Effect of commercial growing media on emergence, growth and development of tomato seedlings
By: Thembinkosi Mathowa, Nthebe Tshegofatso, Witness Mojeremane, Christinah Matsuane, Gabatshele M. Legwaila, Otsoseng Oagile
Key Words: Tomato, Growing media, Seedling emergence, Growth and development.
Int. J. Agr. Agri. Res. 9(1), 83-91, July 2016.
Commercial growth media were evaluated for their effect on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) seedling emergence, growth and development in 80% net shade house at Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources from March-April 2015. Three locally available commercial growth media (germination mix, cocopeat and hygromix) were used. A completely randomized design (CRD) with four repetitions was used. Tomato seeds were sown on 200 cells styrofoam seedling trays to evaluate seedling emergence. Thereafter, the following growth and development parameter were measured; leaf number and area, plant height, fresh and dry masses. Data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results revealed no significant differences (p>0.05) in seedling emergence among the three growing media for the entire study period. However, hygromix gave superior absolute numbers compared to other two growth media. Hygromix also gave significantly (p<0.01) larger leaves and taller seedlings than germination mix and cocopeat whereas, no significant difference was observed on shoot fresh and dry masses. Growing media had no significant influence on seedling emergence rate although hygromix sown seeds still emerged relatively faster than the other media. Growers must pay attention to details when selecting the medium to use. Therefore, hygromix and to some extent germination mix are recommended as the most desirable growing media for raising tomato seedlings.