Keywords: Fertiliser, glasshouse, lettuce, endive, celery, spinach, nitrate accumulation, review.
Optimising the nutrition of protected leaf vegetable crops is essential to maintain large yields and product quality. Any imbalance in matching the nutrient supply to the demand of the crop can reduce growth; can increase the incidence of nutrient disorders or accumulation of potentially harmful elements in crops; and can increase the risk of crop damage or adverse environmental impacts from the unnecessary build-up of nutrients in the soil. This paper outlines the principles of crop nutrition and fertiliser use on protected leaf vegetables and describes how fertiliser recommendations have been developed. Particular attention is given to the problem of nitrate accumulation, including consideration of the main contributory factors and the cultural practices which can be used to try and alleviate it. The potential for breeding low nitrate varieties as part of a more sustainable long-term solution is discussed.
Ian G Burns and Kefeng Zhang, Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne, Warwick, CV35 9EF, UK.
Abraham Escobar-Gutierrez, INRA, Unité d’ Ecophysiologie des Plantes Fourragères, 86600 Lusignan, France.
32 Pages, 9 Figures, 2 Tables, 125 References.