EFFECTS OF PICKING FREQUENCY ON THE YIELD OF THE GRAIN AMARANTH (AMARANTHUS HYPOCHONDRIACUS) GROWN IN A GREENHOUSE
The lack of information on sustainable agriculture in Kenya has impeded agricultural production on suitable intensive crop husbandry practices that would improve yields and enhance food security. A four-month greenhouse experiment was conducted to ascertain the most appropriate leaf picking frequency that would provide better yields of grain amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus). The crops were planted in four similar-sized pots in three replicates and raised for a month before commencing leaf picking. The leaves were picked once, twice, or thrice per week, and weighed while grains were harvested and weighed at the end of the experimental period. Picking leaves of amaranth once resulted in significantly higher leaf weight (P<0.05) than picking leaves twice or thrice per week. Weight gain of leaves picked once differed significantly from the others (P<0.05) after the fourth week of harvesting. Grain yield of A. hypochondriacus of which leaves were not picked until harvesting was significantly higher than those whose leaves were picked twice a week (P<0.05). This however did not differ significantly from grain yield of plants whose leaves were picked once (P>0.05). Higher frequency of leaf picking constrains full maturity of both the leaves and grains thus diminishing the returns from the A. hypochondriacus. Lower frequency of picking limits the competition of the leaves and grains for nutrients, resulting in higher yields. It is recommended that picking of A. hypochondriacus be conducted once a week to encourage attainment of better final harvesting yields. Further research should be conducted to evaluate the effect of picking frequency on yield of A. hypochondriacus as a dual purpose crop in practical field conditions in Kenya where food insecurity is common.
Gichunge, C.N., Kidwaro, F., Ohiokpehai, O. and Oyoo, E. (2009). EFFECTS OF PICKING FREQUENCY ON THE YIELD OF THE GRAIN AMARANTH (AMARANTHUS HYPOCHONDRIACUS) GROWN IN A GREENHOUSE. Acta Hortic. 806, 181-186
food insecurity, dual crop, HIV, Kenya, leaves and grains