1*Francis M. Maingi, 2Harun M. Mbuvi, 2Adamu Abdulhameed
1Science Technology and Engineering Department,
Kibabii University Bungoma, Kenya
2Chemistry Department, Kenyatta University Nairobi, Kenya
Correspondence Author: email@example.com;
Characterization of soils in selected potato growing areas of Molo, Nakuru County in Kenyawas necessitated by the observed decline in potatoes acreage yields over the years despite the use of phosphorus and nitrogenous fertilizers.In this study, levels of some key soil fertility indices were determined. Fourfarms that have been in intensive potatoes farming were selected.Soil samples were randomly collected at a depth of 0-10 cm separately for all the investigated sites. Site-wise composite samples were prepared, air-dried, grinded and passed through a 2 mm sieve size and stored in plastic containers ready for laboratory analysis. Analytical techniques employed were Walkley black for carbon, Kjeldahl for nitrogen, standard wet chem soil analysis, saturation method for water porosity, glass electrode determined soil pH, bulk density, particle density and water holding capacity were determined by methods of Keen box. From the study,the mean levels of essential soil fertility indices obtained were; soils pH (5.46 ± 0.43), soil bulk density (g/cm3) (1.03 ± 0.01), particle density (2.51 ± 0.08), water holding capacity (%) (36.07 ± 2.57), porosity (0.59 ± 0.01), exchangeable cations (uS/cm) (83.63 ± 14.22), cation exchange capacity (meq/100g) (18.48 ± 0.89), organic carbon (%) (3.50 ± 0.24), total nitrogen (%) (0.17 ± 0.03). Mean micro and macronutrients available (mg/Kg) were; phosphorous (7.11 ± 2.77), potassium (100.27 ± 8.32), calcium (198.2 ± 35.1), magnesium (20.97 ± 4.28), manganese (15.26 ± 1.12), sulphur (2.31 ± 1.88), copper (0.59 ± 0.12), boron (0.38 ± 0.07), zinc (12.96 ± 2.04), sodium (8.61 ± 0.51), iron (147.92 ± 4.10). These findings reveal the extent of some fertilityindices depletion in the soils and will form a baseline for decreased yield of potatoes in this region. The results further forms the base for future research on working acreage of key soil fertility indices required for remediation.
Keywords: Baseline, Characterization, Depletion, Fertility indices, Potatoes farming