EVALUATION OF THE GROWTH AND BIOMAS PRODUCTION OF CUCUMIS MELO WITH VARRYING LEVEL OF ORGANIC AND INORGANIC MANURE IN IKOT AKPADEN

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ABSTRACT
This study evaluated the effects of varying level of organic and inorganic manure of the growth and biomass production of Cucumis melo in Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin. The experiment was laid out in a completely Randomized Block Design (RBD) with each treatments consisting of three replicates. The experiment had five treatment groups (Poultry Droppings, Goat Droppings, Cow Dung, NPK and mixture of the organic and inorganic manure) with each being added in weights of 30g to the soil samples. Cucumis melo seeds were acquired and checked for viability before sown in containers having the various treatments groups. The growth and biomass production of Cucumis melo was assessed using five six parameters which included Number of leaves, Plant height, Leaf length, Root length, Length of longest root and Total Chlorophyll Analysis while data collected were presented by means of Descriptive Statistics utilizing Means, Standard Deviations and the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). It was evident that the mixture of organic and inorganic manure performed excellently on all vegetative growth parameters of Cucumis melo plant followed by the application of NPK fertilizers. Hence, it was recommended that the combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers be considered to enhance the growth performances of the plant.

CHAPTER ONE
1.0 INTRODUCTION
Plant growth mainly depends on three major functions; photosynthesis, transpiration and respiration. The three functions help to provide required nutrients and mineral to the plants. A vascular plant begins from a single cell zygote formed by fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell. From that point it begins to divide to form a plant embryo through the process of embryogenesis. As this happens the resulting cells will organized so that one end becomes the first root while the other end forms the tip of the shoot. In seed plants, the embryo will develop one more seed leaves (cotyledon). By the end of embryogenesis, the young plant will have all the parts necessary to begin in its life. once the embryo germinates from its seed or parent plant, it begins to produce additional organs (leaves, stem, and roots) through the process of organogenesis. New roots grow from root meristem located at the tip of the root, and new stems and leaves grow shoot meristems (Brand et al.,2001). Branching occurs when small clumps of cell left behind by the meristem and which have not yet undergone cellular differentiation to form a specialized tissue, begin to grow as the tip of a new root or shoot. Growth from any such meristem at the tip of a root or shoot is termed primary growth and results in the lengthening of that root or shoot. Secondary growth results in widening of a root or shoot from division of cells in cambium (Barlow, 2005).
Cucumis melo commonly called as muskmelon, honey dew or cantaloupe is a member of the family Cucurbitaceae (Bailey and Bailey, 1976). Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) is generally grown in both tropical and warm temperature climates globally. It is commercially grown in many countries of the world. The yield of muskmelon is determined by accumulation of biomass of fruits and distribution of dry matters (Peil and Galves, 2005). Large quantity of assimilates and fast growth of leaf biomass is essential during development and growth to obtain high yield and good quality of fruits (Bartolo and Shweissing, 2005). Plant bears fruit with variety of shapes and flesh colour. The ripe fruits are edible and green fruits are used as vegetables. The ripe fruits are very wholesome and healthful and are used for tables as well as for juice purposes, highly relish by rain and poor irrespective of young and old generation. The fruits are extensively used as dessert fruits and are highly popular in summer months. Muskmelon grown in dry region are sweeter and tastier than those of wet situation consumer preference for this fruit is determined largely by its sweetness (sugar content) flavor or aroma, texture and more recently as a rich source of phytonutrients (Lester, 2008). Ripe fruit and immature ones are very much useful in curing human diseases like kidney problem, in chronic and acute eczema as well as tan freckles and internally in case of dyspepsia. It possesses cooling, flattening, tonic, laxative, aphrodisiac and biliousness curative properties. Seed oil is useful in relieving painful discharge and suppression of urine. The seeds are diuretic, cooling, nutritive and beneficial to the enlargement of prostate gland. Muskmelon is a rich source of vitamin C, B- carotene(Vitamin A), carbohydrates, sugar, protein and also traces of vitamin B6, Vitamin K, niacin, vitamin B2, and vitamin B1. In addition, fruits contain more than 90% water (Anon, 2002), folic acid and potassium as well as a number of other human health-bioactive compounds (Lester and Hodges, 2008).
Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) is gaining lot of importance due to its short duration, high production potential with high nutritive value taste, delicacy and also its suitability for cultivation under rained and irrigated conditions almost throughout the year. Though muskmelon is most nutritious, its productivity is very low as compared to other vegetable fruits. This may be due to pre-mature flower drop, lack of irrigation of more female flowers in proportion to male flowers, inadequate source-sink relationship and poor translocation of photo-assimilates at later stages of crop growth. Although the average potential yield of melon is 60 t/ha, the actual yield of muskmelon ranges from 12.5-20.0 t/ha depending on the management practices (Nempalsignh et al., 2004). This gap certainly indicates that there is a great scope for improving the productivity by using suitable varieties and hybrids.

1.1 OBJECTIVES OF STUDIES
To investigate the effect of organic and inorganic manures on the growth and biomas production of Cucumis melo
To determine the appropriate sources of manure for crops optimum yield.
To quantify the effects of organic and inorganic manure and their combinations on plant nutrient uptake and crop yield.

1.2 JUSTIFICATION
In spite of increasing relevance of Cucumis melo in Nigeria, low yields are obtained in farmers’ field because of declining soil fertility due to continuous cropping and disregard for soil amendments, which has led to several nutrients becoming deficient. It is in attempt to fill the gap in our present knowledge that this research work was carried out to evolve a package for the optimization of the production of Cucumis melo in Nigeria agro-ecology through adequate fertilizer applications, complemented with organic manure.

EVALUATION OF THE GROWTH AND BIOMAS PRODUCTION OF CUCUMIS MELO WITH VARRYING LEVEL OF ORGANIC AND INORGANIC MANURE IN IKOT AKPADEN