Determining optimum planting dates for intercropped cucumber, squash, and muskmelon with strawberry

Bielinski M. Santos, Elizabeth A. Golden, Silvia Slamova, Alicia J. Whidden

Abstract


Three field trials were conducted to determine the most appropriate planting dates for cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.), and muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) intercropped with strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch.), and their effect on 'Strawberry Festival' strawberry yields. 'Straight Eight' cucumber, 'Crookneck' summer squash, and 'Athena' muskmelon were planted 15 days apart on 25 Jan., 9 Feb., 23 Feb., 9 Mar., and 23 Mar. None of the three intercropped species affected strawberry yield up to 60 days before the end of the season on 25 Mar. Cucumber yield responded quadratically to planting dates, rapidly increasing from 25 Jan. to 23 Feb. (approximately 67%), reaching the maximum yield between 23 Feb. and 9 Mar., and declining afterwards. Warmer temperatures seemed to favor summer squash yield, performing better at or after 23 Feb. Planting the crop as early as 25 Jan. reduced yields by 36%, in comparison with those obtained in plots planted on 23 Feb. The opposite tendency was observed with muskmelon, reducing yield as temperatures increased. The largest production was measured when the crop was planted on 25 Jan. and 9 Feb., which was 27% higher than the yield on 23 Feb. In summary, cucumber and summer squash seemed to be favored by planting under warmer temperatures, whereas muskmelon thrives under cooler weather.

Keywords


Fragaria xananassa; Cucumis sativus; Cucurbita pepo; Cucumis melo; cucurbits; double-cropping; cultural practices; sustainable agriculture

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283