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Evaluating fava bean genotypes for Northeast and intercropping with garlic

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2016 September Issue Newsletter

By Masoud Hashemi

Photo by Sarahdera. Available under a Creative Commons License.

A pre-proposal was submitted to “Northeast SARE Research and Education Grant” which has been approved by the reviewers. A full proposal has been requested and the due date is October 1.

Research description:

Our hypothesis is that fava bean as a cool season legume crop can be planted in double cropping with lettuce (or another vegetable) in early summer and/or as a multi-purpose crop in late summer with garlic intercropped into its standing green residues.

We are seeking 4-5 organic vegetable farms (preferably those involved with a CSA) as collaborators to participate in on-farm research starting June 2017.

The research area would be roughly 2,400 SQ FT. In this experiment, a fava bean variety will be planted in 2.5 feet wide rows on July 7-10, 2017. We expect to be harvesting fava bean fresh pods in late September. However, fava bean plants will continue growing and fixing nitrogen after pods are harvested. It will be winter killed sometime in December, therefore while fava bean residues protect the soil during winter and spring, it will not be mineralized until next spring since soil microbial activity is minimal during the period between late fall and early spring. Garlic will be planted between fava bean rows around October 15. It geminates and grows in the following spring while fava bean residues will be continuously but gradually releasing nitrogen to growing garlic.

We will apply four fertility treatments to the garlic:

  1. Garlic with no fava bean, but receiving farmer’s traditional fertility program.
  2. Garlic with fava bean without any added nitrogen.
  3. Garlic with fava bean plus half of the traditional N source.
  4. Garlic with fava bean plus full traditional N source.

Measurements include fava bean fresh pods yield, fava bean biomass (before it winter kills), garlic yield in all four treatments, assessment of N contribution from fava bean to the garlic. A graduate student will help with research layout, planting and all measurements.

If the full proposal is funded, collaborating farmers will receive:

  1. Technical assistance through phone, email, or farm visits.
  2. Fava bean seeds, inoculant, and garlic cloves.
  3. Organic fertilizer source (farmer’s choice).
  4. All of harvested fava bean pods and garlics.
  5. $500 compensation for each year of demonstration (up to three years).
  6. Brochures that introduce fava bean to the CSA members as well as various recipes for using fava beans.

If you are interested in participating in this project or need further information please contact Masoud Hashemi at (413) 545-1843 or by September 30, 2016.

Comments and ideas about the project are welcome.




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