Off-season Production of Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) Under Different Shading and Mulching Materials
Tomatoes during rainy season have low production in open field; thus, supply is low, consequently, the price is high. Potential of protected production should be explored, the study conducted to find best eco-friendly net covers and mulch on growth and yield of two tomato varieties under off- season production. Specifically, determined the best cover, variety and mulching material to achieve optimum yield of tomato plants, interaction and correlation effects of microclimates like temperature and relative humidity under the tunnel, on the growth and yield of tomato and highest net income among different treatments and treatments combinations. Split-Split Plot in Factorial Randomized Complete Block Design using three blocks, three
floating row covers (UV Film, EFNC Blue, EFNC Green), two tomato varieties (Marimar F1 and Diamante Max F1) three mulching materials (Plastic mulch, Sawdust, Carbonized Rice Hull), was employed. Eco-friendly net covers (EFNC) did not significantly affect the growth and yield of tomato. Similarly, the two varieties did not differ significantly in growth and yield, but mulching materials significantly affected the growth and yield parameter, Carbonized Rice Hull increased number of flowers, fruiting percentage and fruits developed, plastic mulch produced highest yield with 3681.13 kg/ha. No significant interaction effect among eco-friendly cover, variety, and mulch on growth and yield parameter. Higher temperatures inside the tunnel improved the growth of tomato plants but made the fruits lighter and lowered yield and income per hectare. High relative humidity (%) inside the tunnel increased weight of marketable fruits per plot and yield per hectare.
Keywords: eco-friendly net covers, mulching materials, relative humidity, temperature, UV films
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