EFFECTS OF WINTER COVER CROPS AND N APPLICATIONS ON VEGETABLE CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

in HortScience

A vegetable production system using winter cover crops and N rates was evaluated for several years in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Snap bean, cucumber, tomato, potato, and sweetpotato crops were tested at different locations. Cover crop plots produced higher yields and better quality in all locations as seasons progressed over 4 years. Soil N levels in fallow, wheat, and clover plots were similar at initiation, but N gradually increased in clover plots in successive years. Yield and quality of root crops improved with Crimson clover without N applications compared to fallow plots with 60 kg N/ha. Effects on yield and tuber size are discussed. Nitrate and NH4-N in the soil profile from 15- to 150-cm depth were monitored at all locations. Nitrogen availability, depletion, and leaching below the root zone were determined. At low N rate, clover plots had slightly higher NO3 in the soil profile; however, at high N rate, N supply by clover was not as critical, and N leaching was detected at much lower depths than at low N rates.

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