim of this study is toshow what are the consequences of such unplanned and uncontrolled addition of fertilizers to greenhouse soil.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Field of examination

In this study, an agrochemical analysis of the soil in a greenhouse was conducted. The greenhouse examined was fertilized with solid animal manure for the past several years. It was constructed in 2014, but there wasn’t any initial soil agrochemical analysis performed. Also, no soil analysis was made in the years following. During the first planting of crops and in the following vegetation seasons, solid animal (cow’s) manure has been added, before planting and by the "rule of thumb" principle. The greenhouse is covered with nylon foil, whose measurements are 20 m by 4 m (80 m2). Right next to it, there is an uncovered parcel with measurements 20 m by 10 m (200 m2). In the greenhouse, every vegetative season, the following crops are planted: pepper (Capsicum annuum), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), celery (Apium graveolens), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), lettuce (Latuca sativa), garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa). In the uncovered parcel next to the greenhouse are planted similar crops: pepper (Capsicum annuum), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), potato (Solanum tuberosum), carrot (Daucus carota) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). The crop rotation is made only in the uncovered parcel, while in the greenhouse, the same crops are planted in the same place every vegetative season.

Experimental part

Soil samples for the soil’s agrochemical analysis were taken during the period of October 2018, after the crops’ harvest and after removing the vegetation. The samples were taken according to the guidelines for taking soil samples from agricultural lands (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017). Each soil sample was unified by 5 separate samples taken from 3 depths (10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm).

For the purpose of determining the influence of external factors and differences between covered and uncovered soil, samples were taken both from the opened parcel and from inside the greenhouse.

The agrochemical analysis was made in the authorized agrochemical laboratory ‘Blagoj Kotlarovski’–Resen (R.N.Macedonia), where these samples were delivered in dried state, cleaned from large filth and remainders, adequately packaged and labeled. The following parameters were determined: soil’s pH, electro conductivity, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, potassium and humus. Analyzes were performed with standardized laboratory procedures.

Results and discussion

The values obtained from the examined parameters are displayed in Table 1 and Table 2. The values of examined parameters in soil samples taken from the greenhouse (area under nylon foil) are presented in Table 1, whereas parameters’ values from the uncovered (opened) area next to the greenhouse are presented in Table 2.

Tab. 1. Values of examined parameters in soil samples taken from the greenhouse


Depth (cm)


pH

(1N KCl)


EC

(ppm)

Available forms

mg/100g soil


Humus (%)

N (total)

P2O5

K2O

10

8.30

122.62

1.75

52.39

40.30

4.18

20

8.44

129.28

1.69

50.25

38.65

3.98

30

8.5

136.32

1.56

49.53

38.10

3.75

Average value

8.41

129.4

1.66

50.72

39.01

3.97

Tab. 2. Values of examined parameters in soil samples taken from the uncovered area


Depth (cm)


pH

(1N KCl)


EC

(ppm)

Available forms

mg/100g soil


Humus (%)

N (total)

P2O5

K2O

10

8.4

154.24

1.41

49.24

37.87

3.5

20

8.34

138.88

1.25

49.41

38.00

3.33

30

8.23

133.12

1.21

43.06

33.12

3.05

Average value

8.32

142.08

1.3

47.23

36.33

3.29


Literature data indicates that the most commonly used indicators for soil quality evaluation around the world are: the pH reaction of the soil and the quantity of organic materia. These two indicators are mentioned in 80-90% of the research studies. Beside them, present indicators are also the following: available phosphorus (75%), available potassium (49%) and the total amount of nitrogen (40%) (Bunemann et al., 2018).

In Figure 1 and Figure 2, are graphic displays of the average values of total nitrogen, available phosphorus and potassium, both in the greenhouse and in the uncovered area. The obtained values are analyzed with respective correlation with the soil’s depth, where the soil’s samples were taken from.

Figure is Available in PDF Format

Fig. 1. Values for N, P, K concentrations measured on10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm depth in the soil samples taken from the greenhouse.

Figure is Available in PDF Format

Fig. 2. Values for N, P, K concentrations measured on 10 cm, 20 cm and 30 cm in the soil samples taken from the uncovered area.

As expected, there are some differences in the obtained values of soil samples from the greenhouse and from uncovered area. This is due to the fact that greenhouses are permanently closed environments and the temperature and humidity inside them are considerably higher compared to the open spaces. At the same time, in the covered greenhouses, there is a shortage of natural rainfall, which has an impact on nutrients’ distribution in the soil layers. Thus, it is evident that the obtained values of all examined parameters (pH, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, potassium and humus) in the greenhouse have higher average values, compared to the uncovered parcel next to it. The only feature deviating is the soil’s electro conductivity, which is greater in the uncovered area. At the same time, it is apparent that the concentrations of total nitrogen, available phosphorus and potassium, as well as the humus percentage, are the greatest in the surface layer of the soil (0-10cm) and that they decrease with the soil’s depth increasing and reaching the lowest values at 30 cm of depth.

As a follow-up, an analysis was made of the examined parameters and their values.

Soil pH

Soil pH reaction is one of the main factors which determines mobility and availability of plant’s necessary elements and in general. Usually it varies between 4 and 8.5 (Merry, 2009).

Obtained results from the examined soil samples, have average values of 8.41 in the greenhouse and 8.32 in the uncovered area. According to the soil classification, this refers to quite high pH reaction. This can be explained by the datain the literature, according to which, high pH soil reaction is typical for soils where particularly animal manure is used and usually has alkaline value and pH higher than 8.00 (Gulaboski, 2013). However, this is not conductive to crop production, because, аlthough many of the crops tolerate a wide range of pH (Soil factsheet, 2015), the most favourable pH value for crops is between 5.5 and 7.0 (Nutrient management of vegetable and row crop handbook, 2015).

High soil’s pH is not favorable, since it decreases minerals’ solubility to a condition of nutrients’ shortage. This means that a certain element could be present in the soil in large concentrations, but due to an inadequate pH values, that same element might not be available for the plants.

For example, the availability of phosphorus is considerably decreased in cases when pH varies between 7.5 and 8.5 and at the same time, the availability of Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu and Ni is low. This has a negative impact on vegetable’s growth and development (Soil factsheet, 2015). According to scientific studies, these type of alkaline soil need adding physiologically acid mineral fertilizers, in order to decrease this parameter’s value (Manual for introduction of agro-ecological measures in apple production in Prespa, 2014). For comparison, an agrochemical analysis of soil in the Gevgelija region (R.N.Macedonia), where soil samples were taken from 0 to 60 cm, has shown pH values of 7.56 (Trajanovska, 2014). Similar results are found in the soil of Tikvesh region, where samples taken from 0 to 20 cm have pH value of 7.5 (Milenkovska and Stojanova, 2015). According to archived data (from the agrochemical laboratory where the soil samples are examined), it could be evidenced that the greatest number of soil samples, (which have been agrochemically tested) have an acid pH, within the limits from 5.6 to 5.95. These samples were usually taken from newly-constructed crop groves, which have never been treated with any type of natural or artificial fertilizers (Arhival data).

Soil electro-conductivity

Electro-conductivity (EC) of the soil is an indicator of total quantity of solvent salts in soil. It is related to its saltiness, which stems from the use of mineral fertilizers in large quantities or from irrigation with water with high amounts of salt. Soil’s saltiness increases the amounts of Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+, but at the same time, it reduces the exploitation of phosphorus by crops (as a result of its decreased availability) (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017). Saltiness has its own impact on the exploitation of other nutrients and causes a combination of complex interactions, which have an influence on plant metabolism (Liang et al., 2010).

In the examined soil samples in this study, this parameter’s values are low, not only in the greenhouse (129.4 ppm), but also in the uncovered area (142.08 ppm). Measured values are lower than 1 dS/m. In general, soil’s electro-conductivity increases, along with the increase in the amount of clay inside it, as well as with the increase of porosity and wetness (USDA, 2011). According to this, lower values of soil electro-conductivity are probably due to the natural composition of the soil, as well as the period of taking the samples. Indeed, during the sampling, the soil layers were considerably wetter, due to rainfall in the given period. This especially applies to the soil samples taken from the uncovered area, whose values are little higher than those from the greenhouse.

Total nitrogen values in the soil

As one of the important macroelements, nitrogen in soil is usually found on depths from 0 to 20 cm and its contents depends, above all, on humus quantity, which usuallycontains 5 to 10% of nitrogen (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017). From the data displayed in Tab.1 and Tab.2 it can be stated that the average values of nitrogen in thegreenhouse are slightly higher (1.66 mg/100 gr) than in the uncovered area (1.3 mg/100 mg). The data indicate nitrogen’s medium availability and it is decreasing with the increase of depth in both examined areas. Its values are highest at depth of 10 cm and lowest at depth of 30 cm, which refers to its exploitation by the plants’ root systems. On comparison, in a newly-constructed greenhouse grove in the village of Dobrushevo (R.N.Macedonia), the measured amounts of nitrogen were only 0.6 mg/100 gr and this is the reason why a recommendation foradding an additional amount of nitrogen via artificial fertilizers was given (Arhival Data). Another comparison can be made with the soil in the Gevgelija region (R.N.Macedonia), where measured concentrations of nitrogen, at depths between 0 and 20 cm, were 4.37 mg/100 gr, in the region of Kavadarci (R.N.Macedonia) 5.9 mg/100 gr and in the region of Valandovo (R.N.Macedonia) the amount of this element was 6.64 mg/100 mg (Trajanovska, 2014).

It should be noted that natural animal fertilizers are an important source of nitrogen in the soil. Nevertheless, nitrogen quantity which originates from natural fertilizers, also depends on the type of cattle they come from. In general, cattle fertilizers contain 5-18 kg N/t, half of which, transforms quite rapidly (in a few months period) into forms of nitrogen, available for the plants. In the covered greenhouses, these tranformations occur faster, as a result of higher indoor temperature, but when it comes to alkaline soils, a big percent of nitrogen could be lost with its transformation in ammonia and its further evaporation. This great loss could take place precisely in soils where animal manure has been used and which usually has alkaline value i.e. pH higher than 8.00 (Gulaboski, 2013).

Values of available phosphorus in the soil

Determining easily available phosphorus in the soil aims to specify the soil supply with this element necessary for plants’ nourishment. On the basis of this determination, it can be established the necessity of applying natural or artificial fertilizers. Organic phosphorus exists in the soil via animal and green manure, compost, woodland cover, root remainders, dead microorganisms, insects and animals which live inside the soil (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017).

Measured phosphorus concentrations in the tested soil samples are considerably high. The average value in the greenhouse area is 50.72 mg/100 gr but 47.23 mg/100 mg in the uncovered area. This refers to quite high availability of this nutrient. As expected, its value decreases with the increase of depth, which is a consequence of its exploitation by the plants. On comparison, a newly-constructed crop grove, which has not been fertilized at all, situated in the region of village Dobrushevo (R.N.Macedonia), has considerably low phosphorus concentrations (4.44 mg/100 gr). They are even lower (1.71 mg/100 gr) in a newly-constructed grove in the village of Beranci (R.N.Macedonia). Similar high values of this nutrient are measured in the soil in the Valandovo region, where phosphorus is available with average values of 56.86 mg/100 gr. On the contrary, compared to the soil in the Kavadarci region, this element is measured with low average values of 7.45 mg/100 gr (Trajanovska, 2014).

When such high values of phosphorus are measured, it is recommended not to use phosphorus fertilizers in the following three years, irrespective of the fact which crop is being cultivated (Arhival Data).

Values of available potassium in the soil

In a ploughed land of depth between 0 and 20 cm, total potassium is usually found in the amount of 1-2% (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017). Average and individual values of easily available potassium in the greenhouse soil are quite high. The obtained average values are 39.01 mg/100 gr in the covered area and 36.33 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area. On comparison, in soil from Gevgelija region, the average measured values for potassium were 6.81 mg/100 gr, in the Valandovo region 21.09 mg/100 gr, whereas in the region of Kavadarci 37.94 mg/100 gr were found. In the Tikvesh region, potassium concentrations were between 24.00 and 27.00 mg/100 gr (Milenkovska and Stojanova, 2015).

Humus percentage in the soil

Organic material in the soil consists of a mixture of plant and animal compounds in different stages of degradation, as well as compounds which have been synthesized chemically or biologically. Nevertheless, the quality and quantity of humus also depends on climate, type of soil and agricultural procedures. High humus concentration in the soil has its own influence on elements marks’ activity, especially when it comes to strong fixation of Cu, which leads to toxic effects of the forage (Kabata-Pendias, 2001). By implementing soil in the agricultural production, there is an inevitable instensifying of degradation processes of organic material (Trajkova and Zlatkovski, 2017).

Humus values in soil samples from the greenhouse vary between 3.97% in the covered area and 3.29% in the uncovered area. These refer to fair availability regarding humus contents (according to soil classification) (Manual for introduction of agro-ecological measures in apple production in Prespa. 2014), but also when compared to values measured in the region of Tikvesh (from 1.30 to 1.41%) (Milenkovska and Stojanova, 2015).

Conclusions

The conducted agrochemical analysis of the soil from a greenhouse with miscellaneous crops, gave results which led to the following established conclusions:

  • Agrochemical analysis of the soil is the best indicator for soil fertility and concentrations of nutrients at disposal;

  • The values of all examined parameters are higher in the greenhouse compared to the parcel adjacent to it;

  • Concentrations of all parameters have higher values at all depths, but the increase of depth leads to lower values;

  • The highest concentrations of parameters are measured in the surface layer (10cm), and the lowest at depth of 30 cm;

  • The soil has high pH value which varies between 8.41 in the greenhouse and 8.32 in the uncovered area;

  • Phosphorus concentrations are considerably high: 50.72 mg/100gr in the greenhouse and 47.23 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area;

  • Nitrogen values in the soil are with medium quantity: 1.66 mg/100 gr in the greenhouse and 1.3mg/100gr in the uncovered area;

  • Available potassium in the soil has quite high values of 39.01 mg/100 gr in the greenhouse and 36.33 mg/100 gr in the uncovered area;

  • The soil possess a fair amount of humus with values of 3.97% in the greenhouse and 3.29% in the uncovered area;

  • As a result of the non-professional addition of mineral (organic) fertilizers, there has been balance disorder in the soil and overload with certain nutrients;

  • Therefore, it has been established that the soil is supersaturated with phosphorus and potassium and due to this, the soil should not be fertilized with organic manure in the following few years.

References

  1. AGENCY FOR PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT http://agencija.gov.mk/%D0%BF%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B8/

  2. AGROALTERNATIVE. Soil fertility control basis for rational application of mineral fertilizers http://agroalternativa.info/kontrola-na-plodnosta-na-pochvata-osnova-za-ratsionalno-aplitsirane-na-mineralni-gubriva/

  3. Arhival Data. Agrochemical laboratory "Blagoj A. Kotlarovski" -Resen.

  4. Budoin, W., Nono-Womdim, R., Lutaladio, N., & Hodder, A. (2013). Good Agricultural Practices for greenhouse vegetable crops. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Plant Production and Protection Division

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  8. Gulaboski, R. (2013). Agrochemistry and plant nutrition. University "Goce Delcev", Śtip R.N.Macedonia.

  9. Kabata-Pendias, A. (2001). Trace elements in soils and plants. Third edition. Boca Raton London New York Washington, D.C.

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  11. Liang, Y., Lin, X., Yamada, S., Inoue, M., & Inosako, K. (2010). Soil degradation and prevention in greenhouse production. 2010 International Conference on Combating Land Degradation in Agricultural Areas (ICCLD’10) Zi’An City, PR China. 11-15 October 2010

  12. Manual for Introduction of Agro-Ecological Measures in Apple Production in Prespa. (2014). Epicenter

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