Item Details

Title: Tomato Growth in Spring-sown Cover Crops

Date Published: 2000
Author/s: Mary C. Akemo, Mark A. Bennett, and Emilie E. Regnier
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
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Affiliation: Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey
Road, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
Keywords: Lycopersicon esculentum, legume/monocot mixtures, winter rye,
field peas, undercutting, allelochemicals, tropical climates


Pure and biculture stands of rye ‘Wheeler’ (Secale cereale L.) and field pea
(Pisum sativum L.) were established and killed for mulch in Spring 1996, 1997, and 1998,
in Columbus, Ohio. Treatments were five rye to pea proportions, each with a high,
medium, and low seeding rate. Their effects on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)
growth and yield were compared with those of a weedy check; a tilled, nonweeded check;
and a tilled, hand-weeded check. Tomato tissue and soil were sampled for nutrient
analysis. Number of leaves, branching, height, leaf area, dry weight, rate of flowering and
fruit set, and fruit yield of tomato plants varied directly with the proportion of pea in the
cover crop and decreased with reduced cover crop seeding rates. In 1997, yields of tomato
were as high as 50 MT·ha–1 in the 1 rye : 3 pea cover crop; yield was poorest in the weedy
check (0.02 MT·ha–1 in 1996). Most of the cover-cropped plots produced better yields than
did the conventionally weeded check. No consistent relationship between levels of macronutrients in tomato leaf and soil samples and the cover crop treatments was established.
Spring-sown rye + pea bicultures (with a higher ratio of pea) have a potential for use in
tomato production.

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