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, 8 (4), e62173

Intercropping of Green Garlic (Allium Sativum L.) Induces Nutrient Concentration Changes in the Soil and Plants in Continuously Cropped Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus L.) in a Plastic Tunnel


Intercropping of Green Garlic (Allium Sativum L.) Induces Nutrient Concentration Changes in the Soil and Plants in Continuously Cropped Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus L.) in a Plastic Tunnel

Xuemei Xiao et al. PLoS One.


A pot-based experiment was conducted to investigate nutrient concentrations in cucumber plants intercropped with various amounts of green garlic. In addition, the soil nutrient contents were studied over two consecutive growing seasons. The results revealed that the accumulation of biomass and the nutritional elements nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and manganese (Mn) in cucumber plants were significantly increased for intercropping treatments during the two growing seasons compared to monoculture. Conversely, magnesium (Mg) concentrations were decreased in the cucumber plants. Shoot iron (Fe) concentrations decreased whereas root Fe concentrations increased in the intercropping system. Shoot and root zinc (Zn) concentrations decreased during the fall of 2011 but increased during the spring of 2012. Soil organic matter and available N, P and K were significantly increased as the proportion of intercropped green garlic increasing. Medium levels of intercropping green garlic improved cucumber nutrient concentrations the most. The regression analysis showed that the concentrations of most elements were significantly related to the amounts of garlic bulbs, especially the microelements in the spring 2011. The available soil N and organic matter were linearly related to the amounts of garlic bulbs. The results indicate that the nutritional status of the soil and plants of continuously cropped cucumber could be improved by intercropping with green garlic.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Cucumber shoot and root biomasses with various amounts of intercropped green garlic in the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012.
Samples were taken 45 days after cucumber intercropping with green garlic in the fall of 2011 and the transplantation of cucumber in the spring of 2012. CK represents cucumber monocropping. T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 represent 150, 300, 450, 600 and 750 g of garlic bulbs intercropped with cucumber, respectively. Different letters above bars indicate significant differences at the P<0.05 level, n = 10.

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Grant support

This research was supported by the project of the State Natural Science Foundation (No. 31171949) and the project of the State Commonwealth (Agriculture) Scientific Research (No. 200903018).The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.