Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is an important vegetable crop in Ethiopia. The yield of the crop is often constrained by low and unbalanced nutrient supply in the soil. This study was undertaken to assess effect of vermicompost (VC) on growth, quality and economic return of garlic variety Chelenko I during 2016 main rainy season in Haramaya University main campus, Ethiopia. The treatment consisted of four levels of vermicompost (0, 2.5, 5 and 7.5 tons ha-1) laid out in a randomized complete block design in three replication. Data were collected and analyzed on days to emergency, plant growth, quality, and economic return of garlic. Results revealed early emergency (8.07 days) with application of 7.5 tons ha-1 of vermicompost while late emergency (10.13 days) was at nil application of vermicompost. Significant (P<0.05) maximum leaf area (37.05 cm2), leaf area index (1.36) and biomass (61.54 g) were recorded with application of 7.5 tons ha-1. Besides to this, maximum total dry matter (32.71%) and total soluble solid (12.72 Brix°) were also recorded at the rate of 7.5 tons ha-1. Due to application of 7.5 tons ha-1 fertilizer, the economic analysis showed the highest net benefit cost of 431,188 ETB ha-1 and marginal rate of return (168.87%) with incurred highest total variable cost of 79,350 ETB ha-1. Thus, it can be reasonably generalized that on short time basis, the application of high amounts of VC fertilizers can result in higher economic return than the low dose of VC fertilizer. Therefore, it can be concluded that, the maximum growth and quality and economic return of garlic was obtained with application of 7.5 tons of VC ha-1 fertilizer as it gave the highest net benefit cost. However, since the experiment was done only once and at one location, similar experiments should be carried out using additional higher rates of VC fertilizer over several seasons and locations to make a conclusive recommendation.
Key words: Chelenko I, economic return, marginal rate return, net benefit, total soluble solids.
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