ALTERNATIVE GROWING MEDIA FOR GROWBAG TOMATO PRODUCTION IN KUWAIT
Soilless production techniques under protected agriculture system have been identified as a promising solution to sustain profitable agriculture in the country. Growbag is one among the simplest and the most user-friendly soilless cultivation technique, which could be adopted to resolve the existing problems and alleviate environmental risks associated with soil-based cultivation systems. Determination of appropriate substrates based on technical and economic feasibility is the vital aspect of research and the key to success in any soilless production system. The major substrates used in growbags are peat moss and perlite, where peat moss is a limited and expensive natural resource imported to Kuwait. The objective of this study was to evaluate different low-cost and sustainable alternative substrate combinations as growing medium for tomato production in growbags. An experiment was conducted in an evaporative cooled polycarbonate greenhouse with a prominent tomato cultivar Tyrade, in four soilless growing media. Tested combinations comprised of 35% peat moss, 40% perlite and 25% vermicompost (M1), 25% peat moss, 25% perlite, 25% vermicompost and 25% coco peat (M2), 100% coco peat (M3) and 50% peat moss and 50% perlite (M4) as the control. The investigations revealed that M1 and M2 are the best alternative growing media for growbag tomato production, and vermicompost and coco peat could be used as low-cost sustainable alternative substrates for peat moss. The results shows that 15 to 50% of peat moss used in the soilless growing media in growbags could be economically substituted with a judicious combination of alternative substrates.
Albaho, M., Thomas, B., Isathali, S., George, P. and Ghloum, D. (2014). ALTERNATIVE GROWING MEDIA FOR GROWBAG TOMATO PRODUCTION IN KUWAIT. Acta Hortic. 1037, 1087-1091
substrate, protected environment, soilless culture, sustainable agriculture