The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Improving Lives, Communities and the Economy

Summer Cover Crop Use in Arizona Vegetable Production Systems

Author: 
Wang, Guangyao (Sam)
Nolte, Kurt
Publication Date: 
July 2010
Publication Number: 
AZ1519
Pages: 
4 pp.
Abstract or Description: 
Many vegetable growers in the low deserts of Arizona and California fallow their fields during the hot summer months, providing an excellent window to grow warm-season cover crops that are adapted to the intense desert heat. Cover crops are any ground cover grown to add nitrogen to the soil, suppress pest populations, mitigate soil erosion, and reduce nutrient leaching. Most importantly, growing cover crops can build up and maintain soil organic matter, a major source for sustaining and increasing agricultural productivity. This is particularly important in the desert southwest because soils in the area are typically low in organic matter. In addition, the combination of pest suppression and nitrogen fixation from legumes could be especially useful in organic production systems, where no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers can be used. Despite the benefits of integrating cover crop rotations into commercial production schemes, careful management is required since cover crops can modify the availability of soil nitrogen and other critical nutrients.
Language: 
English
Publisher: 
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
Contributor: 
Plant Sciences, School of
Relation: 
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Publication AZ1519
Keyword: 
summer cover crop
vegetable system
cowpea
lablab
sesbania
sudangrass
pearl millet
Type: 
Text
Pamphlet
Subject Category: 
Plant Production/Crops