A field experiment was conducted from November to March during the 2012 / 2013 planting season at Africa University farm, Mutare, Zimbabwe to evaluate the effects of plant spacing and different potato varieties on growth, yield and quality of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). The experiment was designed as a randomized complete block design with 4 × 3 factorial arrangements of treatments. The first factor was plant spacing (in-row spacing); 20, 25, 30 and 35 cm. The second factor was varieties: BP1, KY20 and Mnandi. Very close spacing produced a high number of small sized tubers leading to reduced marketable yield. The highest stem count was observed at high plant densities, the lowest at low plant densities. At low density plantings, leaf number per plant was high and at high density plantings the leaf number was reduced across all varieties. BP1 and KY20 exhibited the highest specific gravity and Mnandi had the least. Results of the study suggest that a wider spacing of 90 by 35 cm can be advantageous for all the three varieties since all the varieties compensated for the additional spacing to produce the highest marketable yield yet with less seed thus reducing production cost. Also from the study, an in-row spacing of 25 cm can be used by seed producers since the highest number of medium sized tubers was obtained and this size is normally used as seed.
Key words: Plant spacing, potato yield, potato quality, potato varieties.
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