Plastic mulching is currently used in many areas of the world for growing warm-season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, melons and water melons. The winter melon is widely grown in Sicily on about 6000 hectares. Plants are grown in the open field during the spring-summer months. In the last decades, mulching plastic films have enhanced winter melon early and total yields in Sicily. However, the disadvantage of polyethylene plastic mulches is that they have to be removed and disposed of after use. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of polyethylene (PE) and biodegradable mulching films on yield, fruit size and quality of several winter melon genotypes. Sicilian landraces (‘Cartucciaro’, ‘Recattivo’, ‘Purceddu’ L9’, and ‘Purceddu di Alcamo’) and commercial cultivars (Helios and Tendral) were compared. Both mulching films positively influenced plant growth and early flowering as compared to bare soil control. Generally, PE mulched plots gave higher early and total marketable yields followed by biodegradable Mater-BiTM mulched plots. Unmulched plots gave the lowest yield. However, the response to the mulching treatments varied among the genotypes tested. ‘Cartucciaro’, ‘Helios’, and ‘Recattivo’ gave higher early yields as compared to other genotypes.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|