• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Foreword
 Main














Group Title: Bulletin. New series
Title: Root crops grown in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00014998/00001
 Material Information
Title: Root crops grown in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin. New series
Physical Description: 63 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Scott, John M ( John Marcus )
Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: State of Florida, Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1929
 Subjects
Subject: Root crops -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by John M. Scott.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "September 1929."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00014998
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA7392
ltuf - AKD9418
oclc - 28619069
alephbibnum - 001962741

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Foreword
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Main
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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        Page 21
        Page 22
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        Page 24
        Page 25
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Full Text








ROOT CROPS

Qrown in


FLORIDA



By
JOHN M. SCOTT









State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Tallahassee

T. J. APPLEYARD, INC.. TALLAHASSEF, FLORIDA


LAAAR-Y


^JCTI ^IMIM^I^II^^IU-4 I I L-'I IME UI ^IU-11 liU^_I


Bulletin No. 31


New Series


September, 1929























Department of Agriculture

Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture..................Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks, Asst. Commissioner of Agriculture.........Tallahassee
Phil. S. Taylor, Supervising Inspector................................Tallahassee
John M Scott, Agricultural Editor......................................... Gainesville
















c(oreword

Numerous root crops have been grown in Florida for many
years as vegetable crops. However, comparatively few of
these have been grown as feed crops for livestock. This has
been due very largely to the fact that but few people have put
forth any effort to grow root crops for stock feed. Most of
the root crops grown have been grown by dairymen in various
parts of the State. Many of these men have found to their
satisfaction that root crops have been a great help in keeping
up the milk flow in their herds, and at the same time reducing
very materially the feed cost.
At the present time the dairymen of the State are more in-
terested in the growing of these crops than are any other class
of livestock growers. However, hog raisers will in time be
interested in root crops as a hog feed.
When farmers begin to give more attention to raising sheep
in Florida, root crops will be found of value in feeding them
during the winter months.
Growers should not get the idea that root crops will take
the place of the grain in the ration. They will not do that, but
they are an excellent supplement to go along with the grain
feed. They are succulent and laxative to a certain extent. For
this reason they are very desirable as a winter feed, when it is
not so easy to have green pastures.
-J. M. S.















Sweet Potatoes

By JOHN M. SCOTT


ACCORDING to the Nineteenth Census of Crops, State De-
partment of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Florida, the acreage
in sweet potatoes in Florida each year is about 22,000
acres, with a total yield of 1,772,141 bushels. The average acre
yield is about 80 bushels. This may seem to be a very low
acre yield, but it must be remembered that a goodly amount of
this acreage is grown with but little or no fertilizer, and with
little or no cultivation. The sweet potato, like other crops,
will respond to fertilizer and good cultivation. When given a
liberal application of fertilizer (1,000 to 1,500 pounds per acre)
a yield of 150 to 200 bushels an acre is common. Under excep-
tionally favorable conditions yields of 350 to 500 bushels an
acre have been secured. However, these good yields should not
be expected each year. They only occur when all conditions
are favorable. Nevertheless, a yield of 150 to 200 bushels can
be expected every year if the crop is given proper care. Early
planting will, as a rule, produce the larger yield.
As a source of food, they make up a much larger part of
the diet of the rural population of Florida than do Irish pota-
toes. They are used more generally as human food than for
feeding to livestock. This is due to the fact that over a period
of years they are worth more per bushel for human consump-
tion than for feeding to livestock. Whenever they are produced
cheap enough to warrant feeding them to livestock, they can
be used to good advantage for feeding dairy cows, beef cattle
or hogs.
Sweet potatoes will not take the place of corn in the ration,
but the addition of sweet potatoes to the ration will, in most
cases, insure much better results in feeding.
The sweet potato is a succulent feed, and as such is an ex-
cellent addition to the ration during the winter season. Being
a succulent feed, they keep the digestive tract in good condi-
tion. This is an important consideration for all classes of live-
stock, and especially dairy cattle.
The illustrations of the different varieties of potatoes and
leaves of the plants may be found to be of service to many
readers in identifying varieties when growing. It is a well
known fact that there is more or less confusion in regard to
varieties.








6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Only a few of the more generally grown varieties are given,
as it would be impracticable to illustrate all varieties grown in
Florida.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS*
A sandy loam soil with a clay subsoil is well adapted to the
growing of sweet potatoes. The crop, however, can be grown
under a variety of soil conditions with a fair degree of success.
This is true particularly in Florida, due to this State's light
soils and warm climate.
Of all the types of soil, rolling pine land is usually selected
because of its suitability to the crop and the ease with which it
can be tilled. With sufficient drainage, proper culture and a
fair amount of organic matter in the soil, a good yield of pota-
toes may be expected from such soil, if moisture conditions are
held fairly uniform throughout the season.
Sandy flatwoods lands also produce good crops. Where
drainage is provided and the plants set on beds, a satisfactory
yield may be expected, if other conditions are favorable. How-
ever, special provision for drainage is essential for most flat-
woods lands.
Rolling hammock lands with compact subsoils are used very
generally for growing sweet potatoes, and, with a fair amount
of humus, a satisfactory crop may be expected from such soil.
But if these hammock lands are not well drained-are too
heavy or contain considerable muck-they are not as suitable
as the pine lands.
A fair amount of organic matter is essential, without which
the soil dry out during dry periods, in addition to requiring
much more fertilizer. Where vegetation can be turned under
each year, it results in the same beneficial effects for sweet
potatoes as for other farm crops.
Muck soils tend to produce a heavy growth of vines and
uneven sizes of tubers, and in some cases no tubers at all. In
some cases tubers become abnormally large and almost worth-
less for table use. However, as muck lands become compact
and well drained, particularly if they contain some sand, fairly
good crops may be expected.
Very thin sandy lands usually produce sweet potatoes of a
good quality, but too often the yield is low. Such soil, being so
thin, is lacking in organic matter and, consequently, has not the
power to retain moisture. In most cases it is not profitable to
grow sweet potatoes on such land, unless it is improved by
turning under vegetation and fertilizing heavily.

Bulletin No. 34, Agricultural Extension Division, University of Fla.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


Sweet potatoes can be grown successfully on new land, par-
ticularly when planted as a mid-summer crop. They do not
produce best when planted early in the spring. The soil must
have the proper dampness and warmth, if success is sought.
Without a fairly constant supply of moisture, potatoes are
likely to be long and stringy and unfit for market.
GENERAL CULTURE
Like any other root crop, the sweet potato requires good cul-
tivation as long as it is possible to get between the rows. As
the plant is grown on beds in Florida, surface cultivation re-
quires special implements, especially after the vines begin to
run.
It is important that the land be prepared thoroly far enough
in advance of setting that a good moisture supply may be in-
sured. Where potatoes are to be planted early in spring, the
land should be plowed early in January in order that it may
settle and capillary attraction be established between the soil
and the subsoil before the dry months. During dry weather,
if plowed immediately before the plants are set, the soil will
become very dry and many plants will die. It will be difficult
to make those that live grow off rapidly, which is necessary
for good yields. The plowing should be broadcast and from
six to eight inches deep, depending on the soil. If no crop is
to precede the sweet potatoes, it is well to keep the surface of
the soil harrowed in order to make it firm and moist.
Usually it is not advisable to rebreak the land before plant-
ing. Simply make the beds, apply the fertilizer and set the
plants. Where early preparation is not provided, the. soil is
likely to dry out, which will result in a poor stand, a slow
growth of the vines, and most commonly a low yield of pota-
toes that are mainly culls and unfit for market.
A good supply of humus in the soil is important for supply-
ing plant food, as well as for retaining moisture. Therefore,
on the average pine lands where leguminous crops, grasses or
other vegetation can be turned under and rotted before plant-
ing time, the soil will be much improved and the plants will
get a greater amount of fertility from the commercial ferti-
lizer applied. In addition the soil will retain much more moist-
ure, making doubly sure the prospects for a good yield.
TIME TO PLANT
The time of planting will have a decided effect on the yield.
The yields from very early plantings are usually lighter than
those from plantings made just previous to the season of sum-
mer rains. This is due principally to a warmer soil and a more


7








8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

constant supply of moisture during summer. When plants are
set in early spring, unless irrigation is supplied, they are likely
to suffer from lack of moisture; and, as sweet potatoes require
warm soil, the temperature of the soil in early spring is not
quite high enough to induce the most rapid growth.
To have an early summer crop, it is necessary to set plants
late in March or early in April, but where a maximum yield
is desired and no special preparations are in mind for market-
ing early, it seems best to set the plants in May or June. Slips
should be used for setting up to June 1, after which vines
should be used.
The season of planting, however, must be determined to some
extent by the dampness of the soil. It is unwise to set out
plants when the soil is very dry, unless an irrigation system
has been provided. Many of the plants will die, likely, before
they start to sprout, and those that live will grow off slowly,
become spindling and produce a poor yield.
Under favorable conditions planting can continue up to July
15, but usually this is too late for heaviest yields. Plants set
as late as this are likely to make a vigorous growth while
young, when the soil is very moist, but will yield poorly, if
there should be a lack of rainfall in September or before the
plants have set any tubers. Had such potatoes been started
well in advance of the rainy season, allowed to establish a good
root system and to make a substantial growth by September,
rainfall and temperature variations would affect them less than
if planted later.
For the main crop it is seldom advisable to plant before May
15, for, if planted earlier and not harvested until late fall,
many tubers are likely to be oversized and cracked, and unfit
for market purposes. Therefore, a good time to set sweet
potato plants is between May 15 and July 10, ordinarily. An
exception to this is when the rainy season is prolonged
through September.
FERTILIZATION
Experiments conducted at the Florida Experiment Station
and published in Bulletin 156 of that station show that sweet
potatoes make the heaviest yields on average lands when a
complete fertilizer is used. These experiments were conducted
for five successive years on sandy pine land of average fertility.
In each case where any one of the three essential elements;
namely, ammonia, phosphate and potash, were omitted the
yield was notably less than where these elements were applied.
The plots receiving no ammonia produced an average of ap-
proximately 37 bushels to the acre less than the plots receiving
ammonia.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


The plots receiving no phosphate produced an average of
52.2 bushels to the acre less than where the phosphate was ap-
plied.
The plots receiving no potash produced 121.9 bushels to the
acre less than the plots that received potash.
These experiments, therefore, indicate the advisability of a
complete fertilizer and, in particular, the importance of the
potash element.
Two forms of ammonia were used, sulphate of ammonia and
dried blood. Dried blood gave an increase of 5.6 bushels to the
acre over sulphate of ammonia.
Acid phosphate was the only form of phosphate used.
Two forms of potash, sulphate and muriate of potash, were
used. The plots fertilized with muriate of potash yielded an
average of 18.2 bushels to the acre more than the plots fer-
tilized with sulphate of potash, thus showing the superiority of
muriate.
Plots that received an application of 2,000 pounds of ground
limestone to the acre produced approximately the same yields
as where no lime was used. This indicates that lime is of little
or no value for sweet potatoes on the average Florida land.
Fertilizer Application.-To produce maximum yields on
average pine land, apply from 600 to 1,000 pounds of fertilizer
to the acre. The actual amount needed is determined by soil
conditions.
On poor, light soil it is seldom profitable to apply more than
600 pounds of fertilizer to the acre. A larger amount may in-
crease the yield, but not sufficiently to pay for the extra ex-
pense.
Conditions determining the amount of fertilizer that can be
used profitably depend on the kind of soil, its natural fertility,
the character of its subsoil, the humus it contains, and its gen-
eral physical condition. Usually where the soil is in a high
state of cultivation and has more than the average natural
fertility, large amounts of fertilizer may be used profitably.
But where the soil is loose and open, lacks humus and fertility
and is apt to be affected by unusual rains or continued drought,
large amounts of fertilizer are seldom profitable. No definite
amounts or formulas can be recommended for giving best re-
sults. However, the above suggestions can be used as a guide.
Where the soil is unusually fertile, containing large amounts
of humus and organic matter, as does muck soil, the amount
of ammonia may be reduced one-half or one-third. The phos-
phate and potash also may be reduced but the potash should
be decreased in the same proportion as the ammonia. These
2-R. C.








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


soils are unusually rich in ammonia but do not have an excess
of either phosphate or potash.
Analysis.-A sweet potato fertilizer analysis should show ap-
proximately the following: 4 percent ammonia, 6 percent phos-
phoric acid and 6 percent potash. This formula may be pur-
chased in mixed goods or made from the following materials:
Sulphate of ammonia.................25 percent 320 pounds
Acid phosphate.................................. 16 percent 750 pounds
Muriate or sulphate of potash 48 percent 252 pounds
Inert matter (filler) ..................... 678 pounds

Total, 2,000 pounds (1 ton)
If the goods are home mixed, there is no occasion to add
the filler material.
In case it is desired to apply a fertilizer from the above ma-
terials at the rate of 100 pounds to the acre, mix together the
following materials:
Sulphate of ammonia.......... ............................ 25 percent 16 pounds
Acid phosphate ............................. ....16 percent '38 pounds
Muriate or sulphate of potash.......................48 percent 13 pounds
This gives a total application of 67 pounds to the acre, but it
s equivalent to 100 pounds to the acre of 4-6-6 fertilizer. The
amount of each material needed for making up any given
amount can be calculated from these figures. To illustrate-
if you wish to apply 900 pounds to the acre, multiply by 9 the
amount stated for 100 pounds. Do this for each of the materi-
als used.
When to Fertilize.-If the fertilizer is applied early in
spring, one application two weeks before the plants are set is
recommended. If, however, the fertilizer is applied for sum-
mer planting, the amount used should be divided into two ap-
plications. The first application should be applied two weeks
before the plants are set, and the second after the plants have
been set one month.
Stable Manure, if available, can be used to advantage at the
rate of two to five tons to the acre. Apply manure and ferti-
lizer to the soil in about the following manner: After the
ground has been prepared and is ready for planting, open up
furrows four feet apart and distribute the manure into them.
Then cover this manure with two furrows, one on either side.
This forms a shallow bed. Apply commercial fertilizer on
these half-made beds and work it into the soil by running a
one-horse fertilizer distributer over the top of the beds. Allow








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


the beds to remain in this condition for about two weeks, until
about ready to plant. Then finish preparing the beds by
plowing furrows on either side, making it as high as necessary.
Set the plants in these beds.
Where no stable manure is used the opening of this furrow
is unnecessary. Plow up the shallow beds and proceed with
the commercial fertilizer, the first application of which should
be in the ground two weeks before the plants are set, lest it
injure the newly set plants. The second application should be
made about thirty days after the plants are set. This will
make it necessary to apply it in the sides of the beds. Work
it in with a cultivator. This will tend to pull down the beds,
but they can be thrown up later with a plow.
Sweet Potatoes on "Cowpenned" Land.-The penning of
cattle on land to be planted to sweet potatoes usually gives
good results because of the manure and tramping the land
gets. It, at least, emphasizes the importance of using manure
for sweet potatoes.
Vegetation in the Soil.-The importance of adding vegetable
matter to the average sweet potato soil of Florida cannot be
over-estimated. All vegetation should be plowed under soon
enough to decay well by planting time. A leguminous crop is
particularly beneficial for sweet potatoes where it can be
turned under before the crop is planted.
Results from the use of added fertilizing matter are best
when the soil has a good supply of organic matter. Because it
improves moisture conditions in the soil during the life of the
crop, it is advisable to incorporate into the soil as much of such
material as is possible.
GROWING POTATO PLANTS
As sweet potatoes are propagated from plants, provision
must be made for growing an ample supply of plants. In
Florida they can usually be grown early enough, when set in
the open. However, if it is desired to set plants in the field
on or before April 1, the plant beds will need some protection
and artificial heat, especially in Middle, North and West Flor-
ida. In South Florida, if covered with pine straw or some simi-
lar material, they will be protected against freezing.
For a plant bed one should select a protected spot, prefer-
ably on the south side of a windbreak, where the plants will
get all the sunlight possible. The sweet potato does best in a
warm soil with a relatively high temperature. The location
should be well drained and the soil should be fairly fertile.




























pb-4'


~ ~
~
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~~**~f '~


-2. .


Fig. 1-Sweet Potato Plant Beds.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension Division.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


A plant bed may be either in a shallow excavation or on a
level, either of which should be about five feet wide and of the
necessary length. The bed should not be so wide that it is in-
convenient to pull the plants without stepping on the beds.
Inclose in a frame made of eight-inch boards, as shown in
Figure 1.
In the bottom of the bed should be placed from four to six
inches of fresh horse stable manure. On top of the manure
place a layer of soil three inches thick. Then spread the seed
potatoes over this layer of soil. On the potatoes lay down a
strip of two-inch-mesh poultry wire, over which place one and
a half inches of loam soil. (The chicken wire holds the pota-
toes in place when plants are being drawn from the bed.)
When the plants begin showing thru the ground, add an addi-
tional layer of soil in which the roots may develop properly.
To insure long, stocky shoots, there should be six inches of soil
over the potatoes at pulling time. After the potatoes are
planted the soil must be kept moist by sprinkling. However,
too much water is detrimental as the temperature of the bed
will be kept down. Add just enough moisture to promote good
growth. The bed needs comparatively little attention until
the draws are big enough to transplant.
A slip five inches long is ready to be transplanted. After
each crop of draws is pulled, keep the soil moist and in ten
days or two weeks another crop will be ready to take off.
In estimating the amount of seed potatoes necessary to grow
draws for a given acreage, it is estimated that one bushel will
produce 800 to 1,000 plants for the early crop, or enough for
a tenth of an acre. Ten bushels should be planted for each
acre of early planting. If, however, the seed bed is planted
early and the slips are allowed to grow into vines, three bushels
will produce enough vines to set an acre, if conditions are
favorable. When this is done the slips should be transplanted
to where they will have ample room to grow and make vines.
A slight application of a 5-5-5 commercial fertilizer should be
broadcasted on the plant bed about the time the sprouts are
appearing above the soil. Work into the soil by means of a
light rake or hoe. (A 5-5-5 fertilizer is one that has 5 percent
of ammonia, 5 percent of phosphoric acid and 5 percent of
potash.) This added plant food will stimulate and hasten the
growth of the plants.
It is also advisable to provide canvas or cheesecloth for the
protection of the beds. This material can be stretched over
the bed at night and removed during the day. It prevents
radiation of heat from the bed, and thus keeps it warm. Plants
require a temperature of 70 degrees to 80 degrees F. to grow








14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

well. There will be little difficulty in holding it above 50 de-
grees F., if the foregoing precautions are taken.
Where the plants are needed for late planting only, forcing
methods will not be necessary, as late plantings will produce all
the plants needed.
SETTING POTATO PLANTS
Nothing is gained by transplanting potato draws before they
are sufficiently strong, since to do so checks their growth.
When the plants are pulled from the bed, it is best to set them


.af .... __47r


Fig. 2-Sweet Potato Plants crated ready for shipment.
-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension Division.

out immediately. However, if they are to be shipped, allow
them to wilt in the shade for at least six hours before packing.
This tends to harden them and to reduce the number dying.
Immediately following a rain is a good time to set out pota-
toes. If the area to be planted is small, the plants can be trans-
planted at almost any time and watered.
Number of Slips to Plant an Acre.-It requires about 8,000
slips to plant an acre of potatoes with four-foot rows, when









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 15

the plants are set 15 inches apart in the row. The width and
distance for planting depends on the richness of the soil and
the variety of the potatoes. In soil that is rich the plants can
be set closer than in poor soil; and with varieties that pro-









































duce many vines the rows should be a little wider than with


the plants are set, particularly if set in early spring when the
-. 4
t :











Fig. 3-Porto Rico Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension
Division.

duce many vines the rows should be a little wider than with
varieties that produce but few light vines. The rows should
be wide enough to permit cultivation for five or six weeks after
the plants are set, particularly if set in early spring when the








16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

weather is likely to be dry. If planted in mid-summer when
rains are frequent, cultivation to conserve moisture is not
necessary.
Slips Compared with Vines.-There is no difference in set-
ting the vines and in setting the slips. However, as the vines
usually are set later in the season and are larger and stronger,
they can be set under less favorable conditions than can slips.
This is due largely to the superior strength of the vine and its
ability to withstand unfavorable conditions.
In setting the vines, first cut them into 15-inch lengths, insert
the butt end at least 6 to 8 inches deep. The soil should be
left firm around the vine in order to prevent the bed from dry-
ing out.


















Fig. 4-Leaves of Porto Rico Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Extension Division.

Vines are preferred to slips, where it is practical to grow
them, since the vines are usually stronger and mature their
crop quicker than do slips. This is due to the vigor of the vine
cuttings. It is further true that many more vine cuttings than
slips can be secured from a bushel of seed. For early planting
one must depend on slips, but for late planting it will not be
difficult to secure ample vine cuttings from a much smaller
amount of seed, especially if the slips are transplanted into
rows for the purpose of growing vines.









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


VARIETIES

There are about four commercial varieties of sweet potatoes
recommended for Florida. Several others are grown locally
but do not seem to have any particular merit and, consequent-
ly, little commercial importance.


:4*
,, ''' ". .,









:. %-,;


.-i


Fig. 5-Nancy Hall Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension
Division.

The most important commercial varieties are Porto Rico,
Triumph, Nancy Hall and Big Stem Jersey. The Red Provi-
dence and Norton Yam are grown commercially but are of less
importance. Other varieties such as Dooley Yam, Pumpkin
Yam, Nigger Killer, "Pattysaw" and Red Buck are grown in
gardens but are not recommended for commercial plantings.
3-R. C.


17


. 9 W









DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


The Porto Rico is the most popular variety thruout Florida,
on account of its rich color, moist soft flesh, and its rich, sweet
and juicy flavor. It is also very popular in the markets of other
southern states, and, in fact, wherever a moist-flesbed potato
is demanded. It yields on the average a good crop of market-
able potatoes, which can be stored several months and kept in
good condition, if harvested without being bruised.
It produces heavy, purple vines, the leaves being large and
thick and greenish brown in color with purple markings on
the veins, around the edge of the leaf and on the petiole stems.


_J
Fig. 6-Leaves of Nancy Hall Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Extension Division.

The Nancy Hall is less popular for home use and for most
southern markets than is the Porto Rico. The tuber is light
yellow in color with flesh of a creamy-pink yellow. When
cooked the flesh is moist, soft and sweet, but not as rich in
appearance as the Porto Rico.
It is an average yielder on light soils and has proven a satis-
factory variety to grow under average conditions. Of moist
potatoes it is one of the most satisfactory for northern markets.
It has the disadvantage of a tendency to crack, if grown on
rich soil or if allowed to remain in the soil for some time after


- -. A v.
X. i : -

? -, \lei









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


maturing. The vines are inclined to be bushy. The leaves are
mottled greenish yellow with purple markings at the junction
of the blade and stem.
The Triumph is recommended for early planting, particularly
when the crop is to be shipped to northern markets. It is drier
than the Porto Rico or Nancy Hall and for that reason is less
liable to bruising and is a better shipper.
Being propagated from slips, there is little difficulty in pro-
ducing early potatoes of this variety. And for spring ship-
ments to northern markets it is one of the most dependable.
Since it is a comparatively dry potato, it is not very popular
on southern markets. However, where the quality is good it
is comparatively free from stringiness and when ripe is fairly
sweet. The vines make a heavy growth and the leaves are
deep green with purple stems and veins. Both the peel and the
flesh of the roots are light yellow in color.
The Big Stem Jersey is a dry, mealy potato and sells much
better on northern than on southern markets. It has not been
popular in the South because of its dryness. In the North it
is well known as being dry and mealy. It can be handled easily
without bruising.
When this potato is planted in Florida it is usually with an
idea of shipping to northern markets. It can be produced and
placed on those markets in July, or earlier than most other
varieties. This requires very early planting. When grown
early in spring, particularly if the soil is dry, the yield is often
light. For that reason it has not been grown to any extent
except by a few who have made special preparation to grow
it at this season. It is doubtful if it ever will be a satisfactory
variety for home use or local consumption.
The vines are rather scant, long and creeping, and the leaves
are small and green in color. The roots are dark yellow and
their flesh creamy yellow in color. When cooked it is dry and
mealy.
The Norton Yam is a good variety for local markets and for
home consumption. It is a sweet, moist potato but is inclined
to be stringy if its growth is retarded by dry weather. The
roots are russet yellow in color, and their flesh white, flaked
with yellow. The leaves and stems are rich green and the
vines light green in color. The vines are inclined to have a
long straggling growth.
The Red Providence is grown commercially and for home use.
It is usually a good yielder and is propagated easily. In color











DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Fig. 7-Triumph Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension
Division.


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-v '. WI
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Fig. 8-Leaves of Triumph Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Extension Division.









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


the roots are tan, shading into yellow. The flesh has a tinge of
pink. The potato is comparatively free from stringiness. It is
moist and a good keeper, if harvested without bruising. The


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6


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Fig. 9-Big Stem Jersey Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Extension Division.

vines are green with purple markings at the nodes, and the
leaves have purple stems which shade into green. The vines
make a medium heavy growth.


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


The Pumpkin Yam is best suited for local consumption. It
is a very juicy potato and bruises easily, unless handled care-
fully. As to color, the roots are salmon with a rich yellow
flesh. When cooked it is sweet and juicy. The leaves are long
and irregular, with prominent yellow veins.
The Nigger Killer, "Pattysaw" and Red Buck are of little
importance from any standpoint. They seem able to produce
light, inferior crops under neglected conditions. They are moist
and comparatively sweet, but are not recommended for com-
mercial plantings.


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-* S ; >
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. .-' 3 '
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Fig. 10-Leaves of Big Stem Jersey Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricul-
tural Extension Division.

SEED SELECTION
The practice of selecting seed has been neglected very great-
ly in much of the sweet potato growing area. Little along this
line has been done in Florida, with the result that the average
yield is low. In fact it is difficult to secure a high yield of
uniform, marketable potatoes. While the lack of good seed is
not altogether responsible for this condition, it is an important
factor.
The planting of sweet potato vines from volunteer plants is
partly responsible for many low yields. These volunteer vines









RlOOT CROPS GROWN IiN FLORIDA 23

come up from potatoes which were overlooked when harvesting
the previous year's crop. Usually such potatoes are small and
inferior. One cannot expect plants from such seed to give the
best returns, nor to produce roots uniform in color and shape
and true to variety.
The practice of bedding the inferior or cull potatoes for seed
is also responsible for low yields. While there are many small
roots suitable for seed, the probability of getting low-yielding
plants from them is so great that it is better to feed them to
livestock and to purchase seed, if necessary, even at a much
greater expense.






4 -

'M- .. "5"-














Fig. 11-Norton Yam Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension
Division.

Sweet potato seed should be selected for uniformity of type,
color and variety, and should be free from disease. Careful
seed selection year after year results in the ultimate produc-
tion of a higher percentage of marketable potatoes. Such pota-
toes can be graded and packed so as to compare favorably with
the best that reach the eastern markets, and also make a de-
cided improvement in the general appearance of the potatoes
on our southern markets.
There are several diseases of sweet potatoes that mar their









24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

appearance and increase the number of seconds and culls. By
the proper selecting of seed when the potatoes are dug, the
proper storing of seed potatoes, the careful re-sorting, the
throwing out of all diseased tubers, and the disinfecting of seed
the amount of diseased potatoes will be reduced, their yield
increased and their quality improved.

SEED TREATMENT
As many diseases are carried into the field by planting dis-
eased seed, it is advisable to treat all seed immediately before
bedding. This is done by placing the potatoes in a solution


Fig. 12-Leaves of Norton Yam Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Extension Division.

made of 1 ounce of corrosive sublimate mercuricc chloride) and
8 gallons of water, and letting them remain for ten minutes.
Then bed immediately. In case the soil is generally infected,
this treatment is of little service. In such a case plant some
other crop.
HARVESTING
Much care is needed when harvesting sweet potatoes to avoid
bruises. Southern potatoes, because of their high content of
water, are bruised more easily than the drier varieties. The


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Fig. 13-Red Providence Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Extension Division.


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26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

diseases of sweet potatoes can do comparatively little damage,
unless the potatoes are bruised or broken. If the crop is to be
stored for several months, too much care cannot be exercised
to prevent bruising. If comparatively free of diseases and if
carefully handled to prevent bruises, breaks and cuts, prac-
tically all potatoes will cure well and few will rot. However,
ii they are hauled loose in the ordinary wagon body, handled
carelessly from the wagon to the curing house by forks or
shovels, the blemished and rotted will amount to as high as
75 percent or more of the original bulk.




















Fig. 14-Leaves of Red Providence Sweet Potato.-Courtesy Florida Agricul-
tural Extension Division.

PACKAGES

Sweet potatoes are packed in hampers, baskets, crates and
barrels. The kind of package used is determined largely by
how the potatoes are shipped. For car-lot shipments the ham-
per has the advantage of being packed easily in the car. For
express shipments this package is objectionable in that it is
more easily broken than the bushel basket or crate.
If sweet potatoes are placed in storage houses, the bushel
crate is preferred, since crates of this type may be filled with
potatoes immediately from the field and stacked up in such a
way as to provide ventilation. This last crate, therefore, mini-
mizes handling and bruising. If the potatoes are carefully
sorted in the field, they can be placed in these crates immedi-









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 27

ately; but usually they must be re-sorted just before being
shipped in order to remove the blemished or unmarketable.
The tight barrel is used generally when shipping direct from
the fields to the market. This barrel is not headed as is the
Irish potato barrel, the potatoes being held in by a covering of
burlap fastened down with a hoop. Such a package would not
be suitable for storing in a storage house because good ventila-
tion cannot be secured.
Packages filled and ready for marketing should contain pota-
toes uniform in color, size and quality. The packages should
be well filled so that they will be held firm in the pack and thus
prevented from settling down and being bruised in transit.
Never ship sweet potatoes in sacks for long distances. This
is impossible to do without practically every tuber's becoming
bruised. Like any other product, a neat-appearing package
usually finds a ready sale at a good price, and, therefore, care
must be exercised in placing sweet potatoes on the market that
they may sell for the best price.

STORING SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes to be stored in houses or banks for two or
more months must be comparatively free of bruises and blem-
ishes and well-matured, or many will decay and others grade
low. Before being piled together, broken and bruised ones
should be sorted out for immediate use.
Rotting in storage is caused by a fungus that develops slowly
when the potatoes are spread out thin and have a free circu-
lation of air over them. When they are piled together and
have but a limited circulation of air, there is usually some in-
crease in temperature and moisture in the air about them,
which makes conditions favorable for the action of the fungus.
This accounts for the fact that potatoes stored in small beds
keep better than those stored in large beds.
The round bank has an advantage over the larger bank in
that the pile is small and there are more potatoes exposed to a
free circulation of air. If the bank contains 15 bushels or less,
it will hardly be necessary to place a ventilator in the center
of it. However, the top should have a ventilator so that, if
there is any heating, the warm air can escape. After the pota-
toes are shaped up they should be covered with about four
inches of straw, and over this a thin layer of dirt in order to
keep out cold and rain.
When a larger quantity of potatoes is to be stored, the bank
can be long and narrow. But on account of the larger pile
there will be more heating, consequently more ventilation will
















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Fig. 15-How one farmer banks Sweet Potatoes for winter storage.


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ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 29

be needed. The ventilated bank provides a free circulation of
air from one end to the other.
Invert a V-shaped trough and lay it in the bottom of the bed.
Under this place supports to hold the trough two inches off the
ground. Pile the potatoes over this ventilator.
Such a bank can be made five or six feet wide at the bottom
and about four feet high and can have any desired length up to
20 feet. Such a bed 20 feet long will hold about 200 bushels.
When the beds are shaped up and ready to be closed in they
should have a light layer of straw, held down and protected by
a layer of boards, the upper ends of which rest on a ridge pole.
The boards should overlap sufficiently to keep out rain. No
straw should be placed in the bottom of the bed. The potatoes
will keep better if laid on the ground.
A layer of dirt can be placed over the boards. This will be
needed during frosty weather. The potatoes will keep much
better if a fairly uniform temperature is maintained both day
and night. To provide such a temperature a thicker wall than
provided by the boards and straw will be necessary. In unusu-
ally cold weather both ends of the ventilator in the bottom of
the bed can be covered with dirt.
Ample ventilation is necessary to keep sweet potatoes sound
and fresh after being stored. If fresh air can enter from the
bottom, circulate thru the potatoes and escape at the top of
the bank, the potatoes will keep with comparatively little
shrinking or rotting. And if a uniformly cool temperature is
maintained there will be little sprouting.

CURING AND STORING
Sweet Potato Curing Houses are in general use in many sweet
potato sections. Where a large acreage is grown for several
years in succession, a curing house is recommended. Such a
house is not recommended unless there are 1,500 bushels or
more to be stored. In small houses it is not easy for the tem-
perature to be held uniform. When the outside temperature
is frequently 70 degrees F., or higher, it is often difficult to
prevent sprouting. This can be controlled in a large house
better than in a small one. Also, for a crop of 1,500 bushels
or less, the initial cost and necessary supervision will be too
large to justify a storage house. Therefore, if the crop is small
it is more profitable either to market the potatoes at harvest-
ing time or to store them in a bank.
A storage house with a capacity of from 5,000 to 10,000
bushels can be operated at a relatively low cost. A small house
requires practically the same supervision that a large one does.








30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

In either case an attendant must watch and hold the tempera-
ture and moisture in the house at their proper places.
Digging and Handling.-Potatoes to be cured in a storage
house should be left in the ground until well matured. If frost
destroys the vines, the potatoes should be dug at once or have
their vines cut off at the level of the ground. If the dead, rot-
ting vines remain attached to the tubers, germs of decay will
enter the tubers and they will decay in storage. After the
potatoes are dug they should be placed in the storage house
just as soon as they are dry. If the weather is clear and rela-
tively cool, allow to dry before storing; but if the weather is
hot, do not let them remain exposed to the sun, since to do so
will cause them to sunburn. It is usually best to house the
potatoes as they are dug, allowing them to remain on the
ground just long enough to dry.
In digging potatoes care should be taken not to bruise them
by throwing from one row to another or into a loose wagon bed
or into bags. Sort and put into a basket or box, load onto the
wagon and haul them directly to the storage house. If stored
in crates, there is no occasion to handle more than once. If the
grading is done in the field and the different grades are kept
separate, handling at the cars will be facilitated.
Houses can be built with or without bins. Those without
bins require that the potatoes be stored in crates. This is eco-
nomical and usually most practical, as it saves handling the
potatoes after they reach the storage house, and the boxes can
be piled up in such a way that air can circulate freely thru
them.
Curing the Potatoes.-As soon as the potatoes are stored,
excess moisture in the house should be driven off by means of
a stove or heating flue. For the first ten days the temperature
in the house should be from 80 degrees to 85 degrees F. with
ample ventilation. The temperature maintained will depend on
weather conditions. Ventilation is needed to drive off the ex-
cess moisture and to keep the potatoes fairly dry. During the
day the windows and doors may be opened but at night they
should be closed.
After ten days the temperature within the curing house
should be gradually reduced to 55 degrees, where it is kept
as near as possible as long as the potatoes are in the house. In
case the temperature falls to 45 degrees or lower, a fire should
be started again and the temperature raised to 55 degrees. If
the house becomes moist at any time during the curing period,
it will be necessary to dry it out.
A storage house can be heated with an ordinary sheet-iron
stove. The more uniform the temperature can be held, the








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 31

better the potatoes will keep. For this reason coal is preferred
to wood for heating purposes. In commercial storage houses
with a capacity of 10,000 bushels or more, a large heating sys-
tem is advisable. The important points in the control of heat
in a storage house is to bring in fresh air, to drive out all
moisture-laden or foul air and to keep the temperature within
the house to 55 degrees. In Florida it is difficult to hold the
temperature down to 55 degrees, particularly in the fall months
when the outside temperature is from 70 to 80 degrees. It is
important, therefore, in the construction of the house to be
sure that ventilators are placed properly and that air spaces
are in the walls so that a uniform temperature may be main-
tained and not constantly varied.
Advantages of the Sweet Potato Storage House are as fol-
lows:
First, the sweet potatoes can be kept in a marketable condi-
tion until prices are satisfactory, even for several months after
harvesting.
Second, the potatoes can be placed on the market in good
condition with a minimum loss from decay.
Third, sweet potatoes that are stored properly can be shipped
to distant markets several months after being harvested.
Fourth, the grower is enabled to watch his potatoes while
they are in storage and, should they show a tendency to rot or
sprout, he may be able to dispose of them.
The details for the construction of a sweet potato storage
house are contained in Farmers' Bulletin 970, United States
Department of Agriculture, Washington.

MARKETING
In order to market sweet potatoes to best advantage, they
must be properly graded and packed. The general practice of
shipping all the potatoes from a field in loose cars, unsorted, is
wasteful. The seller usually gets only the price of his lowest
grade, the best potatoes being sold for the price of the poorest.
It is always best not to ship cull potatoes. They have little
or no market value, at least not sufficient to cover freight
charges. Such potatoes are worth from 30 cents to 50 cents
a bushel for stock feed or for canning.
Potatoes should be graded according to fixed standards, such
as those worked out by and given in Circular 99 of the Bureau
of Markets and Crop Estimates, United States Department of
Agriculture. These standards, with slight modifications, are
applicable to most of the southern varieties. Until this is done








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


southern sweet potatoes will sell for less than they are worth,
and the returns from this valuable crop will continue relatively
low. The standards mentioned above follow:

UNITED STATES GRADES FOR SWEET POTATOES
U. S. Grade No. 1
U. S. Grade No. 1 shall consist of sound sweet potatoes of
similar varietal characteristics which are practically free from
dirt or other foreign matter, frost injury, decay, bruises, cuts,
scars, cracks, and damage caused by heat, disease, insects (in-
cluding weevils), or mechanical or other means.
The diameter of each sweet potato shall not be less than one
and three-quarter inches nor more than three and one-half
inches, and the length shall not be less than four inches ntor
more than ten inches, but the length may be less than four
inches if the diameter is two and one-quarter inches or more.
In order to allow for variations incident to commercial grad-
ing and handling, five percent, by weight, of any lot may not
meet the requirements as to diameter and length, and, in addi-
tion, six percent, by weight, may be below the remaining re-
quirements of the grade.
Any lot in which the diameter is not less than one and one-
half inches and which contains a greater percentage by weight
of sweet potatoes below one and three-quarters inches than is
permitted in U. S. Grade No. 1, but which otherwise meets the
requirements of such grade shall be designated as U. S. Grade
No. 1 Medium.
Any lot in which the length is not less than six inches nor
more than twelve inches and which contains a greater percent-
age by weight of sweet potatoes above ten inches in length than
is permitted in U. S. Grade No, 1, but which otherwise meets
the requirements of such grade shall be designated as U. S.
Grade No. 1 Long.
U. S. Grade No. 2
U. S. Grade No. 2 shall consist of sound sweet potatoes of
similar varietal characteristics, not meeting the requirements
of the foregoing grades, which are free from serious damage
caused by dirt or other foreign matter, frost injury, decay,
bruises, cuts, scars, cracks, heat, disease, insects, or mechanical
or other means, and which are not less than one and one-half
inches nor more than three and one-half inches in diameter.
In order to allow for variations incident to commercial grad-
ing and handling, five percent by weight of any lot may not








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 33

meet the requirements as to diameter, and, in addition, six per-
cent by weight may be below the remaining requirements of
this grade.
U. S. JUMBO GRADE
U. S. Jumbo Grade shall consist of sound sweet potatoes of
similar varietal characteristics, which are free from serious
damage caused by dirt or other foreign matter, frost injury,
decay, bruises, cuts, scars, cracks, heat, disease, insects, or me-
chanical or other means, and which are not less than three and
one-half inches in diameter.
In order to allow for variations incident to commercial grad-
ing and handling, five percent by weight of any lot may be
less than the diameter prescribed, and, in addition, six per-
cent by weight may be below the remaining requirements of
this grade.
U. S. Grade No. 3
U. S. Grade No. 3 shall consist of sweet potatoes not meeting
the requirements of any of the foregoing grades.
Definition of Grade Terms as Used in These Grades
"Practically free" means that the appearance shall not be
injured to any extent readily apparent upon casual examina-
tion of the lot, and that any damage from the causes mentioned
can be removed without appreciable increase in waste over that
which would occur if the sweet potatoes were perfect.
"Diameter" means the greatest dimension at right angles
to any portion of a central line running through the sweet
potato from stem end to root end.
"Free from serious damage" means that any damage from
the causes mentioned can be removed without increase in waste
of more than ten percent by weight over that which would
occur if the sweet potatoes were perfect.
SWEET POTATOES AS STOCK FEED
Sweet Potato Silage.-The value of the sweet potato as a
silage crops has been determined by the Florida Experiment
Station and reported in Press Bulletin 274 of that station.
In those experiments potatoes were stored in the silo just
as is corn or sorghum. Or, in other words, the potatoes were
run thru an ensilage cutter at harvesting time and kept in a
concrete silo until the following May. Sweet potato silage,
compared with corn silage, shows the following analysis:
Nitrogen-free
Moisture Crude Protein Extract Fat
Sweet potato silage ........ 54.8 1.82 39.4 0.66
Corn silage ..... ........... 72.7 2.1 15.4 .08








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


During those experiments a test was made with ten cows to
compare the feeding values of sweet potato and sorghum
silages for milk production. Both were fed with a concentrated
ration of wheat bran and cottonseed meal. The test was con-
tinued for 43 days with the following results:
The cows fed with sweet potato silage produced 2,641 pounds
or 307 gallons of milk. During the same period the cows fed
sorghum silage produced 2,416 pounds, or 281 gallons of milk.
This gave a difference of 26 gallons in favor of the sweet potato
silage.
The cows in this test were as nearly average cows in every
respect as can be selected from the ordinary herd. The test
serves to indicate that the advisability of making sweet pota-
toes into silage can be determined only by their market value.
Sweet Potatoes for Milk Production.-In feeding tests con-
ducted by the Florida Experiment Station for the purpose of
comparing sorghum silage and sweet potato silage for milk
production, it was found that, when fed with cottonseed meal
and wheat bran, 4,8191/2 pounds of sweet potatoes produced
3,1221/4 pounds of milk at a feed cost of 17 cents a gallon, and
that 6,898 pounds of sorghum silage, with the same additional
feeds, produced 2,8001/4 pounds of milk at a cost of 14 cents
a gallon. In making these tests the amount of silage fed was
based on the digestible nutrients in the foods given, so that
practically the same amount of food value was contained in the
sweet potatoes as in the sorghum silage. It was also estimated
that the cost of the sweet potatoes was 30 cents a bushel and
that of the sorghum silage $3 a ton.
For feeding dairy cows the value of sorghum silage may be
estimated at $6 a ton, and sweet potatoes at 60 cents a bushel,
when made into silage. This will give a fair idea of the relative
value of sweet potatoes compared with sorghum silage.
Sweet Potatoes as Hog Feed.-The advisability of feeding
sweet potatoes to hogs is determined also by the market value
of the sweet potatoes. When sweet potatoes are worth more
than 60 cents a bushel, it is seldom profitable to feed them to
hogs. There is, however, in every crop a quantity of broken
bruised and unmarketable potatoes which can be utilized to
good advantage as hog feed. On account of their high moisture
and relatively low protein and fat content sweet potatoes must
be supplemented with grain if fed to fattening hogs.
Supplemented with concentrates and pasture, sweet potatoes
are an excellent hog feed. By using approximately half the
grain that would be used with pasture alone, growing shoats
do well on this root crop. Hogs turned into the sweet potato








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


field after the main crop is harvested gather and eat many
small potatoes and roots that otherwise would be wasted. Or
the potatoes may be gathered and stored and fed as needed to
the hogs in troughs or on a platform. Approximately two
pounds of grain for 100 pounds of live weight of hogs, added
to a ration of sweet potatoes, will produce satisfactory gains.
According to an experiment reported in Florida Experiment
Station Bulletin 90, when the ration is entirely of sweet pota-
toes the hogs become unthrifty and actually lose weight after
being fed 42 days.

A METHOD OF PRESERVING SWEET POTATOES*
"The station, therefore, undertook to find a method by which
the sweet potatoes might be dried, with an improvement of the
keeping quality and no loss of edible quality. After numerous
experiments, it seems that these results may be obtained by
boiling the potatoes in an open kettle and drying them in a
fruit evaporator. The method followed at the Experiment Sta-
tion was as follows.
"By means of a derrick used in the cannery, several bushels
of green potatoes were lowered in an iron basket into a large
boiler in which the water was heated by steam. To secure uni-
form cooking, the potatoes should be nearly of the same size.
Those weighing from 1 to 2 pounds required one hour for
thorough cooking. Six to eight hours were required for
evaporating them at a temperature of 150 degrees F. An ordi-
nary laborer peeled and sliced one bushel per hour.
"It is claimed that the evaporated product will keep for an
indefinite time and bear transportation to any part of the world
at any season. It contains moisture, 3.42 per cent; crude ash,
2.48 per cent; crude protein, 5.06 per cent; crude fat, 0.80 per
cent; crude fiber, 2.08 per cent and nitrogen-free extract, 86.16
per cent.
"To prevent hardening of the product, it should be packed
in closed boxes as soon as practicable after removal from the
hot room.
"To prepare the product for table use, 'soak the slices in
warm water for an hour and prepare as dressed or candied
potatoes. The dessicated potatoes may also be used as are the
fresh potatoes for puddings or custards.' For the latter pur-
pose, they may be quickly prepared by adding a small amount
of water and boiling; not more than fifteen minutes will usu-
ally be required."
South Carolina Station Bulletin 71.









36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

SOIL IMPROVING CROPS FOR SWEET POTATOES

In a former bulletin, "Soil Improving Crops" were discussed
at some length. In this bulletin the results of a number of
experiments were given which showed it was possible to in-
crease the yield of a number of crops by growing some of these
good soil improving crops of Florida.
The following table shows the increased yield of sweet pota-
toes following legumes as soil improving crop. Sweet potatoes


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Fig. 16-Showing variation in leaf shape of seedling sweet potatoes.

following crotalaria gave an increase of 58.86 bushels of pota-
toes per acre. Following beggarweed the increase yield was
41.09 bushels per acre. The yield from velvet beans and cow-
peas being 44.41 and 47.37 bushels per acre. If we take an
average of the four legumes the increase in yield is 47.93
bushels of sweet potatoes to the acre.
The question is often asked: What are soil improving crops
worth an acre? The above results show quite clearly what
they are worth in bushels of sweet potatoes.









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 37

TABLE I.-SWEET POTATO YIELD IN BUSHELS PER ACRE FOL-
LOWING NON-LEGUMES AND LEGUMES TURNED UNDER.*
Non- Velvet Beggar-
Year legume Crotalaria Beans Cowpeas weed
1925 .......... 37.50 78.00 54.50 61.00 55.00
1926 .......... 26.09 39.72 34.33 33.75 27.19
Average ... 31.79 58.86 44.41 47.37 41.09

SEEDLING SWEET POTATOES
The sweet potato is propagated almost entirely by bedding
the potatoes and growing draws or by vine cuttings. However,
when growing conditions are favorable, the sweet potato some-
times blooms and produces seed. When the seed is planted a
new seedling sweet potato is the result. This is one method of
establishing new varieties. This is a slow and uncertain method
for the reason that only one plant out of one thousand may
produce a potato of satisfactory quality. Sweet potato seedlings
are just like any other seedling plant; that is, they have no
fixed characters. They may, or may not,.be like the parent. Fig.
16 shows the variation in the leaf characters of a number of
sweet potato seedlings.

Stokes, W. E., Agronomist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion, "Journal of the American Society of Agronomy," Vol. 19, No. 10,
October, 1927.
















































Fig. 17-A crop of Stock Beets like this means a lot of good, succulent feed for the dairy herd during the winter.-Courtesy
N. V. Potash Export My.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


Sugar Beets and Mangels*

"The beets and angels are very well adapted to Nevada
conditions and if given proper care will produce heavy yields
of roots. A test was made on the comparative value of sugar
beets, half-sugar beets and angels for feeding purposes.
"The beet varieties were planted during the month of April
each year. The seed was sown at the rate of 12 pounds of
angels and 20 pounds of sugar beets per acre about one inch
deep in rows two feet apart. The beets were thinned to one
plant every 10 or 12 inches apart in the row.
"The results show that under favorable conditions the
mangel will produce about 30 tons per acre, the half-sugar beet
20 tons and the sugar beet 15 tons per acre. The variety 'Our
Ideal' was the highest producing mangel, and the 'Golden
Tankard' the best yielding half-sugar beet.
"The mangel produced about twice as much feed as the sugar
beet but due to the high content of carbonaceous material in
the sugar beet, it has a greater value per acre than the mangel.
Also the sugar beets are in a more concentrated form and re-
quire much less labor in harvesting the crop. The beets from
this test were fed to the University dairy herd, and a value was
placed on the roots at the rate of $7.00 per ton for the sugar
beets, $4.00 per ton for the half-sugar beets and $3.00 per ton
for the angels. The sugar content varied from 4.5 per cent
in the angels to 19.5 per cent in the sugar beets.
"These results indicate that the sugar beet is the most valu-
able root crop for feeding purposes under Nevada conditions.
No silo is required for storing the beet. The method commonly
used in Nevada, where the rainfall is so slight, is to pif them in
the ground in a similar manner to the pitting of potatoes. The
beets are cut up by an ordinary feed cutter or chopper when
fed to cattle or sheep. Stock feeders in Nevada has paid as
high as $7.00 per ton for sugar beets to be used as a supple-
mentary feed to alfalfa in preparing cattle and sheep for the
market. The finely chopped beets are especially valuable in
fattening ewes with poor teeth."
PLANTING
Sugar beets should be planted in rows two and a half to three
feet apart. This will give a chance to do the cultivation with
horse power. Drill the seed in the row. It will require from
15 to 20 pounds of seed to the acre. When the plants are from
* Bulletin No. 91, Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station.










.- ':. ._ / -* ^ :
lip





4%b ''%' *











Fig. 18-A good crop of angels. The crop is not fully mature, but they produce a yield of between 30 and 40 tons an acre.
-Courtesy N. V. Potash Export Mv.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 41

four to six inches high, thin to a stand, leaving the plants 10
to 12 inches apart in the row. Some growers do not thin until
the beets are large enough to use. They then thin to a stand by
removing the large beets when ready to feed.
Give enough cultivation to keep down all weed growth, and
also keep the ground in such condition as will induce a good
growth of beets.


Mangel-Wurzel
Mangel-wurzel, often called stock beets, is an important crop
as a stock feed in many of the northern states. The beets are
fed during the late winter and early spring season as a succu-
lent feed to dairy cows, fattening steers, sheep and poultry.
Since mangel-wurzels contain on the average 90 per cent of
water, they are more succulent than silage or almost any other
root crop.
The actual feeding value of mangel-wurzels is somewhat
higher than that indicated by analysis. This is due to the
succulent nature of the crop and also to the general toning up
effect they have on the digestive system of the animals to which
they are fed.
Mangels grow best in a fertile, loamy soil. They require a
liberal amount of moisture to produce best yields, but they will
not grow on poorly drained soil.

WHEN TO PLANT
In Florida angels grow best during the fall, winter and
early spring months. The crop should be mature by the
middle of March. Hence it is important that the crop be
planted as early in the fall as it is practical to get the plants
to grow. With some this may be September or October, and
with others it may be as late as November or December. The
late plantings will not produce as good yields as will the early
plantings.
Plant in rows two and a half to three feet apart and drill the
seed in the row. A quicker germination and better stand will
be obtained if the seed is soaked for ten or fifteen hours before
planting. It will require from fifteen to twenty pounds of seed
to plant an acre. When the plants are about six inches high,
thin to a stand; that is, a plant every two to four inches in the
row. Give just enough cultivation to keep down all weed
growth and that will keep the soil in the best possible condition
to induce a rapid growth of the crop.



















1' 1
F a
S T .
S.~. F g .1, .-A fil.- 'f ." f

., .,.,. . .












Fig 19-A field of chufas.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


FERTILIZER
There is no best fertilizer for this crop. It is quite probable
that no two farmers fertilize the crop the same way and yet
many good crops are produced.
If barnyard manure is available, it would be well to apply a
liberal application a short time in advance of planting the crop.
This could then be followed with a side dressing of nitrate of
soda or some other quick-acting nitrogenous material at the
rate of 100 to 200 pounds to the acre.
When the angels have attained a size of one and a half to
two inches in diameter they may be used for feeding. The large
plants may be pulled up and used for feed, and in this way
thin the crop to a stand. Mangels when grown on rich, fertile
soil often grow to fifteen or eighteen inches in length and from
six to twelve inches in diameter.
YIELD
The yield which may be obtained depends entirely upon the
character of the soil on which angels are grown. Good land
with a sufficient amount of moisture present will produce the
maximum yield. Under favorable conditions the yield may be
anywhere from ten tons up to twenty or more tons to the acre
VARIETIES TO PLANT
Like all other crops, there are a great many varieties to
choose from. It is quite possible that all growers will not agree
on any one variety to plant.
The following are suggested, but they are not recommended
as being the only ones to try: Long Red Mammoth Prize and
Half Sugar have been grown in many parts of the State.



Chufas
Cyperus Esculentus
The chufa, which is probably from the Mediterranean coun-
tries, is grown successfully only in tropical and subtropical
regions. The plant is sedge-like in appearance. It produces
tubers on the roots that vary in size from one-fourth to one
inch in diameter.
The crop is grown in Florida as a hog and poultry feed. The
yield per acre varies greatly, depending on the character of the
land on which chufas is grown, distance planted, and the cli-
matic conditions. Reported yields vary all the way from









DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


twenty or thirty bushels up to sixty or seventy-five bushels
an acre.
Chufas is a crop that can be planted any time from March
to the middle of July. This means that the crop may be ready
to harvest from early in July until the following March or
April.
Chufas are planted in rows two and a half to three and a half
feet apart. Drop the tubers six to ten inches apart in the row.
Chufas are frequently planted in alternate rows with corn.
Sometimes corn and peanuts are planted in the same row and
chufas planted in alternate rows. This is a very satisfactory
arrangement as the entire combination of crops are then grazed
by hogs. A combination of corn, peanuts and chufas will not
only furnish an abundance of feed but it is also a combination
of feed which will produce an abundance of pork.
Chufas is a crop which after maturing will remain in the
ground for a long time without deterioration. For example,
if the crop matures in September, October or November, it
may remain in the ground until the following March or April
and still furnish an abundance of feed.
Give sufficient cultivation to the crop to keep the ground
free of weeds.
Chufas are excellent for fattening hogs. By some they are
considered equal to peanuts for this purpose. However, they
are not grown to the same extent as are peanuts.
The composition of the chufa, according to "Feeds and Feed-
ing," by Henry and Morrison, is water 79.5, ash 0.4, crude pro-
tein 0.7, fiber 2.2, nitrogen-free extract 10.5, and fat 6.6 per
cent.


Turnips

Turnips is one crop that is grown in all parts of the State.
It is not grown for stock feeding as much as it is for human
consumption. However, as growers become accustomed to
using turnips as a feed for livestock, turnips will be grown on
a much larger scale.
Like other root crops, they are grown and used as a succu-
lent feed crop. Such crops should not be expected to replace
any of the grain ration. Rather they are a succulent feed to
supplement the grain ration.
Turnips may be used as a feed for all classes of livestock,
more especially cattle and sheep.









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 45

WHEN TO PLANT
Turnips is a fall and early winter crop which may be planted
any time from Late in August to December, depending some-
what upon the location in the State. Farmers in North Florida
can plant earlier than farmers in South Florida.

HOW TO PLANT
Turnip seed may be sown broadcast or planted in rows. As
a rule, better results will be obtained if planted in rows. Plant-
ing in rows requires less seed and gives a chance to cultivate
the crop. The cultivation should increase the yield sufficiently
to more than pay for the cultivation.
Plant in rows twenty-four to thirty inches apart and drill the
seeds in the row. As the turnips become large enough to use
they may be thinned to a stand.
It will require from five to twelve pounds of seed to plant
an acre, depending upon the method of planting.

SOILS
Turnips will grow on a variety of soils, but will make the
best growth and yield when planted on a rich loamy soil. If
barnyard manure is available it should be applied at least two
or three months in advance of planting the turnip seed.
CULTIVATION
Give just enough cultivation to keep down all weed growth
and at the same time keep the ground in the best condition to
induce a rapid growth of the crop.
VARIETIES
There is a long list of varieties of turnips to choose from
when planting time comes. Long White Cow Horn is the choice
of many. Others prefer the Purple Top. Other varieties that
will do well are White Flat Dutch and White Globe.


Rutabagas
Rutabagas require about the same soil conditions as do
turnips and angels. Planting dates' are from September to
November. Plant in rows twenty-four to thirty inches apart
and drill the seed in the row. When the plants are four to
five inches high, thin to a stand.
American purple top is one of the good varieties.









46 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Carrots
Carrots is a crop well adapted to Florida conditions provided
it is planted on the right kind of soils. Carrots will not grow
successfully on all types of soil to the same degree as will many
other crops. For the best growth, carrots demand a rich,
loamy soil. This is one crop which responds quickly to a liberal
application of barnyard manure. Only those soils which have
a large amount of humus in them will grow carrots successfully.
Like other root crops, carrots require an abundance of mois-
ture, but at the same time the soils on which they are grown
successfully must be well drained.

WHEN TO PLANT
Carrots may be planted any time from September to Janu-
ary. It is not necessary to plant the entire crop at one time.
If desired, plantings may be made at intervals of every two or
three weeks. The early plantings will be ready for use m ad-
vance of the later plantings.
HOW TO PLANT
Plant in rows twenty-four to thirty inches apart and drill
the seeds in the row. It will require from fifteen to twenty
pounds of seed to plant an acre.


The Dasheen
A Southern Root Crop for Home Use and Market*

WHAT THE DASHEEN IS
"Dasheens have been grown commercially in the Southern
States since 1913. They were cultivated experimentally or for
home use by a few persons several years earlier. The Trinidad
Dasheen-the variety commonly grown in the South-is an
especially rich flavored, mealy cooking and prolific variety of
the Polynesian and oriental taro (Colocasia esculenta (L)
Schott). In food properties it is very similar to the potato, but
the dasheen contains less water, and in consequence the content
of starch and protein is about one-half greater than that of the
potato. The name 'Dasheen' is believed to be a corruption of
the French expression 're Chine' (from China), indicating the
Farmers' Bulletin No. 1396.









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 47

supposed country of origin of this variety of taro. The full
name originally used in the West Indies was probably 'taro de
Chine' (Chinese taro) or something of similar meaning, but the
first part of the name seems to have passed out of use in most,
if not all, localities.
"Taros, or dasheens, of varieties similar to or identical with
the Trinidad dasheen, are also known in various parts of tropi-
cal America under the names 'molanga,' 'eldo,' 'coco,' 'taya,'
'tanier,' and tanniaa' (also spelled 'tannya' and 'tanya.').
These names are likewise applied to other types of taros and
to some of the yautias (Xanthosoma sagittaefolium (L) Schott
and other species).
"The word 'taro' (also called kalo in Hawaii) is Polynesian,
and is so widely known and used that it is better to use this as
the common name for the species of Colocasia rather than any
of the various other names that have come into use in America.
Most of these local names have become so firmly fixed for the
old familiar varieties, however, that they will probably be dis-
placed only as newer and better varieties under other names
are introduced.
General Description of the Dasheen
"The dasheen is a broad-leaved member of the arum family,
to which belong also the calla and the jack-in-the-pulpit (Indi-
an turnip). It resembles in general appearance its close rela-
tive, the ordinary elephant-ear (Colocasia antiquorum Schott,
often called Caladium esculentum). The Trinidad dasheen
differs from most other taros in having its corms and cormels
(primary and secondary 'tubers') practically free from the
acridity so common to aroids in general, which is exemplified
in the Indian turnip. However, caution should be used in
tasting uncooked dasheens, for there is always the possibility
that some acrid taro of similar appearance has become mixed
with the non-acrid variety. The leaves of the dasheen are very
acrid, and should not be tasted except when cooked as greens,
according to special directions. In case of accidental eating
or chewing of the leaves of acrid corms or tubers, the resulting
irritation of the mouth and throat is usually relieved by the
use of lemon juice in a little water.
"There are many varieties, more or less distinct, of taros
having the same general habits of growth as the Trinidad
dasheen. In view of the origin of the word dasheenn,' however,
it would be more appropriate to call these varieties taross,'


















































Fig. 20-A field of dasheens in Central Florida.-Courtesy U. S. D. A.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 49

except where there is reason to believe that they are of Chinese
origin.
"In the dasheen type of taro the tuberous growth consists
of one or more (according to the number of original sprouts
from the material planted) large edible central corms and a
considerable number of edible cormels, or lateral tubers, com-
pactly clustered. Both corms and tubers are more or less
ovoid, but the form varies somewhat with the variety and with
the length of the season. Leaves are produced in a whorl by
each corm and usually by each of several tubers in a hill. The
leaf is peltate (the petiole, or leafstalk, attached near the center
of the blade) erect and three to seven feet high under suitable
conditions; blade ovate to broadly ovate, rather dark velvety
green above, and in some varieties with a purplish spot at the
point of petiole attachment; the petiole varies in color, accord-
ing to the variety, from plain green to light or dark purplish
maroon in part of throughout its length.
"Dasheen corms vary in weight, with the size and vigor of
the plants, from less than an ounce to a pound or more each.
One or more of these lateral tubers in each hill often attain the
size of a small corm and also assume something of its shape
and other characteristics. Such tubers are called secondary
corms. In quality the secondary corms closely resemble the
primary corms from which they spring. The color of the
cooked dasheens just beneath the skin is purplish, and the
flesh of the corms and of any tubers which may have sent up
leaves is frequently more or less tinged with violet, though
occasionally it is entirely free from this coloration. The violet-
colored dasheens are often of richer flavor than those of creamy
or other light shades.

Chemical Composition and Digestibility
"''The composition of dasheens varies slightly with the variety
and with circumstances, such as soil in which they are grown,
the length of time in storage, and the temperature and moisture
content of the air where stored. Differences in composition due
to the latter causes are, of course, mainly in moisture content.
The most rapid loss of moisture naturally occurs within the
first week or two after the dasheens are dug, the rate of the
loss depending upon the freedom of ventilation and the mois-
ture and temperature conditions of the air. An average of ten
analyses of the edible portions of corms and tubers of the
Trinidad dasheen, made in February and March (of different








50 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

years) by the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States De-
partment of Agriculture, gives percentages as follows:
W a ter ........................................... ....................................................... 6 2 .7 7
P r o tein .......................................................................... ..................... 3 .0 3
Carbohydrates-
Starch .... ...... .......... ....... ..................... 26.09
Soluble sugar ............................................ 1.75
P entosans ..................................... ....................... 1.24 29.08
E th er E x tract (fat) ........................................................ ........... .16
C ru d e fib r e ............................................................................. ........... .7 1
Ash ........................ .. .............. 1.30
U n d eterm in ed ............................................................... .......... .... 2 .95

T o ta l .......................................................... ............................... 1 0 0 .0 0

"The average analysis of the potato gives the protein con-
tent as 2.2 per cent and the starch about 18 per cent, the sugar
and fat contents being negligible. The sugar content of the
dasheen is 13/4 per cent, which accounts for the noticeably
sweeter taste of this vegetable in comparison with the potato.
In the sweet potato the average starch content is 21.1 per cent
sugar 5 per cent, protein 1.8 per cent, and fat 0.7 per cent.
Although the total carbohydrate content of the dasheen is but
little above that of the sweet potato, the protein content is
more than one-half greater.
"The starch grains of the dasheen are among the smallest
in food plants. Whether for this or some other reason, dasheens
and other taros are reputed in countries where commonly
grown to be more easily digested than other starch foods. Al-
though there are no published reports of scientific tests to de-
termine just what foundation underlies this popular belief, ex-
perience to a similar effect is reported by many persons in this
country. The question of the completeness of digestibility of
dasheens has been investigated, however, by specialists of the
department, and the conclusions are that the completeness of
digestibility of the dasheen does not differ materially from the
potato."
History of the Introduction of the Dasheen
The first definitely recorded introduction of the Trinidad
dasheen to the mainland of the United States for cultural ex-
periments was from Porto Rico, in 1905. The variety had been
previously obtained by the Agricultural Experiment Station,
Wayaguez, Porto Rico, from the island of Trinidad. It is be-
lieved to have been brought from China to the Western Hemi-
sphere, perhaps two or three centuries ago, and it has been








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 51

cultivated under various names in many of the West Indies.
Varieties identical with it in appearance and resembling it in
quality, have been obtained from Dutch Guiana and Peru.

Beginning of the Dasheen Industry in the United States
The first field tests which showed conclusively that the
dasheen could be grown successfully in the Southern States
were made in 1908 and 1909 in central Florida and near
Charleston, South Carolina. Dasheens have been grown by a
gradually increasing number of people in the far South since
1913. In the spring of that year the sending out of seed tubers
on a rather broad scale to experimenters was begun by the
United States Departmeilt of Agriculture.
There has been a small but growing market demand for
dasheens since the spring of 1914. Very early in that year the
office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction of the Depart-
ment of Agriculture received a specimen taro obtained at New
York from a commerical shipment from Beirut, Syria. It was
learned that this taro was being imported for food purposes;
as the dasheen was somewhat similar to it, and considered to
be of superior quality, the question of substituting American-
grown dasheens was taken up with the importers. After test-
ing a small sample, these importers expressed an entire willing-
ness to purchase the new vegetable and to co-operate in help-
ing to build up a dasheen industry in the Southern States. The
season being far advanced, it was possible to obtain only a few
hundred pounds of dasheens at that time, but this was the be-
ginning of a regular market demand, which in the season of
1920-21 had increased to an aggregate of about ten (10) car-
loads.
CULTURE OF THE DASHEEN-PLANTING*
Dasheens are adapted for commercial culture only in the
Southern States. They require a frostless season of at least
seven months, with plenty of moisture, to fully mature a good
crop. For a large crop of good quality, the dasheen must be
grown in a moist but well-drained, rich, sandy loam. The addi-
tion soon after planting of a fertilizer containing 8 to 12 per
cent potash, even in good soil, as a rule, has a beneficial effect
on the crop. A large proportion of either clay or muck in the
soil produces strong-flavored or tough dasheens, which are
often quite unfit for table use. However, those grown in muck
soil yield heavily and are reported to be entirely satisfactory
for stock feed.
U. S. Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1916.













52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


r'A

, .1


.4,


'-V


Fig. 21-One hill of the Trinidad Dasheen grown from a single tuber six (6)
months from planting.-Courtesy U. S. D. A.


- ,..









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


Planting is done in February in southern Florida, and as
late as the early part of April in South Carolina. Whole tubers
are used, and are planted singly, two to three inches deep.
Tubers weighing three to five ounces are better than smaller
ones for planting, although the character of the soil and the
amount of moisture present are much more important factors
than the size of the tubers.
In rich soil about twelve square feet is allowed for each
plant, the spacing being 4 by 3 or 31 by 3 feet. This per-
mits horse cultivation with the ordinary farm implements.
Recently the dasheen has been found subject to the common
root-knot disease of the South, which attacks many cultivated
plants and weeds. The effect of the disease is to reduce the
yield of dasheens. The spread of root-knot in dasheen culture
is largely controlled by reserving for seed the tubers from
selected, healthy plants only and planting in land that is free
from infection.
HARVESTING
The di.-inu of dasheens for home use can usually begin the
middle of September and the main crop be harvested at any
time after the last of October. The digging can be done with
a spade, and where the area is large enough to warrant it, the
plants can be turned over with a plow. When the dasheens are
to be stored or shipped, the soil is shaken from the clumps as
soon as possible after digging. The clumps are then left on the
surface of the ground in the field for two to four days to dry.
The tops and feeding roots are then broken from the corms
and tubers.
In localities where autumn frosts are severe, harvesting
should be done before they occur, as the corms and tubers are
likely to be injured if exposed to frost after digging.

STORAGE
When dasheens have dried sufficiently in the field and are
stored, free from soil, in a covered but well-ventilated place,
they usually keep well. It is better not to store them in large
piles, but spread them out so that the air can circulate rather
freely among them. There are several rots that are likely to
attack dasheens left in storage, or even while in the ground, if
the dasheens are left lying in the field too long after digging,
or otherwise improperly handled in harvesting or storing.
The fibrous covering of dasheens in the field seems to enable
them to withstand for a short time temperature several degrees
below freezing before digging, but a temperature in storage
even as low as 41 degrees F., if prolonged for several weeks,








54 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


. .. . .. ;* J t r .: .
4 a. r. . :.

4 .(



Sxe' ^ t ^ A


Fig. 22-A three pound dasheen corm. A good size for any use.
-Courtesy U. S. D. A.


\1, -,








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


has been shown to be very injurious to them. The results of
experiments indicate that where the storage temperature can
be controlled, temperatures in the neighborhood of 50 degrees
F. are better than lower or much higher ones.

SHIPPING
The dasheen is a good shipper, and as the railroads of the
country have co-operated with the department so far as to
place the new vegetable on the same footing as the potato in
freight classification, shipments in barrel lots to most eastern
and northern points is entirely practicable. The same protec-
tion against cold should be given dasheens in transit as is given
potatoes.


Cassava*
Manihot utilissima
"Cassava is a native of tropical America and has, ever since
the white man first became familiar with American conditions,
served as the chief article of diet for the aboriginal people of
the West Indian islands, Central America and equatorial South
America. Botanically it is known as 'Manihot utilissima,' and
Manihot, or Manioc, are the names by which it is commonly
designated by the natives of South America, by whom the
original word cassava was applied simply to the manufactured
product obtained from the plant.
"Two varieties of cassava are recognized, one of which is
poisonous from the considerable quantity of hydrocyanic acid
stored in its roots, and is recognizable by the fact of possessing
seven divisions to its leaves, while the non-poisonous variety
shows but five, or less, points to its palmately divided leaves.
Occasional 'sports' with seven pointed leaves are met with in
Florida, even upon plants most of the foliage of which consists
of leaves with fewer divisions, but growth in sub-tropical lati-
tudes seems to eliminate the poisonous property entirely, or to
reduce it below the danger point, as cases of poisoning from
consumption of the root by either man or beast are wholly un-
known in the State.
CHARACTERISTICS
"The plant is a luxuriant, many-branched shrub, covered
with dark green, reddish veined or stemmed, palmately divided
leaves almost entirely concealing the branches to which they
Bulletin 49, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.








56 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

are attached. The branches contain a soft, white pith, and
possess nodes from which the next generation of plants is ob-
tained, as is the case with sugar cane, the plants flowering, but
rarely maturing seed in Florida.
"The main stems are often over two inches in diameter at the
ground, and thrifty plants usually attain a height of from five



I-


.^ '~~~- 2'-*' 'PV ""
Fi. 23 -Cas n .- Cor ,t ....lo -:Ag,,u .. S' t o,

_t in hi o .ee-i a.r e w th 'intrv- in. p.e-, s

e a is .. .,ic .Th 'r m- t th u. .
.. :' -.- :, .,


.1 -


1. .. :,.
..- k .' .' .- r' '" .

ground stems, are attached to the main stock and are usually
p ', ','%- *^-.



.,..,. :.. *' -- - *, .. ,-A




Fig. 23-Cassava Plant.-Courtesy Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.

to six feet with a spread of about the same dimensions, so that
planted in hills four feet apart each way, the intervening spaces
are entirely filled, and passage between the rows late in the
season is difficult. The roots, or more perfectly the under-
ground stems, are attached to the main stock and are usually
from one to three inches in diameter and from one to three feet









ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


in length as the result of a single year's growth. It is these
roots which give the plant its value and furnish its usable
parts. They consist of a pure white solid tissue, harder and
drier than potatoes, or other so-called root crops, and have a
very high content of starch. They are covered with a thin,
reddish-brown, fibrous bark, easily removed by washing or
light scraping, and it is this bark which, in the tropical variety,
contains much of the poisonous ingredient. This constituent is
volatine, and, therefore, is wholly removed by cooking.

SOIL AND CLIMATIC CONDITIONS
"Cassava grows in all parts of Florida with all the ease and
aptitude of a nature. It thrives best, however, on moderately
fertile, sandy soils, and is perfectly adapted to the vast areas
of pine land constituting so large a portion of the State. It
possesses great drought-withstanding power, very much sur-
passing corn in this respect.
"So far as latitude is concerned, no positive limits may be
assigned to the area of its successful growth. It will, to the
writer's personal knowledge, thrive as far north as Macon,
Georgia, and might be grown to advantage over a large part of
both of the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisi-
ana and Texas, with the probability of successful cultivation
in parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory. It re-
quires a long season for its full development, and is very sensi-
tive to frost, as much so as is the tomato. The limits of its pos-
sible habitat may, perhaps, be best described by the statement
that cassava will thrive wherever the soil is adapted to its de-
velopment and a period of seven months of immunity from
killing frosts is assured, or where danger from the spring frosts
ceases with the middle of March and that an autumn frost does
not occur until after the middle of October.

PREPARING THE SOIL
Land on which cassava is to grow requires thorough plowing.
If the sand or loam has become compacted below, the usual
depth of plowing, or if the stratum of clay approaches the sur-
face, the subsoil plow should be resorted to, or if unavoidable,
the long "bull-tongue" should follow the turn plow or scooter.
Thorough pulverization should be secured by the use of the
harrow following the plow. This is particularly important as
the young plants start slowly and cannot be so roughly treated
as is the case with corn, where the harrow may be used several
times between planting and the time for the first plowing or
cultivation.














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ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


The crop should be worked both ways, and should, therefore,
be planted in squares, four to six feet each way. This is most
simply effected by running furrows at right angles with a turn-
plow or scooter, and dropping the seed at the place where these
furrows cross each other."
FERTILIZING
The following table shows the results of a fertilizer experi-
ment conducted several years ago by the Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station. These results speak for themselves.

TABLE II.-FERTILIZER EXPERIMENT WITH CASSAVA*
No. Acid Phos- Cotton- Muriate of Yield of
of phate seed Meal Potash Rate of Roots
Plot Per Acre Per Acre Per Acre Fertilizing Per Acre
Check
Pounds Pounds Pounds Plot Pounds
1 ............ ..... ... ............ ... ................................................ 7 ,4 2 0
2 250 300 150 2 normal 10,430
3 1871/2 225 1121 11/2 normal 11,480
4 125 150 75 Normal 13,510
5 125 150 371/2 1/ potash 15,050
6 125 75 75 1/2 nitrogen 15,080
7 62% 150 75 1/2 Phos- acid 12,250
8 250 300 150 Duplicate No. 2 13,475
9 250 300 150 Duplicate No. 8 12,740

PLANTING AND CULTIVATION
The seed preserved through the winter begins to sprout and
grow with the advent of warm weather, and must be planted
before it loses its vitality in this way. This will usually occur
in March. The seed canes are cut into sections four to ten
inches in length, which is best effected by means of sharp
knives, hatchets, or, best of all, pruning shears, by which the
most rapid and best work is effected. The pieces must be
dropped in the furrow by hand, where the check system is fol-
lowed, the intersection of the furrows mark the places for
dropping. The most satisfactory results are secured by drop-
ping two pieces in a place, and the workmen, by stepping on
the dropped pieces, facilitate their subsequent covering. The
covering is easily accomplished by the turnplow, or best by the
cultivator with all the teeth removed except the rear teeth on
each side, which should be shovels, and set as closely together
as possible.
Bulletin 49, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.









DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


The season's cultivation and working of the cassava crop
is simple. The first cultivation should be deep, and with a
plow, if preferred. After cultivation must be shallow, and with
a cultivator or wide sweep. In either case, the implement
should be run as near the surface as possible, both because of
the effect on soil moisture and because many of the roots grow
horizontally and very close to the surface. The cultivation
practiced with corn is equally adapted to cassava, and three
or four workings will be sufficient, notwithstanding its long
growing season. When the plants reach well out into the space
between the rows and shade the ground well, all cultivation
may cease and the crop be considered as laid by. At the time
of the last cultivation, which will usually occur about the first
of August, a single row of cowpeas may advantageously be
sown in the midde of the rows.

HARVESTING
The nature of the plant necessitates hand-harvesting, but it
possesses two saving graces which render the task compara-
tively easy. First, it thrives best on light, sandy, dry soils, in
which its roots do not have a very tenacious hold, and second,
so many of these roots grow near the surface that no great
difficulty is experienced in removing them in a body from the
soil. The work is best performed by two men on opposite sides
of the row. The stem should have previously been cut off
with hoes about four to six inches above the ground after the
appearance of frost, or the general yellowing of the leaves
shows that growth is at an end. The remaining stubs or stems
furnish a hold by means of which the entire root system is
raised from the ground. If any plant possesses a specially
tenacious hold on the ground, a little loosening by shovel or
pade thrust under one side of the plant, will accomplish its
release. Roots occasionally become broken off in the ground,
but these are secured without difficulty by means of a shovel
or a spade.
The roots must be kept in a dry and reasonably cool place or
they are apt to deteriorate after a few days' removal from the
ground. As the ground on which cassava grows seldom freezes,
the crop is best stored where it grew, and only harvested a few
days previous to actual use.

PRESERVING SEED

The entire above-ground growth of the plant, except its
leaves and tip stems, may be preserved for seed. The stems are
trimmed by hand, the leaves and tips being broken off and then


0i6


60








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA


laid upon a dry piece of ground, preferably freshly plowed.
The butt-ends of the stalks should be thrust into the ground
and then a second layer be placed over them, butts also in the
ground, and so the pile, or bed, should be continued, layer on
layer, like the shingles of a roof, till, for convenience sake, the
bed is large enough. The cane should then be covered with
straw, hay, or moss, and this with a light layer of soil. In ex-
tremely dry weather the addition of a little water to the bed
is advisable, but our winter rains are usually ample for the
needs of the seed-cane, and our experience at the station is that
a superabundance of moisture is more dangerous than dry
weather, as the rotting of the bed is more common than its dry-
ing out. Neither extreme, however, is frequent, and the seed
may be expected to pass the winter in good condition with rea-
sonable certainty.

USES OF THE CROP
"Cassava is distinctively a starch-forming crop, and belongs
essentially to the carbohydrate division of foods. It is, there-
fore, a characteristic fat-former, and when properly used be-
comes one of the most economical heat and fat forming articles
of feed for all classes of animals, human beings included."
Cassava may be fed to cattle, hogs, chickens, horses and
mules in combination with other feeds, especially those rich
in protein.

COMPOSITION*
W a ter ....................................................................................... 6 7 .4 p er cen t
A sh ............. ........................................................ . .. 1 .0 p er cen t
C ru d e p rotein .................. ........................................... 1.1 p er cen t
F ib er .............................................................. ............... .. 1 .4 p er c en t
Nitrogen-free extract ......................................... 28.8 per cent
F at ............................................................... ... .......... 0 .3 p er cen t

"Feeds and Feeding."

The roots as taken from the ground will analyze about 22 to
24 per cent of starch.








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


The Jerusalem Artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus L.

DESCRIPTION AND VARIETIES*
"The Jerusalem artichoke belongs to the sunflower family.
It is an annual, reproduced mainly by tubers that are some-
what similar to potatoes. Seed is rarely used.
"The plants of the cultivated varieties grow from 4 to 12
feet in height; stalks are medium coarse, often heavily
branched, very leafy, and bear small yellow blossoms on the
tips of the upper branches and main stalks. The tubers vary
from the elongated, usually slender, to the almost round types.
They vary in color from red and blue to white and yellow.
White tubers are preferred to colored ones. In general, the
tubers are rough, the eyes are very numerous and usually even
with the surface, and the flesh is white, resembling that of the
potato.
"There are several types and varieties of artichokes. The
most productive and easiest to cultivate and harvest are those
which produce smooth, round-shaped tubers rather closely
grouped in the hills.
"The Mammoth French White Jerusalem artichoke is consid-
ered the best variety. It was originally introduced by Hon.
Joseph C. Sibley of Penssylvania and is sometimes known as
the Sibley-type Artichoke. It is a good producer of reasonably
smooth tubers. The tubers are always borne in hills and are
easy to harvest. The amount of forage produced is equal to
that of other varieties.
"There are wild artichokes growing in several sections of the
State. Ordinarily these produce considerable top growth but
the yield of tubers is small. They are quite often referred to as
wild sunflowers.
"The varieties having several tubers with long, slender stems
between them produce a crop widely scattered throughout the
surface soil. These varieties usually produce good top growth.
The tubers are often very rough and always difficult to harvest
completely, as the entire field surface must be dug over in
order to get them."
SOILS
Artichokes grow best and produce good yields when planted
in a rich, fertile, loamy soil with a clay subsoil that retains
Circular 89, Oregon State Agricultural College.








ROOT CROPS GROWN IN FLORIDA 63

moisture well. One of the chief troubles of growing them here
in Florida is the fact that our sandy soils dry out so quickly
that the plants often suffer from lack of moisture. Do not
plant on poorly drained soils.
PLANTING
Planting may be done any time from March to May 1st. The
early plantings often produce the best yields. Soil preparation
is the same as that for Irish potatoes. Make the rows three to
four feet apart and drop the tubers 16 to 22 inches apart in
the row. Tubers should be covered from four to six inches
deep. The tubers may be planted whole or cut like Irish po-
tatoes.
CULTIVATION
The cultivation is the same as for other farm crops; that is,
cultivate often enough to keep down all weeds. Cultivation
must, necessarily, be shallow, so as not to interfere with the
root development.
FERTILIZER
Fertilizer for all root crops other than sweet potatoes would
be any good fertilizer analyzing five per cent ammonia, seven
per cent phosphoric acid and five per cent potash. Apply the
fertilizer ten days or two weeks before planting the seed, at the
rate of about 400 to 600 pounds to the acre.
DISEASES AND INSECTS
The State Department of Agriculture carries on no research
work. The reader is therefore referred to the Florida Agricul-
tural Experiment Station, Gainesville, Florida, for information
of this nature.




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