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Article

Tomato and Watermelon Production with Mulches and Automatic Drip Irrigation in North Dakota

1
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
2
Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Guido D’Urso
Water 2021, 13(14), 1991; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141991
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 15 July 2021 / Accepted: 17 July 2021 / Published: 20 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Smart Technologies in Water Resources Management)
In North Dakota, agriculture contributes a large sector of the state’s economy, but vegetable production is limited due to the state’s climate condition. Inadequate soil moisture and low soil temperature are the two major factors prohibiting quality produce and high-yield vegetable production. In this study, a soil-water potential, sensor-based drip irrigation system was developed, designed, and installed to evaluate its application on tomato and watermelon productions in a two-year field experiment in 2019 and 2020. The experimental treatments were drip irrigation and no irrigation under three mulches: black plastic, clear plastic, and landscape fabric mulches. Irrigation was scheduled at 8:00 am for watermelon and 9:00 a.m. for tomato, with the ability for each irrigation event to be bypassed based on the soil moisture conditions. Due to rainfall differences in the two years, irrigation was barely needed in 2019, but in 2020, drip irrigation was applied frequently. On average, for the two-years’ field experiment, the highest yield for tomatoes was obtained from drip irrigation under black plastic drip irrigation treatment with 40.24 Mg ha−1 in 2020, whereas the highest yield for watermelon was from drip irrigation under clear plastic mulch with 165.55 Mg ha−1 in 2020. The effect of mulch, irrigation, and combined practices were analyzed based on the average fruit weight and diameter, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, and sugar content of the samples. The results showed that for watermelon, the average weight and diameter were significantly heavier and higher with irrigation treatments, but the EC and the pH values were significantly higher with mulch treatments. For tomatoes, the average weight, diameter, pH, and sugar content were all significantly higher with mulch treatment, but the EC was higher with irrigation treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: mulch; automatic; drip irrigation; soil moisture sensor; tomato; watermelon mulch; automatic; drip irrigation; soil moisture sensor; tomato; watermelon
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vaddevolu, U.B.P.; Lester, J.; Jia, X.; Scherer, T.F.; Lee, C.W. Tomato and Watermelon Production with Mulches and Automatic Drip Irrigation in North Dakota. Water 2021, 13, 1991. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141991

AMA Style

Vaddevolu UBP, Lester J, Jia X, Scherer TF, Lee CW. Tomato and Watermelon Production with Mulches and Automatic Drip Irrigation in North Dakota. Water. 2021; 13(14):1991. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141991

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vaddevolu, Uday B.P., Justin Lester, Xinhua Jia, Thomas F. Scherer, and Chiwon W. Lee 2021. "Tomato and Watermelon Production with Mulches and Automatic Drip Irrigation in North Dakota" Water 13, no. 14: 1991. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141991

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