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: December 1974
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00104
Source Institution: University of Florida
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December 1, 1974






Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


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: J. R. Hicls, Extension Vegetable Specialist


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 74-12


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. "Squash Production Guide" (Circular 103C) Available
B. "Self-Mailer" Format for Vegetarian Newsletter

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION
A. Watermelon Fruit Disorders in 1974 Crop
B. Competitive Position of Florida Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers
C. Soil Type, Organic Matter and Herbicides

III. VEGETABLE GARDEIIING
A. Timely Gardening Topics
B. Know Your Vegetables Jicama

IV. HARVESTING AND HANDLING
A. Developments in Vegetable Packaging


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


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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. "Squash Production Guide" (Circular 103C) Available

The "Squash Production Guide" (Circular 103C) was revised and is now ready
for distribution to county agents. Again, we are asking use of good judgment in
the distribution of this publication. It should be given only to commercial producers
of squash and representatives of industries serving vegetable growers.

To insure that each county gets its "fair share" of this publication, Extension
Specialists have given the Bulletin Office a guide list for first mailing. All
counties will receive a sufficient number of circulars to meet their needs. Additional
copies can be ordered from the reserve supply by letter explaining the request.
(Kelly, Montelaro)

B. "Self-Mailer" Format for Vegetarian Newsletter

Starting with this issue, we will be sending you the Vegetarian Newsletter as
a folded, stapled self-mailer. The change was dictated by high cost and shortage of
envelopes. We understand that the letter is to be handled as first-class mail. If
you have problems with mail service or condition of the letter itself, please let us
know.
(Kelly, Montelaro)

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Watermelon Fruit Disorders in 1974 Crop

Field observations in the spring of 1974 crops and reports received subse-
quently point to more than usual occurrence of watermelon fruit disorders. Although
none was new, the disorders apparently appeared more often and in a greater degree of
severity than at any time in the past decade. The disorders in question are rind
necrosis, open blossom ends, softened blossom ends and blossom-end rot.

The 1974 watermelon season was characterized by unseasonably warm weather early,
but cool and dry weather later in the spring. Watermelon fruit disorders generally
appear to be most prevalent in abnormal seasons.

The most troublesome problem last spring was rind necrosis. Symptoms consist
of brown, corky, dry tissue of the rind somewhat resembling graywall of tomatoes.
In severe cases, affected tissue may extend into the flesh of the melon. The exact
cause has not been determined. However, bacteria can be isolated consistently from
the affected tissue. D. L. Hopkins and G. W. Elmstrom, working on the problem at
Leesburg, have shown that varieties differ significantly in susceptibility to rind
necrosis. 'Sweet Princess' and 'Jubilee' showed the lowest incidence and the mildest
symptoms. 'Charleston Gray' and 'Crimson Sweet' were intermediate and 'Klondike Blue
Ribbon' and 'Louisiana Queen' were most susceptible to the disorder. The only suggestion
that can be given presently relative to rind necrosis control in watermelon is to plant
the more tolerant varieties.

The other disorders are related to cultural practices as well as weather con-
ditions during the growing season. Sources and rates of fertilizer and irrigation
are cultural practices thought to be partly responsible for certain physiological dis-
orders in watermelon fruits.







THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


There is no guarantee that fruit disorder problems can ever be completely
solved. However, a well-planned and executed production program as suggested below
can do much to lessen the severity of this problem in watermelons.

(1) Lime soil, if needed, to pH 6.0 to 6.5. Use dolomite if tests show
magnesium to be low.

(2) Use at least 1.5 to 2 units of nitrate-nitrogen in the complete fertilizer
to be applied at planting or shortly thereafter.

(3) On new land, be sure to supply a balanced mix of minor elements.

(4) Try to supply part of the phosphorus from the readily available super- or
triple-super sources.

(5) Use the modified broadcast method of applying the complete fertilizer.

(6) Irrigate to keep soil as near as possible to satisfactory level (field
capacity) in the soil.

(7) Sidedress as needed with potassium and nitrogen. Sidedressed nitrogen
should be largely the nitrate form for best results.

(8) Have adequate bees available in the field for good pollination.

(9) Carry on a good disease control program.

(10) Harvest and handle carefully to avoid injury to watermelon fruit.
(Montelaro)

B. Competitive Position of Florida Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers

A recent report entitled "Costs and Factors Affecting Production of Fresh
Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers in Florida and West Mexico for U. S. Markets" by
Dr. J. L. Pearson, Agricultural Economist with the U. S. Department of Agriculture,
should be of great interest to producers of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in
Florida. In a nutshell, the report points out that Florida's competitive position
with these crops is not bad at all. It may actually be improving as evidenced by
the following statement made by Dr. Pearson in his discussion on tomatoes.

"Labor costs are a major cost component in both production
areas. Relatively lower wage rates in Mexico continue to be the
dominant contributor to Mexico's low production costs. However,
this advantage appears to be diminishing as Mexico's wage rate
increased by about one-third in the 1973/74 season as compared to
about a 7 percent rise in Florida. Mexican national policy and
strong social pressures point to a continuation of their significant
wage increases. In fact, a 35 percent increase in wages has been
projected for the 1974/75 season in Mexico."

In a comparison of costs for the two areas, he points out that even though
Mexico has a decided advantage over Florida in cost of production, the difference
is practically offset by Mexico's higher costs of marketing in getting its tomatoes
harvested, packed and exported to the United States. The comparative data are
presented in Table 1.




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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Table 1. Costs of producing and marketing fresh tomatoes in
Florida and West Mexico, 1973-74 season.

Production area and tomato type
Florida mature- West Mexico
greens on stakes vine-ripes
30-lb. 30-1b.
Cost item Acre carton2 Acre carton3
Dollars Dollars Dollars Dollars
Producing:
Labor 676 237
Supplies 618 369
Machinery services 316 102
Miscellaneous 312 111
Total producing 1,922 2.40 819 .86
Marketing:
Harvest .94 .90
Pack 1.32 1.04
Transportation .61
Export charges .08
U. S. tariff .56
Sales commission .15 .59
Other .05
Total marketing 2.46 3.78
Total costs 4.864 4.645
IBased on D. L. Brooke's "Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops
in Florida, Season 1972-73 with Comparisons," Economics Report
59. Food & Resource Economics Department, University of Florida,
March 1974, with costs adjusted to reflect changes in major input
prices for 1973-74 season.
2Florida yield, 800 30-pound cartons marketed per acre.
3Mexico yield, 950 30-pound equivalent cartons per acre sold in
export and domestic markets.
4Total costs f.o.b. shipping point but excludes any charges for
ripening (usually 25 cents per carton).
5Total costs f.o.b. Nogales, Arizona.

Dr. Pearson summarized his observations on tomatoes as follows:

"The 20-cent per 30-pound carton cost advantage enjoyed by
Mexico does not in itself provide Mexico with a competitive
advantage. Factors which contribute to Florida's relative
advantages are (1) the proximity of Florida to more than half of
the U. S. population which gives a transportation cost advantage,
and (2) the higher quality of Florida tomatoes as perceived by
some of the trade."

Essentially the same conclusions were drawn relative to peppers and cucumbers
with some modifications. Cucumbers are more frost-susceptible than either tomatoes
or peppers. For that reason, Mexico has a distinct advantage during the winter period,
but not during the fall and spring. Whereas, buyers favored Florida tomatoes, there
were indications that this is not the case with peppers and cucumbers. The comparative
data on cost of production and marketing of these two croos are presented in Tables 2 & 3.




-5-

THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Table 2. Costs of producing and marketing fresh bell peppers
in Florida and West Mexico, 1973-74 season.

Floridal West Mexico
Cost item Acre Bushel2 Acre Bushel~
Dollars Dollars Dollars Dollars
Producing:
Labor 417 156
Supplies 462 215
Machinery services 277 62
Miscellaneous 196 170
Total producing 1,352 2.10 603 .94
Marketing:
Harvest and pack 1.88 1.45
Transportation .57
Export charges .04
U. S. tariff .70
Sales commission .17 .31
Total marketing 2.05 3.07
Total costs 4.153 4.014
1Based on D. L. Brooke's "Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops
in Florida, Season 1972-73 with Comparisons," Economics Report
59, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida,
March, 1974, with costs adjusted to reflect changes in major input
prices for 1973-74 season.
2Florida and West Mexico yields, 645 bushels per acre.
3Total costs f.o.b. shipping point.
4Total costs f.o.b. Nogales, Arizona.

Table 3. Costs of producing and marketing cucumbers in Florida
and West Mexico, 1973-74 season.
Floridal West Mexico
Cost item Acre Bushel2 Acre Bushel2
Dollars Dollars Dollars Dollars
Producing:
Labor 179 61
Supplies 206 113
Machinery services 186 50
Miscellaneous 82 1^7
Total producing 653 2.90 371 1.58
Marketing:
Harvest 1.29 .69
Pack 1.54 .98
Transportation .84
Export charges .30
U. S. tariff 1.40
Sales commission .16 .33
Total marketing 2.99 4.54
Tnfnl rncA~ 5 894 6.125


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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


IBased on D. L. Brooke's "Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops
in Florida, Season 1972-73 with Comparisons," Economics Report
59, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of
Florida, March, 1974, with costs adjusted to reflect changes in
major input prices for 1973-74 season.
2Florida yield, 225 bushels per acre.
3West Mexico yield, 235 bushels per acre.
4Total costs f.o.b. shipping point.
5Total costs f.o.b. Nogales, Arizona.

The fact that Florida has remained competitive with Mexico in the production
of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers is a tribute to our growers. We believe they
can remain competitive only if they continue to show the initiative they have in
the past in the production and marketing of these and other vegetable crops.
(Montelaro)

C. Soil Type, Organic Matter and Herbicides

Most herbicides used in vegetable production are soil-applied materials which
act on germinating weed seeds. The nature of the soil markedly affects the ultimate
weed control results obtained with the material. Soil texture and organic matter
are two key factors which affect herbicide action in the soil.

Soil textures range from extremely fine textured soils such as clay to coarse
sands at the other end of the scale. As a general rule, sandy soils retain less water
and as a result soil-applied materials tend to leach more readily and to greater
depths than from fine textured, "heavier" soils. The solubilities, or more appropriately
for our discussion, the "leachabilities" of herbicides differ quite markedly. Herbi-
cides commonly used in other sections of the country have given unfavorable results
on some of our lighter soils when heavy rainfall follows applications. In such cases
either the material has been leached down to the crop seed zone in concentrations
great enough to kill the germinating seeds or the material has been leached out of
the effective control zone resulting in poor weed control.

Organic matter (clays will also contribute to this phenomenon) increases a
soil's capacity to retain applied materials. These materials are absorbed by the
organic matter in a manner similar to fertilizers. The chemical nature of the herbi-
cide will determine how readily it will be absorbed to the organic matter. Thus, some
herbicides will be strongly held while other materials will not be readily held.
When a herbicide is strongly held by the organic matter in the soil and thus ineffective,
higher rates of application are necessary for weed control.

Organic matter and soil texture are interrelated and both affect how herbi-
cides will work. In Florida, a wide variety of soils is used for vegetable production.
These range from the high organic soils to the widely distributed "pure sands" with
very little organic matter. Thus, a grower must consider his soil and determine how
much organic matter he has present and how "light a sand" he may have. Then, he must
determine what kind of herbicide he is going to use. Growers are urged to read and
follow the label instructions of the herbicide since the manufacturer has in all cases
indicated how the material should be used. It will state very clearly such things as:
"Do not use on pure sands .", "Do not use on soils with less than 1% organic matter
S. ", "On light sands use lower rate .", "On organic soils increase the rate by
S .", or unfortunately, occasionally, "Do not use in Florida."
(Kostewicz)






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 December 15-21.

Question

The spot where I want to plant my vegetable garden is grown up in Bahiagrass
now. What can I spray on the area to get rid of the grass before I plant?

Reply

Bahiagrass and other perennial type grasses such as Bermuda and Johnsongrass
are difficult to kill out. Unfortunately, there are no chemical weed killers available
for homeowner use which will do a perfect job. The old standard for off-season treat-
ment of such persistent weed problems is the chemical dalapon. While dalapon will
certainly help in reducing the weed growth, only a very few vegetables--corn, potatoes,
beans and peas--may be planted in the garden following treatment with this chemical,
according to label specifications. For these vegetables, apply the spray in the fall
to the growing grass, wait one week, then spade or plow the plot. Repeat again as
the grass comes back, but wait at least 4 weeks after the last application and time
of planting. Read and follow label directions for its use.

(2) Timely Topic for week of December 22-28.

Question

I have heard about trickle irrigation, a new way for watering gardens. Can
you tell me more about it?

Reply

Trickle irrigation is also called "drip" or "daily flow". It is a means of
supplying moisture constantly to the root zone at a low delivery rate. A porous or
plastic drip tubing is attached to a garden hose (or other delivery line) and placed
down the row beside the plants. The pressure of the water coming from the garden hose
is lowered by an inexpensive pressure reducing device or by the special design of the
tubing (such as double walls). Thus, water oozes or drips from the drip line in a
slow trickle. Sometimes filters are necessary, especially where pumps are used, to
insure clean water that will not clog the tubing. These relatively inexpensive,
easily installed systems are well adapted for gardener usage. Main advantages are
water conservation, constant root-zone moisture, and wetting the soil without wetting
the plants.

(3) Timely Topic for week of December 29-January 4.

Question

I planted asparagus from seed and now it is 4 feet tall. Should I cut it back
to allow the roots to develop?






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Reply

Florida's mild winters are great for people, but present special problems
for asparagus. For nice big succulent asparagus spears, the roots and crowns shoiu;Id
go through a dormant period. In northern states, the cold winters induce this
dormancy, and in some areas of the tropics, very dry periods bring it about. But,
here in Florida, the whole plant just keeps growing, with small, less-succulent sfirc-rs
arising at all times.

You might want to try cutting back the greenery twice yearly--once in the
winter (November-January) and again in July. The harvest period would be for a short
duration following each of these cutbacks.

(4) Timely Topic for week of December 5-11.

Question

I am wanting to take advantage of my yard fence as a trellis to get more usc
out of the space I have. What vegetables will climb on the fence when planted close
by?

Reply

Most vegetables with trailing, vining type growth habit can be made to climb
the fence. You may have to help them along a bit and even tie the stems at points.
Among those utilizing fence support are pole beans, vining southern peas, tomatoes,
eggplants, cucumbers, scarlet runner beans, sword beans, goa beans, sweet potatoes,
chayote, luffa, true yams and gourds. While it is true that cantaloupes, winter
squashes and pumpkins can be supported on a fence trellis, the weight and size of the
fruit make them poor choices for this method of culture.
(Stephens)

B. Know Your Vegetables Jicama

Jicama (Pachyrrhizus erosus) pronounced "hecama" is also known as yam hcen
and Mexican turnip. The name Jicama is also used in Spanish for any edible root. It
is a climbing legume with very long and large tuberous roots, which in 5 months of
growth may reach 6 to 8 feet long and weigh 50 pounds or more.

The vining tops, which reach 10 to 20 feet long, have compound leaves and bear
green lima bean-shaped pods. These pods are borne in clusters of around 6 pods per
cluster, and may reach 8 to 12 inches long and one inch wide.

The edible portion is the starchy roots, which are eaten raw or cooked. Their
potato-like interior is slightly sweet, and is sometimes served raw with a spread of
olive oil, paprika, etc.

Jicama is only occasionally grown in Florida in home gardens. It is qrown to
some extent in such tropical regions as Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
(Stephens)




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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

IV. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Developments in Vegetable Packaging

The cost of marketing foods from U. S. farms rose 5 percent during 1973 to
$82.3 billion and the value of packaging materials for these foods increased over 8%
last year, from $9.7 billion to $10.4 billion. Vegetables produced in Florida had
a farm value in excess of $400 million and a retail value in excess of $1 billion.
It is fitting in these days of escalating marketing costs that we closely examine
packaging and its contribution to vegetable marketing.

Florida vegetables are shipped in many types and sizes of containers ranging
from 6 oz. to 40 lb. film bags of radishes, 5 to 50 pound bags of potatoes, 10 to 60
pound capacity crates and cartons, and bulk truck loads of radishes and watermelons.
Vegetables may be consumer packaged at the shipping point, in a terminal warehouse,
a retail store, or retailed with no packaging before sale.

As consumer packaging materials and equipment became available during the past
25 years, predictions were made that 60 to 75% of all fresh produce would be pre-
packaged before arrival at the retail store. However, pre-store packaging reached
only 46% in 1970, and little change has occurred since then. Numerous advantages in
pre-store packaging that should have stimulated this method of merchandising include:

(1) lower labor rates and operating expenses,
(2) more mechanical equipment and assembly-line operations,
(3) larger volume for greater uniformity of grades and sizes,
(4) greater purchasing power,
(5) greater protection from damage and losses in handling and shipping.

However, many consumers object to packaged produce either because of poor quality
control or predetermined count or quantity. If a customer buys poor vegetables from
a bulk display, he is less likely to be critical of the grower as when the producer's
name appears on the package. If growers and packers were more willing to accept the
responsibility for supplying the best quality available, there would be fewer dis-
satisfied consumers.

In several ways, vegetable packaging has reached a crossroad. Many possible
developments were discussed at a recent Produce Packaging Conference at New York
University. Nearly all speakers indicated that most fresh produce will be retailed
in packages at some time in the future. The Editor of The Packer interviewed 35 key
grower-shippers of fruits and vegetables and most of them predicted that ultimately
prepackaging will be done at shipping points. However, they were not ready to begin
under present conditions. Packaging machinery and materials (including cartons,
crates, etc.) have skyrocketed in price and their availability is uncertain. Growers
are afraid of being priced out of business, particularly if packaging costs become
higher than the value of the produce in the package. Many fresh vegetables may be
considered luxury items and must have a good appearance to attract impulse buying
in the store. Growers often criticize retailers for improper handling of produce and
trying to realize too much profit on it.

The Packer interviews showed that corrugated cartons are subject to much
criticism for lack of sufficient strength to protect contents, and use of wooden
containers continues to decline. Many grower-shippers indicated a need for standardi-
zation of package sizes instead of the present multiplicity of dimensions.




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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Improvements in crush resistance of corrugated cartonswere recently announced
by one manufacturer who used resin impregnation to counteract the bad effects of
immersion in water and prolonged periods of high humidity encountered in handling
celery. Shippers are considering large, jumble-filled, bulk bins to reduce container
and packing costs. Wooden, wirebound pallet crates carrying over 1,000 Ibs. of water-
melons have been used to a limited extent in Florida. Also, a new laminated fiber-
board bin on a wood pallet has been manufactured for watermelons. Their advantage
is improved truck loading and unloading with a fork lift instead of the traditional
handling of individual melons. Test shipments of California Iceberg lettuce in large
bins resulted in good arrival condition of the lettuce at eastern markets, but only
limited interest exists among buyers other than institutional trade and terminal
prepackagers with mechanical equipment for handling bins. Lettuce producers want to
move toward mechanical harvesting and unitized handling that will deliver to the retail
store a package of lettuce that one person can handle. The trend in shipping con-
tainers has been toward smaller sizes because of union regulations and women employees.

Food distribution centers in the U. S. are changing to computerized handling
of as many items as possible in both warehouses and stores with identification by the
Universal Product Code (UPC). This requires a sticker or label on each item so that
the laser beam scanner can identify the item and its price at the store checkout
counter. If fresh vegetables are to be integrated into UPC, they must be unitized
and some material with the UPC information attached to the vegetable or the package.
It has not yet been determined whether fresh produce will be included in this system
or sold separately in the supermarket.

Another development that may influence packaging is increased demand for food
cleanliness. Consumers and government agencies are working toward better sanitation
regulations. If fresh fruits and vegetables are included in the Food and Drug
Administration proposals on nutritional labeling, the compositional data would need
to be displayed on the packages. Some are saying that the produce industry needs to
inform people of the important nutrient qualities in fruits and vegetables. Data on
calories, vitamins and minerals in vegetables become dramatically apparent when this
information is visible at the time of purchase. Supermarkets are ready to tell this
important story to the public, but suitable data are not available. Nutritional
labeling on canned and frozen vegetables will be much easier to achieve because the
nutrients are not changing as in the fresh form and the packages for labeling already
exist. With so many factors affecting vegetable packaging changes may come rapidly
or very slowly because of shortages and high prices.
(Showalter)




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