Combination of greenhouse and open-field crop fertigation can increase sustainability of horticultural crops in the Mediterranean region
Reducing fertiliser and water consumption is crucial for achieving the sustainability of horticultural crops in the Mediterranean region. Inadequate management of greenhouse fertigation has hitherto produced negative environmental impacts as a result of the excessive use of water and fertilisers. Closed and recirculating hydroponic systems require high investment and running costs which are currently possible in the Mediterranean greenhouses only for high-value crops. The aim of this paper is to present an alternative method for reducing fertiliser and water consumption and thus reduce potential pollution from leachates in a greenhouse soilless tomato crop by collecting and reusing them for an open-field crop rotation sequence (lettuce-tomato-endive). The yield of lettuce (4.65 kg m-2) and tomato (2.94 kg m-2) in open field were slightly lower but statistically equal to that obtained using mineral fertigation (5.42 kg m-2 for lettuce and 3.1 kg m-2 for tomato). The reductions in fertiliser and water use by reusing leachates were also quantified (228.24 kg N ha-1 and 455.93 L m-2). Overall, the results demonstrate the potential to grow a greenhouse soilless tomato crop (beef tomato) with a leaching fraction of 40% and directly reuse leachates to fertigate an open-field crop rotation sequence of lettuce, tomato and endive with satisfactory commercial yields.
Muñoz, P., Flores, J.S., Antón, A. and Montero, J.I. 2017. Combination of greenhouse and open-field crop fertigation can increase sustainability of horticultural crops in the Mediterranean region. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1170:627-634
cascade crops, water use, nitrogen use