A study was conducted to assess the effects of a bio-fertilizer and an inorganic fertilizer on growth, yield of spinach vegetable, on four cultivated soils, representing different agro-ecological zones of Chengdu, Hunan, Xiaotangshan and Shaanxi. Three replicates soil samples mixed with bio-fertilizer 100 g per pot and nutrient solution (MgSO4, Ca(NO)2, KNO3) 633 ml based on container volume. Spinach seeded directly ten per pot, thinned to five watered to plant water requirement until maturity. RCBD of three replication used, data for growth, yield and other agronomic characters and soil physicochemical properties evaluated. Soil results showed substantial differences in physicochemical properties from the four agro-ecological zones (Ferrod Arenosol, Entisol, Aridisol and Vertisol). Plant emergence percent were Xiaotangshan (74.8%), Chengdu (74.5%), Hunan (72.4%) and Shaanxi (70.7%), plant height at six week, Xiaotangshan (17.8 cm), Hunan (17.1 cm), Shaanxi (16.8 cm) and Chengdu (16.1 cm) the least, number of leaves at six weeks were Xiaotangshan (21), Hunan (19) and (16) Shaanxi, leaf area Hunan (89.5 cm2), Shaanxi (83.7 cm2), Chengdu (79.4 cm2) and Xiaotangshan (78.1 cm2), dry biomass of 4.88, 4.35, 3.83 and 3.03 g obtained for Hunan, Chengdu, Shaanxi and Xiaotangshan, respectively. Percentage plant emergence based on soil layers were 0-25 cm (75.8%), 25-50 cm (75.3%), 50-75 cm (71.6%) and 75-100 cm (69.6%), respectively; highest plant emergence percentage were obtained from top soil layer of Hunan, treated with biofertilizer. Substantial differences were observed for plant height, biomass and other agronomic characters in all the soils. The results show that Hunan soil is the most suitable for cultivation of spinach under biofertilizer treatment, compared to other types. The study underpins the importance soil types and fertilizer evaluation for a sustainable vegetable production in China.
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