Can strip-cropping enhance fruit set in hokkaido pumpkin?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review

The demand for organic vegetables is increasing rapidly but cannot be met by current agronomic methods. Alternative methods, which enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services including pollination, are currently under development. In SureVeg (a Core Organic Co-fund funded project), we tested strip-cropping systems, i.e. a diversified cropping system in which alternating rows of different vegetable crops are sown. It is hypothesized that strip-cropping will provide floral resources during an extended period, supporting agroecosystem services provided by beneficial insects, including natural biological control and insect pollination.
In the current study, we investigated a cropping system involving two insect pollinated crops: hokkaido pumpkin and faba beans, in addition to wild-flower strips. The study focused on pollination and fruit set of hokkaido pumpkin. The experimental set-up was established as an on-farm experiment hosted by an organic farm (Skiftekær Øko, Denmark), and included three fields: (1) hokkaido mono-culture (2) hokkaido mono-culture with flower strips and (3) strip cropped hokkaido pumpkin and faba bean and flower strips.
In all fields, numbers of flowers and number and identity of flower-visiting insects were counted in transect walks carried out 2-3 times during the flowering season. Honeybees (Apis mellifera) were the main visitors, while bumblebees (Bombus spp) visited the flowers to a lesser extent. Pollinator abundances differed temporally and across different fields. Fruit weight was significantly higher in the strip cropped and flower strip hokkaido fields than the pure hokkaido field without flower strips. However, as the study did not include replicated fields, it cannot be concluded if other factors than cropping practice may have affected pollination and fruit set in hokkaido pumpkins. Furthermore, due to extreme drought in 2018, results may not reflect normal flowering and crop yield.

Original languageEnglish
Publication year24 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019
EventScandinavian Association of Pollination Ecologists - Backagården, Höör, Sweden
Duration: 24 Oct 201927 Oct 2019
Conference number: 33


ConferenceScandinavian Association of Pollination Ecologists

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