Garlic, although used mainly as a condiment, is recognized as an excellent source of protein and energy as well as P, Mg, and Na minerals and sulfur compounds; these attributes make it valuable as an herbal medicine and food (Brewster, 2008). Despite vernalization to enable the cultivation of noble garlic in environments where the natural conditions of the climate do not allow bulbification, this technique favors the appearance of the physiological disturbance of the lateral shoot growing (LSG) of the bulbs, especially if associated with inadequate management of irrigation and nitrogen (N) fertilization (Oliveira et al., 2018). The LSG of garlic is a genetic–physiological anomaly characterized by the atypical appearance of leaves of lateral buds before they form the normal leaves constituting bulbils (cloves). This abnormality, in addition to reducing the yield of commercial bulbs, depreciates the product, thus causing its market value to be compromised (Souza and Casali, 1986).
Garlic is a cold season vegetable; a large part of its cultivation cycle occurs in autumn and winter, which in the southeast of Brazil is characterized by a period of scarce rainfall requiring irrigation. Irrigation is a highly efficient technique used to promote increased crop productivity. Another technique that can be used to reduce water consumption in agriculture is regulated deficit irrigation (RDI). This technique consists of applying a certain level of water stress during the phenological phase of the crop with lesser susceptibility to water restriction. However, it should be emphasized that one of the assumptions of this technique is that the water stress level does not promote yield reduction when compared with full irrigation management during the whole crop cycle (Chai et al., 2016).
This work aimed to evaluate whether the spatial variability of the production components of the plant and the use of an irrigation and fertirrigation management system with controlled deficit interfere in the yield and incidence of garlic LSG.
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Descriptive statistics for garlic crop production components
Estimated parameters for the cross-semi-variogram of the garlic crop production components