• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Historic note
 Front Cover
 Credits
 Introduction
 Seedbeds
 Beans
 Beets
 Cabbage
 Carrots
 Cauliflower
 Broccoli
 Celery
 Chayote
 Cucumbers
 The dasheen
 Eggplants
 Lettuce
 Muskmelons and cantaloupes
 Okra
 Onions
 English peas
 Peppers
 Radishes
 Spinach
 Squash
 Strawberries
 Sweet corn
 Tomatoes
 Turnips and rutabagas














Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Division of Agricultural Extension ; no. 44
Title: Vegetable crops of Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026376/00001
 Material Information
Title: Vegetable crops of Florida
Series Title: Bulletin
Physical Description: 52 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Spencer, A. P ( Arthur Perceval )
Publisher: University of Florida, Division of Agricultural Extension
Place of Publication: <Gainesville Fla.>
Publication Date: 1926
 Subjects
Subject: Vegetables -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 52).
Statement of Responsibility: by A.P. Spencer.
General Note: "June, 1926".
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Division)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026376
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002570237
oclc - 47284468
notis - AMT6545

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Credits
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
    Seedbeds
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Beans
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Beets
        Page 7
    Cabbage
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Carrots
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Cauliflower
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Broccoli
        Page 15
    Celery
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Chayote
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Cucumbers
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    The dasheen
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Eggplants
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Lettuce
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Muskmelons and cantaloupes
        Page 34
    Okra
        Page 35
    Onions
        Page 36
        Page 37
    English peas
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Peppers
        Page 40
    Radishes
        Page 41
    Spinach
        Page 42
    Squash
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Strawberries
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Sweet corn
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Tomatoes
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Turnips and rutabagas
        Page 52
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida







June, 1926


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30. 1914)



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA DIVISION OF AGRICULTURAL
EXTENSION, STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN AND UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE COOPERATING
WILMON NEWELL, Director






VEGETABLE CROPS OF FLORIDA

BY A. P. SPENCER


Fig. 1.-Harvesting snap beans


Bulletin 44












BOARD OF CONTROL
P. K. YONGE. Chairman, Pensacola
E. L. WARTMANN, Citra
W. B. DAVIS, Perry
E. W. LANE, Jacksonville
A. H. BLENDING, Tampa
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee

STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION DIVISION
A. A. MURPHREE, A.M., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL. D.Sc., Director
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
J. FRANCIS COOPER, B.S.A., Editor
RUBY NEWHALL, Secretary
GRACE GREENE, Secretary to County Agent Leader

COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL DEMONSTRATION WORK
K. C. MOORE, District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
JOHN M. SCOTT, B.S., Animal Industrialist
HAMLIN L. BROWN, M.S., Dairy Specialist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citrus Pathologist
M. R. ENSIGN, M.S., Entomologist and Pathologist
N. R. MEHRHOF, M. AGR., Poultryman

COOPERATIVE HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
FLAVIA GLEASON, State Agent
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Assistant State Agent
LUCY BELLE SETTLE, District Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, B.S.. Food and Marketing Agent
MARY A. STENNIS, Dairy and Nutrition Agent








VEGETABLE CROPS OF FLORIDA
By A. P. SPENCER

INTRODUCTION
Florida produces at different seasons of the year a great quan-
tity of vegetables for shipment and home consumption. The
height of the shipping season is between November 15 and
July 1.
Most Florida vegetables are shipped in car-lots to northern
markets and consumed fresh. Few cars are placed in cold
storage, either in Florida or at destination. Most of these
vegetables are sent to markets formerly supplied from northern
greenhouses, the field truckers having, therefore, to compete
with greenhouse producers.
The greater part of Florida's vegetable crop is grown dur-
ing the cooler season when there are fewest diseases and insect
pests. However, the trucker has to combat insect pests and
diseases at all seasons on practically every crop he grows.

SEEDBEDS
Most Florida vegetable crops are started in seedbeds. That
is, the seeds are sown in seedbeds and the plants, when large
enough, are transplanted to the field. This necessitates the
planning and arrangement of properly constructed beds suffi-
ciently in advance of the transplanting season to insure a liberal
supply of thrifty, stocky plants.
Seedbeds are made by selecting a favorable location in the
field, close to a water supply, on well-drained, comparatively
rich soil, or on such soil as can be made rich by fertilization and
as free as possible from root-knot and diseases.
For celery, lettuce, romaine, cabbage, escarole, endive,
cauliflower and other fall planted crops lay out the beds three
and a half feet wide. Well-rotted stable manure or well-decayed
compost should be worked thoroly into the soil. The surface
should then receive an application of hardwood ashes at the rate
of one ton to the acre, and a week later an application of the
same amount of commercial fertilizer, analyzing 5 percent am-
monia, 5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent potash. Much of
the nitrogen should come from an organic source. The fertilizer
should be thoroly incorporated with the soil, the bed made
smooth and the seeds sown. It is best to allow a few days to








VEGETABLE CROPS OF FLORIDA
By A. P. SPENCER

INTRODUCTION
Florida produces at different seasons of the year a great quan-
tity of vegetables for shipment and home consumption. The
height of the shipping season is between November 15 and
July 1.
Most Florida vegetables are shipped in car-lots to northern
markets and consumed fresh. Few cars are placed in cold
storage, either in Florida or at destination. Most of these
vegetables are sent to markets formerly supplied from northern
greenhouses, the field truckers having, therefore, to compete
with greenhouse producers.
The greater part of Florida's vegetable crop is grown dur-
ing the cooler season when there are fewest diseases and insect
pests. However, the trucker has to combat insect pests and
diseases at all seasons on practically every crop he grows.

SEEDBEDS
Most Florida vegetable crops are started in seedbeds. That
is, the seeds are sown in seedbeds and the plants, when large
enough, are transplanted to the field. This necessitates the
planning and arrangement of properly constructed beds suffi-
ciently in advance of the transplanting season to insure a liberal
supply of thrifty, stocky plants.
Seedbeds are made by selecting a favorable location in the
field, close to a water supply, on well-drained, comparatively
rich soil, or on such soil as can be made rich by fertilization and
as free as possible from root-knot and diseases.
For celery, lettuce, romaine, cabbage, escarole, endive,
cauliflower and other fall planted crops lay out the beds three
and a half feet wide. Well-rotted stable manure or well-decayed
compost should be worked thoroly into the soil. The surface
should then receive an application of hardwood ashes at the rate
of one ton to the acre, and a week later an application of the
same amount of commercial fertilizer, analyzing 5 percent am-
monia, 5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent potash. Much of
the nitrogen should come from an organic source. The fertilizer
should be thoroly incorporated with the soil, the bed made
smooth and the seeds sown. It is best to allow a few days to







Florida Cooperative Extension


elapse between applying the fertilizer and sowing the seeds, in
the meantime keeping the beds moist.
These seedbeds should be protected with an A-shaped cloth
cover two yards wide, made of four-ounce cotton sheeting, over
a frame of lath and wire to provide shade during hot weather
and to protect the plants against beating rains, wind and possi-
bly early frosts.
For starting a winter seedbed of eggplants, peppers, toma-
toes and other plants of like

crops the bed should be





Fig. 2-Winter and early spring seedbed inches high on the south
cover
cover side (front). Wires
stretched across the top to support a cloth cover capable of being
made perfectly tight, as a protection against cold, are essential.


Fig. 3.-Shading seedbeds with canvas







Vegetable Crops of Florida


The seeds should be sown fairly thick in rows from four
to six inches apart. When sown broadcast, the beds are diffi-
cult to cultivate, fertilize and weed. Cover the seeds lightly,
not more than half an inch deep. If the seeds are very small,
as celery and lettuce, sow on the surface, give little covering, if
any; then place burlap over the ground and keep it wet until
the seeds begin to sprout and take root, when it should be
removed.
When the seeds are sprouted the bed should be watered and
kept so until the plants are well-established.

BEANS
Bush or snap beans are grown in every section of Florida
and are among the most important of truck crops on the penin-
sular part of the state. They can be grown under a variety of
conditions and on different kinds of soil. They require less
fertilizer than most vegetables and are easy to ship.
Snap beans are killed by freezing temperature. Therefore,
the fall crop must be matured before danger of frost and the
spring crop cannot be planted until danger of frost is past.
Beans are raised as early fall and late spring crops. The
largest acreage of fall beans is in the southern part of Alachua
and thruout Marion and Sumter counties. In these sections
the growers plan to have most of their crop out of the way by
November 20. These sections produce large quantities of beans
during spring. They are planted in March and harvested during
April, May and June.
On the islands and protected areas of the coasts beans are
quite an important winter crop. The soil in these sections is prin-
cipally sandy hammock, and is near sea level. These protected
areas are limited in extent; therefore, the quantity produced
is much less than in the interior of the state.
Beans make good crops on the better grades of hammock
and pine lands. They also grow well on muck, if it has been
planted to some other crop for two or three years previously.
They will not do well on sour or poorly drained land, and should
never be planted as a first crop, particularly on flatwoods pine
land known to be sour. They respond readily to good cultiva-
tion and require comparatively warm weather to make them
grow fast.







Florida Cooperative Extension


FERTILIZATION

Beans should have from 600 to 800 pounds fertilizer to
the acre. As the crop is a comparatively short seasoned one,
this fertilizer may be applied before the seeds are planted. A
fertilizer, analyzing 5 percent ammonia, 7 percent phosphoric
acid and 4 or 5 percent potash, should be used. The ammonia
element is the most important. Soils deficient in humus will
require more fertilizer than where there is a better supply of
humus. From five to ten loads stable manure to the acre, ap-
plied before the crop is planted, is most beneficial in preparing
the land for a bean crop.

VARIETIES
Two varieties of bush beans are generally grown. These
are the Green and White Wax. The Wax is grown less exten-
sively than the Green, and should not be planted except on the
better grades of hammock land. The best strains of the Green
are the Giant Stringless, Green Pod, Early Speckled Valentine
and Early Refugee. Of the Wax the New Davis White Wax
and the Wardell Kidney Wax are the best.

PLANTING
It will require about three to four pecks of seed to the acre,
with rows three feet apart and hills three to four inches apart.
In a few days the beans will show above the ground, and will
grow off rapidly, if weather conditions are favorable. No thin-
ning will be necessary, and just enough cultivation to maintain
good moisture and keep the weeds in check is sufficient. In
growing beans it is important not to cultivate while the plants
are wet or immediately after a rain, as this will have a tendency
to spread any fungous diseases that may be present in the field.

HARVESTING
Beans are usually picked when the pods are mature in size.
However, they must be gathered before showing ripeness. Oth-
erwise by the time they reach market they will appear wilted.
Several pickings will be necessary under average conditions.
The beans are picked into bushel hampers in the field and do
not require further sorting. On good land 100 to 200 hampers
may be produced to the acre.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


LIMA BEANS
Lima or butter beans, while raised for shipping, are a less
important crop than the bush bean. This variety can be grown
thruout the hot season and is one of the most useful summer
vegetables in Florida. The crop is handled in about the same
way as a crop of bush beans. With the runner varieties the
rows must be wider and should have a trellis or pole on which
to climb. Some growers plant them in corn fields where the
vines are allowed to run up corn stalks.
These beans are more sensitive to cold than are bush beans
but will make better growth during warm weather, particularly
if a rainy season, as they are less subject to fungous diseases.
The bush Lima bean is an excellent summer vegetable, making
about the same size bush as the ordinary bush bean and growing
under similar conditions. They require, however, a longer period
in which to mature.
VARIETIES
For shipment to northern markets Fordhook Potato Lima
bean is a good variety. For home use either the White or
Mottled Florida butter bean will prove satisfactory.
Navy beans have not proven a satisfactory Florida crop.
BEETS
Beets are grown thruout Florida both for home use and
as a shipping crop. The best soil for beets is a dark, sandy
loam, well-drained and supplied with organic matter.

CULTURAL METHODS
There are two methods used in producing the beet crop in
Florida. In the first the field is reduced to a fine seedbed, the
beet seeds are sown thick with a seed drill in rows from 12 to
14 inches apart and finally thinned by hand to a stand of plants
averaging four inches apart in the rows. A few radishes or
other quickly germinating seeds should be mixed with the beet
seeds. This permits wheel-hoe or hand-hoe cultivation, some-
times necessary for weeds before the beet seeds are up. After
the beet seeds are up and the rows well defined the few radishes
may be removed.
The second and better method (in case expert setters are
obtainable) is to sow the seeds in seedbeds and set the plants
in the field when about four inches high. The field should be






Florida Cooperative Extension


freshly prepared, free from grass and weeds. Cultivate the
field several times before setting the young plants in order to
allow the weed seeds to germinate, thus making easier subse-
quent cultivations.
The plants should be set in rows 12 to 14 inches apart
and from four to five inches apart in the rows. A more uni-
form and satisfactory yield of marketable beets can be pro-
duced by this method than by seeds sown in the field. It will
require approximately 100,000 plants to set an acre. Sow about
four pounds of seed per acre.
FERTILIZATION
Beets require liberal fertilization to get maximum yields
and profits. One and a half tons to the acre of commercial ferti-
lizer, analyzing 6 percent ammonia, 6 percent phosphoric acid
and 5 percent potash, given in three applications during the
growth of the plants, will be suitable for most Florida soils.
The first application should be ten days before setting the plants
in the field or sowing the seeds, as the case may be.

CULTIVATION
Beets should be cultivated frequently and thoroly and weeded
by hand until the plants cover and shade the middles, thus pre-
venting grass and weeds from growing.

HARVESTING
Beets should be pulled and carried to a packing house in
field crates or baskets and packed in the shade to avoid wilting.
The 10-inch celery crate, 10x20x22, is used almost exclusively in
shipping Florida beets. From 336 to 350 crates make a carload.
Beets are usually shipped under refrigeration.
VARIETIES
Eclipse, Detroit Dark Red, Crosby's Egyptian, and Edmand's
Early Turnip are some of the best varieties for Florida.

CABBAGE
Cabbage is one of the easiest truck crops to grow in Florida.
The soil must be fairly good, well-drained and sufficiently re-
tentive of moisture, to carry the crop over a drought period. Al-
most any good farming soil in Florida will produce satisfactory
crops of cabbage, if sufficiently fertilized. The cabbage plant







Vegetable Crops of Florida


is a gross feeder, one of the hardiest of Florida vegetables,
and sometimes will withstand a temperature of 160 F. after
the plants are half grown. However when the plants are small,
just transplant from the seedbeds and are exposed to a
freezing temperature, they will likely be killed. Cabbages in
Florida are planted for the early winter and late spring mar-
kets. Earlier cabbages are planted in the field in September
and October. The greater bulk of the crop is planted in Decem-
ber and January.
Thin, sandy, loose soil is not recommended for this crop, altho
such lands can be made to produce satisfactory crops by irriga-
tion and liberal fertilization.

PLANTING AND CULTIVATING
The ground should be thoroly plowed, pulverized, harrowed
and made smooth. The rows are then marked off about 36
inches apart and the plants set therein, about 15 inches apart
between hills. The plants are taken from the seedbeds when
from four to six inches high, and usually planted by hand in
comparatively moist soil. If irrigation can be furnished, it in-
sures a more even stand and a heavier crop. However, under
average conditions, cabbages are grown successfully in Florida
without irrigation. Sow about 12 ounces of seed to each acre.
As soon as the plants are large enough they should be cul-
tivated between the rows. With the exception of hoeing around
the plants, all cultivation may be done with horse cultivators.
The soil should be worked shallowly and with light working tools.

FERTILIZATION
Cabbages require from a half to a ton to the acre of a bal-
anced fertilizer, analyzing about 5 percent ammonia, 6 percent
phosphoric acid and 4 percent potash. On the lighter soils half
of this amount should be drilled into the rows before the crop
is planted and the remainder worked into the soil when the
crop is about half grown. Almost any kind of available ferti-
lizer is acceptable to cabbage, as it is a gross feeder, altho the
best results are usually obtained when the ammonia can be se-
cured from organic sources, such as cottonseed meal, castor
pomace or tankage. When stable manure is available an applica-
tion of five to ten tons of this to the acre, worked well into the







Florida Cooperative Extension


soil before the crop is planted, produces excellent results. In
such cases the amount of commercial fertilizer may be reduced.
When the crop is about two-thirds grown, if it tends to grow
slowly, an additional application of 150 pounds sulphate am-
monia or nitrate of soda to the acre is advisable for steady
growth and to produce firm heads. This, however, must not be
overdone, as it is liable to result in loose-headed cabbages and,
therefore, an unmarketable product.

IRRIGATION
With cabbage irrigation can easily be overdone. It requires
a reasonable amount of moisture to keep up steady growth; but,
if cabbages are forced too much and given continual irrigation
and heavy fertilization, the heads are liable to burst, making the
crop unmarketable. This bursting is caused by too rapid
growth; the heart of the cabbage grows faster than the outer
leaves, causing it to break open. When there is a tendency
toward bursting it is a good practice to run a furrow along each
side of each row and cut off some of the roots.
















Fig. 4.-Cabbage crated for shipment

VARIETIES
The principal varieties grown for market are Charleston
Wakefield, Long Island Wakefield, and Premium Flat Dutch.
For home use the Jersey Wakefield is most desirable. Premium
Flat Dutch is usually planted in October and is ready to ship in







Vegetable Crops of Florida


January, whereas Charleston Wakefield and Long Island Wake-
field are planted in December and January and shipped in the
spring.
MARKETING
The chief limitations to cabbage growing in Florida are the
markets, as practically all shipments go to northern markets
where stored cabbage, grown at lower cost, is placed on the
market in competition with Florida cabbage.
The crop is packed in one and a half bushel hampers, in
the 10-inch celery crate and in the standard cabbage crate
(12 x 18 x 33 inches). They are shipped by carloads.

CHINESE CABBAGE (Pe-tsai)
Chinese cabbage is not an important commercial vegetable,
altho it is grown in a limited way in several places.
It grows well on land suited to cabbage or lettuce. The
growth should be rapid so that the vegetable will be crisp. A
fairly moist soil is best. It requires about the same fertilization
as lettuce.
The plants are started in the seedbed and transplanted into
the field when three or four inches high. The rows should be
about 30 inches apart and the plants set about 15 inches in the
row.
Frequent and shallow cultivation combined with liberal
amounts of ammonia fertilizer will produce large heads. When
preparing for the table the outer leaves are stripped off, leaving
a whitish crisp center that is used in salad or eaten as lettuce.
Unless the plant makes a quick and succulent growth it is prac-
tically worthless.
When shipped, it is packed in celery crates.
From 6 to 10 ounces of seed should supply sufficient plants
to set one acre.
CARROTS
Carrots grow well during the cool months under a variety of
conditions. On average garden soil fairly moist and well fer-
tilized the crop can be made especially profitable as a market
garden crop or can be shipped to distant markets.
They are also an excellent garden crop for home use as their
food value is relatively high. On rich land they produce a
heavy yield that is easily handled in the market.







Florida Cooperative Extension


The seed should be sown during the fall as the crop requires
three to four months to mature. One can have marketable car-
rots from January to June with a reasonable amount of care.

SOIL AND PLANTING

Rich, sandy loam, garden soil thoroly pulverized is best suited.
The seed should be sown in drills about 18 inches apart and
covered about an inch deep. Carrot seed are slow to germinate.
Often the germination of seed is poor so that liberal seeding is
advisable, at the rate of four or five pounds per acre. In case
all the seed sprout they can be thinned to about 3 inches apart
in the rows.
FERTILIZATION

From 600 to 900 pounds fertilizer per acre should be applied
to average soils, altho less may be necessary on well decayed and
moist muck soil. The fertilizer should analyze about 4 percent
ammonia, 6 percent phosphoric acid, and 6 to 8 percent potash.
It is usually best to apply one-half the fertilizer before sowing
the seed and the remainder worked in between the rows when
the plants are half grown. An additional application of some
readily available ammonia fertilizer, sulphate of ammonia or
nitrate of soda, is advisable if the plants are growing slowly.
If stable manure is available a liberal application before sowing
the seed will produce a good growth in the plants.

MARKETING

Most carrots grown in Florida are marketed locally. They
should be washed clean, then tied in medium sized bunches of
6 to 10. Any dead leaves are removed and the green tops left
attached. With a good crop and good local demand at fair
price, the gross return per acre is usually high and the crop
very profitable.
Carrots are also shipped to distant markets packed in crates
or boxes.
VARIETIES
The Long Orange, Early Scarlet Horn, and Oxheart are satis-
factory varieties.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower is secondary in importance to most commercial
truck crops. It is planted and handled under conditions similar
to cabbage, but is more difficult to raise and place on the mar-
ket in the best condition. It grows best during the cooler
months and should be ready for market during January, Feb-


Fig. 5.-Cauliflower


ruary and March. To mature it requires about four months
from the time the plants are set, so that the seeds must be sown
in the seedbed early in the fall.
Early Snowball is the leading variety in Florida; Erfurt
is second.
SOIL
The soil best suited to cauliflower is a sandy loam with a
fair amount of decayed vegetation. Wet land should be avoided,







Florida Cooperative Extension


altho the crop needs a constant supply of moisture. Irrigation
is more necessary than with cabbage, altho good crops are
grown without irrigation. Surface or sub-irrigation is prefer-
able to an overhead system, thereby avoiding a discoloration of
the heads when about mature. The soil should be thoroly
plowed and harrowed, and all vegetation covered well.

PLANTING
When ready to plant the rows should be laid off 36 inches
wide and the plants set 20 inches apart in the rows. The
plants are set in about the same manner as cabbage, but with
a little more care, as they are less hardy. It will require about
9,000 plants to set an acre, which will be produced by about 16
ounces of seed.
Frequent cultivation should be continued until the crop is
harvested.
FERTILIZATION
Cauliflower requires liberal fertilization, from 1,500 to 2,000
pounds commercial fertilizer to the acre being needed on aver-
age soils. Half of this fertilizer should be worked into the rows
10 days before the plants are set, and the remainder applied
when the crop is about half grown. Almost any well-balanced
fertilizer, containing 5 percent ammonia, 6 percent phosphoric
acid and 4 to 6 percent potash, will answer. When the plants
are within three weeks of maturity an application of 150 pounds
nitrate of soda to the acre will give good results.
When mature the leaves should be tied or pinned over the
curd to blanch it and prevent sun-coloring.

DATE TO PLANT AND MARKET
In order to have it ready for market, cauliflower must be set
in the field between October 10 and January 10. It may be mar-
keted from January to April.

PACKING
The one and a half bushel hamper is generally used for pack-
ing cauliflower and from 350 to 400 of these containers make a
carload. The vegetable should be shipped under refrigeration.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


BROCCOLI

Broccoli is a winter vegetable, resembling the cauliflower,
but is not as desirable. It is grown only to a very limited extent
and only occasionally shipped to markets.
It is more hardy than cauliflower and can be grown when
cauliflower would be destroyed by frosts.
One should select a sandy loam soil and have it well prepared,
using about the same fertilizer and cultivation as for cauli-
flower.
The seed should be sown on a seedbed during September and
October and may be transferred to the field when about four
inches high. Care should be taken to see that the seedlings
are not too thick in the seedbed. The plants will be stronger if
they are first transferred into rows, setting them three or four
inches apart and later transferring to the field. This, however,
involves an extra amount of labor and is not necessary if the
plants in the seedbed are not too thick and spindling. When
mature the leaves should be pulled together over the heads for
blanching.
The heads should be cut with a few leaves to protect them and
marketed in the same way as cauliflower.

VARIETIES
Purple Cape and Mammoth White.
One-fourth pound of seed should produce sufficient plants to
set an acre. In field planting the rows should be about 3 feet
apart and the plants set 15 to 20 inches in the row.
Plants set in the field during November should have mature
heads in February and March.

CELERY

Celery in Florida is generally planted on level, well-irrigated
land. The soil should be sandy loam, fairly compact, with a
good supply of humus and thoroly drained. A low, sandy ham-
mock, or a high quality flatwoods soil produces good crops.
The soil should be deeply plowed, thoroly harrowed and
treated with lime or ashes for acidity, if acid is present. Unless
it is rich in vegetable matter, it should receive a liberal appli-
cation of stable manure or have a heavy crop of vegetation
plowed under.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


BROCCOLI

Broccoli is a winter vegetable, resembling the cauliflower,
but is not as desirable. It is grown only to a very limited extent
and only occasionally shipped to markets.
It is more hardy than cauliflower and can be grown when
cauliflower would be destroyed by frosts.
One should select a sandy loam soil and have it well prepared,
using about the same fertilizer and cultivation as for cauli-
flower.
The seed should be sown on a seedbed during September and
October and may be transferred to the field when about four
inches high. Care should be taken to see that the seedlings
are not too thick in the seedbed. The plants will be stronger if
they are first transferred into rows, setting them three or four
inches apart and later transferring to the field. This, however,
involves an extra amount of labor and is not necessary if the
plants in the seedbed are not too thick and spindling. When
mature the leaves should be pulled together over the heads for
blanching.
The heads should be cut with a few leaves to protect them and
marketed in the same way as cauliflower.

VARIETIES
Purple Cape and Mammoth White.
One-fourth pound of seed should produce sufficient plants to
set an acre. In field planting the rows should be about 3 feet
apart and the plants set 15 to 20 inches in the row.
Plants set in the field during November should have mature
heads in February and March.

CELERY

Celery in Florida is generally planted on level, well-irrigated
land. The soil should be sandy loam, fairly compact, with a
good supply of humus and thoroly drained. A low, sandy ham-
mock, or a high quality flatwoods soil produces good crops.
The soil should be deeply plowed, thoroly harrowed and
treated with lime or ashes for acidity, if acid is present. Unless
it is rich in vegetable matter, it should receive a liberal appli-
cation of stable manure or have a heavy crop of vegetation
plowed under.







Florida Cooperative Extension


In planting the rows are laid off 30 inches apart and celery
plants set every three and a half inches in the row with a small
trowel and wet down with a sprinkling pot as fast as set. In
some cases the plants are set six inches apart in double rows,
but the single-row system is preferable.
Plants for transplanting should be about five inches high.
It will require approximately 60,000 plants to set an acre. About
8 ounces of seed should be sown to produce this number of
plants.















Fig. 6.-Papering celery

When the plants are set the ground must be made thoroly
moist, almost wet, until growth starts, after which the soil
needs just enough moisture to induce growth.
The varieties of celery grown in Florida are Golden Self
Blanching, for early crops, and Green Top and Easy Blanching
for late crops.
FERTILIZATION

From two to four tons of commercial fertilizer (according to
the natural richness of the soil), analyzing 5 percent ammonia,
5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent potash, are required to
grow an acre of celery in the principal celery districts of Flor-
ida. The fertilizer should be applied in three or four applica-
tions, the first of say 1,000 pounds, mixed well into the rows 10
days before setting the plants. This usually should be supple-
mented with several light applications of nitrate of soda, from







Vegetable Crops of Florida


100 to 200 pounds to the acre each application, while the crop
is growing.


Fig. 7.-Removing paper from celery

BLANCHING AND SHIPPING
When mature, 12-inch boards are set on edge close to the
celery in order to blanch it. Heavy black building paper, cut
in 10- or 12-inch strips and
held close to the plants by wire
wickets, may be used instead
of the boards. This should be
done about three weeks before
shipping begins.
The standard container for
shipping Florida celery is the
10-inch celery crate, measuring
10 x 20 x 22 inches. From 336
to 350 of these make a carload.
All car-lots of celery from Flor-
Fig. 8.-Cutter used in har- ida are shipped in refrigerator
vesting celery, cars, well iced.







Florida Cooperative Extension


CHAYOTE*

The chayote (Cayota edulis) is a perennial-rooted cucurbit,
belonging to the same family as the cucumber, squashes, and
melons. It is a native of tropical America. The vine is a climb-
er and the fruit is more or less pear-shaped-variable with dif-
ferent varieties, and somewhat flattened. The crop has not yet
attained commercial importance, tho it has appeared on vari-
ous markets in the South and in some Northern cities for many
years. Numerous varieties of chayotes exist: dark and light
green and ivory white; shapes varying from distinctly pear-
shaped to nearly round; weights from two or three ounces to
as many pounds each; and from perfectly smooth and even to
very spiny or corrugated or both. The nonspiny and noncorru-
gated types are much preferred because of their better appear-
ance and the greater ease of handling.

COOKING AND SERVING

The cooked chayote has a delicate squashlike flavor and, when
not too old, an excellent texture which makes it distinctive and
very pleasing when served without mashing. The single large
seed is edible and is commonly cooked and served with the rest
of the vegetable. The vegetable may be prepared in different
ways for cooking. A convenient method is to cut about three-
quarters of an inch thick, crosswise thru the seed, pare the slices,
and boil until tender (15 to 20 minutes) in just enough salted
water to cook. These slices may then be served hot, either
whole or in pieces, with butter melted over them, or they may
be diced and served with a cream sauce. The boiled chayote is
especially adapted for use in salads. Sliced chayote, either raw
or cooked, is excellent fried. The vegetable is also used in
stews and may be baked and stuffed. Immature chayotes are
used for pickles.
CULTURE

The whole chayote fruit is planted, with the broad (sprout-
ing) end slanting downward.' A small part of the smaller end
is left exposed above the surface of the soil. The distance be-
tween plants should be at least 12 feet, as the vine is a rampant

*Information on the chayote supplied by R. A. Young, Bureau of Seed
and Plant Introduction, U. S. D. A.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


grower. Planting is usually done in the early spring, when
danger of frost is past. It may be done earlier, or even in the
fall in southern Florida, if protection against frosts can be
given.


Fig. 9.-White-fruited variety of chayote grown on a bamboo trellis in
central Florida. This variety is practically free from spines and but
slightly corrugated. (Courtesy U. S. D. A.)







Florida Cooperative Extension


A fairly rich sandy loam is the best soil. Well-rotted stable
manure, when available, should be worked into it. It should
be always moist but must not remain water-soaked after rains.
Mulching is advisable, especially where the ground is not
shaded by other means.
The vines should be provided with some sort of trellis or other
means of support. A fence, a porch, an outbuilding, or a tree
that does not give too dense a shade will often suffice.
The first year, the vines usually will not flower until early
fall. The fruit matures in about 25 days from setting. The
second year, a late spring crop may be obtained if frost does
not occur much after March 1. The size of the crop from one
vine varies from a few fruits to several hundred. Fruit seldom
sets during the summer.

FERTILIZERS
As already stated, stable manure should be used for chay-
otes when available. This may be supplemented by a complete
fertilizer carrying 6 to 8 percent of potash. Moderate appli-
cations three or four times during the season are better than
fewer in larger quantities. Nitrate of soda may be applied
lightly when vine growth lags, and especially when flowering
begins. For a mature vine, about five ounces may be used, but
it must not come into direct contact with the plant.

INSECT PESTS AND DISEASES
Chayotes are attacked by the same enemies as other cucurbits,
and the methods of control are the same. For leaf-eating in-
sects, such as the cucumber beetles and the squash lady-bug, ar-
senate of lead is used. Soft-bodied insects, like the melon and
pickle worms and the aphids, may be destroyed by a nicotine
spray. Root-knot is one of the more serious diseases to which
the chayote is subject. This can be mitigated by avoiding the
lightest and driest soils, by mulching to conserve moisture and
prevent over-heating of the soil, and by keeping the plant well
nourished.
MARKETING
Chayotes for market should reach practically full size, as the
skin otherwise will be too tender and the fruit more likely to be







Vegetable Crops of Florida


bruised and to become shriveled if not sold and used quickly.
They must be handled carefully at all times, to avoid bruising.
Sprouting of mature fruits on the vine may occur. While this
does not affect the edibility, except perhaps to result in tough-
ening of the seed coat, it is not advisable to send sprouted chay-
otes to market. For distant markets, chayotes should be wrap-
ped and shipped in vegetable crates of small or medium size.
41*
STORAGE

In storing for seed purposes, chayotes may be kept in clean
dry sand, in a cool place. When kept for table use, they may
be stored in the same way or wrapped in porous paper and
packed in crates. The storage temperature should not rise
above 60 F. or remain long below 450 F.

CUCUMBERS

Cucumbers are grown as a market crop in most of the truck-
ing areas of Florida. The earliest crops are planted during
late fall and protected against cold in winter by cloth covers
or greenhouses. These cucumbers are usually consumed locally
or within the state. The largest acreage is marketed from
April to June. These are grown under field conditions and
shipped in carload lots to Northern markets.

SOILS

For cucumbers select a fine, well-drained, sandy loam with
preferably a southern slope. Flat land with a fair supply of
moisture is favorable, providing it has sufficient drainage and
is of good quality. Flat pinewoods land with a hardpan -soil
and subject to overflows is usually not suitable for cucumbers.
Such soils may be improved by draining, liming and plowing
under considerable quantities of vegetation. The best crops are
grown on the best grades of pine land.

SOIL PREPARATION
To prepare soil for cucumbers plow it fairly deep and pul-
verize the surface. All vegetation should be turned under two
months before planting time in order to have it thoroly incor-







Florida Cooperative Extension


porated with the soil. The greater the amount of well-rotted
vegetation plowed under, the quicker the cucumber crop will
be produced.
PLANTING
When ready to plant, plow the land, preferably in five-foot
beds, and plant the seeds two feet apart on the beds. It is best
to check off the field and work a part of the fertilizer into the
hills 10 days before planting. To fertilize one day and plant
the next will probably injure the small plants, unless the fertil-
izer is thoroly incorporated with the soil.
The time for planting will depend on the locality and mar-
ket intended. Planting should be done just as early as danger
of frost is over. It requires from 75 to 90 days from the time
the seeds are planted until the first cucumbers are picked.
For small areas the plants may be started in pots in the
seedbed and later transplanted to the field. This requires much
labor and is not a general practice where the acreage is large.
When the seeds are planted directly in the field, eight or ten
should be dropped in each hill. This will insure sufficient
plants for a good stand. After the plants are well established,
thin to about three or four to the hill.
Some growers prefer to lay the rows off four feet apart, to
plant five or six seeds about every three feet, and then to thin
down to about two plants as soon as large enough. It will re-
quire about two pounds of seed to plant one acre.
Either of these methods will supply sufficient plants for the
entire field, and should there be missing hills these can be filled
in by transplanting from thick places, using a spade so that
plenty of earth can be carried with the roots.

CULTIVATION
As soon as the plants are large enough they should be given
shallow cultivation. This hastens growth, causing them to put
on early bloom. Cultivation should be continued until the vines
fill up the middles.
PROTECTION
Protection is often provided by making V-shaped troughs of
12-inch boards. The rows are run east and west in the field and







Vegetable Crops of Florida


the troughs are laid immediately behind the plants with one
side up. This gives protection from the cold during spring,
assists in germinating the seed thru radiation of sun rays from
the back boards and prevents the plants from being whipped
around by wind. In case of a freeze, these troughs can be
turned over the plants to protect them.
Successive plantings should be made; so that, if one crop
be killed by chance frost, other plants will be coming on.

FERTILIZATION
Cucumbers require liberal fertilization. About 1,600 pounds
to the acre of commercial fertilizer, analyzing 5 percent am-
monia, 7 percent phosphoric acid and 5 or 6 percent potash
should be sufficient. Half of this should be applied ten days
before the seeds are sown, and the remainder ten days before
the first blooms are likely to occur. In applying the fertilizer
after the plants are grown, it should be kept at least 15 inches


I !1111-


Fig. 10.-Cucumbers with overhead irrigation


from the plants and worked well into the soil with a cultivator.
Unless the fertilizer is incorporated with the soil, it will usually
be slow in providing plant food to the vines, inasmuch as this
season is usually a dry one in Florida.






Florida Cooperative Extension


Should the crop indicate lack of growth, an application of
200 pounds nitrate of soda or sulphate of ammonia to the acre
may be applied as a top-dressing. Some care must be exercised
in applying this, or there will be danger of the plants shedding
their early bloom; and care should be used not to let the fer-
tilizer fall on the plants, as it will have a tendency to burn the
leaves. The purpose of this application of ammonia is to stim-
ulate growth and produce more bearing surface.

IRRIGATION
It is usually profitable to provide irrigation for cucumbers,
as the season of ripening extends thru a drought season. While
cucumbers will withstand considerable drought, the yield will be
light, unless they have sufficient moisture. Over-irrigation is
to be avoided, as this will have a tendency to stimulate diseases
and, thus, lower yield. Cucumber growers usually prefer
surface or sub-irrigation systems. It is the practice of the best
growers to use water only when needed to keep the plants in a
growing and producing condition.
HARVESTING
Cucumbers are as a rule
ready to pick when the fruit
grows from five to eight in.
ches in length and the blos-
som end is rounded out well.
They must be sufficiently
mature to get a maximum
yield. However, if allowed
to become everripe they are
:act salable. They should be
picked before the seeds show
a tendency to harden and
gathered in field baskets,
taken to a packing shed and
placed in cucumber crates
for shipment. In the early
part of the season it will be
necessary generally to pick
over the field at least twice
Fig. 11.-A crate of cucumbers a week; but after the sea-







Vegetable Crops of Florida


son advances and the fruit matures more rapidly, three pick-
ings a week will be necessary in order to prevent some fruit
becoming too mature. All ill-shaped, wormy and unmarket-
able fruits should be pulled from the vines when picking, as
these draw on soil fertility and moisture and are usually worth-
less for marketing.
VARIETIES
The most important commercial varieties raised under field
conditions are the Improved White Spine and Davis Perfect.
These varieties are good shippers and produce well under aver-
age conditions.
Other varieties, such as the Early Russian or Early Cluster,
are grown for home use, especially where early fruit is desired.

THE DASHEEN*

The dasheen (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott), while not a
major crop, is of importance in a few localities in the South,
notably in Nassau County, Fla. It is a Chinese variety of the
taro-an important root crop of warm countries-first intro-
duced from the island of Trinidad about 1905, tho not grown
here commercially until 1913. The shipments to Northern mar-
kets from Nassau County now aggregate several carloads each
season.
The dasheen is similar to the potato in composition but con-
tains much less water. It has about 50 percent more of protein
and of starch than the potato and is assumed to be about one-
half higher in food value. The flavor is suggestive of chestnuts.
Dasheens are baked and otherwise cooked (but not boiled and
mashed) much like potatoes, but because of being drier, a little
modification of method is necessary. They cook in somewhat
less time than potatoes.
The dasheen plant resembles the elephant-ear, to which it is
related. Each hill produces one or more large central corms
(solid "bulbs") and a number of lateral "tubers". Both corms
and tubers are edible, tho if grown in poorly drained soil the
corms are not a suitable quality for the table. There is a pre-
judice against the corms because of their large size (up to sev-

*Information on the dasheen supplied by R. A. Young, Bureau of Seed
and Plant Introduction, U. S. D. A. See Farmers' Bulletin 1396, U. S. D. A.
for fuller treatment on this subject, including detailed cooking directions.







Florida Cooperative Extension


eral pounds each), and for this reason, as well as because corms
of poor quality have at times been shipped, the market much pre-
fers the tubers.
The present market demand, mainly among the oriental popu-
lations of our large cities, is supplied by the acreage of dash-
eens regularly grown. A further demand can be developed if
growers make a habit of using the vegetable on their own
tables and induce local dealers to put it on sale with instruc-
tions for use.

VARIETIES
The Trinidad dasheen is the variety generally grown. When
well grown it yields heavily-up to 350 bushels an acre-and
is of excellent quality. The Sacramento variety produces fewer
lateral tubers but they tend to become larger and usually are
of more uniform shape than those of the Trinidad; and they
are less dry. The corms of the Sacramento usually are not of
good table quality.

PLANTING AND CULTIVATION
For best development, the dasheen requires a rather deep and
very rich sandy loam soil, moist, but well drained. An abun-
dance of humus is essential. The plants will endure occasional
flooding for short
periods, but this
Sri s undesirable.
Good hammock
land is especially
suited to the
crop. While
dasheens grown
in properly
drained muck
soils often yield
well and are of
fair to good
quality, unfavor-
able weather con-
ditions frequent-
ly lower the qual-
Fig. 12.-First grade dasheen tubers, cleaned for
market. (Reduced) ity of the crop.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


Planting may be done as early as weather conditions permit,
during February or March; the farther south, the earlier.
Large pieces of corms or whole tubers weighing 2 to 5 ounces
each are best for planting tho smaller tubers may be used. Fer-
tility of soil largely compensates for smallness of tuber. Plant


Fig. 13.-View in Florida dasheen field near the end of October. The
rows were ridged by drawing soil toward them during the late summer.
(Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
singly two to three inches deep, in flat ground or slightly raised
beds. The rows should be four to five feet apart and the hills
2 to 21/2 feet apart in the row. Ridge the rows gradually in
cultivation during the summer.
Cultivation should be shallow after the plants are well started.
It pays to keep weeds and grass down thruout the season.







Florida Cooperative Extension


Use rotted stable manure when available and supplement with
a potato fertilizer, high in potash, in late spring at the rate of
800 pounds per acre. A second application may be given in July
or August. The dasheen is one of the heaviest feeders among
all crops. It must be grown in rotation and steps taken to re-
new the humus content of the soil. The crop matures in Oc-
tober or November, depending upon the time of planting and
the season. Dasheens may be dug for home use early in Sep-
tember.
HARVESTING
The plants may be turned over with a large turning plow
or dug with long-handled shovels. The use of potato forks re-
sults in the spoiling of many of the best tubers. When practi-
cable, the dasheen leaves should be allowed to die down before
harvest. The tops remaining, and the feeding roots, are broken
off by hand, and this is done more easily if the clumps of dash-
eens are first separated and allowed to lie on the ground for a
day. The crop will be somewhat larger and better matured if
not harvested for some time after the tops have died down or
have been killed by frost.

MARKETING
Dasheens for market should be well cleaned of soil and re-
movable fiber and carefully graded. Only tubers of good shape
and from the size of a large egg upward should go to market.
Corms will sometimes be taken but only by previous arrange-
ment. Corms and cull tubers may be utilized for stock feed or
seed. Corms of good quality should be used for the home table
when not sold. Dasheens for market are usually shipped in
sacks of 100 or 125 pounds each.

STORAGE
Dasheen corms do not keep so well as the tubers and it is
advisable to dispose of them as early as practicable after har-
vest. The tubers will keep for many months at temperatures
between 45 and 55 degrees F. They can usually be kept until
April or May under a house. They have also been kept with
little sprouting in "banks", covered with dry grass or similar
material but no earth, until April.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


ENEMIES
The principal disease of the dasheen is the common root-
knot. In cases of severe infection, and especially in light dry
soils, the fibrous feeding roots may be practically destroyed.
and many of the tubers distorted by the disease. The tops may
also die down prematurely. In richer soils the plant can better
keep ahead of the disease. Tubers for planting should be taken
from plants selected at harvest time in the fall for their free-
dom of all evidence of root-knot.
Dasheens stored in sheds before having dried sufficiently
are likely to be attacked by certain storage rots. Careful hand-
ling, adequate curing in the open air, and proper temperature
and ventilation in the storage place are the means of preventing
serious loss from these causes.
On'y one insect threatens to become a serious pest. This is a
smooth, boring caterpillar, the larva of a moth (Sphida obli-
qua). It usually works only in the corms, but it ruins them for
sale. The brown cocoons, three-quarters of an inch long, will be
found in infested fields at digging time when harvesting is de-
layed, and these and the larvae should be destroyed whenever
found. No other method of combating the pest has yet been
suggested.
EGGPLANTS
Eggplants are grown in all sections of Florida suitable to
vegetable production. In most parts of the state they are
grown as late fall and early spring crops. South Florida, how-
ever, raises them as a winter crop. While eggplants are pro-
duced under conditions similar to those of tomatoes, they are
not as easily grown and require more intensive cultivation. The
plants are delicate when raised in the seedbed and have to be
transplanted with care. They are more subject to disease than
tomatoes, so that seedbed management is important in getting
the crop started right.
Eggplants require careful attention and should be planted
on soil fertilized well. The plant is a deep feeder with quite an
extensive root system, so that it is capable of using liberal
amounts of fertilizer.
SOILS
The most suitable soil for eggplants is a sandy loam, having
a fair supply of vegetable matter. A constant supply of mois-







Florida Cooperative Extension


ture is required, especially until the plants become firmly rooted.
They will not thrive well on loose, coarse sand where the soil
is dry and thirsty; nor will they do well on poorly drained, flat
land, but they make good crops on well-drained hammock lands.

PLANTING

For eggplants to mature about 120 days from the time the
plants are set in the field are required. The seedbeds should
be planted about four weeks in advance of transplanting so as
to have good, strong plants.




Fig. 14.-Eggplants

Approximately six ounces of seed will plant an acre, and
about 3000 plants will set an acre.
Eggplants are usually set in five-foot rows, one plant to
every 36 inches. In setting them out more care must be exer-
cised than with tomatoes. They are easily wilted and, if set
out during warm weather, should be shaded for a few days.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


This is particularly true with fall plantings. Many growers place
palmetto fans close to the plants, so as to protect them from the
sun.
VARIETIES

The most profitable varieties for Florida are Black Beauty,
Florida Highbush, New York Improved Spineless and Early
Long Purple. Of these Black Beauty is the most generally
grown.
CULTIVATION
As the roots of eggplants grow deep into the soil, cultivation
may be deeper than with most other vegetables. This is par-
ticularly true during a wet season. However, if the soil is dry,
shallow cultivation gives better results as it does not disturb
the roots.
HARVESTING

Eggplants are usually ready to pick when the fruits be-
come deep purple in color and firm in texture. If allowed to
become over-ripe, they will not carry. If picked too green, they
lack in flavor and will wilt before reaching market.
The fruit of the eggplant is easily bruised and must be
handled with exceptional care. It should be cut, not pulled, with
a stem about half an inch long. It should be cut also when dry
and be handled just as little as possible. In packing wrap each
fruit in paper.
FERTILIZATION

From one to two tons commercial fertilizer, analyzing 5
percent ammonia, 5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent pot-
ash, should be applied to the acre. Fertilize at least twice, ap-
plying half the given amount two weeks before setting the plants
and the remainder three or four weeks later. Some growers
make a third application when the blooms start opening. The
ammonia in the third application should be from an inorganic
source.
PACKING
Florida eggplants are packed in the standard pepper and egg-
plant crate, 111/4x14x22 inches. From 350 to 400 crates make a
carload.







Florida Cooperative Extension


LETTUCE

The soil best suited to lettuce growing is a moist, rich,
compact, sandy loam that can be irrigated and thoroly drained.
As lettuce must be grown in Florida during the cool months, in
order to prevent seeding and to produce solid heads, the soil
must be warm, well-supplied with decayed vegetable matter and
be sufficiently drained that the water will run off quickly after
heavy rains. If the drainage is at all uncertain, the crop should
be set on beds between which are water furrows leading into an
open ditch.















Fig. 15.-Lettuce

In order to produce rapid growth the soil must be thoroly
pulverized, made sweet and put in good physical condition.
After the soil has been prepared by plowing and cultivating
the surface thoroly, the rows should be checked off in squares
of from 12 to 15 inches, according to the variety.
Plants are taken from the seedbed, when four leaves have
formed, and set in the checks, after the soil has been moistened
by irrigation. The soil must be packed and settled firmly around
the roots by hand and a small amount of water poured from a
dipper. Then allow the soil to dry out and warm up to induce
rapid growth.
CULTIVATION
Shallow cultivation should begin as soon as the plants be..
gin growing. As the plants are set close together all cultiva-







Vegetable Crops of Florida


tion must be done by hand weeders and hand cultivators. It is
necessary to keep up shallow cultivation until the crop is har-
vested. If the soil happens to become water-soaked by heavy
rains, it may be cultivated a little deeper.

IRRIGATION
Lettuce should be planted where the soil can be irrigated and,
while it does not require as much soil moisture as celery to insure
a good crop, the soil must be kept constantly moist. Liberal plant
food must be provided continually. Lettuce must make a rapid,
vigorous growth in order to be tender and marketable.
Great care should be exercised in irrigating lettuce, for the
crop is easily ruined by over-watering.

VARIETIES
The chief shipping variety of lettuce for Florida is Big Boston,
but both Cream Butter and Paris White Cos or Romaine are
grown for shipment.
FERTILIZATION
According to the richness of the soil, from one and a half to
two and a half tons commercial fertilizer to the acre, analyzing
5 percent ammonia, 5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent pot-
ash, are used in two applications. Half the fertilizer should be
thoroly worked into the soil two weeks before setting the plants
and the remainder two weeks after the plants are set.

CUTTING AND PACKING
Lettuce should be cut for shipping as soon as it becomes well
headed, and packed in the standard lettuce crate, 71/2x18x22
inches, or in the standard lettuce hamper. The standard ham-
per, however, is falling into disuse.
From 350 to 400 packages of lettuce make a carload and all
car-lots should be shipped under refrigeration.

ROMAINE
Romaine is a variety of lettuce and requires similar cultivation
and fertilization as other varieties. It grows successfully where
other varieties of lettuce are grown. There is a limited demand
for it and the acreage is much less than with other varieties.







Florida Cooperative Extension


MUSKMELONS AND CANTALOUPES
Muskmelons, often called cantaloupes, should be planted on
the better grades of sandy loam soils. They also grow well on
clay land. They are planted and cultivated very much as cucum-
bers and handled on about the same soil conditions.

PLANTING AND FERTILIZATION
Muskmelons are produced as a spring crop, and usually ripen
in May and June. The seeds are planted as soon as danger from
cold injury is past, usually about March 1 in northern Florida
and earlier in central and southern Florida.







--







Fig. 16.-Well netted Rocky Ford cantaloupes

In planting, the rows are laid off about six feet apart and hills
are planted about every three feet. Some prefer to check the
land 4x6 feet and plant in the checks.
About six seeds are planted in each check, requiring about
two pounds of seed per acre. When the plants begin to run, they
should be thinned to one or two plants to the hill. The cultiva-
tion should be frequent and shallow.
Fertilization should be at the rate of about 1,500 pounds per
acre, using a mixture analyzing 4 percent ammonia, 6 to 8 per-
cent phosphoric acid and 8 percent potash.

VARIETIES
The Rocky Ford variety is usually planted when growing for
shipment to Northern markets. For local markets the Georgia







Vegetable Crops of Florida


Muskmelon and Gem are good varieties. The Honey Dew melon
is a smooth cream colored variety, a good shipper but not as
popular for home use as some other varieties.
Cantaloupes are ready to pick when the stem will separate
from the melon under moderate pressure of the thumb and the
stalks begin to crack. If pulled when green, the fruit does not
ripen and is of poor quality. When the Rocky Ford variety is
ripe the netting is fully developed while on immature melons the
netting is flat. Muskmelons shipped to Northern markets should
be packed in standard crates with ends 12x12 and 20 to 24 inches
long, holding 45 melons.
OKRA
Okra is planted quite generally thruout Florida. In some
sections it is an important commercial crop. Okra is a warm
weather plant and in Florida should be grown as a summer crop.
Plant between February and September. It will not do well
unless the ground is fairly warm. It can be planted on a variety
of soils, but does best on a sandy loam where there are fair
amounts of fertility and moisture.

PLANTING
The rows should be about three feet apart. The seeds are
small and, therefore, must be covered shallowly. It requires six
to eight pounds of seed per acre. When the plants are well-es-
tablished thin to one every 12 inches. However, on exception-
ally moist and rich soils the plants may be thicker. It requires
about the same cultivation as corn, particularly during dry
weather. It is one of the easiest crops to grow, and bears for
several months.

HARVESTING AND MARKETING
Okra should be cut every two or three days. If this is not
done, the pods become hard, unsuitable for table use. Then, too,
if not cut regularly, the plants stop bearing.
When okra is shipped to market, it is packed in six-basket to-
mato carriers. There is usually a fair demand for it, and gen-
erally at prices which warrant shipping by express.

FERTILIZATION
Fertilize about the same as for sweet corn, applying from 600
to 800 pounds to the acre on thin land. If stable manure is







Florida Cooperative Extension


abundantly available, okra may be grown without commercial
fertilizer.
VARIETIES
The best varieties for Florida are Perkins Mammoth Podded,
Long Green and White Velvet. Perkins Mammoth Podded is es-
pecially recommended for shipping. This variety has deep
green, long pods. Long Green and White Velvet are particularly
good for home use, as well as being good shippers.

ONIONS

Onions are generally grown as a garden crop, but not ex-
tensively as a market crop. Under favorable conditions they
are one of the easiest vegetable crops to produce. However, the
soil must be rich, moist and in good cultural condition to produce
a satisfactory crop.
SOIL
Onions grow best on a dark, sandy loam soil well-filled with
organic matter and having a clay or compact subsoil to insure
a constant supply of moisture. Onions are shallow rooted, and
are affected quickly by excessive drouth or rain. This requires
good cultural conditions and ample drainage, especially on flat
land. Pine flatwoods with a comparatively heavy sandy loam,
a good grade of muck soil with some sand in it, or hammock
land of good quality, is quite suitable for this crop. They must
have a plentiful supply of organic ammonia, readily available
to the plants all the time, in order to grow off rapidly and pro-
duce large, well-shaped onions.

PLANTING
After the soil has been thoroly plowed and pulverized and
put in shape for planting, the rows are laid off from 12 to 14
inches apart and the plants set by hand fairly deep and from
four to six inches apart in the rows. While the onion will with-
stand considerable drought on account of its large bulb, it will
not grow off readily without plenty of moisture.
It will require about 90,000 onion plants to set an acre.
Onions are also grown from sets, but better crops are usually
produced from plants. Sets are not grown in Florida. They are







Vegetable Crops of Florida


produced usually in Texas and may be purchased from dealers.
It requires eight to twelve bushels of sets to plant one acre.
These sets are planted from four to six inches apart in 12 to 15-
inch rows.
During dry weather the sets will be slow to sprout, unless the
plot can be irrigated. Therefore, irrigation is usually necessary
to insure a good stand and a uniform crop.

CULTIVATION
Onions require constant care and cultivation during the grow-
ing period. This cultivation must be shallow. The roots do not
penetrate deeply into the soil and must not be disturbed in culti-
vating. Cultivation is intended to maintain a surface mulch, and
to keep weeds down. This cultivation should be kept up until
the crop begins to show maturity.

FERTILIZATION
Onions require liberal fertilization. From 1,800 to 2,000
pounds fertilizer is not excessive. In addition to this, it wlil
be advisable to apply from four to ten two-horse loads of well-
rotted stable manure to the acre. This manure should be thoroly
worked into the soil before the seeds or plants are set, in order
not to interfere with cultivation after the plants are started.
The commercial fertilizer should be given in two or three appli-
cations, the first a few days before setting and later applications
before the crop is half mature. This fertilizer should analyze
high in ammonia, the following formula being good: 6 percent
ammonia, 5 percent phosphoric acid and 5 percent potash. The
source of ammonia should be principally from cottonseed meal,
tankage or fish scrap. Later when the crop is half grown, an
additional application of 200 pounds to the acre of nitrate of
soda or sulphate of ammonia, scattered broadcast between the
rows and worked in with hand tools, will increase the size of
the onions and give them renewed growth. Poultry manure is
especially valuable in producing an onion crop. This can be
worked in between the rows with good results after the plants
are well-started.
WHEN TO HARVEST
Onions should be harvested after being bottomed out well and
after the leaf tips have begun to turn yellow.







Florida Cooperative Extension


When onions are to be shipped they must be harvested
during dry weather and handled carefully. Slight bruises, es.
pecially during moist weather, are likely to cause rotting. After
beirg pulled, onions should not be subjected even to heavy dews.
If to remain in the open over night, they should be covered
with sacks to keep off the moisture. In twisting off the tops
care must be taken that the tops are not broken too close to the
bu b,. This, too, will cause the onion to rot. On account of th"
m ist climate of Florida and the difficulty of getting the prod-
uct to market in as good condition as onion growers of drier cli-
mates, onions have not become an important commercial crop
here. The local market is best for Florida onions as they can be
supplied fresh.
VARIETIES AND YIELDS
The principal varieties recommended for Florida are Crystal
Wax, White Bermuda, Red Bermuda and Australian Brown.
Care should be exercised in procuring pure seed. If one gets
mixed seeds he is liable to get some of the multiplier onions
which do not develop and are not suitable for most markets.
The yield of onions in this state ranges from 400 to 500 bush.
els to the acre. On some of the richer soils as high as 700
bushels to the acre have been reported.

CURING THE CROP

Before onions can be packed they must be cured. After the
crop is pulled and allowed to dry in the field, the bulbs should be
spread in a curing shed or on a roof, if they can be covered or
handled in case of heavy rain. After the onions have dried, the
tops are removed and the outer leaves stripped off. As soon as
sufficiently cured they are placed in crates for marketing.
Florida onions are usually packed in bushel hampers.
The crop should be harvested and shipped during April and
May for best prices.
ENGLISH PEAS

English peas require a richer soil than beans. If liberal quan-
tities of stable manure can be placed in the bottom of the rows
before the seeds are planted, a good crop will be insured. If the







Vegetable Crops of Florida


soil is poor and lacks humus, the plants will be weak and spind-
ling and the crop light. It is necessary to have considerable
vines and leaves in order to get a good yield of peas.
English peas need a fairly moist soil. But they will not make
satisfactory growth on wet, sour land or on new muck land. The
pea is a legume and requires nitrogen-fixing bacteria in order to
produce a good yield. The best pea soils are the better grades
of hammock where drainage is good.

PLANTING
English peas should be sown fairly thick in rows about
four feet apart. There should be one seed to the inch in the
drill. This will require about two bushels to the acre. If the
soil is dry, the seeds should be planted deep. Like other vege-
tables peas need frequent cultivation and this should be done
with horse cultivators, just as long as it is possible to pass be-
tween the rows.
FERTILIZATION
English peas should be fertilized with from 500 to 800 pounds
commercial fertilizer to the acre analyzing 4 percent ammonia,
8 percent phosphoric acid, 3 percent potash; and in addition, a
good supply of stable manure, if it is available. Organic ammonia
is preferable to inorganic, altho this legume will use almost any
kind of available fertilizer. Where the growth shows a lack of
ammonia, 100 pounds nitrate of soda may be added as a top-
dressing when the crop is beginning to show the first fruit. This
will prolong the bearing period, as it causes an extra amount of
vegetative growth.
IRRIGATION
Irrigation will not be necessary, if the land is naturally moist.
But, if planted on high, thirsty land, it will be profitable to apply
moisture when the crop shows need of it.

PICKING AND MARKETING
Under favorable conditions, there should be some peas suffi-
ciently mature to pick in 60 days after planting. The bearing
period is likely to be distributed over 30 or 40 days. Therefore,
several pickings are necessary. For local use the peas can be
gathered when fairly green; never allow them to dry or harden.






Florida Cooperative Extension


For distant shipments they can be a little more mature, as they
will carry better.
Under favorable conditions a crop of English peas is one of
the easiest crops to grow, but they are light yielders, unless care-
ful attention is given to the details of production.
The crop is shipped in bushel hampers.

VARIETIES
The best varieties for Florida are Alaska Extra Early, Florida
McNeil, Nott's Excelsior and John L. Extra Early.

PEPPERS

Peppers are commonly grown in Florida. It is one of the
longest-lived vegetables of this state, sometimes bearing more
than six or eight months. In sections it is one of the most profit-
able crops. This is particularly true in South Florida, where it
is less subjected to freezing temperature.


Fig. 17.-Pepper, protected by troughs

SOIL
Peppers require a moist, fairly compact, sandy loam soil. A
good type of flatwoods is superior to rolling pine, hammock
or muck land; altho the plant can be grown on any of these soils,
if properly fertilized and managed.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


PLANTING
After the soil has been plowed fairly deeply and pulverized
thoroly, single plants are set 20 inches apart in 36-inch rows.
As pepper plants are less hardy than tomatoes, more care must
be exercised in setting them out. They must be planted care-
fully, usually on beds and by hand, with the crown roots pressed
carefully into the soil, but not too deeply. Care must be taken
not to break the plants in setting them out. Weak, spindling
plants are difficult to transplant; so, in moving them from the
seedbed, they must have more care than tomatoes.
It will require about 9000 plants to set an acre. Cultivation
should be frequent and shallow, shallow in order not to destroy
roots.
FERTILIZATION
From one to two and a half tons of commercial fertilizer,
analyzing 4 percent ammonia, 6 percent phosphoric acid and 4
percent potash, should be used to the acre, according to the
length of the crop season. In addition, light applications of ni-
trate of soda (100 pounds to the acre) may be profitably made
each month during the bearing period.

PACKING
Peppers are packed in the standard pepper crate, 111/4x14x22
inches. From 350 to 400 crates make a carload, which should be
shipped under refrigeration.

VARIETIES
The best varieties for shipment are Ruby King and World
Beater. Pimento is the best for home use and canning.

RADISHES
Radishes grow readily and the early varieties mature in 20 to
30 days after seeding.
They should be planted principally for home or local use.
Market gardeners usually find them profitable as they are
easily produced and sell readily if they are crisp and tender. Un-
less they are pulled at the proper stage of growth they become
strong and pithy and are worthless as a garden crop.







Florida Cooperative Extension


SOWING AND FERTILIZATION
A sandy loam produces a quick growth. The fertilizer should
be applied at the rate of 1,200 to 2,000 pounds per acre analyz-
ing 4 percent ammonia, 6 percent phosphoric acid, and 6 to 9
percent potash. The fertilizer should be mixed with the soil 10
days before the seed is sown, then the soil kept moist.
Often it is not necessary to thin radishes unless sown too
thick. The larger varieties should be thinned to about 6 plants
per foot.
MARKETING
Radishes should be tied in bunches of 6 to 12. They should be
washed clean and displayed with a fresh, clean appearance.

VARIETIES
There are several varieties about equally satisfactory. Of
these the Long Scarlet and Long White Icicle, White Summer
and Yellow Summer and Scarlet Turnip are among the best.
Some prefer a mixture of several varieties.
About three to five pounds of seed are needed for one acre or
one ounce for 50 feet of drill.

SPINACH
Spinach has not been an important commercial crop in Flor-
ida, due largely to difficulty in shipping. It is grown for home
use and local marketing in many sections, and is an excellent
vegetable to be used as greens.
A sandy loam soil is best, as the growth should be quick. The
soil should be well cultivated and made fertile. Open sandy soil
or poorly drained soggy land should be avoided.

PLANTING AND FERTILIZATION
The seeds should be planted between September 15 and De-
cember 1. Place the rows 24 to 30 inches apart, just wide
enough to permit cultivation. It will require about one ounce of
seed lor each 100 feet of row.
Cover the seed one inch deep. Later the plants should be
thinned to about 6 inches.
The fertilizer should analyze 5 percent ammonia, 7 percent
phosphoric acid, 5 percent potash. It should be applied at the







Vegetable Crops of Florida


rate of 1,000 to 1,500 pounds per acre and should be put in the
rows a few days before the seed are planted. When the crop is
grown for local use, light applications of nitrate of soda or sul-
phate of ammonia applied as a top-dressing between the rows
will hasten growth.
The cultivation should be frequent, as the plants should be
kept in continual growth.

VARIETIES
The Improved Curled Savoy is the principal variety grown.

MARKETING
Spinach should be dry when packed for shipment. It is packed
in ventilated barrels or vegetable crates and if carefully handled
can be shipped to Southern markets, or even farther with good
shipping facilities.
When packing see that the dead leaves are taken off. The
plant should be cut with very little of the root attached and
should be free from dirt.

SQUASH
The squash is one of the easiest of truck crops to produce
as it can be grown on almost any good, farming soil. It can
be grown alone or with corn. The chief objection to planting it
with corn is the difficulty in properly cultivating the corn when
cultivation is most needed.
Squash also makes heavy yields on muck or flat lands, but
the fruit from such lands usually does not ship as well as from
higher soils, nor is it of as good quality.

VARIETIES
The early varieties are the only ones suitable for shipping.
These varieties are the Cocozelle, White Bush or Patty Pan
Squash, Early Crook Neck, Early Yellow Bush and Mammoth
White Bush. These produce fruit 45 to 60 days after planting.
The later varieties, recommended for home use, are principally
Hubbard, Giant Summer and Crook Neck Boston Marrow.

FERTILIZATION
Where no manure or compost is available, from 800 to 1,200
pounds commercial fertilizer analyzing ammonia 4 percent,






Florida Cooperative Extension


phosphoric acid 8 percent, potash 4 percent to the acre should
be used. All of this can be applied before planting. On thin,
sandy land, however it is better to apply half before planting
and the remainder when the plants are about a month old. As
squash requires liberal quantities of organic fertilizer, it is wise
to work stable manure or decomposed vegetable matter into the
soil before planting. With this organic material one should ap-


Fig. 18.-Squash, protected from frost and wind by board troughs

ply from 600 to 1,000 pounds commercial fertilizer to the acre.
This is needed to supply the plants with a more available form
of ammonia, which will cause them to grow and fruit as early
as possible.
PLANTING
The earlier varieties of squash can be planted in checks,
4x4 feet, but the later, running varieties should be planted in
checks, 6x8 feet. The seeds are planted four or five to each
hill. This will require about two pounds of seed to the acre.
The seeds will sprout in a few days, and when two or three
inches high should be thinned to about three plants to the hill.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


If the weather is warm, the crop will grow rapidly and culti-
vation should be continued as long as it is possible to work bet-
tween the rows.
Squash plants can be easily transplanted; but, unless one is
near an excellent market, it would hardly pay to go to the extra
expense involved in transplanting.
The squash is a surface feeder, and as the vines grow close
to the ground, care must be taken in cultivating not to bruise
them; just enough cultivation to maintain moisture is sufficient.

PACKING AND MARKETING
Squashes are usually packed in bushel hampers, in standard
pepper and eggplant crates and in standard cucumber crates.
There is a market for southern grown squashes, if shipped
early in the season when they usually bring a fair price, com-
pared with the cost of production. There is also a market in
Southern towns, usually, for a limited quantity. They should
be handled with some care to avoid rotting in transit, but there
should be no difficulty in shipping to eastern markets, if ordi-
nary care is exercised in picking and packing.
As ripe fruit can be gathered in late fall when some vege-
tables are not growing, and since it is easily grown, both as a
fall and spring crop, the squash is one of the most satisfactory
truck crops for home use in Florida.

STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries are quite generally grown thruout Florida. The
principal market crops are produced in Hillsboro, DeSoto, Mana-
tee, Dade and Bradford counties, Hillsboro leading in acreage.

SOIL AND ITS PREPARATION
The best soil for strawberries is the better grades of flat-
woods. This soil is dark in color, sandy and level. The more
decomposed organic matter it contains the better.
Strawberries require a warm soil, as the crop is harvested
between January 1 and April 20. If the soil is cold and wet,
few berries will ripen during winter when prices are usually
highest.
Soil intended for setting strawberries will be benefitted by
a heavy crop of cowpeas or beggarweeds plowed under 30 days
before the plants are to be set. The soil should be thoroly







Florida Cooperative Extension


plowed and pulverized by discing, in order that it might be in the
best condition possible before the plants are set.

PLANTING
Two systems are generally adopted for planting in Florida.
If the land is drained well and there is no danger from flooding
after heavy rains, the plants should be set in 30- to 36-inch sin-
gle rows, or rows wide enough apart that a horse cultivator can
be used. Set the plants about 14 inches apart in the rows.
Where the soil is subject to overflow, the two- or three-row
system is advisable; that is, make narrow beds, about 40 inches
wide with a water furrow between, and set the plant 12 inches
apart in 12-inch rows. This insures the crop's not being drowned
out. The system will require hand cultivation except in the
water furrow, which may be kept open by horse cultivators.
Strawberry plants are usually set during September and
October. They require three to four months to come into full
bearing. In exceptional cases a good supply of fruit may be
produced in ten weeks from the time the plants are set. It will
require approximately 12,000 to 15,000 plants to the acre. The
best crops are made where the plants are set every year. It is
seldom advisable to carry plants over two years.
For intensive culture, especially on expensive land and near
good markets, or in small garden plots, the plants can be set
much closer than under ordinary conditions. This will involve
much more hand labor, but will produce larger crops, if given
proportionately heavier fertilization and irrigation. Irrigation
is especially valuable in commercial berry growing, as the bear-
ing season can be prolonged and larger berries produced.

FERTILIZATION
As suggested above, strawberries require liberal organic
fertilization; five to ten tons stable manure to the acre, thoroly
mixed with the soil before planting, is highly desirable. In ad-
dition, they should be given from 1,500 to 1,800 pounds com-
mercial fertilizer analyzing ammonia 5 percent, phosphoric acid
8 percent, potash 5 percent. This should be applied in two or
three applications, a third before the plants are set, a third six
weeks after the plants are set and the remainder when the first
crop is setting. In addition 100 pounds nitrate of soda or sul-
phate of ammonia, should be applied with this third application.







Vegetable Crops of Florida


If the berries are small, this nitrogenous material will increase
their size and prolong the bearing period.

CULTIVATING AND MULCHING
Good cultivation should be kept up thruout the growing and
bearing season.
When the crop is about ready to pick, it is advisable to mulch
with grass or pine straw. This prevents the soil from drying
out and keeps the berries off the ground, making them cleaner
and it is easier to have a clean pack. This also prevents the ber-
ries being beaten into the ground during a heavy rain.

PICKING AND PACKING
Strawberries are picked in field baskets, taken to a packing
shed, and there sorted and packed in quart baskets. These
quart baskets are packed into 24- or 32-quart ventliated crates,
if to be shipped to local markets, or into pony refrigerator boxes
which hold from 60 to 80 quarts, if to be shipped to distant mar-
kets. These refrigerator boxes contain trays for ice.

VARIETIES
The varieties most generally grown, especially for shipment,
are Missionary and Klondyke. Brandywine, Excelsior and Lady
Thompson are grown for early local markets.

SWEET CORN
Sweet corn can be grown on average vegetable land, and
does well in all sections of Florida; but, like other vegetable
crops, it does best on rich, moist soil. The land should be pre-
pared about the same as for vegetable crops. It will make poor
growth on dry, thin, sandy land and will not do well on wet,
undrained, new land.
VARIETIES
The Country Gentleman is the favorite variety for Florida.
This is an old standard variety, adapted to most soils. It will
be ready to pick about 70 days after planting, is fairly prolific
and on well-cultivated land will give two or more ears to the
stalk.







Florida Cooperative Extension


Other varieties to be recommended are Long Island Beauty,
Stowells' Evergreen, which matures in about 75 days, and Early
Adams, which matures in about 60 days.

PLANTING
On account of the probability of being attacked by the ear
worm, sweet corn should be planted just as early as weather con-
ditions will permit and made to grow rapidly by frequent culti-
vation and liberal fertilization.
In order to have a succession of sweet corn, it is necessary
to make several plantings about a week apart. This lengthens
the picking season and prevents the entire crop's maturing at
one time.
Sweet corn should be planted much closer than field varie.-
ties. On good vegetable soil it may be planted in three-foot
rows, one stalk every 12 inches. However, if the soil is dry,
wider planting is better. Sweet corn will produce the best filled
out ears when planted fairly closely, because of the better dis-
tribution of pollen. It should not be planted too thickly, how-
ever, particularly on thin land, or it will suffer for moisture
when most needing it. This will mean small ears of poor quality.
It will require about one peck of seed per acre.

CULTIVATION
The cultivation of sweet corn is the same as for field corn;
that is, frequent and shallow, especially during dry seasons.

FERTILIZATION
Apply commercial fertilizer at the rate of 600 to 800 pounds
to the acre analyzing 4 percent ammonia, 8 percent phosphoric
acid, 4 percent potash, working it into the soil before planting.
When the crop is about two feet high, broadcast about 100
pounds nitrate of soda or sulphate of ammonia on each acre and
work it into the soil with a shallow-working tool.

MARKETING
For marketing the ears should be gathered when the kernels
are in the milk stage. Ears of different sizes should be packed
together; but do not place a variety of sizes in the same crate.
There is always a demand for early sweet corn, and at good
prices. Where conditions are at all favorable, it will be profit-







Vegetable Crops of Florida


able for the average trucker to follow celery and lettuce with
sweet corn.
Sweet corn is packed in ten-inch celery crates, 350 of which
make a carload.
Sweet corn should be planted in every home garden.
TOMATOES
The tomato is one of the most generally grown vegetables of
Florida. It is produced as a home garden crop in practically
every community, being one of the easiest and most satisfactory
vegetables grown. In many sections it is also one of the most
profitable truck crops for shipping.
Tomatoes are grown in Florida during the warmest periods
of the trucking season. If set out in July or August and shaded























Fig. 19.-Staked tomatoes

until strong, a fall crop can be produced in North Florida. They
can also be set in South Florida during late fall for an early win-
ter crop.
Most Florida tomatoes, however, are grown during late
winter and spring. The earliest shipments of importance are







Florida Cooperative Extension


grown on the flat lands of the lower East Coast. These toma-
toes are planted in January and February, and marketed in
April. The next crop is produced on the lower West Coast.
These plants are set in the field in February and March and
shipped during May and June. North of these sections planting
continues until April 15 and even up to June 1 for home use.
The soil best suited to tomato growing is well-drained sandy
loam, altho excellent crops are produced on a great variety of
soils, from loose sand to muck; but for uniformity and early
ripening sandy soils make the earliest crop. Earliness is desir-
able, in order that the fruit may be placed on the market before
crops nearer the eastern markets can be harvested.

SOIL PREPARATION
The soil is prepared in the usual way by plowing and thoro
cultivation. Where stable manure is available growers prefer
to place a handful under each hill of tomatoes as the plants are
set in the field. This is especially true when the crop is grown
on lands liable to overflow during summer. It is also desirable
on all sandy land.
The rows are laid off every four feet and the plants set 15
inches apart in the rows, requiring about 8,500 plants per acre,
which will require about 19 pound of seed for each acre to be
planted. In setting the plants they should be set much deeper
than they were in the seedbed.
Where a large acreage is to be set, one can open the furrow,
depress the plants rapidly by hand and then turn another fur-
row back on the plants, being careful not to completely cover
them. Tomatoes are among the easiest plants to transplant,
and, if the plants are stocky, the soil moist, and conditions of
growth favorable, there is little difficulty in getting a good
stand.
Tomatoes are cultivated principally with a one-horse cultiva-
tor, and this is kept up as long as it is possible to pass between
the rows. Care must be exercised not to cut the roots after the
plants begin to bloom, or the bloom and early fruit may be shed.
Pruning to a single stem, tying to a five-foot stake and thin-
ning the fruit to four or five hands or clusters, will produce the
finest fruit. Labor so expended in home gardens and on small
areas will be well-spent.








Vegetable Crops of Florida


FERTILIZATION
An acre of tomatoes should receive upward of a ton of fertil-
izer, analyzing 4 percent ammonia, 8 percent phosphoric acid
and 8 percent potash. If the soil is rich in humus and organic
matter, 1,200 to 1,500 pounds may be sufficient. Too much am-
monia is likely to cause soft tomatoes, liable to bruises and decay
in shipping. However, sufficient ammonia is needed to give
them good growth.
On loose, thin soil two applications of fertilizer are preferable
to one. The first application should be given immediately be-
fore, or soon after the plants are set, and the second when the
first bloom is noticeable. In working this second application
into the soil care must be exercised not to break the roots dur-
ing cultivation or the fruit will shed. At this stage, too, care
must be observed in cultivation, for, if the plants are already
stimulated to vigorous growth, additional cultivation will further
stimulate them and cause an excessive vegetable growth and
frequent shedding of the blooms. The first crop may be lost
thereby.
PICKING THE CROP
As the earliest tomatoes usually bring the highest prices it
is necessary to pick over the crop several times. When a fruit
is nearly mature in size and begins shading from dark green to
a light green, it is ready to pick and ship. In this condition the
fruit is too green for local markets and should be allowed to ripen
a little more, as the flavor is improved. Picking is done in ordi-
nary market baskets. The fruit is taken to the packing house,
sorted, wrapped and crated, selecting the better fruit for the
higher classes. Usually the culls are disposed of locally or
dumped.
VARIETIES
The principal varieties of tomatoes for Florida are Living-
ston's Globe (purple red) and Stone (scarlet). Both of these
mature early, stand shipment well, are of good size, are smooth,
and when ripe have a fine color. For home gardens several oth-
er varieties may be grown satisfactorily. Ponderosa, which
grows much larger but less uniformly, produces a satisfactory
yield and is quite suitable for home consumption. June Pink
and Earlianna for extra early crops are also used for home gar-
dens.







Florida Cooperative Extension


TURNIPS AND RUTABAGAS
Turnips and rutabagas are grown principally for home use.
A well cultivated sandy loam will produce good quality if it is
well fertilized and cultivated. Often the quality is poor if grown
on muck or poorly drained land.
Turnips can be planted with satisfactory results almost any
time between October 1 and June 1, altho they do best during
the coolest months. Turnips grown during hot weather often
have a strong taste.
PLANTING
The seed should be sown in rows two feet apart using about
two pounds of seed per acre. If large turnips are wanted they
should be thinned to 6 to 10 inches apart. Often for local use
they are left thick in the row producing a small turnip that can
be sold in bunches with the tops attached.
Turnips grown for distant markets requiring several days in
transit, should be shipped in barrels and iced. For shorter
hauls they can be shipped in vegetable hampers.

VARIETIES
Early Flat Dutch, Purple Top Globe, Early White Egg turnips,
and Purple Top rutabagas are good varieties. About 21/ pounds
seed per acre should be sown.

The following Agricultural Experiment Station bulletins.
which will be found useful to the vegetable grower, are available
upon request:
Diseases of Truck Crops, No. 139.
Insects of Truck Crops, No. 151.
Irish Potatoes, No. 133.
Celery Diseases, No. 173.




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