Fresh Market and Long Shelf Life Tomato Response to Rowcover Treatments in a Dry Temperate Climate

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  • 1 American Univ. of Beirut, FAFS, Beirut, Lebanon

Floating rowcover (R), Dupont's “Lawn and Garden Blanket”, with 75% to 80% light transmittance, was applied on black plastic mulch (M) and over transplanted seedlings of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Peto Seed's fresh market (F) `Al Wadi' and long shelf-life (L) `PSX 19392' were transplanted on 11 Apr. 1995 to drip-irrigated beds that were covered with M or not covered (C). The R was removed 4 (R1) or 5 (R2) weeks after its application. The climate is temperate with ≈200 days frost-free and 400 mm rainfall. Each cultivar was grown in a field with the treatments randomized in a complete block with four replications. Fruit harvest was done weekly for 6 weeks. Yield of the first 2 weeks was considered indicative of earliness. Yield earliness was enhanced by the shorter period treatment (R1) with the L cultivar showing more response to R1 (P < 0.05) than the F cultivar. Early average fruit weight was comparable among all treatments (P > 0.05) in both cultivars, but total average fruit weight was increased by R1 in L cultivar. (P<0.05). Total yield was comparable among the treatments in F cultivar (P > 0.05) and was lowest under M treatment in the L cultivar (P < 0.05). We recommend using R for shorter periods on tomato grown in a dry temperate climate, where clear skies can cause excess heat build up under rowcovers during day time.

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