Evaluation of the effect of hedgerow intercropping using Leucaena leucocephala and fertilizer application on growth and yield of garden eggs (Solarium melongena)

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Field trials were conducted to investigate the effect of alley cropping local garden eggs with Leucaena leucocephala for two seasons on a sandy loam Orthi-Ferric Acrisol in Kumasi, Ghana. The local garden eggs (Solanum melongena) were grown in 4m wide alleys between established Leucaena hedgerows. The crop was subjected to three main- plot and two sub-plot treatments in a split-plot design. The main-plot treatments were N.P.K., 15-15-15 compound fertilizer application at 0, 180 and 360 kg/ha levels. The sub-plot treatments were mulch application at no mulch and mulched levels. The Leucaena prunings used as mulch material provided significant amounts of nutrients during both seasons. The local garden eggs (Solanum melongena) responded very well to the N.P.K compound fertilizer used, since plants without fertilizer had significantly reduced rate of growth and produced very low yield which was far below potential yield levels of the crop. In the minor season (1993) , the half rate (180 kg/ha) fertilizer and full rate (360 kg/ha) fertilizer treatments increased the mean yield of the crop by 58 and 65 per cent respectively and in the major (l994) season, the half and full rate fertilizer treatments increased the mean yield of the crop by 44 and 49 per cent respectively over the no fertilizer treatments. An economic analysis for the 1994 cropping indicated that it was more economical to produce the crop with the half rate fertilizer than with the full rate fertilizer. Applying the Leucaena mulch promoted growth significantly, especially in the major season. In both seasons, applying the Leucaena mulch increased the mean yield of the crop by about 21 per cent over the no mulch treatments. Better yield of the crop in mulched treatments plots was in part due to the significant amount of nutrients provided by the Leucaena mulch material. By applying the half rate fertilizer plus mulch combined treatments, the mulch treatment could at least substitute for the half seduction in the fertilizer. The economic analysis for the 1994 cropping indicated that the ball rate fertilizer plus mulch treatments was the most profitable, followed by the full rate fertilizer plus mulch treatments, with the no fertilizer plus no mulch treatments being the least profit able and uneconomical. Producing the crop with the no fertilizer plus mulch treatments gave a substantial amount of yield and was more economical than producing it with no fertilizer plus no mulch. The results imply that producing garden eggs (Solanum melonogene) with Leucaena mulch in alley cropping can reduce fertilizer requirement. The economic analysis in 1994 indicated that alley cropping with garden eggs is profitable ad may become an attractive alternative to small scale farmers as prices of fertilizer increases in relation to the price of the crop.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Agroforestry, 1996