Full Length Research Paper
There is limited information on the performance of Kenyan potato varieties under aeroponic systems. Experiments were therefore carried out at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Tigoni, under an aeroponic system in 2012 and 2013 to evaluate the growth and mini-tubers production of five varieties commonly grown in Kenya and differ in vegetative and reproductive characteristics. The experiment was set up in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) replicated three times. Plant growth expressed by plant height differed among the varieties and these differences became more pronounced with plant age. The effect of variety on number of mini-tubers per plant and total weight of mini-tubers per plant was significant. The number of mini-tubers per plant ranged from 62.2 to 19.2 in season 1 and 56.8 and 17.1 in season 2. Correlations between the number of mini-tubers per plant and the total weight of mini-tubers per plant with days to tuberization, days to senescing, days to maturity, plant height measured at 80 days after transplanting and plant vigor, were positive and significant. The correlation between the number of mini-tubers per plant and total weight of mini-tubers per plant was also positive and significant. It is concluded that mini-tubers production under aeroponic system was variety dependent with Tigoni, Asante and Kenya Mpya being the most productive varieties irrespective of the season. Evaluation of a variety’s suitability/adaptability to the system is therefore necessary to determine the most adapted varieties before embarking on large scale production as this will ultimately affect production costs, with higher yielding varieties more likely to result in lower mini-tubers production costs.
Key words: Aeroponics, mini-tuber production, vegetative growth.
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