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Horticultura Brasileira

versão impressa ISSN 0102-0536versão On-line ISSN 1806-9991


LIZ, Ronaldo S de; CALBO, Adonai G; CARRIJO, Osmar A  e  OLIVEIRA, Carlos Alberto da S. Mini Irrigas® sensor in determining the curve of water retention in substrates for vegetables. Hortic. Bras. [online]. 2008, vol.26, n.4, pp.504-509. ISSN 0102-0536.

In Brazil, no reliable standard method exists to determine the water retention curve in all available types of substrates for the cultivation of vegetables, mainly for substrates with long and short fibers, such as those of green coconut shell. In this work, the objective was to obtain the substrate water retention curve for the cultivation of vegetables, using a mini Irrigas® sensor. Green coconut substrate was used without composting and with composting during 45; 90; 135 and 180 days while the Plantmax® substrate was used as control in a complete block experimental design with 6 substrates, 11 water tension levels and three replications. For the substrates S0, S45, S90, S135 and S180 the obtained average were: total porosity; 85%; aeration space: 72%; easily available water: 4%; available water: 9%; buffering water: 5% and remaining water: 4%. The aeration space (72%) was indicative that it is convenient to improve the particle size distribution of this substrate, in order to reduce the aeration space to gain water retention capacity. Water tension in the samples was slowly increased by evaporation as the substrate air interface and mini Irrigas® sensors enabled the required water tension measurements, continuously, in three parallel substrate samples for water tensions ranging from zero to 11 kPa. These results make evident the possibility of using the mini Irrigas® sensor for the determination of water retention curves in substrates for growing vegetables, and also opens the possibility of future studies, aiming at comparative tests for other methods.

Palavras-chave : soilless cultivation; transplant; porosity; moisture content; green coconut fiber.

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