EFFECT OF PLANTING DENSITY AND GROWING MEDIA ON GROWTH AND YIELD OF STRAWBERRY
Rabeea Tariq*, Khalid Mahmood Qureshi*, Imran Hassan*, Muhammad Rasheed* and Usman Shaukat Qureshi*
Strawberry (Fragaria ananasa), belonging to Rosaceae family, is a rich source of vitamins and minerals with delicate flavors. It is perishable crop which is exceedingly in demand for its taste, profitability, high yield and good quality. To make the plant growth successful in the container, the requirement of special media is very important step because plant growth is largely depended on the physiochemical properties of the growing media used. Winter strawberry production in a greenhouse using high plant densities and various media may be a viable alternative to openfield production system. Planting density can be increased thrice by using different production systems. Studies were conducted to see the impact of different planting densities and media on growth and yield of strawberry. The treatments were T = Control, with normal planting distance of 30 cm x 1 60 cm and growing media silt, sand and farm yard manure (FYM); T = 15 cm 2 x 30 cm and silt, sand and FYM; T = 30 cm x 60 cm and coir; T = 15 cm x 30 3 4 cm and coir; T = 30 cm x 60 cm and peat moss; T = 15 cm x 30 cm and 5 6 peat moss. Results showed that plants grown at low planting distance on all growth media showed more pronounced results as compared to high planting distance. Plants grown in peat moss at both planting densities moderately increased the plant height, canopy size, leaf area, number of fruits, fruit size, fruit weight and titratable acidity. A significant increase in fresh and dry weight of leaves, number of leaves, fruit yield in term of fruit number, fruit size and fruit weight, and fruit quality with high ascorbic acid contents were observed. On the other hand, plants grown in silt, sand and FYM (1 : 1 : 1) at both planting densities showed significant increment in vegetative growth resulting in early flowering with more flowers per plant, better fruit setting and fruit set percentage, greater fruit size and weight but fruit number per plant was reduced which lowered the overall yield. While the fruit produced had more Total Soluble Solid (TSS). Plants grown in coir based growing media showed significant increase only in titratable acidity and ascorbic acid content of fruit.