Title: Vegetarian
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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: October 1974
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00102
Source Institution: University of Florida
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J. F. Kelly
Chairman

S. R. Kostewicz
Assistant Professor


James Montelaro
Professor

J. R. Hicks
Assistant Professor


J. M. Stephens
Associate Professor

R. K. Showalter
Professor


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

FROM: James R. Hicks, Extension Vegetable Specialist


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 74-10


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION


Copper Accumulations in Florida Soils
Pesticides Must Be Approved For Use By EPA
Some Cultural Methods for Weed Control


II. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Consumer Quality

III. VEGETABLE GARDENING


Timely Gardening Topics
Know Your Vegetables West Indian Gherkin


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


Whenever


:LO PERATEV, IXTLN -5ION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS. STATE OF FLORIDA, IFAS, UNIVCRI'T '
'F FI-.. inA i i -i'i,.1t:T OF APGF1CULTURV AACL UF I BOARDSS OF COUNTY COI1'l itIONEi L:.. COOPIlAi': llr


FLORIDA COOPERATIVE EXTENSI[- J.:--W /ICE
UNIVER.1TY OF FLORIDA
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

VEGETABLE CROPS DEPARTMENT

fHE6 VEGETARIAN Ne


October 3, 1974






Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


I. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Copper Accumulations in Florida Soils

Florida's vegetable soils are valuable resources that must be managed
with extreme care in order to keep them productive for the immediate future and
for generations to come.

One area of concern among professional agriculturists in Florida is the
rapid accumulations of high levels of copper in some of our soils. This is
especially true where copper is used regularly as a fungicide to control bacterial
diseases on certain vegetable crops. It is not uncommon for some of our vege-
table soils to receive from 25 to 50 pounds of copper annually from fungicide
applications alone.

History has shown us in Florida what can happen to these soils when too
much copper is added. The sandy soils in the Sanford area now contain hundreds of
pounds of copper per acre accumulated over the years from the use of Bordeaux
mixture (copper sulfate + lime) for control of celery diseases. Copper, in excess
amounts, can injure crops by: (1) damaging the root system, and (2) causing an
unbalance or deficiency of other heavy metals, especially iron.

The most frightening aspect of heavy accumulations of copper in our vege-
table soils is the fact that once developed the problem appears to be permanent.
Copper may persist for many years, as we have no way of removing it from the soil.
In such a situation, the only alternative left is to modify cultural practices
to lessen the injurious effect of high copper levels. For example, high-copper
soils must be limed heavily to reduce solubility of soil copper. In addition,
the crops produced on these soils may require higher-than-normal application rates
of zinc, iron and mansanese to maintain a balance of the heavy metals in the plant.
Not only are these practices imperfect, but they add to the cost of production.

The best advice that can be given to vegetable growers is to use copper
as sparingly as possible. This includes both the copper used in fungicides and
as a minor element addition to fertilizers. In fact, no copper should be added
to fertilizers to be used on soils with an adequate residual of the element.
Periodic soil tests can be valuable tools in determining copper levels in soils.
A grower noting increasing levels of this element over the years should take
preventive action to keep the problem of excess copper from intensifying.
(Montelaro)

B. Pesticides Must Be Approved For Use By EPA

Florida vegetable growers are to be commended for diligence and common
sense in the use of pesticides over the twenty-year period of tight government
regulations. The industry has avoided any major confrontation with EPA and as
a consequence, growers have not lost any significant amount of vegetables in the
field or in transit. That danger, however, is ever-present. With the continual
loss of valuable and proven pesticides, shortages, high cost, etc., growers may
be tempted to use j;3vpproved pesticides.

Everyone serving the grower should make a special effort to see that we
do not relax our standards in the use of pesticides in this multi-million dollar
industry. We are speaking here of the researcher, extension man, technical






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


representative, salesman, and anyone else who professionally contacts vegetable
growers from day to day. These people can serve to remind the grower of the
need to use only approved pesticides and more importantly to warn him if there
are indications of violations.

Unless we continue to perform as we have in the past, we are apt to find
ourselves in a very disastrous situation. It would not only hurt those caught
for the specific incident, but it would cast a bad image on the whole vegetable
deal in Florida.

We urge, therefore, that growers use nothing but approved pesticides for
each and every vegetable crop produced in Florida. In the long run, everyone
in the industry stands to gain by continuing to follow this policy which has been
successful for twenty years.
(Montelaro)

C. Some Cultural Methods for Weed Control

Many growers are finding that some herbicides are in short supply this
year. The availability of quite a few pesticides in general is unpredictable and
to further complicate the picture, several have been discontinued by the manu-
facturers. Only the existing stocks of these will be available to growers. This
combination of factors has resulted in rekindling grower interest in non-chemical
methods of weed control. A brief review of some of the basic principles of
several widely applicable methods appears to be in order.

A typical textbook on weed control methods lists (1) hand pulling, (2) hoe-
ing, (3) tillage, (4) mowing, (5) flooding, (6) burning, and (7) mulching as
cultural tools applicable to a weed control program.

Hand pulling and hoeinq can be described best as hard, dirty and expensive,
but these methods are still used to a limited extent in vegetable production.
These have merit especially when employed to combat scattered infestations of
particularly hard-to-control weeds. In this way, the further spread and increase
in the problem can be avoided.

Mowing is used to control weeds in non-crop areas adjacent to vegetable
fields. These areas would include fence rows, ditchbanks, etc. The purpose of
this method is to prevent the weed plants from producing seed which can be spread
to production fields and to prevent buildup of certain insects and plant diseases.
With certain upright-growing, persistent weeds, this method "starves" the plant
to death by causing the plant to draw upon its stored materials from roots and
other storage organs. For this method to be effective, it must be repeated
frequently.
Flooding entails the total submergence of the area under water for a period
of time. This generally is done in the off-season and in Florida has been used
on muck soils for control of other pests and the slowing of subsidence characteristic
of organic soils. This method is a means of starving out the pests, also.

Burning of weeds has been used in vegetables in the form of flame weeding
in some areas of the State. This technique may be used for ditchbank and waste
area weed control as well as in the crop area. The latter requires a careful







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


shielding for protection of the crop plants or the use of a heat barrier, such as
foam, over the crop row. Best control can be obtained with flaming when the weeds
are small and succulent.

Mulching has proven to be an effective means of controlling most weeds in
the cropping situation. It also has other cultural benefits which will not be
dealt with here but add to the rapid rise in its popularity in high-value crops.
Full-bed mulch culture as used in Florida offers some new weed problems which are
difficult to control by mechanical means. Specifically, weeds grow through the
plant holes in the plastic, and if herbicides are not used under the plastic or
sprayed through the hole, the weeds that come up must be hand pulled. A layer of
soil is thrown over the edges of the plastic or paper mulch material to keep it
from blowing away. This layer of soil is difficult to mechanically weed without
damage to the mulching material. Otherwise, the mulch does an excellent job of
controlling weeds in the rest of the plant-bed area.

Tillage methods involve the lifting or cutting-off of the weeds from the
soil or burying the weeds with soil. If they are cut or lifted, conditions must
be right (hot and dry) to allow them to dry out and die. If done under moist
situations, weeds will probably retake in their new location. When buried, weeds
must be small enough so that they will not be able to push their way through to
the top again.

Some of the tools used to affect lifting, cutting or burying are the
various types of cultivation sweeps, harrows, rotary weeders, disks and plows.

Tillage for weed control has been inexpensive in the past. Points to be
remembered are:

(1) Crop roots can be injured by deep cultivation.
(2) A freshly-cultivated field can be more susceptible to radiation
frost injury than a non-cultivated field.
(3) Wet weather can allow weeds to "get ahead" of the crop.
(4) Generally, many weeds in the immediate area of plants are not
controlled by cultivation.
(5) Weeds can be a problem after lay-by. Usually late weeds offer
a serious problem to harvest of the crop.
(6) Some particularly hard-to-control perennial weeds such as bermuda
qrasS, nutsedge and johnsongrass can actually be spread around
the field to increase the weed problem. This is done by the
tools themselves dragging parts of the plant around the field.
These and certain other weeds can produce new plants from
pieces of roots, rhizones, tubers, stolons, etc., broken off
from the mother plant. Thus, cultivation tools should be
cleaned off occasionally to prevent this from occurring,
particularly when moving out of areas of heavy weed inf-etation.

The energy situation is a factor which must be considered in evaluating
these methods. Some involve the use of petroleum products which may or may not
be available. Certainly an energy source is required to propel the tractors
around the fields with the mechanical devices affixed to them. Since these methods
are used periodically, the most efficient energy-using tractors should be used
to keep the total fuel consumption low, which will also reflect a lower ultimate
cost of the weed control program.
( 'os tewi cz)







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

II. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Consumer Quality

In the past, the Vegetarian has carried a number of articles on vegetable
quality and has considered what constitutes good quality in specific vegetables.
It has also been mentioned that quality has an entirely different meaning to
different segments of the industry. Quality cannot be "added back" to fresh vege-
tables once it deteriorates, but it can be taken away at any time between the
field and the consumer's table. If the quality of a vegetable is lost at the
retail level (or even after the consumer takes it home), which segment of the
industry is hurt? The entire industry must pick up the tab for poor-quality pro-
duce, regardless of whether the poor quality is a result of the grower planting
a poor variety or harvesting at the wrong maturity--the packer grading improperly
or poor precooling--the trucker running the thermostat up (or unit off) to save
fuel on his refrigeration unit--the receiver leaving the produce on the platform
or holding it too long anticipating a better market--the retailer for poor display
rotation or overstocking. Usually, these pitfalls are avoided. However, there
are occasions when these or other problems do appear--sometimes unavoidably,
sometimes through misunderstanding and once in a while, deliberately.

Perhaps, one of the reasons the retail quality problem has not received as
much attention from the rest of the industry as it deserves is because the loss
of revenue may be quite subtle. If some of the produce is bad enough to be
discarded, the markup on that remaining must be enough to cover the loss. The
negative effect of increased price on the volume of sales varies with different
commodities. Losses of this type are visible, and if they are great enough,
claims may be made against the person who appears to be most responsible for the
deteriorated condition of the produce. Since these problems can be seen, they
can be dealt with.

Another form of loss occurs when a vegetable looks good enough to go on
display, but the customer is not satisfied with the quality when he consumes it.
How long does it take for this individual to try that particular vegetable again?
How many such encounters are experienced by consumers each day? What would sales
be if all produce were handled in accordance with the knowledge and technology
available to the produce industry? One bad experience may have a longer-lasting
effect than several good ones.

According to recent surveys, consumers buy fresh fruits and vegetables for
their taste. There are many other points in favor of fresh produce during an era
when so much emphasis is beinq placed on nutrition, additives, cholesterol, etc.
However, the key point is quality at the consumer level as judged by the consumer
himself. It is easy to justify doing a less-than-perfect job by assuming that the
next guy in the chain is going to do the same. Sometimes he will--but if each
handler does his part, the consumer at least has a chance. Fresh vegetable quality
must start in the field and receive top priority at each handling in order to give
the consumer a premium product. Although any influence the vegetable packer-
shipper has over the commodity usually ends far before retail level, if his brand-
name is publicly displayed, the consumer will associate it with the appearance,
texture and taste of that vegetable.
(Hicks)







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


III. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Timely Gardening Topics

These questions and answers are suggested for agents' use in developing
periodic (weekly) radio or newspaper briefs. They are based on letters of inquiry
from Florida gardeners.

(1) Timely Topic for week of October 20-26.

Question

I have been asked to bring in some of my vegetables to exhibit at the
fair. How should I prepare them for best display?

Reply
Follow the rules and regulations printed up for your particular show. Such
catalogs should clearly indicate the kinds (and varieties), the form in which
the crops are to be shown, and the number to exhibit.

While special preparation techniques apply to some items (such as trimming
and topping), in general the following points should be considered:
(a) Adhere to stated number of specimens.
(b) Label neatly and attach all labels in a uniform manner.
(c) Select specimens which are slightly above medium size
(over-grown specimens are not typical and usually are poor
in quality).
(d) Select specimens that are uniform in size, shape, color and
degree of maturity.
(e) Select specimens without blemishes.
(f) Select a few extra specimens as replacements.

(2) Timely Topic for week of October 27-November 2.

Question

Next year, I would like to grow jack-o-lanterns in my own garden for
Halloween. Is it practical here in Florida?

Reply

In spite of the problems, many pumpkins suitable for jack-o-lanterns are
successfully grown throughout the State.

Florida gardeners who wish to grow jack-o-lantern pumpkins must rely on
northern varieties. Most of these are very susceptible to mildew and other leaf
diseases so common in the warm humid Florida climate. Since most pumpkins grow
on large vines, adequate space must be provided (about 50 square feet per hill).

To be ready to grin on Halloween night, jack-o-lantern pumpkins must be
planted in the spring, or at least no later than July 4. Many varieties need 4
months to mature.






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


The standard variety is the 'Connecticut Field' pumpkin, also called
Big Tom. It is about 25 pounds in size. For a larger jack-o-lantern, try either
'Mammoth' or 'Big Max' which often weighs over 50 pounds and measures 5 feet
in girth. Other varieties to try are 'Small Sugar' (good for pies, too), 'Spookie',
'Jack-O'-Lantern', 'Cinderella', 'Cheyenne', and 'Winter Luxury'.

(3) Timely Topic for week of November 3-9.

Question

Why do the vegetable seeds I plant in my garden often fail to come up?

Reply

Unless you have saved your own seed or kept seed from last year, it is
very unlikely that the fault is in the seed. It is most probably due to imperfect
soil conditions or weather conditions. Fungus diseases in the soil may be rotting
the seeds before they sprout, or the soil may be too wet or too dry. Some
vegetable seeds require cool soil temperatures for germination; while others need
warmer soils. For example, corn seedlings come up in 3-4 days at 90-950F., but
take 3 weeks or more to emerge when the temperature of the soil is 500F. On the
other hand, onions come up in 4-5 days planted at 800, but require about 2 weeks
or may not emerge at all at 950 and over.

Also, be sure you are not planting too deeply, especially where tiny vege-
table seeds are involved.

Plant thickly (but not too thickly), then thin to the desired stand.
Remember the old saying "One for the blackbird, one for the crow, one for the
cutworm, and one to grow."

(4) Timely Topic for week of November 10-16.

Question

I would like to include lettuce in my garden plan. Does lettuce grow well
here?

Reply
All of the four basic types of lettuce--crisphead, butterhead, leaf and
romaine--grow well in all sections of Florida. Success depends upon the usual
good gardening techniques, but more specifically, to growing the best varieties
and planting at the proper times.

Lettuce is a cool-season crop; all types do best when planted from seed
or are set out during the period September-March. Quickly summarizing the best
varieties of the major types, they are:

Crisnhead 'Great Lakes', 'Fulton'
Butterhead 'Bibb', 'Boston'
Leaf 'Salad Bowl', 'Black-Seeded Simpson'
Romaine 'Parris Island Cos', 'Valmaine', 'Dark Green Cos'


(Stephens)







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


B. Know Your Vegetables West Indian Gherkin

The West Indian Gherkin (Cucumis anguris L.) is also known as burr
cucumber and gooseberry gourd. It is similar to its close relative, the cucumber,
in many aspects such as fruit characteristics, but is like the watermelon in
others, such as leaf shape.


It is grown occasionally in
in the summer than at other times.
cold temperatures, it may be grown
to harvest is 60-75 days.


The fruits are
blunt-ended football)
fruits is light green


home gardens throughout Florida, probably more
Since the plant is sensitive to frosts and
only during the warm seasons. Time from seeding


used mainly for pickling. They are oblong-oval (like a
in shape, and range from 1 to 3 inches long. Each of the
and very spiney.


The plant is a trailing vine, 5 to 6 feet long. The stem is angular, ridged
and hairy; internodes are 2-3 inches long. At each node, a 1-2 inch long curling
tendril appears, along with 2-4 pale yellow male flowers, a leaf petiole, and
occasionally a fruiting branch. At some nodes, adventitious rooting occurs. It
appears that female flowers are borne only on these secondary fruiting branches,
rather than from a pedicel directly from the node.

The small leaves are deeply cut (often 5 lobed) similar to the watermelon
leaf rather than broad-pointed like the cucumber.
(Stephens)




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