Abstract— A study was conducted in which lettuce (Lactucasativa L.) was grown in a plot at the Faculty of Agriculture at Luyengo Campus of the University of Eswatini to compare three different irrigation methods on the production of marketable heads of lettuce. The performance of lettuce under a commercial drip tape was compared with a home-made bottle drip and a hand watering can as used typically by rural people in the country. The commercial drip had emitters discharging 2 liters per hour and therefore 2 liters per hour was applied with both the home-made bottle drip and the watering can during irrigation. The irrigation frequency was every after two days for all the treatments. The plot sizes were 1.5 m x 4.0 m and there were four replications per treatment. There were eighteen lettuce plants per plot. The lettuce was grown for a period of four weeks and then harvested whole. Yield parameters measured included the plant height (cm), leaf area index (LAI), root length (cm) and the fresh head mass (grams). Significant differences (P < 0.01) between treatments were obtained for fresh lettuce head mass and root length. The commercial drip treatment had largest fresh mass at 226.8 g. It was followed by bottle drip at 184.8 g. The control had the lowest yield at 165.3 g. There were no significant differences between treatments for plant height and leaf area index. It was concluded that the home-made bottle drip irrigation method could be recommended for rural people who cannot afford to buy the commercial drip system for the production of vegetables for household consumption.
Keywords— Lettuce, yield, drip, irrigation, water use efficiency.
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