THE EFFECT RATE OF FERTILIZER APPLICATION ON VEGETABLE (TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS)
Field trials were conducted at the Imopoly farmFarm, Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo in 2014 to determine the effect rate of fertilizer application on vegetable (telfairiaoccidentalis). The treatments involved nine fertilizer types namely; Aleshinloye grade A, Aleshinloye grade B, Sunshine grade A, Sunshine grade B, Pace setter grade A, Pace setter grade B, Neem compost,. Fluted pumpkin served as the test crop. The fertilizer types were applied at two levels each (0 and 60 kg. N ha-1). The treatments were assigned into a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Data were collected on growth parameters, nutritional composition and yield attributes of fluted pumpkin. The parameters assessed were significantly influenced (P<0.05) by the applied fertilizer types. The highest vine length, number of leaves, nutritional composition, fresh shoots and seed yields were recorded at 60 kg. N ha,-1 irrespective of the fertilizer types. Although, the best performance of fluted pumpkin in terms of growth and fresh shoot yield were obtained from neem compost fertilizer type, this was comparable with results obtained with tithonia compost. The highest P (0.83%), K (0.82%), Mg (3.20%), Ca (0.48%), Fe (4.63%) and protein (4.60 mg/kg) contents of fluted pumpkin shoot were obtained from the plants under poultry manure treatment while plants receiving no fertilizer application recorded the least values for all nutritional attributes assessed. Neem compost (86.1 kg/ha) closely followed by tithonia compost (62.7 kg/ha) gave highest seed yield of fluted pumpkin as compared to other fertilizer types. Although, neem compost and poultry manure gave the best performance in terms of yield and nutritional composition respectively, there is no significant difference between the values obtained from these treatments and that recorded from tithonia compost. In conclusion, the growth, nutritional composition and yield of fluted pumpkin were improved by fertilizer types.
In Africa indigenous vegetables remain popular in rural areas where they are often considered to be more nutritive than exotic vegetables.Telfairiaoccidentalis commonly called fluted pumpkin is an important leaf and seed vegetable indigenous to Southern Nigeria and grown in the forest zone of west and central Africa (Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone being the major producers). It probably originated in south east Nigeria and distributed by Igbos who have been cultivated this crop since time immemorial. The leaf is of high nutritional, medicinal and industrial values rich in protein (29%), fat (18%) and minerals and vitamins (20%).The nutritional value of pumpkin seeds is different from that of leaves. The protein contents of seeds and leaves are 20.5g and 2.9g, respectively . Seeds have high nutritive and calorific values which make it necessary in diets. Fluted pumpkin is of local ethnobotanical importance in the folklore, dietary and cropping systems of Igbos. The level of iron is the factor for use of the leaf extraction as blood tonic which can be administered to weak patient.
Nitrogen is usually ascribed with the building up of leaf tissues. This is one of the essential elements most commonly used to increase crop yield. It is a constituent of all protein and chlorophyll. Plant tissue, usually contains more nitrogen than any other nutrients. Nitrogen application is used to produce rapid vegetative growth of vegetables. It promotes luxuriant growth, and increases number of leaves. These encourage photosynthesis and partitioning of photosynthesis rate into the economic parts of the plant. It is also necessary for reproduction andpromotes the uptake of phosphorus and potassium by plants. However, nitrogen requirement for vegetable is 50kg N/ha or more in savannah zone of Nigeria . It has been reported that 100kg N/ha is suitable for vegetable based on dual purposes (leaf+ fruit). The recommended rate for the production of fluted pumpkin is 16okgN/ha.
In Nigeria, farmers realize the need for soil amendments by using available resources such as crop wastes, farmyard manure and poultry waste . The use of organic fertilizer as source of nutrients to crops has recently received comprehensive review by Awodun,;Akanbi et al. and Ojetayo et al.. This fertilizer type improves soil’s physical, chemical and biological conditions, which in turns improve crop growing environment and culminate in the better production of economic plant parts. Organic fertilizer fortified with inorganic materials specially formulated to replenish the soil and improve plant fertilization. It releases nutrients in soil in the form that plants can easily absorb, it will activate soil micro-organism and increase microbes, which will help decomposition process of organic matter and transform them into nutrients that plants can easily absorb. This will promote higher plant growth, healthier crops and better fruit yield. It reduces the needs of chemical fertilizer, which will lead to lower production cost and indirectly increases income. Organic crops contained higher levels of 21 essential nutrients than their conventionally grown counter parts including iron, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin c. The organic crops also contained lower levels of nitrates, which can be toxic to body. Although, many research activities have reported better performance of crops with fertilizer application one of the method through which plants would display its potential genetic capability is by supplying the plants with adequate amount and types of fertilizer at the right time. Research efforts are therefore required to recommend fertilizer types for sustainable production of TelfairiaoccidentalisinUmuagwo, the Guinea Savanna zone of south west Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to Jariene, the seeds contain about 50% fats, approximately 30% protein, sugar, B vitamins, ascorbic acid, Phytosteroles, Phytin, lecithin, oxycerotine, tyrosine, salicylic acid, and resins. The seed oil is also rich in glycerides of linoleic, oleinic, palmitin, and stearine acids. Omega-3 fatty acid was found to be present in pumpkin seeds; it helps to prevent artheriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and heart diseases; it also stimulates metabolism of accumulated fats. Oil-cake fats from pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of (almost 60%) of omega-3 acids twice that of cod liver oil. Pumpkin seed powder is used in China and the United States as an ingredient of salad dressings and in baked products. The seed oil is used as salad oil in Europe, and in India for cooking and lighting. The seed is used medicinally in the prevention of kidney stones. Seeds are eaten as an anthelmintic. In Mauritius an infusion of the seeds is used internally to treat hypertension and prostate complaints and externally to treat erysipelas. Seeds form a major part of the diet of Nigerians; They are consumed as a meal as well as ingredients of local soups. In southwestern Nigeria, pumpkin seeds are used locally as an alternative to “egusi” melon (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad) seed. Melon seeds are milled and used to prepare the popular “egusi” soup where they act as food thickeners. Pumpkin seeds are used alone or in combination with leafy vegetable.