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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1137: International Symposium on Innovation in Integrated and Organic Horticulture (INNOHORT)

Performance of organic vegetable rotations under Mediterranean experimental and on-farm conditions

Authors:   E. Bilen, N. ÷zsoy, C.A. Nazik Bayram, M. ‹nal, B. Aslan, S. Kaya, İ. Duman, L. Al Bitar, U. Aksoy
Keywords:   broccoli, eggplant, pepper, quality, tomato, vetch, yield, zucchini
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1137.11
Vegetables are generally grown as intensive systems on small plots, and their economic significance is of utmost importance in the Mediterranean countries. Even if organic management became widespread around the Mediterranean basin starting in the 1980s, long-term rotations based mainly on vegetables are quite rare. The performance of organic farming systems relies on economic, technical and ecological outputs. A four-year experiment was carried out between 2006 and 2010 at the Ege University experimental site (İzmir/Turkey), in cooperation with the CIHEAM Mediterranean Institute of Bari. Recommended practices were tested in commercial farming conditions during the fifth year. The four-year rotation program was designed as follows: in winter months, experimental plots had broccoli, broad bean, vetch or fallow (natural vegetation), followed by a main crop that changed yearly in the following order: tomato, zucchini, pepper and eggplant. Broccoli represented the farmer's choice as a winter vegetable and vetch and broad bean as green manure. Additionally, organic-certified commercial compost was added during the summer cycles as a standard amendment. The effect of pre-crops and main crops on soil organic matter, primary nutrients, weed abundance and yield, were assessed for each main crop cycle. Soil N, P and K contents of the experimental plot were kept at rich or sufficient levels for four years, and yields obtained for the summer vegetables were within the regional averages. Based on the economic and technical outputs, best practices, identified as vetch or broccoli + zucchini and vetch or broccoli + tomato, were tested under farm conditions. This paper summarizes the major results on soil fertility and yield and quality of tested crops obtained under experimental and on-farm conditions. Based on five-year results, broccoli and vetch are recommended as the two successful pre-crops for winter where summer vegetables are the main crops.

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