Increasing the sustainability of vegetable crops production by using intercropping
Institute of Horticulture, Graudu iela 1, Ceriņi, Krimūnu pag., Dobeles nov., LV–3701, Latvia
Some scientific reports support the idea of using plant interactions to promote the growth and yielding of vegetable crops. The plant interactions in vegetable production under intercropping conditions were investigated in ERDF funded project ‘Elaboration of environment-friendly crop growing technologies identified by the Green Deal and their implementation in horticultural production in Latvia (GreenHort)’ implemented in Latvia Institute of Horticulture with the aim to introduce strip cropping in the vegetable production. The investigations were carried out at the Institute of Horticulture, Latvia (57°03’44.6’’N, 22°54’53.2’’E), during the growing seasons of 2021 and 2022. The vegetable crops (carrots, cabbage, onions, and pumpkins) were grown in intercropping with agroecological service plants or aromatic plants as companion plants (white clover, marigolds, tagetes, lavender, sage, coriander). The investigated variants were compared with the control, where vegetable crops were grown in monoculture as usual. Each intercrop variant consists of 7 alternating rows (each 0.6 m wide) – 4 rows of service crop and 3 rows of vegetable. There was observed significant influence of the growing system on the plants productivity. The sharpest differences between variants were observed for cabbage – marigold, sage and lavender had a positive influence on the cabbage yield formation, but white clover had an extremely negative influence on the cabbage plant growth. White clover had a negative influence also on carrot and pumpkin productivity. Sage had a yield-promoting influence on the carrot crop. There was not found any significant influence of the agroecologial crops on onion productivity.