Dutch bucket hydroponic trials were conducted with the aim to evaluate the effects of different hydroponic fertilizers (5N-4.8P-21.6K, 5N-5.2P-21.6K, and 7N-3.9P-4.1K) on growth, fruit production, and the fruit quality (fruit shape index) parameters of two cultivars of sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and on two cultivars of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.).
For sweet pepper yield, the 5N-4.8P-21.6K fertilizer was responsible for the greatest yield for both cultivars. For sweet pepper fresh and dry shoot weight interaction, the ‘Orangella’ cultivar had greater growth in 5N-4.8P-21.6K and 5N-5.2P-21.6K fertilizers, whereas there was no difference among cultivars in 7N-3.9P-4.1K. Shape index was not affected by fertilizers or cultivars.
For the eggplant yield, there was no main effect nor interaction between fertilizers and cultivars for fruit yield, while the interaction between fertilizers and cultivars was significant for shoot fresh weight production. Shoot fresh weight was greater for ‘Angela’ than ‘Jaylo’ in 5N-4.8P-21.6K and 7N-3.9P-4.1K. Furthermore, both eggplant cultivars were affected with yellowing of fruits in all fertilizer treatments after 2 months, which was probably due to the accumulation of nutrients in the closed hydroponic system.
Therefore, hydroponic producers could select 5N-4.8P-21.6K and 5N-5.2P-21.6K fertilizers for the cultivation of the ‘Orangella’ cultivar of sweet pepper based on yield. It is important to evaluate more fertilizers and cultivars for eggplant hydroponic cultivation.