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Sustainable Production of Japanese Eggplants in a Piedmont Soil in Rotation with Winter Cover Crops

Author(s): Ramesh Ravella | Muchha Reddy | Kurt Taylor | Ahmed Elobeid

Journal: Agronomy (Basel)
ISSN 2073-4395

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 248;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: eggplants | cover crop | sustainable | Asian | ethnic markets | Piedmont | North Carolina

Eggplant is a popular vegetable consumed all over the world. Cover cropping is an efficient way of recycling nutrients and reducing inorganic fertilizer requirements to maintain the sustainability of the soil without affecting productivity and profitability. Eggplants (Solanum melongena) (Japanese varieties Hansel and Kamo) were grown in a Piedmont soil with two main treatments, cover crop (CC) and no cover crop (NC), and four sub-fertilizer treatments (T1: 0-0-0, T2: 56-28-112, T3: 84-56-168, and T4: 168-112-224 N-P-K kg/ha), using four replications. The Hansel variety eggplant yield was significantly higher than the Kamo variety. Eggplant yields from CC treatments for both varieties were significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the yields from NC treatments. No significant difference was observed in the yields between T1 and T2 treatments, but the yields from T3 were significantly higher than T1 and T2 and yields from T4 were significantly higher than T3 yields. N released through mineralization of cover crop mixture ranged from 13.33 g/kg at the beginning of the growing season and increased to 18.32 g/kg at the end of the growing season. These results suggest that Japanese eggplants can be successfully grown in the Piedmont area of North Carolina in rotation with cover crops for higher yields.

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