Effects of Fabric Covering on Germination of Egyptian Spinach Seeds
Abstract: Egyptian spinach (Corchorus olitorius L.) also called molokhia is a nutritious tropical leafy vegetable with a niche market in the U.S. Growing Egyptian spinach profitably in Texas requires identifying varieties that can adapt to the growing conditions here and determining optimum production requirements. Preliminary field studies have identified a problem of late germination and plant establishment. Therefore, the objective of this pot experiment was to compare the germination rate and establishment of broadcast seeded Egyptian spinach with and without fabric cover. Two Egyptian spinach varieties (African and Asian) were planted at a seeding rate of 20 seeds per pot, with and without covering, in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The growing medium used was Promix BX®. The pots were placed on a bench in the open to simulate field conditions and they received equal amounts of water during the germination period. Germination was counted at 2, 3 and 6 days after planting. The germination data collected was subjected to analysis of variance using the JMP software and conclusions were drawn at the 5% significance level. There was no significant interaction between variety and cover for germinations observed at 2 days after planting but the covered treatments had significantly higher germinations compared to the uncovered treatments. Similar results were obtained for the other two days except that there were significant interactions between variety and cover for them. On average, germination for the covered treatments were 46 and 23 % greater than the uncovered treatment at 2 and 3 days after planting respectively. These findings suggest that fabric covers could be used to improve the germination of Egyptian spinach established by broadcast seeding in the field. The early germination observed under covered conditions suggest potential competitive advantage over weeds and early maturation which could both improve profits for farmers.
Andrew C. Nwachukwu*
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