Protected agriculture is the main source of livelihood for about 80% of the coastal farmers. This farming method has been introduced since the seventies of the last century, and the number of greenhouses has since been increasingly developed to meet the market needs.
Small agricultural holdings on the coast and lack of coastal plains separating mountains from the sea, as the mountain touches the sea in some areas, led to the re-cultivation of greenhouses for long years and several times per year without being able to create a complete agricultural cycle. Over time, this led to the emergence of intractable pests such as root-knot nematode, Fusarium, and corky root rot, among others.
This had almost happened in all countries where these intensive plantings are popular. Countries have followed up on possible solutions to these intractable pests:
- Using soil sterilizers: very high cost and product not always available;
- Finding pest resistant varieties of crops;
- Adopting soilless cultivation: good results but very high investment cost;
- Grafting onto resistant rootstocks, which is the idea that we will elaborate on;
The idea of vegetable grafting has first appeared in Japan and Korea in the beginning of the last century, and then it was developed and spread to all countries of the world. Vegetable grafting is based on the idea of producing one plant consisting of two plants. The first plant is rootstock and it has all the characteristics of the good root system in terms of strength, spread and resistance to one or more soil pests.
The second plant is scion and it has the desirable characteristics of the shoot system, such as the strength of vegetative growth, number of flowers, fruit characteristics (shape, color, size and solidness). Scion is one of the improved hybrid varieties available in the market.
A successful grafting process requires auxiliary supplies, such as grafting tweezers, sterile sharp blades, seedlings nurseries where temperature, humidity and light are controllable, and hardening houses…
The grafting process is easy, and is carried out by trained workers. When the seedlings of the rootstock and scion reach a specific age where seedlings diameter are converged, the process is done by cutting the rootstock and scion’s seedlings diagonally using a sterile sharp blade. Then seedlings are sticked using special forceps, while ensuring that the cuts of both seedlings are opposite to each other. Afterwards, seedlings are entered into a nursery with a temperature of 22-27 degrees and a humidity of about 90%. Humidity can be gradually reduced. After about five days, seedlings are taken out into a shaded tunnel, and then they are gradually hardened and delivered to farmers.
Grafting can be applied on tomato, eggplant, red and yellow melons, cucumbers and capsicum. Recently, mechanization has been introduced into the grafting process with the aim of improving productivity and standards.
With regard to vegetable grafting, our strategy at Debbane & Co depends on the principles of quality and specialization. We, in cooperation with the largest seed production companies in the world, are trying to introduce highly resistant, as well as specialized, rootstocks to various soil pests, so that rootstocks for grafting cucumbers, yellow melon, red melon, tomato, eggplant and capsicum become available without affecting the taste of the fruit.
Attached is a table showing the Debbane & Co rootstocks and resistants.
* ToMV: Tomato mosaic (Tomato mosaic tobamovirus)
* Rs: Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum)
* Pl: Corky root rot (Pyrenochaeta lycopersici)
* Vd: Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae)
* Va: Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum)
* Fol: Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici)
* For: Fusarium crown and root rot (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-lycopersici)
* FOM: Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. Melonis
* Ma: Root-knot (Meloidogyne arenaria)
* Mi: Root-knot (Meloidogyne incognita)
* Mj: Root-knot (Meloidogyne javanica)
* CMV: Cucumber Mosaic Virus
By Nour H.