The winter melon is widely grown in the open field in Sicily on about 6000 hectares. Plants are grown in the coutryside without irrigation as the annual rain precipitation provides sufficient water for the crop. In the last decades the use of plastic mulches are necessity of removal and dispostal after usage. The objective of this research was to evaluate effects of polyethylene and biodegradable films (transparent or black) in combination with two planting densities, 2667 plants/ha-1 (1plant/hill) or 5334 plants/ha -1 (2 plants/hill) on yield, fruit size, quality and earliness of winter melon.All mulches markedly increased early and total yields in comparison to unmulched plots. The best results ewre obtained with the highest plant density and by mulching eith either transparent PE film or transparent biodegradable film. This study demonstrated that the transparent biodegradable film is an efficiente environmentally friendly alternative to plastic mulching.
|Publication status||Published - 2004|