Effect of intra-row spacing on plant growth, yield and quality of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum mill) varieties at mizan-aman, southwestern Ethiopia
The productivity of tomato is influenced mainly by environmental factors, agronomic practices and cultivar potential. Accordingly, a field experiment was conducted at Mizan-Aman, southern Ethiopia in 2016/ 2017 to evaluate the effect of intra-row spacing (20, 30, 40 and 50 cm) on the performance of three tomato varieties(Fetan, Bishola and Roma VF) with the constant inter-row spacing of 70 cm in completely randomized block design with three replications. Data on crop phenology, growth performance, yield and quality parameters were recorded and subjected to analysis of variance using SAS version-9 software. Results of the study indicated that both intra-row spacing and variety had a significant effect on phenology as well as parameters including; the number of branches, the number of fruit cluster and fruit per plant, fruit weight, total fruit yield, marketable and unmarketable yield and total soluble solids (TSS). However, the number of fruits per cluster, fruit shape index, titratable acidity (TA) and pH were significantly different only among varieties, while plant height was significantly affected by intra-row spacing. Closer spacing enhanced early maturity, while wider intra-row (50 cm) produced a maximum number of branches, cluster and fruits per plant, fruit weight, unmarketable yield and TSS. Generally, 20 and 30 cm intra-row spacing was found to be suitable for the production of maximum total and marketable yield. From the three tomato varieties, Fetan was early maturing with the highest total and marketable yield. The varieties were also significantly different in fruit weight, with the highest value obtained from Bishola followed by Fetan. The outcome of this study revealed that, the intra-row spacing of.30 cm and variety Fetan could be promoted for production in Mizan-Aman and similar agro-ecologies.
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