STUDIES ON WATER USE EFFICIENCY OF GRAFTED AND NON-GRAFTED MELON PLANTS GROWN UNDER TWO SOILLESS CULTURE SYSTEMS
Egyptian Journal of Agricultural Research
ydroponic culture is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, and it could be impetus for food production in the future. It is expected to grow exponentially also in the future, as conditions of growing soil becoming difficult. In the current study, the effect of different rootstocks on cantaloupe plants (Cucumis melo L.) F1 hybrid Galia and the reflection of that on water consumption, growth, nutrient uptake, fruit yield and quality were studied for two successive seasons 2016 and 2017 by
... 2016 and 2017 by comparing grafted plants with non-grafted ones under two systems of hydroponic (Nutrient Film Technique and substrate culture mixture of 1 peat, 1 vermiculite and1 perlite). The Galia cantaloupe hybrid was grafted onto Lagenaria sicenaria and Cucurbita ficifolia. Non-grafted plants were used as control with both soilless culture systems. The results indicated that NFT as soilless culture system led to significant increase on plant growth characters i.e. plant height, leaves number/plant and stem thickness compared to traditional growing media. Grafting positively affected plant growth i.e. plant height, leaf number and stem thickness. Water consumption was affected also by grafting where the highest water consumption was recorded with cantaloupe plants grown in NFT system and grafted into Lagenaria sicenaria rootstock. Although growing media saved water use by plants from 85-87% in comparison with estimated water requirement calculated according pan evaporation method, the yield was low with using media cultivation system in comparison with yield of the plants grown in NFT system which saved only 39-41% of estimated water requirement increases in fruit yield and fruit size were recorded with grafted plants and this clear which may be due to utilization of the vigorous root system of the rootstocks. These grafted plants also shows increasing in minerals uptake when compared with nongrafted plants. In general, plants grown in NFT system produced fruits characterized with superior quality, high yield, rapid harvest, and high nutrient content.