Morehead State University

Poster Title

Effects of Media Composition and Spacing on Hydroponic Float-bed Production of Basil, Ocimum basilicum ‘Large-leaf Italian’

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Changes in the tobacco industry have resulted in numerous growers seeking alternative uses for float-beds constructed for tobacco transplant production. The growing of herbs may provide alternatives for some. Preliminary studies revealed saturation of traditional float-bed media to be a problem for some species of herbs. A study to evaluate the effect of media mixes composed of different ratios of traditional media and sand on production of basil, Ocimum basilicum 'Large-leaf Italian', and the effect of different plant spacings in 200-cell float trays was conducted in outdoor float-beds during the summer of 2005. Four media:sand mixes -- 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, and 1:0 -- were used with 2 spacing patterns -- one seed in every cell and one seed in cells in alternate rows and columns. Trays were floated in water containing appropriate nutrients. Nine weeks after planting plants were harvested. Stems were cut just above media level and total shoot weight and plant number per flat were recorded. Data was gathered from four replications. Analysis of the data indicates media mix is not a significant contributing factor in basil production. Spacing, however, is a significant factor with wider spacing being more effective in producing desirable plants. Additional studies on basil and other species of herbs in indoor float-beds are planned.

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Effects of Media Composition and Spacing on Hydroponic Float-bed Production of Basil, Ocimum basilicum ‘Large-leaf Italian’

Changes in the tobacco industry have resulted in numerous growers seeking alternative uses for float-beds constructed for tobacco transplant production. The growing of herbs may provide alternatives for some. Preliminary studies revealed saturation of traditional float-bed media to be a problem for some species of herbs. A study to evaluate the effect of media mixes composed of different ratios of traditional media and sand on production of basil, Ocimum basilicum 'Large-leaf Italian', and the effect of different plant spacings in 200-cell float trays was conducted in outdoor float-beds during the summer of 2005. Four media:sand mixes -- 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, and 1:0 -- were used with 2 spacing patterns -- one seed in every cell and one seed in cells in alternate rows and columns. Trays were floated in water containing appropriate nutrients. Nine weeks after planting plants were harvested. Stems were cut just above media level and total shoot weight and plant number per flat were recorded. Data was gathered from four replications. Analysis of the data indicates media mix is not a significant contributing factor in basil production. Spacing, however, is a significant factor with wider spacing being more effective in producing desirable plants. Additional studies on basil and other species of herbs in indoor float-beds are planned.