ALTERNATIVE GROWING MEDIA FOR PRODUCTION OF CUCUMBER CULTIVAR 'BANAN' FOR SOILLESS CULTURE IN KUWAIT
Identifying substrates in soilless growing systems based on availability, technical appropriateness and economic viability for growing high value vegetable crops are vital aspects of research in protected agriculture. The major growth media currently in use in Kuwait are perlite and very expensive peat moss. The objective of this study was to evaluate different low cost substrates for productivity of Cucumis sativus L. Banan to the relatively expensive peat moss as alternative growing media for bag culture technique in Kuwait. The growing media combinations tested include (M1) 35% peat moss/40% perlite/25% vermicompost, (M2) 25% peat moss/25% perlite/25% vermicompost/25% coco peat, (M3) 100% coco peat and (M4) 50% perlite/50% peat moss as control. Experiments were carried out in a cooled greenhouse. Experiments with cucumber cultivar Banan revealed that the growing media M1 and M2 are the best substrates for use in the growbag technique. The performance of cucumber measured by vegetative, reproductive, and fruit-quality parameters in plants grown in M1 and M2 were superior to those grown in coco peat alone (M3) or in the control (M4). This shows that important vegetable crops can be produced utilizing only 25 to 35% of the relatively expensive peat moss thus facilitating a reduction in production cost. Furthermore, when using M1 and M2, the crop under investigation exhibited considerable water use efficiencies (WUE) and produced the highest percentage of good quality fruits compared to M3 and M4. Prudent selection of these substrates in appropriate proportions will certainly prove that utilizing these alternative substrates are technically viable and economically feasible options for production of the cultivar Banan in growbags.
Albaho, M., Bhat, N., Thomas, B.M., Isathali, S., George , P. and Ghloum, D. (2013). ALTERNATIVE GROWING MEDIA FOR PRODUCTION OF CUCUMBER CULTIVAR 'BANAN' FOR SOILLESS CULTURE IN KUWAIT. Acta Hortic. 1004, 115-121
organic growth media, protected agriculture, substrate-based culture