Bulletin No. 3 New Series October, 1928
John M. Scott
State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
Nathan Mayo, Commissioner
Prepared and Published in Cooperation with the
College of Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Ne~v Si~pje,.~ )et Iep. 1928
.lohin 31. Scott
State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
Natlhn Mlayo, Colmmissioner
Ta I ll ahssee
Prepared and Published in Cooperation with the
College of Agrleulture, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Hulletin No. 3:
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Nathanli ayo. ('oinmissioiner of Agriculture
T1. .. Brooks. Director, Bureau of Immigration
I'hil S. Taylor. Advertising Editor
.Johnl Scott. Agricuilturial Editor ..
A Florida Potato Field
- I. '.
Irish Potatoes in Florida
Prepared and Published in Cooperation with the College of Agriculture,
University of Florida, Gainesville.
D FRIN( tihe past six years the annual shipments of pota-
toes in the United States have averaged about 244,000
earloads.* This is equal io a solid train extending troni
Miami. Florida, to Portland, Maine. Only a comparatively
smallH percentage of the total rolp is marketed locaIll. which
may he aionllted foLr b the fact thliat the crops from different
sections of the United States (collme on the market at varying
seasons of lhe year.
The Florida crop for liIte spring of 1928 was 7.899 carloads.
which is equal to ai freight train seventy miiiles long. The ship-
ping period inl Florida is about 60 days. the height of the
shipping season being the las! half of April and the first half
of Mayv. Th'lis means that the railroads in Florida have to
arrange in advance for the necessary freighlit cars to be at the
various shipping points at the proper time. The barrel maiiu-
faiturers also have to nmke their plans in advance so as to
have the necessary larrels on hand at harvest time. The total
production of tlie crop. therefore, has to be estimated in ad-
vance of harvesting time.
The early spring clop of Irish potatoes comes from Florida
and( Arizona in March. April. andl May. Texas follows very
closely. and by the time the Texas crop ihas been marketed.
Louisiana. Mississippi. Alabama. (Georgia. South Carolina and
North C(arolina send their crops to market. Oklahoma, Arkan-
sas. Tennessee. Kansas. Missouri. Kentucky. lliiiois, and Cali-
fornia send their erop to market during .July. August, and
September. Nearly iall of the potatoes produced ill the states
mIentioned above are consumed as IIiew potatoes. as very few
go into storage for winter Iuse.
The shipments from October through March go forward
froin the other potato-growing sections, such ais (olorado.
Idaho. Nebraska, Nevada. North and South Dakota, Oregon.
Washington. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Mainle. and a
few other states. The crop from these last slates is composed
mainly of potatoes that go into storage in early winter and are
put on lthe market during the winter and early spring. Tlhe
harvestiing, shipping. and sellillng of l'irish potatoes is almost a
continuous operation from early spring to late fall. which
SYea' .r.lnk of .A\griiilturel 19i27.
T l I 'lr | f Floridii Staitt .1M;rke'lting iirle';iii. 1927-IlL -is.
DIEPAHTMENT OF AGRICULTU 'RE
means that the marketing of the potato 'rop of tilt United
States is quite a problem.
Whether the Florida potato grower will get a high or low
price for his crop will depend very largely upon lihe potato
c'rop in storage on .January 1 of each year. If a large quantity
of potatoes is in storage at this time and the price is low. the
chances are that the price of thel new potatoes will be com-
paratively low when the Florida crop is ready to ship. On the
other hand. if the amount in storage is small and tile price is
hiiigh. it is reasonable to expect a good price for the spring crop.
SECTIONS WHICII GROW POTATOES
Irish potatoes have been grown in Florida for more than
forty years. and on a commercial scale for thirty years. The
first potato producing center of Florida was at Ilastings in
St. Johns county, and for thirty years or more Hastings has
been famous as the Irish potato growing section of Florida.
During the past fifteen or twenty years other sections of the
State have grown Irish potatoes on a large enough scale to
indlicate that they calln e grown successfully in a great many
localities. In 1907 farmers in Flagler county began raising
potatoes on a commercial scale, and in 1912 farmers ill ('lay
county began growing them for market. Farmers in the La-
Crosse section of Alachua county began growing potatoes in
1919. Since that time farmers in the lower East Coast section
and on the muck lands have been growing potatoes on a com-
mercial scale. Some progress has also been made in growing
potatoes in limited areas on the lower West Coast. Several
of tlhe couilnties in the northern and northwestern part of the
State are likewise beIinning to grow them successfully and
are shipping in earload lots.
Tlhe above information is given to show that the growing of
Irish potatoes in Florida is not limited to any one section, but
that they are grown throughlioit tle State. Since 1923. or dur-
ing the past five years. an average of 24.800 acres per year has
been planted to Irish potatoes in Florida. with an average
yearly production of 2.605,800 bushels. The yield has averaged
approximately 38 barrels per acre. As other sections of the
State take up the growing of potatoes, it is quite likely that
the total acreage in the State will increase from year to year.
The Irish potato is a crop that is adapted to a variety of
soils. The main requirements of a soil for Irish potatoes are
that it be slightly acid. have irood drainage. plenty of plant
IRIs %PoTATOES IN FLORII)A_
food. nmd sufficient moisture so that at no time duringg the
growth lof tlih crop will the plants lack for moisture. An acid
soil fo'r potatoes in Florida is almost a necessity. This is ilue
to thel fate tllat potatoes grown on a neutral or alkaline soil
are apt to lie s.eabby. but whent grown inil an acid soil there is
little danger of sceab. An abundance of moisture is also re-
(qiired to produce ia Imaxillilmum potato crop. However, if the
land is not well drained excessive rainfall may at times calls
water to stand oi or ear the silrface long iieouigh at a time to
damage the crop materially.
The la roger part of the Irish potato acreage in Florida is on
flatwoods soils, whi il e t lch areaige on drained nmuck lanld semi-
muck is next il ilmportane. No potatoes are grown onl the
'lThe latwoods soils of Florida tliat are underlaid with hard-
pan. or where the lnalive growth is very largely scrub palllmetto
and gallberry. are not (desirable for" t lie glro'wilg of Irish pota-
toes. It has been demonstrated tliat where potatoes are grown
in soils underlaid with hardpalu. the yield will in the vast lma-
jority of eases be disappointing and the crop will not be profit-
able. This may be due to several reasons. Soils underlaid
with harliillpal are affected quicker all(n milore severely ly
droi'lglit IItha soils that have a1 clay or a sanlidy cla. subsoil.
lThe hardpan also usually makes proper draillnage more diffi-
cult. A heavy glrowtlh of scrub palmetto alld galllerry will
make thel cost of clearing so great that tlhe investment in the
land Ilmay be too large for thel potato crop to be Iprodluced lit al
profit. As a general rule, a heavy growIth of scrub palmiletto
and gallberry. is a good indication oif hardpan.
Practically all types of lmucllk soil arell satisfactory for potato
culture. In fact. on saw grass nmuck potatoes )produce a better
yield than almost any other farm crop. The itmuck soils that
are thoroughlly ldecolmposed atnd well settled produce heavy
yields of the finest quality of potatoes. Muck does not require
such heaivv applications of fertilizer as do other types of soil.
However, since frosts aret likely to Ibe more severe oni muclk soil.
it mleatls one Ilmust take more risk inl producing all early crop onl
Haitmm(ock lanId. when well drained. is also very desirable for
tie production of Irish potatoes. In fact. Irislh potatoes will
grow on aniy well drained imuck land that contains a fair
allounlt of humus andI holds moisture well. ()n those soils
lacking inl hulmus where there is t grootd clay subsoil. it is not
so difficult to increase the humulllls colltent.
Marl soils in Florida ca('nnot be reolllelldedll(ll for Irish pota-
toes. since this type of soil is nIleutral or strongly alkaline.
:t I. Ip.
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Potatoes grown on this soil are very apt to be scabby, although
marl soils are desirable for many other crops.
Poor sandy land will not grow Irish potatoes. It lacks both
humus and moisture. By this is meant that it will not retain a
sufficient amount of moisture to produce a profitable yield.
PREPARATION OF THE SOIL
Thorough preparation of the soil for any farm or garden
crop will pay. When a good seedbed has been prepared. the
nutritive elements in the soil are more readily available to the
crop and the amount of cultivation needed by the growing crop
The preparation of the land for Irish potatoes is like that
for any other intensive farm crop. The land should be plowed
to a depth of four to eight inches. If a heavy growth of weeds
and grass is on the land, extra care should be taken to turn
under all of this growth. The plowing should be done far
enough in advance of the time of planting so that all vegetable
matter will have decayed sufficiently to prevent it interfering
with cultivation of the crop. When there is plenty of moisture
in the soil, plowing a month before planting time will ordi-
narily give time enough for the vegetable matter to decay.
After plowing, the land should be harrowed so as to give
a fairly smooth surface. Should the ground be rough and
turfy after plowing, use a disk harrow to cut up the surface.
When the surface soil is fairly smooth, the tooth or Aeme
harrow will be found satisfactory to prepare a good seedbed.
It will be advisable to harrow the ground every ten days or
two weeks from the time it is plowed until the crop is planted.
On flat, poorly drained land where water is likely to stand
after rains, it is advisable to run the rows so as to take ad-
vantage of the natural drainage. Since potatoes are always
planted on ridges, it is essential to make sure that all furrows
between hle rows are connected with the drainage ditches lead-
ing away from the field.
On new land where potatoes will be the first crop. it is not
usually advisable to plow the ground more than four to six
inches deep. The land should, however, be thoroughly disked
so as to cut and break up all roots and trash near the surface
that might interfere with cultivation.
After tihe land has been thoroughly prepared, it is -ready for
fertilization. The amount of fertilizer to use will vary some-
what. depending on the character of the soil. On nearly all
IRIl I) POTATOES IN FLORIDA 9_
types of soil. except mluck, the most successful growers use a
complete fertilizer. The analysis of the fertilizer most colm-
nmonly used is 5 percent ammonia. 7 percent available phos-
phoric acid. and 5 percent potash. The amount applied varies
from 1.5)(0) to 2.5(0) pounds per acre. although the majority of
growers use 2.000 pounds to the acre.
The fertilizer may be applied in one or two applications.
When it is all applied at once, it is usually put on ten days or
two weeks before planting the potatoes. If it is put on in two
applications, about one-half is applied before planting and the
remainder as a side application when tlihe potatoes are from
four to six inches in height. About the only conditions that
warrant putting the fertilizer on in two applications would be
on very sandy soil lacking in humus where rains would leach
out the fertilizer very quickly.
It may sometimes be advisable to give a side-dressing of
nitrate of soda at the rate of 1)50 to 200 pounds to the acre.
It is not necessary to do this unless the crop shows signs of
On imuck soils, the question of what kind and how much
fertilizer to apply to a potato crop is still debatable. Some
successful growers use 500 to 1.000 pounds of fertilizer per
acre of the same analysis previously given. Other growers
insist that the fertilizer need not contain more than 2 percent
ammonia. 7 percent available phosphoric acid and 5 to 8 per-
cenr potash. Still other growers report that they have gotten
just as good yields with no fertilizer as they have when they
used as muchd as 1,000 pounds to the aere.
Since the Irish potato crop is subject to frost, there is more
or less danger of the crop being, damaged in Florida each year
from the cold. The most dependable frost protection that can
be secured is to refrain from planting too early in the season.
The manl who plants in advance of the regular planting season
is taking chances with the elements.
When the plants are only two to four inches high, frost pro-
tection can often be secured by covering the plants with an
inch or two of soil. As soon as danger from cold is past, the
plants should be uncovered. Another method that has proved
effective in warding off the effects of a light frost is irrigation
where available whenever there is danger of frost.
It has also been found by experience that it is unwise to
cultivate the crop if frost is predicted within twenty-four
hours. A light frost will cause more damage in a freshly
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
cultivated field than in a field which has not been cultivated
for three or four days.
Perhaps the best frost protection call be secured by the wise
selection of a location that will be naturally protected from
frost, combined with the practice of not planting the crop too
early in the season. Even with all of these precautions, how-
ever, there is always some danger of frost injury to the Irish
potato crop in Florida.
Fig. 1.-A Machine Potato Planter.
-Courtesy Fla. Agri. Extension Division.
The potato rows should be laid off and bedded up after the
fertilizer has been applied. On the lower flat lands, the rows
should be bedded or ridged up 10 to 15 inches high, or suffi-
ciently high to afford good drainage. On the better drained
lands, the rows need not be ridged up more than 4 to 8 inches
high. The bedding up of the rows not only affords better
drainage, but it is also an advantage in digging the crop. The
rows are usually three and a half feet apart, although some
growers make the 'rows four feet apart.
A large part of the potato crop is planted with a potato
planter. Machine planting has some advantages over hand
planting. An important one is that there is no excessive loss
of soil moisture at time of planting. When planting by hand.
the furrow is left open for some time, and as a result a large
IRISHI lPOTAT()E.S iN FLOR1D)A
anlionilt of moisture is lost by evaporation. On tile other hand,
inachline planting leaves the seeldled rather loose and the
ground often ridged a little too uich. These last two objec-
tions can,. however, be overcome by attiaehingi a board behind
ite planter so as to dragI the rows. When a machine planter
is used(. it is necessary to keep a close watch on( the machine to
see that it is operating properly at all times.
The seed should be dropped teni to fourteen inches apaIrt ill
tle row and covered about four inches deep.
In Florida the potato crop is planted from December 1, or
thereabouts, to the last of February. The earliest plantings
are in South Florida, with plantings in (Central Florida a week
or ten days later. Plantings in North Florida may vary from
a week to a month later than in Central Florida.
With favorable conditions. the Florida potato crop should be
ready to harvest in from 90 to 100 days from (late of planting.
Like nearly all truck erops grown in Florida. the early crop as
a rule b'ring)s the best price. Therefore, the earlier tlie crop
cain be planted without frost injury. the better the chance to
get a rood price for (the crop. Frequently one can find land
that is well protected against freezes. On such locations, plant-
ings may le made earlier than on lands of the same locality
that do not have the cold protection.
A small acreage in the State is planted to Irish potatoes in
early fall. The fall planted crop is used largely for home use
and the local markets, a very small part being shipped to the
The fertilization and preparation of the land for the fall
crop is about the sallme as for the winter crolp. The yield per
acre will not be as heavy as from the winter planting. The fall
.rop is usually planted in North and Central Florida about
September 1. and in South Florida between September 15 aind
Comparatively. few varieties of Irish potatoes have been
growni successfully inI Florida. The central and northern part
of thlie State. where tle larger part of the Florida potatoes are
,grow,. plant Spaulding 's Rose No. 4 and a few Irish Cobblers.
The Bliss Triumwph is grown almost entirely in South Florida
and( inl tile western part of til St ate. ''he'e are. however.
strollng advocates altllyi thIe growers ill each section for all
three of these varieties.
(;ood seed is as important inl glrowinig a conllmiereial crop of
Irish polatoe. s as witli alny other crop. A large number of
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
potato growers in the State will plant only certified seed.
certifiedd seed usually costs a little more, but growers have
found from experience that it pays. Seed potatoes should not
(oly be disease free, but they should be true to type in color
and shape. The Florida grown crop is seldom used for seed
except in some cases where No. 3 grade potatoes from the
spring crop are carried over for fall planting. A very large
part of the seed potatoes used in Florida is grown in Maine.
Fig. 2.-Note High Ridges with Water Furrows Between.
-Courtesy M. R. Ensign.
As a rule, the best growers choose medium sized tubers for
planting. The potatoes are cut so as to have two good eyes
to a piece. The amount of seed to use per acre will vary with
the soil conditions. If the soil is inclined to be dry and no
irrigation is available, the plants should be given more space.
Where the soil is natirrally moist or irrigation is available.
plantings can be made closer. Ten to fifteen bushels of seed
per acre should be sufficient for liberal planting. It is desir-
able to use plenty of seed in order to get as nearly a 100 per-
cent stand as possible. The cost of cultivation and fertiliza-
tion is the same for a 60 percent stand as for a 90 percent
stand. Maximum yields cannot be obtained where only a 60
or 75 percent stand is obtained. A poor stand may sometimes
be due to lack of moisture in the soil at planting time, or it
IRISH POTATOES IN FIORID)A 13
may he I ldue to too much moisture or lack of drainage. Planting
too deep is also another cause for poor germination. Even
though germination is good, the stand may be reduced by frost.
Since Irisl potatoes may be termed a short season crop, it is
important to make conditions as nearly ideal for rapid growth
as possible. Til reform, cultivation should be shallow and as
frequent as necessary to induce rapid growth. Grass and
weeds, however, do not make as rapid growth during the time
of year potatoes are growing as they d during the summer
If heavy rains occur soon after planting, it may be necessary
to cultivate the top of the ridges with a board drag. This will
break up the hard surface crust and will also destroy any
weeds that may have started growth. The "remainder of tihe
cultivation may he doie with a disk cultivator. When the
Fig. 3.-A Fifty-acre Field of good Potatoes.
disk cultivator is used, it must be adjusted to suit tlie condi-
tions. If the land has been well prepared, only shallow cultiva-
tion will lbe necessary. If for any reason the bottomIs of tihe
furrows. that is between the rows. become weedy, the most
satisfactory implement to use is a V-shaped cultivator. This
will cultivate the bottoms of the furrows and at the same time
destroy any grass or weeds on the sides of the ridges.
Fig 4-Potato Digger at Work,
Fig, 5,-Close.up View of a Potato Dig(Jer,
-Courtesy U, S, D, A,
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 6.-Ready to go to the Grader.
Harvesting usually begins in ninety to one hundred days
after planting. The important point is to make sure that the
potatoes are of marketable size, of good edible quality, and
mature enough to stand shipping. The proper stage of ma-
turity can be well judged by taking the potato between the
thumb and forefinger. If the skin of the potato slips easily
under slight pressure. and tiel potatoes are of good size, they
are then usually ready to harvest.
Harvesting is done in two ways. One is digging by hand
with a potato fork, while the other is with a machine called a
potato digger. There are several types of potato diggers which
may be pulled either by a team or tractor. The machinery for
digging is generally operated by a gasoline engine or power is
supplied by the tractor. The machine digs the potatoes, con-
veys them over a belt. shakes tlem free from vines and dirt.
and then drops them on top of the bed in rows. There is a
difference of opinion among growers as to which method is tile
most economical. At the present time about fifty percent of
the Florida potato crop is dug with a potato digger.
As soon as the potatoes are dug they are picked up by hand
in baskets and placed in barrels or sacks. They are then loaded
into wagons or trucks and taken to the grader. This is a ma-
chine operated by hand or by a small engine or motor, which
grades according to size.
Their following table from the United States Department of
Agriculture Circular No. 8 gives the standard grades for pota-
toes as far as they apply to Florida:
OFFICIAl STANDARDS FOR TilE INSPECTION OF POTATOES, AUGUST, 9211
Dirt, for- injury andll)iameter
rot, disease, eign matterlsoft rot
I ITel i1S
U. S, Similar va. Free from Free from Free
No, I rietal char. damage damage
U, S, Similar va- Free rom No restrict. Free
No, 2 rietal clar. serious tion
|Toler. Toler. Toler-
lance ance lance
for for for
size, 'de, soft
by |feets rot
weight by (part
Weighto of tol-
(inches) cent) cent)
(R)* 1~ 5 6
from 1 mini.
* (10) IIIcllis I'i li lehlieds anI LI I I IIe: S 1l1llg I;iritie'tes,
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DEFINITION OF TERMS
"Soft rot" means any soft or mushy condition of the tissue
such as slimy rot, wet fusarium, or wet breakdown following
freezing injury or sunscald.
"Free from damage" means that the appearance shall not
be injured to an extent readily apparent upon casual examina-
tion of the lot and that any damage from the causes men-
tioned can be removed in the ordinary process of preparation
for use without appreciable waste in addition to that which
would occur if the potatoes were perfect. Loss of outer skin
(epidermis) shall not be considered as an injury to the ap-
"Badly misshapen" means of such shape as to cause appre-
ciable waste in the ordinary process of preparation for use in
addition to that which would occur if the potato were perfect.
"Free from serious damage" means that any damage from
the causes mentioned can be removed by the ordinary process
of preparation for use without a waste of 10 percent or more
of the total weight, in addition to that which would occur if
the potato were perfect.
"Diameter" means the greatest dimension at right angles to
the longitudinal axis. The long axis shall be used without
regard to the position of the stem.
The growers around Hastings, Florida, class potatoes from
11/ to lt/. inches in diameter as No. 3's. The U. S. official
standards do not recognize a No. 3, however, and this grade
is shipped only in a high price year. All potatoes less than
11/ inches in diameter are considered as culls.
When the crop has ideal growing conditions, it may run 85
to 90 percent No. I's and 10 percent No. 2's. Under average
conditions, however, the crop will run 70 to 75 percent No.
l's, 15 percent No. 2's, and 10 percent No. 3's.
The potatoes go direct from the grader into the barrels
used for shipping them to market. As soon as the barrels are
filled with potatoes, the heads are nailed in and they are then
loaded into freight cars for shipment to market.
Fig, 7,-rading Potatoes for the Market,
I)E'ARTMI E.'T OF A R..I'I'Ih'I E
Fig. 8.-Grades of Potatoes. From Readers Left, Grade No. 1. Grade No. 2,
Grade No. 3.
Fig. 9.--Hrvesting In Barrtls Ready to go to the Grader.
Fig. 10.-Harvesting in Bushel Baskets Ready to go to
IRISH POTATOES IN FIO)RIDA 21
Almost the entire Florida crop is shipped to the northern
markets. This means that the crop must be graded according
to the market demands. Nos. 1 and 2 are about the only sizes
shipped except in case of a short crop and high prices. No. 3's
are usually sold locally, and frequently they are carried over
for fall plantings.
The Florida crop is sent to market in barrels whieh hold
eleven peeks. During the spring of 1928 a part of the crop was
marketed in bushel baskets, which was more or less of an ex-
periment with many Florida growers, but it proved fairly
satisfactory. Members of the Hastings Potato Growers Asso-
ciation market their crop only through tlie association. In
many easets tile grower who is not a member of the association
sells Iis crop to local buyers who are always on the ground
when the harvesting season arrives. The grower may. if he
wishes. sell his crop throughI commission men who operate ill
the territory,. or consign to dealers in other markets.
When rainfall is sufficient and properly distributed, pota-
toes make a rapid growth and a good yield. Lack of moisture
at a critical stage of growth may reduce the yield to the point
where it will not be profitable to the grower. I'nder such con-
ditions. irrigation is good crop insurance.
In the potato growing sections of Florida where artesian
water is available at a reasonable depth, it is usually advisable
to irrigate. However, when irrigation water must be pumped
from deep wells, the cost may be excessive.
The yield of potatoes in Florida is generally quoted in bar-
rels per acre. A barrel has a capacity of eleven pecks. The
yield per acre of potatoes varies the same as other crops, de-
pending on the soil, climatic conditions. and amount of fertil-
The average yield per aere over a rather large acreage is
around 410 barrels of No. 1 potatoes. In the spring of 1928
the yield was unusually high, inl many cases ranging from 65
to 75 barrels per acre. and in some cases the yield was as high
as 100 to 110 barrels per acre of No. 1 's.
Fig. 11-A Few of the ,89 Crloads of 1921 Florida Potatoes-Courto y Fla, East Coast Ry, Co,
IRI s!I IP'JTAT'AOEs IN FLIO)A
A('KA(;E. YIELD, ANI) AVERA(;E FARM PRI(E OF
JlIS11I POTATOES IN FLORIDA*
Average yiell Average farm
Year Acreage Yield lier acre price per
(barrels) (barrels) barrel
1923 19,000 636,000 33 $7.70
1924 29,000 928,000 32 5.88
1925 23,000 1.037,000 45 4.78
1926 24.000 1.029,000 43 8.36
1927 29,000 1,107,000 38 5.06
1928f 31.000 1.409,000 45
Some people maay think that a yield of 40 barrels to the acre
is a low yield. Perhaps it is for some potato growing sections.
Ilowever. the Florida crop is harvested in from 90 to 100 days
after planting, whieh means that the entire crop is not mature.
If the crop were allowed to stand for 120 days, the yield would
be materially increased. Potatoes in Florida are grown for the
finlanial returns. and as it is the early crop that brings the
best price. it is imperative that the crop he harvested as early
A yield of 30 barrels an acre will hardly pay the cost of the
crop when only average prices are received for them. A yield
of 40 to 50 barrels an acre will produce a fair income when
average prices are received for the crop. High yields are
usually produced at the lowest cost per Ibrrel, which means
that the tianiI who cn i produce more than thaIe average yield gets
the greatest net returns.
Yearbh.ik .*f .gr rliilt lire. 19127.
SIl'rrlhint ry l figures. S'. S. A. l. ur n .-:a f A rltelnituritl Ecnomils.
Fig. 12,-Part of a Teni.cre Field that Produced 670 Barrels No. 1 Polttoes in 198, (NotiaCorn Betwrpn Potato Rows.)
IRISH POTATOES IN FLO)RI)A 25
Since I'rish potatoes are a late winter arld early spring erop
in Florida. they fit inl well witl a crop rotation system. The
entire Florida potato crop is harvested early enolghi in the
sprill to allow time for thte growing of solme other farml crop
that will be liharvested before time for planting tihe potato crop
the tiext season. There is Iusually? a sufficient amount of
fertilizer left in the soil after the potato erop has beeni har-
vested to produce a fairly good feed or forage crop. A cer-
tain aiino0int of tis fertilizer, if not used by a follow-up crop.
would le leached out of tile soil before thle next potato crop
is planted. As a rule, no additional fertilizer is applied to the
crops following the potatoes.
At the present tilne some of the potato growers plant corn
between the potato rows two weeks before harvesting the
potatoes. IIarvesting the potatoes gives Itle corn its first culti-
vation. Others do not plant their corn until they have hav-
vested tlie potato erop.
Some farl'mers prefer to plant olwpeais or so)yeanils as as sum-
Imer crop after the potato crop has been harvested( Such a
crop is generally cut for hay ill the early fall or plowed under
to build upI soil fertility.
The fact that comparatively few livestock atre kept oni potato
farms il Florida is perhaps the -reason why very little effort
has been made to work out more extensive crop rotation sys-
tems. Inll the potato growinlt sections of Florida it is possible
to develop the livestock side of fairminig, to a very marked de-
ree Idue to the fact that the character of the land is such that
the necessary feed crops suitable for the feeling of all classes
of livestock cani be produced. Fatm dairyinig. hog raising, and
farm poultry keeping should, and can, le developed to a de-
gree in all of tihe potato growing sections of Florida that would
correspond with such activities in other localities throughout
the U'nited States.
The Irish potato grower in Florida can. if lie will. make bet-
ter Ilse of cover crops than almost ain? other type of farmer.
Ini Florida the le.unmes make thIe best cover crops. andt they
grow darling tihe slaiummers season after the potato crop lhas been
harvested. There are at inumllber of good legulnes to choose
from. tlie choice of any one (dependinii largely upon which
crop is best adapted to the particular piece of land. At pres-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ent, the best summer legumes are velvet beans, cowpeas, beg-
garweed and crotalaria. On much of our best potato land.
soybeans are also satisfactory. There is one objection to cow-
peas and soybeans as a cover crop, and that is the temptation
to convert them into hay is so strong that the mules and dairy
cows are apt to get the hay rather than the soil, where it can
be used to such good advantage. To get the full value of a
cover crop. the entire crop should be rettrrned to the soil. When
the crop is made into hay, and only the stubble returned to the
soil, very little or no soil improvement will have been made.
Any of the above legume crops may be planted soon after the
potato crop has been harvested in the spring. The crop will
have made its growth and be *ready to be plowed under by the
time the land should be prepared for the next potato crop.
There are several advantages to be gained from the use of
cover crops in the potato field. In the first place. there will
be a material increase in the humus content of the soil, and at
the same time there will be an increase in the soil fertility.
These are two very important factors in crop production. In
the second place. when a cover crop is grown, the soil will be
much freer of weed seed. This last advantage alone is worthy
of serious consideration.
PLOWING UNDI)R COVER CROPS
The plowing under of tle cover erop is perhaps as important
as the growing of the crop. There is no one best way, however.
of plowing a cover crop under except that it should le incor-
porated with the soil so that (cultivation will not be interfered
If the cover crop has made a heavy rank growth, it may be
found necessary to go over the field with a heavy disk harrow
to break down and cut up the cover crop in advance of plowing
under. Do not plow any deeper than is absolutely necessary
to completely cover the entire crop. Another important point
to keep in mind is that the plowing should be done at a time
when there is sufficient moisture in the ground to insure rapid
decomllosition of the vegetable matter. The plowing under
should be done far enough in advance of planting the potato
crop to insure almost complete decomposition of the vegetable
matter by the time the potato crop is planted. The heavier
the cover crop, the longer time will be required for it to decom-
pose and become a part of the soil.
Whatever you do in regard to your potato crop. do not plant
your potatoes until you have your land thoroughly prepared.
IRISH POTATOES IN FLORII)A 27
DISEASES AND INSECTS"
The State departmentt of Arriculture carries on no research
work. The reader i three rer i tee referred to the Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station, Gainesville, Fla.. for information
of this nature. Bulletins and information on diseases and
insects of Irish potatoes may he had from the Experiment Sta-
iion for the asking.
MAP OF STATE ARTESIAN AREAS IN
1 ", %
Pig. 10.-Shaded Portion of Map Shows Sections of Florida where Artesian Water may be Ob.
talned at a depth of 100 to 2,000 feet.