An Intercrop Trial of Okra-Melon-Lima Bean
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Small-hold farmers practice various styles of intercropping around the world; their management of biodiversity has been linked to higher ecological resilience and productivity in comparison with monoculture systems. Agroecologists have studied on-farm biodiversity and intercropping systems to understand the myriad of ecosystem services they provide; properly designed intercrop systems have been shown to increase resource use efficiency, rehabilitate agricultural ecosystems, and increase overall production. The right combination and arrangement of cultivars or species can offer complementary and facilitative interactions between plants creating an environment where they are able to exceed the performance of their monoculture counterparts. Varying vegetative and root architectures allow plants to make more efficient use of radiation, water, and nutrients; as well as functioning as pest management systems. This project was a summer intercrop system of okra, melon, and lima beans. The land equivalence ratio (LER) of the system was calculated by block and an LER was calculated for the entire field using means of treatment plot yields. The null-hypothesis that there is no significant difference between the intercrop and monocrop yields of okra pods and biomass was tested using ANOVA.