Indices of competition and bio-agroeconomic efficiency of lettuce and tomato intercrops in greenhouses
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Intercropping is a cropping system for the production of greenhouse vegetables. It uses space more efficiently, thus reducing the cost of production. Intercropping tomato and lettuce has not been studied, but knowledge of the competitive and agroeconomic indices of these vegetables can help in the management of the intercropping system. The objectives of this study were to assess, through biological and agroeconomic indices, the competition between species and the profitability of intercropping tomato and lettuce at different times of transplantation over two growing seasons (autumn-winter and summer-winter) in greenhouse conditions. In autumn-winter, two experiments were conducted with a randomised complete-block design and five replicates. Tomato and lettuce were the main crops in the individual experiments. Treatments were arranged in a factorial of two cropping systems (intercropping and individual crops) with four transplants of the secondary crop (0, 10, 20 and 30 days after) plus an additional treatment (individual main crop). These two experiments were repeated in summer-winter. Tomato was the dominant crop regardless of transplant order. Intercropping systems established with transplants of both species on the same day had higher values of indices of competition and bio-agroeconomic efficiency than systems with longer periods of transplants between main and secondary crops. The intercropping of lettuce and tomato in greenhouses, regardless of transplant time or order, had bio-agroeconomic advantages over individual crops. The transplantation of tomato after lettuce is recommended for greater profitability.