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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352405

Title: Soil microbial biomass and soil enzymes data after six years of cover crop and compost treatments in organic vegetable production

item Brennan, Eric
item Acosta-Martinez, Veronica

Submitted to: Data in Brief
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2018
Publication Date: 9/12/2018
Citation: Brennan, E.B., Acosta-Martinez, V. 2018. Soil microbial biomass and soil enzymes data after six years of cover crop and compost treatments in organic vegetable production. Data in Brief. 21:212-227.

Interpretive Summary: Understanding the effect of management on soil health is critical to develop sustainable agricultural systems in high-value vegetable systems. Soil microbial biomass and soil enzymes are considered sensitive and early indicators of changes in soil health. This paper presents data from six years in a long-term study in Salinas California that includes eight organic systems that differed in the amount of compost applied annually, the frequency of cover cropping, cover crop seeding rate, and cover crop type. The same sequence of vegetables occurred in all eight systems. This study shows the benefits of any compost and growing cover crops frequently in these tillage intensive high-value vegetable systems.

Technical Abstract: Cover crops and compost are organic matter inputs that can impact soil health in intensive, high-input, organic vegetable production systems in the central coast of California. Data are presented on microbial biomass (carbon and nitrogen) and soil enzymes (ß-glucosidase, ß-glucosaminidase, alkaline phosphatase, dehydrogenase, aspartase and L-asparaginase) from a relatively long-term organic systems experiment in Salinas California that was focused on lettuce and broccoli production and included eight different certified organic systems. These systems differed in compost inputs, cover cropping frequency, cover crop type, and cover cropping seeding rate. The compost was made from urban yard waste, and the cover crops included rye, a legume-rye mixture, and a mustard mixture planted at two seeding rates (standard rate 1x versus high rate 3x). There were three legume-rye 3x systems that differed in compost inputs (0 versus 15 Mg ha-1 year-1) and cover cropping frequency (every winter versus every fourth winter). The data presented in this paper support and augment information presented in the papers “Cover cropping frequency is the main driver of soil microbial changes during six years of organic vegetable production”, and “Cover crops and compost influence soil enzymes during 6 years of tillage-intensive, organic vegetable production”.