Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mahadev Bhat

Third Advisor's Name

Kateel Shetty

Keywords

Buckwheat, Cover crop, Crop rotations, Agriculture, Soil, Phosphorus, AMF, Temperature limitations, Economic assessment, Florida

Date of Defense

7-1-2013

Abstract

This thesis analyses buckwheat as a cover crop in Florida. The study was designed to demonstrate: soil enrichment with nutrients, mycorrhizal arbuscular fungi interactions, growth in different soil types, temperature limitations in Florida, and economic benefits for farmers. Buckwheat was planted at the FIU organic garden (Miami, FL) in early November and harvested in middle December. After incorporation of buckwheat residues, soil analyses indicated the ability of buckwheat to enrich soil with major nutrients, in particular, phosphorus. Symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increased inorganic phosphorus uptake and plant growth. Regression analysis on aboveground buckwheat biomass weight and soil characteristics showed that high soil pH was the major limiting factor that affected buckwheat growth. Spatial analysis illustrated that buckwheat could be planted in South Florida throughout the year but might not be planted in North and Central Florida in winter. An economic assessment proved buckwheat to be a profitable cover crop.

Identifier

FI13080711

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