Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Plant and Environmental Science
Dr. Rongzhong Ye, Co-Chair
Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha, Co-Chair
Dr. Ariel Szogi
Dr. Brian Ward
Coastal Plain soils in the Southeastern USA are typically sandy with poor soil structure, low soil organic carbon (SOC) content, and meager soil fertility that pose challenges to organic agriculture. Adding organic inputs is a strategy to improve these soils' physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Here, we aim to investigate the impacts of Cover Cropping (CC) and manure inclusions on sandy soils under organic vegetable production. The experiment design was a randomized complete block with two treatments of manure application (with and without) and four CC treatments of cereal rye (Secale cereale), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), a mixture of those two species, and a fallow. Winter CC were planted in the late fall and then followed by manure applications. Soils (0-15 cm depth) were collected in Spring 2022 before CC termination. Biomass production was estimated, and tissue samples were collected for Total Carbon (TC) and Nitrogen (TN) analyses. With no significant interaction of the manure and CC treatments, the manure increased CC biomass by 45% (from 2,741 to 3973.3 kg ha-1), EC by 33% (from 81.16 to 127.28 µS cm-1), and active C by 20% (from 210.86 to 253.78 mg kg-1). The manure application did not affect the Ag. MWD, M3P, CO2, N min, or the BG enzyme activity (Table 2.2). The CC treatment did not affect soil pH, M3P, AC, CO2, BG, or TN. The manure and CC treatments had limited impacts on soil health in the short term, perhaps due to sandy texture and high decomposition rates.
Williamson, Charles, "Cover Cropping and Organic Amendments to Improve Sandy Soils Under Organic Vegetable Production" (2022). All Theses. 3935.
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