• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Selection and handling of land
 Fertilizers
 Cover crops
 Selection of the variety
 Seeding in seedbed or directly...
 Transplanting
 Pruning and staking
 Disease and insect control
 Physiological disorders
 Nutritional elements in the spray...
 Preparing for market
 Summary






Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 563
Title: Growing tomatoes on the sandy soils of peninsular Florida
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026558/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing tomatoes on the sandy soils of peninsular Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Spencer, E. L
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1955
 Subjects
Subject: Tomatoes -- Soils -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Tomatoes -- Diseases and pests -- Control -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sandy soils -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: E.L. Spencer ... et al..
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "A contribution from the Gulf Coast Experiment Station"--T.p.
Funding: This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Florida Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026558
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000926761
oclc - 18279520
notis - AEN7461

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
    Selection and handling of land
        Page 4
        Irrigation and drainage
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Liming and soil acidity
            Page 8
            Page 9
    Fertilizers
        Page 10
    Cover crops
        Page 11
    Selection of the variety
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Seeding in seedbed or directly in field
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Transplanting
        Page 17
    Pruning and staking
        Page 18
    Disease and insect control
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Physiological disorders
        Page 25
    Nutritional elements in the spray mixture
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Preparing for market
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Summary
        Page 31
        Bulletins and circulars pertaining to tomato production in Florida
            Page 31
            Page 32
Full Text



Bulletin 563 June 1955

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
WILLARD M. FIFIELD, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
(A contribution from the Gulf Coast Experiment Station)



Growing Tomatoes on the Sandy Soils of

Peninsular Florida

E. L. SPENCER, D. G. A. KELBERT, E. G. KELSHEIMER
and D. S. BURGIS

Fig. 1.-Manalee plants showing open vine character and heavy set of fruit.
























CONTENTS


PAGE


INTRODUCTION ......... ...... .....................


SELECTION AND HANDLING OF LAND .............


Irrigation and Drainage ......- ... .. ......


Liming and Soil Acidity ....- ..... .. -


FERTILIZERS ................. ..........-- .. .


COVER CROPS .....--- .......--....-...-..-..---......


SELECTION OF THE VARIETY ............... ...


SEEDING IN SEEDBED OR DIRECTLY IN FIELD -.


TRANSPLANTING ........... ... ....... ........


PRUNING AND STAKING .................--...... --


DISEASE AND INSECT CONTROL .................--


PHYSIOLOGICAL DISORDERS ........-...................


..... ........ ............. ............... 4


. ... ....... ............................ 8



-- - - 10
........... .......... .................... 11


..............-....-.. .............--... 10


............. .................. ...... 11


------ ----- ....................... 17



.--------------------- 18
......................................-------------- 17





........................................ .. .

............................... ............... 25


NUTRITIONAL ELEMENTS IN THE SPRAY MIXTURE ......................... 26


PREPARING FOR MARKET ........- ......- .... ............. .................... 28


SUMMARY ..........................-..-.....- ....- ...- ....... .. .... .. ....... ..- 31


BULLETINS AND CIRCULARS PERTAINING TO TOMATO PRODUCTION IN

FLORIDA ...... ... ..... ... ... .. .......... ------..................-- 31









Growing Tomatoes on the Sandy Soils of

Peninsular Florida

E. L. SPENCER, D. G. A. KELBERT, E. G. KELSHEIMER
and D. S. BURGIS 12

INTRODUCTION

The successful culture of tomatoes in Florida is not an art
that can be acquired by reading bulletins. However, a compre-
hensive outline of carefully tested and time-proven techniques
may be helpful to both novice and experienced growers. In pre-
paring these suggestions, the authors have drawn on a variety
of source materials, including certain carefully conducted re-
search projects both in Florida and elsewhere, plus proven com-
mercial practices. An attempt has been made to include all
helpful information possible which has to do with the grower's
part of the handling of the tomato crop, regardless of the source
of such information. Special comment has been included for
the home gardener's benefit in cases where the handling of to-
matoes in the garden varies from that in commercial fields.
In the 10-year period from the 1942-43 season through 1952-
53, the annual cash value of the tomato crop in the state has
varied from $11,795,000 to $50,670,000.3 This represents ap-
proximately one-third the total value of all vegetables and
makes the tomato crop the highest dollar value vegetable crop
in the state. Sixteen counties, all in peninsular Florida, are
reported as producing 1,000 or more acres of tomatoes in the
1952-53 season, which is 95 percent of the total commercial
crop. Sixty-six percent of the tomato crop is grown on sandy
soil. The fruits are harvested and shipped over a season that
spreads from November through June.

'Soils Chemist-in-Charge, Associate Horticulturist, Entomologist and
Assistant Horticulturist, respectively, Gulf Coast Experiment Station.
2 The authors wish to acknowledge the following members of the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Stations: Dr. J. R. Beckenbach, Associate Director,
who developed the original outline of this bulletin; and N. C. Hayslip, Asso-
ciate Entomologist, Indian River Field Laboratory, Ft. Pierce, who suggested
changes where necessary, thereby making this bulletin applicable to com-
mercial production on the Florida East Coast.
3Annual Fruit and Vegetable Report, 1952-53 Season, Florida State
Marketing Bureau, Jacksonville, Fla.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


In producing this large and valuable crop of tomatoes, Flor-
ida growers face and overcome growing hazards probably un-
matched in any other part of the country. As a result, pro-
duction costs are high, and only the fact that tomatoes bring
a premium price in the winter and spring markets makes grow-
ing of this crop profitable. Most of the tomatoes are picked
in the mature-green stage, although considerable interest has
been expressed recently in vine-ripened fruit for shipment to
Northern markets. This development is discussed more fully
under the heading "Preparing for Market". Canning takes a
very minor part of the normal production, usually accounting
for less than 10 percent of the marketed crop. Canneries operate
largely on a salvage basis, utilizing fruits that are missed dur-
ing normal picking operations or fruits from abandoned fields.
The frequent rains, heavy dews and breezes of the normal
winter season in peninsular Florida are generally favorable for
development and spread of fungus diseases. Successful growers
for many years have recognized the value of disease control
measures and have followed a schedule of applying fungicides
with the best equipment available. This practice stood them in
good stead during the late-blight epidemic of 1945-46, when tre-
mendous losses resulted in Northern states because of inade-
quate control measures, while Florida growers were less se-
verely hurt.
Similarly, since the mild winters of peninsular Florida are
favorable for insect activity the year around, most successful
growers know how to recognize many of these pests when they
see them and know how to control them.
Finally, the soils of the principal producing sections are of
two extreme types, the light, acid sand lands of the coastal
plains and the calcareous soils of Dade County. Proper manage-
ment of either type requires a real knowledge of fertilizer
requirements, including the need for such nutritional trace
elements as manganese, iron, zinc and copper. Methods of
handling the sandy soils are discussed in this bulletin.

SELECTION AND HANDLING OF LAND
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE
The average home gardener has little chance to select the
best soil type and must make use of what is available. Many
commercial growers are similarly limited, but some rent farms
on an annual basis. Regardless of whether or not a choice of






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


In producing this large and valuable crop of tomatoes, Flor-
ida growers face and overcome growing hazards probably un-
matched in any other part of the country. As a result, pro-
duction costs are high, and only the fact that tomatoes bring
a premium price in the winter and spring markets makes grow-
ing of this crop profitable. Most of the tomatoes are picked
in the mature-green stage, although considerable interest has
been expressed recently in vine-ripened fruit for shipment to
Northern markets. This development is discussed more fully
under the heading "Preparing for Market". Canning takes a
very minor part of the normal production, usually accounting
for less than 10 percent of the marketed crop. Canneries operate
largely on a salvage basis, utilizing fruits that are missed dur-
ing normal picking operations or fruits from abandoned fields.
The frequent rains, heavy dews and breezes of the normal
winter season in peninsular Florida are generally favorable for
development and spread of fungus diseases. Successful growers
for many years have recognized the value of disease control
measures and have followed a schedule of applying fungicides
with the best equipment available. This practice stood them in
good stead during the late-blight epidemic of 1945-46, when tre-
mendous losses resulted in Northern states because of inade-
quate control measures, while Florida growers were less se-
verely hurt.
Similarly, since the mild winters of peninsular Florida are
favorable for insect activity the year around, most successful
growers know how to recognize many of these pests when they
see them and know how to control them.
Finally, the soils of the principal producing sections are of
two extreme types, the light, acid sand lands of the coastal
plains and the calcareous soils of Dade County. Proper manage-
ment of either type requires a real knowledge of fertilizer
requirements, including the need for such nutritional trace
elements as manganese, iron, zinc and copper. Methods of
handling the sandy soils are discussed in this bulletin.

SELECTION AND HANDLING OF LAND
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE
The average home gardener has little chance to select the
best soil type and must make use of what is available. Many
commercial growers are similarly limited, but some rent farms
on an annual basis. Regardless of whether or not a choice of







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


soils is available to the growers, two "musts" in the growing of
tomatoes are (1) availability of water for irrigation and (2)
facilities for rapid drainage after heavy rains.
The sandy soils on both east and west coasts of peninsular
Florida are blessed with underlying artesian water at depths
of from several hundred to a thousand feet. This water varies
in salt concentration, with some wells near the coast showing
a tendency toward increasing salt content over the years. In
general the flow of artesian water has been reduced as a result
of the increased number of wells being drilled. Before leasing
or buying land it is advisable to test wells already on the place
for salt content, or, if it is planned to drill wells, it is desirable
to check on neighboring wells to determine a suitable depth.
Wells with a salt content in excess of 1,800 ppm should not be
used unless certain precautions are observed.
In most of these coastal locations it is possible to drill ex-
cellent shallow wells-to 100 feet or thereabouts-for volume
pumping. Water from such wells usually is less hard than that
from artesian wells and usually has a lower salt content.
Drainage may be handled in a variety of ways. Perhaps the
simplest method for the home gardener on low land is to plant
on ridges 6 to 10 inches high. When this is done it is impor-
tant that provision be made at the lower end of the furrows
for carrying off excess water. Commercial growers who plant
tomatoes on gently sloping land can use this same method to
advantage.
Tomatoes, like most crop plants, do best on fairly rich, well-
drained soils. Unfortunately, these two qualifications seldom
occur together in peninsular Florida sandy soils. Most of our
naturally well-drained sandy soils (Lakewood, St. Lucie, Nor-
folk and Blanton) are very low in organic matter and, con-
versely, most sandy soils with somewhat more organic matter
(Leon, Parkwood and Portsmouth) are poorly drained. Com-
mercial growers found out long ago that it is much simpler to
drain and farm the flat, richer soils than to attempt to build
up organic matter in the naturally well-drained soils. These
latter types are more suitable for tree crops than for vegetables.
The drainage problem on these flat soils is solved by ditching,
diking and pumping. An adequate main canal is essential in
the drainage of large areas. When numerous tracts of land are
involved, these canals are usually financed through drainage
districts on a tax basis.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Growers operating on large tracts generally ring their fields
with secondary canals; in many cases setting up adequate pumps
where secondary canals flow into the main drainage canals, in
order to drain fields rapidly when needed. In some sections
these pumps are rigged so that in dry weather they can be
reversed for irrigation purposes.
In the management of individual fields, a grower has a choice
of three methods of handling drainage and irrigation. In some
cases, combinations of these methods can be adopted. Briefly,
the three choices are:
Subirrigation Tiling.-This is the most expensive, but in many
cases the most satisfactory method of water control. It is used
on such soils as those of the Leon series, in which an organic or
other hardpan layer has developed or has been deposited in
years past at a depth of 18 to 36 inches. The clay tile lines
are laid out at a depth of 18 to 22 inches, usually 20 or more
feet apart, depending upon the depth to the hardpan. Slopes
are carefully graded and concrete "pockets" are set at both
upper and lower ends, from which level of drainage and irriga-
tion can be controlled. This method of water control is not
being used extensively in new land development because of the
expense.
The principal advantages of this method are: (a) the entire
land area is usable and can be plowed, disked, etc. as a unit, (b)
it is not necessary to plant on raised beds (although low beds
may be an advantage under certain conditions), and (c) irriga-
tion is possible with a minimum of labor. Disadvantages, aside
from cost, are less obvious. Perhaps the principal one is the
fact that, in dry seasons, continuous irrigation through the tile
keeps water moving up through the soil. This limits the depth
of root penetration, since roots will not grow into unaerated
soil. Also it tends to move soluble salts to the soil surface,
where they are deposited as the water evaporates. Tomato
plants grown under such conditions are extremely susceptible to
certain physiological disorders, such as blossom-end rot. This
can be especially serious on soils, such as the Leon series, which
are inherently acid.
Open Ditch Seepage.-This method (see Fig 2), too, is used
for both drainage and irrigation but is more widely adaptable.
Open, shallow ditches (varying in depth dependent upon soil
texture) are broken out each cropping season in somewhat the
same pattern as tile lines are laid out. The area between two






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


such ditches is called a "land" or "check" and these may be 30
or more feet wide. Growers usually adapt these to fit their
equipment. Lands 40 or more feet across are suitable for irri-
gation, but not fast enough in drainage to take care of extremely
heavy rains. This method has the same disadvantages as de-
scribed under subirrigation tiling, and has the additional disad-
vantage resulting from loss of otherwise usable land occupied
by the open lateral ditches, usually amounting to 1/8 the area.
However, the sides of these ditches provide roadways over which
produce is hauled from the field, in which case little net loss of
land results. When this method is followed, there must be
main ditches from the well or other water source. Water from
these ditches is fed slowly into the shallow lateral ditches, from
which it seeps into the soil. These lateral ditches in turn lead
to drainage ditches which carry off surplus irrigation water and
excessive rains when dams are opened.
Some growers use a combination of the above two methods,
running tile lines between open secondary ditches on two sides
of the field. Water table in the field is controlled by the water
level in the ditches, which has the same effect as raising the
water table in "pockets" of tile irrigation.
Down-the-row or Surface Irrigation.-A gentle slope is neces-
sary for proper drainage when this method is used. Single-row
beds are hilled-up to take advantage of the natural slope of land.
Ditches should lead to drainage canals at the lower end of the
field. Irrigation water flows by gravity on the soil surface be-
tween the beds, or water from any source may be pumped
through portable or other pipes and applied through "overhead"
irrigation systems. Advantages are (a) low cost of installa-
tion, though pumps and portable pipe are a real expense when

Fig. 2.-Field of ground tomatoes showing irrigation ditch between two
"lands" or "checks". The sides of these ditches provide roadways every
30 to 40 feet for hauling fruit from field during harvest.


.-. A!







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


these are used, and (b) the method moves irrigation water from
the soil surface down, which prevents accumulation of salts on
the surface, and does not establish a shallow water table to limit
depth of root penetration. Disadvantages are of importance, the
most obvious being the labor cost required for irrigation. Then,
too, if overhead or sprinkler irrigation is used, pollination of
flowers may be interfered with, and insecticides and fungicides
may be washed off the leaves and fruits. Fungus diseases will
increase rapidly unless care is taken to irrigate early in the day,
so that plants will dry off before nightfall.
The home gardener should be able to translate the above into
his small-scale operations, perhaps combining methods to take
advantage of the best practices. Some operations that cannot
be handled on a field-scale are possible on a smaller scale.

LIMING AND SOIL ACIDITY
Soil acidity is measured in terms of a pH scale, which ac-
tually is a measure of the balance in water solution of two chemi-
cal entities-the hydrogen ion, which is acid, and the hydroxyl
ion, which is alkaline. Determining the pH of a soil is the most
important single chemical determination that can be made. See
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Circular S-48 (The
Value of Soil Testing Kits in Vegetable Crop Production).
In taking a soil sample, select a representative area and sample
to a depth of six inches with a trowel or soil tube. Six to 10
samples should be taken over the area and then thoroughly
mixed. From this mixture remove about a pint of soil for
testing. Many county agents are now equipped to make pH
determinations.
The tomato plant will grow at pH values ranging from 4.0
to higher than 8.0, provided all essential nutrients are available
in proper balance. However, from the practical standpoint, a
pH of 4.0 is too low and many of the sandy soils are this low.
It is known that at this low pH these soils are always deficient
in the soil bases-calcium, magnesium, potassium (potash) and
others of less importance quantitatively. It is known, too, that
as pH is increased above pH 6.2 or thereabouts, certain so-called
secondary nutrients or trace elements such as manganese, boron
and iron become insoluble and unavailable to the plant.
For these reasons, the pH recommended for tomatoes-and
most other crops-on sandy soils is between 5.5 and 6.0. When
soils are more acid than this some form of lime should be added.







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


When the pH is above 6.0 it is not recommended that any attempt
be made to lower the pH, but the plants should be watched for
possible trace element deficiency symptoms and corrective mea-
sures applied when necessary.
The actual quantity of lime which must be applied to bring
the pH of a soil up within the range suggested will vary with
the type of soil. See Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Circular S-39 (Soil Reaction, pH). This is because better soils
(soils containing enough organic material to color them deep
gray) contain additional acid which is tied up with the organic
matter and does not affect a pH determination, although it does
affect the lime requirement. Pine-palmetto land when first
cleared usually has many small, acid-forming roots and may
require more lime than is generally thought to be adequate. A
safe practical basis for liming is to add one ton of lime per acre
if the pH is below 5.0 (11/2 tons on new pine-palmetto land)
and a half ton if the pH is between 5.0 and 5.5. Lime should be
added well in advance of planting. A pH check should be made
the following season, and more lime added at that time if it is
required. Once the adjustment is made, additional liming will
be needed once every two or three years. It is now believed
that the soluble or available calcium level should be maintained
at not less than 500 pounds per acre.
Many kinds of liming materials are available. Among these
are calcic limestone, dolomitic limestone, basic slag, hydrated
lime (usually high in calcium) and various special preparations
which are commercially available as "soil conditioners". Calcic
limestone and dolomitic limestone, ground fine, are perhaps the
standards for use on Florida sands. Dolomitic limestone is to
be preferred if soil analysis shows a deficiency of magnesium.
These are mined and processed in the state, and are very rea-
sonable in cost. When one ton per acre is applied, it is usually
desirable to add some manganese sulfate in the fertilizer (1%
MnO or thereabouts). The limestones are slow in action and
should be applied at least two months, preferably three months,
before planting time. Basic slag contains phosphorus, manga-
nese and other secondary nutrients and is an exceptionally good
soil conditioner. The cost is relatively high because it has to
be shipped into the state. Hydrated lime should be used if a
more rapid rise in pH is desired, since it acts quickly. It should
be used with caution, as it is much easier to overtime with this
material than with the other liming materials.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Lime penetrates a soil very slowly if left undisturbed on the
surface. Disking the lime into the soil will bring about a more
rapid reaction. Liming in itself is ineffective unless the lime
particles are brought into contact with the acid components in
the soil. In some areas growers hesitate to destroy the wire-
grass sod because it is used to prevent soil erosion by wind.
Even in such cases, the lime should be disked-in if the pH needs
to be raised.
FERTILIZERS
It is a practical impossibility to recommend any one fertilizer
formula or program that can be "best" for all seasons and all
soil types. Even if soil testing methods were completely de-
pendable-which they are not-the vagaries of climate and varia-
bility of soils would preclude any possibility of fixed, specific
recommendations.
Certain general recommendations are probably useful and de-
sirable. The home gardener will certainly find it desirable to
develop and maintain a compost heap, which should be added
to the garden area and spaded in. The compost heap in Florida
should probably be made up of waste organic matter (leaves,
grass, etc.), soil, lime and commercial fertilizer. Most garden-
ers are probably familiar with the make-up and treatment of
these. See Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Press Bul-
letin 602 (Composting and Mulching).
Commercial tomato growers must follow the weather to some
extent in their usage of fertilizer. Perhaps a basic program
would include the following:
1. A banded-down application of 600 to 800 pounds per acre
(300-500 pounds if the crop is seeded directly in the beds) of a
4-5-7, 4-7-5, 4-8-8 or other complete fertilizer, with 25 to 40
percent of the nitrogen from organic sources. Some growers
prefer 6 percent nitrogen in the fertilizer, such as 6-8-6. At
least one unit of nitrogen should be derived from nitrates. This
should be applied in two bands, 8 to 10 inches apart, at a depth
of about 4 inches, preferably 7 to 10 days prior to planting. The
tomatoes are seeded or set between the fertilizer bands.
2. Two or more additional applications of 600 to 800 pounds
per acre of a similar fertilizer applied as side-dressings, the last
application to go on about two weeks prior to harvesting.
3. One or more top-dressings of nitrate of potash, or special
top-dresser, containing nitrate nitrogen and potash, at 150
pounds per acre-if the crop is in heavy fruit or if heavy, leach-







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


ing rains have occurred. Roughly, about one and one half tons
of complete fertilizer per acre are needed to produce a heavy
crop of tomatoes. This quantity of the recommended formula-
tions would supply 120 to 180 pounds of nitrogen, 150 to 240
pounds of phosphoric acid (as P2Os) and 150 to 240 pounds of
potash (as K20). Additional nitrogen and potash can be applied
if the condition of the crop and marketing outlook warrant.
Moreover, additional nitrogen in the spring promotes better leaf
growth and reduces the amount of sunburn.
An important feature to remember in applying fertilizer is
that only large, heavily-fruiting plants will be limited in growth
by insufficient fertilizer if the above program is followed. If
disease, cold weather, or other factors are limiting growth, fer-
tilizer additions are wasted.
With regard to secondary or trace elements, it may be desir-
able under special conditions to add manganese to the fertilizer,
although this material may be added also in the recommended
spray program for disease control. On soils known to be alka-
line in reaction, 1.0 to 1.5 percent MnO and possibly 0.15 per-
cent B203 should be used in the first fertilizer application. Also,
recent research has found that certain iron salts known as iron
chelates are effective when applied in the soil, if iron deficien-
cies occur. At this writing, not enough experience has been
developed to warrant specific recommendations with these
chelates.
On some virgin sands deficiencies of copper, zinc or manga-
nese may develop. Under such conditions, it may be good in-
surance to add these in the initial fertilizer application. How-
ever, if copper sprays are used, copper may be eliminated from
the fertilizer; if zineb or nabam is used, zinc may be eliminated;
and likewise if maneb is used, manganese may be eliminated.

COVER CROPS
In the main producing areas, the tomato crop is grown in the
fall, winter or early spring, leaving the land idle the remainder
of the year. Native weeds are allowed to grow on much of this
land. However, planted summer cover crops are widely used,
the most common on sandy soils being two leguminous crops.
These are Sesbania macrocarpa Muhl., which is popular on the
poorly drained soils since it grows well even when the soil is
saturated, and Crotalaria spectabilis Roth, which produces a
fine, heavy coveron soils with good natural drainage. A third






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


legume, hairy indigo, Indigofera hirsuta L., is becoming popu-
lar. It is intermediate in its water tolerance between the first
two mentioned.
Sesbania is susceptible to root-knot and for this reason should
be used only on wet soils. Both crotalaria and hairy indigo
are quite resistant to root-knot. Crotalaria volunteers readily,
which is a good feature. However, it is toxic to livestock. The
principal objection to hairy indigo is that it matures very
slowly and must remain in the field several months if seed is
to form.
Many growers rely solely on the heavy growth of natural
cover which follows the winter cash crop. Many types of weeds
and grasses follow crops on sandy soils. A heavy growth of
such native weeds makes a good summer cover, except for the
disadvantage represented by the increase in weed seeds.
The summer cover crop, whether leguminous or of native
weed growth, performs several beneficial functions. It increases
soil organic matter for the next crop, holds soil nutrients against
leaching during the heavy rainfall of the usual Florida summer,
and shades the land, thus keeping soil temperatures down and
slowing down the rate of decomposition of soil organic matter.
On the other hand, summer weeds or cover crop plants may
harbor insect and disease pests to some extent. On land that
has been cropped to tomatoes for some years and has become
heavily infested with soil-borne disease organisms, the most
rapid reduction of such pests can be effected by a summer of
clean fallowing. No cover of any kind, including weeds, is
allowed to grow, and the field is disked every other week or so
throughout the summer.
Crop rotation is a desirable practice, and will offset the need
for summer fallowing when it is followed. In such a rotation,
crops susceptible to diseases attacking tomatoes should not be
used. Some growers are combining tomato growing with beef
cattle production, and alternate several years of pasture with
tomato growing. Tomatoes are also being alternated with such
crops as sweet corn, cucumbers and watermelons.

SELECTION OF THE VARIETY
The history of standard commercial varieties of tomatoes
over the years has followed a pattern similar to that of many
other vegetable crops. Good varieties seldom are popular for
more than 10 years. They are gradually displaced by newer






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


varieties which are superior in one or more respects (see Fig.
3). At present Grothen's Globe is the standard for the winter
crop produced on the sandy soils in many areas but several
new varieties are gradually replacing it.
Manasota, which is early and resistant to Fusarium wilt, was
a popular variety for several years and is still favored by some
growers in the Immokalee and Ft. Pierce areas. Jefferson, an-
other wilt-resistant variety, is currently popular in the Mana-
tee-Ruskin section.
Rutgers is grown extensively for the spring crop and is the
favorite with many growers, especially where new land is avail-
able. Rutgers was for many years the criterion of perfection
because of its fine quality and high yielding ability but has
come into disfavor of late because of its tendency to soft and
off-color ripening under some conditions. Whether this is a
fault of the variety or due to cultural practices has not been
determined.
All of the above varieties have faults, typical of which is
the tendency of Rutgers to shed flowers in warm, humid wea-
ther when being forced with heavy fertilization; the tendency
of Grothen's Globe to produce "puffy" fruit under similar con-
ditions in the fall; and the general susceptibility of all these
commercial varieties to various diseases. Limited adaptation
to climatic conditions and cultural methods may be counted a
fault of each of these varieties.
Most of the areas now being farmed are infested with Fu-
sarium wilt and other soil-borne disease-producing organisms, al-
though these disease organisms are not usually serious on
virgin soils or on soils which are farmed to tomatoes for the
first time. For this reason many growers have recently turned
to Fusarium wilt-resistant varieties such as Manasota, Jeffer-

Fig. 3.-Field test comparing performances of new varieties of tomatoes
at Gulf Coast Station, Spring 1954.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


son, Wilt-Resistant Grothen's Globe and Homestead (see Fig.
4). Homestead, which is not a fixed type, was introduced in
1952 and appears to be much better adapted to the calcareous
soils of the Dade County area than to sand-land areas. These
varieties in many instances have produced profitable crops where
the old wilt-susceptible varieties would have failed completely.
Only time will tell whether any of these receive general ac-
ceptance by growers, but if these do not, other new varieties
will.
Two new varieties, Manalucie and Manalee, were introduced
by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations in 1953. (See
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Circulars S-59, Mana-
lucie, a Tomato with Distinctive New Features, and S-72, Mana-
lee, a Disease-Resistant Early Tomato.) They are resistant to
wilt, gray leaf spot, Alternaria-diseases and leafmold. Recent
trials with Manalucie indicate that it will out-yield most of the
standard varieties and produces a larger fruit with good ship-
ping quality. It is somewhat later than Grothen's Globe. Mana-
lee is highly productive with smaller fruits than Manalucie and
maTures several days earlier than Grothen's Globe. Its earli-
ness and open vine character make it better adapted to fall
planting.
Another newly introduced variety that should be of interest
to Florida growers is Queens, developed as a canning tomato for
the North. This variety has produced high yields of excellent

Fig. 4.-Representative fruits from tomato varieties commonly grown
on sandy soils of southern Florida. Left to right, top: Rutgers, Wilt
Resistant Grothen's Globe and Grothen's Globe; bottom, Manalucie, Mana-
lee, Jefferson and Homestead.






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


quality tomatoes under varied conditions in the Manatee-Rus-
kin area both on stakes and on the ground. It was also out-
standing in preliminary trials near Ft. Pierce. Queens was de-
veloped at the New Jersey Experiment Station by the origi-
nators of Rutgers. Its vine type and general plant character
are similar to those of the old Globe tomato which was grown
extensively in Florida for many years. Fruits are deep globe
in shape, with smooth, pale shoulders and they ripen evenly
and firm. The variety has no resistance to Fusarium wilt or
other diseases and therefore may not be suitable for old in-
fested soils. It is of about the same maturity as Rutgers.
There is some grower interest in Kokomo, a variety intro-
duced in 1953. Although it is resistant to Fusarium wilt and
produces prolifically, its fruits lack the quality and texture
of other varieties, and tend to be creased or rough on the
shoulders. The fruits are of medium size and resemble those of
Rutgers in shape.
Growers should be skeptical about accepting new varieties.
Interesting new varieties should be tried on a small scale to
allow judgment of their adaptability to a particular area and
to test their market acceptance. Growers should also realize
that one function of the progressive seedsman is to improve
varieties by careful selection in the seed fields. Such selection
results in different strains of a variety which may differ mark-
edly from one another. It is desirable for growers to test strains
with which they are not familiar on a small scale, and to re-
order those strains which prove to be best adapted by actual
field test. Most growers normally do not concentrate on only
one variety, but usually grow two or more varieties each season.

SEEDING IN SEEDBED OR DIRECTLY IN FIELD
Formerly, it was the general practice with tomatoes in Flor-
ida and in many other parts of the country to sow seed in flats,
beds, cold-frames or the like. This practice developed in sec-
tions where frosts were general, since it provided means of
protecting the plants against late frosts. The practice still per-
sists in scattered sections of Florida, although most growers
using new or relatively new land now seed tomatoes directly in
the field. In many instances, supplemental seedbeds are grown
to insure a supply of plants if the field-seeded crop fails. When
seeding directly in the field, mechanical seeders are used with
seed dropped about every 3 to 4 inches. These young seedlings are







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


later thinned to 16 to 18 inches apart within the row for staked
plants, 18 to 40 inches apart for unstaked plants. Tomatoes
seeded directly in the field will mature earlier than those trans-
planted. Direct seeding in the field is not generally recom-
mended on land over-run with weeds, since an extra hand-
hoeing for weed control is usually necessary. Field seeding
takes much more seed than is required where plants are set
from beds, but this cost plus that involved in an additional hoe-
ing operation may still be less than the cost of setting plants.
Many seedlings from seeded fields are salvaged in the thinning
process for transplanting.
The growing of plants in seedbeds has the advantage of con-
centrating a large number of plants in a small area for the first
three to five weeks. They may be protected by covers against
heavy rains or frosts, and may be easily irrigated in dry wea-
ther. In addition, the effective application of insecticides and
fungicides is simplified.
Growers usually try to locate their seedbeds on newly cleared
land. When this cannot be done, the seedbed area should be uni-
formly treated with a soil fumigant. A methyl bromide mix-
ture (MC-2), when used as directed by the manufacturer, is
recommended for such fumigation. This material will kill root-
knot nematodes and often certain weed seeds. It will also de-
stroy certain insects, including mole-crickets. (See Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station Bulletin 550, Production of Vegetable
Plants in Seedbeds on Sandy Soils.)
The seedbed area (sandy soils) is generally given about 3,000
pounds per acre broadcast of a 4-9-3 or some other special type
of seedbed fertilizer. Beds four feet wide are formed by mak-
ing a furrow at the desired bed width, with careful attention
paid to forming a smooth, level surface. Seeds are usually sown
in shallow rows across the bed, the rows being from 5 to 6
inches apart, and then covered slightly. Large-scale growers
use seeders and plant lengthwise.
It is desirable to use seedbed covers for protection against
rain or frost. However, some growers produce suitable plants
without such covers, substituting mulches of sawdust or pine
needles to keep beds from washing in heavy rains and splashing
sand on the plants. In recent tests some translucent materials
impermeable to water have proven preferable to the standard
cloth covers.4 At present, these materials compare favorably
in cost plus cost of frames with the standard seedbed cloth.


SVenyl Film, Vimlite, Celoglass, polyethylene sheeting.






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


Since they do not permit water to pass, excessive damage to
plants and leaching of fertilizer may be avoided.
A definite schedule of fungicidal and insecticidal applications
should be started with plants in the seedbed and continued
through the whole period of growth of the crop. An "insoluble"
copper drench (12 pounds of one of the insoluble copper fungi-
cides to 100 gallons of water) is recommended for the control of
damp-off when it appears. Usually one application at the rate of
6 gallons per 100 sq. ft is sufficient. In seedbeds, a weekly spray
of fungicide should be applied, together with 2 pounds of 50W
DDT (plus 1 pound 15 percent parathion if leaf miners are pres-
sent) per 100 gallons. If late blight [Phytophthora infestans,
(Mont.) DBy.] threatens, dichlone, maneb and zineb may be
used as preventive (see page 23 for spray schedule). Dichlone
is safe for use on a 3-day schedule, whereas nabam + zinc sul-
fate should not be used on seedling tomatoes unless absolutely
necessary, and then not oftener than once a week. A copper
spray may be alternated with either dichlone or nabam + zinc
sulfate. With rows 5 to 6 inches apart the stems and under
surfaces of leaves can be thoroughly coated with fungicide in
case a severe disease becomes a threat.

TRANSPLANTING
Setting plants in the field is done either by hand or by trans-
planting machinery, depending on the size of the operation and
the nature of the soil. Experiments over a period of years have
not demonstrated any consistent advantage in using "starter"
or soluble fertilizer solutions, although in some cases the plants
have grown off a little faster where such solutions were used
on sandy soils. This has not affected ultimate yields but has
made the crop a little earlier. In peninsular Florida, where
market prices for early fruit are rather unpredictable, it is
doubtful whether the use of starter solutions is justified.
It is important that tomato plants be watered-in when set.
Losses from "damp-off" may run high under some conditions,
and it has been found that the addition of a fungicide to the
water used when setting will reduce such losses. Dichlone at
1 pound to 100 gallons or one of the blue copper fungicides (2
pounds metallic copper per 100 gallons) has given excellent dis-
ease control without damage to the plants. An alternative
method of reducing losses from this trouble is to spray the
plants carefully with either of the above-mentioned fungicides






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


before pulling from the seedbed, being particularly careful to
get thorough coverage on the stems.

PRUNING AND STAKING
The tomato plant normally sprouts a "sucker" or branch at
each node or leaf axil. When these suckers are removed, the
central stem is tied to a stake (see Fig. 5). These stakes are
usually of cypress, four feet long and 1/- inch x 1 inch or 1 inch x
1 inch in cross-section. This staking-pruning method is in com-
mon use in the Manatee-Ruskin area and in some sections on
the East Coast.
Some growers who stake their tomatoes prune to a "fork"
instead of to a single stem. The growth habit of the tomato
plant is such that an exceptionally vigorous "sucker" is pro-
duced in the leaf axil below the first fruit hand; this sucker is
not removed when plants are pruned to a fork.
Many growers who do not stake, prune their plants at least
once when the plants are young, removing all of the small suck-
ers below the first fruit cluster or "hand". This tends to leave

Fig. 5.-Field of staked tomatoes in rows 54" apart, plants spaced 16"
in the row.







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


the centers somewhat open, so that fungicidal and other sprays
can penetrate better and give better coverage of the stems and
leaves.
In general, the advantages and disadvantages of pruning may
be listed as follows, with intermediate types of pruning being
intermediate with respect to both advantages and disadvan-
tages:

Advantages of pruning and staking:
1. Fruits mature earlier.
2. Fruits are larger.
3. Fruits are cleaner.
4. Harvest season may be extended by many weeks, if grower wishes to
take advantage of a favorable market; fertilizer can be readily applied late
in season.
5. Better spray coverage is secured; this reduces the chances of loss
from disease and insect pests.
6. Plants may be spaced more closely when pruned and staked. A
common spacing for such plants is 4 to 41/2 feet between rows and 16 to
18 inches between plants, as compared with 6 to 7 feet between rows and
2 to 3 feet between plants in unstaked fields.
7. Per acre yields are generally higher.
8. A higher proportion of fruits are usually of No. 1 grade.
9. Loss from soil rot disease is eliminated.
Disadvantages of pruning and staking:
1. Much extra labor is required.
2. Cypress stakes are an added cost; they may represent an initial
investment of as much as $200.00 per acre for 1 inch square stakes and
somewhat less with 1 x 12 inch stakes.
3. Pruned plants seem more susceptible to various physiological troubles
than do unpruned plants. Blossom-end rot and stem-end cracking of fruits
usually are worse in pruned plants than in unpruned ones.
4. Spread of tobacco mosaic may become serious, since it can be trans-
mitted to healthy plants by the pruners.
5. More danger of sunscald, since fruits are exposed.

It may be seen from the above discussion that "to prune or
not to prune" must be the grower's decision. It is so involved
with the economics of the crop that no specific recommenda-
tions can be made. Recent figures indicate, however, a higher
net return per acre from unstaked tomatoes than from staked
tomatoes grown in the same area. (See Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station, Ag. Econ. Mimeo Rept. 51-44.)

DISEASE AND INSECT CONTROL
To grow tomatoes in Florida on a commercial scale, the vari-
ous disease and insect pests must be controlled. Several of these
individually may be severe enough to cause loss of the crop;
some cause consistent but less severe losses.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The principal leaf diseases of sand-land tomatoes are (1)
gray leaf spot, caused by Stemphylium solani Weber; (2) late
blight caused by Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) DBy.; (3)
early blight, caused by Alternaria solani (Ell. & Mart.) Jones
and Grout; (4) bacterial spot, caused by Xanthomonas vesica-
toria (Doidge) Bergey; (5) black spot, caused by Phoma de-
structiva Plowr; (6) leaf mold, Cladosporium fulvum (Cke);
and (7) gray mold, Botrytis cinerea Fr. The above arrange-
ment is not necessarily in order of importance, since severity
of any one disease depends on a particular set of environmental
conditions.
Tomatoes are frequently damaged by diseases of the class
known as viruses. Tobacco mosaic, tobacco etch, cucumber mo-
saic, pseudo-curly top, and vein-banding (the potato Y virus)
are members of this group now known to be important in Flor-
ida. Transmission of the causal agencies is mainly by sucking
insects, aphids especially. Unfortunately, the grower cannot
arrange an effective defense against the introduction of these
diseases to his crop by virus-bearing insects that happen to
land on his plants. However, one can, by weekly use of modern
phosphatic insecticides such as parathion, prevent the sucking
insects from propagating themselves on his own crop and hold
the proportion of virus-affected plants in his crop to a low level
under most circumstances.
Most of these viruses occur in crop plants other than tomato
and in weeds common in Florida. For the latter reason, sani-
tation against weeds within and around a tomato field will aid
in curtailing loss due to diseases of this type. Moreover, all
crops of tomato, pepper and cucumber on which harvest has
been completed should be disked under before the old plants
can serve as hosts for aphids that could fly to a younger tomato
crop. Tomatoes planted in a locality where Irish potatoes are
grown are exposed to undue hazard because standard potato
varieties can be non-symptomatic carriers of viruses harmful
to tomato.
Tobacco mosaic is better known than the other viruses men-
tioned above and, on the average, probably has caused more
damage than the others. Its effect on tomato is mainly in re-
duction of the quality of the fruits, but the reduction in market-
able yield is heavy if the plants become infected when they are
young or if a potato virus occurs in combination with tobacco
mosaic. The virus is readily transmitted by hand, less readily






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


but to an important extent by machines such as tractors and
sprayers. For these reasons tobacco mosaic is most important
on crops that are pruned and tied, while on a ground crop it
may be noticeable on only the rows over which the sprayer is
drawn. Workers using tobacco should wash their hands thor-
oughly with a strong soap or rinse in a 70 percent alcohol solu-
tion before handling plants.
In recent years the fungus Botrytis cinerea Fr., the causal
agent of gray mold, has been developing in great abundance
during periods of low temperature on heavy ground-crop toma-
toes grown for winter and early-spring harvest. Damage to
leaves, stems and fruits in the field has been severe and loss
of fruits to decay by the fungus during transit has been com-
mon and costly. Copper fungicides are reasonably effective
against this fungus, but they are not effective against gray leaf
spot and late blight, both of which usually occur at the same
time. Dichlone is highly effective against both late blight and
gray-mold but is not effective against gray leaf spot. It re-
mains to be determined, by practical field-scale trials, how to fit
a sufficient number of applications of dichlone into the fungi-
cide schedule to obtain control of gray mold without losing con-
trol of gray leaf spot on varieties susceptible to the latter dis-
ease.
Ghost spot, an unsightly but otherwise harmless, silvery-ring
spotting of fruits, is believed by some to be due to abortive in-
fections by B. cinerea. This trouble usually occurs on crops that
show extensive development of gray mold, but it sometimes oc-
curs on crops that show no gray mold. The latter may be
explainable by wind dissemination of the spores of B. cinerea,
which are produced in great abundance.
The worst soil-borne disease is Fusarium wilt, caused by the
fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. lycopersici (Sacc.) Snyder and
Hansen. Other diseases are (1) Verticillium wilt, caused by
Verticillium albo-atrum Reinke and Berth; (2) sclerotiniose
caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) DBy, (3) Southern
blight, caused by Pellicularia rolfsii (Sacc.) West; (4) Rhizoc-
tonia diseases, such as damp-off and soft-rot, caused by Pelli-
cularia filamentosa (Pat.) Rogers and (5) bacterial wilt, caused
by Pseudomonas solanacearum E. F. Smith, are sometimes se-
vere in small areas. Other disorders, such as root-knot, caused
by nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) may cause severe losses, espe-
cially in dry years on sandy soils.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The soil-borne diseases, Fusarium and bacterial wilts, are not
controllable by the use of chemicals after the crop is planted.
The varieties Jefferson, W. R. Grothen's Globe, Manasota, Home-
stead, Manalucie and Manalee are highly resistant to Fusarium
wilt and may be planted on soils known to harbor the causal
agent of this disease. Since no suitable varieties are available
which have resistance to bacterial or Verticillium wilts, toma-
toes should not be grown on land infected with these diseases.
Should Southern blight be abundant, it is better not to plant
tomatoes or any other susceptible crop.
Generally speaking, if one or more of the above-listed soil-
borne troubles are known to be severe in a field, the most satis-
factory clean-up known is to keep all summer growth disked
down for one or two summers, or to plant crops not affected by
the disease organisms present. The clean summer fallow treat-
ment is known to be quite effective in reducing losses from dis-
ease on subsequent tomato crops.
In soils infested with root-knot nematodes, two soil fumigants
are available which will greatly reduce damage to tomato plants.
These are DD (dichloropropylene-dichloropropane mixture) and
EDB (ethylene dibromide). An in-the-row treatment using
these materials at 50 pounds per acre of DD or at 6.5 gallons
per acre of a 20 to 80 dilution of EDB in mineral spirits has
given excellent control of these nematodes for the duration of
the crop. These materials may be applied at the time the field
is bedded-up. They have proven equally effective, but EDB is
generally preferred because of easier handling. A very simple
container with two line valves and dispensing tube may be
mounted on the tractor in such a manner that the liquid is drib-
bled down the row and covered with soil as the bed is formed.
Sufficient time must elapse before planting for these soil fumi-
gants to be dissipated by evaporation or they will damage the
plants. The time that must elapse depends on rainfall and tem-
perature-rains seal the chemicals in the soil and will extend
the period needed to dissipate the chemical. Low temperatures
retard the volatilization of the liquid and its loss from the soil
as a gas. Usually three to seven days are sufficient if no rain
seal comes following the EDB treatment. In case of heavy
rains, it may be necessary to break open the tops of the beds and
allow a few days of aeration. Care should be taken not to mix
the non-treated soil from the middles with the treated soil in
the beds until plants have become established.






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


Both of the above materials may be applied uniformly over
the entire area, but this requires more material and special
equipment and has not given yield increases in excess of those
received from the in-the-row treatment.
Insect pests of the tomato are numerous. Various cutworms
[the black, Agrotis ypsilon (Rott.), and granulate, Feltia sub-
terranea (F.), and others] ; aphids of several species; the tomato
fruit-worm, Heliothis armigera (Hbn.); the fall armyworm,
Laphygma frugiperda (A. & S.) ; the Southern armyworm, Pro-
denia eridania (Cram.); the tomato hornworm, Protoparce
quinquemaculata (Haw.); the banded cucumber beetle, Diabro-
tica balteata (Lec.); the serpentine leaf-miner, Liriomyza pu-
silla (Meig) ; and the Southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula
(L.), are perhaps the most common pests. In some sections
mole-crickets also are pests.
Chlordane is probably the best insecticide for use against cut-
worms and mole-crickets. These insects should be brought under
control before tomato plants are set or before the seedlings
emerge if the field is seeded directly. Some growers prefer pre-
pared baits. However, it has been found that 1 to 2 pounds per
acre of actual chlordane will control these insects whether ap-
plied in bait form, mixed in the fertilizer (provided the fer-
tilizer is incorporated uniformly in the surface of the soil), or
dusted directly on the ground.
Foliage disease and insect control should be handled by means
of a regular schedule of fungicidal and insecticidal applications.
In presenting this schedule, it must be remembered that some
of these materials are so new to agriculture generally that these
recommendations might be modified as future tests either bring
to light newer and safer materials or demonstrate faults un-
known at this time. It should be understood, too, that chemicals
applied to tomato leaves may have nutritional effects on the
plants in addition to performing their primary functions as
fungicides or insecticides. Some of these chemicals have proven
injurious under certain conditions.
The following schedule is known to be as safe as a schedule
can be and still protect the plants from insects and diseases:
Seedbed or seedling schedule
1. Basic schedule
a) Spray weekly with nabam + zinc sulfate, including wettable DDT
or chlordane in every other spray.
2. Exceptions






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


a) If aphids or leaf-miners are present, substitute parathion for the
DDT. Parathion will burn young plants if the leaves are wet.
b) If late blight is present and weather wet and cold or very foggy,
alternate the nabam + zinc sulfate with dichlone on a twice
weekly spray schedule.
Field Schedule
1. Basic schedule
a) Spray weekly, alternating a neutral copper fungicide plus DDT
parathionn if aphids, leaf-miners or hornworms are present)
with nabam + zinc sulfate in alternate weeks.
2. Exceptions
a) If late blight or other leaf-spotting diseases are. present, or if
the weather is cool with rains or fogs, use nabam + zinc sulfate
on a five-day schedule, omitting the neutral copper until late
blight is under control and the weather warm and bright. Di-
chlone may be alternated with nabam if late blight or gray
mold is a threat and it is necessary to spray twice weekly.

The above schedule is as effective and as simple as any that
can be devised at present. It should control all fungous diseases
of the foliage and insects which commonly attack tomatoes
in peninsular Florida. It is not meant to imply that other fungi-
cides and insecticides are without value on tomatoes, but none
to date are superior to those recommended. Other fungicides
effective, and in some circumstances preferable, with this crop
are zineb and maneb. DDT in oil emulsion is effective, but has
damaged plants in some cases. For more information on com-
binations of insecticides with fungicides, see Florida Agricul-
tural Experiment Station Circular S-47 (Compatibility of Insec-
ticides, Fungicides and Nutrients for Vegetable Crops).
A short discussion on the use of the schedule recommended
above with reference to the spring 1949 crop, which came
through a long dry period, may clarify several of the questions
involved. Despite an abundance of gray leaf spot on the old
plants of the fall crop, which overlapped the seedling stage of
the spring crop, very little gray leaf spot developed on the
young plants of the spring crop. The bright days of January
and February were not favorable for development of the dis-
ease, and neutral coppers gave adequate protection. The same
weather that accounted for low disease incidence, however,
favored rapid build-up of aphids and leaf-miners. Parathion
was used on a two-week schedule, applied in combination with
the neutral copper. Tomatoes were generally insect and dis-
ease-free. The use of nabam + zinc sulfate on alternate weeks
gave adequate protection against possible foliage-disease out-
break in the event of a weather change. The use of nabam
fungicide on a five-day or weekly schedule was damaging in






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


many cases. This trouble-which in many cases resembled
mosaic in its symptoms-cleared up when neutral copper fungi-
cides were substituted for the zine fungicides for a few weeks.
The continued drouth and bright weather permitted this sub-
stitution without danger to the plants.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the application of
fungicides is a protective measure. Only those parts of the
plant which are covered are protected from infection (see Fig.
6). Consequently, to obtain thorough coverage, the careful ad-
justment of nozzles and use of good pump pressure (about 300
pounds) and proper sprayer speed are important, since these
factors influence coverage. Dusting is usually less effective
than spraying. However, a careful job with a hand duster or
knapsack sprayer may give results superior to those secured
with a careless application made with a power sprayer.
If the insecticide is to be applied separately, a dust application
is usually satisfactory. In any event, disease and insect control
will depend on the actual care with which the pesticides are
applied.
PHYSIOLOGICAL DISORDERS
Blossom-end rot is considered the most serious of the physio-
logical diseases affecting tomato fruits. (See Florida Agricul-

Fig. 6.-High clearance sprayer covering an entire "land" of eight rows
of staked tomatoes each trip across the field.






JJ^ *iMH ^-^







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tural Experiment Station Circular S-6, Blossom-end Rot of To-
matoes.) Although the complete control of blossom-end rot
is highly improbable, losses can be minimized by avoiding the
basic cause of the disorder, namely, a temporary severe deficit
of water within the plant. Certain cultural practices are also
effective in reducing the loss. These include (1) a constant
water table, (2) a pH in the range of 6.0 or higher, (3) an
adequate supply of available calcium, (4) use of nitrate nitrogen
in the fertilizer top-dresser, (5) good soil aeration, especially
after heavy rains, (6) planting a resistant variety wherever
possible.
Crease-stem of tomatoes is easily recognized by a creasing of
the stem near the fip. As the disorder progresses the creasing
becomes so deep that a hole is formed through the stem. This
results in a severe stunting and dwarfing of the plant; the
growing tip becoming so malformed that it resembles a "witches-
broom". Although the cause of crease-stem is unknown, evi-
dence indicates that it occurs during periods of rapid growth and
seems to be associated in some way with a temporary short-
age at the growing point of one or more minerals. Calcium
may be an important factor in this connection. The grower
should avoid any possible over-fertilization during the early
stages of growth, as this renders plants very susceptible under
weather conditions favoring rapid plant growth.
Gray wall, or internal browning, has been causing losses of
considerable magnitude for several years. It has been studied
by many different investigators, but to date no one has shown
how to prevent or control it. Exhaustive efforts to transmit a
disease-causing agent from affected to healthy plants have been
made but results have been wholly negative. It appears most
likely that this is a physiological disorder involving more than
one environmental factor.

NUTRITIONAL ELEMENTS IN THE SPRAY MIXTURE
It has been stated previously that both fungicides and in-
secticides may have physiological effects on plants in addition
to their pest-control properties. In careful experimental tests
in various parts of the country it has usually been found that
plants which received no treatment-that is, no fungicidal ap-
plication-have outyielded sprayed plants when no foliage in-
fection appeared on the crop. Under Florida conditions, such an
absence of disease almost never occurs, although the severity of







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


such infections varies from one season to another. As a conse-
quence, the use of pesticides on regular schedule is recom-
mended, but growers should realize that their use is in the
nature of a necessary evil. There is a strong tendency toward
over-use of various pesticides in some sections which careful
attention to weather conditions and personal supervision of the
condition of the crop can help to avoid. The over-use of fungi-
cides and/or insecticides may throw the plants out of nutri-
tional balance, delaying growth, reducing yields and even lower-
ing the grade of the fruit.
On the other hand, many Florida soils are deficient in cer-
tain "trace" or "secondary" plant food elements. These may
be added to the fertilizer in some cases; in many instances
they are more efficiently utilized when applied to the leaves as
a spray. Among elements which sometimes limit production
are copper, zinc, manganese, iron, magnesium and boron. The
first two are already recommended in the spray schedule. In
fact, on soils deficient in copper and zinc, the fungicide sched-
ule performs a double function, controlling disease and at the
same time nourishing the tomato plants.
Magnesium and boron generally are not recommended for
spray applications on tomatoes, although some magnesium is
supplied whenever dichlone is used. Boron deficiency of to-
matoes has not been proven to be of importance in the field.
Magnesium is best supplied to tomato plants through the roots.
When dolomitic limestone is used on acid soils, sufficient mag-
nesium is applied in this manner. On soils already sweet but
deficient in magnesium, the addition of one of the sulphates of
magnesium to the fertilizer will supply this requirement.
Manganese and iron are deficient in many Florida soils. The
application of lime to sandy soils generally intensifies the de-
ficiency of both of these elements. Iron is seldom deficient in
yellow, red or brown sandy soils, but may be severely deficient
on the white sands. Manganese is generally deficient in all
south Florida soils cropped to tomatoes. These two elements
should be thought of together, since they complement each
other in the nutrition of plants. The addition of iron alone
to plants deficient in both iron and manganese may make
matters rapidly worse. Similarly, the addition of manganese
alone to such plants may harm them more than it will bene-
fit them. Prior to fruiting, manganese seems to be required
in higher proportions than iron; when fruits are developing,






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


the reverse is true. Deficiency symptoms of these two elements
are quite similar, but are apt to occur at different stages of
growth. Manganese deficiency symptoms usually appear on
young, rapidly growing plants. All leaf veins-even very small
ones-remain green, but the tissue between turns light green or
even yellow. Similar symptoms on old, mature tomato plants
with a heavy set of fruit usually indicate iron deficiency. The
growing tips of such plants may turn completely yellow.
The naturally acid, sandy soils of the east and west coasts
of Florida are most difficult to handle in relation to their manga-
nese and iron nutrition. They must be limed to bring the pH
to 5.5 or above for good growth, and in this process the small
amounts of iron and manganese native to the soils may be made
insoluble.
It has not been difficult to establish a safe concentration of
manganous sulfate for use in nutritional sprays, but iron (fer-
rous) sulfate sprays have given variable results. Because iron
sulfate sprays may be phytotoxic, not more than 1/Y pound of
ferrous sulfate should be used per 100 gallons of spray. A
safe mixture to use would be 1/2 pound of iron sulfate plus 2
pounds of manganous sulfate per 100 gallons of copper fungi-
cide mix in the regular spray schedule. Iron sulfate should not
be applied as a spray after fruits are set on the plants, since
fruit damage may result. Ferbam may be used as the source
of necessary iron when fruits approach maturity. The newer
iron chelates may simplify this problem in the near future, since
iron in this form remains available to plants when applied to
the soil.
Considerable grower interest has been shown from time to
time in the application of the major nutrient elements, such as
nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, by means of nutritional
sprays. Repeated tests have shown that the use of such sprays
is of no benefit on tomatoes grown during good weather con-
ditions. However, there may be times when such sprays might
be used to good advantage. If the root system of the plant is
damaged by heavy rains or inactive due to low soil temperature,
nutritional sprays can sustain the plant until the root resumes
its normal function.

PREPARING FOR MARKET
At present all but a negligible part of the crop is picked and
marketed in the so-called "mature-green" stage (see Fig. 7).






Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


Fruit at this stage is green in color and firm. Unfortunately,
there is no single criterion for telling when the fruit is "ma-
ture-green" or about to turn pink. Fruit in this condition may
be handled in large quantities and transported long distances
without being unduly damaged. Poor quality sometimes re-
sults from this method of harvesting, due to the possibility
of harvesting immature fruit. Sporadic efforts have been made
to pick fruits after they start to show pink color, but this
practice has not, as yet, been successful. Recent developments
in markets for consumer-packaged fruits may change these
marketing practices in the future. It is known, however, that
vine-ripened tomatoes produced for home use in Florida can be
equal to those produced anywhere, in both taste and nutritional
qualities.
During the past year certain buyers on the Northern markets
have shown a preference for vine-ripened tomatoes (those show-
ing pink color at time of harvesting) over the so-called "mature-
green" fruit. Considerable interest is being shown in this
development, with the result that several growers picked

Fig. 7.-Picking crew at work in field of staked tomatoes. The boxes at left
are scattered along the ditchbank, ready to be picked up by trucks.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


"pinks" almost exclusively during the 1954-55 season. This
development may well change the entire winter tomato deal
during the next few years.
Tomatoes moved through a packinghouse before sale need
not be graded or sorted in the field; they are taken directly
to the packinghouse in field boxes. Fruit sold through Farmers'
Markets or directly to buyers should be graded before being
offered for sale. Any grower who has watched unsorted fruit
auctioned off in a market where it has to compete with graded
fruit knows that it is desirable to offer an attractive, graded
product. Mature green fruit graded U. S. No. 1 often bring sev-
eral times the price of U. S. No. 2 fruit. Ungraded fruit in-
variably sells near the price of No. 2 fruit. With good varieties
often grading out 80 percent No. l's, it pays to grade. Defini-
tions of the two grades (from Handbook of U. S. Standards)
are as follows:

U. S. No. 1 shall consist of tomatoes of similar varietal characteristics
which are mature but not overripe or soft; which are fairly well formed,
fairly smooth, free from decay, freezing injury, and from damage caused by
dirt, bruises, cuts, sunscald, sunburn, puffiness, cat-faces, growth cracks,
scars, insects, hail, or mechanical or other means, and free from visible
disease at shipping point.
In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and handling,
not more than 10 percent, by count, of the tomatoes in any container may
be below the requirements of this grade but not more than one-half of this
tolerance, or 5 percent, shall be allowed for defects causing serious damage,
and not more than one-fifth of this amount, or 1 percent, may be allowed for
decay at shipping point or for decay in tomatoes from Mexico when in-
spected at points of entry into the United States. In addition a total
tolerance of not more than 5 percent shall be allowed for decay en route
or at destination.
U. S. No. 2 shall consist of tomatoes of similar varietal characteristics
which are mature but not overripe or soft; not badly misshapen, free from
decay, unhealed cuts, freezing injury, and from serious damage caused by
bruises, sunscald, sunburn, puffiness, cat-faces, growth cracks, scars, disease,
insects, hail, or mechanical or other means.
In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and handling,
not more than 10 percent, by count, of the tomatoes in any container may be
below the requirements of this grade but not more than one-tenth of this
tolerance, or 1 percent, may be allowed for decay at shipping point or for
decay in tomatoes from Mexico when inspected at points of entry into the
United States. In addition a total tolerance of not more than 6 percent
shall be allowed for decay en route or at destination.
Unclassified shall consist of tomatoes which are not graded in conformity
with either of the foregoing grades.

It will be noted that the main differences between the two
grades are (1) U. S. No. 1 should be "fairly well formed" while
U. S. No. 2 should be "not badly misshapen"; (2) U. S. No. 1
should be "free from damage caused by dirt" etc., while







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


U. S. No. 2 should be "free from serious damage caused
by bruises" etc.
Unimportant as these differences may seem to be on paper,
they make a tremendous difference in appearance of the toma-
toes when graded.
Another precaution the grower should take is to clean his
tomatoes by dry brushing, when at all possible. If water must
be used, it should be running water. Wet fruit is subject to
disease and break-down in transit, and using the same wash
water over and over again spreads disease organisms from in-
fected fruits to healthy fruits.

SUMMARY
An attempt has been made in this bulletin to cover all of the
major phases of tomato growing on the sandy soils of Florida.
Certain phases have been more elaborately discussed elsewhere
(see appended list of Florida Station Bulletins and Circulars).
In disease and insect control, the new organic fungicides and
insecticides are still under test, and the recommendations in-
cluded represent only the best knowledge available at this time.
For the most part, topics discussed in detail in the body of
this paper are those which are not discussed in bulletin form
elsewhere, but which are known to be of importance because
of the frequency with which questions have been brought to
the Experiment Station. It is suggested that gardeners and
growers who encounter problems not covered herein contact
their County Agents or the Experiment Station.

BULLETINS AND CIRCULARS PERTAINING TO
TOMATO PRODUCTION IN FLORIDA
Experiment Station Bulletin 457-The Sclerotiniose Disease of Vege-
table Crops in Florida.
Experiment Station Bulletin 495-Irrigation and Other Cultural Stud-
ies with Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Snap Beans, Onions, Tomatoes and Cucum-
bers.
Experiment Station Bulletin 506-Know Your Fertilizers.
Experiment Station Bulletin 514-Soils and Fertilizers for Florida Vege-
table and Field Crops.
Experiment Station Bulletin 550-Production of Vegetable Plants in
Seedbeds on Sandy Soils.
Experiment Station Press Bulletin 602-Composting and Mulching.
Experiment Station Circular S-15-Control of Mole-Crickets.
Experiment Station Circular S-39-Soil Reaction (pH).
Experiment Station Circular S-47-Compatibility of Insecticides, Fungi-
cides and Nutrients for Vegetables.







Growing Tomatoes on Florida Sandy Soils


U. S. No. 2 should be "free from serious damage caused
by bruises" etc.
Unimportant as these differences may seem to be on paper,
they make a tremendous difference in appearance of the toma-
toes when graded.
Another precaution the grower should take is to clean his
tomatoes by dry brushing, when at all possible. If water must
be used, it should be running water. Wet fruit is subject to
disease and break-down in transit, and using the same wash
water over and over again spreads disease organisms from in-
fected fruits to healthy fruits.

SUMMARY
An attempt has been made in this bulletin to cover all of the
major phases of tomato growing on the sandy soils of Florida.
Certain phases have been more elaborately discussed elsewhere
(see appended list of Florida Station Bulletins and Circulars).
In disease and insect control, the new organic fungicides and
insecticides are still under test, and the recommendations in-
cluded represent only the best knowledge available at this time.
For the most part, topics discussed in detail in the body of
this paper are those which are not discussed in bulletin form
elsewhere, but which are known to be of importance because
of the frequency with which questions have been brought to
the Experiment Station. It is suggested that gardeners and
growers who encounter problems not covered herein contact
their County Agents or the Experiment Station.

BULLETINS AND CIRCULARS PERTAINING TO
TOMATO PRODUCTION IN FLORIDA
Experiment Station Bulletin 457-The Sclerotiniose Disease of Vege-
table Crops in Florida.
Experiment Station Bulletin 495-Irrigation and Other Cultural Stud-
ies with Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Snap Beans, Onions, Tomatoes and Cucum-
bers.
Experiment Station Bulletin 506-Know Your Fertilizers.
Experiment Station Bulletin 514-Soils and Fertilizers for Florida Vege-
table and Field Crops.
Experiment Station Bulletin 550-Production of Vegetable Plants in
Seedbeds on Sandy Soils.
Experiment Station Press Bulletin 602-Composting and Mulching.
Experiment Station Circular S-15-Control of Mole-Crickets.
Experiment Station Circular S-39-Soil Reaction (pH).
Experiment Station Circular S-47-Compatibility of Insecticides, Fungi-
cides and Nutrients for Vegetables.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Experiment Station Circular S-48-The Value of Soil Testing Kits in
Vegetable Crop Production.
Experiment Station Circular S-51-Insects of Tomatoes and Their
Control.
Experiment Station Circular S-59-Manalucie, a Tomato with Distinc-
tive New Features.
Experiment Station Circular S-72-Manalee, a Disease-Resistant Early
Tomato.
Extension Service Circular 98R-Tomato Production Guide.
Experiment Station Ag. Econ. Mimeo Rept. 51-44.












Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA




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