Cropping system and NPK fertilizer rate influenced productivity of garden egg (Solanum gilo) and egusi melon (Colocynthis citrullus) in garden egg/egusi melon intercropping system
By: Cosmas Osita Muoneke, Okorie Okoro Ndukwe, Charles Agodichukwu Amih, Matthias James Eka
Key Words: Garden egg, Egusi melon, Intercrop, Fertilizer, Productivity
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res. 9(6), 1-14, December 2016.
A field experiment was conducted in the research field of National Horticultural Research Institute’s substation at Mbato, Okigwe, Nigeria to evaluate the effect of NPK 15-15-15 fertilizer rates (0, 200, 400 and 600 kg per hectare) on the growth and yield of garden egg and egusi melon, in their sole and intercrop systems. The experiment was laid as a randomized complete block design (RCBD) comprising twelve treatments and replicated three times. There were reductions in the growth and yield parameters of the component crops in the intercrop system compared to when they were grown in their sole plots. The application of fertilizer significantly (p<0.05) increased growth and yield parameters of garden egg (number of leaves, leaf area, weight of fruits and fresh fruit yield/ha) and egusi melon (vine length, number, weight and diameter of fruits, the number of seeds/fruit, 100-seed weight and seed yield). Increase in fertilizer rate increased these parameters, however, there was a decline when 600 kg/ha of the fertilizer was applied. The lowest weed dry weight at six weeks after planting (3.36 and 4.13 g/m2) and at harvest (1.21 and 1.47 g/m2) was recorded in intercropped plots in 2009 and 2010, respectively. There were yield advantages in all the intercrop treatments, with a maximum yield advantage of 140 and 159 % in 2009 and 2010, respectively with the application of 400 kg/ha fertilizer. Therefore, the application of 400 kg/ha NPK fertilizer was recommended if Solanum gilo and Colocynthis citrullus are intercropped especially in the study area.