Pedosphere 22(3): 333--342, 2012
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2012 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Use of spent mushroom substrate as growing media for tomato and cucumber seedlings
ZHANG Run-Hua1,2, DUAN Zeng-Qiang1,2 and LI Zhi-Guo3
1 State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008 (China)
2 Wuhan Vegetable Research Institute, Wuhan 430065 (China)
3 Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074 (China)
      The aim of this research was to evaluate weathered spent mushroom substrate (SMS), made from spent Flammulina velutipes mushroom substrate, as a growing medium for nursery seedlings. Two vegetable species, cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinchun No.2) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. Mandy), were grown in 8 media of SMS in various ratios with perlite or vermiculite. A mixed substrate of peat with perlite (1:1; v:v) was used as the control (CK). The experiment was arranged in a completely randomized design under greenhouse conditions. Prior to sowing, some physical and chemical properties of the growing media were determined. Results showed that all the mixtures had desirable physical and chemical properties for their use in nursery tomato and cucumber seedlings except for the T4 (SMS:vermiculite = 1:1; v:v) and the T8 (SMS:perlite = 2:1; v:v) mixtures. Compared with the CK, increased plant height, leaf area, fresh weight, dry weight and index of seedling quality were found in the T3 (SMS:vermiculite = 2:1; v:v) and T6 (SMS:perlite = 4:1; v:v) growing media. SMS should be considered as an alternative for the widely used but expensive and resource-limited peat in greenhouse cultivation.
Key Words:  mushroom substrate, nursery seedlings, peat, perlite, vermiculite
Citation: Zhang, R. H., Duan, Z. Q. and Li, Z. G. 2012. Use of spent mushroom substrate as growing media for tomato and cucumber seedlings. Pedosphere. 22(3): 333-342.
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