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: August 1975
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Volume ID: VID00112
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I 7 FLORIDA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE


I IFAS

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

VEGETABLE CROPS DEPARTMENT

The VEETARIAN Newsletter

August 5, 1975





Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


J. F. Kclly
Chairman


James Montelaro
Professor


.T. M. Stephens
Associate Professor


S. R. Kostewicz
Assistant Professor


J. R, Hicks
Assistant ProCessor


R. K. Showalter
Professor


G. A. Marlowe, Jr.
Professor


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


FROM: James M. Stephens, Extension Vegetable Specialist


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 75-8


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF IlTiERFS'I

A. South Florida Tomato Growers Institute Date Set
B. Vegetable Variety Trial Circular

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION


Pointers in Fertilizing Tomatoes and Peppers
Nutrients Removed by Potato Tubers
Herbicides for Florida Tomatoes
The Importance of the Fertilizer Salesman in
Use


Under Mulch


Farm Fertilizer


III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Marketing New Crops

IV. VEGTilTA1.1 GARDENING


Timely Gardening Topics
P-jh); Your Vegetables Cassava


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


Whenever


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS. STATE Or FLORIDA. IFAS, UNIVERSITY
OF FLORIDA, U. S, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BOARDS Of COUNTY COMMISIONERS. COOPERATING


/rf~~ irt~l w
i




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. South Florida Tomato Growers Institute Date Set

The annual institute for tomato growers has been set for Wednesday, September 24:
1975. The location this year will be the County Agricultural Agent's Office in West
Palm Beach. This year's program will include timely topics of interest to all growers,
handlers and buyers of tomatoes in Florida. Place this date on your calendar now and
make plans to attend.
(Montelaro)

B. Vegetable Variety Trial Circular

Experiment Station Circular S-234, "Vegetable Variety Trial Results in Florida
for 1972-73-74 and Recommended Varieties," has recently been released and should be
available for distribution now. County personnel are again reminded that moderation
should be exercised and only enough ordered to satisfy needs, as the supply is limited.

(Kostewicz)

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Pointers in Fertilizing Tomatoes and Peppers Under Nilch

Growers who have used the full-bed plastic mulch system for the production of
tomatoes and peppers have been successful with it. As would be expected with a change-
over in production practices, the system is not without problems. In meetings and
farm visits over the past two years, the questions that arose most often related to
fertilization rates, placement, sources, timing, etc. There were questions asked about
other practices used in plastic mulch culture, but with less frequency than those relat-
ing to fertilization. This article describes those fertilization practices which we
feel can be relied on to produce good crops of tomatoes and peppers regularly under
plastic culture. These suggestions are based on research and several years of observa-
tions under field conditions. The practices can and have been modified with success by
growers in their operations. However, growers should be cautious in making major modi-
fications until they have been tested for one or two seasons.

In order for a fertilization program for mulched tomatoes and peppers to succeed,
all other operations have to be performed correctly. This includes land selection and
preparation, developing adequate drainage and irrigation systems, supplying adequate
irrigation water low in soluble salts, good fumigation, etc. Failure in any one
operation can result in partial to total crop failure. The soil pH level should be
abo-t 6.5 and the Ca/Mg ratio about 4 to 1 as detepnined by soil tests. Lime, if
needed, should be applied and mixed thoroughly in the soil 6 to 8 weeks before planting.
Where magnesium is found to be low, use dolomite as a source of lime. Otherwise,
high calcic lime can be used.

Only when land that is well-prepared, free of undecayed plant residues, free of
obstacles and properly limed is it ready for subsequent operations including applica-
tions of fertilizer. The rates, timing, sources and placement of fertilizer suggested
are as follows:

I. Broadcast the following:
(1) Starter fertilizer--about 500 lbs. of 4-8-8 or equivalent.
(2) Micronutrients (minor elements)--about 20 to 30 lbs. of FTE
503 or equivalent from a chemical mix.






'IHE ,VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

(3) Superphosphate--on new land add about 1000 to 1200 Ibs. On
old land, determine amount by soil test. Reduce amount recom-
mended for new land by 1/3 if soil test level for P205 is in
the medium rage and by 2/3 if in the high soil.
(4) Disk the soil thoroughly.

II. After the soil is disked, it can be bedded-up, fumigated, bed-shaped (flat
and level as possible for one-row tomatoes and either flat or slightly crowned for
two-row peppers). Herbicide, if used, and insecticide for mole cricket control can be
applied on the surface of the bed. The balance of nitrogen and potassium should be
applied as follows. (The suggestions for tomatoes are based on research conducted by
Dr. P. H. Everett, ARC, Immokalee, Florida.)

Tomatoes
Fertilizer rates for tomatoes should be adjusted according to the expected
length of the harvest season and/or the expected number of pickings. The following
rates, in terms of nitrogen, are suggested for tomatoes grown with full-bed mulch on
south Florida's sandy soils.
(a) Ground (unstaked) culture--1 or 2 pickings as mature-green
120-150 lb N/acre
(b) Stake culture--4 to 5 pickings
200-250 lb N/acre
(c) Stake culture--15 or more pickings
300-350 lb N/acre

Potash (K20) can be applied at a rate of about 1.5 times the amount of
nitrogen used. When graywall of tomatoes is a problem, increase K20 rate to 2.0 times
the amount of nitrogen.

Apply the N and K20 fertilizer mixture in two bands on the surface of the
bed, each about 9 inches to the side of the plants. At least 50% of the nitrogen
should be in the nitrate form. Potash should be derived from sources other than muriate
of potash.

Peppers
Like tomtuocs, fertilizer rate of peppers can be adjusted according.to
length of harvest season and/or number of pickings for full-bed mulch on sandy soils.
(a) Peppers--1 to 2 pickings
175 to 225 Ib N/acre
(b) Peppers--3 or more pickings
250 to 300 lb N/acre

Potash (K20) can be applied at a rate of about 1.5 times the amount of
nitrogen used. Apply the N and K20 on the bed surface in 3 bands. Locate one in the
center of the bed and the other two 9 inches to the sides of the pepper plants.

Even if everything is done perfectly to this point, all will fail if the soil
under the mulch is not kept moist. The surface soil where much fertilizer is located
must be moist at all times.

Equally important is the need for fast removal of excess water during periods of
flooding rains. Upon receding, fertilizer salts may be moved down into the root zone.
(Montelaro)





Ti-I' VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

B. Nutrients Removed by Potato Tubers

A recent article published in Better Crops with Plant Food, Volume LIX, February
1975, entitled "Natrients Potatoes Remove Estimated Rapidly" should be cl interest to
Florida potato growers. The author, Dr. Robert Kunkel, Washington State University,
analyzed potato tubers yearly from 1966 to 1969 for major and minor elements. His
observations are worthy of note.

He found "that mineral element composition of the tubers was quite uniform,
regardless of fertilizer rate and ratio or potato variety used. The correlation coef-
ficients relating to amount of mineral elements in the tubers to yield were 0.9 or
above (a coefficient of 1.0 is the highest possible) while those relating yield to per-
centage dry matter were negligibly low. Neither the percentages nor the amount of
mineral elanents found in the vines was correlated with yield."

..d on his findings of uniformity between varieties, seasons, etc., he estimate
that a yield of 100 cwt (5 tons) of potato tubers will remove the following from the
soil.
Element Lbs. element/100 cwt
Nitrogen 30.0
Phosphorus (P0n5) 7.0 (16)
Potassium (K20) 44.0 (52.8)
Calcium 0.8
.Iaenes iui r 2.5
Sulfur 2.4
Zinc 0.02
Copper 0.016
M'nganese 0.015
Iron 0.047
Boron 0.007

Dr. Kunkel states "the following inferences seem justified:"

(1) Large yields of potatoes remove large amounts of plant nutrients from the
soil. If the soil cannot provide them, these nutrients must be applied.

(2) The data agree with the range of yields from 300 to 600 hundredweight per
acre which would include most present-day commercial potato yields.

(3) Knor..edge of soil tests, the amount of nutrients applied to the land, and
the amount removed in a given sized crop should help determine fertilizer rates
required for different yield levels.

NOIL: This material is being presented here with the permission of Mr. Santford
Martin, Ld tor, Better Crops with Plant Food. Anyone interested in more details should
refr- to the complete article.
(Montelaro)
C. Herbicides for Florida Tomatoes

The list of recommended materials for use in Florida has dwindled over recent
years for one reason or another. In some cases, growers have experienced only margin
control of v.~-rs with herbicides and coupled with a buildup of difficult-to-control
weeds, the situation has tended to become worse instead of better. The feeling that
we have maid.. a co~!plete cycle and have now returned to the "hoe", while extreme,
exemplifies the frustration of many people to the weed situation in Florida tomato
product ion.






THE VEGETARIAN NLWSLLTTER


The arsenal of recommended materials;
Lbs/Acre
(Active Ingredient) Time of Application
Herbicide Sandy Soils to Crop (1)
Materials Needing Incorporation
Treflan 1/2-1 Pretransplant or Post-thinning
Tillam 4 Pretransplant
Surface Applied Materials (No Incorporation)
Dymid or Enide 4-6 Preemergence or Post-thinning
or Posttransplant
Amiben Granular 3 Posttransplant
(1) All treatments are preemergence to weeds.

The problem areas in open culture of tomatoes are straightforward in that the
materials (1) may not control the weed species present in the field, or (2) do not give
effective control for longer than 4 to 5 weeks. In this type of culture, a combination
of weed control methods should be used in the program. That is, mechanical and chemical
methods. An illustration would be a preplant incorporated material, a careful cultiva-
tion or two followed by a posttransplant or post-thinning application of a surface-applied
material.

Full-bed mulch culture offers one advantage in that with the exception of nut-
sedge, few weeds will penetrate the plastic after it is applied to the bed. However,
two problem areas remain. One is "at the hole" where weeds will grow in direct competi-
tion with the crop and the second is the shoulder area where the edge of the plastic is
held down by the soil. At this shoulder area, weeds grow and cannot be removed by
cultivation equipment because of the danger of damaging the plastic bed cover.

Several options may be considered for use on these problem areas by the grower.
The use of a multi-purpose soil fumigant, if used at the proper herbicidal rate, can
offer some relief of the weeds "at the hole" problem. While these materials are more
costly, the multi-purpose facet (effective in controlling nematodes, certain soil-borne
diseases, insects and weeds) increases their value for such a use. Another consideration
would be to use an application ofan herbicide in a band to the top of the bed center
where the plants will be placed. In this situation, the herbicide could be applied in
front of the plastic-laying machine. A less desirable method would be to direct a band
of herbicide at the hole post-transplanting. Usually an interrupted pattern occurs
because of the plant stems and ragged eJges of the hole in the plastic so that untreated
areas occur.

Control of weeds between the rows particularly on the strip of soil holding the
plastic mulch down is the second problem area. Normally, any of the recommended materials
can be used initially. Cultivation can control problematic weeds between the row, but
the shoulder strip is not touched because of danger of damaging the plastic mulch. As
a result, weeds grow unchecked in that area because the normal herbicides will not
give season-long control. Various techniques have been tried to overcome this problem.
One is the use of Tillam in a bed-over type use. A band of Tillam is sprayed on the
strip of soil which holds the plastic down and soil from the middle thrown on top of it
with a sweep, hence, the bed-over expression. Some have tried throwing soil to the
shoulder to cover newly emerging weeds without the use ofanherbicide. In either case,
the number of times this can be done is limited. The weed problem in this area could be
reduced if a long lasting herbicide was available that could be applied to the area or
a short residual contact type herbicide which could be used periodically to "mow" the







THE VEGETARIAN NI?'SLETTER

weeds. At the present time, however, there are no long residual materials cleared for
such usages by the tomato grower. Only one short residual contact material, mineral
spirits, has clearance for between-the-row application in tomatoes. Its cost has
increased tremendously in the past year and its critical time of application require-
ment (weeds should not be taller than 2-3") make its use somewhat limited.
(Kostewicz)
D. The Importance of the Fertilizer Salesman in Farm Fertilizer Use

A nationwide study was recently conducted by the National Plant Food Institute to
determine farmer attitudes toward the use of fertilizer. One portion of the study which
may be of interest to Florida vegetable growers is the section on fertilizer practices
observed in the Yolo and Stanislaus counties of California.

In this region of the San Joaquin Valley, a great many vegetables are produced.
These growers, like Florida growers, are already convinced of the value of effective
fertilizer programs, are using rather high levels of fertilizer, and are aware that it
is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up-to-date on current fertilizer technology.

(1) It was found that only 33-45% of the growers contacted knew the correct kind
and amount of materials to use on their crops.

(2) Fertilizer salesmen reported that 90% of the growers purchasing fertilizer
asked for information on the kind, amount, placement and proper time of application.

(3) It was noted that 57% of the growers listed the fertilizer salesman or field-
man as their primary source of information and that 43% listed the extension agent as most
important.

(4) Fertilizer salesmen reported that approximately 60% of the growers followed
the recommendations they gave them, and that the other 40% modified their suggestions
in light of their own experiences.

(5) There was no significant difference between growers operating large and
small farms on their source of information or on their degree of dependence on the
judgment of the fertilizer representative.

(6) The primary source of information for the fertilizer company representatives
was found to be the land grant universities, the secondary sources were company research
and technical journals.

(7) Growers were found to be quite consistent in patronizing the same fertilizer
company year after year; only 15% of the growers sampled shopped around. The critical
factor in selection of a firm to do business with depended mostly on the services
provided.

(8) The fertilizer company representatives were found to be quite well trained
and experienced; 80% had attended college, one-half had college degrees, 20% had twenty
years of experience, and 60% had from 5 to 20 years of work in their field.

This information could be quite helpful in designing more effective Extension
programs. As we go forth into an increasingly complex era of agro-chemical technology,
the more we must take the leadership in providing these "key influencers" with the most
meaningful and current information. The information program can include more technical
material than is ordinarily provided growers at general meetings.










This information could also be quite helpful to the fertilizer industry in
their appraisal of their services o:+'-ered to growers. It appears that the service
provided is the key to grower satisfaction.
(Marlowe)

III. HARVEST i.: ; HANDLING

A. Marketing New Crops

Quite often vegetable growers wish to try new\ or different vegetable crops which
they feel have potential for their area. i,.'.i-her a large grower who wants to try a
different crop from the ones he is accustrnik ,; to growing, or a small grower who is just
starting, there are a few criteria that should be met before the new venture is actually
put into motion.

(1) Know your crop. It may not be as well adapted to your area as you think.
Also, varieties, leniJ.r,-! practices, available equipment and just general "know how"
may determine whether the ",::iture is a s-"'*. .ess or failure. Usually it is advisable to
start with a small a,:,.-:,', the first year. ',--.ardless of how much information may be
available on a particular crop, c: perlence is helpful.

(2) Know your mark.k rd*ii.-tion is only one step toward making a financial
success of a re, ''.:p in order to realize any return for his effort and investment,
the grower must be able to sell his produce. Too oft,_-, we run into situations where a
grower has made the crop, and is ready to harvest but has no market. The market potential
should be estab -.'h,:- before the cro. is planted. The i.,.' a commodity is to be marketed
will have bearing., on the production sch,!i..'e and harvesting-|.r:l:ing procedures. Some of
the more con mnon sales outlets for .rocwrs prolucinrT new crops are:

(a) Roan'side markets, far.er.ms markets, and/or U-pick operations. In this
type of marketing, .ct:i uling is ve L pr:,n i limited airoi utt o0 the commodity may
sell well over a Ion,' period of time. HarvestinL a large volume over a short period of
time is usually und-e irable.

In addition, with roadside markets, it is h-elpful to have a selection
of different v':getabhcs. A grower pl:'.-niin to use this type of outlet should schedule
the new crop so that harvest will occur with that of other vegetables in his area.
Grading, sizing .;.' method of p-'kinr are often not as stringent for this type of mar-
kctin'g, although care should be taken to offer only ];,hh-quality vegetables.

(b) .Established sellers. Alt: r. ll a commodity may be new 'i.-i a particular
grower, it :1ay be .-u:. -., inlly in his area. T ,s offers a chance to market
through an establish: saes r --.inmiit [on. Those :iri:in,-ements should also be made well
in advance of harvest, p:i ticular]i if the seller is to :radle and pack the produce.
This type outlet may also be used on .- '--.ty crops, or those not normally produced in
a certain area. Tf st._ ::;e conditions for your crop and the commodities being handled
bh the e tablil4,'1 sales organic _2tion are compatible, your commodity may be important
in making up mixed loads. Going through commercial channels usually r.- !uires better
grading and sizinfg and some type of a a standard pack.

(c) llrect sales to local wholes.alers or warehouses. This method, which
may be very satisTactory, probably requires the greatest amount of attention in terms
of making early a: -in enients and commitments. Suppliers to retail outlets must be sure
of an adequate and -ccn .st:,.' supply of a commodity, yet an oversupply can be very costly.
For this rc lszcn. th.v. often mnke irrmar:,- :ts well in :d':ance of del-'very date. Since


'fEE IAN







TIlE VEGLTAilGU JTAN NBISLETTER


convenience, cost of handling and quality of produce are important, wholesale or ware-
house buyers may require special. services when buying locally These services can
include anything from a particular grade and back to palletizetion and delivery. Any-
one interested in using this type of a market should make arrangements in advance and
be certain he will be able to meet any special requirements or restrictions before
committing himself.

There are numerous markets for good fresh vegetables for both the large or small
operations even if it is an established vegetable for the growing area, a new one, or a
specialty crop. The markets should be analyzed prior to starting production of a
commodity and a decision should be made as to the type of marketing to be utilized. A
grower looking for a market today for a crop that must be sold tomorrow is not in a
very good bargaining position.
(Hicks)

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Timely Gardening Topics

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

(1) Timely Topic for week of August 17-23.

Question

What is this vegetable called "topato" which I have seen advertised in several
places?

Reply

The word "To-pato" is a patented name applied to a tomato plant and a potato plant
growing in a very close proximity. Many who read the ads conclude that one advertised
plant would produce potatoes on the roots and tomatoes on the branches. In actuality,
what one gets is a potato tuber seed piece which has been hulled out. This potato "shell"
is filled with planting medium (soil -Lubstitute). A packet of tomato seed is included
with the purchase of the potato shells. The idea is to plant a tomato seed into the
center of the medium filled shell, then plant the shell into the garden soil. The potato
would produce. potato tubers and the tomato would yield tomato fruits.

(2) Timely Topic for week of August 24-30.

Question

In planning my vegetable garden, in which direction should I run my rows?

Reply

Successful gardens are possible regardless of row direction. However, more even
distribution of sunlight is obtained by laying out your rows in a north-south direction.
As the sun rises, the east side of each row gets exposure to sunlight, then the west
side of each row as the sun sets. If you had run them in an east-west direction, exposure
would only have been on the south side mostly (sun tends toward the south as it traverses
the sky from east to west during the September through June normal growing season in
Florida).




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

(3) Timely Topic for week of August 31-September 6.

Question

I am just arriving in Florida and would like to have a garden. Can I get started
right away?

Reply
Now is the time for your fall garden and for starting some things for your winter
garden; when and what you plant depends upon your location within the state. Keep in
mind that vegetables take longer to reach maturity in the fall than in the spring, since
the days become shorter as winter approaches. Planting in fall and winter gardens in
north and central Florida must be done early enough for plants to mature before the
first killing frost, which varies up and down the state from early November to early
December, on the average. Although killing frosts sometimes occur in South Florida
(Pinellas across to Indian River and south of Lake Okeechobee), the cooler fall and wint
months are the most desirable for both cool-season and warm-season crops. Some crops,
such as strawberries and onions, which require cool weather for initiation of growth of
the edible parts, must be started in the fall to insure harvest in the spring.

(4) Timely Topic for week of September 7-13.

Question

Do you have a list of vegetables grouped according to the pH range of the soil at
which they grow best?

Reply
Most vegetables grow best at a pH range of between 5.5 and 6.5. The best average
figure for all vegetables has been suggested as pH 6.2. It is within this slightly acic
range that most nutritional elements, if present, are available to the plant for proper
growth. Even within this suitable range, however, you must be sure to supply required
nutrients in quantities sufficient for plant needs. If the pH cannot be adjusted to
the suitable range, extra effort must be taken to apply nutrients, particularly trace
elements, as required in soil applications of fertilizer or as a foliar spray.
(Stephens)

B. Know Your Vegetables Cassava

Cassava is also known as manioc, manihot, yuca, mandioca, sweet potato tree,
and tapioca plant. It is an important food crop in the tropics where it is grown for
its starchy, tuberous roots.

It has been grown in Florida for many years. Around 1895, it was grown to such
an extent that a few small starch factories were started to process the crop. It
became a common item in vegetable gardens all over Florida. While not important as a
commercial crop any more, some small acreage is still to be found in Dade and other
counties. Only a relatively few gardeners include it in their home gardens.

Description The cassava is a shrubby perennial which grows to a height of 6 to
8 feet on smooth erect stems. It resembles the castor bean in appearance. The large
compound, dark green, reddish veined leaves are pajniately divided into around seven
leaflets. The s-tems contain a soft white pith and ha e nodes from which new plants are
obtained. The roots, which are the most v. luabie portions of the plants, grow in cluster




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


of 5 to 10 at the stem base. Roots are from one to three inches in diameter and from
one to three feet long. The pure white interior is harder than potatoes and has a very
high starch content. They are covered with a thin reddish-brown fibrous bark which can
be removed by scraping and peeling. This bark is reported to contain toxic hydrocyanic
(Prussic) acid, which must be removed by washing, scraping and heating. There are two
types of cassava recognized--"bitter" and "sweet". The "sweet" type contains only a
small amount of the acid and is boiled and used as a vegetable, along with the young
leaves. The roots are also used for animal feed and the starch for such things as glue,
laundry starch and tapioca pudding.


Culture
requires about
growth. It is
inches deep at
Then the roots
rapidly.


- Cassava needs 8 to 11 frost-free months to produce usable roots. It
the same soil and fertilizer program as for sweet potatoes for best
propagated by planting short 10-inch sections of the stems two to four
4-foot intervals on 4-foot rows. The tops are cut away just before harves
are dug or pulled and used soon after harvest, since they deteriorate


(Stephens)




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