INFLUENCE OF PRIMING TREATMENTS ON THE GROWTH, YIELD AND STORAGE POTENTIAL OF OKRA (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) SEEDS
Slow and erratic germination of okra seed represents one of the factors which set limit to its yield potential. Three experiments (laboratory, field and storage) were conducted in order to assess the influence of seed priming treatments on germination parameters, growth, seed yield and storability of okra. Seed treatments were made up of two priming methods (hydro and halo priming with 2 % NaCl) and three durations (6, 12, 24 hours) and unprimed seeds served as control. The experiment on the field was arranged in a randomized complete block design in three replications using seeds treated and dried to 11 + 0.5 % moisture content. The storage experiment was performed using seeds treated and dried to the two moisture levels (8 + 0.3 % and 11+ 0.5 %) were kept in moisture proof bags under four storage temperatures of -18, 10, 19, 29 0C for three months in a factorial treatments combination laid in a completely randomized design. The result obtained showed that treatments applied had significant effect on germination parameters. The highest germination percentage (71.7%) was obtained when seeds were hydro primed for 6 h. The mean germination percentage of primed okra at the beginning of storage was 61.2 % and this was significantly higher (p<0.01) than mean germination percentage after three months storage 47.9 % (p<0.01) this indicates that irrespective of the treatments, there is reduction in germination percentage of okra after three months storage. Hydro priming 6 h treated seeds having 11+ 0.5 % moisture content and stored under 10 0C had the highest germination percentage (62 %) while the least germination percentage (20 %) was obtained in hydro 6 h having 11+ 0.5 % moisture content and halo 24 h having 8 + 0.3 % moisture content when both were stored under 29 0C. The priming treatments effect was significant on days to 50 % emergence, plant height and days to flowering. Okra seed germination can be enhanced through priming and sub-optimal temperature preserved viability of primed okra.