Producers have experienced wide variation in yield and plant performance under tropical greenhouse culture and have attributed this party to choice of growing media. Chemically reactive media interact with nutrients in the fertigation solution and may improve nutrient uptake and plant performance. This hypothesis was tested in a glasshouse trial investigating four physically and chemically different media, including perlite (PL), coconut coir (CC), and combinations of PL with either rice straw compost (RSC) or bagasse based spent mushroom substrate (SMS). Treatments were planted to sweet pepper (Cv. Destra) and fertigated with a modified Hoagland's solution. Total number of fruits per plant and yield were measured over a 3-month production period. Plant tissue samples were taken at the onset of flowering and at the end of the trial stem diameter, along with media pH and EC were measured. Plant height and stem diameter was similar across media, whilst media EC was highest for CC. This correlated with greater number and weight of fruits. Growth parameters were lowest for PL and were indifferent between the two compost treatments. Coconut coir showed high productivity under the tested conditions, but resulted in increased fruit physiological disorders under the present fertigation regime. Completely organic media may not be a suitable growing media choice for tropical production.


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