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Cucurbita moschata was discovered in southern Mexico around 5000 BCE and along the coast of Peru around 3000 BCE South America, is thought to be the secondary site of domestication. This species spread to northeastern Mexico by 1400 BCE and to the southwest U.S. by 900 CE. Cucurbita moschata made its way to the Gulf coast and Caribbean by way of early Spanish explorers. Crooknecks and cheese pumpkins, original to North America, were cultivated by colonists in the 1600s and variations can be found in India, southeastern Asia, Asia Minor and in Japan. By the 19th century Cucurbita moschata was established in northern Africa as well.
Cucurbitaceae is one of the largest families in vegetable kingdom consisting of largest number of edible type species. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Poir.) is one such important vegetable belongs to family Cucurbitaceae. Pumpkin fruits are extensively used as vegetables both in immature and mature stage. The yellow and orange fleshed fruits are very rich in carotene, which is precursor of Vitamin-A with fair quantities of vitamins B and C (Prem Nath et al., 1973). In modern agriculture, chemical fertilizers constitute the major portion of total cost of seed production. As the cultivation of pumpkin is fast expanding, the growers often come across one or the other problems that limit its fullest expressions of growth and productivity. Hence, these problems could be overcome partially or completely by using different agrochemicals like mineral nutrients and growth regulators. The optimum doses of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium vary greatly with the length of growing season, fertility status of soil, soil type, cultivar, geographical location and the environmental factors. These factors will have marked effect on the growth and yield parameters of pumpkin.
Plant growth regulators, a new generation of agrochemicals, when added in small amounts, modify the natural growth right from seed germination to senescence in crop plants. Among them, the use of GA3, is of considerable interest in different fields of agriculture and horticulture. Studies conducted elsewhere indicated the beneficial effects of chemical fertilizers and growth regulators on crop growth, fruit yield, seed yield and seed quality aspects in cucurbitaceous crops. Therefore, there is a urgent need to generate precise information with regard to requirement of optimum doses of chemical fertilizers and appropriate stage of spray with suitable growth regulators which help in better growth habit, fruiting and seed yield combined with better quality. Considering all these points in view an attempt has been made to find out the effect of chemical fertilizers and organic manure on seed yield and quality of musk pumpkin( Curcubita moschata).
A tropical hybrid of Cucurbita moschata reaches 90 ton.ha-1 grown under drip irrigation and plastic mulch. In another work with Cucurbita moschata, a high yield of 85 ton.ha-1 was obtained for tropical hybrid C-42 x La Segunda by transplanting and using mulching and row cover in a favorable year, the yield decreased to 43 ton.ha-1 by direct seeding without mulching and row cover in the same year. The previous year (1998) was humid and the yield under the last method was 28 ton.ha-1 . Experimental yields of Cucurbit moschata landraces obtained in the Department of Agriculture and Animal Science of the University of Sonora (DAG) during the summer-fall season under furrow irrigation, changed from 7.9 to 17.8 ton.ha-1, and from 1.2 to 24.6 ton.ha-1 for the winter-spring season. The yield was improved by increasing the plant population reaching 30.3 ton.ha-1 for the summer-fall season of 1988 using 0.33 plants per square meter.
The family Cucurbitaceae consists of about 117 genera and 825 species out of which about 15 different species of Cucurbitaceae are being cultivated in Bangladesh since long time. They have numerous resemblances in gourd development and similarities of root habit. They are also quite similar in their internal anatomy and development (Whitaker & Davis, 1962).The need to use renewable forms of energy and reduce costs of inorganic fertilizer has revived the use of organic fertilizers worldwide. Improvement of environmental conditions and public health are important reasons for advocating increased use of organic materials (Seifritz, 1982; Ojeniyi, 2000; Maritus et al, 2001). They thus, ensure a longer residual effect (Sherma and Mittra, 1991), support better root development and this leads to higher crop yields (Abou el Magd et al., 2005). The study, therefore, seeks to determine the effects of organic manure (poultry manure) and inorganic fertilizer application on the nutrient uptake and yield of Cucurbita moschata.
Sustainable crop production requires judicial use of inputs such as fertilizers, the use of inorganic fertilizers has drastically declined following the energy crisis, which has immensely affected most of the developing countries (Hauck, 1981). Urea is one of the synthetic organic fertilizers containing 46% of nitrogen. It is readily soluble and leachable when it is first applied to the soil but when it changes to ammonium it is held by clay and humus in the adsorbed forms that is readily available to plants. Under favorable temperature and moisture conditions urea hydrolyses to ammonium carbonate and then to nitrate within less than a week. The synthesis of ammonium carbonate is dependent on the influence of enzymes produced by numerous soil microorganisms.
Sharma (1993) found that urea, thiourea and citric acid have stimulatory effect on sprouting and growth performance in the stem cuttings of Commiphora wightii and Commiphora agallocha. Ghos and Chattopadhyay (1999) showed effect of foliar application of urea on yield of mango fruits. It was demonstrated that three application of 4% urea resulted in highest fruit yield per tree and maximum fruit weight was recorded from 3% urea. Myers (1998) observed the effect of Nitrogen-fertilizer on Amaranthus species grain yield, yield components and growth and development investigated in three Missouri environments with 5-levels of Nitrogen-fertilizer and 3 cultivars. Averaged across cultivars and environments, N fertilizer act and top rate of 180 kg/ha produced a yield increase of 42% relative to plots receiving no fertilizer. Although amaranth yield is responsive to Nitrogen -application, high rates of Nitrogen fertilizer can negatively affect grain harvest in terms of excessive plant height, increased lodging and delayed crop maturity. Cai et al (2003) found that highest yield and best quality of tobacco were obtained by applying 75 kg/ha nitrogen. Inorganic nitrogenous fertilizer could significantly improve the yield and quality of tobacco, compared with organic nitrogenous fertilizer. Study of Zhang et al., (2002) reveals that the strong immobilization of nitrogen by microorganisms was always followed by a net N mineralization, which was mostly favorable for the growth and development of plant and improved the efficiency of plants for nitrogen fertilizer. Increasing concentration of urea showed enhancing effect in both roots and shoot growth. The root and shoot biomass gradually increased in the control, as well as in the treated plants after every period i.e. 15 days. The initial weight (i.e. 0.04g) of the roots of control plants is least whereas in the soil amended with 0.05g /kg of urea was just the double.