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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 20:53 (article 23) 1997

Different Crop Association Systems with Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duch.) cv. Mariucha

Sara L. Cortes Hernandez and Maria de los A. Pino

National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Carretera Tapaste Km 3 1/2, San Jose de las Lajas, Habana Cuba, Gaveta Postal No. 1 C.P. 32700

In Cuba, pumpkin yields have decreased in recent years to 1.3 t/ha, due to the abiotic stress conditions of this period. This has resulted in a reduced cultivar spectrum in pumpkin, and a decreased in the consumption of β-carotene (provitamin A) by the people. (Similar yield decreases have been observed in watermelon.) Therefore, pumpkin cultivars such as 'Mariucha' have recently been developed at the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (NIAS). NIAS is also studying the effects of seed spacing, plant populations, preceding crops and crop cultures, green manures and intercropping, in order to improve the crop technology for pumpkin.

Intercropping is a way of potentially increasing total land use during the pumpkin production season in Cuba. The aim of the current research was to study the effect of different crop associations with pumpkin, as it is feasible to be cultivating in wide planting frames.

Materials and Methods. An experiment was carried out on a compacted Red Ferratic soil in 1994 and 1995, with the objective of finding the most adequate crop association with pumpkin. Treatments consisted of using peanut (Arachis hypogaea), sweetpotato (Ipomea batata lin.) cv. CENSA 78-345, and corn (Zea mays) in association with pumpkin. These crops were seeded or planted one month after pumpkin in a randomized block design with three replicates. Pumpkins were spaced 1.8 x 3.0 m. Peanut plants were spaced at 0.9 x 0.3 cm, and sweetpotato and corn were spaced at 0.9 x 0.25 cm, on either side of the pumpkin rows.

Results and Discussion. Yields of peanut, sweetpotato and corn, alone and in association with pumpkin, are listed in Table 1. The three association showed a land equivalent index (LEI) greater than 1.0, making it evident that the polycultures surpassed the respective monocultures. In particular, the peanut association was 82% higher than its separate monoculture. There was also a lower occurrence of main pests when pumpkin was grown in association with these crops.

These results illustrate the potential for improving the use of a agricultural lands in Cuba by growing crops in association with pumpkin. It is also an alternative to devoting a large amount of land to potato production, since pumpkin and the other crops do not demand as much in the way of fertilizer. Also, these crops may be able to take advantage of the residual fertilizer remaining in the soil after a potato crop.

Table 1. Effect of intercropping on yield and land equivalent index of pumpkin and three associated crops in 1995.

Yield (t/ha)




0.48 ns
0.03 ns
0.86 ns
0.45 ns



The authors gratefully acknowledge the manuscript suggestions carried by Dr. I. Boz from Plant Breeding Department of Wageningen.

Literature Cited

  1. Leyva, A.G. Scientific results from studies on crop rotation and association. A report. National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (INCA), Havana, 1992.
  2. Fernandez George C.J. 1992. Effective selection criteria assessing plan stress tolerance. In: Adaptation of Food Crops to Temperature and Water Stress: Proceedings of an International symposium. Taiwan. P. 257-270.
  3. Maynard, D.N. 1996. Performance of tropical pumpkin inbreds and hybrids in: Toward 2000: Proc. 6th Eucarpia Meeting on cucurbit Genetics & Breeding.
  4. Paris, H.S., H. Nerson and Y. Burger. 1987/ Lea silvering of cucurbita. Canadian J. Science 67:593-598.
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 15 December, 2009