Dr U.R Ravi Sangakkara
Mr S.P. Nissanka


Nursery management if often a difficult process in most tropical farming systems due to the presence of many problems of diseases, pests and weak plants. This is especially observed in species such as chillies and tomato, which have very small seedlings. In organic systems, the effect of organic materials enhance the problems as diseases can be induced by the decomposing organic matter, which also could act as a, mulch, preventing the emergence of seedlings. Thus, the effect of microbial solutions that could enhance the quality of seedlings in the nursery was tested in a field study- The species used were chillies, cabbage and tomato, all having small seeds and which are propagated in nurseries before field planting. The organic matters used were legume leaves, rice strive and cattle manures, either placed on the surface or incorporated into the soil. The microbial solutions used were Effective Microorganisms or a slurry of animal wastes. Application of the organic matter on the surface reduced the germination of al] species. The incidences of diseased and weak plants were also greater. The spraying of EM enhanced germination and numbers of healthy plants, while applications of the other microbial solution had an adverse effect. The reported benefits of EM in enhancing microbial decomposition of organic matter, thereby enhancing nutrient availability and also of that vigour under reduced disease causing organisms could be considered the casual mechanism for these observations. The benefit of using EM for better nursery management and thereafter ensuring the successful field established of healthy plants is presented on the basis of these results.

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