Evaluating the growth characteristics of lettuce in vermicompost and green waste compost

Muhammad Ali, Anthony John Griffiths, Williams Keith Philips, Davey Leonardo Jones

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Most municipal green waste is composted using open windrows, however, the resulting compost is typically of low economic value. Additional vermicomposting of this product has the potential to improve its quality as a plant growth media thereby enhancing its market acceptance and economic value. Vermicompost was produced from a green waste compost feedstock and assessed for its potential use in a high value horticultural market. Replicated plant growth trials were undertaken with lettuce using pure worm cast (vermicompost), green waste-derived compost and mixtures of the two to determine the extent of growth enhancement gained through the vermicomposting process. The mixtures comprised of 50/50 (v/v) and 20/80 (v/v) of worm casts and green waste feedstock. Results showed that plant biomass production was optimal with a 20/80 (v/v) compost blend whilst pure worm cast and green waste compost yielded poor growth. Leaf chlorophyll content, an indicator of plant health and nitrogen content, further indicated that pure worm cast inhibited plant growth and depressed N content, whereas plant grown with the others treatments contained similar amounts of chlorophyll. The concentration of bio-available nutrients and heavy metals in composts before the plant growth showed that there was no increase in concentration in the potting media, which comprised of cast material. The total concentrations of nutrients and metal in each plant were also determined and the results show no significant variation between the various treatments. Keywords: Vermicomposting; green waste-derived compost; cast material; lettuce growth; nutrients.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventThe 8th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology - Krakow, Poland
Duration: 1 Jan 2006 → …


ConferenceThe 8th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology
Period1/01/06 → …


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