Peat is a spongy substance which is an effect of incomplete decomposition of plant residues in different stages of decomposition. Between the several organic matters which are used as substrate for horticultural plants cultivation in soilless conditions, peat is the unabandonable ingredient for mixtures for commercial production of plants. Peat is used in horticulture as a component of garden plant substrates, in agriculture for the production of garden soil and as an organic fertilizer, and in balneology as a material for baths and wraps. The use of peat for agriculture and horticulture is determined by the following quality parameters: the degree of decomposition, ash content, pH, the presence of carbonates, the density of the solid phase, bulk density, and porosity. As an organic material, the peat forms in the acidic, waterlogged, and sterile conditions of fens and bogs. The conditions seem like the development of mosses. The plants do not compose as they die. Instead of this, the organic matter is laid down and accumulates in a slow time as peat due to the oxygen deficiency in the bog. This makes peat a highly productive growing medium. In the present novel review, we discuss the peat use in horticulture.
Part of the book: Peat
Vegetables have a very high percentage of water content. Some of the vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, lettuce, zucchini, and celery contain over ninety-five percent of water. As a result of the high-water content in the cells, they are extremely vulnerable plants to water stress and drought conditions. Their yield and quality are affected rapidly when subjected to drought. Therefore, irrigation is essential to the production of most vegetables in order to have an adequate yield with high quality. However, over-irrigating can inhibit germination and root development, decrease the vegetable quality and post-harvest life of the crop. Determination of suitable irrigation systems and scheduling to apply proper amount of water at the correct time is crucial for achieving the optimum benefits from irrigation. This determination requires understanding of the water demand of the vegetable, soil characteristics, and climate factors. All these factors have major impact for the success and sustainability of any vegetable irrigation. This section contains fundamentals of water requirements on different vegetables and summarizes important issues related to soil, water, and vegetable growth relations together with irrigation management concept by evaluating the challenging issues on the selection of proper irrigation system, suitable irrigation timing, and other parameters to increase vegetable yield in an irrigated agriculture.
Part of the book: Vegetable Crops