EFFECT OF SPACING ON QUALITY AND YIELD OF JUTE MALLOW (Corchorus olitorius) PHENOTYPES IN KENYA
Local vegetables are important crops grown in many parts of African countries including Kenya. They are at times given various names depending on their where about grown, for example, Corchorus olitorius is also known as Jute mallow, African Sorel or Jew’s mallow. In Kenya Jute mallow is highly nutritious and is of commercial value. Their production has been low due to poor farming practices such as spacing, processing and post-harvest handling. This study seeks to investigate the effect of various spacing on quality and yield of Jute mallow. Field experiments were established at Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organization, Kitale farm and University of Eldoret, Chepkoilel farm using Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replicates and three levels of spacing. Seeds were drilled and later plants thinned to spacing of 20 x 30, 30 x 30 and 40 x 30 cm. Data was collected on five tagged plants per plot and their plant heights, branching at main stem, pod count and fresh leaf yield determined. Data collected was analyzed using computer package GENSTAT and means separation done using DMRT at p?0.05. The results showed that Jute mallow accessions responded best to wider spacing of 40 cm x 30 cm with tallest plant height of 35 cm and 35.6 cm and shortest plants at 31.6 cm and 31.4 cm on short varieties GEMS and BEMS, respectively. Varieties GLMT and BLMT had highest mean branching at 6.7 and 6.0 and highest mean number of pods of 21.8 and 21.6 from Eldoret (site 1) and Kitale (site 2), respectively. Fresh leaf yield per plant showed late maturing varieties (GLMT, BLMT) had highest fresh leaf weight of 77.02 g and 74.93 g per plant for Eldoret and Kitale site, respectively. It is concluded that wider spacing of 40 cm x 30 cm increases Jute mallow yield perhaps due to low plant competition. This study recommends that farmers use wider spacing for higher crop yield.
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