Intercropping melon and cowpea improves soil nutrients and increases melon yields

Intercropping melon and cowpea improves soil nutrients and increases melon yields

Harvesting melon in a different cultivation system with melon and cowpea intercropped. Available: The Diverfarming program

Intercropping is an agricultural practice that involves growing two or more varieties of plants on the same land at the same time. This action allows the plants to increase the yield of the plant, but also improve the quality of the soil. In addition, it brings benefits such as reduced pests and diseases and a greater diversity of microbes and beneficial insects.

Although intercropping with some traditional plants has shown high levels of fertility, such as maile with peas and pumpkin in Mexico, the so -called milpa, not the systems. intercropping is improved, because there is a good balance between the plants used.

With a view to improving the environmental and economic benefits of agricultural systems, a team from the European Diverfarming project has learned how to use this method of intercropping with summer crops for more. importation in the Land of Murcia: the melon.

To address the problem of soil and water degradation due to the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers in the cutting of critical melon, researchers from CEBAS – CSIC, the Universidad Polit├ęcnica de Cartagena (UPCT) and the University of Murcia are listed on the soil plants, theirs. physico-chemical properties, enzyme activity and soil microbial community (in the form of high-throughput sequencing) of an intercrop of cowpea and melon using ecological farming practices, different growth methods , and 30% less fertilization than conventional use of monocrop.

The results showed a significant increase in the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus available, and natural carbon, and the melon fruit in the first year of intercropping, regardless of the intercropping characteristics in followed.

With this combination of plants, the effects of which have not been studied to date, the bacterial community system has changed with the increase in the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in the body. soil and melon seeds. In addition, a large number of microorganisms such as Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Streptomyces and Sphingomonas have been identified.

Therefore, in the first year the combination of cowpea with melon was given a sustainable growth system that used fewer external inputs and increased melon yield, as well as improved the quality of the dirt. Considering from the first year, the use of different growth systems to provide a constant supply of food and income, will require a long -term evaluation of these intercropping systems. This should strengthen the knowledge about the positive relationship between the cowpea microbiota and the melon and their functions and to investigate the details of a better intercropping method for the plant. .

With this study we will advance the understanding of the benefits of different growth systems; This is one of the initiatives of the Diverfarming project funded by the European Commission in the H2020 project, which seeks to shift the paradigm in European agriculture.

The research is published in Mahiai, Kaiaola & Kaiapuni.

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More information:
Jessica Cuartero et al, A first -year melon / cowpea intercropping system that improves soil fertility and alters the soil microbial community, Mahiai, Kaiaola & Kaiapuni (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.agee.2022.107856

Presented by the University of C├│rdoba

Directions: Intercropping melon and cowpea improve soil nutrients and increase melon production (2022, March 31) Retrieved 31 March 2022 from -cowpea-soil-nutrients.html

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