Soilless cultivation of cherry tomato with gutter subirrigationn and reused substrate
Soilless cultivation systems in horticultural production are modern technologies that involve the supply of water and minerals through the nutrient solution and plant growth on media. The soilless cultivation of vegetables ensures higher yields and better quality than with traditional soil crops. When managed in a closed system with irrigation water of good quality soilless cultivation can significantly reduce the environmental impact of nutrient solutions with respect to crops grown in open systems. Compared with drip irrigation, gutter subirrigation simplifies the management of the closed system because disinfection of recirculated nutrient solution and correction of its chemical composition is not necessary. Gutter subirrigation was developed in previous experiments for the cultivation of tomato on fresh substrate. The objective of this work was to evaluate the use of the same substrate after two consecutive crops of tomato and to study the effect of the presence, if any, of previous radical residues with the same cultivar and rootstock. The experiment was conducted in an unheated iron and polycarbonate greenhouse with forced ventilation. Cherry tomato plants were transplanted into pots containing fresh or reused coconut fiber. The following parameters were considered: biomass, production,
product quality (electrical conductivity, pH, titratable acidity, dry residue, dissolved solid content) and chemical analysis of recirculated and radical nutrient solution. The results obtained in this experiment reveal no significant differences in production and fruit quality between plants grown on fresh substrate and those grown on reused substrate (marketable yield was 5.4 kg m-2 vs 5.3 kg m-2, respectively).
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