Interactions of onion (Allium cepa) and yellow wax bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in monoculture and intercropping with weeds, Chenopodium album and Amaranthus hybridus
Intercropping systems are seen as advantageous as they can provide higher crop yield and diversity along with fewer issues related to pests and weeds than monocultures. However, plant interactions in intercropped crop species and between crops and weeds in these systems are still not well understood. The main objective of this study was to investigate interactions between onion (Allium cepa) and yellow wax bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in monocultures and intercropping with and without the presence of a weed species, either Chenopodium album or Amaranthus hybridus. Another objective of this study was to compare morphological traits of C. album from two different populations (conventional vs. organic farms). Using a factorial randomized block design, both crop species were planted either in monoculture or intercropped with or without the presence of one of the two weeds. The results showed that intercropping onion with yellow wax bean increased the growth of onion but decreased the growth of yellow wax bean when compared to monocultures. The relative yield total (RYT) value was 1.3. Individual aboveground dry weight of both weed species under intercropping was reduced about 5 times when compared to the control. The poor growth of weeds in intercropping might suggest that crop diversification can help resist weed infestations. A common garden experiment indicated that C. album plants from the conventional farm had larger leaf area and were taller than those from the organic farm. This might be associated with specific evolutionary adaptation of weeds to different farming practices. These findings contribute to the fundamental knowledge of crop-crop interactions, crop-weed competition and adaptation of weeds to various conditions. They provide insights for the management of diversified cropping systems and integrated weed management as practices in sustainable agriculture.