Germination response to salt treatments of three selected baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea) cultivars

M.P. Theka, F.N. Mudau
Baby spinach seeds are generally difficult to germinate due to seed dormancy which leads to poor and erratic germination. The seeds are very expensive for poor resource farmers in South Africa since they are imported from Europe and the United States by major seed companies. Thus, the aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of different salt treatments on seed germination of three baby spinach cultivars namely 'Ohio', 'Anna' and 'Edna'. Treatments consisted of 0 (control) and two salts (NaNO3 and MgSO4) at four concentration levels (0.25, 0.50, 0.75, and 1 M) arranged in a randomised complete block design with five replicates each. The germination response parameters recorded were germination percentage, rate and seedling length. Results of the study indicated differences in seed germination response of baby spinach cultivars and also the salt concentration levels significantly (p<0.05) affected the seed germination percentage and the seedling length. Baby spinach 'Anna' seeds treated with 0.75 M NaNO3 had the highest germination percentage (60%) compared to 'Ohio' seeds, which showed the lowest values (3% respectively) for the same treatment. Furthermore, seedling lengths differed significantly among cultivars with 'Anna' seeds treated with 0.75 M NaNO3 having the tallest seedlings (81 mm) compared to the shortest (0.23 mm) in 'Ohio' with the same treatment. Future prospects for this study will include the establishment of nitrate content in seedling, investigation of sulphur containing amino acids and other treatments that induce dormancy.
Theka, M.P. and Mudau, F.N. (2018). Germination response to salt treatments of three selected baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea) cultivars. Acta Hortic. 1204, 77-84
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1204.10
NaNO3, MgSO4, concentration, germination percentage, germination rate, seedling length

Acta Horticulturae