Yield and Quality of Watermelon as affected by Organic and Inorganic Nitrogen Sources
Keywords:Citrullus lanatus, cattle manure, Watermelon, Brix, nitrogen sources
Changes in growth, fruit yield and selected quality parameters were studied in watermelon plants subjected to two different sources of nitrogen. The research was conducted at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute Regional Research Center at Marigat for two seasons in 2006/2007. The two sources of nitrogen were cattle manure applied at the rates of 0 kg (0 ton ha-1), 2.4 kg (3 ton ha-1), 4.8 kg (6 ton ha-1) and 7.2 kg (9 ton ha-1), and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) fertilizer at the rates of 0 kg (0 kg ha-1) , 280 g (35 kg ha-1), 560 g (70 kg ha-1) and 840 g (105 kg ha-1) per plot and a combination of the two. Application of cattle manure and CAN, in all cases, either singly or in combinations resulted in significant increase in total and marketable yield, fruit numbers, and average fruit weight, compared to the control. Fruit shape, fruit skin colour, total soluble solids (ÂºBrix) and rind (cortex) thickness were not influenced by the increase in application rates of the manures and CAN fertilizer. The manure and fertilizer applied either singly or in combinations, promoted growth and development of the crop in terms of the leaf area index, leaf numbers, and vine length. However, branching (secondary vines) did not respond to treatments. From the studies it was observed that a combination of 6.0 ton ha-1 cattle manure + 405 kg ha-1 CAN increased the marketable yield. The supply of N and organic matter to semi-arid agricultural land is therefore essential in increasing watermelon yield.
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