Effect of Organic and Inorganic Mulching Materials on Tomato Growth and Development in Western Kenya
Musito, J. Wafula
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Tomatoes fall among the most widely eaten vegetables with good nutritive value and a wide array of advantages. Yields have been increasing worldwide because of better cultivars and more intensive use of modern technology, but in Kenya there has been a slow progression. Based on the above analysis manipulation of growing environment has the potential to improve tomato yield. Therefore, the current study was conducted to generate more information on the influence of manipulation of root microclimate using inorganic and organic mulching materials on two tomato varieties growth. The site was in Bungoma County at Mabanga Agricultural Training Centre for two seasons of 2014 and 2015. The field experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) in split-plot arrangement, replicated four times. The two tomato varieties include Cal J (determinate) and Tylka F1 (semi-determinate) grown on seed beds mulched with different mulching materials. These were black polyethylene film, transparent polyethylene film, sugarcane trash and no mulch (control). Data collected on growth parameters were subjected to ANOVA using GenStat statistical package, and means separated using Fischer’s Projected LSD at 95% confidence level. Results showed that mulching significantly (P≤0.05) influenced the number of branches and height of the two tomato varieties in both seasons. The white polythene mulch produced the highest number of branches per plant (10) as well as trusses (30) in Cal-J variety. The same treatment and variety produced the tallest plants at 143.7 cm while the shortest plants were in the control treatment of variety Tylka F1.