Special Issue "Agroecology for Organic Vegetable Systems Redesign"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2022) | Viewed by 1206

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Elena Testani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, CREA - Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'Analisi dell'Economia Agraria, 13100 Vercelli, VC, Italy
Interests: organic farming; agroecology; allelopathy; ecological weed management; N dynamic in the soil-plant system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted, like never before, the close linkage between environmental and human health. In this fragile equilibrium, agriculture plays a crucial role. Modern agriculture, after the Green Revolution, moved towards intensification and simplification, causing a remarkable loss of biodiversity in agro-ecosystems, which have become highly vulnerable. In this context, a massive use of external inputs is pursued, exposing people, the ecosystem, and its biocomponents to severe health risks.

There is a growing awareness of the healthy and nutritional value of vegetables consumption in both developing and developed countries. However, vegetable cropping systems are particularly intensive. Organic management, if relied only on the compliance to organic regulation (input substitution approach), is not far from conventional management, aiming to high yield per unit area without a real attention to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, re-designing organic vegetable systems through agroecological principles represents a valuable strategy to face future challenges in agriculture, by promoting high levels of diversity and ecosystem services provision, restoring land and landscape while maintaining yields. As “participatory science”, agroecology also relies on the farmers’ engagement in co-research/innovation activities, promoting a change of governance towards new sustainable local-centered food systems.

This Special Issue will be dedicated to recent experiences in re-designing organic vegetable systems through agroecological practices as far as stakeholders’ involvement in the research/innovation. We seek contributions focusing on diversification strategies, soil conservation management, and waste and by-products recycling. We will consider multidisciplinary assessments on the effects of the agroecological and participatory approach on the systems’ economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

Dr. Elena Testani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agroecology
  • organic vegetable systems
  • system re-design
  • stakeholder involvement
  • diversification practices
  • conservation agriculture
  • organic inputs management
  • agro-biodiversity
  • sustainable management

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Faba Bean Strip Cropping in an Outdoor Organic Tomato System on Soil Nutrient Availability, Production, and N Budget under Different Fertilizations
Agronomy 2022, 12(6), 1372; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12061372 - 07 Jun 2022
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Abstract
Crop diversification has been identified as a tool to improve both productive and environmental performances of organic horticulture. We tested the introduction of faba beans in a tomato cropping system—both as preceding crop and in strip cropping (SC)—under different fertilization strategies—faba residues, animal [...] Read more.
Crop diversification has been identified as a tool to improve both productive and environmental performances of organic horticulture. We tested the introduction of faba beans in a tomato cropping system—both as preceding crop and in strip cropping (SC)—under different fertilization strategies—faba residues, animal manure, and vegetable compost. We studied: (i) the tomato nutrient uptake and yield and quality; (ii) the soil-N and P, the N-budget, and the mycorrhizal colonization. SC did not provide consistent positive effects on tomato production and quality, namely the N-uptake, N in the tomato yield, the mean fruit weight, and the sugar accumulation in berries, regardless of the type of fertilizers applied. SC improved the tomato dry yield and P-uptake, especially in years when the faba growth and the subsequent yield were problematic. Faba residues could provide sufficient N to sustain tomato production but care should be given in balancing additional N-inputs. Organic fertilization increased the soil-N concentration but did not always translate into an increased yield and a higher quality production, with the risk of escalating N-losses. SC improved the soil-P availability and mycorrhizal colonization in tomato, due to the rhizobia–mycorrhiza-mycorrhiza association, especially when coupled with organic fertilization. Finally, introducing faba as SC holds potential to improve the productive and environmental performance of organic tomato production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology for Organic Vegetable Systems Redesign)
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Article
Wool Pellets Are a Viable Alternative to Commercial Fertilizer for Organic Vegetable Production
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051210 - 18 May 2022
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Abstract
The maintenance of optimum mineral nutrient fertility is a limiting factor in organic vegetable systems, with many growers resorting to applications of off-farm commercial fertilizer inputs. In this study, pelleted sheep’s wool was compared against a standard commercial fertilizer product for effects on [...] Read more.
The maintenance of optimum mineral nutrient fertility is a limiting factor in organic vegetable systems, with many growers resorting to applications of off-farm commercial fertilizer inputs. In this study, pelleted sheep’s wool was compared against a standard commercial fertilizer product for effects on productivity and plant growth in spinach and tomato. Two rates of wool pellets were applied; one was standardized to the nitrogen inputs of the ‘grower standard’ commercial treatment, and a second higher rate which was suggested by the pellet manufacturer with about 2.5 times the nitrogen content. Overall, few differences were observed among the fertilized treatments. Crop yield for both tomato and spinach generally increased with increasing fertility application, with no differences between commercial and wool pellet fertilizers applied at the same rate of nitrogen. The uptake of mineral nutrients in spinach plant tissues differed for K, Mg, P, S, B, and Ca, but there was no general trend that could be attributed to a particular treatment. Tomato fruit quality was the same for all treatments, but non-fertilized fruit had lower total polyphenols than the highest-fertility treatment. Overall, wool pellets performed very similarly to commercial organic fertilizer for both crops and could be a promising alternative that may open up opportunities for greater integration of plant and animal systems on diversified farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology for Organic Vegetable Systems Redesign)
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