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Kathryn E. Brunson and Sharad C. Phatak

Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L., cv. Hiline) were planted following over-wintering cover crops. In replicated field trials, stand development for 7 different cover crops and their effects on incidence of weeds, insects, diseases, and nematodes was assessed. Effects of cover crops on yield and quality of cantaloupe were evaluated. Cover crops evaluated were rye, crimson clover, lentils, subterranean clover, `Vantage' vetch, mustard, a polyculture of all cover crops and control-fallow. No insecticides were applied and only two applications of fungicides were made. Fertilizer applications were significantly reduced. No differences among cover crops for any of pest nematodes were observed. Significant differences in populations of beneficial and pest insects were observed. Polyculture had the highest plant vigor rating. The highest marketable yield occurred following crimson clover.

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Kathryn E. Brunson, Sharad C. Phatak, C. Robert Stark Jr., and Michael E. Wetzstein

Research results are presented of a multi-year study on eggplant in Southern Georgia comparing two sustainable production technologies to the conventional rye cover crop technology. The sustainable technologies utilize beneficial insect principles as a substitute for conventional pesticide controls. Preliminary results from the sustainable technologies using crimson clover and subterranean clover indicate that the higher yields under rye can be more than offset by cost reductions associated with selected sustainable technologies. Production budgets are developed for eggplant to indicate expected net returns under both the sustainable and conventional technologies

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Kathryn E. Brunson, C. Robert Stark Jr., Sharad C. Phatak, and Michael E. Wetzstein

Research results are presented from a multi-year study on vegetable production in southern Georgia that compared two low-input production systems to the conventional rye cover crop technology. The low-input systems use beneficial insect principles as a substitute for conventional pesticide controls, but pesticides are used if needed. Preliminary results from the low-input systems using crimson and subterranean clovers indicate that crimson clover produces better yields and can “catch up” to the conventional rye system. The higher yields of the rye technology can be offset by the cost reductions associated with the low-input technologies. Production budgets were developed for 3 years of eggplant and 2 years of fresh-market tomato and bell pepper to reveal expected net returns under the low-input and conventional systems.

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Kathryn E. Brunson, Sharad C. Phatak, J. Danny Gay, and Donald R. Summer

Velvetbean (Mucuna deeringiana L.) was used in crop rotation to determine the influence on southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) in sustainable vegetable production. Replicated trials were conducted at four locations. Two cover crop treatments, crimson clover and subterranean clover, were used in the sustainable plots and rye was the plow-down cover crop for the conventional plots. Selected as the vegetable crops were tomato, pepper, and eggplant. Following the final harvest, velvetbean was planted into the sustainable plots and disked under after 90 days. Results from soil samples before and after velvetbean, indicated the sustainable plots had substantially reduced nematode densities, while most conventional plots showed increases. A correlation between location, treatment, root-gall indexes and nematode density occurred in all crops for 1992. In 1993 there was only a correlation between root-gall index and nematode density in pepper. However, root-gall indexes were significant for location and treatment in all crops.

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Kathryn E. Brunson, Sharad C. Phatak, J. Danny Gay, and Donald R. Sumner

Velvetbean (Mucuna deeringiana L.) has been used as part of the crop rotation in low-input vegetable production in southern Georgia to help suppress populations of root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) for the past 2 years. Over-wintering cover crops of crimson and subterranean clovers were used the low-input plots and rye was the plow-down cover crop in the conventional plots. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant were the vegetable crops grown in these production systems. Following the final harvest in 1992, use of nematicides in the low-input plots was discontinued and velvetbean was then planted into the low-input plots and disked in after 90 days. Results from the 1993–94 soil samples taken before and after velvetbean showed a continuing trend of reduced nematode numbers where velvetbean had been, while most conventional plots that had nematicides applied resulted in increases in nematode populations.