Murray State University

Poster Title

Marketing Feasibility Studies of Different Substrate Mixes for Residential Use: The Effects of Worm Castings in a Substrate for Houseplants and Home Gardening

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Ferry-Morse Seed Company is trying to market worm castings to their customers. MSU was asked to compare different percentages of worm castings for use with both bedding plants/vegetables and houseplants. Recommended application rates for worm castings was not to exceed 30%. Two plants were chosen to represent the plant categories deemed important to the consumer: tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Early Girl’) and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Treatment percentages for worm castings were 0% for a control and 10%, 20% and 30% were incorporated into a soilless media substrate. Treatment one consisted of worm castings/soilless media alone and treatment two consisted of worm castings/soilless media with the addition of Peters Professional All-Purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer at 100 ppm nitrogen. Tomatoes were grown from seed and the spider plants propagules were harvested from greenhouse stock plants and sized into small, medium and large depending on existing air roots. Plants were harvested at six weeks. All tomatoes in treatment one had poor visual consumer quality. Visual quality for treatment two tomatoes was best in 20% and 30%. No significant differences were found in treatment one regarding shoot and root weights. There were visual quality differences with spider plants and also significant differences in shoot and root weights between control and percentages of worm castings in treatment two. Based on plant performances, a recommendation to Ferry-Morse Seed Company was to market worm castings in conjunction with a regular fertilizer schedule for maximum plant quality.

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Marketing Feasibility Studies of Different Substrate Mixes for Residential Use: The Effects of Worm Castings in a Substrate for Houseplants and Home Gardening

Ferry-Morse Seed Company is trying to market worm castings to their customers. MSU was asked to compare different percentages of worm castings for use with both bedding plants/vegetables and houseplants. Recommended application rates for worm castings was not to exceed 30%. Two plants were chosen to represent the plant categories deemed important to the consumer: tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Early Girl’) and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Treatment percentages for worm castings were 0% for a control and 10%, 20% and 30% were incorporated into a soilless media substrate. Treatment one consisted of worm castings/soilless media alone and treatment two consisted of worm castings/soilless media with the addition of Peters Professional All-Purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer at 100 ppm nitrogen. Tomatoes were grown from seed and the spider plants propagules were harvested from greenhouse stock plants and sized into small, medium and large depending on existing air roots. Plants were harvested at six weeks. All tomatoes in treatment one had poor visual consumer quality. Visual quality for treatment two tomatoes was best in 20% and 30%. No significant differences were found in treatment one regarding shoot and root weights. There were visual quality differences with spider plants and also significant differences in shoot and root weights between control and percentages of worm castings in treatment two. Based on plant performances, a recommendation to Ferry-Morse Seed Company was to market worm castings in conjunction with a regular fertilizer schedule for maximum plant quality.