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Utilizing the Agricultural Waste as Growing Media and Alternative Fertilizers for Dendrobium Orchids

Productivity of orchid in Indonesia is still relatively low. Many influencing factors such as growing media and fertilizers have affected the productivity. Moreover, recent days the availability of growing media and fertilizers become scarce and more expensive. Therefore, a new breakthrough on searching and producing alternative media and fertilizers which is good in quality, available all the time, relatively cheaper, and able to increase the productivity of orchid is needed.

Therefore, Jakarta Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (Jakarta AIAT) had conducted a study aimed to assess the utilization of agricultural waste which were 1) waste of palm empty bunches as the growing media and 2) fish waste as the fertilizer that could replaced 100% of the existing media and fertilizer for Dendrobium orchids. The assessment consisted of three stages of activities, they were 1) the assessment of media production, 2) the assessment of fertilizers production, and 3) the assessment of media and fertilizers utilization on seedling and blooming phase of Dendrobium orchids. The variables which observed were: (1) the quality of media and fertilizers (physically, chemicaly, and biologicaly) and (2) growing rate and production yield of Dendrobium orchids.

The results showed that: (1) soaking of waste of palm empty bunches in water decreased its tannins content up to 47.6%, whereas composting process and soaking using 2 M KOH (potassium hidroxide) did not effectively reduce the amount of tannin, (2) the content of N, P, K, and Fe reduced in both removal tannins treatments. Besides that, the content of Mn and Cu decreased in the treatment of water immersion, whereas the content of C, Ca, Mg, Zn, and B did not affect by the presence of tannin removal treatments, (3) the forming process of waste of palm empty bunches became media did not affect the characteristics of the material. However, the establishment media in the form of briquettes tend to decrease the amount of Carbon and Boron and tend to increase the pH and CEC materials, (4) fish waste fermentation system did not affect the characteristics of fermentation product, while the number of carbon sources affected the characteristics of the chemical, physical, and biological of fermentation product. There is a tendency of decrease in pH value, content of N-NH4, P2O5, K2O, Ca, Mg, Zn, and Fe, as well as increased carbon content consistent increase in the number of carbon sources. There was an increase in the typical odor of fermentation with an increase in the amount of carbon sources, (5) variable of growth (growing rate) and production yield of Dendrobium orchids on fish waste fertilizers treatments were not significantly different with a control fertilizers (a commercial fertilizer), and (6) The growth and yield response of Dendrobium (number and size of tillers, number and size of leaf, number and length of flower stalk and number of florets) in media briquettes of palm empty bunches waste, both of seedling and blooming phase were lower than wood charcoal media.