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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (11): 1274-1292    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0035-7
Research article     
Interactive effects of deficit irrigation and vermicompost on yield, quality, and irrigation water use efficiency of greenhouse cucumber
Halimeh PIRI1,*(), Amir NASERIN2, Ammar A ALBALASMEH3
1Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of College of Water and Soil, University of Zabol, Zabol 9861335856, Iran
2Department of Water Engineering, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Mollasani 6341773637, Iran
3Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan
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Water scarcity is the most significant barrier to agricultural development in arid and semi-arid regions. Deficit irrigation is an effective solution for managing agricultural water in these regions. The use of additives such as vermicompost (VC) to improve soil characteristics and increase yield is a popular practice. Despite this, there is still a lack of understanding of the interaction between irrigation water and VC on various crops. This study aimed to investigate the interaction effect of irrigation water and VC on greenhouse cucumber yield, yield components, quality, and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE). The trials were done in a split-plot design in three replicates in a semi-arid region of southeastern Iran in 2018 and 2019. Three levels of VC in the experiments, i.e., 10 (V1), 15 (V2), and 20 t/hm2 (V3), and three levels of irrigation water, i.e., 50% (I1), 75% (I2), and 100% (I3) of crop water requirement were used. The results showed that the amount of irrigation water, VC, and their interaction significantly affected cucumber yield, yield components, quality, and IWUE in both years. Reducing the amount of irrigation water and VC application rates reduced the weight, diameter, length, and cucumber yield. The maximum yield (175 t/hm2) was recorded in full irrigation using 20 t/hm2 of VC, while the minimum yield (98 t/hm2) was found in I1V1 treatment. The maximum and minimum values of IWUE were recorded for I1V3 and I3V1 treatments as 36.07 and 19.93 kg/(m3?hm2), respectively. Moreover, reducing irrigation amount decreased chlorophyll a and b, but increased vitamin C. However, the maximum carbohydrate and protein contents were obtained in mild water-stressed conditions (I2). Although adding VC positively influenced the value of quality traits, no significant difference was observed between V2 and V3 treatments. Based on the results, adding VC under full irrigation conditions leads to enhanced yield and IWUE. However, in the case of applying deficit irrigation, adding VC up to a certain level (15 t/hm2) increases yield and IWUE, after which the yield begins to decline. Because of the salinity of VC, using a suitable amount of it is a key point to maximize IWUE and yield when applying a deficit irrigation regime.

Key wordsirrigation water use efficiency      greenhouse      size and weight of fruit      soil amendment      semi-arid region     
Received: 31 May 2022      Published: 30 November 2022
Corresponding Authors: Halimeh PIRI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Halimeh PIRI, Amir NASERIN, Ammar A ALBALASMEH. Interactive effects of deficit irrigation and vermicompost on yield, quality, and irrigation water use efficiency of greenhouse cucumber. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(11): 1274-1292.

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Year and month Temperature Relative
humidity (%)
Maximum Mean Minimum
September 32.6 23.9 15.2 23 11.2
October 31.4 15.4 11.6 29 7.2
November 24.6 10.3 4.7 42 5.5
December 18.4 8.9 1.5 43 4.5
January 16.8 13.5 3.8 53 4.2
February 14.3 11.7 4.6 54 3.8
September 34.2 24.7 16.3 24 12.6
October 32.6 16.5 12.7 29 8.4
November 26.1 11.3 4.8 43 5.7
December 20.4 9.4 2.4 44 4.9
January 17.7 14.6 4.3 54 4.8
February 15.8 12.5 4.1 53 4.1
Table 1 Average monthly maximum, minimum, mean temperature, relative humidity, and evaporation in two growing seasons
phosphorus (mg/kg)
potassium (mg/kg)
Total nitrogen (%) Organic
carbon (%)
EC (dS/m) pH Soil texture Year
25.4 314 0.98 2.6 0.65 7.1 Loam sand 2018-2019
28.2 298 1.10 2.4 0.71 6.9 Loam sand 2019-2020
Table 2 Soil physical and chemical characteristics
Total potassium (%) Total calcium (%) Total sodium (%) Total phosphorus (%) Total nitrogen (%) Organic carbon (%) Year
2015 84.6 289 25 1.1 3.9 0.54 0.34 3.45 30.26 2018-2019
2018 82.3 276 27 1.3 4.1 0.58 0.29 3.24 29.31 2019-2020
Table 3 Physical and chemical characteristics of applied vermicompost
Sources of variation df Fruit weight (g) Fruit diame-
ter (cm)
Fruit length (cm) Plant height (cm) Cucumber yield (t/hm2) IWUE
Chloro-phyll a (mg/g) Chloro-
phyll b (mg/g)
Vitamin C (mg/100g) Carbo-
hydrates (mg/g)
Protein (%)
Year (Y) 1 231.41 5.340 1.160 18.95 1.36 1.83 0.19 0.08 0.39 0.27 0.38
Replication (R) 2 2307.33 0.018 0.073 282.15 2.55 2.29 0.12 0.18 0.43 0.64 0.05
Irrigation water (I) 2 3364.06* 2.180** 253.480** 10263.28* 21,812.00** 491.09** 1.23** 1.90** 163.36** 16.19** 32.61*
Y×I 4 23,048.85 0.033 0.160 319.55 0.24 1.31 0.19 0.08 0.95 1.23 1.67
compost (V)
2 26,984.30* 0.800** 31.120** 2668.69* 3136.00** 105.66** 3.15** 2.62** 245.18** 34.15** 72.14*
Y×V 2 145.03 2.120 4.230 21.15 1.67 2.06 113.03 3.50 3.33 26.23 2.17
I×V 4 21,393.48* 1.570* 24.920** 2351.85* 1763.56** 60.29** 2.07* 2.08* 31.64* 7.21** 2.52*
I×V×Y 4 1563.50 1.150 4.360 7.74 3.56 3.08 263.42 2.58 4.12 7.84 3.42
R×V×I 12 20,120.01 0.008 0.075 371.56 1.22 1.13 0.08 0.16 1.16 1.32 2.48
CV (%) 10.10 4.250 2.040 11.96 2.70 3.59 5.23 4.50 6.35 3.54 6.67
SD 14.60 0.150 0.300 18.50 3.70 1.10 0.02 0.01 0.24 0.01 3.30
Table 4 Analysis of variance of the effect of quantity of irrigation water and vermicompost on the studied traits of cucumber and IWUE in two growing seasons
Fruit weight (g) Fruit
diameter (cm)
length (cm)
Plant height
Cucumber yield (t/hm2) IWUE
2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-2020 2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-2020 2018-2019 2019-2020
I3 167.9a 166.3a 3.8a 3.6a 16.9a 17.1a 169.5a 168.5a 155.0 156.2a 25.0b 25.6b
I2 155.1a 156.0a 3.5b 3.6b 14.8a 15.9a 157.0b 156.4b 149.9a 150.1a 31.8a 31.8a
I1 117.1b 118.2b 3.3c 3.3c 10.9b 11.2b 134.6c 133.3c 101.9b 102.6b 32.9a 32.9a
V3 169.8a 168.2a 3.7a 3.6a 14.9a 15.6a 167.1a 166.5a 141.4a 141.9a 31.1a 31.3a
V2 146.7ab 145.3ab 3.6a 3.5a 14.8a 15.6a 156.8ab 155.4ab 140.5a 140.1a 30.9a 31.1a
V1 123.5b 124.4b 3.3b 3.2b 13.0b 13.2b 147.3b 146.6b 121.9b 122.3b 27.6b 27.9b
Chlorophyll a (mg/g) Chlorophyll b (mg/g) Vitamin C (mg/100g) Carbohydrates (mg/g) Protein (%)
2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-2020 2018-2019 2019-
2018-2019 2019-2020
I3 0.45a 0.47a 0.21a 0.22a 3.22b 3.26b 0.28ab 0.26ab 48.2b 48.6b
I2 0.38a 0.39a 0.17a 0.17a 3.92a 3.85a 0.36a 0.37a 52.3a 52.5a
I1 0.26b 0.27b 0.12c 0.12c 4.19a 4.21a 0.20b 0.23b 45.7c 45.2c
V3 0.43a 0.44a 0.23a 0.24a 4.16a 4.15a 0.32a 0.32a 55.3a 54.9a
V2 0.37ab 0.38ab 0.19ab 0.20ab 3.95a 3.87a 0.28ab 0.30a 50.6ab 50.8ab
V1 0.25b 0.26b 0.14b 0.15b 3.17b 3.19b 0.19b 0.20a 45.7c 45.2c
Table 5 Comparison of yield, yield components, quality traits, and IWUE of cucumber in two growing seasons
Fig. 1 Interactive effect of irrigation water amounts and VC (vermicompost) levels on soil salinity. Treatment followed by the same lowercase letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability level. V1, V2, and V3 are 10, 15, and 20 t/hm2 VC, respectively. I1, I2, and I3 are 50%, 75%, and 100% of the plant's water requirements, respectively.
Fig. 2 Interactive effect of irrigation water amounts and VC (vermicompost) levels on cucumber yield in two growing seasons. Treatment followed by the same lowercase letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability level. V1, V2, and V3 are 10, 15, and 20 t/hm2 VC, respectively. I1, I2, and I3 are 50%, 75%, and 100% of the plant's water requirements, respectively.
Fig. 3 Interactive effect of irrigation water amount and VC (vermicompost) levels on yield components of cucumber in two growing seasons. Treatment followed by the same lowercase letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability level. V1, V2, and V3 are 10, 15, and 20 t/hm2 VC, respectively. I1, I2, and I3 are 50%, 75%, and 100% of the plant's water requirements, respectively. (a), fruit length; (b), fruit diameter; (c), fruit weight; (d), plant height.
Fig. 4 Interactive effects of irrigation water amount and VC (vermicompost) levels on quality traits of cucumber in two growing seasons. Treatment followed by the same lowercase letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability level. V1, V2, and V3 are 10, 15, and 20 t/hm2 VC, respectively. I1, I2, and I3 are 50%, 75%, and 100% of the plant's water requirements, respectively. (a), carbohydrates; (b), protein; (c), vitamin C; (d), chlorophyll b; (e), chlorophyll a.
Fig. 5 Interactive effect of irrigation water amounts and VC (vermicompost) levels on IWUE (irrigation water use efficiency) in two growing seasons. Treatment followed by the same lowercase letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability level. V1, V2, and V3 are 10, 15, and 20 t/hm2 VC, respectively. I1, I2, and I3 are 50%, 75%, and 100% of the plant's water requirements, respectively.
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