PRELIMINARY STUDIES ON SAGO WASTE AS GROWING MEDIUM FOR TOMATO
Coco-peat is an established organic substrate and widely used in the production of fruit vegetables in Malaysia. It is a natural and used to be a renewable resource produced from coconut husks by coconut industries in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Coco-peat is proven natural alternative to mined peat moss, therefore using it helps slow down peat extraction from environmentally sensitive swamps worldwide. The production and use of coco-peat does not threat or harm other ecological system locally. However due to continuous declining in the production area of coconut, the supply of coco-peat for the production of fruit vegetables using soilless production system may become scarce. Competition with landscape industry may limit its availability and increase the price. Other form of organic waste that is available locally is timely required to be used as an alternative or in combination with coco-peat to reduce its dependency. One of the agricultural wastes abundantly available at least in Sarawak is sago waste. It is actually an industrial waste after starch is extracted from sago palm processing. Making use of sago waste for any purpose is considered environmentally sustainable. There is no information on the usage of this material as growing medium for the production of fruit vegetables. The findings from the experiment have provided information that substrate mixtures of coco-peat and sago wastes significantly affect the plant height, stem diameter, total yield and total above ground biological fresh yield of tomato plants. 100% coco-peat gave good growth to tomato plants. It had always out performed sago waste and any mixture containing sago waste in the growing media. The particles of sago waste are finer compared to coco-peat. It has fewer short fibres compared to coco-peat hence provides less pore spaces in the growing medium and might cause reduction in providing good aeration to the roots. In this study, it can be concluded that 100% sago waste or in any combination with coco-peat cannot replace coco-peat as growing medium for growing tomato plants. However, combining sago waste with any other industrial by-product like rice husk, polystyrene beads or any other cheaper medium such as coarse sand should be further studied to improve the capacity of sago waste as growing medium for growing tomato or any other suitable crop in the soilless culture production system.
Mahamud, S. and Manisah, M.D. (2007). PRELIMINARY STUDIES ON SAGO WASTE AS GROWING MEDIUM FOR TOMATO. Acta Hortic. 742, 163-168
Coco-peat, organic substrate