The decline in organic matter (OM) content and fertility of soils often contribute to losses in agricultural production. This research determined the effects of water hyacinth compost application on selected soil properties and maize growth and yield during a field experiment conducted between February 2020 and August 2020 in Lake Victoria basin, Kenya. The experiment was conducted in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with five fertilizer treatments. The treatments were vermicompost, thermophilic compost, effective microorganisms (EM) compost, positive control (inorganic fertilizer) and negative control (no fertilizer) replicated three times. Vermicompost application significantly increased the soil pH. Fertilizer treatments and the environment significantly affected maize growth and yield parameters. The percent crop emergence was above the threshold level (88%) for plots treated with organic amendments and no fertilizer treatment and those below the threshold level for the plots treated with inorganic fertilizer. The duration to 50% tasseling was significantly reduced by vermicompost application when compared to other treatments. Higher plant height (239.4 cm), nitrogen uptake (130.8 kg/Ha), and grain yield (5580 kg/Ha) was also recorded under vermicompost treatment. This suggests that vermicompost could be a promising substrate for amending acidic soils and improving crop productivity.
Key words: EM compost, Thermophilic compost, vermicompost, Water hyacinth
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