Growth Analysis and Fruit Yield of Capsicum Chinense, Jackquin as Influenced by Compost Applied as Foliar Spray and Soil Augmentation in Ibadan, Southwestern Nigeria

Author(s): O. A. Dada, Y. O. Ogunsesu

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Abstract: Foliar feeding of plant nutrients promotes maximum nutrient absorption by increasing sugar level in plants thereby stimulating soil activity and plant nutrient uptake. Application of compost as foliar spray is a rare cultural practice among vegetable growers in Nigeria. It is however not clear, if conventional soil augmentation with compost will enhance performance of pepper plant better than foliar spray with compost extract. Therefore, growth, dry matter and fruit yield of pepper Capsicum chinense, Jackquin as influenced by either foliar spray or soil augmentation with compost was investigated. Two field trials were conducted during 2014 and 2015 early planting seasons at the Crop Garden of Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology Univeristy of Ibadan. Six treatments comprising of two pepper (NHCaC9 and a landrace) varieties and two methods of compost application (Foliar and soil augmentation) and a control (no fertilizer) were laid out in RCBD with three replicates. Compost and compost extract were prepared following standard procedures. Compost was applied at the rate of 8t N ha-1 as soil amendement two weeks before transplanting while 0.48 kg/L ≡ of 8 t N ha-1 was applied as foliar spray with a hand sprayer fortnightly. Data were collected on growth, dry matter, yield and yield components. Percentage crude protein content was determined using standard procedures. Application of compost extract as foliar spray enhanced growth, development and quality of pepper better than soil augmentation. The indigineous pepper cultivar produced the highest fruit yield (472.00 kg/ha) on plots sprayed with foliar compost extract. Interaction between methods of compost application and the two pepper varieties had no significant effect on net assimilation rate but traditional cultivar sprayed with compost extract had the highest net assimilation rate (0.03g/cm2/day). Fruits of NHCaC9 cultivar harvested on plots incorporated with compost had the highest (43.45%) crude protein content.