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Abstract

A series of greenhouse experiments was conducted to determine the effects of different sea water concentrations (0, 10, 20, 40, and 80%) on the growth of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum L. var. Heatwave), bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. California Wonder), and sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) at two different statges of growth (seedling and reproductive). Results indicated that each of the crops can tolerate different levels of saline water without significant reduction in growth. Tomatoes exhibited tolerance to 40% sea water at the seedling stage and 20% at the reproductive stage. Bell peppers were tolerant to 20% sea water at the seedling stage and 40% at the reproductive stage. Basil displayed tolerance to 40% sea water at the seedling stage and 80% at the reproductive stage. In all experiments, the electrical conductivity (EC) of soil extracts increased with increasing concentration of sea water. This study would suggest that at certain concentration, saline water can be utilized to irrigate selected vegetable and herb crops with economic importance in the Virgin Islands.

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