Title: Vegetarian
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087399/00069
 Material Information
Title: Vegetarian
Series Title: Vegetarian
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: November 1971
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00069
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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The VEGETARIAN Newsletter


November 5, 1971

Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists

G. A. Marlowe, Jr. James Montelaro J. M. Stephens

J. R. Hicks R. K. Showalter D. D. Gull


FROM: James M. Stephens, Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist,/


I. Commercial Vegetable Production
A. Seed-coat Color Effects on Germination of Table
B. Nematode Control on Potatoes in Florida
C. Need for Separating White and Yellow Sweet Corn
II. Harvesting and Handling
A. Maintaining Chlorine in Vegetable Wash Water
B. Grading Influences quality
III. Vegetable Gardening
A. Cucumber Varieties for Greenhouses
B. Organic Gardening Commentary
C. Know Your Vegetables -- Roselle
D. Correction
IV, Personnel Change
V. County Conferenceson Vegetable Crop Program Needs

NOTE: Anyone is free to use the information in this newsletter. !Whenever
possible, please give credit to the authors.

I, Commercial Vegetable Production

A. Seed-coat Color Effects on Germination of Table Legumes

A little known fact about some table legumes is that seed-coat color may
affect germination. Heavily pigmented seed-types of snap beans and southern peas
will often germinate better under field conditions than some of the light to
cream-colored seed-types of these same crops. Differences may develop even though
percentage germination as shown on the label may be essentially equal.


This information is based primarily on observations made by
Extension specialists in the field, plant breeders in research plots,
and seed analysts in seed testing laboratories. There is not much
organized research to back up these observations. Nevertheless, ,e feel
it is quite valid.

The only explanation that can be made is that seed pigments in some
way tend to inhibit development of decay organisms in the soil. This
explanation is based on the fact that differences in germination are not
shown in tests under sterile laboratory conditions.

What is the value of this information? Simply, it should be taken
into consideration and adjustments made, whenever possible, to compensate
for the possibility of lower germination in the light color seed-types. These
include such things as: (1) making sure that seed is well treated with a
good fungicide; (2) increasing seeding rate of the light-coated seed-types;
(3) avoiding periods of the season and soil conditions conducive to seed
decay; and (4) employing cultural practices which do not encourage physical
damage to the seed during planting and germination period.
NOTE: In checking out this information with the chief seed analyst
of the Florida Department of Agriculture, the writer was informed that the
analyst had observed differences in germination between white and yellow sweet
corns, also. This observation is an interesting one for it appears that
seed-coat pigments may also affect germination in other vegetable crops besides
table legumes.

B. Nematode Control on Potatoes in Florida

Some growers in South Florida have been fumigating old land used for
potato production regularly for a number of years. This has not been the case
in Hastings area where the potato is one of the major crops. However, growers
now are well aware of the potential benefits of fumigation for potatoes and
most growers plan to use it for next season's crop.

Credit for the development of this information goes to Dr. D. P.
Weingartner of the Hastings Station, Dr. D. W. Dickson of the Entomology and
Nematology Department and Paul Dinkins and associates of the St. Johns' County
Extension Office. They have conducted a series of research and demonstration
plots over the past three years which proved conclusively that fumigation can
pay for potato growers in the Hastings area. The following table is a summary
of the results obtained in a test last year.


Table 1. Results of 1971 Experiment for Control of Sting
and Stunt Nematodes on Potatoesi/

Sting + Stunt!/
Marketable Yield Skin2/ Nematodes
Rate (cwt/acre) Quality Specific Mid- At
Treatment (GPA) USIA USIB Total Rating Gravity season Harvest
Dowfume W-85 1.8 103.3 53.4 156.7 3.5 1.065 5 4
Telone 8.0 101.7 52.0 153.7 4.2 1.064 4 25
D-D 10.0 84.7 47.2 131.9 4.0 1.062 9 61
Vorlex 3.0 80.8 46.8 127.6 4.1 1.064 10 65
Control 38.5 34.9 73.4 6.4 1.069 304 188

1/ All data are mean values of 5 replications. All treatment values vary signifi-
cantly from control at 1% level of probability.

2/ Skin quality ratings based on 1-10 scale with 1 being smooth skinned and 10 being
totally russetted and fissured tuber surface. Reductions in skin quality were
significantly correlated with mid-season populations of sting (r = .78) and stunt
(r = .67) nematodes.

3/ Nematode counts are sums of sting and spiral nematodes extracted from replicated
soil samples.

Even though the table is self-explanatory, two points need further clari-
fication. The first point has to do with the results obtained with EDB (Dowfume W-85)
this year which is in contrast to the two previous years. In 1971, it was among
the best materials, but not so in 1969 and 1970 when it was in lowest group. Rates
of EDB tested in 1969-70 may have been too high in some cases which, combined with
adverse soil conditions, resulted in reduced sprouting in potato seed pieces. At
that time, we suggested that growers not use EDB until more was learned about it.
Based on the 1971 results, growers may wish to use EDB. Since we cannot fully
recommend it, we advise growers who wish to use it to proceed with caution and suggest
that they check with their EDB representative to be sure that all necessary pre-
cautions are followed in the use of this material.

The second point needing further explanation in the table is the net profit
aspect for each treatment involved. Total yields do not tell the full story. Cost
and quality improvement comparisons for the different treatments should be taken
into consideration before one is finally selected for use.

A preliminary observation made in these studies is the relationship between
nematode control and other diseases. Plants from non-treated areas were found to
be infected with pathogens which often cause wilt. By reducing nematode injury to
roots, fumigation may also help to reduce incidence of other harmful organisms
which often gain entrance to the plant thru root injuries.



C. Need for Separating White and Yellow Sweet Corn Plantings
The last order of business for the writer on trips to the sweet
corn producing areas of Florida is to pick up a crate of fresh sweet
corn for the eating pleasure of family and friends. On one occasion
last spring, it was a crate of "white sweet corn" known to be very sweet
and quite low in pericarp. It turned out to be a mixture of ears of
corn with kernels which were: (1) completely yellow, (2) completely
white, and (3) yellow and white. Imagine the consumer's reaction in
finding such a mixture at home after the purchase of "white sweet corn"
Sweet corn growers know that cross pollination between white and
yellow corn will produce yellow kernels on the normally white ears. Grade,
appearance, and general acceptance in that kind of sweet corn is well
below that of the pure white corn.
Prevention of this problem is a simple one. White and yellow sweet
corn plantings have to be separated by distance or time. Actual distance
required to prevent cross pollination depends on win-d direction and
velocities, barriers, etc. However, about a quarter of a mile separation
should be adequate. Time between plantings should be regulated to prevent
pollen maturation at the same time that the corn silks are receptive.
Generally, 10 to 12 days are adequate between varieties of equal maturity
periods. These are simple precautions to take in order to prevent lowering
the appearance of an otherwise excellent vegetable.



II. Harvesting and Handling

A. Maintaining Chlorine in Vegetable Wash Water

Below are amounts of clorox or other bleaches to be added as a
disinfectant to clear, clean water for initial concentrations of chlorine.

Chlorine Solutions From Bleach (5.25%)

Desired ppm



ml /1


Desired ppm


Chlorine Solutions

Desired ppm


From Hypochlorite (25%)

Desired ppm ml/1


10 0.04
20 0.08
30 0.12
40 0.16
5O 0.2-0
60 0.24
70 0.28
80 0.32
90 0.36
100 0.40

Since concentrations dissipate following initial applications due
to temperature, light, etc., and fixation onto organic contaminants, the
solution of wash water must be monitored periodically in order to determine
amounts of chlorine to add periodically. Monitoring devices utilizing the
principles employed by swimming pool test kits may be used.

Wash water for most vegetables should be maintained at a range of 50-
125 ppm chlorine (roughly 1-2 ml chlorox per liter of water or 1-2 oz. per
8 gal. water or -l cup per 30 gal. water). (
B. Grading Influences Quality.

The purpose of grading is to separate produce into different cate-
gories. In some operations, it may consist of elimination of damaged or
inferior units. More sophisticated procedures may not only discard produce
that is inferior, but divide the remainder into grades based on any of a number








of criteria depending on the specific commodity. The former, simpler method
is often used when produce is being field packed such as is often done with
lettuce and cabbage. The more complicated system is usually located in a
packinghouse. Most grading is based on USDA grades although some states have
their own grades for certain commodities. These grades may even exceed Federal
standards. Recently, some of the wholesale-retail outlets have begun to use
their own grades based on the type of produce they wish to handle and the type
of clientele they serve. This allows the buyers considerable latitude on the
type of produce they are willing to accept.

One reason for grading produce is a uniform, more attractive pack.
This is of considerable importance to a buyer and also creates a favorable
impression on the consumer if that particular commodity is displayed in bulk
at the retail outlet. Aside from the better appearance of graded produce, there
is also the matter of protecting the commodity from pathogens. Most fruits
and vegetables are relatively impervious to rots, etc., as long as the epidermal
layer is unbroken. However, when the skin is broken there is not only an entry
for pathogens, but also there is usually free moisture to enhance the possibility
of spoilage via pathogens.
A common reaction for most members of the plant kingdom is to increase
ethylene production in response to wounding. The presence of threshold level
concentrations of ethylene (which may result from damaged produce) triggers
increased ethylene production in healthy fruits and vegetables. Increased
ethylene results in increased respiration. Any increase in respiration results
in greater consumption of food reserves. It is apparent that although the
initial increase in ethylene may be a result of damage, the effect is not
limited to the damaged produce.

There are secondary materials which may be produced during respiration.
The best known of these products is ethyl alcohol, the characteristics of
which are well known and which are seldom injurious--particularly to plant life.
However, if conditions are such that the overflow respiratory substrates cannot
all be converted to ethanol, there are some side products that show up. Included
in these are acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate, both of which are very toxic at
rather low concentrations. These three compounds are escape valves for
respiratory products that cannot flow into normal channels and are particularly
important when respiration is rapid, air movement restricted, and the carbon
dioxide derived from respiration of the produce is allowed to accumulate.

Economics are also involved in grading. If only the damaged units
were involved, whichc h is not the case, the handling and transportation costs
would be the same for damaged units as for sound ones. The presence of bruised
and damaged produce can result in a refused shipment (or accepted at a lower
price). For every damaged or inferior unit that reaches the market and is not
salable, the cost per unit of the remainder of the load is increased. When
unsalable produce, which h should be left in the field or at the packinghouse,
is shipped, someone has to pay for the handling, shipping, and disposal of this
produce. It has been shown many times that increased cost results in reduced
sales. This hurts the shipper, packer, producer and everyone in the chain up to
and including the consumer.
(Gull, Hicks and Showalter)



III. Vegetable Gardening

A. Cucumber Varieties for Greenhouses

Although greenhouses do not have a prominent place in the culture of
vegetables in Florida, some interest has been shown recently in the production
of cucumbers in greenhouses.

Besides the normal question of economic feasibility, the main problem
seems to be related to finding a suitable variety. Since the open pollinated
field varieties like Ashley and Poinsett require bees to accomplish pollination,
such varieties are obviously not designed for the enclosed greenhouse.

land-pollination has been attempted, but is tedious, time consuming, and
expensive. The real answer has been the use of Forcing Cucumbers. These have
been popular for many years in Europe, so are referred to as European forcing
cucumbers. Forcing varieties are parthenocarpic; that is, they produce seedless
fruits without the need for pollination.

The European greenhouse cucumbers are long, slim, and relatively thin-
skinned. Some varieties of this type are Femspot, Femfrance, Factum, Fabulous,
and Early Perfection.

The term "parthenocarpic" should not be confused with the more common
"gynoecious" term. The latter refers to varieties which have a high percentage
of female flowers, requiring the planting of a pollinator variety along with
the gynoecious variety. Cherokee and Gemini are two examples of the gynoecious

B. Organic Gardening Commentary

Taken from "Food Facts From Rutgers", August, 1971.

Organic farming is certainly making news. Controversial news.

And as the heat generated may indicate, there's a good deal more to it
than just a farming technique.

But, as a farming technique--which is where it all starts--it's simple
enough to describe. It's a matter of growing plants without using inorganic
fertilizers and without pesticides. Instead, the soil is enriched, as it was
a century ago, with organic matter only--manure, plowed-under plant material,
leaf mold--and the battle of the bugs is waged by birds and predator insects.
The weeds, too, are attacked as they used to be, by mulching and by pulling
them out, not by sprays.

There the simplicity ends.


1. Motives, Mulch and Money

Beyond that, organic farming becomes a philosophy, or a way of
life. It's part mystique, part respectable soil science. It makes odd bed-
fellows of the conservative old-timer and the hippie of the New Left.

And it's an anti-industrialist movement that is suddenly becoming--
of all things--profitable.

As a symbol, organic farming reflects a good deal of the stress and
strain in American society today. Its meaning is different to different people.

To some of its adherents, organic farming represents a nostalgic
return to the way things used to be, to a less complex society. "I remember
my father gardened organically, though they didn't call it that then", they say.
"He'd take manure and leaves, make a compost, and the tomatoes he grew--well,
you can't buy anything that tastes like that in the supermarket today."

To its youthful enthusiasts, organic farming represents the wave of
the future and abounds in political and ecological overtones. These involve
cooperation in place of competition, human beings working with nature instead
of conquering and exploiting it.

"I just sort of feel better about it all," they say. "It's like the
kick a good craftsman might get out of being able to make something fine with
his hands, without using power tools. And anyway, don't you think a lot of our
troubles come from always putting economic factors first?"

Or, as an article in the July, 1971, issue of the fast-growing
"Organic Gardening and Farming" magazine puts it: "Many want to stop using only
one yardstick--'Will it sell and be profitable?'...and add 'Will it be good for
us in the long run?' "

'Good' refers to the effect of that product and how it is produced
on our air, our water, our soil, our attitudes, the Earth we live on, as well
as our fellow inhabitants and the generations to come."

To its opponents of course, organic farming represents a perverse
spurning of the miracles of modern production agriculture. They see organic
farmers as irrational dilettantes who simple refuse to come to grips with the
very real problem of feeding a growing world population on a given land area.

As Dr. Earl L. Butz of Purdue University says in the New Jersey Farm
Bureau's "This Week" report of July 10, 1971: "We can go back to organic
agriculture in this country if we must. We know how to do it. However, before
we move in that direction, someone must decide which 50 million of our people
will starve!"

The organic farming advocates, in all fairness, do not generally
recommend an inmediate, wholesale return to non-chemical agriculture, though
their literature does invite a traveling in this direction. But they are



talking about other changes as well, specifically a return to the land--
"living off the land, living on the land"--so that a larger share of the
population would once again be engaged in producing food.

That is, the famed 47 people now fed by a single farmer would
shrink. It's not hard to understand why this prospect nettles those who have
devoted their lives to make agriculture so fabulously productive, and who are
justly proud of the accomplishment.

And from this opposition of purpose, of viewpoint, the claims and
counterclaims go flying. These, at least, warrant examination on an objective

2. A Tilth You Can Touch

Looking at the soil on an organic farm--loose, crumbly, easy for a
plant to sink its roots in--a layman would certainly conclude that it looks
"better". Poke a finger into this soil and it gives easily beneath the pressure.
This is what is called the soil's tilth, or tillability. It is part of the ethic
of organic growers to leave the soil better than they found it; one of their major
claims is that they do so.

Soil scientists are in complete agreement on this score, as several
from the Rutgers College of Agriculture and Environmental Science emphasize.

"Within reasonable limits, the more organic material you can introduce
into the soil the better," says Dr. Warren Battle. "All good farmers are aware
of that."

"We know that adding organic matter to the soil improves its water hold-
ing capacity, and its ability to store nutrients so they won't leach out," adds
Dr. Stephen Toth. "And because organic matter binds silt and clay into larger
aggregates, you also get better air movement through the soil."

Composting everything from kitchen garbage to yard clippings to manure
is one way to add organic matter to the soil, and techniques for building a
compost pile are a favorite subject in organic gardening literature. Mulches,
to be plowed in later, are another method, and so is letting a field lie fallow
every few years, and then turning the plant growth back into the soil.

Earthworms are encouraged, both for their tunneling activity and as an
aid in the further decomposition of organic matter. And soil microorganisms are
at work breaking down soil compounds into the nutrients plants need.

Here a second major claim of the organic growers emerges: that
organically grown plants are healthier plants, and are thus a healthier source
of food for people.

nne offshoot of the argument is that, because these healthy plants
resist disease and insects without the use of pesticides, there can be no danger
to humans from pesticide residues.



3. What Pace for Plants?

But the major thrust of the claim is the nutritional one.
Organically grown plants, it is argued, receive a naturally balanced diet,
made available by microbial action at a rate that is in tune with the plants'
own growth needs. Chemically-fed plants, on the other hand, may get an over-
dose of one nutrient from a fast-acting fertilizer, and this may block the
intake of other essentials; or, some elements may be missing altogether.

What do the scientists say to this?

On the question of balance: "Soil nutrients can be unbalanced
through the use of organic fertilizers just as well as with inorganic ones.
Most organic materials are unbalanced in themselves. Whatever you use, you'd
have to rely on an analysis," Dr. Battle says.

On the question of fast-acting fertilizers: "It's true that nitrogen
is released relatively slowly by many organic materials, through microbial
action, and this is an advantage. but we can duplicate this now by coating
inorganic nitrogen fertilizer pellets with a resin, or by using synthetic organic
nitrogen fertilizers such as urea formaldehyde," says soil scientist Dr. Roy

On the question of beneficial microorganisms, which the organic
advocates claim are destroyed by the chemical fertilizers: "In extreme cases
you can kill microorganisms by inorganic fertilizers. But usually this only
happens when it's done intentionally, to suppress soil disease," says micro-
biologist Dr. Richard Bartha.

But on the overall question of plant nutrition, Dr. Russell B.
Alderfer, though he disputes the claims of superiority, adds that it's not an
open-and-shut case.

"Here at Rutgers, we've grown plants on solely organic sources, and
others solely inorganic ones and analyzed them for nutrients, vitamins, and so
on; ie could measure no differences," he says.

"But as to whether the human body can--I'd be the first to admit my
ignorance," he adds. "There might be a trace of something or a chemical complex
formed in a slightly different way. For instance, it's been a common observation
of farmers, and it's true, that plants grown on land that has had regular applica-
tions of manure can withstand adversities of weather better than others. I could
offer an explanation--that the organic matter improved the tilth of the soil,
and that made all the difference."

"But we don't yet know just how nutrients get into the root of the
plant. The rhizosphere, where the plant meets the soil, is an area that's still
a mystery. All I can say is, if there are nutritional differences, we haven't
found them."



4. Specialize and Economize

Two other issues are involved--the environmental implications,
and the economic ones.

Clearly, nrganically-grown foods are more expensive. As agri-
cultural economist Dr. A. Robert Koch explains, modern agriculture has become
a "capital-intensive" operation, substituting machinery for human labor, and
organic growing is a move back in the other direction. Using organic matter
means transporting hugh amounts of it from the centers where it accumulates--
city garbage, manure from cattle country--to the farm; and the amounts must
be huge indeed, because these are what the soil scientists call low-analysis
materials. The same amount of plant nutrients can be supplied in much smaller
bulk, and thus applied to the soil with much less labor as inorganic commercial
fertile zers.

Further, many of the economies of modern farming come from the pro-
duction of a single crop on a very large scale, and that means increased
susceptibility to insect and disease attack. "The more diverse the system the
more stable it is but the less productive," explains entomologist Dr. Billy
Ray Wilson. "You can make organic gardening work very well on a small scale,
but you get into trouble if you expand the operation and concentrate on a single

Some people are willing and able to pay premium prices for organically
grown foods, as attested by the health food stores that are proliferating in
many communities. Even supermarkets have begun to cash in on the trend. But
these amount to specialties that don't begin to touch the food needs of the vast
majority, to say nothing of the hungry poor.

On the other hand, society's mounting need for better ways to get rid
of organic wastes is a strong argument for a kind of farming that will put them
to use. "The need for large volumes of organic matter in the soil dovetails
beautifully with the waste disposal problem we have," Dr. Alderfer says.

Along with a way to recycle wastes, organic farming also promises
better soil stability, with less erosion and less leaching of chemicals into the
water supply. And there's the pesticide problem. Organic gardeners marshall a
variety of non-chemical pest control measures--encouraging birds, bringing in
predator insects like the praying mantis, bordering a crop with plants that repel
particular insects. Entomologists question the effectiveness of these measures on
a large scale, but they too are working on improved biological controls for insects.

And in the long run? Will organic growing remain the special province
of the purists who choose it as a way of life for themselves? Or will its
approach be reincorporated into the mainstream of modern agriculture--the use of
much more organic matter in the soil, perhaps subsidized as a waste disposal
measure, without abandoning the efficiencies of inorganic fertilizers too; the
use of inventive new insect controls; perhaps combined with minimum amounts of
pesticides to make possible the economies of large-scale crop production?



There's no way to predict. But at a very basic level, there may
be less disagreement than there seems. "The real choice is to do nothing,
or to manipulate the system to the best of our knowledge, and if we make
mistakes, to learn from them," Dr. Bartha says. "When we plant crops at all,
we are manipulating the system. The important thing is to be very thorough
in investigating and anticipating the effects."

C. Know Your Vegetables Roselle

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a common garden plant in
and grows readily in Florida. Other names are Red Sorrel and Indian
In the south it serves as somewhat of a substitute for cranberries.
is a good variety grown in South Florida.

the tropics,

The plant is an annual, 5 to 7 feet in height, with lobed leaves
sometimes used for greens.

The main edible parts
ing the seed boll in the flower.
used in preserves, jelly, juice,

are the fleshy sepals, called a calyx, surround-
The calyx is bright red and acid, and can be
or a sauce like cranberry.

Roselle is usually started from seed but may be grown from cuttings.
It is usually started in April in Florida, requiring about 4 months to mature.
Culture is very similar to eggplants.

The "fruits" should be gathered before any woody tissue develops in
the calyx. They should be tender, crisp and plump. As much as sixteen pounds
of fruit per plant have been gathered in some South Florida plantings.

D. Correction

it was brought to our attention that the Luffa gourd which was
described in the last issue of the "Vegetarian" was incorrectly named Luffa
cylindrica. The correct designation for the strongly ribbed type is Luffa



IV. Personnel Change

Dr. T. G. Hart, who has been serving as Assistant Vegetable Crops
Specialist in Dr. M. E. Marvel's position while Mason is in Saigon, has
left the department to take a position with the Rockefeller Foundation in
a foreign assignment. The Vegetable Crops Department is currently searching
for a replacement for Dr. Hart for the interval until Dr. Marvel returns.

V. County Conferenceson Vegetable Crop Program Needs

Conferences with county directors, county agents and leading growers
have been very helpful in finding out what research and extension program
needs are felt by county agents and industry leaders. The Chairman of the
Vegetable Crops Department has visited five counties in the past three months
and a great deal of very meaningful communication has been accomplished.
The real and felt needs expressed will be very helpful in shaping future
research and extension programs. A summary will be prepared for all county
staffs when the Phase I county conferences have been completed.

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