Enhancing Cabbage (Brassica oleraceae Var capitata) Yields and Quality Through Microclimate Modification and Physiological Improvement Using Agronet Covers

Everlyne M. Muleke, Mwanarusi Saidi, Francis M. Itulya, Thibaud Martin, Mathieu Ngouajio


Adverse environmental conditions have contributed to perpetual poor cabbage (Brassica oleraceae var. capitata) yields in sub-Saharan Africa. Elsewhere, net covers have been reported to provide a low-cost technology with the potential of modifying the microclimate around a crop for better performance. Two experiments were therefore conducted over a span of two seasons to determine the effects of agronet covers on microclimate modification and subsequent cabbage yield and quality. The treatments comprised cabbage plants grown under either fine mesh (0.4 mm pore diameter) or large mesh (0.9 mm pore diameter) agronet covers maintained permanently closed, or opened thrice weekly from 9 am to 3 pm and a control treatment where cabbage was grown in the open field. Net covering generally modified the microclimate by raising temperatures, relative humidity and volumetric water content but lowering photosynthetic active radiation and diurnal temperature range compared to control. The use of agronet covers resulted in better cabbage performance. The large mesh (0.9 mm) enhanced leaf stomatal conductance and chlorophyll content, and improved fresh and dry weight as well as head quality. Results of this study present the use of agronet covers as a potentially effective technology for use by small-scale farmers in protected cabbage culture in sub-Saharan Africa.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/sar.v3n2p24


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