Title: Vegetarian
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Title: Vegetarian
Series Title: Vegetarian
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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: January 1974
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00093
Source Institution: University of Florida
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January 10, 1974


Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


J. F. Kelly James Montela
Chairman Professor

S. R. Kostewicz
Assistant Professor


tro J. M. Stephens
Assistant Professor

J. R. Hicks
Assistant Professor


TO: COUNTY EXTENSION DIRECTORS AND AGENTS (VEGETABLES AND HORTICULTURE)
AND OTHERS INTERESTED IN VEGETABLE CROPS IN FLORIDA

FROM: James Montelaro, Vegetable Crops Specialist ('


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 74-1


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Using Phosphorus Efficiently During Period of
Shortages
B. Beware of Services and Materials Offering
"Miracle Results"
C. Transplants

II. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Tomatoes: Freezing Versus Chilling

III. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Gallup Poll Shows Vegetable Gardening on
Increase
B. Know Your Vegetables Malabar Spinach

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






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

I. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Using Phosphorus Efficiently During Period of Shortages

For the first time since World War II, growers are experiencing short-
ages of fertilizers for the production of vegetables. This article, which deals
with phosphorus, is the second in a series in an effort to help growers deal
with this serious problem. Phosphorus (commonly referred to as phosphate) has
been plentiful, inexpensive and used abundantly (probably too much so) in the
past by Florida vegetable growers. In the opinion of the writer, a slight to
moderate reduction in the supply may not be so serious a problem as feared by
many growers. This opinion is based on the fact that growers generally have
used considerably more phosphorus than necessary to produce vegetable crops over
the past years.

To learn to use phosphorus as efficiently as possible is more important
presently than at any time since World War II. The incentive now is to be able
to grow the acreage of vegetables needed without a reduction in yield and quality
with less phosphorus than was used in the past. This can be done in many vege-
table producing areas of the State without serious consequences. To succeed in
this effort, growers should understand some of the basic facts relative to the
behavior of phosphorus in the soil. These are presented together with suggestions
for modifications which can be made to reduce the total amount of phosphorus used
in vegetable production.

(1) Residual Phosphorus Use

Have soil tested and determine the rate of phosphorus needed based
on the residual amount found in the soil. Phosphorus accumulates from continued
fertilizer applications and can build up to very high levels. Some of the old
vegetable land in the Sanford area have been found to contain up to 7,000 pounds
of phosphorus per acre. Most of it is in insoluble forms which become available
as plants remove the soluble phosphorus from the soil solution. As a "rule of
thumb," we suggest reducing standard rate of phosphorus applied by two-thirds
when residual level is high and by one-third when residual level is in medium
range. This suggestion can save from 50 to 100 pounds of phosphorus per acre on
many vegetable soils in Florida.

(2) Placement

A small amount of phosphorus properly placed in the soil can be
as beneficial to a crop as larger amounts placed improperly. Plants have the
greatest need for phosphorus when roots are developing rapidly during early stages
of growth. A small quantity (10 to 20 pounds P205 per acre) placed in the seed
drill or root zone of transplanted crops can give seedlings the fast boost needed
for good crop development.

Placement of phosphorus in close proximity to seedling roots is
especially important to certain crops especially under conditions of cold soil
temperatures. Seedling crops like tomato, pepper, eggplant primarily, but others
as well, cannot forage for phosphorus adequately in cold soils.






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

(3) Timing

Since as much as 50% of total phosphorus uptake in some crops
occur when plants have developed only 20% of total growth, most or all of the
phosphorus should be applied before or very shortly after seeding or trans-
planting. Sidedressing of crops in the advanced stages of growth with phosphorus
may be of no benefit to that crop and a waste of a valuable fertilizer material.
The reason for not using phosphorus regularly in sidedressings is two-fold. If
placed on the surface, phosphorus will be fixed there and not move to the root
zone and crops in advanced stages of growth with extensive root systems do not
respond to additional phosphorus unless quite deficient in the soil.

(4) Adjusting pH

In general, availability of phosphorus is at a maximum at pH 6.5
to 7.0. Have soil tested and adjust pH to this level. At pH levels of 4.5 and
below, it is rendered insoluble by reacting with iron and aluminum. In highly
calcareous soils, phosphorus reacts with calcium to form insoluble compounds.

pH can be adjusted upwards quite easily with lime. Except in the
high pH, calcareous soil, slight downward adjustments of pH can be made by using
acid-forming fertilizer materials. Since phosphorus applied to the calcareous
soil is quickly changed to insoluble forms, application should be split into
several smaller ones in order to supply some soluble phosphorus at regular inter-
vals during growth of the crop.

(5) Sources of Phosphorus

Sources of phosphorus vary considerably in availability to the crop
to which they are applied. Generally, triple and regular superphosphates are
readily available forms. On the other hand, the phosphorus in the highly-
ammoniated superphosphates is only partially available to the crop to which it is
applied. Ammoniated superphosphate can be used to supply some of the phosphorus
requirements if (1) it is not too highly ammoniated, and (2) mixed with other
readily available sources. Proportionately more can be used if degree of ammonia-
tion is cut down from about 7% to 3 or 4%.

(6) Maximum Benefits from Phosphorus

To obtain maximum benefits from the phosphorus applied to crops,
growers should use good agricultural practices. Organic matter should be
maintained at a good level as it increases availability of phosphorus. Good
moisture level is important, also in helping to maintain phosphorus availability.

Probably the most important factor is the use of a well-balanced
fertilizer program. Maximum benefits from phosphorus can be obtained only if
there is adequate nitrogen, potassium, secondary and minor elements present in the
soil.


(Montelaro)






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


B. Beware of Services and Materials Offering "Miracle Results"

Vegetable growers are continually bombarded with "services and materials"
which promise "miracle results." It is surprising to see how many growers are
taken in without so much as a quick check with his county extension agent. In
one instance, a self-proclaimed expert moved into a vegetable growing area of
moderate-size, family farms with miracle advice on how to save crops damaged by
a severe freeze. It was estimated that farmers in the area were tricked out of
twenty-five thousand dollars or more in a very short period of time. Multiply
such figures by other similar situations in Florida and the total take can reach
into the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

We hasten to add that all new services and materials offered to vegetable
growers do not fall into the category described above. There are many consultants,
fieldmen, etc., who represent reputable companies offering reputable services and
materials to the growers. This group usually works closely with extension and
research people in Florida and takes pride in referring prospective customers to
them in support of their claims. On the other hand, the seller of miracle results
often introduces his services and materials to growers without adequate prior
testing by Experiment Station workers. He relies on so-called demonstrations on
neighboring farms or on testimonials from other growers. It is difficult indeed
for any grower to evaluate a service or material on that basis.

Vegetable growers are urged to look into new products and services very
carefully before investing money in them. Especially suspect are those that make
extravagant claims ranging from total pest control to correction of all physiological
disorders. Vegetable growers should know the salesman, the company and the ser-
vices and materials being offered before buying. If there are any doubts, they
should be checked with their county agricultural extension agent for an evaluation.
This bit of simple advice can save vegetable growers in Florida a tidy sum of
money over the years. (Montelaro)
(Montelaro)

C. Transplants

The use of containerized transplants has been increasing for a number of
years. The term containerized as used here denotes all methods which encourage
or promote soil adhering to the root system to be transferred together with the
transplant. The most recent development in containerized transplants is a system
of production in which the transplant has a "soil" matrix around the roots without
a band or pot to hold its shape. However, the use of bare-rooted transplants
continues to predominate in most areas of Florida where transplants are used. They,
up to now, have been less expensive and do not require specialized transplanting
equipment. However, a great deal of interest has been stimulated in the last
several years because of favorable grower experience with the containerized type.
The use has been with the relatively low population/acre crops such as tomatoes
and peppers. The high population crops such as celery and cabbage will probably
not fit into the picture because of the expense involved.

Some of the factors which have led to the favorable response have been:

(1) A lack of quality bare-rooted transplants in the normal channels.






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

(2) Successful trials with containerized transplants.

Example: Survival in the field has been greater, hence less
resetting (less labor), and better uniformity in plant size in the field has
been observed.

(3) Development of transplant machinery capable of handling containerized
type.

(4) Development of containers or growing systems which have:

(a) Reduced unit costs of containerized transplants.
(b) Reduced the need for handling a great bulk or volume of
material.

In light of the energy and production material situation, growers currently
using direct-seeding may have to reconsider the use of transplants (bare-rooted
or containerized). Using transplants has certain benefits from the standpoint of
conserving materials and energy. For example, during the period when the plants
are in the seedbeds compared to the period shortly after the plants are direct-
seeded in the field, savings may result from:

(1) Less fertilizer usage direct-seeded fields must be fertilized and
thus subject to potential leaching for a period of time. Seedbeds or plantbeds
will use much less total fertilizer and because of the size can be covered or
protected from extremes of weather to prevent leaching losses.

(2) Less water consumption and energy to pump it. (Easier and less costly
to water a small area versus a large field.)

(3) Less pesticide materials used because of the reduced area. For
example, less of everything (spray material, tractor fuel, etc.) required to
spray a seedbed versus a field.

(4) Less energy, labor and material to protect the plants from extremes
in environment. Frost and freeze protection, wind injury, "sandblasting" and
other potential dangers to the crop are easier and less costly to combat on a
small area basis than a large area.
(Kostewicz)

II. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Tomatoes: Freezing Versus Chilling

The Vegetarian for February, 1972 contained a general article on chilling
injury which consisted primarily of a list of Florida vegetables which are sub-
ject to chilling injury and the minimum temperature at which these commodities may
be held. During December, we had some cool weather in the State which resulted
in some freeze damage and again brought up some questions on freeze versus chill
damage. Since tomatoes are our most valuable crop, they are used as an example.
However, most of the article is applicable (in general) to other crops subject
to chilling injury.






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Freeze damage results when the temperature drops to approximately 310 F
and causes ice crystals to form inside the tissues of a tomato fruit. These
ice crystals rupture the cells and result in a soft, glossy, water-soaked appear-
ance. If the freeze was severe enough, the entire fruit will collapse. These
fruits will also lose moisture very rapidly when exposed to direct sunlight so
the damage will be evident within 24 hours. On the other hand, a slight freeze
may result only in a faint yellowish color over the affected area and may not be
evident for up to 4 days. Tissue temperature, particularly in the field, is not
necessarily the same as air temperature. The fruit may "hold" heat which will
result in a tissue temperature higher than the ambient temperature or it may
lose heat via radiation cooling which may cause tissue temperature to be below
the air temperature. Tissue temperature does not necessarily mean pulp temperature
in the middle of the fruit, but may apply to a small section of tissue anywhere
in or on the fruit. This means that there may be both frozen and healthy areas
in the same fruit. In green tomatoes, the border between these two areas may be
very sharp and distinct.

Chilling injury is an entirely different phenomenon. When a tomato fruit
is chilled, the injury symptoms are much more subtle and are usually not apparent
until several days after removal from the damaging temperature (usually during
ripening). During chilling, there is no ice crystal formation since--by definition--
chilling occurs above the freezing point. Chilling injury is not well understood,
but it does appear that specific metabolic processes of sensitive commodities are
disrupted by temperatures in the chilling range. This range varies for crops,
varieties, and maturities so it is practically impossible to give definite
temperatures at which chilling will occur for a crop such as tomatoes. For example,
both green and pink fruit are susceptible but not to the same degree since greens
show the effects of chilling more readily than pinks. The temperature-duration
effect and the accumulative effect are also important factors in producing chilling
injury.

The temperature-duration effect is very simple and means that the lower the
temperature the shorter the exposure time necessary to produce chilling injury
symptoms. For instance, green tomatoes would get the same amount of injury from
prolonged exposure to 450 F as the same fruit exposed to 400 F for a shorter period
of time.

The accumulation effect means that a tomato fruit "remembers" the tempera-
ture to which it has been exposed. This can present problems when some field
chilling has occurred, particularly in the week to 10 days proceeding harvest.
Even if the fruit has not been exposed to enough cool temperatures to show chilling
injury, it may be predisposed to such symptoms and the normal handling (particu-
larly if handling temperatures are borderline) may result in losses.

There appear to be changes in the ripening patterns as the ripening or
storage temperature is reduced. These changes (including higher acidity and less
red color) are not directly associated with chilling injury although there may
be some relation. Chilling symptoms include poor color, uneven or blotchy ripen-
ing, brown seed (not speckled), and development of Alternaria rot around the
stem scar.

The surest way to prevent chilling damage is to avoid temperatures that
could contribute to the problem. Although there may be periods in Florida where
field chilling could present a problem, the biggest problem seems to be in






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


transportation and marketing where lower temperatures are used to retard the
rate of ripening. If this practice happens to coincide with some field chilling,
problems can result. With the current handling system, there seems to be little
need for using temperatures of below 600 F and certainly none for going below
550 F. The higher temperatures will result in a faster rate of ripening for the
fruit, but it will also mean more uniform and concentrated ripening and certainly,
in some cases, less loss and higher quality tomatoes.

Freezing damage is quick, final and usually results in a cull fruit. On
the other hand, chilling is a slow, cumulative process which often can be avoided.
(Hicks)


III. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Gallup Poll Shows Vegetable Gardening on Increase

The following report was released in mid-1973 by George Gallup as a result
of a nationwide poll conducted to find out the value and current status of
vegetable gardening. The energy crisis had not surfaced when the poll was taken.

Princeton, New Jersey, June 27, 1973--Soaring food prices, coupled with
the increasing interest in a "return to nature," have apparently served to swell
the number of American households that will have a vegetable garden this year. In
fact, a nationwide Gallup survey conducted in late spring revealed that there were
3 million more vegetable gardens in 1973 than in 1972. The survey found that
nearly 4 in 10 U. S. households (27 million) grew some of their own vegetables
in 1972.

Present vegetable gardeners are apparently succeeding in lowering their
food costs. The survey found that gardeners regard "a saving in food costs" as
their main reasons for gardening.

There is also a strong suggestion from the survey that many Americans,
particularly young adults between 18 and 29, are turning to gardening as a way to
"return to nature."

Reflecting this desire to return to nature is the survey findings that
two-thirds (66 percent) of the U. S. population regard a sizable piece of land
up to one acre as a very or fairly important criterion for the selection of a
new home. More than half (54 percent) regard vegetable gardens as important,
and a large majority (68 percent) of city dwellers say they would prefer to live
in a suburban area, small town, rural area or farm.

Reflecting the economic aspects of vegetable gardening, the poll found
that nearly half of the nation's non-gardeners would have a vegetable garden if
it could be proven that by doing so they could save between $200 and $300 per
year.

More than half (59 percent) of the respondents who said they were interested
in gardening, but did not have the land, indicated they would be interested in
using a "community garden."






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


Following is a breakdown of the vegetable gardening status of U. S.
households for 1972:

A. Those households which had the land and had a garden--respondent
did garden.

29 percent 40 million people* 20 million households**

B. Those households which had the land and had a garden--respondent
did not garden.

10 percent 14 million people* 7 million households**

C. Those households which had the land and did not vegetable garden.

16 percent 22 million people* 1 million households**

D. Those households that do not have the land but would vegetable
garden if they did have the land.

22 percent 30 million people* 15 million households**

E. Those households which do not have the land and would not vegetab
garden even if they did have the land.

14 percent 20 million people* 10 million households**

F. Don't know what they would do.

9 percent 11 million people* 5 million households**

Projected from U. S. population base of 137 million persons, 18
and older.

**Projected from U. S. population base of 68 million households.
(Stephens)


le


B. Know Your Vegetables Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach (Basella rubra L.) is also known as Ceylon spinach,
climbing spinach, gui, acelga trepadora, Bretana, Libato, vine spinach and
Malabar nightshade.

It is not a true spinach, but its leaves resemble spinach and are used
in the same way. It comes from India, and is distributed widely in the tropics,
particularly in moist lowlands. It is rare, even among gardeners here in Florida,
although it probably would grow well if tried.

In the tropics, it grows well on a variety of soils, seemingly without
regard to fertility. Moisture is important and the plants make their best
growth during warn, rainy periods. Light shade seems to be beneficial.




-9-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


Malabar spinach can be grown from seeds or cuttings. The vine should
be trellised. Two vines are sufficient to supply a small family all summer.
Being ornamental, they can be trained to climb over doorways for easy accessibility.
Thick, fleshy leaves are cut off together with some length of stem to keep the
plant pruned to a desired shape. Stems that are too tough to eat can be put
back in the soil and rerooted.

When cooked, Malabar spinach is not as slick in texture as many greens,
such as spinach. The Bengali version is to cook it with chopped onions and hot
chilies, then fry in a little mustard oil.
(Stephens)




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