Effect of Colored Polyethylene Mulch on Soil Temperature, Growth, Fruit Quality and Yield of Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)
The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of different colored plastic sheets as mulching on the performance of tomato yield, quality parameters and soil temperature. The average fruit diameter varied from 38.57 mm (control) to 43.46 mm (Blue colored plastic mulch). Plastic mulches were superior over and significantly different from control considering the average fruit diameter. However, there is no any significant variation among tested plastic mulches. The variation within plastic was 42.94 to 43.46 mm. Average fruit firmness black and blue plastic mulches have above average fruit firmness as compare to control and clear plastic. Even if there is no significant variation among plastic mulches, black (4.102 kg) and blue (4.053 kg) could be considered the best one considering that such fruits are destined to long distance market where bulk transportation is required. Root length was found significantly different among treatments. The highest root length was recorded from clear plastic (75.36cm) followed by blue colored (71.03cm) plastic mulch. Both are not significantly different with each other. However, there is a significant variation between the clear one and the black plastic mulch and control. A 60 cm root length was recorded from black plastic mulch which is similar with blue and control. The Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that highly significant at P=0.01 variation among treatments for all parameters except primary branch number and stem diameter and plant height. Highest average temperatures is recorded under clear polyethylene mulch at 6:00am (19.6 °C), 1:00pm (22.9 °C) 6:30pm (25.3 °C) and the least soil temperature recorded was the control at 6:00am (14.6 °C).