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SOME CRITICAL COMPARISONS OF PEAT-SAND AND LOAM-BASED COMPOSTS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE INTERPRETATION OF PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL ANALYSES

A. C. BUNT and P. ADAMS
Plant and Soil
Vol. 24, No. 2 (April 1966), pp. 213-221
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42932176
Page Count: 9
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SOME CRITICAL COMPARISONS OF PEAT-SAND AND LOAM-BASED COMPOSTS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE INTERPRETATION OF PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL ANALYSES
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Abstract

Some of the physical and chemical characteristics of the conventional loam-based composts for pot plants have been compared with those of composts made with peat and sand. The results indicate that because of the large differences in the volume-weights of these media, valid comparisons of the analytical results can only be made when they are expressed on a volume basis, rather than on the conventional weight basis. The importance of using the volume method increases as the volume-weight of the compost deviates from unity. Composts made with 75 per cent sphagnum peat and 25 per cent fine sand by volume were found to have both a higher available water-holding capacity, and a higher air capacity than the usual loam-based composts. The cationexchange capacity per unit volume of the sphagnum peat composts was less than, and of the sedge peat composts greater than, that of the loam composts. The buffer capacity of the peat composts ranged from about sixty per cent to two hundred per cent of that of the loam composts. The data suggest that the use of 0.01 M CaCl₂ gives the most consistent index of pH. Saturated paste extracts are preferable for salinity determinations. Where this method is not practicable, the volume-based suspension gives a better indication of salinity than the conventional weight-based suspension.

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