Performance and Quality of Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) as Influenced by Crop Spacing and Rates of Swine Manure Application
Field and laboratory studies were conducted to determine the effect of plant spacing and rate of swine manure application on the growth, yield, nutrient concentration, uptake and proximate composition of muskmelon (Cucumis melo). The experiments were laid out as a 3×4 factorial fitted in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 3 replications. The treatments consisted of four rates of swine manure (0 t ha-1, 5 t ha-1, 10 t ha-1 and 15 t ha-1) and three crop spacing (50 × 50 cm, 75 × 75 cm, 100 × 100 cm). The results showed that spacing had no significant effect on the number of leaves, leaf area, stem diameter and number of branches, but substantially increased the vine length at 100 × 100 cm. Number of flowers and fruit weight per plant increased with raw spacing, while the number of fruits per plot and fruit yield (t ha-1) increased with a decrease in plant spacing, whereas the narrowest spacing of 50 × 50 cm produced the significantly highest fruit yield (25.47 t ha-1). The concentrations of P, Ca, Mg and Fe (4.28, 6.81, 4.55 and 0.80 mg kg-1) were the highest at 100 × 100 cm spacing compared to other treatments. However, N concentration (1.18) and uptake of N, P, Ca, Mg, Fe and Na was highest at spacing of 75 × 75 cm and at 10 t ha-1 swine manure rate. The effect of spacing on proximate composition of muskmelon did not follow a particular pattern; however, wider spacing of 75 × 75 cm and 100 × 100 cm at 10 t ha-1 favoured most of the proximate composition compared to the narrowest spacing of 50 × 50 cm and other manure rates. Although there was no significant difference in fruit yields of 10 and 15 t ha-1, application of 15 t ha-1, swine manure out-yielded 10 t ha-1, by 8.55%.
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