ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM
OFFICES OF SEMINOLE COUNTY
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE.
AGRICULTURAL AGENT HOME ECONOMICS AGENT
AGRI-CENItR. SOUTH 1 -92, SANFORD. FLORIDA. &ZM
1 6 \.I,.., >
Revised February 1967
Joseph D. Norton F. S. Jamison
Former Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist Vegetable Crops Specialist
University of Florida University of Florida
James M. Stephens
Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist
University of Florida
originally published as Grow Your Own Vegetables
People who live in the State of Florida are fortu-
nate in that they are able to grow a wide variety of
vegetables throughout the year. Most of these vege-
tables are consumed fresh in the daily menus, while
many families freeze or can their surplus production
for later use.
To those persons interested in raising some of the
many varieties of vegetables that can be grown here,
this booklet is dedicated. We hope that all who aspire
to be home gardeners will find the information in this
book useful, and that they'll discover the health and
happiness that can come from growing their own
Commissioner of Agriculture
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Vegetable Gardening in Florida ---------------------------------- 2
Planning the Garden----------------- ----- ------------- 3
Weather ---- -------------------------------------------- 8
Soil Preparation and Fertilization----------- -------- ------ 9
Planting the Garden ---------------------------- -- ------ 18
Care of the Garden ------------------------------------------ 26
Pest Control ------------------------------------------------ 31
Insects and Diseases ---------------------------------------33
Harvesting and Storing --_-_--------------- ------------------45
Individual Crops _-- ----__----__-------------------------- 48
(follow page 33)
1- Suggested Year-round Garden _---------- ------------------- 4
2--Fertilizer Grades and Rates -------------------------------- 14
3- Approximate Rates of Fertilizer Application __-------------_ 15
4- Planting Guide for Vegetable Gardens ----------------------- 24
5--Soil Fumigants and Rates for in the Row Treatment ------------32
6- Dusting Materials for Insect Control ----------------------- 41
No state in the United States is climatically better located
than Florida for production of a year-round vegetable supply in
For many years hundreds of successful gardens, containing
a wide variety of vegetables, have been planted by home gar-
deners throughout the state. A large part of the vegetables grown
in the home gardens are consumed in the home.
There is no valid reason, from the standpoint of either pro-
duction or nutrition, why Florida growers cannot or should not
produce in gardens an abundant, year-round supply of vegetables.
During winter months, while northern states experience
temperatures too low for most vegetable crops, Florida's climate
permits the production of many vegetables. While midsummer's
excessive heat and showers prevent some vegetables from grow-
ing well, certain crops can be grown during this season. By grow-
ing crops for canning and freezing during the best growing
season, enough vegetables may be produced to supply the family
with vegetables throughout the year. However, these favorable
temperatures promote the development and persistence of many
insects and diseases that are a challenge to gardeners. Even so,
there are few desirable vegetables which should be eliminated in
Florida gardens simply because of insect and disease problems.
To be sure, some crops are disastrously attacked, occasionally or
regularly, but the problem is not peculiar to Florida. Wherever
gardens are grown, there are insect and disease enemies that
must be fought.
Those who neglect the first principles of vegetable culture-
varietal selection and disease and insect control-may expect
failures. Upon such neglect must be placed much of the blame for
occasional pessimism regarding vegetable production in Florida.
Any garden endeavor will be only as good as the intelligent plan-
ning, work, energy, and enthusiasm which go into it.
The home vegetable garden helps to keep both farm and city
families well fed. For the city family, in particular, it provides
wholesome recreation. The garden also affords an opportunity to
teach young people a sense of responsibility, and a garden which
exceeds family requirements can be a source of income.
A vegetable garden is easier to plant, cultivate, and harvest
if it is near the house. If possible, locate the garden near a source
of water for irrigation. Under most conditions, the garden should
be surrounded by a fence sufficiently high and close woven to
keep out poultry, dogs, rabbits, and other animals. Such a fence
not only protects the garden, it also serves as a trellis for pole
beans, tomatoes, and other crops needing support.
Vegetables do best when they get at least 5 to 6 hours of full
sunlight during the middle of the day. If there must be a choice,
put the root crops-tomatoes, corn, potatoes, cucumbers, and mel-
ons-in as full sunlight as possible, as broccoli, snap beans, cab-
bage, and most of the leafy crops can withstand more shade. Tree
and shrub roots compete with vegetable plants for nutrients and
moisture. If the garden must be located near trees or shrubs, dig
a ditch 11/2 to 2 feet deep and place roofing paper or metal roof-
ing along one side of the trench. Refill the ditch with soil.
Figure 1 Effect of tree roots on a nearby garden
You can grow a good garden wherever weeds will grow.
Avoid areas that are low and wet during the season of the year
that a garden is to be grown. A fertile soil that is easily worked
is the best, but other soils may be used. Usually the town and
city gardener has little choice in soil; however, he can greatly im-
prove an unfavorable soil by adding organic material (manure,
compost, leaves, grass, etc.) and commercial fertilizer.
PLANNING THE GARDEN
In planning the home garden, many factors should be con-
sidered so as to insure maximum production from land available.
Selecting the Vegetables
Growing the crops that are liked by your family. This list
may be limited by the size of the garden and by the crops that
are likely to be successful in your area. For example, asparagus
and rhubarb seldom produce acceptable yields in Florida. The
nutritive value of the vegetables should also be considered.
Before planting, a plan of the garden should be prepared on
paper, showing the location of each crop, the amount to be
planted on each date, crops to follow earlier ones, and companion
crops that are to be planted in the same area. No one plan will
suit the needs of everyone. The suggested year-round plan for
Central Florida submitted here may be adapted to individual
needs. Planting dates for North Florida are approximately two
weeks later in the spring and two weeks earlier in the fall. For
South Florida the planting dates are about two weeks earlier in
the spring and two weeks later in the fall. However, planting
dates will vary for crops and by locality. Check the Suggested
Planting Guide, Table 4, page 24, before planting.
When making your garden plan, the following suggestions
may be helpful:
1. Arrange crops that are to be planted first along one side
of the garden.
2. Place long-season crops such as strawberries to one side
of the garden so they will not interfere with -the prepa-
ration of the garden each season.
3. Plant tall-growing crops on the north side of the garden
so they will not shade other plants.
4. Group crops of similar maturation dates together so that
the space may be prepared easily for later plantings.
5. If space permits, plant enough of each vegetable for
freezing, canning, and storing as well as for fresh use.
(See the Florida Food Plan, a Home Demonstration
Mimeograph, for vegetable requirements for your fam-
Table 1.-SUGGESTED YEAR-ROUND GARDEN FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA
(Family of five Approximately /3 acre)
Rows 100 feet long
Followed by Followed by
Fall Planting Spring Planting Summer Planting
Vegetable Date Vegetable Date Vegetable Date
Cover crop from summer
----- -- ---- ---- -- -
Collards.............. Jan.-Apr... Collards .............
Jan.-Mar....... Potatoes, Sw.
Jan.-Mar........ Potatoes, Sw.
A ug... .............
A ug .................
if not trans-
Cover crop such as
or Crotalaria Striata.
Mar. 20-Jun. 20
Potatoes, Sw. From Spring
5 rows......... Planting
2 row s............
5 row s............
5 rows ........
J a n ......................
Jan ...... .............
NOTE: This plan shows the arrangement and the rotation of crops for one
year. The summer and fall gardens should be placed in a different area of the
garden each year.
6. Allow ample space between rows for convenient cultiva-
tion, depending upon the type of tool to be used.
7. Don't plant too much of any one crop at one time, par-
ticularly radishes, lettuce, kohlrabi, spinach, and Swiss
chard. Study the production records in the planting
guide, Table 4.
8. Make succession plantings every 10 to 14 days of rad-
ishes, snap beans, sweet corn, and other crops to provide
fresh vegetables over a long period. A similar effect will
result from planting at the same time two or more varie-
ties with different maturity dates.
9. To prevent diseases that may live over from the previous
season, practice crop rotation. That is, do not grow the
same vegetable in or near the same location more often
than once every three years. Since members of some
plant families are subject to many of the same diseases,
rotation should be by families as well as by individual
crops. Move members of the cabbage-cauliflower-broc-
coli-collard family and the cucumber-melon-squash fam-
ily to parts of the garden where no other members of the
same family were grown the past season. Crop rotation
and seed treatment (page 18) control many diseases.
To be sure of a continuous supply of garden-fresh vegetables
throughout the season, successive plantings of many crops may
be made. Space plantings 10 to 14 days apart of radishes, snap
beans, sweet corn, turnips, and other crops. Also, one crop may
follow another one in the garden. Study the Suggested Planting
Guide, Table 4, for combinations of crops to handle in this man-
ner. For example, you may follow fall cabbage with spring peas.
Through careful planning and companion cropping, produc-
tion from the small garden may be greatly increased. Provided
the soil is properly fertilized and water is available, frequently
two or three vegetables may be grown in the same area; for in-
stance, crops that mature quickly can be planted between the
rows or in the rows with crops that occupy the space for a rela-
tively long period. Lettuce and cabbage are often set alternately
in the row, with radishes planted between the rows. The radishes
and lettuce are out of the way before the cabbage needs the
Squash or pumpkins can be planted in between early corn if
the corn is spaced at least three feet between rows and single
plants spaced 18 inches or more apart in the row. The stalks
should be removed as soon as the corn matures, so as to make
room for the squash.
In small gardens early beans, lettuce, radishes, or turnips
may be planted between rows to be planted later in the spring to
tomatoes, eggplant, okra, summer squash, and sweet potatoes.
Early peas may be planted between the rows being saved for
later plantings of tomatoes.
Radishes may be mixed with carrot seed and sown in the
same row. Since carrots germinate slowly the radishes will help
to mark the row and mature before the carrots need the extra
While succession and companion cropping is recommended
for the small garden, the practice makes heavy demands on the
soil. Two or more crops cannot be successfully grown on the same
area unless plenty of water is available, liberal amounts of fer-
tilizer are used, and the best cultural practices are followed.
Every gardener needs a hoe, a rake, and a spading fork
(Figure 2). Two stakes and a heavy cord are a help in making
straight rows (Figure 2). A trowel is used in transplanting, but
you may use a hoe or shovel.
Figure 2- Essential tools for the gardener
For large gardens, a handplow of the type shown in Figure
3 multiplies the gardener's efficiency many times. Dusters and
sprayers are shown in Figures 22 and 23 and are discussed on
pages 43 and 44.
all, LI .
.. 1 r 7-'-.
-J H ~cW Ay~k_
Figure 3- Hand plow for large garden
Small garden tractors save labor at planting and cultivating
time and are justified economically in large gardens. Such a trac-
tor may be most helpful in a garden cared for by young people
because they will take a greater interest in it than in ordinary
Gardening is easier if all tools are kept clean and well-sharp-
ened. Tighten all loose nuts, bolts, or screws with a wrench to
save wear, and sharpen all cutting edges. Most edged tools can
be easily sharpened on a file, emery wheel, or grindstone.
Tools last longer if you keep them free of rust. Clean any
rusted tools with a rust-remover paste, steel wool, or sand paper.
After cleaning, rub all tools with an oily rag. Keep the tools
under cover at all times except when they are being used.
A good gardener must be a good student of the weather or
follow the advice of someone who is.
Weather in the different seasons may vary from year to
year. Therefore, forecasts by radio, television, and newspapers
are valuable to the gardener. However, seasonal weather gener-
ally repeats itself from year to year. This helps the gardener use
long-time weather records in deciding the best time to prepare
soil, plant, transplant and harvest. The planting dates in the
planting guide (Table 4) were prepared on the above basis.
Successful spring and summer gardens in North and Central
Florida, and South Florida to a certain degree, depend on the
gardener's knowledge of late winter and spring temperatures.
Both yields and quality normally are highest from plantings or
transplantings made as early as the weather is favorable for
good growth. A careful study of the dates of the last killing frost
in spring helps in estimating when to plant or transplant with
In very early plantings, many of the crops will withstand
light frosts. Some gardeners are willing to risk these early plant-
ings to have the seasons' first vegetables. For example, it is ideal
to have snap beans emerge from the ground the day after the last
killing frost in the spring. However, if the beans emerge too
early and are killed, replanting will not cost much and the risk
was well worth taking.
KILLING FROST LIABLE ANNUALLY
KILLING FROST LIABLE --
IN HALF THE YEARS I
S- NO RECORD OF KILLING FROST
Figure 4 Average dates of last killing spring frost in Florida
Plantings in fall and winter gardens in North and Central
Florida must be made early enough for plants to make most of
their growth before the first killing frost. Hence, it is important
to know about when to expect the first killing frost. This also
helps to determine when to harvest tender crops such as toma-
toes and sweet potatoes. Although killing frosts sometimes occur
in South Florida, the cooler fall and winter months are the most
desirable months for gardening.
KILLING FROST LIABLE ANNUALLY
KILLING FROST LIABLE
IN HALF THE YEARS
I NO RECORD OF KILLING FROST
Figure 5 Average dates of first killing fall frost in Florida
The gardener is also interested in when it is most likely to
be wet or too dry. The general weather cycle from year to year
is usually very similar. Therefore, the gardener may make his
Turn the ground about three weeks before planting with a
spade or plow when it is dry enough to work. A good test is to
mold a handful of the soil into a ball with the hands. If this ball
is not sticky but crumbles readily when pressed with the thumb,
the soil is ready to be worked. Plow or spade the soil 6 to 8 inches
deep or about as deep as it has been worked in the past.
For information on soil fumigation and soil insect control
refer to pages 32 and 41.
Harrow or rake the soil soon after turning to maintain good
soil texture and prevent excessive drying. For small-seeded crops,
such as carrots, a finely pulverized surface insures easier plant-
ing, better germination, and a more even stand. A plank drag
or harrow is useful in gardens to fit the soil for small seeds.
With these tools the job may be done faster than with a rake.
The success of a garden often depends on getting the job done
promptly and efficiently so as not to interfere unnecessarily with
other work. The thoroughness with which the soil is prepared
before planting determines to a large extent the ease, efficiency,
and amount of cultivation.
Soil Reaction and Lime
The symbol, pH, and the figures accompanying it are used to
express the degree of soil acidity. A soil with a pH of 7.0 is neu-
tral, while one with a pH of 6.9 or below is acid, or "sour," and
one with a pH of 7.1 or above is alkaline, or "sweet."
Most vegetables grow best on a soil that has a pH between
5.5 and 6.0 or slightly acid. Proper applications of lime made to
F 6P g on acid o e p
Figure 6 Poor growth on acid soil, center of picture
extremely acid soils will increase the production of most vege-
tables. Too much lime in the soil may be just as bad as too little.
Apply liming materials only if a soil test indicates a need for
them. If the soil is thought to be too acid, take a sample to the
County Agricultural Agent or Agricultural Teacher for testing.
The results of the test probably will be expressed in terms of pH.
A reaction below pH 5.5 indicates a need for lime. Dolomitic lime
is a good liming material because of its magnesium content; how-
ever, owing to its slow reaction, it must be applied well ahead of
planting. Hydrated lime may be used where a quick-acting ma-
terial is needed. It may be applied two weeks or more before
planting provided it is mixed well with the soil.
The amount to apply depends upon the soil reaction or pH
value, type of soil, and kind of liming materials used. If your soil
has a pH below 5.5, apply the amount suggested by your County
Agricultural Agent; however, 2 to 3 pounds of dolomitic lime
to each 100 square feet of area should be adequate except on ex-
tremely acid soils. Hydrated lime may be used at 3/4 the above
rate for dolomite.
The liming material should be spread evenly over the garden
before plowing or spading. If plowing has already been completed
it may be applied and worked into the soil thoroughly by hoeing,
raking, or harrowing.
All materials applied to the soil to furnish plants with nutri-
ent elements, except animal manures and other organic residues,
are called "commercial fertilizers." The nutrient elements most
likely to be needed on most soils are nitrogen, phosphorus, and
potassium. These nutrients are always given in this order in the
analysis shown on the fertilizer bag. For example, a "6-8-6" is a
fertilizer containing 6 percent available nitrogen (N) ; 8 percent
phosphorus, expressed as phosphoric acid (P20s) ; and 6 percent
potassium, expressed as potash (KO0).
Other elements are needed by plants, but these are usually
present in the soil or are needed only in relatively minute quan-
tities. They can be supplied in the fertilizer in instances where
needed. In some gardens, particularly on the marl soils, the land
may be alkaline due to the high lime content of the soil. When
alkaline water is used for irrigation, the soil may also become
alkaline. In such cases it may be necessary to use fertilizer con-
training manganese and boron. On the other hand, gardens on
sand, muck, and peat soils may be so strongly acid that lime is
needed to correct acidity and supply sufficient quantities of cal-
cium and magnesium, as recommended in the previous section.
Commercial fertilizers should be used in gardens to supply
an abundance of mineral nutrients, so as to insure production of
satisfactory crops of high quality. Manure is an excellent source
of organic matter for garden soils, and usually is a good source
of nitrogen and potassium, but is low in phosphorus. Nutrients
from manure are more slowly available than in commercial fer-
tilizers. The high availability of nutrients, especially nitrogen, in
commercial fertilizers is very important in vegetable growing.
Even when manure is used on the garden it is desirable to apply
a commercial fertilizer containing some nitrogen and a high per-
centage of phosphate.
Figure 7- Garden Fertilizers
Fertilizers are available with a wide variation in the amounts
of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. Most commercial grades show
specified amounts of minor elements. The kind of fertilizer to use
on a garden will depend on the soil type and the previous treat-
ment of the soil.
In home gardens where many kinds of vegetables are grown
in a small area under intensive culture, it becomes necessary to
suggest practices that are widely adapted and will be satisfactory
for the crops that have large nutrient requirements, but will not
be injurious to those with the lowest needs. It is possible to use
too much fertilizer and thus injure crops.
Sandy, clay, and marl soils in Florida are usually low in
nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash; fertilizer for these soils should
contain a high percent of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. Muck
and peat soils are high in nitrogen, but lack phosphorus, and are
usually very low in potassium. With these facts in mind, the
following grades and amounts of fertilizer are recommended.
Figure 8 Banding fertilizer to garden row
Table 2.-FERTILIZER GRADES AND RATES FOR FLORIDA HOME
Sandy, clay, or marl............................
Muck or peat........................................
Amount 100 sq. ft.
10 ft. row Amount
1/ lb. 2-4 lbs.
lb. 1-2 lbs.
Best results are obtained by applying fertilizer before or at
planting time in two bands (furrows). The bands are spaced 1
to 2 inches below and 2 to 3 inches to the side of the planting
Additional nitrogen may be supplied during the season by
two or three light applications of soluble forms equal to 1/4 to 1/2
pound of nitrate of soda per 100 square feet. Leafy crops, such
as cabbage, kale, collards, lettuce, and spinach, which often re-
quire more nitrogen than other garden crops, may be stimulated
by sidedressing with a nitrogen fertilizer at the above rate. As a
rule, the tuber and root crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes,
beets, carrots, and turnips, need a higher percentage of potash
than other vegetables. Additional potash may be added by apply-
ing soluble forms equal to 1/4 pound of muriate of potash to each
100 square feet of area. Where a sidedressing of both nitrogen
and potash is needed, you may apply complete fertilizer as a
sidedressing at 1/4 the rates listed in Table 2; do not use the
nitrogen carrier on muck and pest soils.
Measurement of Fertilizer
Because of the small quantities of fertilizer required for
short rows and small pots, it is easy to apply too much fertilizer.
The chemical fertilizers to be applied should always be weighed
or measured. Table 3 shows how much fertilizer to apply to each
100 feet of garden row or to each 100 to 2,000 square feet of
If it is more convenient to measure the material than to
weigh it, pounds of a common garden fertilizer, such as 6-8-6,
superphosphate, ammonium phosphate, or muriate of potash,
may be converted roughly to pints or cups by allowing 1 pint, or
2 kitchen measuring cups, to a pound. For example, Table 3 gives
0.25 pound for a 100 pound per acre application to 100 square
feet. This would call for about 1/4 pint, or 1/2 cup, of fertilizer.
Table 3.-APPROXIMATE RATES OF FERTILIZER APPLICATION
PER 100 FEET OF ROW, AND PER 100 TO 2,000 SQUARE
FEET OF GARDEN AREA
Weight of fertilizer to apply when the
amount to be applied per acre is:
100 400 800 1200
pounds pounds pounds pounds
Rows 100 feet long spaced:
2 feet apart................ .......... .................... 0.5 2.0 4.0 6.0
212 feet apart..................................... ..... .6 2.4 4.8 7.2
3 feet apart .................................. ....... .7 2.8 5.6 8.4
Area (square feet):
100................................. ................. .25 1.0 2 .0 3.0
1,000.................................................. ............ 2.5 10.0 20.0 30.0
2,000.................................. .. ...... ....... 5.0 20.0 40.0 60.0
Ground limestone and granular sodium nitrate weigh about
11/3 times as much as the same volumes of water; therefore,
measured quantities of these materials should be about 1/, less
than those calculated as equivalent to the weights in the table.
For example, %3/ pint of ground limestone weighs about 1 pound.
Ammonium sulfate and granular ammonium nitrate are much
lighter, weighing about seven-tenths as much as the same vol-
umes of water; therefore, volumes of these substances calculated
by the foregoing method should be increased by about one-third.
Garden soils may be deficient in manganese, boron, copper,
and certain other minor elements. Such deficiencies are not likely
to occur when the pH is between 5.5 and 6.0. When the pH is
higher than 6.5, manganese sulfate may be needed for beans,
strawberries, peas, beets, and certain other crops. A deficiency of
manganese shows up as a fading of the green color in the leaves,
with the veins remaining green. A spray application of 2 pounds
of manganese sulfate to 100 gallons of water should be made to
correct the nutrient deficiency.
Where the soil is neutral or alkaline in reaction-pH 7.0 or
higher-borax is likely to be needed for turnips, beets, spinach,
cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, and ruta-
bagas. The most noticeable symptoms of boron deficiency are
black corky areas in the flesh of turnips, rutabagas, and beets;
rough cankers on the outside of beets; blackened small center
leaves in the case of head lettuce; internal stem browning of cab-
bage and cauliflower; small deformed center leaves on spinach;
and cracking of celery petioles.
The best insurance against a boron deficiency when it occurs
is to apply common borax. Arrange the garden so the above men-
tioned crops are in one section. Apply common borax at the rate
of 12 pounds per acre or 4 ounces per 1,000 square feet. Borax
should not be applied for beans and peas.
Copper deficiencies develop on muck soils and possibly on
the lighter sands. Applications of 25 to 50 pounds of copper sul-
fate per acre or 1 pound per 1,000 square feet of garden on these
soils are required for good vegetable production.
Manganese sulfate, borax, copper, and certain other minor
elements, where needed, may be mixed with the fertilizer since it
is very difficult to spread these small amounts uniformly. These
materials can also be applied to growing plants. They may be dis-
solved in water and sprayed on the foliage without harm if the
rates given are not exceeded. Use 1 gallon of water for 100 square
feet of garden.
Organic matter may be considered the life of the soil. With-
out organic matter bacteria and other microscopic organisms
could not exist and the soil would be too sterile to grow vegetable
crops. Organic matter also improves the physical condition of
soil, making it easier to work; it increases the water-holding
capacity of sandy soils and improves the drainage of heavy soils.
Furthermore, on acid soils or where too much lime or fertilizer
has been used, organic material helps prevent injury to plants.
Animal manures are the best organic materials for a garden.
Vegetable yields are greatly increased by broadcasting 25 pounds
of manure to which has been added 212 pounds of superphosphate
per 100 square feet of garden. If the manure is not well-rotted
and larger quantities are used, apply it three or more weeks be-
fore planting and work the manure into the soil. You may use as
much as 12 to 15 tons of stable manure and 5 tons of poultry
manure per acre. Manure is not a balanced fertilizer: for best
results use a complete fertilizer in addition to manure. Manure
is especially low in phosphorus.
Figure 9 Making Artificial Manure
If animal manure is not available, synthetic manure is a sat-
isfactory substitute. Artificial manure may be made from leaves,
straw, weeds, damaged hay, or other plant material. If kept well
filled, a pen 10 feet square and 6 feet deep will produce 2 to 21/2
tons of well-rotted manure a year. Put down a layer of the mate-
rial one foot thick over an area 10 x 10 feet. Sprinkle over this 5
pounds of complete fertilizer (6-8-6) and spray with water until
thoroughly moistened. Add successive layers until the pile is about
6 feet high. When the pile is completed, it should be straight
sided, and concave or saucer shaped on top. The pile will decom-
pose into manure, equal to good stable manure, in several months.
Usually synthetic manure is made early in the season and a year
previous to using.
Green manure crops offer another good way to maintain the
organic matter of garden soils. Any crop that will produce a large
amount of top growth and is easily turned under makes a desir-
able cover. However, in root-knot infested soils, it is desirable to
use resistant crops such as Crotalaria spectabilis striata, or velvet
beans as summer cover crops after the spring garden is harvested.
Cover crops should be turned under at least three weeks be-
fore planting. This should allow enough time for the plant mate-
rial to decompose.
PLANTING THE GARDEN
Good seed may mean the difference between success and fail-
ure in your garden. Buy good seed from a reliable dealer well
ahead of planting time. Plant only varieties of vegetables tested
and found adapted to your area. Vegetables resistant to insects,
diseases, and adverse weather conditions are much easier to grow
than those that are not resistant. The Planting Guide, Table 4,
lists many of the better varieties for Florida.
Seed Treatment .
Buy treated seed. Most seed companies treat seed with either
chloranil, captain, or thiram, or a combination of one of these dry
chemicals with an insecticide such as DDT. However, when
treated seed cannot be obtained, chloranil (Spergon), thiram
(Arasan), and chloranil-DDT may be purchased at seed and gar-
den supply stores and applied dry to most all vegetable seeds. It is
considered good insurance to treat seeds in order to protect them
against seed decay and pre-emerge damping-off.
Treatment may be made in packets, fruit jars, bottles, or tin
cans. Small measuring spoons may be used in measuring the dust
for large amounts of seed. For each pound of seed, use 1 level tea-
spoonful of chloranil 48% or 1/2 teaspoonful of thiram 50%. You
may estimate the amount of dust for treating smaller quantities
of seed. In treating small paper packets of seeds, tear off one
corner of the packet and put the dust (this may be picked up on
the point of a knife) in the packet-shake together for a minute.
In treating loose seeds place them in a jar, bottle, tin can, or
similar container, put in the dust, and shake together for a min-
ute. Be sure all seeds are thinly coated. Pour the seeds on a piece
of wire screen to remove all surplus dust before planting. Too
much Chloranil will delay sprouting of some seed. Be sure the
dust is not removed from the treated seed in handling.
CAUTION-Seed treating chemicals are poisonous and should
be handled with care.
Many home gardeners purchase their vegetable plants from
a reliable dealer or grower. Owing to difficulty in obtaining cer-
tain varieties, some gardeners prefer to grow their own plants.
Others grow them for the pleasure of growing the plants.
Figure 10- Thinning plants on seedbed
It is a good idea to start plants of certain crops (cabbage,
tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, etc.) before it is time to plant
them in the garden. You can use a hotbed, coldframe, seedbox, or
outdoor seedbed to grow plants for transplanting.
A seedbox, or flat, is probably the most practical device for
the home gardener who starts a small number of plants. In a
small way, the seedbox serves the same purpose as a hotbed. Any
small, shallow, wooden box can be used as a seedbox; however,
one 3 to 5 inches deep, 12 inches wide, and 18 inches long is most
convenient. It should not be too heavy to move easily when the
soil is moist. Small cracks in the bottom provide drainage. A
newspaper may be placed in the bottom to prevent the soil from
dropping through the cracks.
Place a 3/,-inch layer of pea gravel in bottom of box. Take a
loose, fertile garden soil from an area where vegetables have not
been grown and sterilize it by heating it in an oven 1 hour at
3500 to 400' Fahrenheit. Add 3 to 4 inches of this soil to the
plant box; then mix 2 tablespoons of 6-8-6 fertilizer with the soil.
Make rows in the seedbox 1/4 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart.
Cover seed; water soil, and place the box where it will be warm
and receive light. Place a newspaper or plastic material over the
box until plants begin to emerge.
If "damping off" is observed on the seedbed, wet the base of
the plant stems and soil surface to a depth of 1/) to 1 inch with 1
Figure 11 Sturdy tomato plants ready for transplanting
ounce of wettable Chloranil 48% to 3 gallons of water (about 2
tablespoons per gallon), or dust Chloranil 12 % on the soil surface
and water in.
Thin plants to 2 to 3 inches apart when they are about 2
inches high, and transplant them to another flat or paper bands.
Before setting plants in the garden, place them where they will
be hardened by the sun and wind. Increase the time the box has
full sunlight each day until plants are thoroughly hardened.
1. Have vigorous, disease-free plants ready at the right
time. Start plants in the seedbox, coldframe, or hotbed 4
to 6 weeks before time for transplanting. Thin when 2
inches high'so they will develop strong, stocky plants.
Harden to wind and sun before setting in garden.
2. Have the soil ready for transplanting. Prepare the soil
long enough before planting for it to be rained on if
possible. Apply fertilizer 10 days to 2 weeks before plant-
ing or band-place at planting.
3. Transplant when conditions are best. Soon after a rain
or when cloudy or in late afternoon.
4. Handle plants carefully when transplanting.
Remove plants from beds to save all roots. Dip roots in soft mud
or water when setting and put dry soil over moist soil.
5. Place a cardboard band around the base of each plant to
protect from cutworms.
i Figure 13
6. Protect plants 2 to 4 days after transplanting.
Palmetto Leaf Newspaper Board Flower Pot Bush
A starter solution gets the plants off to a quick start. Special
starter preparations may be purchased or one can be made by
thoroughly dissolving 1 to 2 tablespoons of 6-8-6 fertilizer in one
gallon of water. Pour 1/2 to 1 pint of this solution around the
base of each plant; then cover the moist soil with dry soil.
Figure 15- Setting tomato plants
When ordering plants, be sure to specify stocky plants of the
right variety and size. Also specify date plants are to be deliv-
ered. Have the ground prepared when the plants arrive. Buy only
fresh plants and plant them immediately.
It is desirable to plant in a freshly prepared seedbed; other-
wise the weeds are likely to come up before the plants.
PLANT IN STRAIGHT ROWS-This will increase the attractive-
ness of your garden and make cultivation, insect control, and
harvesting easier. Use stakes, string, and a yardstick to mark off
rows. Follow your previously prepared plan. Shallow furrows,
suitable for small seed, can be made by drawing the hoe handle
along the line. For deeper furrows, use the corner of the hoe-
blade or a garden plow.
PLANT AT PROPER DEPTH-In moist soil, cover small seeds
Figure 16 Making hallow furrows for small seed
Table 4-PLANTING GUIDE FOR VEGETABLE GARDENS
Spacing Seed Planting Dates in Florida Plant3 Pounds Days
Crop VarietiesI Seeds/Plants In Inches Depth (inclusive) Hardi- Yield to
100' of Row Rows Plants Inches North Central South ness 100ft. Harvest
Beans, Snap Extender,2 Contender,2 lb. 18-30 2-3 1'-2 Mar.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Sept.-Apr. T 45 50-60
Harvester, Wade,2 Cherokee (wax) Aug.-Sept. Sept.
Beans, Pole Dade, McCaslan, Kentucky 191 (U.S. 1 lb. 40-48 15-18 1%-2 Mar.-June Feb.-Apr. Jan.-Feb. T 80 60-65
No. 4),2 Florigreen
Beans, Lima Fordhook 2422 Concentrated,2 Hen- 1 lb. 26-48 12-15 1%-2 Mar.-June Feb.-Apr. Sept.-Apr. T 50 65-75
derson,2 Jackson Wonder, Chal-
Beets Early Wonder, Detroit Dark Red 1 oz. 14-24 3-5 %-1 Sept.-Mar. Oct.-Mar. Oct.-Feb. H 75 60-70
Broccoli Early Green Sprouting,2 Waltham 60 plts. 30-36 16-22 '-1 Aug.-Feb. Aug.-Jan. Sept-Jan. H 50 60-70
29, Atlantic (' oz.)
Cabbage Copenhagen Market, Marion Market, 65 pits. 24-36 14-24 / Sept.-Feb. Sept.-Jan. Sept.-Jan. H 125 70-90
Badger Market, Glory of Enk- (A oz.)
huizen, Red Acre, Chieftan Savoy
Carrots Imperator,2 Gold Spike, oz. 16-24 1-3 A Sept.-Mar. Oct.-Mar. Oct.-Feb. H 100 70-75
[ C aulllower
Jan.-Feb. Oct.-Jan. Oct.-Jan. H 80 55-60
Celery Utah 52-70, Florida Pascal 150 pits. 24-36 6-10 A-'/2 Jan.-Mar. Aug.-Feb. Oct.-Jan. H 150 115-125
Chinese Cabbage Michihli 125 pits. 24-36 8-12 '- Oct.-Jan. Oct.-Jan Nov.-Jan. H 100 75-85
Collards Georgia Strains 75 plts. 24-30 14-18 % Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Apr. Sept.-Jan. H 150 50-55
(% oz.) Sept.-Nov. Aug.-Nov.
Corn, Sweet Silver Queen (white), Golden Cross % lb. 34-42 12-18 % Mar.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. T 15 80-85
Bantam,2 Golden Security, Seneca
Chief,2 many others
Cantaloupes Smith's Perfect, Seminole, Florida 1 oz. 70-80 48-60 % Mar.-Apr. Feb.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. T 150 75-90
No. 1, Florisun
Cucumbers Marketer, Palomar, Ashley (slicers) 1 oz. 48-60 15-24 /-% Feb.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. T 100 50-55
Ohio MR 17, Stays Green picklerss) Sept.
Eggplant Fort Myers Market, Florida Market 30 plts. 36-42 36-48 % Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. Dec.-Feb. T 200 80-85
('% oz.) __ July Aug.-Sept.
Endive-Escarole Deep Heart Fringed, Full Heart 1 oz. 18-24 8-12 % Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. Sept.-Jan. H 75 90-95
Batavian Sept. Sept.
Kohlrabi Early White Vienna 1 oz. 24-30 3-5 % Mar.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Nov.-Feb. H 100 50-55
Lettuce (Crisp) Premier, Great Lakes types
(Butterhead) Bibb, Matchless Sweetheart oz. 12-18 12-18 % Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. Sept.-Jan. H 75 50-80
(Leaf) Prize Head, Ruby, Salad Bowl Sept. Sept.
(Romaine) Parris Island Cos, Dark Green Cos
Mustard Southern Giant Curled, Florida 1 oz. 14-24 4-6 1% Jan.-Mar. Jan.-Mar. Sept.-Mar. H 100 40-45
Broad Leaf 2Sept.-May Sept.-Nov.
Clemson Spineless,2, Perkins Long
18-24 1 1-2
Mar.-May Mar.-May Feb.-Mar.1 T
AuL. Aug. Au.-Sent .
Onions (Bulbing) Excel, Texas Granex, White 400 pits. or 12-24 3-4 Jan.-Mar. Jan.-Mar. Jan.-Mar. H 100 100-130
Granex, Tropicana Red sets loz. seed Aug.-Nov. Aug.-Nov. Sept.-Nov.
(Green) White Portugal or White types, 800 plts. or sets 12-24 l1s-2 % Aug.-Mar. Aug.-Mar. Sept.-Mar. H 100 50-75
shallots (Multipliers) 112 lb. sets 18-24 6-8 %4 Aug.-Jan. Aug.-Jan. Sept.-Dec. H 100 75-105
Parsley Moss Curled 1 oz. 12-20 8-12 i Feb.-Mar. Dec.-Jan. Sept.-Jan. H 40 90-95
Peas Littel Marvel,2 Dark Skinned 1%' lbs. 24-36 2-3 1-2 Jan.-Feb. Sept.-Mar. Sept.-Feb. H 40 50-55
Peas, Southern Blackeye,2 Brown Crowder, Bush 1/2 lbs. 30-36 2-3 1-2 Mar.-May Mar.-May Feb.-Apr. T 80 70-80
Conch,2 Dixielee, Producer, Topset
Pepper (Sweet) Calif. Wonder, Yolo Wonder, 60 plts. 20-36 18-24 's Feb.-Apr. Jan.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. T 50 70-80
World Beater (% oz.) Aug.-Oct.
(Hot) Hungarian Wax, Anaheina Chili
Potatoes Sebago, Red Pontiac, Kennebec, 15 Ibs. 36-42 12-15 4-8 Jan.-Feb. Jan. Sept.-Jan. SH 150 80-95
Potatoes, Sweet U.S. No. 1, Porto Rico, Georgia Red, 80 pits. 48-54 18-24 Mar.-June Feb.-June Feb.-June T 75 120-140
Goldrush, Nugget, Centennial
Radish Cherry Belle, Comet, Early Scarlet
Globe, White Icicle, Sparkler 1 oz. 12-18 102 % Oct.-Mar. Oct.-Mar. Oct.-Mar. H 40 20-25
Spinach Virginia Savoy, Dixie Market, 2 oz. 14-18 3-5 % Oct.-Nov. Oct.-Nov. Oct.-Jan. H 40 40-45
Spinach (Summer) New Zealand 2 oz. 30-36 18-24 % Mar.-Apr. Mar.-Apr. Jan.-Apr. T 40 55-65
Squash (Summer) Early Prolific Straightneck, Early 2 oz. 42-48 42-48 12 Mar.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Mar. T 150 45-60
Summer Crookneck, Cocozelle, Aug. Aug. Sept.-Oct.
Zucchini, Patty Pan
(Winter) Alagold, Table Queen, Butternut 2 oz. 90-120 48-72 2 Mar. Feb.-Mar. Jan.-Feb. T 300 95-105
Strawberry Florida 902 100 pits. 36-40 10-14 Sept.-Oct. Sept.-Oct. Oct.-Nov. H 50 90-110
Tomatoes (Large Manalucie,4 Homestead-24, Indian 35 pits. 40-60 36-40 "' Feb.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Aug.-Mar. T 125 75-85
Fruited) River, Manapal,4 Florilou,4 (% oz.) Aug. Sept.
(Small Fruited) Large Cherry, Roma (Paste) 70 pits. 36-48 18-24 '% Feb.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. Aug.-Mar. T 200 75-85
(1/ oz.) Aug. Sept.
Turnips Japanese Foliage (Shigoin),2 1 oz. 12-20 4-6 '/-% Jan.-Apr. Jan.-Mar. Oct.-Feb. H 150 40-50
Purple Top White Globe Aug.-Oct. Sept.-Nov.
Water- (Large) Charleston Gray, Congo, Blackstone, 2 oz. 90-120 60-84 2 Mar.-Apr. Jan.-Apr. Feb.-Mar. T 400 80-100
(Seedless) Tri-X 317
(Small) New Hampshire Midget, Sugar Baby
'Under appropriate crops the varieties included are generally suited to home canning. Certain varieties have resistance to diseases: Snap Beans-Extender,
Contender, Wade (mosaic, powdery mildew, several rusts), Cherokee, Harvester (mosaic). Pole Beans-Florigreen, Dade (Common and Southern bean mosaic, rust),
Kentucky 191 (certain rusts). Cabbage-Marion Market, Badger Market (yellows). Cantaloupe-Smith's Perfect (downy mildew), Florida No. 1, Florisun (downy
and powdery mildew). Cucumbers-Palomar, Ashley (downy mildew). Pepper-World Beater (certain strains of leaf spot), Yolo Wonder (tobacco mosaic). Spinach
-Virginia Savoy (mosaic), Hybrid 7 (downy mildew and mosaic). Irish Potato-Kennebec (late blight). Tomato-Manalucie, Indian River, Manapal (Fusarium
wilt, gray leaf spot, early blight), Homestead-24 (wilt). Watermelon-Charleston Gray, Jubilee (wilt, anthracnose), Congo anthracnosee).
2 Outstanding in freezing trials of Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations, Gainesville. Others may meet home freezing requirements.
'H-Hardy, can stand frost and usually some freezing (32 F.) without injury. SH-Slightly hard, will not be injured by light frosts. T-Tender will be injured
by light frost.
4 Tomato varieties best adapted to staking.
such as turnips and lettuce with 1/2 inch of soil. Medium-sized
seeds, such as radish and spinach, are covered to a depth of 3/
inch. Large seeds, such as those of beans and peas, are covered
with about 1 to 2 inches of soil. In light soils or when moisture
is deficient, as it is likely to be in summer and early fall, plant
somewhat deeper. See planting guide (Table 4) for depths of
SPACE SEEDS PROPERLY IN THE ROW-Plants that crowd do
not develop properly. They also require more labor in thinning
which may, unless carefully done when the plants are small, dam-
age those left. The seeds may be distributed more evenly by
pouring them out of the package into the left hand, then taking
a pinch between the thumb and first finger of the right hand, and
spreading it by rolling it out between the fingers. Follow the
planting directions in the planting guide (Table 4).
FIRM SOIL AFTER PLANTING-This practice packs the soil
particles around the seed and hastens germination. It may be
easily and quickly done by light tamping with the back of a hoe
or rake or by watering with a sprinkler.
CARE OF THE GARDEN
Thinning the seedlings in the row is one of the most impor-
tant of garden operations. It is difficult to sow small seeds thinly
enough to permit the plants to make the best development. The
planting guide (Table 4) gives the proper spacing for plants in
the row after thinning.
Thinning should be done while plants are small and when
the soil is moist, so they can be pulled out easily without injuring
the remaining plants. Turnips, rutabagas, and other root crops
should be thinned before their taproot becomes fleshy. Onions
from seed and radishes may be left in the ground until those that
are thinned are large enough to eat.
Pull surplus turnip plants when they are 4 to 5 inches tall
and use for greens. Plants thinned from the beet row may also
be used for greens.
Carrots should be thinned first when they are 2 to 3 inches
tall, so as to stand about 1 inch apart. They may be left until
large enough to be eaten, when alternate plants may be pulled
and used, leaving more room for those that are left.
Cultivation and Weed Control
Cultivation generally increases the yield of vegetable crops
because of weed control. On some soils cultivation may be needed
also to loosen the soil and allow water to enter more rapidly.
Weeds can be the gardener's worst enemy. They not only
steal the moisture and fertilizer but also serve as a cover for
insects and diseases. Many weeds are affected by virus and fun-
gus diseases that are carried to the crops. Furthermore, by shad-
ing the plants and interfering with air circulation, tall weeds
may retard the evaporation of dew and rain from the foliage,
thus favoring infection by bacteria and fungi.
A single cultivation will kill practically all weeds less than 1
inch tall, but it is difficult to kill them when they are 4 to 5 inches
tall. It is not necessary to cultivate when there are no weeds, but
during good growing weather weeds grow enough to make week-
ly cultivation necessary.
Shallow cultivation is best, for it is less injurious to crop
roots than is deep cultivation (Figure 17) and is just as efficient
in controlling weeds. A garden plow with weed knives or shallow
Figure 17- Cultivate shallow
CORRECT INCORRECT to control weeds
sweeps is one of the most efficient and useful tools for the home
garden. A hoe is the next best hand tool for weed control.
Weed growth can be prevented by the use of mulches.
Mulches also tend to conserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, do
away with any root damage by deep cultivation or hoeing, and
keep clean the fruits of such crops as strawberries, tomatoes,
squash, and melons. Straw, pinestraw, old hay, grass, leaves,
paper, sawdust, and wood planings are the most common mate-
rials for this purpose. These mulches are most beneficial when
applied as soon as the plants are large enough (6 to 8 inches
high) so they will not be covered by the materials.
Most mulching materials tend to lower the soil temperature;
however, black mulching materials may raise the soil tempera-
ture a few degrees.
Some mulches, if carefully used, may be good for more than
one year. Usually part of the straw, pinestraw, hay, or wood by-
products can be saved for another year with less work than get-
ting an entire new supply. Any reasonable quantity left on the
garden will, however, be beneficial to the soil when turned under.
For each bushel of sawdust or wood-shavings which is turned
under, a broadcast application of 1 pound of nitrate of soda or
1) pound of ammonium nitrate should be made in order to aid in
the rotting of the wood.
Leaves and pine straw make an excellent and economical
mulch if gathered 4 to 6 months before time of application and
placed in flat-topped piles so they become thoroughly soaked with
Figure 18 Black plastic mulch
Recently, the use of black plastic as a mulching material has
become popular (Figure 18). This gives excellent weed control,
holds moisture in soil, and reduces soil rotting of fruits or pods.
Since dark colors absorb heat, black plastic is especially bene-
ficial to early planted crops. The warmer soil beneath the plastic
enables seed to germinate earlier and crops to grow-off faster
than on unmulched soil. Soil under black plastic may get too
warm if used in the hot summer.
Ordinarily, plastic should be put down before planting. First,
rows should be prepared and fertilized when the soil has good
moisture. Plastic should be covered over the row and the edges
covered with soil. Seeds may be planted or plants set through
slits in the plastic.
Supporting Tall Growing Crops
Some of the taller growing plants and vine crops will need a
support of some kind to hold them erect.
To support pole beans and other similar plants, set 6-foot
posts every 12-15 feet in the row and drive stakes about 12 feet
Figure 19 Staked pole beans
from either end of the row. Stretch wire between the posts at
top and bottom, extending the top wire beyond the end poles and
fastening it to the stakes to serve as guy wires. Weave string be-
tween the top and bottom wires to support the plants.
Shorter plants such as peas can be supported in the same
way, using 3- to 4-foot poles. If available, cut brush stuck in the
ground along the row will serve as a satisfactory support for
If the tomato plants are to be staked, use stakes 11/ inches
in diameter and 6 feet long. Drive the stakes before the plants
are set. Space them 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 3 to 4 feet
apart. As the plant starts to grow, remove the small side
branches (suckers) as they appear so only one or, at most, two
stems are allowed to develop. Don't remove leaves on the main
stem. The side branches (suckers) emerge where the leaf joins
the stem; whereas the fruiting cluster emerges on the stems be-
tween leaf or node.
Although it is possible, with proper care, to produce more
perfect fruits and to get an earlier crop if they are staked, the
production of tomatoes per plant is less than when they are not
Watering the Garden
A short period of dry weather may reduce the yield and
lower the quality of the vegetables, and a long drought may re-
sult in a total failure of many gardens. Vegetable crops grow
best when they receive about 1/ to 1 inch of water each week as
rain or irrigation. Whether it will be profitable to irrigate de-
pends on how easy it is to get water to the garden.
If water is available from a hose you may water the entire
garden once every 7 to 10 days when less than 1 inch of rain falls
during that period. Except for seeds that are difficult to start in
dry weather, such as carrots and lettuce, water only once every
7 to 10 days and then heavy enough to wet the soil to a depth of
6 to 8 inches. This takes approximately 5/6 gallon of water to
each square foot of garden, or from 90 to 120 gallons for a gar-
den no larger than the average size room. One should know how
much water is being applied. This can be done by placing two or
three straight-sided cans in the area being watered. After check-
ing to see how long the sprinkler must run to apply 1 inch of
water, you may estimate the sprinkler running time when irri-
gating the garden.
A porous hose through which the water soaks is perhaps the
best device for irrigating small gardens. With it the water may
be applied where needed and little is wasted. If land slopes gent-
ly and the soil is not too sandy, you may apply water to one end
of the rows and allow it to flow down the middles of the rows to
the far end.
The root-knot nematodes are microscopic eelworms which
cause the roots of certain plants to swell and become knotted.
Injured plants become stunted and may die as a result of the
nematode attack. This pest in severe on okra, tomatoes, beans,
cucumbers, carrots, beets, and many other vegetables. There are
other species of nematodes in addition to the one causing root-
Root-knot infested soil should be avoided. The pest may be
controlled to some extent by planting resistant crops, such as
Crotalaria spectabilis, velvet beans, or possibly running Conch
(White Acre) variety of Southern peas for one or more seasons.
Soil fumigation, if properly done with one of the materials listed
in Table 5 will control nematodes for at least one season. Fumi-
gation permits early use of the land but usually has to be done
Figure 20 Root-knot nematode injury to tomato roots
Fumigate the soil 10 to 14 days before planting for nema-
tode control. The soil moisture should be at a medium level-not
too dry and not too wet. Open a furrow 6 to 8 inches deep. A
small jar with two holes in the lid may be used to apply fumi-
gant. Apply the fumigant in the row and rake the soil into the
A soil drench over the entire area may be used instead of in-
the-row application; however, the drench method is more expen-
Table 5.-SOIL FUMIGANTS AND RATES FOR IN-THE-ROW
Amount per 100
Fumigant Trade Name feet of row
Ethylene dibromide Dowfume W-85 1/6 pint
(EDB) Soil fume 60/40 % pint
Dichloropropenes D.D. % pint
EDB-Dichloropropene 4 pint
1, 2-Dibromo- Fumazone 25% /6 pint
3-chloropropane Fumagon 50% 3 tablespoonfuls
Nemagon liquid 50% 3 tablespoonfuls
Nemagon granules 30% 4 ounces
Sodium N-methyl Vapam
dithiocarbamate VPM Soil Fumigant 1 pint
sive. Nemagon, Telone, Mylone and Vapam may be used as
drenches. Follow recommendations on the container for rate and
method of application.
If you have observed severe stunting of plants in the garden
from root-knot during the past season, it will probably pay you
Caution: Do not breathe the fumes or allow the material to
contact the skin.
Rodents and Small Animals
Rodents of various kinds damage vegetable crops in Florida.
Salamanders (pocket gophers), moles, and mice cause much in-
jury. Unlike the mole which only burrows beneath the plant, the
salamander eats the plant roots in addition to burrowing. Both
animal's burrowing causes the soil to dry out around the roots.
Mice either work independently or follow the burrows made by
salamanders and moles, destroying newly planted seeds and
young plants. The above pests may be partially controlled by
trapping, using poison baits or gases, or placing repellents in
their runs. However, trapping is probably the quickest and most
effective method of control for salamanders and moles.
Figure 21 Mounds made by salamanders
Rabbits may be controlled by fencing the garden with 1 inch
mesh poultry wire. Where other animals, such as woodchucks,
squirrels, skunks, and raccoons, are damaging the vegetables, it
may be necessary to trap them or shoot them with a .22 caliber
rifle. Chemical repellents may be satisfactory for certain animals.
INSECTS AND DISEASES
Many insects and diseases attack garden crops. Unless con-
trolled, they seriously lower the yields and quality of vegetables.
In extreme cases, they may destroy an entire crop.
Most insects are readily controlled after they appear on the
plants, and the home gardener should learn to recognize and
watch for them. It is best to control them promptly. Insects pass
through three or four stages in their development. True bugs
such as aphids and the harlequin bug go through only three
stages: egg, nymph, adult. The nymph looks much like the adult
but is smaller and wingless.
Cabbage Aphids (Plant Lice)*
Mexican Bean Beetle*
Bean Leaf Roller*
*Courtesy: Milledge Murphey, Jr.
Green Stink Bug* Tomato Hornworm
Twelve-Spotted Cucumber Beetle* Colorado Potato Beetle
*Courtesy: Milledge Murphey, Jr.
Sweet Potato Weevil*
Tomato Early Blight*
Tomato Late Blight*
Cabbage Black Rot
*Courtesy: John C. Noonan
Tomato Bacterial Spot*
Potato Late Blight
Tomato Blossom-end Rot
Cucumber Soil Rot*
Sweet Potato Soft Rot
*Courtesy: D. A. Roberts
Nitrogen Deficient Tomato Leaf
Potash Deficient Tomato Leaf
Magnesium Deficient Tomato Leaflet
*Courtesy: W. R. Rollins
Phosphorus Deficient Tomato Leaf*
Manganese Deficient Bean Leaflet**
Calcium Deficient Celery Plant**
**Courtesy: National Plant Food Institute
Most insects such as beetles, flies, and moths pass through
four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. For example, the moth
lays an egg that hatches into a cutworm. Then the full grown
cutworm changes into the pupal stage. Within a week in warm
weather a new moth will emerge from the pupa, and the cycle
Fortunately a few simple measures control most insects and
diseases. The following suggestions will help to avoid the more
1. Rotate the crops within your garden.
2. Plant resistant varieties.
3. Use treated seed if possible.
4. Provide good drainage.
5. Stay out of the garden when plants are wet.
6. Spray or dust with recommended materials.
7. Clean up the garden and destroy old plant material that
may contain insects and diseases.
Many beneficial insects help you by destroying other in-
sects. For example, the lady beetle feeds on aphids (plant lice)
and a small species of wasp kills hornworms.
In small gardens, hand-picking is a practical way to control
such insects as bean beetle, cabbage worm, tomato hornworm,
squash bug, cucumber beetle, harlequin bug, and Colorado potato
beetle. Many of these insects are on the underside of the leaves.
You may easily crush egg masses and clusters of newly hatched
insects on the leaves by squeezing or rubbing them between your
thumb and forefinger. This method works fairly well also against
the numerous small-bodied aphids, or plant lice, that cluster on
small shoots. You may crush the larger insects or pick them off
or cut them with an old pair of scissors and kill them. Bean
beetles and potato beetles drop readily when disturbed and can
be collected more rapidly by slapping the plants sharply with
your hand or with a wooden paddle to jar them into a wide pan.
Although hand-picking is not practicable for all insects and is
laborious, it is surprisingly effective if done persistently.
Serious trouble often results from allowing insects to de-
velop in large numbers on plants which are left in the garden
after harvesting is completed. Remove these plants soon after
Most insects may be controlled after an early discovery of
their presence on the garden plants.
Materials used to control insects are known as insecticides.
In the average size garden, the use of insecticides is the best way
to control most insect pests. Insecticides may be applied to the
plants in the form of a dust or dry powder, by a duster (Figure
22), or are diluted in water as a spray and applied with a
Table 6.-DUSTING MATERIALS FOR INSECT CONTROL
5% 5% 4% or 5% 1.5% 1%
DDT3 Sevin3 Malathion Lindane Rotenone2
A phids ............... ................ .......... X X
Armyworms........................ X X ............ X
Budw orm s ......................... .. X X
Cabbage worms................... X X X ...... X
Colorado potato beetle. X X .
Cucumber beetle ............... .. .... X X
E arw orm s.............................. X X......
F leabeetle............................ X X ........ X
Fruit, horn, pinworms X X ..... .... X
Leaf-hopper ........................ X X X X X
Leaf-roller ................. X X X X
Melon, pickle worms.... ...... .... X X X
Mexican bean beetle ...... X X X
Pameras........... ..... X X X ..
Pea weevils ............ .. X X X X
Pepper weevils............... X .
Red spiders ........... ...... ..... ..... X ..
Stink bugs.......................... X X X
Thrips ...... X X X X diazinon 2%
Leaf miners .................X.. ...... X diazinon 2%
SDusting sulfur and Kelthane may be used for red spider control.
2Rotenone gives satisfactory control of many of the above pests when infestations are
light, but may be less effective than other recommended materials.
"DDT and Sevin will cause injury to the foliage of cucurbits and should not be used on
cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelons, squash, and other members of the gourd family.
sprayer (Figure 23). For dusting, the insecticides come already
diluted to the proper strength with talc or some other powdered
material and are ready for use. For spraying, the insecticides are
sold in concentrated liquid or powder form to be mixed with
water in the proper proportion before applying. Dusting is prob-
ably more satisfactory than spraying for control of most insects
in the home gardens, and evening applications are generally pref-
erable. If the materials listed in Table 6 are used as sprays,
follow the directions on the insecticide container.
The dusts shown in Table 6 are effective against the insects
indicated and are safe if properly used.
Chlordane may be applied to the soil surface as a 5% dust
or as a 112 to 2% bait for the control of ants, cutworms, grass-
hoppers, and mole crickets (or the dust may be directed on the
insects as needed). Chlordane is sometimes included in general
garden fertilizers and may offer some measure of control of in-
sects and wireworms.
Materials used to control diseases are known as fungicides.
Fungicides, like insecticides, may be applied as a spray or dust,
depending on your preference and on the materials and equip-
ment available. For the average gardener only two materials are
needed: (1) Zineb for general disease control; (2) Chloranil
(Spergon) 48% for seed treatment and control of "damping off"
on the seedbed (see discussion in chapter on planting). Zineb
applied as a 4% to 6% dust, or 2 level tablespoonfuls of 75%
wettable powder to 1 gallon of water, is suitable for general
use in the garden. A protective schedule necessitates applications
at least once a week and reducing the intervals to 3 to 4 days if
the disease continues to develop.
All Purpose Dusts
Combination dusts containing an insecticide and fungicide
may be purchased, and are acceptable where a combined insecti-
cide-fungicide is needed throughout the season. They are espe-
cially useful on tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and melons. Dusts
containing an insecticide like lindane, malathion, or DDT and a
fungicide like zineb are available under various trade names and
are the safest and most effective materials for combined insect
and disease control.
Application of Pesticides
Many insects live and feed mainly on the underside of leaves,
and many plant-disease organisms enter there. To be most effec-
tive, insecticides and fungicides must be applied with equipment
that will cover the under as well as the upper surface of the foli-
age. Dusting is increasingly popular because it is much quicker
and easier than spraying and is more effective than a poor spray-
Dusters and Dusting
The best duster for the average home gardener is an all-
metal, plunger type of hand duster of a 1- preferably a 2-quart
capacity, as shown in Figure 22. With the extension tube and
"underleaf" nozzle, the undersurface of the foliage may be
dusted without stooping. Such dusters cost from $1.50 to $3.00,
and and are a good investment. Most small dusters do not spread
the dust to the undersurface of the foliage, and many are unsat-
isfactory in many other respects.
( U "
Figure 22- Hand duster
To prevent clogging and waste, the dust chamber should be
no more than half-full. Dusting is done when the air is still and
preferably when the plants are wet. The dust is directed upward
through the foliage, and applied in a light, even coating to all
surfaces. A pound of dust properly applied treats about 400 feet
of row of average-sized plants.
Sprayers and Spraying
The best type of sprayer for an average-sized garden is a
compressed air sprayer, equipped with an extension rod and
angle nozzle for spraying the underside of the foliage. Those of
2- to 3-gallon capacity are the most practicable. Fair results can
be obtained with the type of hand sprayer that gives a continu-
ous spray and that has a two-way, or adjustable, nozzle to direct
the spray upward. This requires working in a stooped position.
These hold 1 to 3 quarts of spray. The small, single-action, atom-
izer type of hand sprayer, such as those used for household
sprays, are unsatisfactory. Do not use household sprays (oil
sprays) on your garden plants.
Measuring spoons are useful in measuring the pesticides
carefully. The material is shaken thoroughly in a closed jar with
a small amount of water before it is put into the sprayer. Wet-
table power sprays should be agitated or stirred continuously
while spraying. Emulsions, which turn milky when placed in
water, require some time to settle out and do not need as much
Figure 23 Hand sprayer
Figure" to s
agitation. Compressed-air sprayers are filled to no more than
two-thirds capacity. The water is measured each time, or a meas-
uring stick is marked with levels for different amounts. Diluted
sprays soon lose strength; therefore, they should be mixed fresh
when needed. The spray is directed upward through the foliage
and all surfaces are wet until they begin to drip. One gallon of
spray covers about 100 feet of row of average-sized plants.
Consider all pesticides as potential poisons, each to be ap-
plied strictly according to manufacturers' precautions and recom-
mendations. Always wash vegetables from the garden thoroughly
before using. Use pesticides only as necessary to control insects
and diseases and where possible stop application during the har-
Store pesticides in their original labeled containers. Keep
them out of the reach of children and other irresponsible people.
HARVESTING AND STORING
Prompt harvesting at the proper stage of maturity insures
good quality and more uses for the crop. Have plans made in ad-
vance for any extra vegetables.
Can or Freeze Surplus Vegetables
The family can have an abundance of nutritious vegetables
practically all year by canning or freezing the garden surplus.
Proper freezing retains the color, flavor, and food value of most
vegetables better than canning. However, some vegetables such
as beets and tomatoes are most suitable to canning. Also, vege-
tables that are usually eaten raw, such as lettuce, should not be
Can or freeze only high-quality vegetables. The quality of
vegetables cannot be improved by canning or freezing. However,
careless or improper methods may lower the quality of the can-
ned or frozen product.
For best results in canning and freezing vegetables, follow
the directions carefully in Florida Agricultural Extension Serv-
ice Bulletin 155, "Canning Florida Fruits and Vegetables";
State Department of Agriculture Bulletin, "Freezing Florida
Foods"; U.S.D.A. Home and Garden Bulletin 8, "Home Canning
of Fruits and Vegetables"; and U.S.D.A. Home and Garden Bul-
letin 10, "Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables".
The following suggestions should be helpful:
1. Crops that are at the right stage for eating fresh are
ideal for canning or freezing.
2. Harvest in the early morning while vegetables are still
3. Remove all overmature, bruised, diseased, and insect
4. Wash vegetables thoroughly, using plenty of cool run-
5. Keep vegetables cool by placing them in refrigerator or
under crushed ice.
6. Can or freeze vegetables as soon as possible after har-
vesting. Some vegetables lose much of their quality even
in 2 or 3 hours after harvest. The sooner they are can-
ned or frozen, the better the product will be.
Varieties recommended for freezing include: beans, snap-
Seminole, Tendergreen, Contender, Topcrop, and Wade; beans,
pole-U. S. No. 4 (191); beans, lima-Fordhook 242, Concen-
trated, and Henderson; broccoli-Early Green Sprouting; car-
rots-Imperator, Touchon, and Red Cored Chantenay; corn,
sweet-loana, Golden Cross Bantam, and Seneca Chief; mustard
-Florida Broad Leaf; okra-Clemson Spineless; peas-Little
Marvel and Emerald; peas, Southern-Blackeye, and Conch
(White Acre); spinach-Virginia Savoy; strawberries-Florida
90 and Missionary; turnips-Japanese Foliage (Shogoin). Other
varieties listed in the planting guide (Table 4) may meet home
Remove all cut, bruised, and diseased potatoes immediately
after harvest. Place sound potatoes in boxes or crates and store
in a cool, dry, dark place. Do not store potatoes where they will
Dig sweet potatoes before frost and when the soil is rela-
tively dry. Handle them carefully to avoid bruising and carry
immediately to the storage house. Remove all diseased potatoes
before placing in storage. Place the potatoes in crates or other
containers and stack so air can circulate freely. If possible, keep
temperature 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit for a 10- to 14-day
period; then, lower the temperature to 50 to 60 degrees Fahren-
Sweet potatoes may be stored in a hill or bank. Select a well-
drained area, level it off, and put down 6 to 8 inches of straw.
Place a vent stack in the center to allow moist air to escape. Place
15 to 20 bushels of potatoes around stack in a cone shape. Cover
with straw and 4 to 6 inches of soil. Dig a shallow trench around
the hill to carry off rainwater. Potatoes keep better if the hill has
a shelter over it.
Harvest onions after the tops have fallen over. Spread them
Figure 24 Two onions on right are ready for harvest
in their layers in a dry, well-ventilated place for a week or more.
Then either tie in bunches and hang them up or remove the tops
and place the onions in slotted crates or boxes. Regardless of the
method used, store onions in a cool, dry, ventilated place.
Before frost injures tomatoes, they may be stored for sev-
eral weeks if you pick mature, green fruits and spread in a single
layer in a relatively cool place. Another way to store tomatoes is
to pull up the entire plant and hang it by the roots in a cool place.
Dried Beans and Peas
Allow beans and peas to mature thoroughly on the plant.
Before storing, spread them in a dry, ventilated place and allow
to dry for 2 to 3 weeks. Then shell or thresh and store where
mice, rats, and insects cannot damage them.
Small quantities of beans and peas may be fumigated effec-
tively in air-tight drums, barrels, or lard cans to control weevils.
Sprinkle mixture over surface of seed and cover with sacks. The
container should be kept air-tight for 60 to 72 hours. Then open
the container and allow seeds to aerate thoroughly. Use a fumi-
gant containing 1 part carbon tetrachloride plus 3 parts of ethy-
lene dichloride at the following rates:
1. 50 gallon drum or barrel _-----.. pint
2. 50 pound lard can --..................-- 2 tablespoonfuls
Other fumigants may be used for treating stored seed.
Weevils may also be controlled by heating; however, this
may prevent germination of seed.
Detailed information on each crop regarding varieties, dates,
and rates of planting, amount of seed to buy and average yields
are given in the planting guide, (Table 4, page 24). The follow-
ing discussion of crops is by no means complete; however, an
attempt is made to mention useful information that was not
included in the previous sections of this bulletin.
Since asparagus does not produce well in Florida due to our
warm climate, we will not discuss it at length. The plant will
grow well, but only a few small spears should be expected.
Asparagus should be grown only in large gardens, because
it requires two years after planting to come into production and
yields comparatively little food per unit of land.
Snap beans are a tender crop, easily killed by frost. They
yield heavily in relation to the area occupied, and are easy to
grow. The first planting may be made slightly before the last
killing frost in the spring, and successive plantings may be made
every 10 days to 2 weeks thereafter until early summer, depend-
ing on the area of the state, to provide a continuous supply of
Lima beans require a longer and warmer growing season
than do snap beans. The bush, or dwarf type, of lima bean ma-
tures earlier than does the pole type.
Edible soybeans are desirable in the home garden primarily
for green-shell beans. They are a tender crop and need a longer
growing season. The green beans may be stripped from the pods
easily if they are dipped in boiling water.
Beets are easily grown, yield heavily, and are high in vita-
mins and iron content, especially when the tops are included for
greens. They are a hardy green and will not be injured by light
frost and will stand some freezing.
Broccoli is a hardy, easily grown, highly nutritious crop that
is rapidly gaining in popularity with gardeners. It is similar to
cauliflower, except that it is green and has a more open head.
Unlike cauliflower, sprouting broccoli continues to bear through-
out the season and requires no blanching.
Plants may be started in plant boxes, cold frames, or hot-
beds 4 to 6 weeks before they are to be planted in the garden.
The edible part of broccoli is the immature flower buds and
stems, along with the tender leaves. These heads are clusters of
green flower buds, and should be cut, with 6 to 8 inches of stalk,
before the buds open. After the main cluster is cut, small lateral
clusters will continue to develop throughout the growing season.
The plants are very hardy planted in the fall, and they will
usually continue to develop throughout the winter and early
spring months. Its general culture requirements are similar to
those of cabbage. See Cabbage (page 50).
Brussels sprouts are not considered easy to grow, but they
may be grown successfully in Florida. They may be harvested
for a considerable period by picking the lower sprouts as soon as
they become large enough. The leaf below each sprout is usually
broken off so the sprout may be picked conveniently. Cool weath-
er is necessary for development of solid sprouts.
This crop has the same culture requirements as cabbage. See
Cabbage is a vegetable high in vitamin content, especially
vitamin C. By a wise selection of varieties and by planting at the
proper time you may have fresh cabbage for several months.
Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that is easily grown.
Cabbage needs abundant moisture and fertilizer, and will
not do well on a very acid soil. Where the soil is highly acid, be-
low pH 5.5, lime can generally be used to advantage. Cultivation
should be shallow because a large portion of the cabbage roots
develop near the surface of the soil and run almost horizontally
across the rows.
Carrots, an excellent source of vitamin A, are used almost
daily by the housewife. They are easy to grow and store, and
only a small space is required to grow a season's supply.
Carrots, like other root crops, thrive best during a cool sea-
son and in a deep and fertile soil, well supplied with moisture.
They are hardy and may be planted any time during the winter
months. See planting guide, Table 4, for specific planting dates
for the different areas.
Carrots seeds are slow to germinate, and need careful atten-
tion in planting to assure a uniform stand. In dry weather the
seedbed may be sprinkled every evening for from 10 days to 2
weeks to insure rapid germination and a uniform stand. Another
way to get a better-than-usual stand of carrots is to make a fur-
row approximately 2 inches deep. Sow the seed in the furrow
and cover with 2 inch of soil. Boards or paper laid over the
furrows until the seed germinate give still further protection
against drought injury.
Cauliflower is a difficult crop to grow. Like cabbage, it
thrives best in cool and moist weather; but unlike cabbage, it
Figure 25 Cauliflower head (curd)
will not stand much freezing or extreme heat. It is sensitive to
a soil reaction below pH 5.6. The young plants may be set in the
garden whenever cabbage is set, for it is only the matured heads
that are not resistant to freezing weather.
Cauliflower must be blanched to get a white head like the
one illustrated in Figure 26. Blanching is done by tying the out-
side leaves together as soon as the curd (head) has reached a
diameter of 2 to 3 inches. Examine the heads every day or two
to make sure they do not pass the proper stage of maturity be-
fore harvest. Harvest the curds when they are still compact, not
open and riceyy."
Celery is difficult to grow and is not recommended for the
average home garden. It thrives best when the weather is cool
and the moisture supply is abundant. The soil should be well-
drained, fertile, and well-supplied with humus. The soil reaction
should be pH 5.6 or above because celery is sensitive to highly
. 4 -
Figure 26- Blanching Cauliflower head
The seeds may be started in a plant box, cold frame, or hot-
bed, but because of the difficulty in getting plants started most
gardeners prefer to purchase plants. Celery responds well to two
or three side-dressings of nitrate of soda (or equivalent nitrogen
from other soluble forms) at the rate of 1 pound to each 100 feet
of row at 3-week intervals after the plants are set in the garden.
Scatter the nitrogen from 4 to 8 inches away from the row and
stir in lightly with a hoe, rake, or cultivator.
Blanching is accomplished by excluding light from the stalks
while they are still growing, such as close planting or the use of
boards, paper, or soil around the plants. Heavy paper may be
fastened tightly against either side of the row or a few plants
may be blanched at a time by wrapping newspaper around the
Figure 27-Swiss chard, a warm weather crop
individual plants. Also, clay drain tile may be used. Banking
with soil is not safe in hot weather. A period of from 10 days to
2 weeks is required for blanching.
Chard or Swiss Chard
Chard is recommended for summer greens because it with-
stands heat much better than spinach. Its culture is similar to
that of spinach except that the plants are spaced from 4 to 8
inches in the row. If only the outer leaves are removed in har-
vesting, a single planting will last all season.
Chinese cabbage requires a fertile soil, an abundance of
moisture, a cool season and short days. When grown quickly it is
a delicious salad crop, often used as a lettuce substitute, or it
or- -, P 6 1 V, v
Figure 28 Collards, easy to grow the year 'round
may be cooked like common cabbage. Its culture is very similar
to that of cabbage. See Cabbage (page 50).
The collard plant is essentially a cabbage that forms only a
large rosette of leaves instead of a head. It is more resistant to
heat than cabbage and is hardy to cold. The collard is a good
crop for both winter and summer greens in Florida. Collards
may be harvested any time after the plants are large enough by
either cutting off the rosette or picking the older leaves as they
mature, leaving the younger, upper ones to develop. Collards re-
spond well to extra sidedressings with soluble forms of nitrogen.
Cucumbers are a frost-sensitive crop. They may be planted
either in hills or in rows. A few hills will produce a large number
of cucumbers if the fruits are picked when they are young. The
long varieties, which are used primarily for slicing, are equally
good for pickling if the fruits are removed when small. The crop
does well on a wide range of soils and responds to heavy applica-
tions of humus, especially manure.
Usually six plants of eggplant will produce all the fruits
that will be used by a family of five. Plants should be trans-
planted into the garden after all danger of frost is over in the
spring. Planting dates are given in the planting guide, Table 4
on page 24.
Figure 29 Eggplant, a heavy yielder
Eggplants will respond well to one or more applications of a
complete fertilizer, and irrigation when necessary is very desir-
able. The fruits should be harvested when they are glossy or
Endive is handled and used in a similar manner to lettuce,
but some persons prefer it cooked as greens. When the plants
have become large enough, draw the outside leaves together over
the head and fasten them with a string or rubber band. You may
use an inverted berry box instead. Blanching should be done two
or three weeks before the plants are to be used, to remove the
*.. o '.. ",
Figure 30 Endive, a salad green
Kale is a hardy crop that belongs to the mustard (cabbage)
family. It grows under the same conditions as cabbage, and tastes
much like it, but it does not form a head. It is a good source
Figure 31 Kale, a hardy green
of greens in late fall and early spring, particularly in North
Kohlrabi is grown for the turnip-like enlarged stem just
above the ground. It is cooked as is cauliflower, and is an excel-
lent vegetable if used while tender. It is an easily grown and
quick-maturing crop. Kohlrabi must be harvested when between
11/2 and 3 inches in diameter, or it will become tough and stringy.
It is a hardy vegetable and will grow on a fertile soil with ade-
Lettuce is a hardy cool-season crop that grows during cool
weather. It is grown on practically all kinds of soil, but does best
on a fertile soil, well supplied with fertilizer and moisture. Lime
is suggested if the pH tests below pH 5.6.
The four principal types of lettuce are crisphead, butterhead,
leaf, and romaine. While all four types do best in the cooler
months, crisphead varieties should be tried only during the cool-
est season. The leaf varieties grow exceptionally well here in
Florida. They are colorful and decorative as well as excellent in
salads. A good variety of romaine, the upright type, is Parris
Island Cos. Other best varieties are listed in Table 4.
Figure 32 Leaf lettuce
Muskmelons require a warm growing season. About a month
before the average date of the last killing frost, four or five seeds
may be planted in each of several individual pots or bands con-
taining fertile soil. Allow only two or three plants to grow in each
pot or band. After all danger of frost is past, remove the plants,
with soil intact, from the pots and set them in the garden. From
eight to ten hills are usually enough for the average family.
Muskmelons are highly sensitive to acid soils.
Figure 33- Muskmelons (Cantaloupes)
Muskmelons should be allowed to remain on the plants until
they slip easily from the stem.
Okra has about the same hardiness as cucumbers and toma-
toes and may be grown under the same conditions. It thrives on
a fertile well-drained soil. An abundance of quickly available
plant food will stimulate growth and insure a good yield of ten-
der, high quality pods. Therefore, since okra may grow in the
garden from spring to fall, is is necessary to sidedress the plants
with a soluble nitrogen carrier approximately every 3 weeks dur-
ing the growing season.
As okra is a warm weather vegetable, seed should not be
sown until the soil is warm. The pods should be harvested within
a few days after the flower petals have fallen; if allowed to re-
main on the plant too long they will become tough and stringy.
Old pods will also exhaust the plant if allowed to remain on it.
Okra is one of the crops that will produce during the hot
Onions may be grown from plants or sets. Sets are small
onion bulbs 1/ to % inch in diameter, grown from seed during
the previous season. Plants are also small onions but produced
during the current season. Seed is satisfactory for green onions
or for growing mature onions, providing they are planted at the
proper time. Sets more than 3 inch in diameter are likely to split
or produce seederss" instead of producing a bulk. If green onions
are desired, plant them close and thin as they grow, leaving those
which are to mature about 3 to 4 inches apart.
Shallots are multiplier-like onions which do not make bulbs.
After they have produced a crop, they should be harvested in the
spring and the sets stored until the fall planting date.
Onions will not store well unless they are allowed to mature
before harvest. The tops should fall over and dry down, and the
outer skin of the bulbs should be dry before they are pulled. The
tops normally fall over before the ripening period. Lower yield
and poorer keeping quality will result from knocking them over.
Onions should be thoroughly dry and cured before pulling.
Multiplier onions are hardy perennials planted during the
normal planting season for onions. They differ from the regular
bulbing type in that they are a perennial and do not make a bulb.
The evergreen onion will continue to multiply throughout the sea-
son. By growing them, you may have green onions throughout the
Figure 34 Multiplier onions, easy to grow
season. When harvesting, remove the hill with a shovel; then
separate them and replant one or two of the green onions in the
Because of the slow germination of parsley seed and the deli-
cate seedlings produced, it is best to sow the seed in plant boxes
or in open seedbeds and to transplant the seedlings later to the
garden. Another procedure is to sprout the seed according to the
method recommended for carrots (page 50). Since the plants are
hardy, you may start the plants in plant boxes and set the plants
in the garden during the recommended winter planting dates. If
only part of the leaves are removed for use, the plant will con-
tinue to produce an abundant supply of leaves throughout the
Parsnips require a longer growing season than do beets and
carrots. The seed should be sown in the fall, and preferably mixed
with radish seed to help mark the row until the parsnips are
growing. To produce a crop of large, smooth roots, parsnips need
a deep, loose soil that is high in humus content and well fertilized.
The quality of parsnips may be low unless they are exposed to low
Peas, Garden (English)
Peas grow best in cool weather and should be planted at the
recommended time. The best way to get a succession of peas is to
plant at the same time three or four varieties requiring different
lengths of time to mature.
Figure 35- Peas, English
Most home gardeners prefer to plant the dwarf varieties of
peas rather than the tall-growing ones, as the dwarf ones need no
brush or wire netting for support.
Since peas stay at the best table quality for only a relatively
short time, harvest them in prime condition and eat or preserve
them as soon as possible after harvest. The higher the tempera-
ture, the more rapidly peas will pass the edible state. Peas,
blanched and quick frozen, may be held in good condition for a
year or more.
Peas, Southern (Edible Cowpeas)
The Southern pea is a highly nutritious vegetable. It may be
eaten in the snap, green shell, or dry seed stage.
Southern peas will thrive on a wide variety of soil types but
will do better on soil free of fusarium wilt and root-knot nema-
tode. Preparation of the land and fertilization should be the same
as for snap beans. However, where nodulation of the roots is
abundant, the nitrogen needs of the plant will be supplied by the
nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the nodules. If the pH is below 5.5,
liming should be beneficial.
Figure 36 Peas, Southern, a warm weather crop
Plant the early crop as soon as there is a reasonable assur-
ance that a killing frost is no longer likely. The late crop should
be planted about 90 days before the first killing frost in the fall.
While the plants may produce a satisfactory yield during the
summer, the two suggested growing seasons above are more de-
sirable for producing peas for canning, freezing, or storing. The
low yield in summer is probably due to excessive vine develop-
ment and difficulty of controlling cowpea curculio and other in-
Twelve to eighteen plants of peppers should provide ample
supply for salads, sauces, and other uses for a family of five.
The culture of peppers is similar to that of tomatoes. Since
they are tender and require a long season for maximum produc-
tion, plants started 6 to 8 weeks before the last killing frost
should be set in the garden after the frost danger has passed.
They should be transplanted with care to prevent checking
growth which will reduce production materially. Irrigation will
be beneficial during the dry seasons.
Peppers are ready to be picked when they are firm and crisp.
They are usually preferred while the color is still green, but are
still edible after turning red.
"Hot" peppers that haven't ripened before frost may be
pulled by the roots and hung in a cool sheltered place where they
The potato is a good crop for home gardeners. However, it
is not recommended for the small garden; nor is it recommended
for gardeners who are not prepared to protect it from insects and
The potato grows best on well-drained, sandy loan soil, that
is well supplied with organic matter. Potatoes should not be
planted on old grass sods because these are often infested with
grubs which injure the potatoes. The soil should be plowed 6 to
8 inches deep and harrowed to a good seedbed.
Certified seed should be planted, because it is relatively dis-
ease-free and generally out-yields ordinary seed. A 100-pound
sack of seed is sufficient for a plot 100 by 50 feet, and should pro-
duce 10 bushels or more of potatoes. Each seed-piece should be
cut in a square or blocky shape and should have two or more
eyes. The cut seed may be planted immediately or stored for 24
or 48 hours. Do not plant if the soil is wet.
Harvesting should generally be delayed until the vines ma-
ture. Well-matured potatoes are of better eating quality than im-
mature ones, and they keep better in storage. If possible, dig the
potatoes on a clear day when the soil is not wet. Dig and handle
the potatoes carefully to prevent bruises and cuts. Allow the
potatoes to dry well before placing in storage.
Radishes are hardy and mature quickly. The small round
varieties develop more quickly than the long ones. If radish seeds
are mixed with carrot seeds to mark the rows for early cultiva-
tion, it may not be necessary to make separate plantings of rad-
ishes. All radishes planted in carrot rows should be pulled as soon
as they are ready to eat. You may plant a few feet of row every
10 days to 2 weeks during the growing season to provide a con-
tinuous supply of radishes throughout the season.
In North Florida, rhubarb or pieplant is propagated by root
division because there is variation in plants grown from seed.
The old crowns may be cut into as many pieces are there are
No rhubarb should be harvested from a new planting the
first year and only a small harvest the second year. After this a
full harvest may be made for 8 to 10 weeks each spring. If rhu-
barb becomes unproductive, it is advisable to check for root rot
and root knot. If either of these is present, it is best to start a
new bed. Due to the above pests and our warm climate, rhubarb
is not very well adapted to growing in Florida.
In South Florida, rhubarb seeds are planted in August; the
plants are transplanted to the garden about November 1. Rhu-
barb may be harvested about February 1 from this planting.
Rutabagas are similar to turnips except that they have
smooth leaves instead of hairy and rough leaves. They also have
a larger and rougher root, and require a month longer to mature.
They may be grown in almost the same manner as turnips.
Salisfy or vegetable oyster roots resemble small parsnips in
appearance; when cooked, their flavor resembles that of oysters.
They require a long growing season. Salsify requirements are
similar to those of parsnips (page 61).
Spinach is a hardy crop that grows best during cool weather.
It will withstand freezing better than most vegetables, but it pro-
duces seedstalks when days begin to lengthen in the spring.
Therefore, New Zealand Spinach or Swiss Chard should be
grown for summer greens.
Spinach may be grown in any good soil that is well-fertilized
and not too acid. It seems to do best with a pH 5.6 to 6.0. As with
all other vegetables, shallow and clean cultivation is essential.
New Zealand Spinach
New Zealand spinach is entirely different from common
spinach in growth habit and climatic requirements, although they
Figure 37 -New Zealand Spinach, a warm weather crop
are cooked and eaten in the same way. It has a flavor very simi-
lar to common spinach except its flavor is much milder. New
Zealand spinach is a heat-resistant, warm-weather plant that is
tender to frost. The seeds are large, germinate slowly, and pro-
duce much-branched, succulent plants that will grow about one
foot high and two feet or more in spread.
When the plant has a spread of a foot or so, the end 2 or 3
inches of the branches may be harvested with a knife. New
growth will arise along these branches and the ends of these new
branches may be harvested. Harvesting too heavily will retard
growth and reduce the total yield. The gardener must learn from
experience how much can be harvested under his own conditions.
New Zealand spinach promises to be one of the leading vege-
tables for greens in Florida gardens, because it may be grown
during summer months when other cool-season greens are not
There are three major types of squash. The summer squash
varieties such as Early Prolific Straightneck may be used fresh,
canned or frozen. Another type of summer squash, such as the
Table Queen and Acorn varieties. may be grown as a fresh squash
or harvested in the fall and stored in a cool place until used.
Winter squash may be grown during late summer and early fall
and stored in a cool place until used; it may also be harvested in
the young, tender stage for fresh squash.
Squash is very tender and should not be planted until after
the danger of frost has passed in the spring. Earlier squash may
be obtained by planting the seed indoors in bands or berry boxes
3 to 4 weeks before time to plant in the garden. The plants may
be removed carefully from the boxes and transplanted to the
To conserve space, squash hills may be located at the edge of
the garden and the vines may be trained on the fence or adjoin-
Squash is sometimes planted in early corn, but in dry weath-
er both crops will suffer. If this is done, the corn stalks should be
cut as soon as the ears mature.
Pumpkins require so much space that they are recommended
only for large gardens. They may be grown and stored in the
same manner as winter squash.
Strawberries grow well in Florida and, if properly cared
for, produce over a long period. The best lands are the darker
colored flatwood soils which are underlaid with clay, marl, or
compact sand. Other types of soil will produce good yields with
proper treatment. Irrigation facilities should be available.
Production of runner plants and berries for harvest is a
year-round operation. Fertilizer applications on sandy soils
should be divided so that one application of 6-8-6 is applied at
transplanting time with additional sidedressings of 6-8-6 at ap-
proximately 3- to 4-week intervals thereafter. Berries grown on
marl soils should have an application of 6-8-6 at transplanting
Figure 38 Strawberry plants properly mulched with pine straw
time plus an additional sidedressing of 6-8-6 for six to eight
weeks afterward. See Table 2 for rates of fertilizer application.
A mulch is used to aid in the prevention of fruit rot and
dirty berries. Wiregrass, pine straw, or similar materials may be
placed around the plants when the plants begin to bloom. A su-
perior method of mulching is to cover the beds with black plastic
film. In gardens, this is usually done at time of planting, but be-
fore the plants are set.
See Table 4 for recommended varieties and transplanting dis-
tances. Plants should be placed in the soil so that the crown of
the plant is even with the soil surface.
Berries should be picked every 2 or 3 days during the early
morning hours on a regular schedule to avoid harvesting past
the prime condition of the fruit. Handle berries carefully and
refrigerate at 400 F. or lower until consumed.
Sweet corn requires plenty of space and is adapted only to
the larger gardens. It is susceptible to frost injury and grows
best during warm weather, but will withstand more cold than
will cucumbers, muskmelons, pumpkins, and squashes. It is one
of the most important home garden crops in Florida.
To have a constant supply of sweet corn for the table, plant
early, midseason, and later varieties at the same time. Also, a
similar effect will result from making additional plantings of the
same variety each spaced 10 days to 2 weeks apart. To obtain
good pollination and a full set of kernels on the cob, plant at least
three adjacent rows at each planting.
Many Florida gardeners still practice suckering (removal of
the side shoots at the base of the main stalk) sweet corn. Since
many years of experimental work have failed to substantiate
the claimed benefits from this practice, suckering is not recom-
Sweet potatoes are a warm-weather crop that requires a long
growing season. They may be grown in small gardens even
though they require a large growing space, because they may be
grown during the hot summer months when very few crops may
be grown in the garden.
A light to medium soil is required by sweet potatoes and they
do best on a sandy loam soil. They develop poor yields and roots
of undesirable shape in soil that receives heavy applications of
nitrogenous fertilizer. Applications of manure should not be made
immediately before sweet potatoes are planted. If poor yields are
experienced when using the standard garden fertilizer (6-8-6),
you may try a 3-8-8 fertilizer at the same rate as suggested for
Figure 39 Good sweet potato plant for transplanting
It is generally better for the gardener to get disease-free
plants (draws or slips) or vine cuttings from seedsmen or plant
growers than to grow his own. A good plant for transplanting
should be about 6 to 9 inches long. The plants are usually set on
ridges 8 to 10 inches high, 4 feet apart. If fertilizer is placed in
the ridges before planting, it must be well below the level of the
plants and well mixed with the soil. Another application should
follow in about 4 weeks.
A better method of fertilizer application is to place it in
bands 2 to 3 inches below and 3 to 4 inches to the side of the
row. By using the band method, applications of fertilizer may be
delayed until after the plants are set in the garden. Make the
first application one week after planting and the second applica-
tion 3 to 4 weeks later. The danger of over fertilization is rather
acute. Normally topdressing should be used only following per-
iods of excessive rains.
For directions on storing, see Sweet Potatoes (page 46).
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C. In the ab-
sence of a continuous supply of citrus fruits, tomatoes may be
used as a substitute for citrus to supply the much needed vitamin.
At least a few plants should be in every garden because they are
easily grown and can be used fresh, canned, or as juice.
Tomatoes are tender and should not be set in the garden
Figure 40 Trellised tomatoes
until danger of frost is past. The seed are usually planted from
4 to 6 weeks before the time of setting in the garden, in rows
about 2 inches apart in plant boxes, coldframes, or hotbeds. When
the plants are about 2 inches high, thin them to a stand from 2 to
3 inches apart. The less the plants are injured in transplanting
the sooner the plants will recover and the greater will be their
yield. Tomato plants are often transplanted, when the seedbed is
thinned, to individual pots or paper bands which make it possible
to transfer them to the garden with a minimum of disturbance
to the root system. Plants in plant boxes or flats will be retarded
less when set in the garden if they are blocked out; that is, cut
the soil with a heavy knife to the bottom of the box in both direc-
tions between the plants.
On a given area of land the yield is usually about the same
whether the plants are set close, pruned and staked, or whether
they are spaced farther apart and allowed to grow all over the
ground. Pruned and staked plants produce a large early yield,
but the total yield per plant is usually smaller. Staking may be
desirable where there is a considerable loss of fruit from fruit
Figure 41-Turnips, and other similar greens (From top-center, clock-
wise)-curly leaf mustard, collards, turnips, Shogoin turnips, kale, mustard,
spinach, and beets.
Mulching with straw or leaves greatly reduces fruit rot,
cracking, and blossom-end rot.
For directions on storing, see Tomatoes (page 48).
Turnips are a quick-growing, cool-weather crop. They re-
quire a shorter growing season than rutabagas and are less ex-
acting in their requirements. The seeds are so small that it is
difficult to avoid sowing them too thickly and too deeply. Special
care is required if good results are obtained without wasting
seeds and labor.
Sometimes turnip seeds fail to germinate or the seedlings
are killed by black rot. If this trouble has occurred previously,
use only hot water treated seed.
Only gardeners with a large amount of room should grow
watermelons. The requirements for watermelons are similar to
those of muskmelons.