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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1257: XXX International Horticultural Congress IHC2018: International Symposium on Tropical and Subtropical Vegetable Production: Tackling Present and Future Global Biotic and Abiotic Stressors

Climatic adaptation strategy under urban agriculture rainwater cropping systems: a case study from watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) as live mulch

Authors:   O. David, M. Connaughton
Keywords:   cropping system, climate change, humid tropics, temperature, moisture, watermelon
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1257.24
In-situ live mulch crops such as watermelon can reduce soil temperature, improve soil moisture, and provide additional income for food security in mixed cropping systems. These investigations quantify the impact of in-situ watermelon live mulch densities on yield potential, climatic change adaptation capability and food security strategies in tropical urban amaranth production systems. Imposed were 3 sowing densities of watermelon: 1.50.45 m; 1.50.90 m; 1.51.50 m. Grain amaranth was transplanted at 0.750.75 m spacing in an RCB design. Averaged over 2 consecutive cropping's, amaranth grain and watermelon yields were significantly highest at 1.50.90 m watermelon plant spacing density optimum for yield potential, climate change adaptability and food security resilient strategy. This corresponded to the reduction in maximum soil temperature of 2C by amaranth and 3.5C by watermelon compared to the control without mulch. There was a check plot without amaranth and watermelon but weeds monitored. Soil moisture content was significantly (P=0.05) conserved in the live mulch treatments by 18.2% compared to the bare not mulched soil control of 14%. This research demonstrates that live mulch is useful in rainwater conservation and reduced temperature; and we believe offers opportunities for food security, carbon sequestration and landscape restoration in the humid tropics of sub Saharan Africa countries under rain-fed agriculture climate change scenarios.

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