African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Response of vegetative yield characters and yield of biomass fractions of wild-watermelon Cucumis africanus to irrigation interval and NPK fertilizer

Nkgapele R. J.
  • Nkgapele R. J.
  • Limpopo Agro-Food Technology Station, School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private bag x1106, Sovenga, 0727, Republic of South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Mphosi M. S.
  • Mphosi M. S.
  • Limpopo Agro-Food Technology Station, School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private bag x1106, Sovenga, 0727, Republic of South Africa.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 03 October 2012
  •  Accepted: 07 November 2014
  •  Published: 26 February 2015

Abstract

Wild-watermelon, Cucumis africanus, is among important indigenous crop plants in rural Limpopo Province of South Africa, primarily used as an ethno-botanical crop and a leafy green vegetable. An experiment laid out in a split-plot design and replicated five times was conducted at the Horticultural Research Unit, University of Limpopo, South Africa. The objective was to study the effects of irrigation frequency (2, 4 and 6 day interval) and fertilizer application rate of nutrient mixture containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK)  (0 Kg NPK ha-1, 60-40-20 kg NPK ha-1, 120-80-40 kg NPK ha-1 and 180-120-60 kg NPK ha-1) on leaf and non-leaf yield characters of C. africanus. The treatment of four day irrigation interval and 120-80-40 kg NPK ha-1application rate produced significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) vegetative yield characters and biomass of plant fractions than the extreme treatments of short two day irrigation intervals and low 60-40-20 kg NPK ha-1; and long six day irrigation intervals and 180-120-60 kg NPK ha-1. In conclusion, the results of the study indicate that C. africanus can be successfully grown using conventional production methods and supply rural households with good yields of a leafy green vegetable as well as providing raw materials needed for ethno-botanical purposes.

 

Key words: Leafy vegetable, leaf yield characters, root/shoot ratio, ethno-medicine.