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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 843: International Symposium on Soilless Culture and Hydroponics

EVALUATION OF DIFFERENT ROCKWOOL FIBERS FOR TOMATO GROWN UNDER GREENHOUSE CONDITIONS IN ALMERÍA: EFFECTS ON PRODUCTION AND QUALITY

Authors:   J.L. Franco, N. Rodríguez, M. Díaz, F. Camacho
Keywords:   Solanum lycopersicum L., fiber thickness, planting density, production, quality
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2009.843.48
Abstract:
The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is a globally important vegetable, with Spain being one of the most important countries in tomato production. Almería is one of the main producing areas of fresh tomato and is the leading exporter of tomato. Therefore this vegetable provides the greatest economic returns in intensive horticulture. Soilless culture has increased the potential to grow in soils with inadequate physical and chemical properties and/or the persistence of soil diseases, with rockwool being the substrate that is used by nearly 50% of crops grown without soil. The trial was conducted in a semi-cylindrical greenhouse structure in the Experimental Farm “Fundación Universidad de Almería-ANECOOP”, Almería (Spain). The cultivar ‘Pitenza’ (cluster-type) was cultivated in short crop cycle cultivation on two substrates with different rockwool fiber thickness (FN70 and FG70) and two different planting distances (2.0 × 0.25 and 1.66 × 0.25). Subsequently the cultivar ‘Salomee’ was grown in long crop cycle on four types of rockwool (FN65, FG65, FN70 and FG70) and two different cultivation planting distances (2.0 × 0.65 and 1.66 × 0.5). In both trials, parameters of production and quality of fruit were measured. The trials between different rockwool thicknesses revealed that the fine fibers provide some early production benefit, but thicker fibers increase the final yield of the crop. Planting density does not influence production significantly when the crop cycle is short, but production per unit area increases in long crop cycles when planting distance increases. Productivity per unit area is of greatest interest to the farmer. The quality parameters were not influenced by the different treatments.

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