Volume 14, Issue 2 (7-2023)                   2023, 14(2): 81-92 | Back to browse issues page


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Soil and Water Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj.
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Abstract
Tomato is one of the most important crops, which is cultivated as seedlings. It is important to choose an economic and favorable cultivation medium for the production of good seedlings. In order to use the compost produced from palm pruning wastes as a substrate for the production of tomato seedlings, an experiment was carried out in the greenhouse conditions as completely randomized design with three replications in 2019-2018 at the research greenhouse of Soil and Water Research Institute. Five cultivation beds as treatments included: 1) compost produced from palm pruning wastes (palm peat) (PP), 2) peat moss (PM), 3) cocopeat (CP), 4) mixture of palm peat and peat moss (PP+PM), and 5) mixture of cocopeat and peat moss (CP+PM). Some plant indices, the concentration of plant nutrients and plant growth indicators were measured at the end of the growth period. The results showed that the highest amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (1.47% nitrogen, 0.18% phosphorus and 2.83% potassium) were observed in PM, CP and PP+PM treatments, respectively, which were significantly (p<0.01) different from other treatments. In terms of tomato seedling height, the best treatment was PM (8.34 cm), and PP (7.56 cm) and PP+PM (7.56 cm) were ranked second. The lowest seedling height was recorded in CP (5.37 cm). The highest and lowest values of root length were related to PP+PM (8.69 cm) and CP (6.62 cm), respectively, that were significantly (p<0.01) different. The economic results evaluation showed that palm peat is 50% cheaper than cocopeat and 100% cheaper than peat moss, and it can be used as a substitute for imported cocopeat and peat moss in tomato seedling cultivation.

Background and Objective: Tomato is one of the most important agricultural crops and has the second rank among vegetables in the country, with a cultivated area of over 131,000 hectares (1). At present, tomato seedling cultivation and preparation of seedlings are the most important stages of production. Providing materials and high cost of cultivation bed are among the most important problems of seedling production in soilless cultivation (2). Currently, the materials used for the soilless cultivation are peat moss and cocopeat, both of which are imported, and besides increasing the cost of transplanting production, it also causes export problems. In this study, compost (peat) prepared from the pruned palm leaves was used as a seedling growing substrate and compared with other common cultivation beds. This is effective not only in reducing the cost of tomato seedling production, but also in the optimal use of palm tree pruning wastes, and would create income for palm tree farmers and cultivation bed producers. The purpose of this research was to compare the cultivation medium produced from the wastes of palm leaves and petioles (palm peat) with imported cocopeat and peat moss, and to investigate its quantitative and qualitative effect on the growth indicators of tomato seedlings.

Methods: The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design with three replications in a controlled environment in the research greenhouse of Soil and Water Research Institute in 2019. Chemical properties such as pH, salinity, the amounts of ammonium and nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and soluble sodium, cation exchange capacity, organic carbon content and micronutrients (copper, zinc, iron and manganese) were determined in the soil and plant samples. Five planting cultivation beds as treatments included: 1) compost produced from palm pruning wastes (palm peat) (PP), 2) peat moss (PM), 3) cocopeat (CP), 4) mixture of palm peat and peat moss (PP+PM), and 5) mixture of cocopeat and peat moss (CP+PM). Some plant indices, the concentration of plant nutrients and plant growth indicators were measured at the end of the growth period.

Results: The highest salinity was related to PM which was within the optimal range of salinity (i.e., 0.53 dS/m) provided by Gilmar and Betina (3). The pH value in the saturated extract was within the optimal range (5.56.5) for PM and CP and was more than optimal in PP. The results showed that the highest amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (1.47% nitrogen, 0.18% phosphorus and 2.83% potassium) were observed in PM, CP and PP+PM treatments, respectively, which were significantly (p<0.01) different from other treatments. The mean comparison of the chemical properties and nutritional elements of the cultivated substrates showed that T1 was richer in nutrients than PM or CP. The highest seedling height related to PM and PP was in the second rank. The highest stem fresh weight belonged to PP+PM, and PP ranked second. Palm peat treatment (PP) resulted in the highest concentrations of copper, zinc and iron in the whole plant.

Conclusions: Seedling growth in peat moss compared to palm peat showed the suitability of chemical conditions including pH and nutrients in peat moss for optimal seedling growth. Despite the appropriate physical conditions and pH, cocopeat could not produce a good rating of growth due to the lower content of nutrients. Palm peat has a favorable potential in production of tomato seedlings, and due to its availability and low-cost production, it can be replaced instead of expensive peat moss and imported cocopeat.

References:
1. Agricultural Statistics, 2018. Volume Three: Horticultural Products. Information and Communication Technology Center, Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Tehran, Iran, 207 p.
2. Basirat, M., 2011. Use of palm waste cellulose as a substitute for common growing media in aglonema growing. Journal of Horticultural Plants 1(1): 111.
3. Gilmar, S., Betina, L., 2022. Physical and chemical characteristics and analysis of plant substrate. Ornamental Horticulture 28: 249260.
 
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Soil (growth medium) and plant relations in greenhouse culture
Received: 2023/02/19 | Accepted: 2023/07/1 | Published: 2023/09/20

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