Effect of different substrates on growth, yield and quality of tomato by the use of geothermal water in the South of Tunisia
Purpose: With growing concern about climate change and the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels, there is increasing interest in the use of renewable energy. In this regard, geothermal energy has a great importance in agriculture activity in southern of Tunisia. By using geothermal heating for greenhouses in this part of Tunisia, production of vegetables attains 30000 tons of which 35% are exported. However, this activity faces some problems of soil diseases and salt accumulation. The main objective for the present research is to solve these problems by soilless cultivation using palm trees wastes as substrates after composting. These substrates give the opportunity to valorise these wastes produced with large amounts every crop season.
Methods: The experiment was carried out under a green house involving five replicates and five treatments (1) Control: soil, (2) Palm trees compost, (3) Compost of oasis wastes and animal manure, (4) River sand and (5) Coconut fiber witch is an imported substrate. Plots were planted on with tomato. The measurements determinate were growth, yield and quality.
Results. Comparison of means showed that yield of fruits had not any significant difference between treatments. Substrates had no influence on the average fruit weight, ranged from 91.17 g to 95.59 g. The marketable yield and the fruit weight of the tomatoes grown in oasis wastes and animal manure compost were slightly higher compared with those grown in other substrates. The results of data length and stem diameter on seven occasions, showed that plant height and diameter had a significant difference between treatments. The tallest plants were produced by tomato cultivated in soil (382.64 cm). The most vigorous plants were grown in coconut fiber (19.02 mm). TSS (°Brix) content of the fruit was found to differ significantly between substrates. Plants grown on soil and sand produced highest TSS values (5 °Brix). The pH and the EC of the tomato fruit juice were not significantly different in tomato cultivation with different substrates.
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