common oats ( Avena sativa ). Vegetable growers in the midwestern United States know the importance and relevance of cover crops in their cropping systems but are hesitant to use cover crops, especially in the summer. The variable climate and narrow
Benjamin C. Garland, Michelle S. Schroeder-Moreno, Gina E. Fernandez and Nancy G. Creamer
term. Although not a common practice, summer cover crops can be integrated into strawberry production and may play a critical role in sustainable soil and pest management strategies for strawberry production in the southeastern United States. The
Guangyao Wang, Mathieu Ngouajio, Milton E. McGiffen Jr and Chad M. Hutchinson
fields are traditionally fallowed during the hot summer months, creating a gap in the production season of 2 to 3 months to integrate cover crops into the vegetable production system. Summer cover crops that fit into current desert production practices
Nancy G. Creamer and Keith R. Baldwin
We thank the Organic Farming Research Foundation for funding this evaluation of summer cover crop species. We also thank Jane Frampton, Joe Difeo, and Tim Mathews for their technical support, and the staff at the Tidewater Research Station
Herbert H. Bryan and Yuncong Li
Cover crops have become an integral part of vegetable production practices in south Florida for weed control and retaining nutrients during the heavy summer rains. A wide variety of plants are used as cover crops in south Florida. Obviously, legumes contribute more nitrogen by fixing N compared to nonlegumes such as sorghum sudan grass, which is a common cover crop in this area. We have evaluated 10 cover crops, where six were legumes in 1997. In 1998, four cover crops (sunnhemp, sorghum sudan, sesbania, and aeschynomene) were evaluated. The sunnhemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) stands out from other tested cover crops for 2 years. Sunnhemp produced 8960 to 11,400 kg dry weight/ha and fixed up to 285 kg N/ha. The evaluation of effects of sunnhemp and other cover crops on the following tomato growth and yield are still in progress and will be discussed.
Qingren Wang, Yuncong Li and Waldemar Klassen
A pot experiment with summer cover crops and soil amendments was conducted in two consecutive years to elucidate the effects of these cover crops and soil amendments on `Clemson Spineless 80' okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) yields and biomass production, and the uptake and distribution of soil nutrients and trace elements. The cover crops were sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), velvetbean (Mucuna deeringiana), and sorghum sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor × S. bicolor var. sudanense) with fallow as the control. The organic soil amendments were biosolids (sediment from wastewater plants), N-Viro Soil (a mixture of biosolids and coal ash, coal ash (a combustion by-product from power plants), co-compost (a mixture of 3 biosolids: 7 yard waste), and yard waste compost (mainly from leaves and branches of trees and shrubs, and grass clippings) with a soil-incorporated cover crop as the control. As a subsequent vegetable crop, okra was grown after the cover crops, alone or together with the organic soil amendments, had been incorporated. All of the cover crops, except sorghum sudangrass in 2002-03, significantly improved okra fruit yields and the total biomass production (i.e., fruit yields were enhanced by 53% to 62% in 2002-03 and by 28% to 70% in 2003-04). Soil amendments enhanced okra fruit yields from 38.3 to 81.0 g/pot vs. 27.4 g/pot in the control in 2002-03, and from 59.9 to 124.3 g/pot vs. 52.3 g/pot in the control in 2003-04. Both cover crops and soil amendments can substantially improve nutrient uptake and distribution. Among cover crop treatments, sunn hemp showed promising improvement in concentrations of calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), boron (B), and molybdenum (Mo) in fruit; magnesium (Mg), Zn, Cu, and Mo in shoots; and Mo in roots of okra. Among soil amendments, biosolids had a significant influence on most nutrients by increasing the concentrations of Zn, Cu, Fe, and Mo in the fruit; Mg, Zn, Cu, and Mo in the shoot; and Mg, Zn, and Mo in the root. Concentrations of the trace metal cadmium (Cd) were not increased significantly in either okra fruit, shoot, or root by application of these cover crops or soil amendments, but the lead (Pb) concentration was increased in the fruit by application of a high rate (205 g/pot) of biosolids. These results suggest that cover crops and appropriate amounts of soil amendments can be used to improve soil fertility and okra yield without adverse environmental effects or risk of contamination of the fruit. Further field studies will be required to confirm these findings.
Michael J. Adler and Carlene A. Chase
be used during summer fallow periods to suppress weeds through resource competition ( Collins, 2004 ); however, it is likely that weed suppression by these cover crops may also be in part the result of allelopathy. Allelopathy in velvetbean has been
James W. Shrefler, Warren Roberts, Charles Webber, Jonathan Edelson and Merritt Taylor
Commercial organic vegetable production requires using soil improvement practices and effective weed control measures. Rye (Secale cereale) cover crops are known to suppress annual weeds. Research was begun in 2004 to measure crop yield, annual weed infestation, and weed control requirements for vegetable planting systems that begin with a rye cover crop. Poultry litter was used to supply nutrients and was applied based on a soil test and commercial vegetable recommendations. Rye `Elbon' was seeded 21 Oct. 2004 on beds with 1.8-m centers. Zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo) `Revenue' was planted the following year using three crop establishment dates, such that transplanting occurred on 6 May, 3 June, and 29 June. Planting system treatments included: conventional tillage (CT), CT and plastic mulch (P), CT with stale seedbed, mow, mow and burn-down, mow and shallow till (ST), ST and burn-down. Following field preparation, squash was transplanted in a single row at the bed center with 0.77-m plant spacing. Drip irrigation was used in all plantings. Emerging weeds were removed by hoeing. Squash was harvested from each planting over approximately 3 weeks and total marketable fruit counts were determined. Marketable yields with P were approximately double those of the CT and ST treatments in the 6 May transplanting. Yields were comparable for CT and ST in the 3 June transplanting, but were significantly lower for the P treatment. There were no significant differences among the treatments that received tillage in the 29 June planting. However, the non-tilled treatments had significantly lower yields compared to tilled treatments.
D.C. Sanders, J.C. Gilsanz, W.J. Snerry and G.D. Hoyt
Poster Session 31— Vegetable Crops Management-Cropping Systems 2 29 July 2006, 1:15–2:00 p.m.