Maboko M.M.,Agricultural Research Council Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Research Institute |
Du Plooy C.P.,Agricultural Research Council Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Research Institute
HortScience | Year: 2014
Direct seeding or transplanting younger seedlings should reduce costs in hydroponic systems. A 2-year study (2011-12 and 2012-13) was conducted to determine yield of two hydroponically grown tomato cultivars using transplanted seedlings at different growth stages vs. direct seeding. An open bag, using 10-L plastic bags filled with sawdust, was used for direct seeding and transplanting of seedlings at two-, four- or six-leaf stages. Data were collected on early marketable, early total, total, total marketable and cull yield as well as plant fresh and dry mass. In 2011-12, there was increased early marketable and total yields from direct-seeded plants or plants transplanted at the two or four-leaf stage. Cultivar FA593 produced a higher early marketable yield and total yield compared with 'Linares'. In 2012-13, the highest early marketable and total yields were for plants developed from those transplanted at the two-leaf stage or from those developed from direct seeding. There was no difference between cultivars on marketable and total yield. Cultivar Linares produced the highest plant fresh and dry mass. Early yield can be induced by direct seeding or transplanting seedlings at the two-true leaf stage with no significant effect on total yield and marketable yield. Direct-seeded plants, or transplanting seedlings at the two-leaf stage, will benefit growers by producing tomatoes earlier for the market while eliminating or reducing transplant shock.