Enhancing Soil Microbial Diversity
Southwest Florida soils are extremely sandy and have limited carbon availability. Compost has significantly improved crop production for several Florida vegetable crops, but less is known about how the compost interacts with the soil microbial community, and to what degree the soil microbial community contributes to the increase in crop production. In general, compost is applied prior to fumigation or used for organic production. It is unclear how fumigating the compost impacts the potential benefits to the soil microbial community. The Strauss lab is examining the impact of fumigation on compost and other carbon sources, such as molasses or compost teas, or microbial inoculant solutions, that can be applied to the soil through the drip irrigation system.