Influence of harvesting frequency on garden egg (Solanum gilo cv Yalo) yield and crop value.
Despite the importance of garden egg in traditional farming systems, its dietary qualities, its significance in diversifying and improving the food basket of urban and peri-urban gardeners, in-valley farmers and Fadama growers especially in the dry season, very little is known about ways of improving the productivity of this crop by harvesting techniques. Based on these premises, a field experiment was carried out at Ibadan, Nigeria (7°30′N, 30°54′E, 168 m a.s.l.) to determine the best harvesting frequency for garden egg production. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Net plot size was 25 m2. Five treatments were imposed: Harvesting at final harvest (=control); 1×, 2×, 3× and 4× harvests per week (HPW) till final harvest. Number of fruits and fruit weight per plant were best and significantly highest at 2× HPW compared to the control and the farmer's practice of 1× HPW. The optimum harvest frequency (2× HPW) gave 1.44×106 fruits/ha and fruit yield of 23.73 ton/ha compared to the control 0.44×10 fruits/ha; 16.69 ton/ha and the farmers' technique 0.61×10 fruits/ha; 17.32 ton/ha. These corresponded to a gain of N70, 402/ha over the control and N64, 134/ha over the farmers' practice.