Effect of planting methods on maturity and yield of onion (Allium cepa var cepa) in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

  • Selamawit Ketema
  • Lemma Dessalegn
  • Buzuayehu Tesfaye
Keywords: onion, planting method, sets, transplantings, direct seeding, bulb yield


Onion dry bulb are commonly established in the field either by direct sowing of seeds to the field, or by transplanting seedling from seedbed or from sets depending on the growing conditions of the specific region. However, the potential of the different methods have not been tested particularly in the potential onion producing areas of Ethiopia. Field experiments were conducted at Melkassa Research Center of Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research to investigate the effect of different planting methods on maturity and dry bulb yield of onion in two different seasons in 2008/09. The experiment consisted of three planting methods of onion, namely direct seeding to the field, transplanting of seedlings and planting sets, and three onion cultivars (Adama Red, Bombay Red and Nasik Red), arranged in factorial split plot design with three replications. Cultivars were assigned to the main plot and planting methods to the sub-plot. Data on days to maturity, dry bulb yield, bulb weight and bulb diameter were collected. Planting methods and cultivars showed statistically significant difference (P<0.01) both for earliness and dry bulb yield. However, their interaction was not significant. Sets planting resulted in higher yield (39.1 t ha-1) followed by transplants (36.3 t ha-1) and direct seeding (19.5 t ha-1). The cultivar ‘Bombay Red’ (33.3 t ha-1) gave significantly higher yield than ‘Adama Red’ (31.1 t ha-1) and ‘Nasik Red’ (30.2 t ha-1). Sets matured earlier (94 days) than transplants (104 days) and direct sown (135 days). The overall result indicated that in addition to the current transplanting practice onion establishment from set may also be a good option for dry bulb production in the Central Rift Valley areas of Ethiopia where earliness and high yield are important parameters considered by onion growers. Key words: onion, planting method, sets, transplantings, direct seeding, bulb yield.

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eISSN: 2415-2382
print ISSN: 0257-2605