FLORIDA A&M DEMONSTRATION PROJECT
Extension Rural Development Specialist
Florida A&M Programs
James M. Stephens
Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist
University of Florida
Recent economic changes (inflation and rising
unemployment) have forced the average Ameri-
can family to change the way that they buy food.
Today, more and more families are turning to
home vegetable gardens to provide the food nec-
essary for a nutritious diet.
As the number of home gardeners grow, the
need for more gardening information also grows.
To offset this problem, the Cooperative Extension
Service is expanding the amount and types of gar-
dening information available.
In growing a home vegetable garden, the best
method is often found only after trying several
methods. Based on the old saying that "seeing is
believing," a technical assistance project was es-
tablished at Florida A&M University in 1976, as a
joint cooperative venture with the University of
Florida. This project was described in FCES Cir-
cular 420 Vegetable Gardening: Florida A&M
Demonstration Project, December 1976.
The 1977 vegetable garden demonstration pro-
ject was established on the same site in the
spring to demonstrate various cultural practices.
This project provided first-hand information to
Extension professionals and paraprofessionals on
the proper planting and care of home gardens.
The garden was planted March 24, 1977. The
public, along with Extension workers from Leon
and surrounding counties, participated in a tour
of the demonstration plots on May 27, 1977.
The information presented in this circular is
based on the various practices demonstrated and
is described, either step-by-step, or according to
the results obtained.
The pictures in this circular have been matched
to a set of slides. For each illustration there is a
corresponding slide numbered in the same se-
quence as in the booklet. The slide set is accom-
panied by a matching cassette tape narrative. All
of these materials are available on a loan basis to
Extension personnel for training special garden-
The Florida A&M vegetable garden demon-
stration plots established in 1977 included four (4)
family-size plots of 2,000 square feet each. The
soil was tested for available nutrients well in
advance of soil preparation and actual planting.
Lime and fertilizer applications were based on
test results. The vegetables planted were primar-
ily those commonly grown in area home gardens.
All rows were marked off, fertilized, and planted
on March 24, 1977. The four plots included a
regular garden, a variety trial plot, a practice
demonstration plot, and an organic garden.
1. An information sign is located at the site of
the vegetable gardening demonstration. It
describes for visitors the purpose of the proj-
1 '2. Regular Garden: The regular garden plot was
S seeded and maintained as ideally as possible,
,,, *and called the model garden. Vegetables
..:a: selected were those commonly liked and
grown by most local consumers and especially
families with limited income. On the day of
planting, five (5) pounds of 6-8-8 fertilizer
M: :'' S were applied per 50' of row. For larger gar-
Bdens, this amount would equal 1,000 pounds
i-.per acre. Seeds were planted with a push-type
precision seeder, while transplants were set
4 .', out by hand. Selected vegetable varieties in-
cluded in the plot were: (1) 'Silver Queen'
sweet corn; (2) 'Bonnie Best' tomato; (3)
'Clemson Spineless' okra; (4) 'Florida Mar-
ket' eggplant; (5) 'Early Calwonder' bell pep-
per; (6) 'Summer Crookneck' squash; (7)
'Cream 40' southern peas; (8) 'Henderson
Bush' lima beans; (9) 'Contender' bush snap
beans; (10) 'Georgia' collards; (11) 'Florida
Broadleaf' mustard; and (12) 'Purple Top'
turnip. The plot was cultivated, sprayed for
insects and diseases, and watered as ideally
3. Variety Trials: In the variety trials, soil prep-
aration, fertilizing, liming, planting, and cul-
tivation were done in the same manner as the
regular garden. Varieties selected were dif-
ferent from those in the regular garden. Some
were newer, some older, and some just un-
known. The idea was to compare these
selected varieties with those planted in the
regular or model garden. The variety trials
plot included: (1) 'Golden Queen' sweet corn;
(2) 'Better Boy' tomatoes; (2) 'Homestead' to-
matoes; (4) 'Floramerica' tomatoes; (5) 'Dwarf
Green' okra; (6) 'Florida Market' eggplant;
(transplanted and from seed); (7) 'Hungarian
Wax' hot pepper; (8) 'Anaheim Chile' hot pep-
per; (9) 'Calabaza' squash; (10) 'Scallopini'
squash; (11) 'Butternut' squash; (12) 'Cucuzzi'
squash; (13) 'Zucchini' squash; (14) 'Purple
Hull' peas; (15) 'Zipper Cream' peas; (16)
'Roma' snap beans; (17) 'Georgia' collards
(transplanted); (18) 'Curly Leaf mustard,
and (19) 'White Egg' turnip.
4. Practice Plot: The practice plot was estab-
lished to show the results of several different
gardening practices. Practices demonstrated
included: (1) seeding double rows on a single
bed; (2) banding fertilizer in various positions
along the row; (3) mulching with both clear
and black plastic; (4) pruning back eggplants
following the spring crop to encourage fall
production; (5) interplanting fast-growing
vegetables among slower growing ones; (6)
hill planting; (7) over-fertilizing; (8) planting
without fertilizer; (9) deep seeding; (10) plant
spacing; (11) planting a seed-tape; and (12)
broadcast seeding of mixtures of vegetable
Some of the practices showed gardeners
better ways of growing vegetables while
others clearly demonstrated probable pitfalls
when selected vegetable varieties are planted
and maintained differently from rec-
5. Organic Garden: Since so-called "organic
gardens" are popular throughout Florida, a
plot was set aside to grow vegetables using
only accepted organic practices. After liming
the soil, organic fertilizer was applied three
cow manure and 150 pounds of chicken man-.
ure were spread and plowed into the soil. The
plot was seeded in the same manner and with
the same vegetable varieties as planted in the '.--.
regular or model garden. It was cultivated ,'
and watered as needed. Two "organic ap-
proved" biological insecticides-1% Rotenone ': ;,
and 1% Dipel Dust-were used as needed.
Evidence of success from this plot was demon-
strated by its moisture holding capacity,
early maturity and quantity of yield.
6. The assistant dean of Florida A&M Programs
and student assistants inspect attachments
on the tractor while Extension specialists
finalize plans for initial planting. The use
of such a tractor is not practical for the
average home garden where space is limited.
However, since it was used in the one-acre
commercial vegetable demonstration project,
also located on the FAMU Farm, it was used
to plant and maintain the family plots.
7. The tractor was used to mark off the rows.
Each row was 42 inches wide. Proper row
width is necessary to provide space for
spreading plants, for ease of cultivation and
to provide plants with enough sunlight for
8. Fertilizer must be applied to the vegetable
garden to provide nutrients not available in
the soil. Here it was spread over all row cen-
ters in 24-inch bands prior to planting.
9. The right kind of fertilizer for most garden
soils is a 6-8-8, 8-8-8, or 5-10-15. It should also
include nutrients needed only in trace
amounts. Here the right amount was five
pounds per 50 feet of row. Starting three to
four weeks after the plants began growing,
they were side-dressed every 10 to 14 days to
replace fertilizer lost in heavy rainfall, and to
provide a continuous supply of nutrients.
10. Fertilizer may also be applied evenly within
each row as demonstrated in the Practice Plot
by an Extension specialist, agricultural tech-
nician and garden student assistant. Care
must be taken not to apply too much this way,
or seedlings will be injured when sprouting
occurs. Organic fertilizers such as cow or
chicken manure, straw, grass clippings and
compost, will supply needed plant nutrients
when mixed in the soil well in advance of
11. After fertilizer was applied, the soil was pulled
over it to form a seed-bed for planting. The
home gardener can do this easily with a hand
or wheel hoe.
12. Several stops were made to see if the seedbed
was the right size and firm enough to with-
stand soil erosion caused by heavy rains. A
good seedbed is especially important during
the fall growing season.
13. After the seedbed was made, debris, clods of
soil and rocks were removed. A firm, smooth
seedbed helps keep seeds in contact with the
soil, holds moisture well and ensures a uni-
form depth of planting.
14. Follow a garden plan as shown here by the
Extension Specialist. For any task you
would like to do, it is important to "map"
your garden first. Then you will know
where you are going. Draw a plan of the
garden rows on paper, and ask yourself
a. Where will the garden be located?
b. Which vegetables will I grow?
c. Which varieties are best?
d. How much seed will I need?
e. How far apart should the crops be
f. Where should different kinds be lo-
cated relative to each other and sun-
15. Only a very few hand tools are necessary for
the average-size home garden. It is better
to buy a few simple tools of good quality
that will last for many years than tools
made of cheap or low-grade materials that
will not last. In most instances, the only
tools needed are a shovel or spading fork, a
steel rake, a common hoe, a yardstick, a
strong cord for laying off rows and a garden
hose long enough to water all vegetables. A
trowel can be useful in transplanting, but it
is not essential. If the soil is soft enough,
plants can be set as easily by hand.
For gardens that are from 2,000 to 4,000
square feet, a push plow with attachments
is very helpful. It can be used with much
less effort for most work done with a com-
mon hoe. A seeder such as this one with
various sized plates is helpful for spacing and
planting different size seeds.
16. Selecting good steds for the home garden is
just as important as proper seed spacing and
planting depth. It pays to buy seed from re-
spected seed dealers. Proper seed spacing
within each row depends upon the size of
the seed. Large seeds such as lima beans,
squash, pole beans, corn and snap beans are
planted individually at various distances.
Smaller seeds such as turnips, mustards
and collards may be sown directly into the
row with limited spacing. Shown here are
large seeds placed in precision seeder before
17. Here seeds are planted, spaced and covered
in one operation. Planting seeds with the
precision seeder saves time in larger gar-
dens of 2,000 square feet or more.
18. There are times when two persons are re-
quired to move the seeder through soil that
is soft or prepared on the same day of plant-
19. Different seeding practices were tried in
several practice plots during the 1977 grow-
ing season. This one demonstrates prepara-
tion for seeding double rows of sweet corn
on the same row. A common hoe handle is
used to open holes and get proper depth be-
20. Seed corn is properly spaced at 12-inch in-
tervals in the row by hand. When planting
is completed, seeds are covered im-
mediately. Firming the seedbed eliminates
air pockets and helps keep the soil moist
around the seed. An identification tag at-
tached to a stake and placed at the end of
each row shows the variety of vegetable and
the planting date.
21. When seeds are properly planted and main-
tained, they will germinate and grow well.
These vegetables came up green and vigor-
ous. Later, they were thinned to avoid over-
22. An Extension Specialist and student assis-
tant show how seeds may be planted in hills
by hand and with a garden hoe. In this case,
squash seeds are planted in the bed 24
inches apart and one to two inches deep.
Squash will normally grow from early
spring through fall, but hot weather is
needed for prolific growth and maturity.
23. Here seedling eggplants, two to three inches
in height, are transplanted. Transplanting
means taking a plant from one spot, usually
where it germinated from the seed, and
moving it to the row where it will have
more space for growth and development.
24. The act of transplanting does not in itself
help the plant grow better. Growth actually
stops for a while until the plant re-
establishes its root system. Every effort
should be made during transplanting to pro-
tect the roots.
25. When plants are transplanted, soil is firmly
settled around plant roots to insure that soil
moisture is maintained, as demonstrated
here by an agricultural technician.
26. Plants grown in individual containers can -i
be moved to the garden with almost no in-
jury to the roots, especially those plants
that are hardened outdoors for a week or
two before transplanting. Individual tomato
plants are transplanted here by a student
assistant and technician. All plants should _
be thoroughly soaked in water just before
they are transplanted in the garden.
**-f J27. The roots of all plants should be kept coy-
ered and not allowed to dry out before they
are transplanted. Dipping the roots in a
mixture of clay and water helps keep the
plant alive during the first few days after it
is set out. Planting when the soil is moist
28. Pouring one-half to one pint of water (less
for small plants) into the hole around the
plant, before it is completely filled with soil,
helps the plant to grow new roots quickly. A ..Z
starter solution made by mixing one-
quarter pound of 4-12-4 or 5-10-5 commer- .'S
cial fertilizer into four gallons of water is
often used instead of plain water to supply
added nutrients. This solution will help
plants get off to a good start.
29. Healthy transplanted plants should be wa-
tered immediately after they are set out.
Transplanting on a cloudy or rainy day will
help plants avoid transplant shock.
30. Mulching is an old gardening practice. It
helps to control weeds. To demonstrate the
use of plastic mulch, a seedbed was properly
prepared, then 6-inch furrows were dug on
each side of the bed in preparation for the
clear plastic mulch.
31. Clear plastic is not a good mulch. It lets in
light, allowing the weeds to grow under it.
It was used here to show its disadvantages.
Black plastic is better. It is installed just
like this clear plastic. The mulch was
spread over the seedbed wide enough for
each side of the plastic to fit securely in the
32. Then the edges were secured by soil using
the hand hoe. Straw, leaves and dried lawn
clippings are just a few of the other mulch-
ing materials that may be used. Mulches
help conserve moisture and control weeds.
They keep fertilizer from leaching and keep
vegetables from rotting on the soil.
33. When the clear plastic is secure over the
seedbed, the specialist cuts the plastic at
proper intervals to plant seed. Here dkra
was planted 12 inches apart by hand
through the plastic mulch. These holes
allow moisture from rainfall and irrigation
to seep into the root zone. Additional holes
punched through the top of the plastic with
the sharp points of the rake help to let in
more water if needed.
34. All four garden plots were watered im-
mediately after planting, using a garden
hose with sprinklers attached. Sprinkling
settles the soil around the seeds or plants.
35. Garden soil should be kept moist, but not
wet. The requirement for the average home
garden is equal to about an inch of rain
each week during the growing season for
best plant growth. An inch of rain is equal
to about 28,000 gallons on an acre, or 900
gallons on a 30 by 50-foot garden. The aver-
age home sprinkler puts out an inch of
water every four hours.
36. This slide shows the clear plastic two weeks
after the okra was planted. Here you can
see the weeds growing under the plastic.
Also, note how the soil moisture is held
under the plastic rather than being lost to
37. Here is the black plastic mulch. There are
no weeds showing and the tomatoes are
healthy. The fertilizer and moisture in the
warm soil under the plastic promotes good
38. Where space is limited, interplanting one 4e. -
kind of vegetable in the same row with
another kind should be a part of the garden
plan. As shown here in the practice garden .
plot, radishes were interplanted with hot
peppers. Such vegetables grown on the same S. I
row do not affect the growth and maturity of
each other. The radishes matured early, and
were harvested before the peppers needed
more room. Radishes grown in this demon-
stration plot matured in 22 days, while the
hot peppers took up to 90 days to reach
39. Planting double rows of 'Silver Queen'
~..- sweet corn on the same row increased plant
population, as shown here. Normally sweet
corn requires plenty of space and is adapted
only to larger gardens, but where space is
limited, corn can do well in double rows.
.. Otherwise, sweet corn may be grown in hills
or in rows at least three feet apart. Plant
the seed thickly and later thin to three
plants on a hill, or on a row thin to single
. r .- stalks 14 to 16 inches apart.
,' .. .
40. Limited rainfall resulted in a poor stand of
southern field peas in the practice plot.
Under normal conditions, field peas do well
in most southern soils. Heavy applications
of nitrogen fertilizer should not be used.
They can be fertilized moderately with a
low-nitrogen fertilizer such as 4-12-12.
Southern peas are frequently planted in
41. This is the organic garden at an early stage.
Cow and chicken manure were used to im-
prove the soil. The rotting organic matter
released nitrogen, and other nutrients for
42. When vegetables are growing, they require
care on a regular basis. Heavy-duty stakes
are needed to support heavy-fruited plants
such as tomatoes and eggplants. One is
driven into the ground beside each plant.
43. Most vegetable varieties are subject to
damage by a number of diseases and in-
sects, such as these aphids on the peas. If
insects become a problem, and the gardener
is not familiar with the insect or disease
and the proper treatment to protect the
crop, he should seek advice from his county
44. Since insects were detected, plants were
sprayed immediately as shown here, after
one week of growth. Worm damage appears
as chewed-out areas or holes in leaves,
stems or fruit. Aphids suck juices from
young tender leaves and carry plant dis-
eases. A general purpose insecticide applied
at seven-day intervals, or as needed, will
control most of these pests. For best results,
application should be made soon after a
rain, or after watering.
. ...... 1 :- \-, -"-.
45. Continuous care of the home garden is im-
portant. After seeds germinate and are off
to a good start, the soil should be hoed or
cultivated to control weeds and to leave the
top of the soil loose to absorb rainfall and
plant food. The primary purpose of cultivat-
ing is weed control. Hoeing should be shal-
low to avoid injuring vegetable roots.
46. When tomatoes reach this stage of growth,
hoeing should be limited because of the ten-
der extended branches. These bush-type to-
matoes are not staked, but are allowed to
grow on the ground. A mulch around the
plant would help to keep tomatoes from
making contact with the soil and possibly
47. Several tomato varieties were tried in the
demonstration garden: 'Floramerica', .
'Floradel', 'Manalucie' and 'Walter'. All of .
these fruits shown weighed about a pound;
however, most fruits averaged five to eight
ounces. Even 'Bonny Best' grew well in the
*fltaiv /Ovfa 'jdvcie Wa Ir f
48. Tomatoes can be grown under a wide vari-
ety of conditions and require only a small
space for large production. A generous ap-
plication of compost (organic fertilizer) and
commercial fertilizer in preparing the soil
should be sufficient for tomatoes under most
conditions. Heavy applications of fertilizer
should be broadcast, not applied in the row.
A small amount, however, can be mixed
with the soil in the row at planting time, as
shown in earlier pictures (Nos. 7, 8, and 9).
Tomato plants, except for early spring crops,
are usually grown in outdoor beds. Planting
distances depend upon the variety and
whether the plants are to be pruned and
staked. There are many advantages to prun-
ing and staking tomatoes in the home gar-
den. Cultivation is easier. The fruits are al-
ways clean and easy to find. Tomatoes
shown here came from staked plants in the
demonstration garden. At this stage of
maturity they may be used in several ways
by the consumer. Because they were staked
they were clean and easy to pick.
49. Leafy green collards are liked by most home
gardeners. They withstand heat better than ., .
other members of the cabbage group and are 1
well suited to soils in the South for both
summer and winter use. They can be
planted from seed or hand-transplanted 14
to 18 inches apart. Collards do not form a
true head, but a good supply of broad leaves.
These are the 'Georgia' variety. v. I
50. Snap Green beans are more important than
dry beans to the Florida home gardener.
Snap beans cannot be planted until the
ground is thoroughly warm. To get a con-
b vtinuous supply of fresh beans, plant them
Severe two weeks during the spring and fall.
They are not well adapted to midsummer. In
the extreme south, beans are grown
throughout the winter.
51. Lima beans are called butter beans in the
South. They may be grown on almost any
fertile, well-drained soil. Lima beans need a
warm growing season of about four months.
Both the small and large-seed lima beans
are available in pole and bush varieties. In r 01 0
the South, the most commonly grown lima
bean varieties are 'Henderson' (shown here),
'Jackson Wonder' (speckled seeds), and 0 0
'Fordhooks' (large seeds).
52. Vegetables for home use or for market
should be harvested on a regular schedule.
The 'Pink-Eye Purple-Hull' pea being
picked here is grown by many home gar-
deners because it is nutritious, tasty and
easily grown. This and other varieties such
as 'Black Eye' are called southern peas as a
53. Southern peas such as these grown in the
regular demonstration garden usually are
not difficult to sell in curb markets or pick-
your-own operations. Most consumers like
them fresh, canned, or frozen.
54. Bell and hot peppers are grown like to-
matoes. They require a lot of space, so they
should be transplanted 18 to 24 inches
apart. Shown here is 'California Wonder'
bell pepper planted in early spring. Peppers
require long periods of hot weather for
good growth. The plants should be started
in a seedbed six to eight weeks before
transplanting. They have a long growing
season, usually from early spring until the
first killing frost of fall.
55. An Extension Specialist and student assis-
tant inspect eggplants for maturity. Egg-
plants require a warm growing season of
100 to 140 days with high average day and
night temperatures. Like peppers, they will
continue to grow until cold weather begins.
Only a few plants are needed for an
56. Squash is one of the most commonly grown
and well-liked garden vegetables. It grows
during the warm season all over the state.
In the warmest parts of south Florida they
may be grown in winter. There are two
major classes of squash varieties-summer
and winter. Most home gardeners plant
summer crookneck, zucchini, and straight-
neck as shown in the container. Summer
squash should be picked while it is young
and tender, when the rind can be penetrated
by the thumbnail. Winter squash includes
varieties such as 'Hubbard', 'Butternut' and
'Acorn'. Winter squash should be gathered
when it is well-matured. Due to its hard
rind, it may be stored longer and used in the
57. Okra is another common vegetable in the
southern home garden. The okra shown
here grew very well in the demonstration
garden. Okra is a warm-weather vegetable.
The seeds should not be planted until the
soil is warm. The rows should be from three
to three and one-half feet apart, depending
upon whether the variety is dwarf or large-
growing. Sow the seeds every few inches in
the row, and later thin the plants to stand
18 to 24 inches apart. Good varieties are
'Clemson Spineless', 'Emerald' and 'Dwarf
Green'. The pods should be picked young
and tender as shown here. None should
reach maturity. Large mature pods are
tough to eat and will slow production of new
y ^ *
VteC T"'^ \ s^
W-, ..t^ ^ -
e .. :T
r .IL e~
~~p; - ~"-~ --
58. Both okra and lima beans are also good
vegetables for curb markets and pick-your-
59. Here the director of Florida A&M's Division
of Rural Development, takes a look at a
three-pound collard plant grown in the dem-
onstration garden. The plant was taken
from a row where seedlings were planted 18
to 24 inches apart. This plant had a leaf-
spread of 34 inches.
60. The Extension staff at Florida A&M and
other participants in the vegetable garden
field day had a chance to see the many dif-
ferent vegetable varieties grown in the
61. Here the director of A&M's Agricultural
Research and Extension Center and an Ex-
tension Specialist discuss the size and
length of a new variety of squash tried in
this plot. The variety was 'Cucuzzi', which is
shaped like a gourd and reaches a length of
approximately 24 inches.
62. Field day visitors listen to Extension
Specialists, giving talks on the FAMU Ex-
tension Home Gardening Program, Home
Gardening Methods, and Home Food Pre-
63. Extension Specialists conduct a tour of
the demonstration plots. The methods and
vegetable varieties used in each plot were
discussed. A total of 75 persons, including
some local home gardeners, participated in
the field day activities.
64. As a summary for the project, here are some
general hints for a successful garden:
-Locate it near the house, but in full
-Plan it carefully.
-Use recommended varieties.
-Prepare the soil thoroughly.
-Fertilize according to recommendations.
-Plant on schedule.
-Pay attention to weeds, insects, and
-Water thoroughly when needed.
-Can, freeze or store some produce for
b- a~__- ---~I.---
~- e 9
u* **vs47Y* or PtsiIDA
CWARIMENT Or AGMCULTUUC
osiDS or county rcoUnlt.i'JSE
65. Your County Extension Agent can provide
you with information on home gardening
HOME ECONOMICS AGENT
........-- -"lr- .. f
This publication was promulgated at an annual cost of
$2,695.00 or 53.9 cents per copy to help consumers improve
their gardening skills.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
Acts of May 8 and June 30. 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service. IFAS. Florida A&M University. University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture. Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller. Director