The use of green manure in crisphead lettuce and cabbage production

The exclusive use of organic compost in the production of organic vegetables has been found to be a costly practice due to the high volume of compost demanded to obtain commercial productions. Thus, one of the alternatives for complementary fertilization of vegetables is the use of green manure. The objective of this work was to evaluate three green manure species, used to complement the fertilization with organic compost, in relation to the nutrient contents in their biomass, and to productivity and agronomic traits of crisphead lettuce and cabbage. The experiment was carried out at the Olericulture Sector of the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), in Lavras, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, from December 2001 to August 2002, in a soil classified as Udox. The experiment was arranged in a randomized block design in a factorial scheme (4x2) with three repetitions. The first factor was constituted by the green manure species: black-velvet bean (Stizolobium aterrimum), jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis), and sunnhep (Crotalaria juncea), plus a control treatment (weed and mineral fertilizers); and the second factor was constituted by the vegetable crops: crisphead lettuce and cabbage. Among the tested green manure species, sunnhep presented the best potential for extraction of N, P, K, Mg, B, Mn and Zn. In addition, sunnhep was more efficient than jack bean or black velvet bean in increasing the commercial weight of cabbage head. In relation to productivity, as for lettuce, green manuring plus organic compost did not differ from the control; while for the cabbage, these treatments had a performance statistically inferior. The use of green manure plus organic compost allowed to obtain commercial crisphead lettuce and cabbage heads with satisfactory weight for the market.

Brassica oleracea var. capitata L; Lactuca sativa L.; leguminous; organic farming

Associação Brasileira de Horticultura UFRPE (Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Rua Manoel de Medeiros s/n, Dois Irmãos,, 52171-900 Recife-PE, Tel. (81) 3320 6064, - Vitoria da Conquista - BA - Brazil