Using Mini-Rockwool Blocks as Growing Media for Limited-cluster Tomato Production

in HortTechnology
Authors:
Logan S. LogendraPlant Science Department, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520.

Search for other papers by Logan S. Logendra in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Thomas J. GianfagnaPlant Science Department, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520.

Search for other papers by Thomas J. Gianfagna in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Harry W. JanesPlant Science Department, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520.

Search for other papers by Harry W. Janes in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

Rockwool is an excellent growing medium for the hydroponic production of tomato; however, the standard size rockwool blocks [4 × 4 × 2.5 inches (10 × 10 × 6.3 cm) or 3 × 3 × 2.5 inches (7.5 × 7.5 × 6.3 cm)] are expensive. The following experiments were conducted with less expensive minirock wool blocks (MRBs), on rayon polyester material (RPM) as a bench top liner, to reduce the production cost of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) grown in a limited-cluster, ebb and flood hydroponic cultivation system. Fruit yield for single-cluster plants growing in MRBs [2 × 2 × 1.6 inches (5 × 5 × 4 cm) and 1.6 × 1.6 × 1.6 inches (4 × 4 × 4 cm)] was not significantly different from plants grown in larger sized blocks (3 × 3 × 2.5 inches). When the bench top was lined with RPM, roots penetrated the RPM, and an extensive root mat developed between the RPM and the bench top. The fruit yield from plants on RPM was significantly increased compared to plants without RPM due to increases in fruit size and fruit number. RPM also significantly reduced the incidence of blossom-end rot. In a second experiment, single- and double-cluster plants were grown on RPM. Fruit yield for double-cluster plants was 40% greater than for single-cluster plants due to an increase in fruit number, although the fruit were smaller in size. As in the first experiment, fruit yield for all plants grown in MRBs was not significantly different from plants grown in the larger sized blocks. MRBs and a RPM bench liner are an effective combination in the production of limited-cluster hydroponic tomatoes.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

 

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 30 30 2
PDF Downloads 124 124 11