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- Author or Editor: Victoria J. Ackroyd x
Field and laboratory bioassay studies were conducted to determine the impact of Brassicaceae cover crops on cucurbit germination percentages and stand counts. A 2-year field study in southwestern Michigan examined the effect of oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus var. oleiferus), oriental mustard (Brassica juncea), and yellow mustard (Sinapis alba) green manures on muskmelon (Cucumis melo Group reticulatus) stand. All three cover crops reduced direct-seeded muskmelon stand count as well as transplant survival. Stand count for direct- seeded muskmelon was greater than 85% for control and methyl bromide treatments and less than 41% for cover crop treatments. Oilseed radish had the greatest effect with 0% muskmelon stand in both years. The use of transplants improved muskmelon stand establishment. However, stand count (less than 45% to 50%) was still unacceptable. In bioassays, muskmelon, cucumber (Cucumis sativus), and honeydew melon (Cucumis melo Group inodorus) seeds were exposed to either non-lyophilized or lyophilized root and shoot aqueous extracts of oilseed radish. Germination percentages and radicle elongation measurements showed both extracts impacted all three crops to varying degrees. Muskmelon germination was least sensitive to the extracts, followed by cucumber, then honeydew. Cucumber and muskmelon root growth was equally inhibited by non-lyophilized shoot extract, while honeydew growth was mildly stimulated at 5% and 12.5% concentrations. Overall, non-lyophilized root extract showed stronger inhibition on seed germination than non-lyophilized shoot extract, while the reverse was true of lyophilized extracts. In general, non-lyophilized extracts had far greater impact on germination percentages and radicle elongation than lyophilized extracts. These results suggest species and tissue dependent toxicity of the cover crops as well as differential susceptibility of the cucurbit crops tested. Therefore, a plant-back period longer than the 8 days used in this study should be observed after cover crop incorporation before cucurbit seeding or transplanting.