Irrigations, suitable mulching method and nitrogen fertilizer rate for optimum yield and fruit quality of tomato in Nigerian Savanna


E. A. Ngozi,J. P. Mailah, Babjide F. G

Field experiments were conducted during 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 dry seasons at Shika in the Northern Guinea Savanna zone of Nigeria. The treatments consisted of mulching (No mulch, rice-straw mulch and black polythene mulch), nitrogen rates (0, 45, 90 and 135 kg/ ha-1 ) and irrigation interval (5, 10 and 15days). These treatments were arranged in a split-plot design with nitrogen and irrigation in the main plot and mulching in the sub-plot. Mulching significantly increased fruit yield, fruit diameter and firmness over the no-mulched treatment. Fruits from plants mulched with polythene were firmest with less unmarketable fruits yield. The application of 90kgN ha-1 produced higher fruit yield than the control by 115%, 87% and 82% in 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 respectively. The highest fertilizer rate of 135 kg N/ha1 produced the highest yield of unmarketable fruits except in 2005/06 when all the fertilizer rates produced similar unmarketable fruit yields. Increasing the irrigation interval from 5 to 10 days significantly increased fruit diameter and reduced the number of unmarketable fruits while the 15-days interval enhanced fruit firmness.

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