Living mulch strategy for organic cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L.) production in central and southern Italy

https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2015.644

Authors

  • Stefano Canali Centro per lo Studio delle Relazioni tra Pianta e Suolo, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Roma, Italy.
  • Gabriele Campanelli Unità di Ricerca per l’Orticoltura, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Monsampolo del Tronto (AP), Italy.
  • Corrado Ciaccia Centro per lo Studio delle Relazioni tra Pianta e Suolo, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Roma, Italy.
  • Mariangela Diacono | mariangela.diacono@entecra.it Unità di Ricerca per i Sistemi Colturali degli Ambienti Caldo-Aridi, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell'Economia Agraria, Bari, Italy. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5501-8027
  • Fabrizio Leteo Unità di Ricerca per l’Orticoltura, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Monsampolo del Tronto (AP), Italy.
  • Angelo Fiore Unità di Ricerca per i Sistemi Colturali degli Ambienti Caldo-Aridi, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Azienda Sperimentale Metaponto (MT), Italy.
  • Francesco Montemurro Unità di Ricerca per i Sistemi Colturali degli Ambienti Caldo-Aridi, Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Azienda Sperimentale Metaponto (MT), Italy.

Abstract

In sustainable agricultural systems, intercropping using living mulches (LM) provides many beneficial ecosystem services. The objective of these two-year field experiments was to study the suitability of different LM options of burr medic (Medicago polymorpha L. var. anglona) for organic cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L.) cultivation in two sites under Mediterranean conditions. In central Italy (Experiment 1) contemporary and delayed (to crop) sowings of LM were compared with a no-cover crop treatment, contrasting two local cauliflower cultivars and a F1 Hybrid. In southern Italy (Experiment 2) the sustainability of systems combining LM (anticipated and contemporary sowing compared with no-cover) and organic fertilisation strategies was assessed. The aboveground biomasses dry weights of cauliflower crop (heads and residues), burr medic and weeds were separately determined. Results suggested that in Experiment 1 the LM was not able to smother weeds establishment and growth, as a consequence of early sowing, while cauliflower yield was reduced. Moreover, the genotypes behaviour was greatly influenced by the LM sowing times. In Experiment 2, irrespective of the agronomic practices applied, climatic conditions notably influenced cauliflower cultivation and also reduced the mean yield. Therefore, the recorded differences between the two experimental sites highlighted the need to tailor the LM strategies to the different environmental conditions.

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Published
2015-06-16
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Short communications
Keywords:
Agroecology, agro-ecological services, cauliflower genotypes, cover crops, organic fertilisers.
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How to Cite
Canali, S., Campanelli, G., Ciaccia, C., Diacono, M., Leteo, F., Fiore, A., & Montemurro, F. (2015). Living mulch strategy for organic cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L.) production in central and southern Italy. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 10(2), 90–96. https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2015.644

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