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“Aurora tropical”: Fortalecimiento de la Producción de Plántulas de Hortalizas como una Estrategia Clave en Horticultura Urbana y Rural

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Ramírez-Guerrero, H.O., Bracho-Lugo Javier A., Meza-Figueroa Carlos A., García-Rojas Francisco R., Mitra, S. 2015. “Aurora Tropical”: Strengthening the Production of Vegetable Seedlings as a Key Strategy in Rural and Urban Horticulture. International Journal of Tropical Agriculture. 33 (2):1157-1161.

ABSTRACT:

The use of good seed and seedling production stage are considered key to the success of horticultural production at rural or urban environment. It really is true, when the horticultural growers say good seedling can represent 50% of production. In Venezuela, the sector called “Campo Lindo” in Quibor Lara state, has become one of the largest tropical area of the world in the production of vegetable seedlings in protected horticulture, with an area greater than 10 hectares which includes about 150 plastic greenhouses (≥500 m2 each). However, this activity has been presenting some limitations, such as input substrates and soluble fertilizers among others (inappropriate protected structures, pests, neglected research). In this regard, several studies have been developed in partnership with local growers, focused on finding alternative substrates, fertilizers and biostimulants for vegetable seedling production. The results generated from these experiments demonstrate that there are a great variety of local substrates (individual and its mixtures) which are alternative to substrates conventionally used, for example imported peat and local coir dust. The use of mixtures in proportions previously analyzed of relatively inert substrates (peat, coir, sand, bagasse dust) with various composts, vermicomposts, biostimulants and other organic materials locally produced were found to have similar or better performance with respect to conventional substrates. Also, balanced and integrated fertilization plans (organic, mineral, biostimulants) and the use of alternative fertilizers to conventionally used (mineral formulas) generated better results in growth and quality of studied seedlings (tomato and pepper). Complementary, we have been promoting various strategies focused on integrated management of vegetable seedling production (cultivars, pests), the adaptation of new technologies and inputs (big plants, irrigation systems, grafting) and introducing potential alternative horticultural enterprises such as production of sprouts, mini vegetables (lettuce, carrots), new crops, herbs, spices and tropical mushrooms among others. 

 

Keywords: Evolutionary horticulture, Capsicum annuum, Lycopersicon esculentum, vegetable seedlings, sustainable  horticulture.