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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 723: I International Symposium on the Labiatae: Advances in Production, Biotechnology and Utilisation

EFFECT OF MULCHING ON MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS IN ORGANIC FARM GUEST HOUSES

Authors:   E. Fontana, J. Hoeberechts, S. Nicola
Keywords:   Organic farming, rural development, mulching, biometric measurements, lavender, thyme, rosemary
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2006.723.56
Abstract:
The Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (MAP) cultivation enters in a concept of rusticity and rediscovery of ancient traditions. Recently, MAP cultivation has been spreading in the marginal areas of the Piedmont Region (Italy). This can encourage the diversification of agricultural production and the conversion of current farms into farm guest houses. The creation of an array based on aromatic plants (i.e. infusions, liquors, cooking spices, fragrances) could introduce autochthonous and novel MAP cultivation and give an added value of the areas. The present research consisted of introducing MAP cultivation, according to the dictates of organic farming, in farm guest houses of the Pellice Valley in Piedmont. The experiments lasted from 2001 to 2004, testing two different polypropylene black mulches for weed control of rosemary, thyme and lavender cultivations in two sites, RorÓ and Bibiana. Periodical samplings of plant growth consisted of canopy diameter and height measurements; visual observations were made to determine life-span of the tested mulches. Results indicated that mulching technique favoured plant growth. At the RorÓ site, thyme and lavender diameter was positively influenced by mulching. At the Bibiana site, the strong weed presence limited lateral plant development of thyme and rosemary, enhancing their growth height. For all the species considered in both sites no differences were found between the two types of polypropylene mulch tested.

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