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PeerJ. 2019 Jul 15;7:e7267. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7267. eCollection 2019.

A green garlic (Allium sativum L.) based intercropping system reduces the strain of continuous monocropping in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) by adjusting the micro-ecological environment of soil.

Author information

1
College of Horticulture, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China.
2
College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi Province, China.

Abstract

The continuous cropping obstacle of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) under facility cultivation is more prevalent in China. This is associated with an imbalance in soil microbial and ecological environment in long-term monocultures. It was postulated that intercropping with green garlic would relieve the continuous cropping obstacle of cucumber by altering the soil micro-ecology status. A pot-based experiment was conducted to investigate the green garlic-cucumber intercropping and cucumber monocropping systems. The results showed that the cucumber shoot biomass was improved by intercropping with green garlic. However, the population of soil bacteria and actinomycetes increased, while the fungal population decreased. The fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles indicated that soil contained more fungal FAME biomarkers (18:1ω9c, 18:2ω6, 9) and higher fungal:bacterial ratio in the monoculture system, whereas clustering of more bacterial FAME biomarkers (cy17:0, cy19:0, 16:1ω7c10, Me16:0, 10Me17:0, 10Me18:0) was observed under intercropping conditions. Moreover, significantly (P < 0.05) higher soil invertase and alkaline phosphatase activities, organic matter, and available N, P and K contents were observed under intercropping systems. These were high in both bulk and rhizosphere soils in the intercropping system when compared to monocropping system. These findings suggest that intercropping with green garlic can alleviate continuous cropping obstacle of cucumber by improving the diverse composition of soil microbial community, enzyme activities, and nutrient availability.

KEYWORDS:

Continuous cropping obstacle; Cucumber; Green garlic-based cropping systems; Soil micro-ecological environment

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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