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Data from: Soil carbon and nitrogen data during eight years of cover crop and compost treatments in organic vegetable production

Data presented are on carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) inputs, and changes in soil C and N in eight systems during the first eight years of a tillage-intensive organic vegetable systems study that was focused on romaine lettuce and broccoli production in Salinas Valley on the central coast region of California. The eight systems differed in organic matter inputs from cover crops and urban yard-waste compost. The cover crops included cereal 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 7.6 Mg ha−1 vegetable crop−1) and cover cropping frequency (every winter versus every fourth winter). The data include: (1) changes in soil total organic C and total N concentrations and stocks and nitrate N (NO3-N) concentrations over 8 years, (2) cumulative above ground and estimated below ground C and N inputs, cover crop and crop N uptake, and harvested crop N export over 8 years, (3) soil permanganate oxidizable carbon (POX-C) concentrations and stocks at time 0, 6 and 8 years, and (4) cumulative, estimated yields of lettuce and broccoli (using total biomass and harvest index values) over the 8 years. The C inputs from the vegetables and cover crops included estimates of below ground inputs based on shoot biomass and literature values for shoot:root. The data in this article support and augment information presented in the PLoS ONE research article “Winter cover crops increase readily decomposable soil carbon, but compost drives total soil carbon during eight years of intensive, organic vegetable production in California”.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POINT (-121.549172 36.622658)
Data in Brief
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Salinas, California, United States
Temporal Coverage
January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2010
Contact Name
Brennan, Eric B.
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service