Evaluation of Qualitative and Quantitative Characteristics of Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo var reticulatus) Cultivated under Different Polyethylene Mulches



Cantaloupe (Cucumis Melo var reticulatus) belongs to cucurbitaceae family and is cultivated in various parts of Iran. Polyethylene mulches have recently been used in vegetable growing, for different purposes. To study the effects of different polythylehe mulches on the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of cantaloupe, an experiment was conducted in Kaboutar-abad Agricultural Research Station, during 2005-2007 using a randomized complete block design, of 4 replications. Six polyethylene treatments (black with aluminum strips, aluminum, transparent, red, black and control, vis no without mulch). Seeds were sown following spread of the the mulches and then usual cultural practices carried out during the growing season. Vegetative growth, early maturity, total yield as well as qualitative characters were assessed. Fruit quality was determined through test panel, using the characteristics of fruit appearance, odor, flavor, tendernecc, and total acceptability. Total Soluble Solids (TSS) of fruits were also determined. Results showed the significant effect of mulch application on yield. Means of total yield (average of 3 years) were 48.6, 47.8, 46.7, 45.6, 44.8 and 37.6 t/ha for mulches of black with aluminum strip, black, red, aluminum, transparent and control, respectively. The highest early yield was observed in mulch applied treatments. Vegetative growth was higher in mulch applied treatments, and this was more obvious at early growth periods. There was no significant effect observed on fruit quality. Fruit quality in all mulch treated treatments were judged as medium, however, fruits of control in year 2006 got higher scores for flavor and total acceptability and as well benefitted from a higher quality. Total soluble solids in control was 0.8% higher than in other treatments.