Santiago Checa1, y Omar D. Medina2

1Establecimientos productivos Los Tucanes y Las Timitas; Argentina
2Universidad Nacional de Jujuy. Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias. Cátedra de Zoología Agrícola; Argentina

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Intensive crop production in Salta province stands out as one of the main off-season sources of peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and squash supply in Argentina. This commercial scheme limits crop rotation and results in soil quality loss, and an increase in the pathogens populations and salinity inside the greenhouses. The objective of this experiment was to use a service crop (SC) to increase greenhouse biodiversity, improve soil structure and increase nutrient recycling. The experiment was carried out in two horticultural farms located in the Department of Oran, Salta. In one greenhouse of each farm, the SC was planted on the crop board, one month before the end of the pepper cycle. Millet (Panicum miliaceum) and sheep manure were chosen for this purpose. At the end of cultivation, compost was made between rows using pepper residue, dried sheep manure and the straw from the first millet cutting. The planting row was covered with plastic mulching. Abundant root proliferation on the row and other life forms such as earthworms and millipedes were observed. The residue was composted to such an extent that it was difficult to differentiate the source materials. A failure rate of 30 % was observed because the non-composted millet straw covered with soil from the aisle between rows prevented adequate fixation of the seedlings. Seedling growth was uneven and slow, so chemical fertilisation was necessary. Millet proved to be a suitable CS, as it can grow under the shade of pepper, is fast growing and does not lignify easily.

Full article (in Spanish)