Potential of azolla compost on the growth and yield of spinach (Spinacia Oleracea)
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Apart from its role in sustainable agriculture, the use of biofertilizer and green manures is ecofriendly and economically feasible scientific method. The present study was conducted to access the potential for Azolla-anabaena symbiotic association in enhancing growth and yield performance of Spinacia oleracea. Triplicates of potted plants were grown in four Azolla treatments; 50g Azolla treatment, 100g Azolla treatment, 150g Azolla treatment, 200g Azolla treatment alongside a negative control respectively. The study was done in the Botanical Gardens of Makerere University, Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology. The plants were monitored and their height, leaf number of visible leaves and fresh weight determined at the time of experimental termination. Height and fresh mass results were subjected to one-way ANOVA while number of leaves were analyzed by Kruskal–Wallis test to determine the effect of applying Azolla on the growth performance and yield of spinach plants at P<0.05. Significant differences were observed both in growth performance and yield of spinach plants. It was noted that 200g and 150g Azolla treatments were very effective in enhancing the growth and yield of spinach and thus could effectively be used as an eco-friendly, accessible and cheap fertilizer input in the management of soil health. Field experiments are thus recommended to evaluate its feasibility and farmers are encouraged to adopt the use of Azolla fern because of its potential economic benefits.