Environmental Earth Sciences (2018) 77:411
Soil properties evaluation in horticultural farms of Florencio Varela,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I. R. Paladino
· A. C. Sokolowski
· J. Irigoin
· H. Rodriguez
· M. C. Gagey
· M. B. Barrios
· J. De Grazia
· J. Wolski
· A. Bujan
Received: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 May 2018
© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
The south of the green belt of Buenos Aires is one of the most important producers of fresh vegetables in the province.
Only few of the horticultural farmers receive professional agronomic advice. For this reason, an excess of supplies are being
used, irrigation water quality is unknown and soils are not analyzed. The aim of this work was to evaluate chemical and
physico-chemical characteristics of soils from Florencio Varela, Buenos Aires Argentina, which have not been cultivated
for over 20 years (NC), under open-Fields Cultivation systems (FC) and under Greenhouses Cultivation systems (GC). The
variables analyzed were: pH in water (pH), Electrical Conductivity (EC), Total Nitrogen (TN), Extractable Phosphorus
(EP), Total Oxidizable Carbon (TOC), Oxidizable Carbon associated to Mineral fraction (MOC) and Particulate Oxidizable
Carbon (POC). The results showed excess of EP, high pH and loss of oxidizable carbon for FC and GC with respect to NC.
Furthermore, an incipient salinity was found in GC. Under FC, EC and TN were lower than GC, probably associated with
leaching due to rain. Overfertilization is common in horticultural farming in the green belt, where the worst-case scenario is
represented by phosphorus due to its low mobility and high residuality. The problems detected show the need for chemical
analysis on soils and irrigation water. This will avoid imbalances due to overfertilization and the use of unsuitable water,
thereby preventing soil degradation and aquifer contamination.
Keywords Overfertilization · Salinization · Open-ﬁeld cultivation systems · Greenhouses cultivation systems
The “green belt” constitutes the peri-urban space that
includes horticultural family farms and some more business
farms that surround large cities and whose production is
intended especially for fresh vegetables (Di Pace 2004). The
green belt of Buenos Aires covers more than 5,510 km
includes the district of La Plata, Florencio Varela, Beraza-
tegui, Almirante Brown, Esteban Echeverría, La Matanza,
Merlo, Moreno, Cañuelas, General Rodríguez, Luján, Mar-
cos Paz, Pilar and Escobar. The three most important dis-
tricts are in the southern part of the green belt of Buenos
Aires (La Plata, Berazategui and Florencio Varela) (Fig. 1).
These represent 82% of the total horticultural farms and 81%
of the surface under cultivation (Viteri et al. 2013). The total
area of vegetables, in production, for these three districts was
5332.8 ha, with 30% under greenhouses cultivation systems
and the rest in open-ﬁeld cultivation systems (Censo Fruti-
horticola 2005). In this area, approximately 70% of produc-
ers rent small areas of land (smaller than 5 ha) and can have
1–1.5 ha under greenhouses (Gómez et al. 2013). This is one
of the most important areas that produces fresh food (refer
to leafy vegetables or ﬂowers, fruits and stems), for this rea-
son horticulture is very important in the local economy. The
main destination of these products is the domestic market.
Particularly, the urban areas of Florencio Varela are sur-
rounded mainly by spaces destined to the intensive horticul-
tural activity with 940.5 ha (Alegre 2016).
This article is a part of Topical Collection in Environmental Earth
Sciences on IV RAGSU—Advances in Geochemistry of the
Surface in Argentina, edited by Dr. Americo Iadran Torres and Dr.
Pablo Jose Bouza.
* I. R. Paladino
Universidad Nacional de Lomas de Zamora, FCA, Lomas de
Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Instituto de Suelos, CNIA, INTA, Buenos Aires, Argentina