Growth performance and nutrient quality of three Moringa oleifera accessions grown as potherbs under varied manure rates and watering intervals were investigated at the Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The treatments included three accessions of Moringa (Awo-Anaekpa, Idere and Kano), three pig manure rates (0, 10 and 20 t/ha) and three watering intervals (3, 4 and 5 days). These were laid out as 3 x 3 x 3 factorial in a completely randomized design, replicated three times. Results showed that seeds of Awo-anekpa accessions had the highest cumulative emergence percentage (97%) and number of emerged seedlings. Plant height and stem girth at 3 months, and number of leaves at 2 and 3 months, after treatment application were higher in Awo-anekpa and Idere accessions than in Kano accession. The leaf proximate composition showed that Idere accession accumulated the highest ash (7.6%) and crude fibre (11.9%). Awo-anekpa contained the highest carbohydrate (41.1%) and moisture (20.7%), while the highest crude protein (26.9%) and oil content (3.0%) were found in Kano accession. Generally, plant height, stem girth and number of leaves increased with increase in manure rate; however, the leaf proximate compositions were not significantly (p > 0.05) influenced by manure application. Only stem girth was significantly (p < 0.05) affected by watering interval. The thickest stem girth (12.2 mm) was associated with 3 day watering interval, whereas 5 day watering interval produced the tiniest stem girth (10.8 mm). Second order interaction of accession, manure rate and watering interval suggests that Idere accession grown with 20t/ha of pig manure and watered at 3 day interval was most adaptable to the container growing condition. Evidences from this study suggest that Moringa can successfully be grown as a potherb if appropriate horticultural practices are followed.
Key words: Moringa oleifera, potherb, pig manure, watering interval, leaf proximate qualities.
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