Bulletin No. 23 New Series April, 1929
t ^ome flo0riba
T ruth Crop9 A
John M. Scott
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
.- Prepared and Published in Co-operation with the College of
Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville.
T. a. APPLEYARD, INC., TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture....................Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks, Director, Bureau of Immigration ............. Tallahassee
Phil S. Taylor, Supervising Inspector................... ..... Tallahassee
John'M Scott, Agricultural Editor............... ................... Gainesville
Some Florida Truck Crops
By JOHN M. SCOTT
Prepared and Published in Co-operation with the College of
Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville.
T would be almost impossible to write a bulletin giving in-
formation on all of the truck crops grown in Florida. The
list is too long and the varieties too numerous to be treated
in one bulletin. In fact, the combined value of Florida truck
crops exceeds the value of any other crop grown in Florida,
citrus being next in importance.'
From the standpoint of value, tomatoes is the most import-
ant truck crop in Florida, with an annual income to the farm-
ers of from $7,000,000 to $12,000,000. It is almost a draw be-
tween celery and snap beans for second place, as each of these
crops has an annual value of from $3,000,000 to $5,000,000.
These figures are given to show something of the magnitude of
the trucking industry in Florida.
Truck crops are grown in nearly all sections of the State,
but mostly in the central and southern parts. A large portion
is grown during the winter, when states farther north cannot
produce them except in greenhouses, which is much more ex-
pensive than when grown in the open field.
The truck crops from Florida go to market by express ship-
ments and in carload freight shipments. In fact it is not un-
common to see a train load go out from many of the shipping
centers each day. An example of this would be celery, which
goes out in train loads from the celery growing centers. Toma-
toes also go out from the tomato growing centers during the
shipping season, as well as beans and lettuce, in train load lots.
The marketing season is from early November to the latter
part of June. Practically all of the truck crops produced in
Florida go direct to market and are sold as fresh vegetables,
as very little is canned or placed in storage for future consump-
tion. Most of the truck crops go very largely to the centers of
population, such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and
Boston. Those not consumed at these points are diverted to
the smaller markets where needed.
1 Irish potatoes and watermelons, two important truck crops of Florida,
are not discussed in this bulletin. These two crops are covered in Bulletin
No. 3, "Irish Potatoes in Florida," and Bulletin No. 10, "Watermelons in
Florida," by the State Department of Agriculture.
4 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
CARLOAD SHIPMENTS OF TRUCK CROPS FROM
YEARS 1926-27 AND 1927-28*
Sept. 1,1926, to
July 31, 1927
Tomatoes .................... 10,078
Celery ...................... 7,677
Beans ....................... 2,795
Cucumbers .................. 2,631
Peppers ..................... 1,630
Lettuce ..................... 1,391
Romaine .................... 220
Eggplant .................... 199
Cabbage .................... 1,162
Mixed Vegetables ............. 2,902
Sept. 1, 1927, to
July 31, 1928
In the marketing of all truck crops, the importance and neces-
sity of shipping only products of the best quality cannot be
emphasized too strongly. All inferior or low grade products
should be left in the field, or 'disposed of on the local market.
Standard grades of packs have been established for all classes
of truck crops, and only such material as will come up to
standard should be offered for sale.
Truck crops are marketed thru a number of channels, such as
selling f. o. b. the track, shipment to commission houses, co-
operative shipments, and independent shipments to retailers.
All truck crops for best growth require a well prepared seed-
bed. The land should be prepared some time in advance of
planting time by plowing the land broadcast, plowing deep
enough to turn under all vegetative matter on the ground. If
after plowing, the land is rough and turfy, it should be gone
over with a disk harrow. If not turfy, the seedbed can be pre-
pared by the use of a tooth harrow.
The cultivation is practically the same for the different kinds
of truck crops. It is impossible to tell just how often a given
crop should be cultivated. The best advice is to cultivate the
crop as often as necessary to keep down all weed growth.
Thorough preparation of the soil before planting the crop will
make deep cultivation unnecessary, which is detrimental be-
cause practically all truck crops are surface feeders with a large
percentage of the feeding roots nea the surface. It is essential,
Courtesy State Marketing Burea.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 5
therefore, that only shallow cultivation be given or a large
amount of root pruning will result, thus tending to cheek the
growth of the crop.
A number of late winter and early spring truck crops can be
followed with corn, or sometimes another truck crop. For ex-
ample, when cabbage are planted so that they are ready to
harvest in February or March, corn may be planted between
the cabbage rows or a spring crop of snap beans may be planted
between the cabbage rows as soon as the cabbage are harvested.
When the cabbage have been given a liberal application of
fertilizer, the crop that follows usually requires only a side dress-
ing of nitrate of soda at the rate of 100 to 200 pounds to the
ACREAGE AND VALUE OF SOME LEADING FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
1924 1925 1926 1927 1924 1925 1926 1927
T e- e. r'",-.111,117" ...:,l; s **1 i ni,;II *_: I.\ "I .> 1_."'.'4,.i1411,.f .,.1I...".11 ) *- i:... l' i *> ;T.._ 1.l '
Cucumbers ........ 12,370 10,830 7,500 7,440 3,306,6001 2,964,160 2,781,080 1,927,680
Lettuce ......... 3,490 3,400 1,500 1,840 1,179,060 1,078,650 556,920 476,280
Cabbage .............. 4,920 4,650 3,660 3,010 1,683,704 838,274 1,065,680 458,934
Celery ............... 4,000 4,320 3,520 4,240 4,902,000 4,480,000 3,960,000 3,968,640
Beans, snap ...... 19,780 20,530 16,000 19,490 3,947,440 4,190,760 4,001,920 3,682,800
Eggplant ............ 1,620 1,400 1,020 630 652,600 499,200 525,280 254,520
Peppers .............. 3,530 3,560 3,370 2,700 2,026,230 1,915,520 2,965,600 1,291,950
From Yearbook of Agriculture, 1927.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 7
More than 50 per cent of the truck crops of Florida are
started in seedbeds and when the plants reach the proper size,
they are transplanted to the field where the crops grow to ma-
turity. The seedbeds are usually located close to where the crop
is to be grown, generally at one side of the field. This, however,
is not absolutely necessary, but it has advantages which should
not be overlooked.
It is best to locate the seedbeds on new ground when this is
possible, as this will insure vigorous plants free from disease.
The seedbed, if possible, should be located near a good supply
of water so that the beds may be watered at any time when the
soil becomes dry.
Barnyard manure should be secured when possible and a
liberal amount worked into the seedbed, or if barnyard manure
is not available, then a liberal amount of commercial fertilizer
may be used. It is always desirable to apply the fertilizer a
week or ten days before planting the seed. If the soil is not
moist when the fertilizer is applied, water should be added until
the soil becomes thoroughly moist. The fertilizer is generally
scattered over the surface of the seedbed and worked into the
soil so that the surface soil and fertilizer are thoroughly mixed.
It is customary to make the seedbed three and a half or four
feet wide and as long as may be needed to supply the plants for
the acreage to be planted. The seed may be sown broadcast
or planted in rows. If planted in rows, the rows may be made
four to six inches apart. Planting in rows may be an advan-
tage if the ground is inclined to be weedy. However, if the land
be free of weeds, the seed may be sown broadcast.
Since nearly all vegetable seeds are quite small, care must be
taken not to cover the seed too deeply. If the surface of the soil
is kept moist, the seed need not be covered more than one-quar-
ter to one-half-inch deep.
Some growers protect the seedbed with a covering of four-
ounce cotton sheeting placed over a frame of lath and wire.
This gives partial shade during hot days and protects the seed-
ling plants from heavy beating rains and wind. During the
colder season of the year it may protect the plants from frost.
The amount of fertilizer to apply per acre will vary with the
character of the land and the crop grown. Most of the truck
crops should be given an application of fertilizer of from 500
to 2,000 pounds an acre, although in some instances larger ap-
plications may be used to advantage. The analysis of fertilizer
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 1. Seedbeds, showing row-planting. (Courtesy A. A. Coult.)
Fig. 2. Artesian water is used for irrigating these tomatoes. Note stakes for supporting tomato
-vines. (Courtesy A. A. Coult .
Fig.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~_ 2. Areinwtr sdfririaigteetmte.Nt sae o uprigtmt
vines,--- (Cortsy A.A. out,
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
for truck crops is 5-5-5 (5% ammonia, 5% available phos-
phoric acid, and 5% potash), or 5-7-5 (5% ammonia, 7% avail-
able phosphoric acid, and 5% potash), except for tomatoes, when
a 4-8-8 (4% ammonia, 8% available phosphoric acid, and 8%
potash) fertilizer is used.
Several sections of the State produce tomatoes on a large
commercial scale. They are grown in every county for home
use, and are adapted to a wide variety of soil types, growing
well on muck, semi-muck, and light sandy loam soils.
The early crop is planted in November and December in
South Florida, and is ready for market in February and March.
Other sections of the State plant in February and March. In
the northern part of the State, plantings may be made the lat-
ter part of April and during May for later markets. The early
crop, however, generally brings the best prices.
FERTILIZING THE CRoP.-The most successful tomato growers
use from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of commercial fertilizer an acre.
The formula used most generally is a 4-8-8 (4% ammonia, 8%
available phosphoric acid, and 8% potash). The muck soils
do not require as much fertilizer as the lighter sandy soils.
The fertilizer is usually applied in two applications. The
first application is made a week or ten days before setting the
plants. The second application 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 must be exercised not to injure the roots, as
much root pruning at this time will be apt to cause a large
part of the blooms to drop off.
VARIETIES.-Marglobe, Globe, Cooper's Special, Bonny Best,
and Florida Special are the most generally grown varieties.
PLANTING.-Tomatoes are planted in. four-foot rows and set
from 15 to 18 inches apart in the row. Planting in this way,
between 8,000 and 9,000 plants will set an acre.
In planting the seedbed, about one-half pound of seed is
required for each acre to be set with plants in the field.
HARVESTING.-The early tomatoes bring the best price on the
market; so the harvesting is an important step in the produc-
tion of the crop. As soon as the fruit has reached its growth,
the color begins to change from a dark to light green. When
this change in color takes place, the fruit is ready to harvest.
This means that several pickings are necessary to harvest the
Harvesting is usually done in baskets of about a half bushel
i: -.L iCl -Lr
3.T .r 4'9'*'k d %
Fig. 3. Tomato field in South Florida.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
-"tr. C -
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Fig. 4. Staked tomatoes. (Courtesy A. A. Court.)
~:4~;1~:.Is raS) f.;~-I -.4. .
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Fig. 5.. A large field of tomatoes.
Fig. 6. A good yield of tomatoes can be secured in Florida.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
capacity. As soon as picked, the fruit is taken to the packing
house where it is sorted, wrapped in paper, and packed in
baskets. These baskets are then packed in crates, six baskets to
the crate, and are ready to go to market.
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. However, a large part of the celery in the State
is grown where irrigation is available.
FERTILIZING.-After the ground is plowed, from 1,500 to 2,000
pounds of fertilizer per acre is applied. This is scattered over
the surface of the soil and worked in with the harrow. The
fertilizer should be applied about ten days before setting the
Many growers make a second application about thirty days
after setting the plants. The amount applied at this time varies
from 800 to 1,000 pounds an acre. Occasionally, it is the practice
to supplement the first and second applications of fertilizer with
nitrate of soda applied at the rate of 100 to 200 pounds to the
acre, while in a few cases as much as 500 to 800 pounds are
used during the growth of the crop.
VARIETIES.-The best are Golden Self Blanching, Sanford
Special, Golden Plume, and Pearl Golden Heart.
PLANTING.-The land should be well prepared by thorough
plowing and the surface harrowed until a good seedbed has been
obtained. 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 marked off 21/2 feet apart and the plants
set 3 to 4 inches apart in the row. A trowel or dibble 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.
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
the rows and held in place with wire wickets. The blanching
should be started two or three weeks before harvesting time.
Celery is shipped to market in standard sized containers
10 x 20 x 22 inches. These are loaded in refrigerator cars at
the rate of 340 to 350 crates per car. All cars are iced before
starting to market. The shipping season for celery is from
January to June.
. . ..F ri
Fi 7. B.anchin celery' -
Fi0. 7. Blanchina celery.
Fg. 8. Harvesting celery is a busy time.
Fi.8 avstn eeyi a busytime
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Beans are a short season crop, maturing in from 45 to 60 days
from time of planting. String, or snap beans, are grown in
all parts of the State. In the southern and central parts of
Florida they are an important commercial crop, being grown
both as an early spring crop and as an early fall crop.
Since beans are grown in all sections of the State, it means
that they will grow on a variety of soils, all the way from a
sandy loam to muck soil, although to be satisfactory on muck
soils it is necessary that the land have been cropped for two or
more years. The land must be well drained, otherwise beans will
not make a satisfactory growth.
The bean crop is a lover of warmth and sunshine. Therefore,
when they get sufficient moisture, warmth, and sunshine, they
make their most rapid growth.
FERTILIZING.-Beans are usually given an application of from
500 to 800 pounds of fertilizer an acre. The fertilizer should be
applied a week or ten days in advance of planting the seed.
VARIETIES.-Both green and wax beans are grown, but green
beans are grown much more extensively than the wax. This is
due to the fact that the green beans mature earlier than the
wax; hence are ready to ship sooner.
The green varieties generally planted are Early Speckled
Valentine, Early Refugee, Green or Giant Stringless, Bountiful,
Green Pod, and Black Valentine. The wax varieties are War-
dell, Kidney Wax, and Davis White Wax, all of which are good.
PLANTING.-The bean seed are generally drilled in rows about
three feet apart, about one bushel of seed being required to
plant an acre. The crop does not require thinning to a stand.
HARVESTING.-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 generally necessary.
The beans are picked in regular bean hampers. As soon as
the hampers are filled, the tops are placed on and they are
then ready for sale or shipment.
The yield that may be obtained will vary greatly, depending
on many factors, but as a general rule a yield of 125 to 200 or
more hampers per acre may be expected on good land and with
favorable weather conditions.
. -- -z i
-J .:-- A-.-- --.- ,---- .
Fig 9 Beans, peppers, and squash in crates Bean field in rear to left and pepper field in rear to right
-I l e
& tf "
Fig. 10. Bush Lima beans.
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Fig. 11. A field of pole beans.
-->?n* 'Z! .
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,". ', r_ '.. i .u ,. -. .. -. s- ...." ...' -. "
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Fig. 12. A field of young cucumbers.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 23
Lima beans, often called butter beans, are raised to some
extent in Florida, but are not as important a crop as the snap
beans. Lima beans are grown more as a summer crop and not
very much as an early spring or late fall crop, except in the
extreme southern part of the State.
The method of cultivation is the same as for other beans.
However, 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 vines.
VARIETIES.-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 but-
Navy beans are not grown in Florida as a commercial crop.
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 vines to climb on.
VARIETIES.-The varieties generally grown are Kentucky Won-
der and Florida Pole.
This is another important truck crop for many sections of the
State, and is grown both as a spring and fall crop, although the
spring crop is by far the larger. The bulk of the crop goes to
market from February to June, the earliest shipments coming
from the extreme southern part of the State and the later ship-
ments from the northern part.
Cucumbers grow best on a sandy loam soil that will retain a
fair amount of moisture. Land subject to overflow 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.
FERTILIZING.-The best cucumber growers in the State use
from 1000 to 2000 pounds of fertilizer to the acre. The fertilizer
used usually analyzes about 5% ammonia, 7% available phos-
phoric acid, and 5% potash.
About half of the fertilizer is applied ten days or two weeks
before planting, and the remainder should be applied a short
time before the first blooms appear. The second application
should be applied just ahead of cultivation so that the one opera-
tion will cultivate the crop and at the same time work the fer-
tilizer into the soil.
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
S ,'*- "*. w i . "
gr jte ." ". .. :-":d
.-" .-4? A ,. -. *
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Fig. 13. Troughs are often used to protect cucumbers. (Courtesy Fla. Agri.
---------,----*- s ---, ---,--- .,-----=" --- --
F 1ner A
Fig. 14 Loadng cucumbers (Courtesy A A Coult)
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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.
VARIETIES.-The most popular are White Spine, Kirby Stay
Green, Dark Long Green, Davis Perfect, and Early Fortune.
PLANTING.-Cucumbers are nearly always planted in the
field where they are to grow. The seed are planted in rows four
to five feet apart and the seed drilled in the row. Some growers
prefer to plant in hills two feet apart in the row. In planting
this way, four to six seed are dropped in each hill. One should
plant as early in the season as possible to avoid frost injury.
The majority of growers make at least two plantings and some
make three plantings. The second planting is made from a week
to ten days after the first planting, and the third planting a week
or ten days after the second planting. These plantings are all
made in the same row. The purpose of the second and third
planting is so that if the first or second planting is injured by
frost, the next planting will be ready to take its place.
When a good stand is secured and the plants are making a nice
growth, they should be thinned to a plant every 11/2 to 2 feet.
From two to three pounds of seed are necessary to plant an
acre of land.
PROTECTION.-Protection from wind and cold is sometimes
provided by making V-shaped troughs of 10 or 12 inch boards.
Troughs can be made in any convenient length, such as 10, 12, or
14 feet long. The troughs are laid over the rows when the
plants are small to protect from cold or to keep the plants from
being injured by heavy winds.
HARVESTING.-The crop is ready to pick whenever the fruit
has attained a fair size-that is, from five to eight inches in
length. The fruit must not only be of good size, but should be
straight and of uniform diameter from end to end. In color it
must be dark green. Whenever the fruit shows a yellow color-
ing, it indicates over-ripeness and such fruit has no market value.
In harvesting, it is necessary to make several pickings. After
the vines begin to bear, it will be found necessary to go over the
field two or three times a week picking the crop. The harvesting
season may extend over a period of two or three weeks.
The crop is harvested in field crates and then taken to the
packing shed where it is gone over and graded, after which it is
repacked for shipment to market.
_' -I- --
--' '' ^ K^^iit
Fig. 15. Picking peppers. Note rows of crates. (Courtesy A. A. Coult.)
I --. .- *;
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*."HW *." "''. 1 -. ,
Fig. 16. Basket used in picking peppers. (Courtesy A. A. Coult.)
j ''; ~-
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
One of the important truck crops grown in the State is pep-
pers. Peppers are not grown exclusively in any one section
of Florida, for they are found growing in every county, from
South Florida up thru Central Florida, and even up into the
northern and western parts of the State. The largest acreage,
however, is found in South Florida.
A good crop of peppers, like tomatoes, may be produced on
a variety of soils. Any good type of soil that retains moisture
well will produce peppers satisfactorily.
Peppers are quite different from a number of our other truck
crops in that they continue to produce good crops over a much
longer period of time. Under favorable conditions, they may
continue to produce good crops over a period of five to eight
FERTILIZING.-The amount of fertilizer to use per acre will
depend mainly upon the length of the crop season. Many grow-
ers use from 1,800 to 3,000 pounds an acre. One half the
amount is applied ten days before setting the plants, and a
second application is made as a side dressing about a month
after the plants are set. In another month or six weeks, a
third application is made as a side dressing, using from 300
to 500 pounds an acre. For this third application, some grow-
ers prefer to use nitrate of soda at the rate of 100 to 200
pounds to the acre.
VARIETIES.-Ruby King, World Beater, Ruby Giant, Florida
Queen, and Florida Giant are all good.
PLANTING.-Peppers are planted in rows about three feet
apart and the plants set 18 to 20 inches apart in the row, this
distance requiring about 10,000 plants to set an acre. Like
tomatoes, it will require the planting of about one-half pound
of seed in tie seedbed for each acre of plants to be set in the
HARVESTING.-When the fruit has reached the proper size
and is mature enough to harvest, which is indicated by the color
of the fruit, the fruit is picked and packed in the standard
pepper crates, which are 111/4 x 14 x 22 inches in size. It re-
quires from 360 to 400 crates to make a car load. Peppers are
usually shipped under refrigeration.
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cabbage is one of the most generally grown truck crops in
Florida. It is also one of the easiest truck crops to grow, and
like a number of other truck crops, cabbage will grow on a
variety of soils. Any soil with a fair amount of fertility that
will retain moisture well should grow good cabbage.
The cabbage is strictly a winter crop in Florida. Very seldom
is there sufficient cold to injure or retard the growth. The
crop is planted for the early winter and late spring markets,
and practically all is shipped to the northern markets where
they are consumed as fresh cabbage. None of the Florida crop
goes into sauerkraut.
For an early crop, the plants are set in the field in Sep-
tember or October, but the larger part of the crop is planted
in the fields in December and January.
FERTILIER.-Cabbage require and can use to advantage more
commercial fertilizer than a bean crop. The amount to apply
per acre will vary from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, depending upon
the character of the land. The fertilizer is usually applied in
two applications, the first application of about half being ap-
plied in the row ten days before setting the plants. Then when
the plants are well grown, but before they begin to head, the
second application is made between the rows and worked into
the soil when cultivating the crop.
VARIETIES.-Some of the varieties suitable for planting in
Florida are Charleston Wakefield, Copenhagen, Early Jersey
Wakefield, Early Flat Dutch, and Florida Sure Header.
PLANTING.-After a good seedbed has been prepared, the
rows should be laid off about three feet apart and the plants
set from 14 to 16 inches apart in the row. Planting in this
way it will require from 10,000 to 12,600 plants per acre. To
supply this number of plants, it is necessary to plant in the
seedbeds about 3/4 to 1 pound of seed for each acre to plant
The plants are transplanted from the seedbed to the field when
from four to six inches high. If possible, a time should be
chosen for transplanting when the ground is moist. If the
ground is dry at time of setting plants, then it will be neces-
sary to have a supply of water available to water the plants
as they are set. It may be necessary to water the plants every
two or three days until there is rain if the weather continues
dry right after setting.
HARVESTING.-Cabbage are ready to harvest when the heads
have reached a good size and become solid. They are packed in
either crates (see Fig. 19) or hampers (Fig. 17), which are
rI ., .
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4.?. ,-', L
Fig. 17. Harvesting cabbage in hampers.
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p. ., -,' .i. i 1 i ,
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Fig. 18. Hauling cabbage from field to railroad.
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FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 33
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Fig. 19. Cabbage packed in crate for shipment. (Courtesy Fla. Agri. Ex-
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
loaded into cars and sold f. o. b. the track or consigned to
brokers in the northern markets. A considerable amount of
cabbage goes to nearby markets in trucks.
This is another of the important commercial truck crops of
Florida. It is grown both for the northern markets and for home
use, although by far thle greater part is grown for the market.
Lettuce is usually ready to market in from 70 to 80 days
from time of setting in the field.
FERTILIZING.-Since lettuce is a short season crop, it is im-
portant that a liberal application of fertilizer be applied about
ten days before setting the plants. Another reason for liberal
applications of fertilizer is due to the fact that usually from
45,000 to 50,000 plants are set to the acre. The best growers
use from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds to the acre.
VARIETIES.-The ones most generally planted are Big Boston,
and occasional the Iceberg.
PLANTING.-Lettuce is always started in the seedbed and the
plants transferred to the field. A sandy loam soil that retains
moisture well is best, but poorly drained land will not produce
a satisfactory crop. Good preparation of the soil in advance
of setting the plants is essential. The plants are set 10 to 12
inches apart in the row, and the rows 10 to 15 inches apart.
HARVESTING.-Lettuce is ready for harvesting as soon as the
heads are well grown and have become fairly solid. The lettuce
heads are packed in standard lettuce crates, which are
71/2x18x22 inches, or in what is known as the standard lettuce
hamper. Generally 360 to 400 lettuce crates make a carload.
Lettuce is always shipped under refrigeration.
This is a variety of lettuce, and its cultivation, fertilizing, and
harvesting are the same as for lettuce. Romaine should be ready
to go to market in from 70 to 80 days after planted in the field.
VARIETIES.-Paris White Cos and Green Cos are two varie-
ties quite generally planted.
Eggplants may be grown in all parts of Florida. They are
grown both as an early spring crop and as a late fall crop, while
in the southern part of the State they are grown as a winter
FERTILIZING.-The eggplant is a heavy feeder and requires
liberal applications of fertilizer. Many growers use from 1200
to 1500 pounds up to 4000 pounds an acre of a 5-5-5 fertilizer.
One-half of the fertilizer is applied two weeks before the plants
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Fig. 20. A field of lettuce.
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Fig. 21. Eggplant such as these are generally profitable. (Courtesy A. A. Coult.)
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 37
are set in the field, the remainder to be applied as a side dress-
ing when the plants are ten to twelve inches high, and worked
into the soil when cultivating the crop.
VARIETIES.-Those generally grown are Florida High Bush,
Black Beauty, and Improved Spineless.
PLANTING.-The plants should be started in the seedbed a
month or six weeks before time to set the plants in the field.
One pound of good seed should supply plants enough to set two
and a half acres of land.
The plants are set in rows four to five feet apart and three
feet apart in the row. Planting in this way, it will require about
3000 plants to set an acre.
HARVESTING.-When the fruit has attained its growth, it is
ready to pick and ship to the market. The fruit is wrapped in
paper and packed in crates of standard size, ll3xx14x22 inches.
A car will hold from 360 to 400 crates.
English peas are now grown to a considerable extent in all
parts of the State. They will grow on a variety of soils, but
best results will likely be obtained when planted on a good fertile
loam soil, or on good muck land. On whatever class of soil they
are planted, good drainage is essential.
FERTILIZING.-The most successful growers use commercial
fertilizer at the rate of 1,200 to 2,000 pounds to the acre.
If for any reason the crop does not make a desirable growth,
and the plants do not have a good health look, a side dressing
of nitrate of soda at the rate of 150 to 200 pounds to the
acre is often given. Sometimes an extra application of ferti-
lizer is applied ten days to three weeks after planting the crop.
VARIETIES.-Florida McNeil, Extra Early, Early Dixie, Dwarf
Telephone, Thomas Laxton, Nott's Excelsior, and Little Marvel
are the most desirable varieties.
PLANTING.-Plantings are made in rows about three to four
feet apart with the seed drilled in the row. Planting in this
way, from 1 to 2 bushels of seed are needed to plant an acre. The
seed are covered from two to three inches deep.
Frequently plantings are in double rows. The double rows
are usually four to six inches apart on the bed, and about twice
as many seed are required as with single row planting.
HARVESTING.-Under favorable conditions, the crop should be
ready to harvest in from 55 to 65 days. On some soils, and
especially in the Everglades, the crop may mature in less
than 50 days.
The harvesting will extend over a period of two weeks to a
month, which means that several pickings will be necessary. The
pod should be well grown and the peas of fair size before they
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Fig. 22. English peas just beginning to bloom.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 39
are harvested. However, they should be harvested before the
pods show signs of ripening and before the peas become hard.
English peas are sent to market in the standard bean hampers.
BEETS AND CARROTS
Two root crops that are grown to a considerable extent are
beets and carrots. These two crops require a rich, loamy, moist,
well drained soil for their best growth and yield. Beets and
carrots, to be tender and juicy, must make a rather rapid growth.
To do this they require plenty of plant food and sufficient
moisture so that their growth will not be checked from the time
the seed germinate until the crop is ready to harvest.
FERTILIZING.-Growers use from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per
acre of a good truck fertilizer, which analyzes 5-5-5 or 5-7-5. A
side dressing of nitrate of soda at the rate of 200 to 300 pounds
to the acre may be made if the plants show any signs of needing
more plant food.
VARIETIES.-Beets: Crosby's Egyptian, Early Wonder, and
Detroit Dark Red are all popular.
Carrots: Half Long Danvers, Improved Long Orange, and
Chantenay are good.
PLANTING.-With the rows from 15 to 18 inches apart, beet
seed should be spaced in the row two to four inches apart,
which requires five to seven pounds of seed per acre.
A great many growers make a light planting of radish seed
along with the beets. As beets are rather slow in germinating,
the radish seed germinate quickly and mark the rows, and at
the same time they may assist the beet seedlings through the
surface of the ground.
Where the soil is inclined to be weedy, it may be necessary
to cultivate before the beets come up; so by having radish
seed planted in the row with the beets, they may be cultivated
without danger of destroying the crop. Beet seed may be sown
in a seedbed, and when the plants are from three to five inches
high, they may be transplanted to the field.
Carrots should be planted in rows 15 to 18 inches apart, and
the seed drilled in the row. It will require from four to five
pounds of carrot seed to plant an acre of land.
HARVESTING.-As soon as the beets have attained a good size,
one and a half to three inches in diameter, they may be har-
vested. They are taken to a packing shed as soon as pulled from
the ground, where all soil should be removed, without washing.
All small and cull beets are then removed, and the remainder
packed in crates 10 x 20 x 22 inches.
Carrots are harvested when they have attained a diameter of
one and a half to two and a half inches. They should be washed,
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Fig. 23. Picking squash in bean hampers.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
all dead leaves removed, and then tied in bunches of 6 to 10. All
carrots in a bunch should be of uniform size. Carrots shipped
to northern markets are packed in crates similar to beets.
Squash will grow on a variety of soils, but like all other crops,
it will grow and produce best yields on the better types of good
truck land. When grown on the muck soils, the fruit is not of as
good quality, neither does it ship as well, as that grown on the
sandy loam soils.
Frequently squash is planted with corn. There are objections,
however, to planting with corn, as the squash vines interfere
with the cultivation of the corn.
Planting may begin in South Florida in December or January
and continue every month until August or September. In Cen-
tral Florida planting usually begins in March and continues
FERTILIZING.-From 900 to 1000 pounds of fertilizer per acre
of any good truck fertilizer is generally used for squash. Some
growers apply all of the fertilizer ten days before planting the
seed. Others apply one-half the fertilizer before planting the
seed, and the remainder three to four weeks after planting the
VARIETIES.-Early White Bush, Giant Summer Yellow, Hub-
bard, Boston Marrow, Cocozelle, Yellow Crooked Neck and
White Scalloped are grown throughout Florida
PLANTING.-A good seedbed is prepared in the usual manner.
The early varieties are planted in rows four feet by four feet.
Those varieties that produce an unusual growth of vines are
planted in rows six feet by eight feet. Four to six seed are
planted in a hill. Planting in this way, from two to three pounds
of seed per acre are required.
When all conditions are favorable for growth, the seed will
germinate in from five to ten days, and when the plants are
about three inches high, they should be thinned to two to three
plants to the hill.
If there are any missing hills in the field, plants may be trans-
planted when being thinned.
HARVESTING.-When harvesting, squash are packed in hamp-
ers, pepper crates, or cucumber crates. Only fruit of the proper
size and quality should be sent to market.
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-Fig. 24 Cauliower heads. (Courtesy A. A Coult)
Fig. 24. Cauliflower heads. (Courtesy A. A. Coult.)
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 43
Cauliflower is not grown as generally as many other truck
crops in Florida, but the acreage is increasing from year to year
as more growers learn how to handle the crop. It is not as easy
to handle as many of the other crops.
The cultivation and fertilization of cauliflower is very much
the same as for cabbage. It grows best during the cooler parts
of the year. The crop is planted so as to be ready to harvest dur-
ing January, February, and March. Some may go to market as
late as April.
FERTILIZING.-The most successful growers use from 1500 to
2000 pounds of commercial fertilizer an acre. Usually one-half
the fertilizer is applied a week or ten days before setting the
plants and the remainder as a side dressing a month or six
weeks after the plants are set.
VARIETIES.-The variety planted most largely is Early Snow-
ball, and the second choice is Erfurt.
PLANTING.-The seed are sown in the seedbed and when the
plants are of proper size, they are transplanted to the field. It
requires about 120 days from time of setting the plants in the
field until the crop is ready to market.
One should plant in rows about three feet apart and set the
plants 18 to 20 inches in the row. When planting at this dis-
tance, it will require from 9000 to 10,000 plants for an acre, or
about one pound of seed if the germination is good.
HARVESTING.-Caulifiowers are sent to market in one and a
half bushel hampers. A car load contains from 360 to 400
hampers, and should always be shipped under refrigeration.
Okra is a crop that is grown in nearly all sections of the
state. It is an easy crop to grow and in some sections it is one
of the most important truck crops. It will grow on a wide variety
of soils, but it should not be planted until the soil is thoroughly
warm since it is a warm weather plant.
FERTILIZING.-Any good truck fertilizer applied at the rate
of 600 to 1,000 pounds to the acre should be sufficient. If barn-
yard manure is available and is applied in rather liberal
amounts, very little commercial fertilizer will be required.
VARIETIES.-The choice of a variety for growing in Florida
will depend somewhat upon whether it is being grown for home
use or for shipping. The earliest maturing variety is Dwarf
Stock. One of the best shipping varieties is Perkins Mammoth
Podded. Other good varieties are Long Green and White
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Fi.25 arefil f ka. (orts A .Col.
FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 45
PLANTING.-The seed are dropped four to six inches apart
in rows that are 3 to 4 feet apart. When the plants are three
to four inches high, the stand should be thinned so that the
plants are ten to twelve inches apart in the row. From eight
to ten pounds of seed are necessary to plant an acre, the amount
depending on the germination of the seed.
HARVESTING.-Okra should be harvested two or three times
a week after the first pods reach the proper stage. If the crop
is not harvested two or three times a week, the plants will not
continue to put on new fruit.
The okra pods are cut and packed in six-basket tomato crates.
DISEASES AND INSECTS.
For information on diseases and insects, readers are re-
ferred to the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Gaines-
ville, Florida, and the United States Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D. C.