The Effect Rate of Fertilizer Application on Vegetables (Telfairia occidentalis)
OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
- The effect rate of fertilizer application on vegetables (telfairiaoccidentalis)
- To examine the chemical component of fertilizer
- To study the nutritional effect of fertilizer in telfairiaoccidentalis
Telfairiaoccidentalis is a tropical vine grown in West Africa as a leaf vegetable and for its edible seeds. Common names for the plant include Fluted gourd, Fluted pumpkin, and Ugu. Telfairiaoccidentalis is a member of the curcurbitaceae family and is indigenous to southern Nigera.[Akoroda, M. O.] The fluted gourd grows in many nations of West Africa but is mainly cultivated in Nigeria, used primarily in soups and herbal medicines.[Nwanna, Esther Emem, et al.] Although the fruit is inedible, the seeds produced by the gourd are high protein and fat, and can therefore contribute to a well-balanced diet. The plant is a drought-tolerant, dioecious perennial that is usually grown trellised.
Telfairaoccidentalis is traditionally used by an estimated 30 to 35 million people Indigenous people in Nigeria, including the Efik, Ibibio, and Urhobo;[Akoroda, M. O] However, it was predominantly used by the Igbo tribe, who continue to cultivate the gourd for food sources and traditional medicines.[Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu] A recurring subject in the Igbo’s folklore, the fluted gourd is noted to have healing properties and was used as a blood tonic, to be administered to the weak or ill.[Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu] It is endemic to southern Nigera, and was an asset to international food trades of the Igbo tribe Akoroda.
Telfairiaoccidentalis is an important Cucurbitaceous leaf which is native to West Africa (Irvine, 1969). It is cultivated by seed in Southern part of Nigeria where it is majorly produced. The seed is planted one foot apart by turning the exposed part of the seed upward and the other side in the soil. It does not need fertilizer application but cow dung mixed with water can be used by spreading it round each seed plant (Ugochukwu, Pers.comm.). Telfairiaoccidentalis needs air, free movement, enough space and enough water. Preferably, it should be planted near water source or edge of the river because the soil in such area is fertile and farmers are able to channel water from the river to the beds where the fluted pumpkins are growing (Ugochukwu, Pers. Comm.). It can also be planted at the back of an open bathroom where water from the bathroom sourced it which is common among small scale farmers who cultivates it for personal consumption. It is also a crop that should be grown in sunlight spot. In Igboland, where it is their main internal trade, it is grown near water source or under irrigation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Experiments were conducted during 2010 and 2011 cropping seasons at the Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, Imopoly farm. The bimodal rainfall of the area is between 1100mm and 1250mm of rain. The temperature regime is high all year round. The mean minimum temperature is 280C and the maximum temperature is 330C with a high humidity of about 740C all year round except in January when the dry wind blows from the North . During the period of the experiment, the mean minimum temperature is 270C and the maximum temperature is 310C with a high humidity of about 75% while the rainfall of the area is 1126mm of rain.
SOIL SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS:
The experimental site soil was well drained sandy loam. Initial soil samples were collected from surface 15cm for laboratory analysis prior to land clearing. The soil particle size was done by hydrometer method . The pH was determined in 1:2 soils: water suspension using a pH meter. The organic carbon was determined by dichromate oxidation , total N by the Micro-Kjedahl method  and available P by the Bray P-1 method . The exchangeable bases were displaced by neutral N NH4OAC. The K and Na contents in the extract were determined with atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The exchangeable acidity (A1 and H) was extracted with 1 N KCl and estimate titrimetrically.
FIELD PREPARATION AND TREATMENTS:
The conventional tillage operations which include land clearing and preparation of beds were carried out to conserve the soil and its nutrients. The land was cleared and beds were constructed. The experimental land was divided into three blocks each containing 10 beds to give a total of 30 beds. Each bed size was 4.0m x 1.2m and with about 1m gap between beds. The blocks were spaced 1m apart to ease movement during cultural operations. A bed contained 10plants.
The treatments involved nine organic fertilizer types namely; Alesinloye grade A, Alesinloye grade B, Sunshine grade A, Sunshine grade B, Pace setter grade A, Pace setter grade B, Neem compost , Tithonia compost and Poultry manure, with fluted pumpkin as the test crop. The organic fertilizer types were applied at the equivalent weight of 60 kg. N ha-1 [4, 24] with non-fertilized plot as a control. The treatments were assigned into the plots in a randomized complete block design with three replicates.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Results of the pre-cropping soil analysis are presented in Table 1. The soil was sandy loam with low organic matter content and pH (H20) around the neutral range. The nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other cations are very low in the soil used in this study
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RCOMMENDATION
Fluted pumpkin Telfairiaoccidentalis Hook F is one of the most important vegetables grown among the Igbo people in Southeastern Nigeria. It is gaining recognition in other parts of Nigeria especially in the North central states. It is generally regarded as a leaf and seed vegetable. The leaf has a high nutritional, medicinal and industrial values being rich in protein 29%, fat 18%, minerals and vitamins 20% . Apart from the leaves, the seeds can be cooked /roasted and eaten, or ground and added in soup. The vegetable contained 20.5g proteins, 45g fat, 23g carbohydrate, 2.2g fibre and 4.8g total ash . The oil in the seeds is useful in soap making and in cooking . In the recent time, fluted pumpkin had gained medicinal recognition. It has been discovered to be blood purifiers  and could therefore be useful in maintenance of good health.
Despite the importance of fluted pumpkins in Nigerian diet, farmers are facing a lot of challenges concerning its production; especially on the soils of guinea savannah agroecological zones. Rapid depletion of soil nutrients and poor physical condition of thesavanna soils which constitute a strong limitations to crop production. Also, soil fertility depletion in small holder farm is the fundamental cause of declining per capita food production. Therefore, these soils must be supplemented with adequate macronutrients in other to keep them productive. The shortage and high cost of inorganic fertilizers have limited their use for crop production among the peasant farmers in Nigeria. Also, chemical fertilizers alone generate several deleterious effects to the environment and human health and they should be replenished in every cultivation. This is because; the synthetic fertilizer is rapidly lost by either evaporation or by leaching in drainage water and it causes dangerous environmental pollution. Continuous usage of inorganic fertilizer affects soil structure. Hence, organic manures can serve as alternative to mineral fertilizers for improving soil structure. Therefore, there is the need for increased dependence on the use of organic waste such as farmyard manure, crop residues and poultry manure for crop production. In fact, poultry manure has been adjudged to be the most valuable of all manures produced by livestock. Moreover, the nutrient contents of poultry manure are among the highest of all animal manures, and the use of it as soil amendment for agricultural crops will provide appreciable quantities of all the major plant nutrients.
Organic fertilizer application is very essential for plant growth and yield, as it contained essential plant nutrients. The required amount of nitrogen fertilizer varies due to the type of crop, instability of crop and crop combination. The yield and yield components of telfairia were significantly increased by the applied organic fertilizer types. The optimum values were recorded at 60 kg N ha. The highest yield and yield components of telfairia was recorded from neam organic fertilizer closely followed by tithonia compost while control gave the least value. The distribution of protein and other minerals in the plant part of the fluted pumpkin (Telfairiaoccidentalis) was highly influenced by the applied amendments. Poultry manure closely followed by tithonia compost gave high nutritional values of telfairia as compared to other organic fertilizers. Although, neem organic fertilizer and poultry manure gave the best performance in term of yield and nutritional compositions respectively, there are no significant different between the values obtained from these treatments and that recorded from tithonia compost. Therefore, neem compost, poultry manure and tithonia compost in descending order are adjudged as the best organic fertilizers for farmers because they are cheap and readily available.
From this study, it can be concluded that 40kg/ha fertilizer could be the optimal fertilizer level for a good growth and environmentally friendly production of fluted pumpkin in North central agroecological zone of central Nigeria. However, further locational trials should be conducted within the zone to confirm this result.
- and Spiff IA (2005). Equillibrium sorption study of AL3+ , CO2+ and Ag+ in Aqueous solutions by fluted pumpkin (TelfairiaoccidentalisHook. F) waste biomass. ActaChim. Slov., 52: 174-181.
- Akoroda MO (1986). Seeds dessication and recalcitrance inSeedScience Tech., 14: 327.
- Schippers RR (2000). African indigenous vegetables: an over view of the cultivated species. Revised edition on CD- ROM. National Resources International limited, Aylesford, United Kingdom.
- Akanbi WB, CO Adebooye, AO Togun, JO. Ogunrinde and Adeyeye SA (2006). Growth, herbage and seed yield and quality ofTelfairiaoccidentalisqualityas influenced by cassava peel compost and mineral fertilizer.World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3(4): 508-516.
- FAO (1988). Traditional Food Plant. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.