Effect of Hydrogel Amendment into Soilless Media on Growth, Yield and Fruit Quality of Grafted and Non-Grafted Greenhouse Cucumber



Water and nutrient absorption by plants is one of the most conspicuous factors which seriously affect plant productivity. Improving physical properties of soilless media and their water retaining capacity can improve plant's nutrient absorption, growth and subsequent yield. In this study, we tried to improve plant nutrient absorption through incorporation of hydrogel into growth media and practice of grafting to evaluate their effects on growth parameters, yield and fruit quality in greenhouse cucumber. Greenhouse cucumber cv. Kaspian (in two states of either grafted onto Cucurbita pepo L. rootstock or non-grafted) were planted in perlite either with or without hydrogel (Super ab-A200, incorporation rate 1.5%w/w) addition. Fertigation was applied either at full (equal to total water requirement of plants) or reduced (70% of water requirement) levels. Results indicated that fertigation level just affected leaching fraction, causing it to increase in complete fertigation treatment. Adding hydrogel into media led to a decrease in leaching fraction and increased yield, root and leaf dry weight, relative growth rate (RGR), net assimilation rate (NAR) as well as biomass with no effect on fruit quality factors. Grafted plants bore higher RGRs and consequently higher yields and higher levels of biomass, in media with no hydrogel application.