Kedir Jemal* and Bikiltu Tolossa
Understanding the soil resource in an area and adoptions of management options to improve the productivity of crops and soils is necessary for sustainable use. Vermicompost, which is a potential soil fertilizer for sustainable agriculture has proven to increase yields of a variety of crops, but little is known about its application rate and timing for optimum productivity of tomato in clay loam soils of Wondo Genet, Ethiopia. To evaluate vermicompost on tomato productivity, a field experiment was conducted at Wondo Genet Agricultural Research Center. Factorial combination of N rates from vermicompost (based on N equivalence) and application period was the treatments. Nitrogen rates was had levels of full dose from inorganic N, 50% of the RN from vermicompost, 75% of the RN from vermicompost, 100% of the RN from vermicompost and 150% of RN from vermicompost. Application period had levels of 35, 20 days before planting and at planting. The design was used RCBD with three times replication for each treatment. The obtained results from the present research indicated that, the application rate and timing of vermicompost, clearly, had influences on tomato productivity. Application of vermicompost had significant (p < 0.01) effect on tomato above ground biomass and tomato yield, but not on plant height and fruit diameter. The highest yield of tomato (12338 kg ha-1) and above ground biomass (12975kg ha-1) were obtained from the application of 100% of the recommended nitrogen from vermicompost 30 days before planting, respectively. Additionally, higher tomato plant height (80.97 cm) and fruit diameter (36.26 cm) were obtained from the application of 100% of the recommended nitrogen from vermicompost 30 days before planting. From the study the minimum Yield and yield components were obtained at the application of full dose from inorganic nitrogen alone and statistically inferior with that of rest trials. Accordingly, application of vermicompost of 100% of the recommended nitrogen from vermicompost 30 days before planting could be recommended to achieve optimum yield of tomato and improve soil fertility of the study area.
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