Bulletin 107 May, 1941
(A revision of Bulletin 80)
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
WJLMOX NEWELL, Director
THE FLORIDA HOME GARDEN
By F. S. JAMISON
Truck Horticulturist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Fig. 1.-College of Agriculture students grow home gardens as lab-
oratory project, planting, cultivating, spraying and harvesting the vege-
BOARD OF CONTROL
H. P. ADAIR, Chairman, Jacksonville R. H. GORE, Fort Lauderdale
W. M. PALMER, Ocala N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
T. T. SCOTT, Live Oak J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director of Extension'
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
J. FRANCIS COOPER, M.S.A., Editor'
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor'
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Assistant Editor'
E. F. STANTON, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
RrnB NEWHALL, Administrative Manager'
COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL DEMONSTRATION WORK
W. T. NETTLES, B. S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., Distr:ct Agent, Organization and Outlook Specialist
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant District Agent
A. E. DUNSCOMBE, M.S.A., Assistant District Agent
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
E. F. DEBusK, B.S., Citriculturist
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR. Poultryman'
D. F. SOWELL, M.S.A., Poultryman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist'
D. E. TIMMOss, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Marketing
CHARLES M. HAMPsSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
R. H. HoWARD, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
V. V. BOWMAN, M.S.A., Economist and Leader in Land-Use Planning
JOSEPH C. BEDSOLE, B.S.A., Assistant Leader in Land-Use Planning
J. R. GREENMAN, B.S.A., State Representative, B.A.E.
R. V. ALLISON, PIr.D., Soil Conservationist'
COOPERATIVE HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
MAa~. E. KhOWN, M.S., State Aaent
Lrcy BELLE SETTLE, M.A., District Agent
RUBY McDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S.H.E., District Agent
ANNA MAE SIXES, M.S., Nutritionist
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Specialist
ISABELLE S. TH-URSBY, Economist in Food Conservation
CLARINE BELCHER, M.S., Clothing Specialist
NEGRO EXTENSION WORK
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
BEULAH SHUTE, Local District Agent
THE HOME GARDEN
By F. S. JAMISON
Location of the Garden ... 3 Cultivation of the Garden.... 12
Seed for Planting ... ....... 4 Irrigation and Drainage. 12
Vegetable Varieties .. .... ...- 5 Cool Season Crops ...... 14
Growing Plants ....... ... 6 Warm Season Crops ...... ... 14
Transplanting .... ......... 7 Hot Weather Crops ........... .. 14
Preparation of the Soil ...... 7 Insects and Diseases ... 14
Fertilizers .. ..... 8 Harvesting .............. 15
Planting ..... 12 Surplus Products .... 16
The home vegetable garden considered either for its mone-
tary value or as a source of wholesome and healthful food is
usually the most valuable piece of land on the farm. The value
of the garden should not be calculated merely from the number
of dollars the produce could be sold for, but its value should be
based on what the produce would cost if purchased at a retail
store. The pleasure of having large quantities of high quality
vegetables has an additional value that cannot be expressed in
terms of money. Many vegetables decrease in quality and food
value very rapidly after they are harvested. The quality deter-
iorates more rapidly at high temperatures. Thus, it is important
in Florida that the vegetables be used very soon after they are
The home gardener in Florida may harvest vegetables from
the garden each month of the year. However, there are certain
seasons in which the various crops grow best and the gardener
should try to grow the crops during the season when they grow
the best. By carefully selecting the right vegetables, the garden-
er can have an adequate supply of fresh vegetables during most
of the year.
To be successful in growing vegetables of good quality, there
are certain facts that should be observed. Some of these are dis-
cussed in this publication.
LOCATION OF THE GARDEN
Considerable money is usually spent by the gardener for
seeds, fertilizer and labor. For this reason every effort should
be made to select a desirable piece of soil for the garden. The
plot of ground selected should be fertile and have adequate water
control. Good water control means providing irrigation for the
dry seasons of the year and good drainage for the wet seasons.
There are places on many farms that, when provided with proper
drainage, do not require irrigation to produce excellent gardens.
4 Florida Agricultural Extension Service
These locations are usually on the heavier soils found on the
edge of hammocks and in drained lowlands. Many hours of labor
will be saved the housewife, and the family assured of more
vegetables, if the garden is located conveniently close to the
house. It should be well fenced to protect it from rabbits, chick-
ens and other animals.
The size of the garden will depend upon the number of in-
dividuals in the family, and upon the method used in caring for
the garden. It should be large enough not only to supply fresh
vegetables for immediate consumption, but also to furnish vege-
tables for canning, pickling and storage. Certain crops grow
best during definite seasons and plenty of these should be grown
for immediate consumption and also for preserving and canning.
There are two distinct ways to care for a farm or home vege-
table garden. The first and probably most satisfactory way is
to use a relatively small area, fertilize it heavily, plant the crops
relatively close together and do the planting and cultivating
with hand tools. The other method is to use a large area, plant-
ing the rows far enough apart to allow for cultivating with the
same equipment as is used in the fields for this purpose. More
care will probably be given to the small garden. Quite often
gardeners find it profitable to grow certain crops such as wa-
termelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes in
the field and grow only those crops in the garden which will
produce heavily on a small area.
SEED FOR PLANTING
There are many reliable sources from which good vegetable
seed can be purchased. The important thing in purchasing seed is
to know the amount required and the variety that is adapted to
the particular needs for which it is to be produced, and the
growing conditions to which it will be subjected. Vegetable seed
can be bought at seed stores, grocery stores and many other
places of business. Many gardeners find it an advantage to se-
cure catalogues from seed houses, even though they purchase
the seed at local stores.
The gardener should know the variety of vegetable best
suited to his needs before buying, and not be satisfied to buy
just carrot, beet or cabbage seed. Since seed is such a small part
of the cost in growing the garden, it is usually wise to purchase
enough so that one replanting can be made in case the first one
meets with such adverse conditions that it fails to germinate.
The Florida Home Garden 5
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that there is a tre-
mendous difference among varieties, and quite often the suc-
cess or failure of a garden depends upon the care shown in se-
lecting the proper varieties. Varieties should be carefully select-
ed for the climatic conditions in which they are to be grown and,
also, adaptation to a particular purpose. The varieties given in
Table 1 have been selected because of their adaptability to Flor-
ida gardens. The wise gardener will select varieties from this
list, unless others have been found superior. While some of the
varieties listed are grown by commercial growers, many of
them are not adapted to commercial production. Some are of
superior quality to those grown commercially, but will not
stand handling and shipping. Others have been selected because
of their lateness or earliness of production. It should be under-
stood that the list has been prepared for home gardeners and
not for the commercial truck grower.
The approximate number of days that it takes the varieties
to reach edible maturity after planting is given in the table. The
climatic conditions prevailing during the time the crop is being
Fig. 2.-A good home garden is not difficult to grow, and should
provide the family with fresh vegetables throughout most of the year.
6 Florida Agricultural Extension Service
grown will influence the maturity date. In some seasons the
crops will mature in fewer days, in other seasons more days will
be required for the crop to reach edible condition. However,
within any one season there will be an approximate variation in
the time necessary to reach maturity of the varieties as indicated
in the table. Thus, early and late varieties may be selected from
it for use in the garden.
Plants of such vegetable crops as cabbage, tomato, onion and
pepper can be grown successfully by the home gardener. Quite
often the gardener finds it advantageous to depend upon a local
plant grower for young plants, or the plants may be bought
from one of the larger plant growers that do a mail order busi-
ness. Plants bought from a reliable plant grower are satisfactory.
However, there is always present the danger of bringing in va-
rious diseases with the plants. In ordering or buying plants the
gardener should be careful to specify definite varieties.
Home gardeners who wish to grow plants find a box filled
with hammock soil an ideal place for this purpose. If the weather
becomes unfavorable the young plants may be protected either
by covering them with paper or cloth, or the entire box can be
moved to a protected place. Some home gardeners prepare with
extra care a small plot in the garden for growing plants for
transplanting. When plants are grown in this way, some pro-
vision must be made in winter or early spring to protect them
from frost or freezes, while, if the plants are being started in
late summer for fall planting, they should be protected in the
early stages of growth from the hot sun and dashing rains. Old
fertilizer bags washed clean, or other such materials, afford good
protection. The cloth is stretched tightly above the plants, and
should be 10 to 12 inches above the top of the plants in order
to insure adequate ventilation.
Success in getting transplanted plants to grow satisfactorily
depends very much upon the growing conditions to which the
plants are subjected in the plant bed. As the time for trans-
planting approaches the plants should be gradually hardened.
This means subjecting them to slightly adverse growing condi-
tions so that they will store food instead of using it in growing.
To harden the plants the cover protecting the young plants
should be left off a little longer each day so that for the last
week before transplanting it is not used. Water should be with-
held from the plants for longer periods than usual. However, it
The Florida Home Garden
is always wise to water the plants thoroughly a few hours be-
fore removing them from the plant bed.
There is no difficulty in getting plants to grow when trans-
planted, provided the plants are suitable for transplanting and
are planted properly and at the right season. Well hardened
plants should be used for transplanting. Fast growing, very
succulent plants will have an exceedingly difficult time in re-
suming growth after transplanting and will recover only when
extremely favorable conditions prevail. Plants should be wa-
tered thoroughly 12 hours before they are removed from the
seedbed. The soil into which they are to be transplanted should
be firm, well worked and free from trash. The plants should be
set slightly deeper in the garden than they were in the seedbed,
and the soil should be carefully pressed around the roots. Wa-
tering, following transplanting, not only supplies needed soil
moisture but helps to bring the soil into close contact with the
roots and is, therefore, very beneficial.
Plants may be transplanted any time of the day. However, if
they are transplanted in the morning or during the heat of mid-
day it is wise to protect them from the hot sun. This is often
accomplished by using palmetto leaf or shingle. These are stuck
into the ground alongside the plant so as to shade it from the
sun. Plants transplanted in late afternoon or evening will with-
stand the shock of transplanting much better than those trans-
planted in the morning. There should be no difficulty in getting
transplanted plants to grow if the plants are carefully handled,
the soil well firmed around the roots and adequate moisture
PREPARATION OF THE SOIL
The soil in the garden should be carefully and well pre-
pared. This means that the crop residue that is present either
will be burned, raked off, or, much better, turned into the soil
so that it is well decomposed by planting time. When the plant
residue on the garden is raked off or burned, the organic matter
so valuable in maintaining the fertility of the soil is destroyed.
However, there are times in the home garden when the old plant
growth should be removed so as to get the land into shape for
p anting small seeds.
It is best to select a piece of soil free from weeds and nema-
toc'es, but if this is impracticable, such plants as Bermuda grass
rray be partially eliminated by carefully raking out the stems
Florida Agricultural Extension Service
and roots as the ground is spaded or plowed. A few hours of ex-
tra work before planting will save many hours of hoeing later
in the season.
The land should be well spaded or plowed some time before
planting begins. Ten days or two weeks before planting, the
soil should be well pulverized and the commercial fertilizer
applied. The rows are then marked out and the garden is ready
Practically every soil type on which crops are grown in this
state requires the addition of plant foods to grow a satisfactory
crop. Part of this plant food can be supplied by animal manures.
In fact, manure is one of the most satisfactory fertilizing ma-
terials that the gardener can use, and if available in sufficient
quantities, will furnish all the elements necessary for the grow-
ing of vegetables with the exception of phosphoric acid. The
latter should be applied in addition to the manure. For every
ton of manure approximately 200 pounds of superphosphate
should be used. This will balance the plant foods furnished by
If well-rotted animal manures are used, there is really no
limit to the amount that can be applied. Approximately 25 pounds
of manure and two and one-half pounds of 16 percent super-
phosphate for each 100 square feet of garden will furnish an
adequate food supply for the garden. However, if the manure is
not well rotted and larger quantities are to be used, it should be
applied two or three weeks before planting and well worked into
the soil so that it will be partially decomposed before the garden
When manure is not available, the plant food required for
the successful growing of vegetables may be secured from com-
mercial fertilizers. Probably the best fertilizer for general pur-
poses is one analyzing 5% nitrogen, 7 phosphoric acid and 5%
potash. This fertilizer may be applied at the rate of two and one-
half to five pounds for 100 square feet of area. While the fertiliz-
er can be applied in the crop row if properly mixed with the
soil, it is safer for the home gardener to broadcast the fertilizer.
It should be applied 10 days or two weeks before the seeds are
planted. If applied just previous to planting time, it is liable to
burn the young plants as they emerge from the seed. Many
gardeners get splendid results by applying the major part of the
fertilizer 10 days before the seeds are planted and the remainder
when the crop is one-half grown. When fertilizer is applied to
TABLE 1.-VARIETIES, TIME OF MATURITY AND PLANTING TIME OF FLORIDA GARDEN VEGETABLES.
No. of Days to
Reach Edible Northern Florida
Stringless Black Valentine
Alabama No. 1
Detroit Dark Red
Italian Green Sprouting
Glory of Enkhuizen
Chantenay Red Core
Golden Self Blanching
Pekin Celery Cabbage
Golden Cross Bantam
Time to Plant
TABLE I.--VARIETIES, TIE OF MATURITY AND PLANTING TLME OF FLORIDA (GARDEN VEGETABLES.-Continued
Florida High Bush
Ft. Myers Market
Approximate Time to Plar
No. of Days to
Reach Edible Northern Florida Central Florida
45 Feb.-April Feb.-March
50 and Sept.
120 Feb.-March Jan.-Feb. and
Green Curled 70 Feb.-March and
Broad-Leaved Batavian 70 Feb.-March and
Black-Seeded Simpson (Leaf) Fn Feb.-March and
White Boston 70 Sept.
Imperial 44 (Iceberg type) 85
Honey Rock 90 March-April
Hales Best 95
Southern Giant Curled 60 Jan.-March and
Florida Broad Leaf 60 Sept.-Nov.
Clemson Spineless 45 March-May and
White Velvet 45 Aug.
I Crystal Wax 150 Jan.-March and
Bermuda Red 150 Aug.-Nov.
Early Grano 140
Moss Curled (Triple Curled) 70 Feb.
Little Marvel 60 Jan.-Feb.
Laxton's Progress 65
California Wonder 120 Feb.-April
Hungarian Wax 115 Feb.-April
Anaheim Chili 135
TABLE 1.-VARIETIES, TIME OF MATURITY AND PLANTING TIME I i FLORIDA (;ARDEN
No. of Days to
Early Scarlet Globe
Scarlet Turnip White-tipped
Bloomsdale, Long Standing
Patty Pan or White Bush
Yellow Straight Neck
Japanese Foliage (Shogoin)
Time to Plant
*Will not be injured by light frost.
**Will be injured by temperatures as low as 28 only when blossoming or forming heads.
""*Can stand considerable freezing.
12 Florida Agricultural Extension Service
growing plants care should be used in applying it so that none
touches the leaves or stems of the plant. The plant will be se-
verely burned whenever fertilizer is allowed to remain in con-
tact with the foliage.
The time of planting has much to do with the successful
growth of any crop. In Table 1 is given the approximate date
that the different vegetables can be planted in the various parts
of the state. Judgment should be shown in using the suggested
dates. Perhaps the location is relatively warm or cold as com-
pared to adjoining areas. This should influence the selection of
a planting date. Then, too, some seasons are warm and others
cold. The home gardener can afford to take some risk to assure
an early or late crop. However, it is important that consideration
be given to the risks of having the crop frosted or of running
into too hot weather for proper maturity.
Care should be used in planting the seed at the proper dis-
tances and depths. The spacing distance of rows and of seeds
in the row should be studied in Table 2. The seed will be planted
much thicker in the row than the plants are to stand. After the
plants are well started, they are thinned to a stand at the ap-
proximate distance given in Table 2 to allow the proper amount
of space for best development.
Planting depths for seed of the different crops also are given
in Table 2. Where different depths are listed for the same seed,
the shallow depth is used usually on heavy or very moist soils,
the greater depth on light and dry soils.
CULTIVATION OF THE GARDEN
The primary purpose of cultivating the garden is to keep
weeds under control. Since this is the important thing, every ef-
fort should be made to keep weeds out of the garden. If a wheel
hoe or cultivator is used, the teeth or knives should be set shal-
low so that the weeds will be cut off close to the surface of the
soil. When the soil is cultivated or hoed deeply, the roots of the
vegetables will be cut off as well as the weeds. On sandy soil
the only time cultivation is either necessary or desirable is when
there are weeds present, then immediate cultivation is an ad-
vantage. It is much easier to destroy weeds when they are quite
young than it is to remove them after they become large.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE
For crops to be grown during dry seasons some method of wat-
ering or irrigation is desirable. Overhead sprinkling with an or-
The Florida Home Garden
TABLE 2.-PLANTING DISTANCE AND AMOLNT OF SEED REQUIRED FOR VEGETABLES.
to Produce Between
Given No. Rows
of Plants (inches)
1 oz. to 5000 30-36
1 oz. to 5000 24-36
1 oz. to 4500 24-30
1 oz. to 8000 24-36
1 oz. to 4000 24-30
1 oz. to 2000 36-42
1 oz. to 1000 20-36
1 oz. to 2000 40-60
dinary garden hose is satisfactory if piped water is available. On
some soil types watering can be accomplished by running the
water down the middle of the row, controlling the flow so that
the soil is thoroughly saturated. If no other means are available,
buckets can be used, although this is very laborious.
With any method the soil should be thoroughly saturated
whenever it is watered. Frequency of watering will depend upon
the type of crop being grown and the weather conditions pre-
vailing. For the majority of crops a thorough watering once a
week is sufficient. If the soil is thoroughly wetted at each water-
ing, the amount of water to be applied for growing the crop will
be less than if simply the surface of the soil is watered fre-
quently. The foliage of some plants may be burned severely if
water is applied when the sun is very bright. For this reason, it
is advisable to water in the early morning or late evening.
1'2 to 2
11/2 to 2
1% to 2
1/2 to 1
12 to 1
'4 to 1/2
14 to 1/2
1 to 2
1 to 2
1/ to %
1 to 2
1 to 2
1 to 2
4 to 8
12 to 2
Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Crops grown during the rainy summer season should be plant-
ed on ridges or beds so that the soil immediately around their
roots is well drained. Frequent cultivations during this period
may help to dry out the soil.
COOL SEASON CROPS
There are many vegetable crops that thrive best during
cool weather. Not only will they grow best during cool weather
but they will stand light frosts and many will even stand con-
siderable freezing without being seriously injured. This per-
mits their culture late in the fall and early in the spring, and
quite often they can be grown during the entire winter. Cabbage
and all its relatives such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, col-
lards, turnips, mustard and radishes, grow best during cool
weather. Other vegetable crops that thrive in cool weather are
lettuce, endive, spinach, carrots, beets and onions.
WARM SEASON CROPS
Snap beans, lima beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet
corn, while they must be grown in a season that is free from
frost, will do best if produced before or after the season of hot
summer temperatures. While some of these crops will grow
during hot weather, it is almost impossible to control the dis-
eases that develop during summer. This group of crops are those
that are planted immediately following the last frost. The crops
available for planting at this time are indicated in Table 1.
HOT WEATHER CROPS
It is fortunate that different vegetables do require different
temperatures for growing. Thus, there are not only cool season
crops for growing during the cooler parts of the year, but there
are some crops that thrive in hot weather. Sweet potatoes, New
Zealand spinach, okra, eggplant, pepper and watermelons will
all produce well during hot weather. For this reason all or part
of these crops should be planted in home gardens.
INSECTS AND DISEASES
Insects and diseases attack all vegetable crops and in sea-
sons favorable for their development will destroy the crop un-
less they are properly and vigorously fought by the gardener.
The gardener should be prepared to control both insects and
There are two important types of insects attacking the
foliage of the crops. These may be classed as chewing and suck-
ing insects. The chewing insects eat the foliage and their injury
The Florida Home Garden
can be easily seen. The cabbage worms are a good example of
this type. They are controlled by using a stomach poison, such
as arsenate of lead. Dusting with a lead arsenate dust made by
mixing 1 part of lead arsenate to 4 or 5 parts of lime usually
gives good control. Beans are the only crop that cannot be dusted
with this dust as the arsenate burns the plants. Since arsenical
dusts and sprays are poisonous to humans, care should be used
in washing off any residue on the vegetable before using it.
The damage done by sucking insects is not easily recognized.
Some sucking insects are very small and not easily seen. They
suck the sap from the plant and cause a mottling of the plant
or the dying of tissue in small areas. The aphids are an example
of this type. They are controlled by applying a contact dust.
Nicotine sulphate or Black Leaf 40 has been the standard in-
secticide used as a control. A 3 or 4 percent dust is made, using
lime as the filler. Pyrethrum compounds also are good.
Fungus diseases on plants can be controlled by dusting with
copper-lime dust or spraying with bordeaux mixture. To be most
effective, dust used for controlling either insects or diseases
should be applied when there is no wind. Nicotine dust used to
control sucking insects should be applied on a warm day.
There are certain other diseases and insects that live in the
soil or are carried by the seed. These cannot be controlled by
a dust or spray. For this reason, it is advisable, if possible, not to
grow the same crop on the same land two years in succession.
For the home garden in Florida it is well to select, at least every
three years, a new piece of soil which is free from nematodes
and has not had vegetables grown on it for several years. Also it
is advisable to rotate the crops so that no individual cron or its
relatives is grown on the same soil two years in succession.
To insure high quality products some vegetables must be
harvested promptly when they have reached the proper stage of
maturity. Many deteriorate rapidly. Sweet corn and English peas
lose one-half of their sweetness at prevailing field temperature
in two days after they have reached edible maturity, and snap
beans rapidly become fibrous and stringy once the pod is fully
grown. However, it is not true that all crops lose quality quickly.
Carrots, turnips, beets, and in fact, all root crops, continue to
be of high quality as long as they continue to grow rapidly.
Peppers and eggplants may be harvested over a long period of
time without a decrease in the quality. With such crops as to-
16 Florida Agricultural Extension Service
matoes, cantaloupes and watermelons, higher quality is devel-
oped if they are allowed to ripen on the vines.
Those crops that deteriorate rapidly on the plant, such as
corn, peas and beans, will continue to deteriorate when removed
from the plant. This change occurs much more rapidly at high
than at low temperatures, and in storing they should be held
at as low a temperature as possible without freezing them. One
of the primary reasons for the garden is to have high quality
products for the home, and, therefore, we should make every
effort once the crop is grown to harvest it at the proper time.
Many home gardeners quite often have a surplus of cer-
tain vegetables. The first use of this surplus should be to pre-
serve it for future use. This can be accomplished by canning,
preserving in salt brine or storing dry. If a surplus remains after
these needs are filled, it often may be sold.
To be marketable, surplus garden produce must be of as
high quality as that of the commercial grower and must be grad-
ed and packaged so that it is acceptable to the buyer. It should
be emphasized that the home gardener is primarily interested in
growing products for home use and it is not until all home needs
are filled that he can afford to sell any produce.
Fig. 3.-An abundant supply of garden vegetables gives variety in
the fresh product and the surplus can be preserved for times of less