Ola Mufid Alnaddaf
General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research-
Suweida Research Center
Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania,
The objectives of this study were to evaluate the responses of cucumber grown on composted manure and to examine the influence of different bag heights on the growth and yield of cucumber in the investigated substrates.
For this purpose, different substrate/container combinations were obtained (sole perlite at 20 cm bag height used as standard treatment, sole compost at 20 cm bag height, sole compost at 10 cm bag height, compost: perlite 50:50 v/v at 20 cm bag height and compost: perlite 50:50 v/v at 10 cm bag height). For each height, the bag width was adjusted to a value resulting in the same volume of substrate. Furthermore, all the treatments received the same nutrient solution and the same fertigation management throughout the experimental period. Moreover, the chemical and physical properties of the substrates were determined.
The results showed that both the substrate and its height inside the bag were a factor affecting cucumber yield and yield components. The performance of composted manure exceeded significantly that of perlite with respect to cucumber yield, growth, and nutrient concentrations in leaves and fruits. Furthermore, the substrate height in the bag had a marked effect on cucumber growth parameters. However, no significant differences between the treatments were recorded concerning total soluble solids, firmness, dry matter percentage, vitamin C content, vegetative dry and fresh weight; percentage of first class fruits, fruit length and thickness.
Nevertheless, the substrate height in the bag greatly affected cucumber growth parameters and yield. The leaf chlorophyll content was significantly higher in sole compost placed in bags at a height of 10 cm. Furthermore, the yield was significantly higher in compost-containing media placed in bags at a height of 10 cm than in those placed in bags at a height of 20 cm.
The above referenced results indicate that composted manure (used as the sole substrate or in mixtures with perlite 50:50 v/v) performs better when it is placed in bags at a height of 10 cm than bags at a height of 20 cm. The determination of the physical properties of the tested substrates revealed that the superior performance of composted pig manure was due to improved water availability, which was further enhanced when it was placed into bags at a low height
(10 cm). Furthermore, composted pig manure seems to be an environment-friendly substrate since it reduces nutrient leaching into the ground-water. Consequently, cultivation on composted manure can be considered a sustainable method of production in soilless culture, especially in open (run-to-waste) systems.