Winter Legume Cover for Sustainable Tomato Production

in HortScience
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  • 1 Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley State Univ., Fort Valley, GA 31030-3298

The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of winter cover cropping with legumes for replacing synthetic N fertilization in tomato production. The following winter/spring fertility treatments were applied: 1) 0 N winter/ 0 N spring, 2) 0 N winter/90 kg·ha-1 N spring, 3) 0 N winter/180 kg·ha-1 N spring, 4) 0 N winter+rye/0 N spring, 5) 0 N winter+hairy vetch/0 N spring, and 6) 0 N winter+crimson clover/0 N spring. In the spring of 1996, tomato cultivar `Mountain Pride' was planted in all plots. The effects of different treatments on plant dry weight and fresh fruit yields were determined. Tomato following legumes or supplied with 90 kg·ha-1 fertilizer N produced highest plant dry weight, while 0 N winter/0 N spring and 0 N winter+rye/0 N spring produced plants with least dry weights. Treatments differed in a similar fashion also for fresh fruit yields. The results suggested that winter legumes were at par with commercial N fertilizer in supplying needed inorganic N to the succeeding tomato crop soil.

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