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Revision of bpcl. no. 23, April 1929,
Aug. 1932, April 1936.
BULLETIN NO. 23
State of Florida
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Foreword .........-........ ---.. ..-------........................ 5
Artichoke, Jerusalem .................................. ................................... 140
Asparagus ....................................... .......... ................ 67
B means, Lim a ............................................ .............. .......... 32
Beans, Pole .............................................. .... ...... ................. 32
B means, Snap ....................................... ...................... ............................ 29
B broccoli ............................................................... ... ....................... 102
Broccoli, Sauces for serving ........................ .......................... 111-112
Broccoli, Research for iron content .......................................... 113-119
Cabbage .............................................................. .. ........................... 120
Calory Table .......................................................... ......................... 167
Carrots .......---.................--.................................. 57
Cassava ........................................ ................. ....... .............. 151
Cauliflower ................................................................................ 108
C elery ........................................ ........................................................... 26
Conserving the Food Value in Vegetables ....................................---- 160
C ruciferae ...................... ........................................ ..... .................. 90
Cucum bers ............................................................ ...... ................. 34
Eggplants ........................................ ...... .... ................. .. 40
Escarole or Endive ...............-..--- ...... -------. .....--.. 72
Florida Vegetables ............-- ......--- -------- .....--------- 171
G lovel Tom ato ........................................ ...... ................... 23
Jerusalem Artichoke ................. .......................-----140
Kohl-rabi ..................................----- -----..-- -- ..---.-- 132
Lettuce ... -----................... ............------ .......- .-- ------........---- 44
Market Gardening and Truck Farming ......................................... 7
O kra ..................................................-.................... 59
Okra, Methods of preparing .................. .....-------............--- 61
Onions ...................--... --.............--- ------..-- ..---- 75
Peas, English ........................................---------- ... .----- 55
Peppers .....--............------ ........ --- ---....- ....-- 36
Planting Charts ............................................................. 87-88-89
Plant Structure .............--------......-.. .... ..... ........ .............. 9
R hubarb ............ .............................................................................. 47
Romaine .....------................... ....- ---......--.--.....--.-----... 54
Roselle, "Florida Cranberry" ... .................-.....-................- ........ 135
Squash ......--....... ......... ................................................... 64
Tom atoes ... .................................................... 18
Value of Florida Truck Crops .............................. .................. 12
Vitam in Tables ..................... ......................... ..................... 168-170
To make a success of raising vegetables of any kind
about the most important thing to consider is "how to sell
them at a profit" to the producer.
The market gardener as well as the truck farmer should
try to put himself in the position of the buyer. What
would you like to get for your money if you went to a
market or a store to purchase vegetables for your home?
Would you want the stale, wilted or dried-out vegetables
that are sometimes offered the housewife?
Of course, the final condition of the vegetables you
raise is not entirely in your hands. You cannot always
foresee just what the commission merchant, or the vege-
table stand, or the store will do with the vegetables after
they are delivered to them, but a great deal depends on the
manner in which the vegetables are first prepared for
market. If you will be absolutely sure that you have first,
harvested at the right stage of maturity; (the most im-
portant step in marketing), second, properly graded the
vegetables, third, packed them in the right kind of crates.
baskets, or containers, fourth, neither underpack nor over-
pack them (what we mean by this is-not too many nor
too few of the articles in the crate), fifth, pack them as soon
after picking as humanly possible, sixth, deliver them to
the express office, (if you are shipping by express) or to
the motor truck for immediate shipment,-a great deal
will be added to the value of vegetables you ship.
Much has been written and said about this very im-
portant feature in the handling of vegetables and still, if all
of the truck gardeners and farmers could go through the
large commission houses and see first hand the poor qual-
ity of many shipments of produce sent to market they
would realize why this instruction is repeated.
Luther Burbank is quoted as saying: "I do not blame
the housewife for not wanting to cook some of the wilted,
poor quality vegetables that are offered them."
Harvest the vegetables when you know they are in
proper condition to stand shipment.
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Don't take the risk of having your crop spoil in transit.
DO NOT PERMIT YOUR CROP TO OVER-MATURE
IN THE FIELD. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHEN TO
HARVEST A CROP IT IS BEST TO LEARN ALL ABOUT
THIS VERY IMPORTANT PHASE OF SUCCESSFUL
VEGETABLE PRODUCTION BEFORE YOU PLANT
Next, grade correctly, pack and ship promptly and the
vegetables will remain in good condition a much longer
time. The old adage: "one bad apple remaining in the
barrel will spoil the entire barrel" will always be true. One
bad bunch of vegetables will spoil the entire crate.
You are producing vegetables as a means of income;
so study every phase of your procedure.
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Plow and Tools for Gardening.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Market Gardening and Truck Farming
Olericulture as a general subject could be correctly
separated into two divisions and designated as market
gardening and truck farming. Most encyclopedias and
dictionaries make no distinction in their definitions, but
market gardening which has as its object the raising of
large quantities of many varieties of vegetables for local
markets should be differentiated from truck farming.
Truck farming which may be restricted in the variety
of products raised is conducted on a more extensive scale,
the production being confined to a few standard crops for
shipment to distant markets. The acreage returns are
greater in truck farming than in market gardening.
Vegetables in this state are now being raised as a mar-
ket gardening product as well as a truck farming product.
Irrespective of how vegetables are raised, quick trans-
portation facilities and good markets are most essential for
success. Without efficient, fast transportation develop-
ment of truck farming would be impossible.
VALUE OF NEW VEGETABLES
It is a trait of human nature to want something new
and this is no exception to food products. A new vegetable,
a new fruit, or a new canned product finds ready accept-
ance. Continued good quality will result in a permanent
place for the article after it has been properly introduced.
Those varieties of vegetables which ship well and which
mature during the season when there is a shortage of
other fresh vegetables, and which are adapted to the cli-
mates of the South, and particularly to certain districts of
Florida, will find ready acceptance on a great many of the
best markets of the North and East.
BUSINESS METHODS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS
However, truck farming or market-gardening depends
upon the man just as it does in any business. A good crop
grower must be a good business man. He should thor-
oughly know his business and have such knowledge that
he will be able to overcome difficulties in crop-production
and understand marketing in all its details.
Before producing any product for market there should
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 9
be a carefully developed plan of production which begins
with the most profitable use of the land, the preparation of
the land, the care of the land as well as of the crops and
the right succession of crops to meet market demands
during the periods when good prices are obtainable.
ADVANTAGES OF THE SOUTHERN GROWER
With the Southern grower there appears to be less risk
in growing early crops. Crops produced at the time of
year when they can be marketed ahead of similar crops
raised in northern latitudes offer good inducements for
Acreage devoted to any crop should depend on labor
supply. It is most risky to plant a large acreage in the
hope that labor will be available when the crop is ready
for harvesting. This risk should by all means be avoided.
Crop rotation is necessary for successful operations.
Any soil will wear out if used continuously to produce the
same crop. Every time a crop is raised there goes with
the crop certain elements of plant food from the soil, and
unless land is given an opportunity to rebuild and also as-
sisted through the proper application of fertilizers the
land so used will not produce a profitable crop.
REFERENCE TO SOILS AND FERTILIZERS
We want to recommend that the prospective producer
of vegetables for the market write the Department of Agri-
culture, Tallahassee, Florida, for a copy of their Bulletin
No. 3, entitled "Soils and Fertilizers." Study this bulletin
thoroughly and give particular attention to pages 5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11 and 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52.
ENEMIES OF PLANT LIFE
A great many vegetables are subject to the same class
of diseases and the same insect enemies. Send to the De-
partment of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Fla., for their bulle-
tin, "Plant Diseases and Pests and Their Treatment." You
will find a careful study of it helpful.
Land that has become infected with organisms which
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
produce plant diseases must be abandoned until the disease
producing organisms can be starved out. Such organisms
have the ability to perpetuate themselves year after year,
and for the reason that they develop in the plant tissues
they cannot be exterminated, nor in fact treated to any
degree of success through the external applications of
compounds used sometimes for the purpose.
Crop succession as a rule is more important to the
market gardener than to the truck grower. Truck growers
find it advantageous to have two different crops growing
at the same time. Double cropping or catch cropping is
followed on high priced land. This makes possible a series
of crops from the same acreage. Sometimes four crops
are produced from the same land during a single year in
localities having long growing seasons.
Soil character determines to a great extent the length
of maturing of the crop irrespective of climatic conditions.
Cold retentive soils will be late in maturing a crop while
warm, light, sandy soils will produce an early crop. The
cold, heavy soil that retains its moisture cannot be culti-
vated as early in the season as the light, sandy soil which
dries out more speedily.
When planting seeds in cold soil do not expect them to
germinate as quickly. Likewise the plants will not grow as
rapidly. Your plan of growing and marketing should de-
termine the nature of soil preferable for your production.
Some crops demand a cold, retentive soil but that is some-
thing the grower must decide.
Natural fertility of soil is not the most important con-
sideration for the truck grower's attention. With good
mechanical conditions, the fertility can be supplied by
manure, the plowing under of green crops, and the appli-
cation of the right fertilizers as referred to in Bulletin
number 3, to which we have already referred you.
To enable the grower to better understand the effects
of insect enemies and plant diseases on growing plants and
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 11
also the effect of fertilizers and moisture supply upon
them, we believe some information on plant structure will
prove most valuable. Plants are composed of three dis-
tinct parts, two above the ground and one beneath the soil.
These parts are known as the root, stem and leaf. Each
part of the plant performs certain functions in direct
relation to the others.
The root function is both mechanical and physiological.
The mechanical function consists of furnishing anchorage
for the plant and the necessary support to the stem which
in turn carries the leaves. The physiological function is
properly classed as being of greatest importance and this
function covers the selection from the soil of the crude
mineral foods necessary to plant growth. Some of these
foods are nitrogen, potash, phosphoric acid, lime, mag-
nesia, silica, iron and sulphur. Elements such as these
are obtained from the soil in what is termed solution, i. e.,
they are carried in water, through the growing tissues of
the roots. This tissue is generally restricted to the region
near the tip of the root system. The rapid development
of crops is possible through a good actively growing root
system. Since this development of vegetables is the most
desirable feature to the growth it is of prime importance
that the soil conditions should be kept in such condition
as to induce rapid growth.
The stem is the frame work which supports the leaves,
flowers, and later the fruit and it also conducts to the
leaves and other parts of the plant the food elements gath-
ered through the root system. There are two systems of
ducts in the stem which serve as carriers for the crude
materials in solution, one of which supplies the leaves,
flowers and fruit and the other which carries back to the
various parts of the stem and the root system those various
food elements which are used in building additional stem
tissue and roots, or they may be stored up in the plant
structure for future use. From this it will be seen that the
mechanical function of the stem is the most pronounced.
The functions of the leaves of plants are the more com-
plex of the many delicate organs of plants. Regardless of
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
whether leaves are broad and thin or otherwise constructed
they have a proportionately large area that is exposed to
air and sun. With but few exceptions leaves of plants are
green in color, providing the plant itself is in a normal
healthy condition. This surface area of leaves over which
this green tissue is spread contains a very large number
of small openings, noticeably on the under side of the
leaves. It is through these openings that the plant breathes
or takes in air as well as moisture. It is likewise through
these same openings that excess moisture is exuded.
Whenever the excess moisture is not disposed of the plant
will become affected with cedema and will appear drooping
and somewhat wilted.
Minute microscopic bodies contained in the cells of the
leaves give them their green color and they also serve to
build the outer layers of the leaf. These minute green
bodies are known as chloroplasts and when present in cor-
rect quantities give the plant its healthy, characteristic,
green color. The function of these microscopic bodies found
in the cells is the most important of any connected with
plant growth. Sunlight enables these chloroplasts to take
the crude materials supplied by the root system and the
air and develop from these materials the finished products
most necessary in the building of plant tissue. Some of
these products are starch, sugar and oils. The starches dur-
ing plant growth are changed into sugars. The plant needs
the foods in this state to build various parts of its struc-
ture. We find that the oils are used by the young plant in
the seed or to build plant tissue. We believe it will be
readily understood that it naturally follows that the
greater the food supply, together with proper moisture and
under proper atmospheric soil conditions, the more rapid
will be the development and growth of plant tissue and the
growth of the plant. Market gardening or truck farming on
a commercial basis if successful, is largely dependent on
In the South satisfactory root storage is made possible
through the building of a simple storage house. This is
accomplished by cutting poles about eight feet long which
in turn are split into two equal parts. Trenches about one
foot deep by one foot wide that are parallel are dug about
eight feet apart. The ridge pole is placed the right height
between the two trenches and against this the flattened
poles, the ends of which have been cut like rafters, are
fixed in position. The opposite ends of these poles are
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 13
anchored in the trenches. Boarding up the ends of the
structure and covering the roof with Spanish moss or
other materials completes this inexpensive root cellar.
Value of Florida Truck Crops
The combined value of the truck crops grown each year
in Florida exceeds that of citrus fruits, giving vegetable,
melon, and other truck crop production in Florida the po-
sition of first importance in value of income to growers in
The list of vegetables and the varieties, grown in Flor-
ida is a long one, and only some of the most important
crops will be included in this publication.
The Department of Agriculture at Tallahassee, Florida,
have prepared special bulletins on a large number of crops
grown successfully in the State and if this bulletin does
not contain the information you desire it is suggested that
you write the Department of Agriculture and they will
forward information on any crop that can be produced here.
One of the universal crops of Florida is tomatoes.
Every county in Florida produces some tomatoes for home
use and several districts during the year ship carloads to
northern and eastern markets. The production of this crop
has proven profitable to those growers who understand
marketing as well as growing.
The value of the tomatoes shipped from Florida has
exceeded $12,000,000 annually.
Celery has brought as much as $5,000,000 to Florida
growers in a single year.
Snap beans have enriched our growers an additional
These figures on three vegetables indicate the im-
portance of truck crops to the State.
Irish potatoes, melons, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers,
eggplant, cabbage and other truck crops have brought ad-
ditional millions of dollars of income to the farmers of
Florida and nearly every section of the State has been
The total value of truck crops in a single year amounted
to $33,936,136 in the season of 1934-5.
The table of carlot shipments given on opposite page
will be found interesting.
From the middle of November, throughout the winter
and until the last of June, refrigerator cars carry Florida
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STATISTICS AND ESTIMATES ON FLORIDA VEGETABLES, MELONS, AND NON-CITRUS
FOR SEASON 1934-1935
SHIPPED FROM FLORIDA, OR SOLD FROM FARMS FOR CANNING, OR FOR FLORIDA CONSUMPTION
Values for Commodities loaded F. O. B. Cars or Trucks, and "Net to Farmer" at Farm
Rail & Estimate Florida Trucked Consumed Canned Estimate Trucked GRAND TOTAL
CARLOT No. F. O. B. Value Canned, Consumed FLORIDA
EQUIVALENT Boat Out of in in
Cars Car Total Florida Florida Florida Volume Value Volume Value
SI I I
Strawberries ..........-- 1,363 $ 1,751 $ 2,386,613 100 300 30 430 $ 516,000 I 1,793 $ 2,902,613
Watermelons ... 5,831 129 752,199 180 850 20 1,050 63,000 6,881 815,199
Other Non-Citrus ... 1 660 660 30 150 40 220 83,600 221 84,260
Sub-Total ---_...I....... 7,195 | $ Av. 436 $ 3,139,472 310 1,300 I 90 | 1,700 | $ 662,600 | 8,895 $ 3,802,072
Beans and Limas .. 6,399 $ 656 $ 4,197,744 1,000 1,000 60 I 2,060 $1,154,800 8,459 $ 5,352,544
Cabbage -__ -- 2,196 699 1,535,004 425 700 1,125 641,250 3,321 2,176,254
Celery --- ..... 7,251 687 4,981,437 400 450 850 483,000 8,101 5,464,437
Cucumbers ........... 895 781 698,995 80 170 Included 250 150,000 1,145 848,995
Eggplant ........... .... 180 707 127,260 60 150 | in 210 121,800 390 249,060
Lettuce ....-.-- ..... 316 447 141,252 40 50 Mixed 90 31,500 406 172,752
Peas, English .......... 486 749 364,014 90 150 Vegetables 240 144,000 726 508,014
Peppers ---- .- 1,424 788, 1,122,112 140 280 420 273,000 1,844 1,395,112
Potatoes --------------- 3,932 568 2,233,376 225 850 1,075 505,250 5,007 2,738,626
Tomatoes ... 7,175 74 5,553,450 500 1,000 1,600 3,100 1,240,000 10,275 6,793,450
Mixed or Miscel ..-... 4,087 630 2,574,810 525 4,000 125 4,650 1,860,000 8,737 4,434,810
Total Vegetables ...-.... 34,341 | $ 697 | $23,529,454 | 3,485 8,800 I 1,785 14,070 1 $6,604,600 1 48,411 $30,134,054
GRAND TOTAL ..._... 41,536 $ 643 $26,668,926 3,795 10,100 1,875 15,770 $7,267,200 57,306 $33,936,136
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
produce to many waiting markets. More care in harvest-
ing and grading should materially aid in creating increased
demand for Florida grown produce. Few cars are placed
in storage and very little is canned.
The chief competition of the Florida grower is the pro-
duce grown by greenhouse producers in the North. The
production of crops in greenhouses usually is more expen-
sive than field grown products. The shipper of Florida
products, however, must deduct the cost of transportation
. from his returns.
The greatest percentage of Florida's truck crops is
raised during the cooler seasons of the year when insect
pests and plant diseases are more dormant and more easily
controlled. As the temperature rises greater vigilance is
imperative to bring the crop to a profitable income basis,
as plant diseases and insect pests will be found wherever
there is plant life.
Soil conditions, weed growth, and the root system of
the plants grown will determine the amount and times of
cultivation necessary to make a good crop, and here again
is evidence of the necessity of full knowledge of all the
operations covering the production of truck crops if a
profit is to be made.
A deficiency of humus content exists in most Florida
soils with the exception of some muck soils. All soils be-
come deficient in plant food after being used and crop
rotation will not rebuild the soil to its high point of pro-
duction unless good cover crops are planted and turned
under. There are a variety of native grasses that are good
for this purpose. Cowpeas, beggarweed and crotalaria also
make good cover crops.
Any cover crop should be plowed under at least twenty
days before planting the truck croo.
A number of Florida truck crops are started in seed-
beds, and when the young plants have reached the proper
size they are transplanted to the field. Seedbeds should
be carefully planned, and in advance of the transplanting
time, to assure good, strong, healthy plants in the field.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 17
The location, the exposure, water supply, drainage, condi-
tion of soil and freedom from insect pests and diseases are
some of the important things that must be considered be-
fore seedbeds are started. Some locations and conditions
call for special treatment and no general information can
be given except as a basis for establishing the seedbed.
The particular characteristics of the crop to be raised, the
results already achieved in the locality and a fund of infor-
mation on truck crop production are essentials to success.
Beds 31 feet wide are suitable for celery, lettuce,
romaine, cabbage, escarole, endive, cauliflower and other
Old stable manure, or compost which is well decayed
should be thoroughly worked into the soil. A surface ap-
plication of hardwood ashes, in the proportion of a ton to
the acre, should follow the manure or compost. About a
week later the application of commercial fertilizer contain-
ing 5 per cent each of ammonia, phosphoric acid and potash
is necessary and must be worked thoroughly into the soil.
(The reader should refer to Bulletin No. 3-"Soils and
Fertilizers," issued by the Department of Agriculture, Tal-
lahassee). The bed is made smooth and the seeds are sown
several days after the commercial fertilizer has been ap-
plied. Cover the seedbeds with cloth as shown in illustra-
tions, using 4-oz. cotton sheeting. A frame of lath and
wire will support the canvas covering, giving shade during
hot weather and protection against hard rains, winds and
Winter seedbeds are used for eggplants, peppers, toma-
toes and other plants of a similar nature. These beds
should be 41/2 or 5 feet wide and boxed in with a wall 24"
high at the back, and 10" high in front. The beds should
run east and west to obtain full benefit of the sunshine.
Winter seedbeds must be so constructed that they can be
made tight to provide protection against frost and cold
Seeds should be planted in rows to facilitate cultivat-
ing, weeding and economical fertilizing. The distance
between the rows is usually about 4 to 6 inches. The seeds
should not be planted more than one-half inch deep, and
after planting covered lightly with soil. Very small seeds
such as celery and lettuce will propagate better if sown on
18 _- DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Tomato Field on the West Coast.
top of the soil and covered lightly. After planting, place
burlap on top of the seeds and keep it wet until the seeds
sprout and take root. Then remove the burlap.
After the seeds have sprouted keep the bed well watered
until the plants are firmly rooted.
About twelve days before the young plants are removed
for transplanting ;it is advisable to block them off, using-
a blade long enough for the purpose. In this manner the
lateral roots are cut about two inches from each side of
the block of plants. As a result of this practice the plants
will establish a new root system and make transplanting
easier and also protect the newly set plants.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 19
Do not cut the root system on both sides the same day.
Cut on one side, then wait a few days to give the plants'
roots time to grow, before cutting on the opposite side.
The early crop of tomatoes is planted during November
and December in South Florida and is ready for market in
February and March. In the central sections of the State
the crop is planted in February or March. In the north and
northwestern part of Florida plantings are made in
the latter part of April and in May. This crop when har-
vested supplies the late markets. The early crop brings
the best prices.
:Tomatoes are planted in four foot rows about 15 to 18
inches apart. Between 8,000 and 9,000 plants are required
to set an acre.
:To plant the seedbed about one-half pound of seed will
supply sufficient plants for each acre.
The more successful tomato growers apply from 1,500
to 2,000 pounds of commercial fertilizer to the acre. The
formula most generally preferred is 4-8-8 (4% ammonia,
8% available phosphoric acid, and 8% potash). The muck
soils of Florida do not require as much fertilizer as the
lighter sandy soils.
All of the fertilizer is usually not applied at one time.
The first application is made a week or ten days before
setting the plants. The second is applied about the time,
or just before the first bloom appears. In working the
second application of fertilizer into the soil, the cultivation
must be shallow and care taken not to injure the roots.
If the roots are injured the bloom will drop off.
Some tomato growers also apply 50 pounds of manga-
nese sulphate to each acre, either mixed with the regular
fertilizer or used separately.
The early tomatoes bring the best prices. Harvesting
is an important step in the production of the crop.
Typical fruit of Glovel tomato (natural size)
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SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 21
When the fruit has reached the proper stage for ship-
ment the shading will be found to be changing from a dark
to a light green. Tomatoes should then be picked. Several
pickings are necessary to harvest the entire crop. For
local markets the tomatoes should not be gathered so early,
but allowed to ripen more, which will improve the flavor.
Baskets of a half bushel capacity are generally used in
harvesting. Soon after picking the fruit must be taken
to the packing house to be sorted, wrapped in paper and
packed six baskets to the crate for shipment.
A good thing to remember about any truck crop is that
all of the preparatory work, labor in the field, fertilizer,
etc., can be lost through improper attention to grading and
packing. Don't overlook this last but most important step
in making money from truck crops.
Marglobe, Globe, Cooper's Special, Bonny Best, and
Florida Special are popular varieties among the successful
THE GLOVEL TOMATO*
The new scarlet red variety of tomato named Glovel
was produced co-operatively by the U. S. Department of
Agriculture and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion. The Glovel is both a local market and shipping va-
It was developed from a cross between Globe and Mar-
vel, made in the Department greenhouses in Washing-
ton, D. C.
The Marvel has very strong resistance to wilt and was
developed by selection from the French variety, Merveille
des Marches. The new Glovel, therefore, has the same
parentage as the scarlet red Marglobe, but it is not a
selection from that variety.
Marvel was chosen as one of the parents because of its
vigorous vine, its abundant and continuous fruit setting
habit and its long bearing period. In addition to being re-
sistant to fusarium wilt it also has a high resistance to
The variety, Marvel produces fruits that are smooth,
uniformly red and well flavored, but they are a little small,
somewhat flat.and rather late in maturing for marketing.
Likewise they are not sufficiently solid to make a desirable
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture circular No. 388, issued March, 1936.
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The variety, Globe was selected as the other parent for
the reason that the fruits produced on its vines are large,
thick walled, globular and of a scarlet red. However, it
is very susceptible to nailhead rust which in some years
has caused damage to tomato crops raised for winter
The primary purpose in developing the new Glovel
was to produce a scarlet red tomato that would be resistant
to diseases and have good shipping quality. By combining
the disease resistant characteristics of the Marvel with the
fruit qualities of the Globe, there has been produced in the
Glovel a pink fruited tomato which should appeal to those
consumers and markets who prefer the new variety.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 23
Celery is a very important truck crop in Florida. It
will grow on any type of soil that is well filled with humus
and retains moisture well. A large part of the celery in
the State is grown where irrigation is available.
The land should be well prepared by thoroughly plow-
ing and the surface harrowed. The surface of the soil
should be practically level when ready'to plant. Celery is
always transplanted from the seedbed to the field.
The rows should be 21/ feet apart and the plants set
3 to 4 inches apart in the row. A trowel or dribble is used
for setting the plants. It is very important to have water
available to wet down the plants as soon as set. From
60,000 to 70,000 plants are required to set an acre of land.
After plowing the ground and about ten days before
setting the plants, there should be from 1,500 to 2,000
pounds of fertilizer applied. Scatter it over the surface of
the soil, working it in well with the harrow.
Many growers make a second application about thirty
days after setting the plants. The amount varies from
800 to 1,000 pounds to the acre. In some localities both
applications of fertilizer are mixed with nitrate of soda
in quantities of 100 to 200 pounds an acre. Some growers
use 500 to 800 pounds of nitrate of soda to the acre. On
acid soils the use of lime or ashes is recommended.
The plants when transplanted should be about four
Blanching and Harvesting
When the celery plants have matured, they are blanched
with either 12-inch boards set on edge on either side of the
rows, or with 10 or 12-inch strips of heavy building paper.
The paper is placed on each side of rows and held in place
with wire wickets. The blanching is started two or three
weeks before harvesting time.
Celery is shipped in standard sized containers 10x20x22
inches, in refrigerator cars containing from 340 to 350
crates. All cars are iced before shipping, the season being
from January to June.
The best are Golden Self Blanching, Sanford Special,
Golden Plume, and Pearl Golden Heart.
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Snap beans originated in America. They have been
common in this country for several centuries. Florida
leads in production of market garden beans. Beans are an
important although a short season crop in Florida. They
mature from 45 to 60 days after planting. String or snap
beans are cultivated in all parts of the State. In the
southern and central parts of Florida they are grown for
both early spring and early fall crops. They will grow on
a wide variety of soils, including sandy loam and muck. On
muck soil it is necessary to crop it for at least two years be-
fore planting beans if satisfactory growth is to be obtained.
Beans will not produce well in excessive alkaline or very
acid soils. High acidity can be corrected through the ap-
plication of lime, but care should be exercised not to over-
lime. Both light and heavy soils are used for bean produc-
tion, but alkaline soils should not be planted to beans. Very
heavy soils are not good for bean crops. If the soil is very
light apply plenty of fertilizer.
Beans thrive in sunshine and warmth. With sufficient
moisture, sunshine and warmth their growth is rapid. The
yield will vary greatly, depending on many factors, but as
a general rule 125 to 200 or more hampers per acre may be
expected on good land and with favorable weather
The seedbeds should be free from clods and well pul-
verized. In the event rains cause the top soil to harden it
may be necessary to break the crust to permit the plants
to break through. Beans are not gross feeders and hence
are unable to obtain their share of food from spring plowed
If beans follow a sod crop the land should be plowed in
the fall. It is best to follow some cultivated crop with beans.
Beans should be planted when the soil has become warm
and after danger from frost is passed as they are very
sensitive to cold weather.
Bean seed are drilled in rows about three feet apart.
One bushel of seed is required to plant an acre. The crop
does not need to be thinned. Cultivate sufficiently to keep
the weeds checked.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 25
In irrigated areas the soil should be sufficiently moist
to make irrigation unnecessary to start the crop. The rate
of evaporation will control the frequency of irrigation.
Beans should have sufficient water to prevent them be-
coming dark green in color.
An application of 500 to 800 pounds of 5-7-4 fertilizer
is recommended for each acre, depending on the humus
content of the soil. The ammonia content of the fertilizer
is the most important. The fertilizer should be applied a
week or ten days prior to planting the seed.
Beans are picked by hand when the pods have reached
mature size, but before they begin to ripen. As the beans
do not all reach picking stage at one time, two or three
pickings are necessary.
Regular bean hampers are used and when filled the tops
are fastened securely for shipment.
The crop should not be harvested when the plants are
wet from dew or rain. Neither should they be cultivated
under such conditions, as this will tend to spread disease
among the plants. Using old bean plants for diverting the
flow of water in irrigated districts will have the same
In shipping market garden beans by rail many growers
place chunks of ice between the containers and on the lids
of the top layer of containers. Ice should not be put in
the hampers with the beans.
Farmer's Bulletin 1692, issued by the U. S. Department
of Agriculture, contains full information on the control of
N. B. Kennedy produced in 1894 the Dupree Stringless
Green Pod, the first successful stringless beans with green
Both green and wax beans are grown, but green beans
are grown more extensively, due to the fact that the green
beans mature earlier.
The green bean varieties generally preferred are Early
Speckled Valentine, Early Refugee, Green or Giant String-
less, Bountiful, Green Pod, and Black Valentine. The wax
bean varieties are Wardell, Kidney Wax, and Davis White
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Picking Beans in December.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Lima or butter beans are not as important to Fldrida
as snap or string beans. Lima beans are grown through-
out the summer and they make a good mid-year crop in
In the extreme southern part of the State they are
raised as an early spring or late fall crop.
The method of cultivation is the same as for other
beans. Where runner varieties are grown, more distance
should be given both between the rows and plants in the
row. Many growers have found it an advantage to plant
corn in the row to act as a trellis or support for the bean
There are a number of varieties of lima beans suitable
for both shipping and for home use. Among the best are
Fordhook Bush Lima and the White or Mottled Florida
The cultural methods for pole beans are practically the
same as for other beans, except that supports of some kind
must be put in position for the vines to climb on.
The varieties generally grown are Kentucky Wonder
and Florida Pole.
Navy beans are not grown in Florida as a commercial
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The production of cucumbers in Florida is of such
volume that it ranks high in importance among the truck
crops. They are grown as spring and fall crops, the bulk
of the shipments being made between February and June.
The earliest crop comes from the extreme southern part
of the State and is usually distributed among the home
markets within the State. Later shipments come from
the northern sections of the State.
Cucumbers grow best on a sandy loam soil that will
retain a fair amount of moisture. Land subject to over-
flow should not be planted to this crop. Neither will
it be advisable to plant on dry, sandy soil that is likely to
suffer for lack of moisture. Soils with a southern slope
give very satisfactory results.
Cucumbers are invariably planted in the field where
they are to grow. The seed is drilled in rows four or five
feet apart. The hills are placed about two feet apart. Four
to six seed are planted in each hill.
Plant as early in the season as possible after danger
from frost has passed. The majority of growers make at
least two plantings and some make three. The second is
made from a week to ten days after the first, and the
third planting a week to ten days after the second. These
plantings are all made in the same row. Planting the
second and third time gives greater assurance of a crop
in the event of low temperatures or high winds.
Protection from wind and cold is provided by making
V-shaped troughs of 10 or 12-inch boards. Troughs can
be made in any convenient length, 10, 12, or 14 feet long.
The troughs are laid over the rows when the plants are
When a good stand is secured and the plants are making
a nice growth, they should be thinned, leaving one plant
every 11/2 to 2 feet.
Two to three pounds of seed are necessary to plant an
acre of land.
The most successful cucumber growers in Florida use
from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of 5-7-5 fertilizer to the acre.
About half of the fertilizer is applied ten days to two
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SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 31
weeks before planting, and the remainder a short time be-
fore the first blooms appear. The second application
should be just ahead of cultivation so that the one opera-
tion will cultivate the crop and at the same time work the
fertilizer into the soil.
The crop is often helped by a side dressing of nitrate
of soda or sulphate of ammonia, at the rate of 150 to 200
pounds to the acre. If the fertilizer is not applied when
the foliage is dry, there is danger of burning the plants.
IThe crop is ready for picking when the fruit has at-
tained a size from five to eight inches in length, depending
on its color. Cucumbers should be straight and of uniform
diameter and of a dark green color. When a yellow color-
ing appears it indicates over-ripeness. Such fruit has no
Several pickings are necessary for the cucumbers will
not all mature at the same time. .The field should be gone
over carefully two or three times a week.. The harvesting
season may cover a period of two or three weeks.
Use field crates to gather the crop. These are taken
to the packing shed where they are very carefully exam-
ined and graded and packed for shipment.
The most popular are White Spine, Kirby Stay Green,
Dark Long Green, Davis Perfect, and Early Fortune.
3: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The past twenty years have seen a large increase in
the production of peppers in the United States. Their use
is growing more popular as new methods of preparing are
discovered. Our native peppers are used in making cay-
enne, tabasco pepper sauce, pimentos, tobasco catsup,
paprika and chili powder. The common pepper, Capsicum
annuum, is a distinct species from the black and white
pepper, Piper nigrum.
The pepper is a perfect flowered annual, the plant
growing usually from 1 to 21/2 feet high. It has smooth,
glossy, heart-shaped leaves that are elongated. The flowers
are generally dull white, the fruit being green when imma-
ture and red when ripe.
Peppers require the same climatic conditions as that
which are necessary for the successful growth of tomatoes
and eggplants. The pepper plant is more drought resistant
than the eggplant and tomato, but to assure a good crop
there should be an ample and well distributed moisture
supply. On account of their sensitiveness to frost and the
long growing season protection must be given to the plants.
The production of peppers is not confined to any one
section of Florida and for the reason that they are grown
so universally they have become an important truck crop
in the State. Every county raises peppers.
A variety of soils that retain moisture will produce
Peppers continue to produce fruit over a long period
and conditions being favorable the plants will bear fruit
for eight months.
Pepper seed requires from 15 to 20 days to germinate.
It takes about eight weeks for the plants to attain the right
size for transplanting. The seed can be sown in the seed-
beds either broadcast or in rows and are set to the field
when the plants are about an inch high.
Peppers are planted every 18 or 20 inches in rows three
feet apart. Ten thousand plants are required to set an
acre. The plants are produced in seedbeds and one-half
pound of seed should furnish sufficient plants for an acre.
In transplanting the young plants must be handled care-
fully as they are easily injured.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The quantity of fertilizer to be applied will depend on
the length of time the plants produce a crop. Growers use
from 1,800 to 3,000 pounds to the acre in two applications.
One-half of the amount is used ten days before setting the
plants and the remainder about thirty days after the plants
are set. Four or six weeks after the second application 100
to 200 pounds of nitrate of soda should be used to each
acre. The condition of the soil will also determine the
correct amount of fertilizer to use. We suggest studying
the Agriculture Department's Bulletin No. 3.
When the fruit has matured and has reached the right
color and size it is picked and packed in standard pepper-
crates 111/4x14x22 inches.
Peppers seem to be less seriously affected with plant
diseases than most other vegetables. Bacterial spot,
Anthracnose, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium wilt, Phytophthroa
blight, Cercospora leafspot, Sclerotium rot and Mosaic are
the most common diseases. Bulletins issued by the Florida
State Department of Agriculture contain information for
the control of these diseases.
Aphids, red spiders, and flea beetles may cause some
damage to the crop.
Peppers are shipped in refrigerator cars containing
from 360 to 400 crates.
Ruby King, World Beater, Ruby Giant, Florida Queen,
and Florida Giant are good varieties.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 35
The eggplant is a native of the Old World. India is
probably its home. The Chinese and Arabs grew eggplants
in the ninth century. The early types had small egg-shaped
fruits which accounts for -its name. Its botanical name is
Solanum melongena and it is closely related to the tomato,
potato, pepper and other solanaceous plants. Two of our
serious weed pests, the horse nettle and the nightshade,
belong to the genus. The eggplant will thrive under rela-
tively high temperature conditions.
Fertility, moisture supply and good drainage are neces-
sary to its successful propagation. Wherever soil is found
in Florida that will grow vegetables, eggplants can be pro-
duced. In South Florida they are produced as a winter
crop; in the other sections of the State they are raised as
late fall or early spring crops.
Sandy loam soil supplied with vegetable matter, plus a
constant supply of moisture until the plants have become
firmly rooted is necessary to produce healthy plants.
Growing the Plants
The growing of the plants is very important. Stunted
or injured plants will not develop into high yielding plants
and possibly will result in a crop failure. Eggplant seeds
should be sown in rich, mellow soil.
Eggplants are more sensitive to weather conditions
than any other vegetable planted in the same manner.
Local weather conditions should govern the time for set-
ting the plants in the field. Planting should be delayed
until all danger from frost has passed.
The production of eggplants is similar to that for toma-
toes, but they are not so easily raised and require more
The seedbed should receive the best of attention as egg-
plants are subject to more diseases than tomatoes. If in
the beginning of the crop this important phase is over-
looked the crop is likely to be a failure. Plant the seed-
beds four weeks before transplanting to the field.
In transplanting from the seedbed the young plants
must be carefully handled to prevent injury.
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The plants mature in about four months after trans-
planting. Six ounces of seed in the seedbed should produce
3,000 plants, which is sufficient for an acre. Place the plants
at distances of three feet in rows five feet apart. Again the
grower is cautioned to protect the delicate plants when
transplanting as they are likely to wilt if set out in warm
weather. Shade should be provided for a few days. Pal-
metto is used for this purpose, particularly for fall
Commercial fertilizer and manure can be used with
profit in eggplant production. On fertile soils apply 20
tons of well rotted manure to the acre. It should be well
mixed with the soil while preparing the soil for planting.
The fertilizer is divided and one-half applied two weeks
before the plants are set and the remainder when the plants
are 10 to 12 inches high; 1,200 to 4,000 pounds of 5-5-5
fertilizer is used to each acre, depending on the fertility
of the soil.
The harvesting may be started any time after the fruit
has attained sufficient size, and before the flesh becomes
tough and the seed begins to harden.
Flea beetles, aphids, and the Colorado potato beetle at-
tack the eggplant. Spraying with a Bordeaux mixture con-
taining calcium arsenate or dusting with dehydrated cop-
per lime sulphate lime and calcium arsenate is effective
against flea beetles. This should also control the Colorado
Prepare the Bordeaux mixture with four pounds of cop-
per sulphate, eight pounds of hydrated lime, and fifty gal-
lons of water to which has been added two pounds of cal-
cium arsenate. The copper lime dust should consist of
monohydrated or dehydrated copper sulphate 16 per cent,
calcium arsenate 20 per cent, and hydrated lime 64 per
cent. The plants should be well covered when using these
mixtures, and particularly the undersides of the leaves.
Control plant lice by dusting with 3 per cent nicotine.
Check the aphids before setting the plants in the field.
Red spiders may attack the plants during dry weather.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 37
They can be controlled by dusting with equal parts of pow-
dered sulphur and hydrated lime, using about 45 pounds
to the acre. Do not use any poisonous sprays or dusts
after. the fruits have started to develop, unless they can
be removed before marketing.
Wilt and fruit rot are the most serious diseases affect-
ing eggplants. Fruit rot may be carried over the winter by
the seed and in the debris in the soil from the previous
crop. Rotate the crop for three or four years and use
clean seed. A Bordeaux mixture of 4-6-50 with two pounds
of calcium arsenate has been found to be an effective
measure for the control of fruit rot. Wilt affects the
plants only in the cooler sections of the country.
Eggplants may be prepared in a number of different
ways. They are both appetizing and nutritious. Informa-
tion on preparing eggplant may be obtained from the Bu-
reau of Home Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Two varieties of eggplant are grown in Florida-Black
Beauty and Florida High Bush. Black Beauty plants grow
to a height of 18 to 30 inches. This variety requires about
four months from seed to maturity. The Florida High
Bush is slightly later than Black Beauty, requiring about
ten days longer to come to maturity.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION OF LETTUCE*
The acreage planted to the commercial lettuce crop of
the United States in 1928, according to statistics recorded
in the 1928 Yearbook of the United States Department of
Agriculture, was 126,780 acres. The products of this area
was 18,589,000 crates of four dozen heads each, valued at
$31,601,300. This does not include small lots of lettuce
grown and marketed locally.
Lettuce, commercial crop: Acreage, production, and price per crate, by States
Acreage Production Price per crate
Season and State
1925 1926 1927 1928 1925 1926 1927 1928 1925 1926 1927 1928
1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Early: Acres Acres Acres Acres crates3 cratecrateates3 crates$ Dolls. Dolls. Dolls. Dolls.
Arizona ............ 6,400 8,500 14,800 28,700 1,440 1,912 3,034 3,272 1.06 1.90 1.35 1.42
Imperial ....... 23,000 28,000 34,400 .22,000 4,600 4,900 5,229 3,740 1.71 1.95 1.34 L62
Other--.-- 24, 680 37,100 42,010 50,570 4,368 5,565 6, 049 7,636 1.16 1.37 1.75 1.84
Florida ----- 3,400 1,500 1,840 1, 85 765 252 294 314 1.41 2. 21 1. 62 1.61
North Carolina..... 1,730 1,420 1,490 1490 467 379 207 216 1.98 2.00 1.87 1.60
South Carolina...... 1,480 780 700 750 247 133 158 112 1.69 1.81 1.59 2. 11
Texas -........----- 680 640 950 1,000 68 72 103 100 1.38 1.19 1.00 1.02
Virginia............. 300 30 300 300 39 38 50 60 2.07 1.70 1.50 1.45
Total............. 61,670 78,240 96, 490106, 66011, 99413,25115,124 15, 450 1.42 1.70 1.37 1.68
Colorado.-.......---- 10,500 13,240 13,240 9,800 1,396 1,523 1456 1,127 1.58 1. 43 1.63 1.07
Idaho---............... 1.500 1,200 1120 900 180 157 218 101 1.86 1.47 .96 1.67
New Jersey---.... 2,200 2,400 2,450 2,300 541 503 612 442 1.64 1.08 2.04 1.89
New Mexico........ 1,400 1,030 410 400 280 77 59 18 1.76 1.66 .75 1.32
New York-.-----. 6,820 7,200 5,540 4,460 1,323 1,246 1,457 1,004 1.42 1.60 1.48 2. 68
Oregon.........----- 300 360 300 100 45 18 15 7 1.92 1.42 1.251 1.25
Pennsylvania..---- 70 80 80 80 11 12 10 9 2.50 1.24 1.50 2.70
Washington......... 1,450 1,600 2,050 2, 040 290 336 410 428 2.50 1.30 1.48 1.25
Wyoming-----.... 110 210 200 40 16 27 22 3 1.50 1.40 1.20 1.82
Total............24, 35 27,320 25,390 20,120. 4,082 3,899 4 2591 3,139 1.63 1.43 1.57 .1.75
Grand total... 86, 02 105, 560 121,880 126, 78016, 076 17,15019,38318, 589 1.48 1.64 1.42 1. 70
Lettuce: Car-lot shipments by State of origin, 1920-1928
State 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928
Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars
New York....----------.. 1,775 3,240 3,167 3,817 3,698 3,821 3,019 3,496 3,138
New Jersey-...----------. 208 469 571 456 417 463 303 308 144
North Carolina.------...--- 207 445 622 718 714 537 540 447 477
South Carolina---...--- -..- 121 716 987 577 423 736 372 369 241
Florida....----.........------ 2,940 2,267 3,323 3,146 2,257 1,519 987 929 813
Idaho......---------------..25 180 889 1,241 532 501 398 196 67
Colorado- ....... ---... -- 129 234 812 1,436 1,036 3,096 2,795 2,848 2,368
Arizona-..-------. ...----- 254 168 678 1,108 2,049 3,519 4,906 9,131 9,204
Washington..-......--.... 354 635 812 1,081 674 820 904 1,151 1,232
California ..---....------ 7,358 9, 850 9,744 15,113 18,480 21,618 27,341 27, 574 33,446
Other States...........-------- 417 534 635 792 655 676 540 401 316
Total..--.....-------.. 13,788 18,738 22,240 29,485 30,935 37,306 42,105 46,850 51,446
Committee. Agricultural Statistics. U. S. Dept. of Agr. Yearbook 1927:876. 1928.
Farmers' Bulletin No. 1609. 3 United States Department of Agriculture, Statistical
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 39
Lettuce is an important Florida truck crop. It is grown
for northern markets and for home use. Most of the crop
is shipped in refrigerator cars to distant markets. The
crop to do well must be grown during the cool months in
a warm soil.
Factors Governing the Field Production of Lettuce
Temperatures, moisture; and soil are important con-
tributing factors in the successful production of lettuce in
Florida. Lettuce requires a relatively low average temper-
ature, especially after the heads begin to form. Any good
trucking soil will grow lettuce, provided moisture and
plant-food conditions are suitable. Soil requirements con-
sist of adaptability to intensive cultivation, capacity to
retain moisture, and an abundance of plant food.
A large proportion of the commercial crop of head let-
tuce is started in beds and transplanted to the field. The
usual custom is to prepare seedbeds either in hotbeds, in
coldframes, or in the open ground, fertilize the soil of the
seed bed somewhat highly, about 4 pounds of fertilizer
per 100 square feet, and sow the seed thinly so as to produce
strong, healthy plants. One-half pound of good seed
planted in a special seedbed will produce enough plants
with which to set an acre of lettuce. Approximately 50
coldframe sash 3 by 6 feet will be required for growing
these plants. Where the beds are in the open and not cov-
ered with sash, a bed 100 feet long and 12 feet wide is
recommended. Great care must be taken in the watering
and ventilation of the plant beds in order to avoid losses
by damping off. This disease seldom gives trouble in the
open beds, except during seasons of excessive rainfall ac-
companied by warm weather.
Lettuce growers sometimes start the plants by drilling
the seed in rows in the open ground, using an ordinary
garden seed drill and spacing the rows 10 or 12 inches
apart. Where the seed is sown in this manner the plants
will be ready for setting in the field in from 30 to 40 days.
Lettuce seed retains its viability for several years if
stored under proper conditions, but in order to obtain
vigorous plants it is recommended that seed not more than
two years old be planted. Strictly fresh lettuce seed, that
is, seed that is planted the same season that it is grown,
is likely to give a poor germination, and for that reason it
is desirable to plant seed grown the previous season.
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Lettuce is transplanted when four leaves have formed.
A rich, moist, compact, sandy loam soil that can be thor-
oughly irrigated and well drained produces the best crops.
The soil should be well supplied with humus, and kept
moist constantly but with good drainage. It may be neces-
sary to irrigate. Care must be exercised as the crop is
easily ruined by too much water.
Crop rotation in lettuce growing has proved to be of
value, both in the control of diseases and in the mainte-
nance of soil fertility and physical conditions through the
use of green manures.
Hand cultivation is generally employed in the growing
of lettuce, but in a few sections the rows are spaced so
as to permit of horse cultivation. Small garden tractors
are now being employed extensively, both for drawing the
gangs of seed drills used in sowing the lettuce and for its
cultivation. The object of cultivation in lettuce growing is
primarily the control of weeds, as the soil is thoroughly
prepared before planting. Where the plants have been
transplanted in check rows they can be cultivated in both
directions until the heads begin to form. This will elimi-
nate a large part of the hand work of hoeing and weeding.
Manure containing a large proportion of undecayed
straw or other coarse bedding should not be applied, be-
cause the decay of coarse straw or other woody materials
results in the temporary depletion of the available nitrogen
in the soil. This is likewise true of soil improving crops
used as substitutes for manure, and these should be turned
under while green and in condition to decay quickly. Thor-
ough disking of the material in advance of plowing will
greatly facilitate the disintegration of the organic matter.
The manure for use on lettuce land should be composted
in a compact pile for at least three months and preferably
six months in advance of being spread on the land. During
this period the leachings from the pile should be collected
in a pit and pumped over the pile of manure from time to
time. If the manure is excessively dry at the time it is
piled for composting, enough water should be added to
cause it to decay rapidly. The manure is usually spread
broadcast over the land with a spreader or by hand at the
rate of 20 to 40 tons to the acre and thoroughly disked
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
into the soil. One such application every three years inter-
spersed with at least two soil-building crops will usually
be sufficient to maintain the organic matter in the soil.
A liberal supply of plant food will produce tender let-
tuce. If the soil is deficient then liberal applications of
5-5-5 fertilizer is added. The quantity ranging from 1,500
to 2,500 pounds to the acre is divided and half of the
amount applied two weeks before the plants are set and
the remainder two weeks after setting the plants. Each
acre will have from 45,000 to 50,000 plants to feed and be
kept in good condition.
Lettuce requires a constant fairly high moisture con-
tent in the soil. Excessive rainfall or irrigation will seri-
ously damage the crop. Lack of moisture in the soil will
stunt the growth and produce poor heads. A moisture con-
dition in the soil which is just a little greater than that
required for good transplanting is satisfactory or just
about as great as is permissible for cultivation.
Lettuce intended for long-distance shipment is packed
without washing. Eastern-grown outdoor lettuce which is
shipped in carloads is packed in the field.
Under favorable conditions the greater part of a crop
42 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
of lettuce can be harvested at one cutting, but it is often
necessary to go over the field three or four times, each time
cutting only the heads that are matured. The different
cuttings, however, may usually be made at intervals of
two or three days. Immature heads are spongy and do not
hold up well during transit and marketing. It frequently
happens that head lettuce matures and is at its best before
the heads are solid. The solidity of the heads at maturity
also depends to some degree upon variety.
The common practice of lettuce growers is to distribute
the crates or hampers along one side of the field and begin
cutting at that point. Cutting is usually done as early in
the morning as possible. Heads that have been frosted
in the field should never be handled while in that condition.
The first 10 or 12 rows of lettuce are cut and packed, and
the containers are loaded upon the wagons or trucks for
hauling to the car. Another section of 7 to 12 rows is
then cut and packed and the trucks or wagons driven di-
rectly through the field for loading. In harvesting the let-
tuce the heads are cut close to the ground or slightly
below it. As the heads are cut and slightly trimmed, they
are packed directly into the containers or thrown into a
wind-row from which they are packed. Sometimes the
cutters trim the heads, removing all discolored leaves and
turning the heads upside down where cut. The packers
immediately follow the cutters and pack the lettuce in the
crates before it suffers from exposure. This system has
the advantage that one man not only can pack behind two
cutters but can do the work a little better than where the
cutters do the packing themselves.
If not packed in the field, the heads are placed rather
loosely in lug boxes or large crates and hauled from the
field to the central packing houses.
Lettuce that is packed in the field can seldom be graded
as uniformly as in a central packing house.
Before packing, the heads are inspected and if neces-
sary are given additional trimming to remove any dirt or
undesirable leaves and to give the cut portion of the stem
a neat, white appearance. The outer leaves are then
slightly drawn together or folded over the head, and the
heads are crowded just enough in the packages to make a
firm but not tight pack. Although most of the outer
leaves are firmly trimmed off before the heads are offered
for sale, these outer leaves protect the head in transit.
Lettuce is a perishable crop and requires extreme care
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
in handling. To avoid exposure to sun and wind after the
cutting and packing of the lettuce, the crates or hampers
should be loaded upon trucks or wagons, covered with a
light canvas, moved directly to the shipping point, and
loaded into the cars. Lettuce should be hauled to the
packing shed promptly after it is cut, and there should
be no delay in having it crated and placed under ice. Rough
handling of the crates after they are packed should also be
Lettuce is ready for harvesting within 70 to 80 days
after transplanting when the heads have become fairly
solid. It is packed in standard crates 71/"x18"x22" or in
standard hampers. A carload contains from 350 to 400
crates or hampers.
The lettuce plant is comparatively free from insect at-
tack. Cutworms are particularly destructive to the seedling
crop. Some winter in the soil in the immature worm stage,
and as soon as the weather becomes favorable in the spring
they attack the early-planted crop. Later in the season the
crop may be damaged by cutworms that pass the winter in
the egg stage. The crop is also subject to attack from
worms that hatch from eggs laid by the moth in early
spring and through the season. Cutworms damage the
crop by cutting the plants off near the ground. They feed
for the most part at night, spending the day inactive just
below the surface of the soil.
Cutworms may be controlled by the timely use of a
poisoned-bran bait, as shown in the directions that follow.
Poisoned bran bait for control of cutworms
Ingredient In small quantities In large quantities
Dry bran ......... 1 peck or 5 pounds_ 25 pounds
White arsenic or Paris green .. 4 pound---._ 1 pound
Sirup or molasses -. 1 pint 2 quarts
Water 3 or 4 quarts_ 15 to 20 quarts
(1) Thoroughly dry mix the poison with the bran. This is im-
portant, as each particle of bran must carry a little poison in order
to get a good kill. When making small quantities mix the bait in a
bucket with a paddle, adding the poison slowly and stirring the bran
at the same time. A more effective way is to mix the poison and
the bran with the hands, but as soluble arsenic to a slight extent is
absorbed through the pores of the skin, there may be some objection
to this method. If the hands have any cuts, scratches, or other
*Prepared, by W. H. White, Entomologist, Division of Truck-Crop Insects,
Bureau of Entomology.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
wounds, do not put them into the bait. When making large quanti-
ties, the poison can be mixed with the bran on some flat, smooth
surface, using a shovel and rake in much the same way as in
(2) Mix the sirup with the water.
(3) Add the water and sirup solution to the mixture of bran and
poison, stirring slowly all the time. Large quantities of water added
at one time will wash the poison from the bran, resulting in an
Caution.-Add only enough liquid to make a crumbly mass. It is
a good plan to set aside a little of the mixture of dry bran and arse-
nic so that if too much water has been used this reserve can be
added to bring the mixture to the proper consistency. Large quanti-
ties can be made up in galvanized-iron or wooden washtubs, and
small quantities in buckets or similar containers.
How and when to use the bait.-Either broadcast the poisoned
bait or sow it by hand along the rows or about the base of the plants
late in the evening so that it will not dry out to any great extent be-
fore the worms become active. Because cutworms overwinter in the
ground, it is a good plan to broadcast the poisoned bait over the
cultivated areas a few days before the crop comes up or is set in the
field. Where plants are to be transplanted to the field, this method
is particularly valuable. If hills are made for melons or tomatoes,
apply the bait directly to the hills a few days before the crop is set
in the field. Such applications will rid the field of many of the
worms before the crop is subject to attack.
Quantity of bait to use: 10 to 15 pounds of the wet bait is suffi-
cient for one application per acre. Where the bait is applied di-
rectly to the rows or hills, a smaller quantity will suffice. It may
require two or three applications at intervals of two days to rid the
field of the pests.
Plant Lice and Other Pests
Plant lice or aphids sometimes attack the lettuce crop.
These pests can best be controlled, especially on the young
crop, by the use of nicotine dust containing 2 per cent of
nicotine. Apply the dust when the air temperature is above
70 F. and when the foliage of the plants is dry, and when
there is little air movement. The dust should be applied
to the under side of the leaves, where the insects feed.
Nicotine dust should be applied to the crop not later than
10 days before harvest.
The lettuce looper, army worms and wireworms, oc-
casionally become troublesome. Up to the present time no
entirely satisfactory method has been developed for the
control of these pests. Although arsenical treatments will
control the lettuce looper, such treatments are not recom-
mended on crops with edible foliage, except when the crop
is in the earliest stages of development.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Head of Iceberg lettuce
Tipburn is a nonparasitic disease, occurring primarily
during warm weather, and particularly when warm bright
days follow periods of foggy or rainy weather. Although
resulting from climatic conditions, the trouble is much
reduced by good cultural methods and care in fertilizing
and irrigating. Lettuce varieties differ greatly in suscept-
ibility to tipburn.
Simple tipburn is manifested by brown dead areas
around the margins of the leaves without decay. Decay
fungi and bacteria, however, often gain a foothold in these
dead margins, causing soft rot both in the field and in
shipment and markets. Shippers and dealers frequently
refer to this soft rot as slime. Soft rot may sometimes
affect heads that are free from tipburn.
Downy mildew also attacks wild lettuce, and this weed
should be eradicated from the vicinity of lettuce fields and
greenhouses. Crop rotation is advisable. Applications of
Bordeaux mixture to the small plants hold the diseases in
check while the plants are young.
Lettuce drop is caused by a fungus which usually at-
tacks the stem near the surface of the soil, causing a soft
watery rot. This rot soon involves the entire stem and
46 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
leaf bases and results in the collapse of the plant. The
casual fungus may live in the soil for at least two years.
Crops recommended for rotation with lettuce are sweet
corn, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, beets, spin-
ach, and onions. Celery and cabbage should not be grown
in the rotation as they are quite susceptible to the disease.
Damping off of small lettuce plants, which occurs par-
ticularly in seed beds, is caused by various fungi. Keep-
ing the surface of the soil and the plants as dry as possible
is of primary importance in preventing the trouble. Means
of accomplishing this are the selection of a reasonable light
soil of a type that dries readily after watering, the sparing
use of water, the avoiding of crowding of the plants. New
soil that has been in grass or general farm crops for sev-
eral years usually gives less trouble than soil that has
grown vegetables or flowers for some time.
Some other diseases are bottom rot, anthracnose, bac-
terial wilt, mosaic, and yellows.
Romaine, a variety of lettuce, grows successfully where
other varieties of lettuce are grown. The demand is some-
Cross-section of head of Romaine or Cos lettuce
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 47
Planting, cultivation, fertilizing, harvesting and mar-
keting are similar to lettuce.
Paris White Cos and Green Cos are the two varieties
Rhubarb is a crop little known in the South. Yet it has
been demonstrated that it will grow in Florida. This is
the famous pie plant. Rhubarb requires a deep, rich,
loamy, moist soil for best growth. A good muck soil seems
very suitable also.
There are two possible methods of propagation: First,
by importing root clumps from the North and forcing them
by planting; or, second, by planting the seed in flats and
transplanting to the garden row. The latter method is
much to be desired. If seed are planted in September,
plants should be ready to set out by the last of October.
The plants are hardy and will withstand temperatures
around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be protected
against lower temperatures, especially when young. If
given proper care, edible stalks (leaf petioles) ought to
be ready by February.
No specific plant food requirements have been deter-
mined for rhubarb, but one could not go far wrong in fol-
lowing the recommendations made for fertilizing cab-
bage. In addition it may be advantageous to use some
readily available nitrogen, such as nitrate of soda or sul-
phate of ammonia at the rate of 1 pound per 150 feet of
row, just after the plants become well established after
It is necessary to start from seed each year, since the
plant will not survive in warm weather.
Varietal adaptation to Florida has received no consid-
eration, so far as records show. Linnaeus, Victoria, Giant
Crimson Winter, Giant Cherry, Panama and Senator are
listed varieties from which to choose.
L it L t .
.-* i .e'ii *,. ~ A-- *' ,-*^ +
a k ^ ^ S s -* i a-
k? t 1' '-.4
rs CC) **1^ ?
t'I n r,. |
tr `IB '
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
English peas are being raised in all sections of Florida.
Care in the preparation of the soil, the application of stable
manure in the bottom of the rows before the seeds are
planted will give greater assurance of a good crop. Peas
should be planted in richer soil than that in which beans
are raised. If the soil is deficient in humus the plants
will be weak and the crop correspondingly light. The
plants should produce leaves and vines in abundance for
a good crop. The soil should be fairly moist but not wet.
Sour land or new muck soil will not produce a good crop.
Peas require nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Good hammock
soils that are well drained give the best yields.
The pea is a cool-weather plant. Not only will the seeds
germinate and make vigorous growth at lower tempera-
tures with many vegetable crops, but cool weather is
necessary for obtaining good yields and high quality. High
temperature checks the growth of the plants and causes
them to flower and form pods before the plants have at-
tained sufficient size to bear a good crop, while cool
weather permits a long-continued growth and the forma-
tion of many pods that do not reach the harvest stage
The growing of peas exerts a beneficial effect on many
crops which may follow. The disking of the pea stubble
puts the soil in excellent physical condition. The growth
and seeding of weeds are partly prevented
working of the ground, by the heavy cover formed by the
pea vines, and also by the early harvesting of the crop.
The growing of peas increases the nitrogen content of the
soil through the action of the nitrogen-gathering bacteria
when these are present in the root nodules. Some farmers
have deliberately planted peas in a belated season or have
turned under a poor crop of peas without harvesting, in
order to get back the value of the seed and of their labor
from the increase in the succeeding crop.
The preparation of the land and of the seed bed is very
important and should receive the closest attention, as a
fertile, deeply prepared, mellow soil is one of the essentials
in successful pea culture. The pea is a vigorous, free-
growing plant, the roots of which are extensive and pene-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
trate deeply into the ground. The crop usually receives
no cultural attention after the seed is sown. The opera-
tions before planting will influence, in part, the water con-
tent of the soil for the season of pea growing. The pre-
liminary preparation, furthermore, will control the devel-
opment of the root system and influence the extent of
The rows are generally laid out about four feet apart
and the seed sown fairly thick. About two bushels of seed
are required to the acre. Plant the seeds deep if the soil
is dry. Cultivate until it is impossible to drive the horse
between the rows without injuring the plants.
Five hundred to 800 pounds of 4-8-3 fertilizer is recom-
mended for each acre, in addition to a liberal supply of
stable manure if available. Should the growth be slow
100 pounds nitrate of soda may be applied when the vines
begin to bear and this will prolong the bearing period.
The quantity of commercial fertilizer that can be profit-
ably used on the pea crop is dependent upon the needs of
the soil, the price received for the crop, and the probable
increase in yield as determined from the experience of
The time for harvesting is determined largely by the
appearance of the pods. These should be swollen and well
filled with young succulent peas and changing in color
from dark to light green. By this time the vines have at-
tained their full growth, and the stem, which retains all
of its leaves, is still succulent. It is the aim to harvest
the peas at a time when a high yield will be secured, but
while the peas are still in prime condition.
Within 60 days after planting, under favorable condi-
tions, the first picking can be made. The harvesting period
will cover from 30 to 40 days. Pick the peas while they
are green, do not allow them to harden. The time of
picking will depend on whether they are being shipped or
delivered to home markets. This is a crop that must be
watched carefully if a profit is to accrue to the grower.
The crop is shipped in bushel hampers.
The pea crop is subject to the attacks of certain insect
pests. Among the insects that may cause damage are the
pea aphid and the pea weevil. The aphid is perhaps the
only insect that makes serious inroads on the growing
of green peas. The aphid can be controlled in part by
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 51
crop rotations. The presence of the weevil should be noted
at the time of planting. Weevil-infested seed may give a
germination as low as 30 per cent.
The pea plant is subject to two groups of plant diseases,
both of which vary in prevalence in different localities
from season to season. The more conspicuous and better-
known group consists of those which attack parts of the
plant above ground. Among these are the so-called pea
blight, leaf and pod spot, and mildew. The less conspicuous
and more important group of diseases cause decay of the
plant below ground, resulting in reduced growth and in
extreme cases the wilting of the entire plant. Against
both these groups of diseases only preventive measures
Nearly all of the foliage diseases are carried over from
year to year on dead straw and debris of the pea plant.
Whenever these diseases become troublesome they can
readily be controlled by crop rotation. The diseases that
cause decay of the plant below ground at the base of the
stem or on the root may also be controlled by crop rota-
tion, though not so readily, since the fungi causing this
injury are soil-inhabiting organisms which persist a long
time when once they have become abundant.
Large quantities of vines remain after the peas are
threshed. A large percentage of the vines is fed to live-
stock. These vines are now considered a valuable by-
Freshly gathered vines may be used in their natural
state as green feed, and as such they are probably equal
to any other soiling crop.
The best varieties for Florida are Florida McNeil, Extra
Early, Early Dixie, Dwarf Telephone, Thomas Laxton,
Nott's Excelsior, and Little Marvel.
Varieties Preferred By Canners
Among the early wilt-resistant varieties are strains of
the Alaska. Peerless, and W sconsin Early Sweet. Mid-
season varieties that resist wilt are the Green Admiral,
Green Giant, Horal, Prince of Wales, Resistant Perfection,
Roger's-K, Yellow Admiral and Senator.
Other varieties, even though they do not withstand
wilt, that are sometimes planted are Surprise, Horsford
and Canners Gem.
52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Okra, or "gumbo" as it is commonly called, is a tropi-
cal annual. It has for many years held an important place
among the garden vegetables of the Southern States, where
it is used mainly in soups and preparations of which meat
forms an integral part. The young and tender seed pods
are used and give a pleasant flavor to soups and stews.
The okra plant somewhat resembles that of cotton,
though having much larger and rougher leaves and a
thicker stem. Its flowers, which are similar to those of
cotton in size, shape, and color, are always single, and
there is very little variation between those of different
Okra being a crop easy to grow, is raised in many sec-
tions of the State. In some counties it is one of the most
important truck crops. Okra can be raised on a variety of
soils, but produces the best crops on sandy loam that is
warm, when the crop is planted, and has a fair degree of
fertility and moisture.
The small seeds should have a light covering of soil and
planted in rows that are laid off about three feet apart.
From six to eight pounds of seed are required to plant an
acre. When the plants are well established they should
be thinned to one plant for every 10 to 12 inches depending
on the fertility of the soil. The plants bear for several
months and are cultivated similar to corn.
Cultivate like corn or cotton, keeping the ground well
stirred and the surface soil loose, especially while the
plants are small. After the leaves begin to shade the
ground, very little cultivation is necessary except to keep
the land free from weeds. A poor soil and insufficient
moisture will yield pods of inferior size and quality, and
irrigation may often be desirable in order to produce a
marketable crop. The okra plants will usually continue to
grow until late in the season, but after a time the pods are
not so large or tender as those produced earlier. As the
pod is the only part of the plant ordinarily used for food,
it is desirable to secure a rapid and continuous growth
in order to produce the greatest quantity of marketable
If stable manure is available for liberal applications,
commercial fertilizer is unnecessary, otherwise from 600
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS, 53
to 800 pounds of fertilizer to the acre applied the same as
for sweet corn should be added to the soil.
To obtain the full benefit from the crop the okra pods
should be cut every two or three days. Otherwise the pods
will harden and be unfit to use. Cutting the pods increases
the bearing of the plants.
Pack the pods in six-basket tomato carriers, or for
Flower and pods of okra. The pod in the center is in prime
condition for gathering; the larger pods have been allowed
to mature for seed
some shipments in bushel hampers. When the market is
good the grower will find it profitable to ship by express.
The pods should always be gathered, irrespective of
size, while they are still soft and before the seeds are half
grown. The illustration shows a flower, together with
the pods formed the two previous mornings, the middle
one of which is in the proper condition for gathering. The
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
full-grown pods shown to the right and left of the flower
were from those allowed to mature for seed.
METHODS OF PREPARATION
No copper, brass, or iron cooking vessels should be
employed in preparing okra, as the metal will be absorbed
and the pods discolored. The cooking should be done in
agate, porcelain, aluminum, or earthenware vessels.
2 pounds of beef, without 4 quarts of cold water
fat or bone 1/4 pound of butter
2 cupfuls of okra, chopped 1 onion, sliced and chopped
fine Salt and pepper
Cut the beef into small pieces and season well with pepper and
salt. Fry it in the sbup kettle with the onion and butter until very
brown. Then add the cold water and let simmer for an hour and a
half. Add the okra, and let simmer gently for three or four hours
WINTER OKRA SOUP
1 can of good okra 1 dozen oysters
1 can of tomatoes 3 tablespoonfuls of rice
2 onions, chopped fine A red pepper pod, with-
2 tablespoonfuls of butter out the seeds
Chop the onions and fry them,in the butter. Wash the rice well,
then stew the onions, tomatoes, and pepper together in about 3 quarts
of water and 1 pint of oyster water for about three hours, stirring
frequently. Ten minutes before serving add the okra and let it
come to a boil. Then drop in the oysters, boil up once, and serve.
1 chicken weighing 3 or 4 1 large slice of ham
pounds 1 bay leaf
1 quart of sliced tomatoes 1 sprig of thyme or parsley
1 onion 1 tablespoonful each of lard
1/2 pod of red pepper, with- and butter
out the seeds Salt and cayenne to taste
2 pints of okra, or about
Clean and cut up the chicken. Cut the ham into small squares
or dice and chop the onion and the parsley or thyme. Skin the to-
matoes and chop fine, saving the juice. Wash and stem the okra
and slice into thin layers of one-half inch each. Put the lard and
butter into the soup kettle and when hot add the chicken and the
ham. Cover closely and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then
add the chopped onions, parsley or thyme, and tomatoes, stirring
frequently to prevent scorching. Then add the okra, and when well
browned add the juice of the tomatoes, which imparts a superior
flavor. The okra is very delicate and may scorch if not stirred fre-
quently. For this reason many Creole cooks fry the okra pods
separately in a frying pan, seasoning with the pepper, cayenne, and
salt and then add them to the chicken. Equally good results may
be obtained with less trouble by simply adding the okra to the frying
chicken and watching constantly to prevent scorching. The least
taste of a "scorch" spoils the flavor of the gumbo. When well fried
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 55
and browned, add about 3 quarts of boiling water and set on the
back of the stove to simmer for about an hour longer. Serve hot
with nicely boiled rice. Round steak may be substituted for chicken,
but it must be borne in mind that the chicken gumbo is the best
Another recipe for gumbo which is very similar to the
one just preceding, the process being practically the same,
is as follows:
1 quart of tomatoes, sliced One-half pound of corned
2 pounds of good beef, cut ham or pork, cut up
in small pieces Small piece of red pepper,
2 quarts of okra, sliced without the seeds
4 tablespoonfuls of butter Spray of parsley
Boil the young okra pods whole. When cold, dress with vinegar,
salt, and pepper, or, if preferred, use plain French dressing and
serve very cold. This is a most delightful summer salad, the okra
being very cooling.
1 quart of young okra Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoonful of vinegar
Wash the okra well in cold water and place in a porcelain or
agate saucepan. Add a pint of water and a teaspoonful of salt.
Cover the saucepan and let the okra simmer for about half an hour.
Place in a dish, season with salt and pepper, pour over the okra a
tablespoonful of tarragon vinegar, and set to cool. Serve as a
salad with roast meats, etc.
Place a thin layer of rice in a baking dish, add a layer of sliced
okra, then a layer of sliced tomatoes; add salt, pepper, a little curry,
and a small lump of butter. Repeat with alternate layers of rice,
okra, and tomatoes until the dish is filled. Cover and bake in the
oven until the rice is thoroughly cooked. Remove cover and brown
on top. Serve in the baking dish. The rice should be washed in
cold water before using and the okra pods and tomatoes washed
and sliced rather thinly.
CANNED OKRA AND TOMATOES
Equal parts of okra and tomatoes may be canned together for
winter use. Cut the tender pods into short pieces and mix with
the tomatoes; pack in cans and process at least 10 minutes longer
than for tomatoes alone.
Another method is to blanch the okra pods for 10 minutes in
boiling water, then dip into cold water to cool. Cut into sections,
pack into the cans with the tomatoes, seal, and process as for
Most varieties of okra will ship well. Perkins Mam-
moth Podded has the preference, but Long Green and
White Velvet are also very good varieties.
iai -t. -*i Lt~f~j
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 57
This is one of the easiest crops to grow and has a rela-
tively short growing season.
A deep loam or muck soil makes best carrots. The crop
is quite tolerant of acid conditions. Put the soil in fine
physical condition, for the seed are small and the seedlings
Sow the seed plentifully since the percentage of germ-
ination is usually rather low. Sow in a row where the
plant is to grow. Rows may be made 14 to 18 inches
apart. Thin the plants evenly and it is well to do this in
collecting plants for the table. Allow from 2 to 3 inches
between plants at maturity.
Plantings should be begun in October and continued
through January at intervals of a few weeks in order to
have fresh, crisp carrots over a long unbroken period.
Carrots can be held in storage only at temperatures near
the freezing point, since they are susceptible to soft rot.
Fertilizer requirements are not well known, but the
usual practice is to use from 800 to 1,000 pounds per acre
(about 1 pound to 16 feet of row) of a 4-6-7 mixture. This
may be applied in two applications, half at planting time
and the other half when the plants are well started.
Chantenay is one of the best varieties for Florida.
Pumpkins and squashes are considered natives of
America. They are known to have been used by the In-
dians before the advent of the white man. Both are nutri-
tious and valuable vegetable crops.. They have many and
varied uses. In addition to their use as fresh vegetables,
a large tonnage of pumpkin and squash is canned each
year, the canned product being used largely for pie making.
If properly handled and stored a supply may be had from
midsummer to late spring. Every garden having suffi-
cient space for such crops should have at least a few hills
of one or both of them.
The raising of squash is not difficult and while squash
can be produced on a wide variety of soils, the crops raised
on high lands will ship better than those produced on flat
or muck lands. If planted with corn there will be diffi-
culty in cultivating the corn.
Almost any good garden soil will grow these crops.
While a soil of medium texture is perhaps best, good yields
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
can be produced on the heavier and lighter soils if properly
handled and well fertilized. A light rich soil that warms
up rapidly is best.
Squashes are less sensitive to unfavorable soil and
weather conditions than melons and cucumbers.
Like other cucurbits squashes and pumpkins have a
large but shallow root system. The root growth is very
rapid and extensive in the upper 6 or 8 inches of soil. The
character of the root systems requires that the upper
layers of soil be thoroughly prepared and well fertilized
for best results. The soil should be well supplied with
organic matter and retentive of soil moisture. A surface
soil capable of retaining its moisture content is especially
desirable in localities where rainfall is likely to be deficient.
The earlier varieties can be planted 4 feet apart each
way, the later, running varieties should be placed 6 feet
apart. Four or five seeds are placed in each hill and an
acre will require about two -pounds of seed to plant it.
The seeds should sprout within a few days and when
they have reached a height of two or three inches it is time
to thin them, leaving about three plants to the hill. During
warm weather the plants will grow rapidly necessitating
continuous cultivation or until the plants spread between
the rows. Squash plants grow close to the ground and
obtain their food from the surface of the soil. In culti-
vating care must be taken not to bruise the plants.
Planting should be delayed until the soil has warmed
up and in good condition for germination of the seed. The
seed germinates best at a relatively high temperature and
is likely to decay if planted in a cold, wet soil.
The bush and small vine varieties may be planted in
hills as close as 4 by 4 feet, but the varieties having long
running vines should be spaced 8 to 12 feet apart each
way, depending on the growth habit of the variety and the
fertility of the soil.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 59
If manure or compost are not available, 800 to 1,200
pounds of 4-8-4 commercial fertilizer should be applied to
each acre. The entire amount can be used before planting.
If the land is thin, sandy loam it is best to make two
applications, one-half before planting and the other after
the plants are about a month old. If manure or compost
is available the amount of fertilizer can be reduced to 600
to 1,000 pounds to the acre. Squash plants need a supply
of available ammonia.
Squashes are shipped in standard cabbage crates or
bushel hampers. When shipped early the grower gener-
ally realizes good profit on the basis of cost of production.
With ordinary care in harvesting there should be no diffi-
culty from rotting in transit. Ripe squash may be gath-
ered in late fall when some other vegetables are not grow-
ing in addition to being a good spring crop, making it one
of Florida's most satisfactory truck crops.
Insects and Diseases
For information on the control of insects and diseases
write to the Florida Department of Agriculture.
The early varieties are suitable for shipping. They
include the Cocozelle, Early Crook Neck. Early Yellow
Bush, Patty Pan and Mammoth White Bush.
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SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 61
IMPORTANCE OF THE INDUSTRY
Asparagus is one of the most valuable of the early vege-
tables and perhaps the most important of the perennial
vegetable crops. It is healthful and palatable, both as a
fresh vegetable and as a canned product.
Asparagus offers fair potentialities as a truck crop
in Florida. It is a very popular vegetable, and although
the food value of asparagus is not high it is a good source
of vitamin A, whether canned, cooked or raw. In its
raw state it is an excellent source of vitamin B. The
analysis of asparagus shows that it contains a larger
volume of water than most vegetables.
The value of the crop to the truck grower depends
upon the cost of production, the yield per acre and the de-
mand. If the crop can be raised and shipped while the
market is barren of fresh asparagus the income should be
The table of production in California and Connecticut
gives the yield per acre in these two States. Practically
the entire crop of California is canned and shipped to
many parts of the United States. Canning of asparagus
may develop in Florida.
Yield per Acre Yield per Acre
Year in Pounds in Pounds
First .---.---- ---- ..... 0. 0
Second ............- ............ 500 830
Third .....- ...................... 1,000 2,425
Fourth 2,000 3,832
Fifth 4,000 4,838
Sixth ............................. 4,250 5,375
Seventh ............ .......... 4,500 5,259
Eighth ......-..................... 5,000
Ninth ......... .............. ...... 5,000
Tenth ...................-....... 4,750
Eleventh ............................ 4,500
The advantages to the Florida grower in producing
asparagus seem to be early production and economy in
raising the crop. With no fresh, green asparagus on the
market until about the first of March, the truck gardener
in this State should be able to find profitable markets for
The price of green asparagus in the early part of the
year for several years has been nearly $4 for a crate of 30
pounds. The demand for high quality green asparagus is
cn the increase.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
So far as we know, asparagus was first discovered in
the north temperate regions of Europe, where there is a
continuance of cold weather for several months. Cold
weather prevents budding during these cold periods and
the growth is practically dormant. Following these dor-
mant periods the plants begin their normal growth and
the green tips will grow rapidly. Soon after, cutting of
the tips begins.
In South Carolina, where considerable asparagus is
grown profitably, the temperature during November to
February is sufficient to bring about a dormant condition
in growth. Like most natural desert areas, the tempera-
ture in the Imperial Valley Desert, California, (where as-
paragus is grown) has continuous cold nights which check
asparagus growth during one or two months of the year.
The average Florida temperature is mild with occa-
sional freezing weather lasting but a few days. Frost will
kill the asparagus tops, but warm days induce new growth.
In the course of a year the tops may be killed two or three
times. Every time new shoots develop, the reserve plant
food is depleted and the new crowns which are formed
lack strength and vigor.
In the northern and northwestern parts of Florida some
truck raisers have been able to maintain asparagus plants
in fair production for three or four years. This section
of Florida seems to offer encouragement to asparagus
raisers, but care must be taken in selection of soil, its
moisture content and fertility.
Planting In the Everglades
Several years ago 275 acres in .the vicinity of Canal
Point was planted in the muck soil of the Everglades. In
May, 1928, approximately 40 acres were planted to two-
year-old asparagus roots shipped from the Imperial Valley
of California. Prior to September of the same year these
plants had made a very satisfactory growth. New crowns
had formed within four months from the time of planting.
Growers familiar with asparagus production in other parts
of the United States stated that they never saw such re-
markable plant growth. Indications for cutting a profit-
able crop during January to March of 1929 were excep-
tionally good, but the flood waters from Lake Okeechobee
during that year ruined most of the crop. Credit must be
given those growers who are persistently attempting to
overcome these difficulties.
Another tract of 75 acres was planted in the same area
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 63
of 1929. A good crop was cut during the months of De-
cember to February. The size of the tips were enormous
and of fine quality, but apparent financial success was
again destroyed by high waters. Only about half of the
plants on a 5-acre field was saved. Lack of water control
is the most serious barrier to successful asparagus pro-
duction in the Everglades. The acreage now producing
has been carried through a period of successive rainfall by
means of a system of dikes and pumps.
There is not sufficient
S low temperature in south-
I ern Florida to bring about
a dormant condition in
.' growth. Repeated cutting,
bending or breaking of the
ferns have not brought
Satisfactory results. The
growth of the plants under
soil temperature and mois-
ture conditions prevailing
in this southern area is so
j luxuriant that new crowns
Share produced in abundance
j Iand new tips grow rapidly.
This may eventually lead
S to the successful canning
of asparagus in Florida.
Muck soil, known as the
S"Custard Apple" provide
satisfactory conditions for
asparagus growth where
:... there is dependable water
J control. The quality is ex-
f cellent and a number of
cuttings may be made from
Sthe plants the first year of
production. The use of the
mold in and between the
rows prior to planting is
Asparagus Tips desirable. A sandy loam
that contains a medium amount of moisture and rich in
organic matter, is also suitable for asparagus growing.
The rows generally are 6 to 8 feet apart and the plants
set every 20 to 24 inches in the rows.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cultivation in muck soil is for the purpose of con-
trolling weeds and grass and is essential to hold certain
insect pests in check.
No fertilizer is being used in the muck soils of the
Everglades. Considerable fertilizer rich in potash is being
used by growers in other states and it would appear neces-
sary on the muck soils since they are deficient in potash.
Organic matter and potash should be used liberally on most
Harvesting the Crop
Three kinds of asparagus, relative to the color of the
spears, are marketed. The spears may be entirely green,
green with white butts, or entirely white. The greatest
market demand is for a green product, whereas most of
that grown for canning is white. Nearly all the green
asparagus is harvested with a small amount of white on
the butt end. The entirely green product that is cut at
the surface of the ground does not keep as well as that
cut with a portion of the shoot underground. Since the
part of the stem that was underground is more woody than
the stem above ground, it loses moisture less rapidly than
the tender green portion and adds to the keeping quality
of the spears.
White asparagus is obtained by growing the spears in
darkness. This is accomplished by ridging the soil over
the crowns and cutting the shoots below the surface as
soon as the tips of the spears appear. White asparagus
is grown in some localities where the asparagus beetle is
prevalent in order to reduce the loss from beetle injury.
The injury by the beetle causes the spears to grow crooked,
otherwise mars the appearance, and thus destroys their
market value. When white asparagus is grown the beetles
have little opportunity to do much damage before the
spears are cut.
Edible shoots must be taken from the growing fern.
The yield per plant will probably not be as great as where
plants have been previously dormant. Keep the shoots
gathered regularly; do not let them toughen before cutting.
The usual methods of packing in 21/-pound bunches
and the use of a crate such as used in the Carolinas seem
satisfactory. The crate is 91/2 inches at the top and 11
inches at the bottom. It is 101/2 inches high and 17 13/16
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
inches long. It is not advisable to wash asparagus prior
to shipping unless it is extremely dirty.
The most commonly used crate is pyramidal in form,
having two compartments each holding six 2-pound to
At present the trade centers of Florida seem to offer
very good markets for asparagus. Since no other aspara-
gus areas can produce a crop during the winter months,
there should be no marketing problem for several years.
There are two insect pests that may be a menace to a
crop: First, the striped cucumber beetle; second, a "six-
point" mite. In case the ditch banks adjacent to the
asparagus fields are kept clean and the grass and weeds
are allowed to stand in the asparagus rows, then some
danger results, as the insects are forced to come to the
asparagus. If the reverse conditions obtain, the insects
seem to prefer the native growth on the ditches, and prac-
tically leave asparagus unmolested.
Only the better varieties of the rust-resistant types
should be planted. Mary Washington and Martha Wash-
ington are popular with asparagus growers.
66 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Escarole and Endive
Escarole or Broad Leafed Batavian Endive belongs to
that group of plants known as the Composites, which is
one of the largest families in the plant kingdom. Escarole
is a variety of chicory; endive has been cultivated in the
United States since 1806. Only five of the Composites,
however, are known to have any appreciable economic
value as garden crops and are of importance in the order
Escarole or Endive;
Salsify or Oyster Plant.
Escarole is used principally as salad. In its unbleached
state it is also eaten as "greens." Florida produces over
$100,000 worth of escarole annually. Only within com-
paratively recent years has escarole become generally
known in American home gardens. It is gradually gain-
ing favor. When good lettuce is not obtainable escarole
makes a very good substitute. From mid-summer through
early fall and winter it will be found in our markets. Dur-
ing the hot summer months and early fall, solid head let-
tuce is difficult to purchase in some markets and un-
blanched escarole, having a better flavor meets with ready
acceptance among many consumers.
Poor land that is deficient in humus or that is dry and
exposed is not suitable for the cultivation of this crop. Any
soil that has ordinary fertility or that has been enriched
through the application of manure or other fertilizer will
produce escarole. A warm soil to which has been added
plenty of manure raises the best crop.
If the seed is sown in the field, the first planting may
be made in June and followed by other plantings through
August. The rows should be about twelve to twenty
inches apart. While the plants are small they are thinned,
leaving a foot of space between the plants in the rows.
The seed may be sown in seedbeds such as are used for
lettuce, and the young seedlings transplanted to the field.
Seedbeds are preferable when the ground is very dry as
this method of planting assures stronger plants. It is best
to transplant after a rain, if possible, while the soil is
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 67
moist. If the ground is deficient in moisture it will be
necessary to water the plants. To ensure tender plants
their growth should be forced through the application of
plenty of plant food and thorough cultivation. If the seed
of the Green Curled variety is planted in August, or trans-
planted from the seedbeds early 'in September, the crop
may be kept for winter use. The full grown, unblanched
plants are harvested with a good ball of earth surrounding
the roots and are stored in a dark rootcellar the same as
celery is sometimes kept. Properly harvested and stored
plants will bleach within a short period. When desired
for summer use, the first sowing of seed is made in seed-
beds in April and the last in August.
Cover the seed very lightly. Plenty of moisture is
necessary to prevent the plants going to seed.
At the approach of severe weather the best plants
should be removed from the field and placed in a cold
frame and protected from outside conditions. When the
weather permits the frame containing the plants should
be given free ventilation.
Eight hundred to 1,200 pounds of standard fertilizer
should be applied to each acre. Escarole is a surface-
feeder and the fertilizer should be distributed evenly in the
field. Nitrate of soda should be used if the soil is deficient
The plants may be bleached by tying the outside leaves
over the heart or the placing of 10-inch boards on edge
along each side of the rows. The tops of the boards are
brought together to keep out the light. The method of
blanching is similar to that used for celery except no light
is admitted at the top. The hearts of the plants are fully
covered. About three weeks are necessary to bleach the
plants to a delicate white or creamy color. The heart and
inner leaves will be crisp, tender and have a pleasant flavor.
To overcome the bitter flavor the leaves and hearts of
the plants must be well blanched.
Insect Enemies and Diseases
The diseases and insect enemies that attack spinach
and lettuce sometimes must be guarded against in the pro-
duction of this crop. The recommendations for their con-
trol is the same as for these crops.
68 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The varieties preferred by most growers are Batavian,
French Moss Curled and Imperial.
The Green Curled variety has been popular with grow-
ers for many years. It has narrow, curled leaves. When
well blanched it is a very attractive vegetable. Broad
Leaf has wider and plain leaves and is a variety that is
gaining in popularity.
The curled varieties of Escarole or Endive are both
ornamental and attractive plants in the home garden.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 69
Onion production in Florida is not an important com-
mercial crop. In the past this crop was more extensively
cultivated. During recent years interest has revived in
onion production, resulting in the accumulation of more
information of value to the Florida grower.
This plant is adapted to a wide variety of climate and
soil conditions, so that it is known and grown in most coun-
tries of the world. It is of great antiquity. Onions are
grown in every state in the union.
It is not known definitely when onions were first intro-
duced into the United States, but early in the seventeenth
century they were being grown in Massachusetts. At the
present time the bulk of the onion crop in this country is
grown in New York, Texas, Indiana, California, Massachu-
setts, Ohio and Michigan. The production in each of these
states is shown by the graph.
The root system of the onion is fibrous. According to
Goff a young onion plant with leaves 8 inches long was
found to have developed a root system penetrating to a
depth of 16 inches. Most of them are so deep. This de-
pends mainly upon soil and moisture. The roots spread
outward and downward, few of them being very deep. In
general they extend about a foot from the base of the
bulb. The root system of one plant was estimated at 400
linear feet about 40 days after planting.
Cross pollination is easily accomplished as a variety of
insects visit the blooms of the onion plant. In attempting
to develop new strains by selection or cross-breeding the
plants should be planted at least a half mile away from
other onion plants.
Sandy loam soil filled with organic matter and having
a compact subsoil to insure a constant supply of moisture
or decomposed muck soil produce the best crops of onions
in this State. Excessive rain or drouth will affect the
crop adversely. Other types of soils will also grow onions,
providing there is a plentiful supply of ammonia, readily
available to the plants at all times. This will induce rapid
growth and well shaped onions. Flat, heavy sandy loam
on which pines formerly grew are suitable for this truck
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
l0o0i ts of bh in the 7 1 1
N.q. -eas In d. Calf /lass. Ohio /lich.
Showing onion production in thousands of bushels in the 7 leading states.
Texas is listed in the "early crop" column along with California and Louisiana.
The remainder of those given in the above graph are so-called
"late crop" states.
Best root development is obtained in relatively cool
soils. The young plants will withstand a temperature that
is several degrees below freezing.
During early growth it is highly essential that ample
soil moisture be maintained near the surface. New roots
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 71
will not develop in dry soil. Should the growth be sus-
pended the outer scales of the bulb mature, and when
growth is resumed the inner scales take on additional
growth, which results in splitting of the bulbs.
Onions grow best when there is plenty of daylight, or
during long days. Varieties differ in this respect but they
seem to do best when there are about 15 hours of daylight.
Possibly this explains why onions do not "bottom" early
irrespective of the time of planting. Plantings made in
January are less subject to weed growth, insect pests and
The bulk of the crop in Florida is planted directly in
the field. The soil must be in good tilth and thoroughly
pulverized. From 31 to 5 pounds of seed are required to
plant an acre. The seed is generally sown to a depth of
/2 to 1 inch although in muck soils the seed is often planted
2 inches deep.
The use of a seed drill is necessary for uniform dis-
tribution. The rows range from 14 to 24 inches apart
and are parallel to facilitate cultivating. Onion seed ger-
minate best when the soil temperature is about 65 degrees.
The root system of onions will not permit deep cultiva-
tion. If the field has been properly prepared in advance
of sowing the seed a minimum amount of cultivating will
be necessary. Hand tools are used almost exclusively in
the production of this crop as the plants in their early
stages are delicate and easily damaged.
Shallow cultivation is easier controlled with hand im-
The wire weeder is almost indispensable in growing a
crop of onions. It consists of numerous long, fine steel
fingers fastened to a cross bar of convenient length. Where
flat cultivation is the rule this may be about 4 feet long.
For ridge culture it would have to be modified to suit such
conditions. The cross bar is attached to the wheel hoe.
In case of a heavy rain which packs the soil prior to ger-
mination, this weeder is almost the only tool that can be
used to break the crust without seriously damaging the
seed. Even after the crop is up, the weeder renders very
efficient service in keeping down the first crop of weeds.
When it is possible to distinguish the rows, a wheel cul-
tivator is used. There are single wheel types with the
shovels and plows offset to prevent the wheel from run-
ning on the plants and also double wheel types which strad-
72 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
die the rows. With both types the double knife attachment
is used. This cuts a swath just beneath the soil surface
on both sides of the row. This kind of cultivating kills
small weeds and stirs the surface of the soil without cover-
ing the young plants. Weed growth, rainfall and other
conditions will determine the frequency of cultivating but
usually the plants are cultivated every week to ten days.
For the last cultivation some growers substitute a triple
set of shovels. The shovels turn a small amount of soil
against the rows, affording some protection to exposed
bulbs, giving them a better color. If the shovels are run
deep enough, many roots may be severed, thus hastening
maturity. This may be an important factor in Florida
under certain climatic or market conditions.
Irrigation and Drainage
The control of soil moisture is a prime necessity in
onion culture. Sub-irrigation or overhead systems are
quite satisfactory. Tiling of the land may serve a dual
purpose-drainage and irrigation-if properly done. While
there are no records available in Florida, irrigation plants
elsewhere have frequently more than doubled the yield. A
small area properly handled will be more productive, pro-
portionately, than larger areas carelessly managed.
The economical way to thin the rows is to bunch the
onions pulled and sell them on the local market. Thinning
is necessary and to permit proper growth a space of 4 to 5
irches should be left between the plants.
Most varieties require a little over four months to ma-
ture where favorable conditions for growth exist. If young
plants are set in the field a crop may be made within 100
When the plants develop normally, ripening is evi-
denced by a drying of the leaves in the region just above
the bulb, which causes the top to fall over while the leaves
are still green. If the tops dry from the tips downward
while standing erect, the neck is not properly closed, with
the result that the bulbs do not keep well in storage.
Harvesting should be done in dry weather. One of the
greatest faults with onion producers is failure to cure the
bulbs. Unless the bulbs are properly cured they will not
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 73
keep well in storage. Generally the months of April and
May are dry and afford the best season for harvesting.
Should these months be wet and the crop not ripe then
the crop must be cured in some other manner. Kiln drying
has been successful, tobacco curing houses being used for
Muck soils are ordinarily well supplied with nitrogen,
but they require liberal amounts of phosphate and potash.
There is a tendency on the part of many growers to use
little or no fertilizer on muck soils. Experiments on these
soils in New York showed that best onion yields were ob-
tained by using about a ton to the acre of a mixture con-
taining 3 per cent nitrogen, 5 per cent phosphoric acid and
10 or 15 per cent potash.
Onion growers who use the sandy loams in Florida
have found it profitable to use from 2,000 to 3,000 pounds
of fertilizer per acre, and the tendency has been toward a
10 to 12 per cent potash mixture with relatively small
amounts of nitrogen. When early fall plantings are made,
more fertilizer is required to produce a crop than when
the crop is planted later and is then forced to mature in a
shorter time. A considerable percentage of the nitrogen
should be supplied from organic sources.
The Use of Lime
Almost all experiments where acid soils have been cor-
rected by applications of lime, increased yields of onions
have resulted. The use of 200 to 500 pounds to the acre
of dehydrated lime has proven very satisfactory. Since
organic matter is so essential to the economic growth of
most crops, especially in the sandy soils of Florida, barn-
yard manure, chicken manure and most litter should be
conserved and made into compost. Onions thrive under
large quantities of organic matter. Organic matter not
only provides plant food but improves the physical condi-
tions of the soil, giving it greater water-holding capacity.
In many muck areas where onions are grown extensively,
it is not an unusual practice for the growers to give the land
a liberal application of barnyard manure. The beneficial
action of the bacteria is worth the cost. Usually it is good
practice to apply the manure to the crop grown ahead of
onions, unless it is well composted. Weed seed and a ten-
dency to keep the ground too open are the chief objections
to applying manure to onions.
74 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Barnyard manure may not be available and cover crops
must then take its place. Most grasses, except nut and
Bermuda will add humus to the soil and should be allowed
to grow for the purpose of later turning under. Crotalaria,
a leguminous, rank-growing annual that is resistant to
nematode infection, is the most promising cover crop for
Florida truckers. Other good legumes are velvet beans,
cow peas and beggarweed.
There are advantages in starting onions in a good seed-
bed. The growing can be better controlled, the bulbs will
be more uniform and the yield per acre will probably be
Seed should be sown in drills in a well-prepared seed-
bed. About 2 pounds of seed should be planted for each
acre of field to be set. Both top and root pruning are
practiced to assist in developing stocky plants before they
are transplanted to the field. The leaves are cut back to
about 4 inches. The plants should be about the thickness
of a lead pencil when ready for transplanting. They are
set every 4 to 6 inches in rows that are 18 to 24 inches
apart. Cultivating the crop is the same as for seed sown
directly in the field.
Market demands, year after year, for cured onions are
quite constant. The average American home does not con-
sume large quantities of this crop, but it does use a few
every week of the year.
Recently there has been a strong tendency in certain
Florida trucking areas to cater to the demand for mixed
cars of vegetables. Some green onions are shipped in re-
sponse to this demand. Some also are sold on the home
market which, during winter, demands considerable quan-
tities of attractively bunched and good quality green
onions. The bunches should be tied neatly and washed
thoroughly, and the tops should be clipped evenly. The
flavor should be mild. Variety and rapidity of growth
usually have the greatest influences upon flavor at this
early stage, although soil types may also be a factor.
Where the demand for green onions is good, it may be de-
sirable to plant onion sets, in order to get size more quickly.
If the green onions are a by-product of the main crop, it is
doubtful whether sets can be economically planted.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 7b
The usual method of grading is to pass the bulbs over
a slatted table. The slats are spaced far enough apart to
permit dirt and smaller bulbs (those under 11/ inches in
diameter) to fall through. United States Grade No. 1
calls for onions of similar varietal characteristics: firm,
mature, well-shaped; free from doubles, splits, bottle-
necks, scallions, dirt, tops or other foreign matter, damage
caused by sprouting, freezing, disease, insects, mechanical
or other injury. A tolerance of 5 per cent is allowed below
the requirements of this grade, but a tolerance of only 4
per cent is allowed for decay. Grade No. 2 includes the
bulbs which do not meet the requirements of Grade No. 1.
These are further graded into sizes as follows: Boilers,
from 3/4 to 1 inches in diameter; small, from 11/ to 13/4
inches-large, over 21/4 inches-very large, over 3 inches.
Not more than 5 per cent by weight may be below the
specified size and not more than 10 per cent by weight
may be above the specified maximum size.
Most of the northern-grown crop is marketed in "grass
sacks" of 100-pound capacity. They have a course mesh
which provides ventilation and easy inspection. Southern
or Bermuda onions are shipped in slatted crates. The lat-
ter move directly to market, from April to June. Dry
onions supply the markets from then until March, winter
shipments coming from storage. Fewest cars move during
Considerable quantities of onions are imported, espe-
cially during years of small production in the United States.
Onions are commonly grouped into three classes as fol-
1. Those propagated by divisions-Potato onions,
2. Those propagated by. bulblets or top sets-Egyp-
tian or Winter onions.
3. Those propagated by seed-Yellow Globe Danvers,
Ebenezer, Prizetaker, Red Bermuda and other common
A very small proportion of the onions produced in the
United States fall in the first two classes. The leading
varieties of the third class are listed by Morse (1923) as
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
1. Australian Brown
2. Extra Early Red Flat
3. Ohio Yellow Globe
5. Red Wethersfield
6. Southern Red Globe
7. Southport White Globe
8. Southport Yellow Globe
9. White Portugal
10. Yellow Danvers
11. Yellow Globe Danvers
12. Yellow Strasburg
The Spanish varieties, Sweet Spanish, Denia, and Va-
Onions marketed in this manner find favor on many tables. They must be
used at an early stage or they will become too "hot"
lencia, are increasing in favor. This is also true of
Recent studies have shown that Prizetaker and Yellow
Globe Danvers are not adapted to the short days in the
tropics and sub-tropics.
Australian Brown has many desirable qualities. It is
a very good keeper. It requires a longer time to mature,
however, than many other varieties and this is objection-
able because of the difficulty of curing during June.
White Portugal is grown as an early-market onion and
for sets. They do not keep as well as most of the yellow
varieties such as the Yellow Globe Danvers.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Carefully conducted strain and variety tests should be
used as a basis for selection and breeding. Some of the
Spanish varieties are preferred for this purpose.
Good seed is the first and most important factor in
successful onion production. Onion seed deteriorates rap-
idly in this climate. The following comparisons show how
onion seed in Connecticut lost vitality with age. The seed
were produced in California:
Seed less than 1 year old................ 400 88.18
Seed between 1 and 2 years old...... 220 77.46
Seed between 2 and 3 years old...... 2,023 57.34
Seed between 3 and 4 years old...... 1 10.00
Seedmen claim that in a single year onion seed loses
practically all its ability to germinate.
Uniformity in size, shape, color and time of maturity
of bulbs is essential. Methods usually employed in grow-
ing onion seed for the trade are not all that could be de-
sired. As a consequence there are usually wide variations
in a field grown from such seed from a single source. For
instance, the Ohio Experiment Station in an onion variety
test found one strain, supposedly a Globe variety, which
had but 65.8 per cent Globes. It showed 2 per cent scal-
lion, 9 per cent flat, 7 per cent off color and 26.1 per cent
bottle-neck. This was not the poorest lot tested. Off-
color is a serious trouble, since a red or yellow onion in a
pile of white ones is very conspicuous. Only 8 of the 66
strains tested passed a perfect record as to color.
This is one of the most destructive diseases in Florida.
It may be recognized by the furry, violet-colored growth
upon the leaves. It is especially conspicuous when the
leaves are wet with dew. Within a few days large areas
become pale green and then yellow. The seed stalk as
well as the leaves may be affected. They collapse and die.
The disease is caused by a fungus called "Pernospora
schleideniana" which works very rapidly in high tempera-
tures in the presence of dews, rains, cloudy and foggy
weather. It is often most destructive to a seed crop.
Control: Good aeration of the field will do much to-
ward controlling mildew. This may be facilitated by run-
ning the rows in the same direction as the prevailing winds
and by avoiding wind breaks or other obstructions to the
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
wind. If the rows are planted somewhat wider apart, bet-
ter aeration is possible.
Onions should not be planted on the same piece of land
oftener than once in three or four years. The resting
spores of the fungus are carried on diseased leaves. It is
imperative that these be kept away from diseasefree fields.
Spraying has been employed to some extent. A 4-4-50
bordeaux mixture, with 3 pounds of resin fish-oil soap to
each 50 gallons, is quite effective. Several applications
may be required to protect the young foliage.
This disease is widespread and affects white varieties
mostly. Small dark green to black spots form on the outer
scales, often in the shape of concentric circles. The fungus
causes little damage but lowers the market value on ac-
count of the smudge appearance. Where bulbs are stored
without proper curing or drying, the disease may cause
Control: The fungus that causes this trouble lives in
the soil, hence crop rotation is one of the most effective
means of control. Diseased bulbs or other refuse from the
storage house should not be carried into disease-free fields.
Dry the bulbs thoroughly and quickly prior to storing.
See that adequate ventilation is provided in the storage bin.
In most areas this disease causes loss in both field and
storage. Small white dots first appear on the leaves. They
rapidly elongate in the same direction as the leaf. Sur-
rounding this point of infection, there develops a water-
soaked area somewhat yellowish in color. The fungus
lives over in the soil or on the bulbs. White varieties
suffer more than red or yellow.
Control: Early maturity of the crop is effective. Pro-
vide good field aeration. Prevent wounding of bulbs. Dry
the bulbs thoroughly before storing. If neck-rot is preva-
lent, storage in bins, boxes or bags is not recommended.
Pick a storage temperature close to freezing. Keep dis-
eased bulbs and refuse from being carried into disease-free
This disease has been reported from a number of states,
notably from Oregon, Kentucky and Virginia. It attacks
onions, leek, garlic and shallot. According to Walker, its
first symptom is a yellowing and dying back from tips of
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 79
leaves. Roots and leaf bases are attacked. Roots are
gradually destroyed and the scales take on a semi-watery
decay with much fluffy mycelium present. Decay may
continue in storage.
Control: So far as known no effective control has been
found. The precautions suggested for the control of other
diseases will no doubt be effective in checking white-rot.
This is undoubtedly one of the most damaging pests
that attack the onion crop. It attacks the epidermis of
green leaves and sucks their juices, producing a silvery
appearance to the foliage which later dies. A thrip is
about 1/25 of an inch long and is pale yellow in color,
tinged with black. Its eggs are laid just beneath the leaf
surface and hatch in about four days. Most serious dam-
age usually results when precipitation is highest and when
temperatures are above normal.
Control: The spotted and convergent ladybird beetle,
the insidious flower bug and the larva of the syrphus fly
prey upon thrips. Heavy rains often destroy many of them.
Dusts and sprays usually are not effective as control
measures for thrips. A soap-nicotine-sulphate spray or a
5 per cent nicotine sulphate dust has been helpful. One
of the most promising substances for spraying with nico-
tine is "penetrol." This increases the effectiveness of the
nicotine by at least 33 per cent.
Control: Clean cultivation, burning or clearing of
fence rows, ditch banks, etc., will be found effective. Mul-
tiplier onions or onion sets should not be planted near a
field which is intended for onions, since they serve as
breeding places. In Florida, plantings made in cool
weather are less likely to be seriously attacked. Keep the
plants growing by providing ample moisture and available
plant food. An onion crop, if properly handled, may out-
grow an attack of thrips.
This insect causes great loss in some places. Plants
are attacked at all stages of growth. The bulbs are tun-
neled, and this is usually followed by decay. The maggot
is white to yellowish. It is blunt behind, tapering toward
the head. Adults are greyish brown, hump-backed flies,
that are sluggish in their movements.
80 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Control: One of the most effective control measures
is a trap crop. Where every 50th or 100th row is left va-
cant in seeding the field and later planted or set to scal-
lions, a good breeding ground is provided for the maggots.
By destroying the plants at the proper stage, the control
is quite effective.
A poisoned bait is sometimes used effectively. Lovette
recommends sodium arsenite, 1/4 ounce; molasses, 1 pint;
water, 1 gallon; chopped onion, 1 pound. The bait is
placed in the field in shallow pans, about 24 of them to the
acre. The flies are attracted to the bait prior to the time
of egg laying. Therefore, the bait must be in the field
before this time.
(Courtesy of Florida Cooperative Extension Service)
Variety Plants Date to Plant Days to Width of
__Per Acre Maturity Rows
Beans (snap) Giant Stringless 3/4 peck Sept.-Oct. 45-50 3 feet
(Green) Black Valentine Feb.-March
Beans, Wax Davis White Wax April
Wardell Kidney Wax___
Beans, Bush Fordhook Bush 60 pounds April to 80 days 2 to 3 feet
(Lima), Pole Seiva 30 pounds August
Broccoli Mammoth White I 4 oz. seed Nov. to Dec. 80 to 90 3 feet
| Italian Green Sprouting
Cabbage Long Island 12 oz. seed Sept.to Jan. 60 to 80 3 feet
Premium Flat Dutch
Copenhagen Market i____________
(Chinese) 8 oz. Sept. to Feb. 60 to 70 21/ feet
Cauliflower Early Snowball 16 oz. Oct. to Jan. 70 to 90 3 feet
Erfurt I 9,000 plants
Early Golden Self-blanching
Celery Specials 8 oz. seed IOct. to Feb. 80 to 100 21/2 feet
Late Green Top 60,000 plants
Variety Plants Date to Plant Days to Width of
Per Acre Maturity Rows
Chayote March to June 120 days 12 feet
Improved White Spine
Cucumbers Davis Perfect 4 lbs. seed Sept.-Oct. 70 to 80 4 to 5 feet
Early Fortune Feb.-March
Kirby Staygreen _______
Eggplants Florida Highbush 6 oz. seed July to Sept. 120 days 5 feet
Purple Spineless 3,000 plants March to May
New Orleans Market
Endive 12 ounces Oct. to Feb. 50 to 60 2 feet
Lettuce Big Boston 2 pounds Oct. to March 70 days 15 inches
Perkins Mammoth Podded
Okra Long Green 8 pounds April to June 90 days 3 feet
~_____~__White Velvet ________________________________
Crystal Wax 8 to 12 bu. sets
Onions White Bermuda 9,000 plants Sept. to Nov. 150 days 12 to 15
Red Bermuda 5 lbs. seed inches
Australian Brown _
Variety Plants Date to Plant Days to Width of
Per Acre Maturity Rows
Alaska Extra Early
Peas (English) Thomas Laxton 2 bushels Sept. to Nov. 60 to 70 4 feet
Peppers Ruby King 12 oz. Sept. to Nov. 70 to 90 3 feet
__World Beater (Ruby Giant) 9,000 plants April to June__
Romaine 12 oz. Oct. to March 70 days 15 to 18
Spinach Improved Curled Savoy 10 lbs. seed Nov. to Feb. 50 to 70 36 inches
Squash Patty Pan 2 pounds Sept. to Oct. 45 to 60 in checks
Early Crook Neck Feb. to May 4x4 feet or
Mammoth White Bush 6x8 feet
1/2 lb. seed
Nov. to April
50 to 80
4 to 6 feet
84 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The Cruciferae are of considerable economic import-
ance. This family probably possesses a larger number of
crop plants than any other.
The cultivated crucifers of importance as vegetable
crops in America are:
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Many of our common weeds which have been intro-
duced from Europe, belong also to this family.
CLIMATIC AND SOIL REQUIREMENTS FOR CAULI-
FLOWER AND BROCCOLI
Temperature and Moisture
In most parts of Florida the plants can be left in the
open but in cold regions and at the approach of cold
weather it is best to pull a number of plants with earth
adhered to their roots and store them in a suitable root
cellar. When ready for transplanting the following spring
to the fields they would be in condition to form curds.
These plants attain their most perfect development in
those areas where the temperature during the latter part of
the growing period is cool and uniform and where fairly
moist conditions prevail. Low temperatures delay ma-
turity, reduce the size, and lower the yield per acre. Ex-
tremely low temperatures during the early growth period
may cause them to "button" or head prematurely. Low
humidity and wind storms are injurious. Extremely high
temperatures during the time when the curds are maturing
may cause them to become yellow, ricey, fuzzy, or leafy
and may cause such rapid growth of the curd that it is
* "Truck Crop Plants" 'by Jones & Rosa
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 85
almost impossible to harvest in the best stage of develop-
ment, especially when large acreages are being handled.
Early varieties, however, are often grown successfully as
spring or fall crops, in inland regions.
There should always be a sufficient supply of moisture
in the soil to insure a continuous and steady growth. Uni-
formly distributed rainfall or well-regulated irrigation is
necessary for the successful production of this crop.
Where a number of different soil types are available,
the medium and heavy soils should be used for varieties
which mature in the fall and spring, as they are cool and
retain moisture. When the crop is brought to maturity
during the rainy season, it should be planted in sandy or
silty soils so that harvesting can be done without getting
the soil into poor physical condition. Soils of very light
texture, however, should never be used unless they are
abundantly supplied with organic matter.
These crops are grown in the same manner as described
for cabbage. In Florida, most of the plants are grown in
open beds. A sandy-loam soil of medium fertility is best.
Two types of seedbeds are used, the sunken bed, or the
panel, and the raised seedbed. Where the soil is light and
porous and not subject to packing, sunken seedbeds are
generally used. These may be of any desired length, 12
to 16 feet wide, with small dikes or levees on each side
to facilitate irrigation by flooding. Sunken beds have a
minimum of surface and hence dry out more slowly than
raised beds. On the heavier soil types, the raised bed has
been found to be more satisfactory. These are similar to
the ones used for growing of lettuce under irrigation. They
are usually about 6 inches high and approximately 18
inches wide, with furrows between. Each bed has two
rows of plants which are spaced 10 to 12 inches apart.
To sow one acre of seedbed, 12 to 15 pounds of seed
are sufficient, and it should produce plants sufficient for
25 acres. Plants which have been stunted by remaining in
the seedbed too long should not be used.
Protection Against Frost
When the local conditions are such as compel this crop
to follow one of another kind the same season, endeavor
to make the ground so firm either by rolling or tramping
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
it, that planting is only possible with considerable dif-
A good firm root-run induces a slow but very hard
growth and plants grown under these conditions are much
less susceptible to damage from severe frost than others,
which during the warm weather make tremendously large
leaves and stems but fail to give the heart the necessary
protection even against the earliest winter frost. In addi-
tion to a firm soil, plenty of room between the plants is of
utmost importance, this being equally essential while they
are still in the seedbed, as when they are put out in their
The seedbed should always be made in good open quar-
ters away from the shade of trees or buildings. When pre-
paring it use air-slacked lime or soot freely to deter the
attacks of many insect pests. When an extra long succes-
sion of good heads is needed, make a start early in March.
To follow this sow again in April. The main sowing of
late varieties may be deferred until the first weeks in May.
When grown under irrigation the plants are usually set
in the bottom or side of the furrow. In soils of sandy tex-
ture, planting is done on the furrow bottom. Plants are
set so they will not be submerged by the irrigation which
follows. They are usually spaced about 24 to 30 inches,
in rows 3 feet apart, depending upon the variety. Crowd-
ing should be avoided, as it has a tendency to reduce the
size of the curd.
Before the plants get crowded in the seedbed, or as
soon as the second pair of leaves are formed, carefully
lift a good number of the most promising with a small
fork and replant in rows about 6 or 8 inches apart, allow-
ing the same distance between the plants. If this is done
at the stage mentioned every plant will make new roots at
once and later on can be lifted with a good ball of earth
full of fibres which enables it to be transplanted without
It is a good plan when the first seedlings are ready to
plant to harden them off for a day or two before planting
in the field. If cold weather is just at hand, the plants
should be kept in the frame until suitable weather condi-
tions assure proper protection to the young plant growth.
A fresh supply of plants should always be kept under
special protection, to be used in the event a hard freeze
kills those plants already placed in the field.
Cultivate frequently to a medium depth.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 87
As with other truck crops, there is a considerable dif-
ference of opinion among growers as to the value of the
various fertilizers. Many of the most successful growers
use large amounts of barnyard manure. Dairying makes
a good combination with these crops, as an abundant sup-
ply of manure can be obtained, and a good system of crop
rotation can be established. In certain sections the pro-
ductivity of the soil must be maintained by the use of com-
mercial fertilizers. The Chinese growers in the west for-
merly used large quantities. of fish meal as a source of
The market demand is for a pure white curd. Varieties
that have a small amount of foliage do not cover the curd
or protect it from the sun. Exposed curds develop a brown
pigment that is very objectionable. To prevent discolora-
tion, the outer leaves must be gathered together and tied,
while the small inner leaves still protect the curd. A dif-
ferent kind of color or tying material may be used each
day the field is gone over, so that at the time of harvest,
the plants which have been used the longest may be identi-
fied. The method of breaking the leaves over the curd is
not satisfactory, as the leaves may be displaced by wind,
and if decay starts the curd will become yellow. The
length of time for curds to develop for market depends
upon the temperature.
Curds may be ready for harvesting in 3 or 4 days during
warm weather. Two weeks or longer are needed to mature
the crop during cool weather. The curds of some varieties
are protected and need not be tied. All curds do not de-
velop uniformly necessitating several cuttings. The field
should be gone over every few days and all curds ready
for marketing should be cut. There is very little danger
of cutting too early. They must be harvested while the
curds are compact. GRADE AND SHIP PROMPTLY AFTER
The heads are cut, trimmed and thrown into a high-
wheeled cart and hauled to the ends of the rows, where
they are transferred to wagons, or trucks, to be hauled to
the packing shed. A sufficient number of jacket leaves
are left on at the time of harvest to give good protection.
Many growers cut the stem to the desired length in the
field so that it will not need further trimming at time of
packing. The tips of the leaves may be cut back at time
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
of harvest or they may be left intact until the crate is
packed. If the plants have not made a good growth the
curds will not grow large regardless of how long they re-
main in the field.
The axles of the carts are bent, thus elevating the bed
above the top of the standing plants. The bed of the cart
works on a hinge to facilitate unloading.
INSPECTION OF CURDS
It is necessary to keep in mind how the curd will ap-
pear by the time it reaches the market. Appearance is
an important factor in the sale of any commodity, and if
an over-mature head gets into the crate, it will probably
spoil the appearance of the entire crate. Over-mature
curds are very conspicuous. Younger curds are more con-
cealed in their jacket leaves.
If a part of the field has become over-mature it is best
to accept the loss and continue to cut only the desirable
heads rather than attempt to harvest those that are not
in the best marketable condition. Occasionally during a
rush period the heads are cut and left inverted in the
field for a short time; this checks the growth and prevents
losses which might otherwise occur.
YIELDS AND RETURNS
Under favorable conditions yields of from 200 to 300
bushel baskets per acre are obtained, and the crop has
often proved to be a profitable one.
The stage of maturity of the curd affects very mark-
edly its carrying qualities. The longer the curds are left
in the fields after they are ready to cut, the sooner they
appear wilted after harvest. If the curds are spread by
the time they reach the markets they are almost unsale-
able. If the curd is slightly spread at time of packing,
this condition is usually much more pronounced by the
time it reaches destination.
Riciness is caused by the elongation of the penduncles
which bear the individual flower buds. This condition
causes a granular appearance of the curd, and it is not as
compact as it should be. While a ricey curd is not as ob-
jectionable as one that is badly spread, nevertheless, it
suffers some differential in price. This condition may be
prevented to some extent by the selection of good-quality
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
seed and growing the crop under the most favorable cli-
matic conditions. It is usually more common when the
crop matures during exceptionally warm weather. It may
also be brought about occasionally by allowing the curds
to become slightly over-mature. .Curds may be badly
spread, however, without being ricey.
When the flower pedicels elongate the curd appears
velvety or fuzzy. This condition is most prevalent when
the crop grows under unfavorable conditions. There is,
however, a considerable difference between varieties and
strains in the tendency to become fuzzy prematurely. The
condition may also be brought about by allowing the heads
to become slightly over-mature. It may be prevented by
observing the same precautions that prevent riciness.
This is a defect in which small green leaves appear
between the segments of the curd. This condition is gen-
erally assumed to be due to poor seed, but even the best
strains may develop leafy curds when the growing condi-
tions have not been favorable. Clayton also mentions
leafy curds as one of the symptoms of whiptail.
Yellow Leaf .
If subject to high temperature after cutting the jacket
leaves will turn yellow and drop off during transit or after
reaching destination. Tests by Weimer (1926) showed
that the rate of yellowing varied with the temperature to
which the curds were exposed. After one week at 7 C.
from three to six of the outer leaves were yellow and
loose. In two weeks, or less, all the leaves dropped at
this temperature. At 5" C. the yellowing was slower, while
at 0" C. yellowing had just begun at the end of a month.
Injury by worms reduces saleability of the curds. If
worms are present in the crate, they leave on the white
curd a green excresence which destroys its saleability and
may cause condemnation of the entire lot by the inspector.
The presence of aphis on the leaves at time of packing is
also objectionable, as they will migrate to the top and
between the branches of the curd during transit.
These vegetables are more subject to deterioration in
transit than are many others. This makes necessary rigid
90 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Trimming and packing cauliflower. This is the standard crate
grading in order that the product can be placed upon dis-
tant markets in good condition.
Shipment is made in single-layer "pony" crates. The
curds are set erect in the crate, the foliage is trimmed
to a bulge, and the three narrow slats are nailed across
the top. When placed in the car the crates are inverted
so that the melting ice water will trickle down over the
The main system now used in the loading of cars is
known as the "pigeon-hole method." By this system 480
pony crates are placed in a car; the third and fifth layers
from the bottom are only four crates wide, and between
the crates are placed 25-pound pieces of ice. Braces are
nailed across each tier of crates to prevent them from
moving about in the car. Ice is placed between the crates,
on top of the load, and in the bunkers. The ice on top of
the crates is usually left in large blocks weighing from
30 to 40 pounds. The amount of ice used at time of load-
ing varies with the season of the year.
A considerable amount of broccoli and cauliflower seed
is produced by commercial growers. One method of grow-
ing seed, now commonly used, is to set aside several rows
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 91
in one side of the field. These are carefully rouged, and
the plants which produce the best curds are saved for seed
production. When following this method, unselected
plants should not be allowed to flower in the vicinity. The
best means of obtaining good seed is to select a few of
the most desirable plants in the field and cage them to' pre-
vent cross-pollination. A cage measuring about four feet
each way and covered with muslin usually gives satisfac-
tory service. If a few flies or other insects are enclosed
within the cage, pollination is usually facilitated. It is
best to have the side of the cage held together by screws,
as these can be taken out without breaking the boards and
the cages can be stored in knockeddown form. The con-
ditions within the cage usually favor aphis attack, so the
plant should be well dusted, or sprayed, when first en-
closed. If 25 or 30 ladybird beetles are enclosed with each
plant there will not be much danger of the aphis giving
The vest aphid control is obtained when a cloth trailer is pulled behind the
duster to hold the dust near the plants. (From Agr. Ext. Cir. 11)
trouble. The seed from each plant should be harvested
separately, and the selections planted side by side in paral-
lel rows for comparison. Under conditions of commercial
production, it is best to retain only one of the progeny
lots. A number of the best plants within the selected lot
should be again caged, and the remainder of the plants
open-pollinated, and the seed used for the commercial crop
the following year. By following this system there should
92 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
be a gradual improvement in uniformity and quality over
a period of years.
A large part of the seed, especially the early varieties,
used in this country is imported from Denmark. This seed
is grown mainly on the Island of Amager. It is sown in
the fall in seed beds. Later, the plants are transferred to
pots and grown in the greenhouse during the winter, and
in the spring, they are set in the field. The seed usually
matures in September.
INSECTS AND DISEASES
These crops are subject to the same insect enemies as
cabbage, which are Aphis, Cabbage worm, Harlequin Cab-
bage worm and are controlled in the same manner. We
want again to refer you to Volume 39, "Plant Diseases &
Pests and Their Treatment," published by the State De-
partment of Agriculture.
Some of the same diseases that affect cabbage must be
guarded against in producing these crops.
More specific diseases are noted below.
Clayton (1924) reports whiptail, a malnutritional dis-
ease, prevalent on Long Island. The leaves become nar-
rower than normal and have ruffled and irregular mar-
gins. When badly affected, the plants are much dwarfed
and do not.produce a curd, while those plants less badly
affected produce curds that are ricey and leafy. The plants
may show whiptail symptoms when very young and later
recover and produce normal leaves and curds. Large plants
affected by whiptail, however, do not recover. This dis-
ease is due generally to unfavorable soil conditions and
was found to be much more prevalent on soils heavily
treated with commercial fertilizer (1 ton to the acre) than
on soil not fertilized. Heavy applications of S (400 pounds
to the acre) also produced whiptail. The ill effects of
heavy fertilizer and of S applications can be overcome by
liming. Clayton states that it is becoming "increasingly
difficult to grow potatoes and these crops in the same
rotation. Liming to prevent whiptail makes conditions fa-
vorable for scab; sulphuring to prevent scab predisposes
the plants to whiptail. Certain growers have already met
this situation by setting aside land for two separate rota-
tions." Severe aphis attack may also cause whiptail to
develop. Tests conducted on Long Island showed a con-
siderable difference among strains in susceptibility to this
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Brown Rot (Alternaria brassicae)
Brown Rot is mainly a transit disease and develops
most rapidly when the temperature and humidity are high.
The head is browned and spotted and is unmarketable when
infections are numerous. During most seasons the disease
is not sufficiently injurious to justify control measures
other than seedbed and field rotation. At time of packing,
all of the heads which show any brown or decayed spots
should be discarded. Weimer (1924) recommends that
during shipment the temperature of the refrigerator cars
should be held at 6 C. or below.
Ringspot (Mycosphaerella brassicola)
Ringspot is prevalent in the San Francisco Bay region
and near Roseburg and Portland, Oregon, but is not wide-
spread elsewhere in America. Nearly all parts of the
plants are susceptible to infection. The blades of the lower
leaves are usually most severely affected, although the
flower stalks, seed pods, midribs of the larger leaves, and
even the sepals are sometimes attacked. The number of
lesions per leaf varies. In extreme cases, almost the entire
leaf may be involved and killed. The amount of infection
varies with the age of the leaves, becoming less toward the
center of the plant. According to Weimer (1926) infection
first becomes evident as very small dark-colored spots sur-
rounded by a band of affected tissues having a water-
soaked appearance. The spots may enlarge to a diameter
of 1 to 2 centimeters. The lesions are usually circular. The
mature lesions are thickly studded with pycnidial or peri-
thecial or both, and they may be scattered or arranged in
concentric rings. The fruiting bodies are present on both
surfaces of the lesions, although they are usually more
abundant on the upper side. Both the pycnidial and peri-
thecial stages are present during the entire year. The as-
cospores may be distributed by the wind or carried by work-
men walking through the fields. Ringspot may be carried
from the seedbed to the field on the plants. Portions of in-
fected pods carried with the seed may be a source of seed-
bed infection. It is believed that the fungus normally enters
the host through the stomatal pore. After 2 to 4 weeks
the leaf may be so badly injured that it eventually drops
As to control, Weimer recommends (1) planting seed
in non-infected soil and protection of the seedbed from pos-
sible sources of infection by windbreaks and the removal
of infected plants from the vicinity; (2) immersing the
seeds in water for 10 minutes at 55 C. or 30 minutes at
50" C.; (3) a system of crop rotation, whereby cruciferous
94 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
crops are grown on the land only once in 3 or 4 years,
other sources of infection being first eliminated.
U. S. STANDARDS AS APPLIED TO BROCCOLI AND
U. S. No. 1 shall consist of compact heads which are not dis-
colored, ricey, or overmature: which are free from soft or wet decay
and from dirt or other foreign matter, bruises, diseases, insects,
damage caused by wilting, fuzziness, enlarged bracts, or mechanical
or other means. Jacket leaves shall be fresh, green, well trimmed,
and free from serious damage by any cause.
In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and
handling, not more than a total of 10 per cent, by count, of the
heads in any container may be below the requirements of this grade
but not more than one-tenth of this amount, or 1 per cent, may be
affected by soft or wet decay affecting the curd.
As used in these grades:
"Compact" means that the flower clusters are closely united and
the heads feel solid.
"Discolored" means that the head is of some abnormal color.
"Ricey" means that the stems of the flower clusters have started
to elongate, causing the clusters to separate and give the head a
loose or open and sometimes granular appearance.
"Overmature" means a stage of growth which is beyond that of
a compact, properly developed head. An overmature head usually
is loose or ricey.
"Damage" means any injury or defect which materially affects
the appearance, or the edible or shipping quality of the head.
"Damage by fuzziness" means that more than half the head has a
distinctly fuzzy appearance. Mold which causes the flesh of the
curd to disintegrate or which exceeds three-eighths inch in diameter
in the aggregate, or any single spot which exceeds one-fourth inch
in diameter shall be considered as damage.
"Enlarged bracts" means leaves growing up through and extend-
ing above the curd. Bracts, including small white bracts and en-
larged bracts which do not materially injure the appearance of the
head shall not be considered as "damage."
"Well trimmed" means that the jacket leaves shall be limited to
the number and length necessary to protect the head. No wrapper
leaves are required on heads which are individually'wrapped.
"Serious damage" means any injury to the jacket leaves which
severely affects the appearance of the head.
"Diameter" refers to the average diameter of the head exclusive
of the jacket leaves.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 95
The popularity of broccoli is growing so rapidly that we
deem it advisable to include the available data on its pro-
duction. With proper care to details of planting, harvest-
ing and marketing the crop should hold promise of profit
to the Florida grower. There are two kinds of broccoli,
the sprouting and the heading.
The Year Book of 1925 issued by the United States De-
partment of Agriculture states: "The first notice of broc-
coli, according to Sturdevant, is contained in Miller's Dic-
tionary, edition of 1724. He says, 'it was a stranger in
England until within these past five years and also called
Sprout Calli-flower or Italian Asparagus'.
"In 1806 M'Mahon mentions the Purple or Roman, the
White or Neapolitan, the Green and the Black. In 1821
Thornburn names three varieties and in 1828 he mentions
four in his seed list."
The bulletin issued in November, 1930, by the Bureau
of Plant Industry, Washington, D. C., says on the subject
of broccoli: "Sprouting broccoli (often called calabrese)
has been known and used in Europe for many years, but its
production on a large scale is comparatively new in Amer-
ica. It is only within recent years that the plant has at-
tracted attention, but its popularity has increased phe-
P. H. Rolfs states: "Broccoli is harder than cauli-
flower and keeps well. It may be grown as a winter crop
in regions where the cauliflower cannot stand the frosts
without protection. It is a favorite crop in the southern
part of England. Some of the varieties are often confused
with cauliflower in new markets."
E. T. Ellis, editor of Black's Gardening Dictionary,
published in London, says: "Broccoli (Brassica oleracea
botrytis asparagoides, Nat. Ord. Cruciferae). Few vege-
tables are more widely appreciated than this, so it is im-
portant to maintain a succession as long as possible. Great
attention should be paid to the selection of varieties, also
date of sowing, since it is only by this means that good
heads can be cut from October until June."
In the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, Bailey
says: "Broccoli, which is referred to as a long season
cauliflower, is in many respects similar to cauliflower.
However, the vegetative hearts of broccoli are somewhat
coarser, the heads are smaller and the edible curd is not
formed as early after planting as it is in cauliflower. Broc-
coli is very popular in France, England, Italy and Den-
96 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
_'3_,-.- -4- .,
_-,: .. -. -^-, ^'_
*^ "*I 'I
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 97
mark. It is known as the parent type of cauliflower, the
cultivated varieties of cauliflower being more rapid in
In the Encyclopedia Brittanica we read:
"Broccoli is a large green vegetable resembling the
cauliflower in appearance and the cabbage somewhat in
flavor. Botanically it is a variety of cabbage (Brassica
oleracea Var. Italica).
The Agricultural Experiment Station of the University
of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, states that:
"Broccoli is grown very similar to the manner in which
cabbage is produced. The plants are planted about the
same distance apart; the same type of fertilizers are used,
and the plants are grown during the same period of the
year. The main difference between broccoli and cabbage
growing is in the harvesting of the crop. The center head
of the broccoli plant is harvested and then lateral shoots
arise from the buds along the stem of the plants and these
lateral shoots will produce small heads which may be
gathered and bunched. Care must be taken in growing
broccoli so that it does not become infested with aphids
or other insects, particularly during the period when the
head is forming.
"Of course arsenical sprays or dust cannot be used for
the control of insects in the head. Derris dusts are very
suitable for this purpose. The plant is not subject to any
serious disease at the present time."
In the November, 1930, bulletin published by the Bu-
reau of Plant Industry, the following information on
sprouting broccoli is given. The sprouting broccoli is very
similar to the heading broccoli, but there are different
characteristics in each.
"Sprouting broccoli is similar to cauliflower and broc-
coli botanically, and may be described as a green-headed,
elongated, branching form of cauliflower. It forms green
heads or clusters of 'sprouts that are the flower clusters of
the plants. Sprouting broccoli is distinct from the 'seven-
top' turnip, which is also largely grown and marketed
under similar names. Sprouting broccoli ranks high in
salts, especially calcium and in vitamins A, B and C and
it constitutes an exceedingly desirable addition to the diet."
From the foregoing it will be seen that there is a dif-
ference of opinion as to the botanical classification of
It seems that the improved varieties of broccoli are of
comparatively recent origin. The sprouting broccolis,
98 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
which have a more or less open head, were probably the
fore-runners of the compact heading broccolis, and the
latter probably gave rise to our present varieties of cauli-
flower. From about 1700 to the present time there has
been a slow but steady improvement in size and quality.
The English and Danish gardeners have been mainly re-
sponsible for the great improvements made during the
last 100 years.
The sprouting broccolis do not produce a solid head
but are grown for the thickened flower branches which
arise from the axils of the upper leaves and from the ter-
minal end of the main axis. The heading broccoli are
similar to cauliflower in their method of heading. Both
types of broccoli have a longer growth period than cauli-
flower, and, as far as is known, the heads are always pro-
duced the year following that in which it is sown.
The following varieties have met with the best success
We do not know to what extent, if any, these varieties
have been tested in America, but it seems that they should
produce equally as well here as they do in England.
To obtain a continuous and regularly maturing crop,
it is necessary to plant seasonal varieties of broccoli.
I. Autumn broccoli, which might be regarded as those
cut from the end of October or November until the turn
of the year.
Early Penzance, a Penzance type that heads in at this
Michaelmas White, large heads, firm and very white.
Autumn Protecting, very large heads; some strains
Veitch's Self Protecting, October to November.
Winter Mammoth, large heads, but somewhat coarse.
November to Christmas.
II. Winter and very early spring varieties, heading in
during January and February.
Snow's Winter White, for January cutting.
Superb Early White, ball-shaped heads; firm close
white curd; well protected.
Early Feltham, similar to Superb Early White. End
of January to end of February.
Early Roscoff, and Roscoff Nos. 1 and 2, ball-shaped
heads; close white curd. End of January to February.
III. Varieties heading in during March. This repre-
sents the main crop, or normal season broccoli.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 99
Roscoff, and Roscoff No. 3, ball-shaped heads, close
firm white curd; self-protecting.
Mid Feltham, similar to Early Feltham; for March
IV. Late broccoli for cutting in April and May.
Satisfaction, ball-shaped heads; close firm white curd;
Knight's Protecting, and improved strains of this va-
riety, such as April Purity and Evesham Giant White, and
local strains evolved in Worcestershire.
Late Feltham, similar to Early Feltham and Mid
Feltham, for April cutting.
St. George, ball-shaped heads; white curd; self pro-
tecting. For April cutting.
Whitsuntide, ball-shaped heads; close, firm, white curd.
Late Queen, self protecting; very hardy and late. Large
head of fairly firm white curd.
The varieties usually grown and sold on the markets in
this country have white or cream-colored curd; supplies
of Cape Broccoli, with a purplish curd, appear on the
markets in March. This broccoli, which has a long stem
and a relatively small head, has an exceptional flavor, and
is occasionally grown in the Home Counties. Further sup-
plies are imported from Italy. Purple Cape Heading
and Hardy Christmas Heading Purple are good, named
varieties of this type.
White Cape broccoli is also sometimes grown. This is
known as Walcheren.
According to the Florida Agriculture College at Gaines-
ville, "Purple Cape, Mammoth White, and Italian Green
Sprouting, are some of the most frequently grown varieties.
P. H. Rolfs recommends Veitches' super-protecting,
Purple Cape, and Mammoth White.
VARIETIES AND SEED
(As Given in U. S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin)
Glory of Calabria, Italian Green, New York, and
Sprouting Annual are representative varieties of sprouting
broccoli. While varieties differ in the manner in which the
"sprouts" are formed, it is always the tender, young flower
stalks and the unopened flower buds, together with a few
leaves, that are cut and eaten as greens.
St. Valentine and Matchless White.
As a letter of general inquiry recently received from a South Florida grower included so many questions that have before
been asked, we are presenting the questions in substance below, and answers will be found covering a number of individual
markets. The variety referred to is the Italian Green Sprouting Broccoli.
4 3l 0 n 0 0
4 5l a ii 0 M.0
P4r.0r. or 0 % g
California and 2 Lbs. 6 inches Most of Crushed ice in
ATLANTA ..-........ I Louisiana 24 Yes to to leaves No pref- each end of the
Flat Crate 2_ Lbs. 7 inches stripped erence crate
6 inches Most of Red tape Cars top iced,
BALTIMORE .. ...I California 24 Yes About to leaves most at- and ice in
Pea Crate __1 Lbs. 10 inches removed tractive crates
Western I l2 Lbs. 6 inches I Crushed ice in
BOSTON .........- Cauliflower 24 Yes I to to Leaves Raffia crate, cars top
Crate __ T 2 Lbs. 7 inches stripped preferable iced
California I Coarser i/,-inchto I Shaved ice in
CINCINNATI ........-- Broccoli I 24 Yes 1' Lbs. 6 inches leaves I%-inch red crate. Cracked
Crate II I _stripped ribbon ice over load
Western II 4 inches | I Layer broccoli;
CLEVELAND _... Cauliflower 24 Yes Around I to Leaves Raffia top ice, alter-
Crate I I 1' Lbs. 6 inches stripped nately
Cauliflower 24 I 14 Lbs. I Larger I Crushed ice in
DETROIT ........ or Pea or | Yes or 8 inches leaves Raffia crates, and ice
Crate I 32 ____ 1 Lbs. trimmed I over load
S I 2 Lbs. I Chopped ice in
NEW YORK -------. Slatted 24 Yes to 5 inches Well No pref- crate, load top-
SCrate 2 4 Lbs. up trimmed erence ped with ice
SWestern 24 I 11 tLbs. 6 inches Larger Red or
PHILADELPHIA.. Cauliflower to Yes to to leaves Igreen Crate and top
Crate ] 30 ] _2 Lbs. 9 inches trimmed string icing
Pony or | ] 5 inches Turned
PITTSBURGH _---I Cauliflower 24 I Yes Vary to back and Raffia Fine ice inside
Crate __ 8 inches Itied crate
In general, Broccoli is packed in the crate, 2 layers with 12 bunches in each, and with top ice in center of crate. Top icing
over the load is recommended in almost every instance, and bunker icing in warm weather. Several western shippers are reported
to be wrapping each bunch with paper from the base of the stalks to a point directly under the heads, covering bare stalk. Broc-
coli not well packed or iced loses its appearance rapidly, and the margin in price between top grade broccoli, well packed, and the
poorer quality and ordinary pack, is probably greater than with other commodities.-FLORIDA STATE MARKETING BUREAU.