Integrated Use of NPK Fertiliser, Cattle Manure and Frequency of Leaf Harvest for Improving Nutritional Quality of Butternut
Elisha Otieno Gogo1, Martin Maluki1, Lenard Mounde1, James Mwololo2
1Pwani University, Crop Sciences, Kenya
There is limited knowledge on frequency of leaf harvest and soil nutrient replenishment effects on nutritional quality of butternut (Cucurbita moschata Duch. ex Poir). An experiment was conducted at the Agricultural Training Centre Matuga-Mkongani, Kenya, to determine effects of combined use of NPK fertiliser (17:17:17) and cattle manure, and frequency of leaf harvest on nutritional quality of butternut. A randomized complete block design with three replications was used. NPK was applied at 0, 250, 500, or 750 kg/ha. Cattle manure was applied at 0, 2,500, 5,000, or 7,500 kg/ha. Leaves were harvested at 2, 4, 6 or 8 week interval, starting 8 weeks after planting. Data was collected on carotenoids, vitamin C, protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. The data were subjected to analysis of variance and means separated with Tukey’s test, at p≤0.05. Combined use of NPK at 250 kg/ha and cattle manure at 7,500 kg/ha at 2-week leaf harvesting interval improved carotenoids, vitamin C, protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber on both leaves and fruit, similar to NPK applied at 750 kg/ha and cattle manure at 7,500 kg/ha and 8-week leaf harvesting interval. The findings demonstrate that combined application of NPK and cattle manure at lower rates permits more frequent leaf harvest, for consumption without compromising on nutritional quality of butternut fruit.
Keywords: Butternut squash, Cucurbita spp., leaf harvesting, plant nutrition, plant quality
Contact Address: Elisha Otieno Gogo, Pwani University, Crop Sciences, P.O. Box 195, 80108 Kilifi, Kenya, e-mail: e.gogopu.ac.ke