Paper No. 130-12
Presentation Time: 10:50 AM
A SUCTION LYSIMETER STUDY TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTS OF SOIL MOISTURE QUALITY AND QUANTITY ON THE GROWTH OF SUMMER SQUASH
This agricultural experiment located in Hurley, New York was designed to analyze the effect of soil parameters on the growth of summer squash fruits at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub (HVFH). The HVFH is a non-profit center for resilient agriculture located on 1,255 acres of prime farmland in Hurley, NY. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the nutrient and moisture content of water samples collected from the root zone to the growth of squash in different plots. Three different squash plots (A, B and C) of sandy loam soil were analyzed for nutrient content from water samples obtained using suction lysimeters. The lysimeters were installed at depths of 8 and 14 inches to capture the samples at the root zone of each plot. The period of study focused on the peak of the growing season for summer squash; from July - September. Gravimetric moisture content was also analyzed by drying soil samples from each plot. The focus of the experiment was to determine the effect of average nutrient content and gravimetric moisture on the weight of summer squash fruit produced in each plot. The results indicated that Plot B contained the highest concentration of nutrients and the greatest amount of gravimetric moisture content. This plot also yielded the largest fruit. Based on these findings, it is recommended that the HVFH conducts future experiments to calculate the optimum nutrient concentration for different types of crops which should aid in determining the minimum amount of fertilizer needed for better plant growth while maintaining a healthy soil and water ecosystem.