Title: Vegetarian
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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: September 1979
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INSTITUTE OF FOOD ANO FLORIDA

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA EXTENSION SERVICE


S VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


September 6, 1979

Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists

D. N. Maynard
Chairman

R. D. William J. M. Stephens
Assistant Professor Associate Professor

R. K. Showalter James Montelaro
Professor Professor


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

FROM: James Montelaro, Extension Vegetable Specialist

VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 79-9

IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Bob Kasmire "On Board"
B. William Moves West To Oregon
C. Sweet Corn Variety Trials Zellwood, 1979

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Potentials For Further Expansion of Vegetable Production in
Florida With Certain Crops
B. Cauliflower Preliminary Variety Test Data
C. Yield Estimates and Planning a Vegetable Business

III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Pepper Harvesting Characteristics

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Wide Row Gardening
B. Know Your Minor Vegetables Chaya

NOTE: Anyone is free to use the information in this newsletter. Whenever possible
please give credit to the authors.
"cw
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research,
educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, or national origin.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS, STATE OF FLORIDA, IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA, U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING




-2-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Bob Kasmire "On Board"

Robert F. Kasmire, veteran extension specialist from California, arrived in
late August to spend about 10 months as a visiting professor in the Vegetable
Crops Department. Bob is internationally recognized for his work on the harvesting
and handling of vegetables. He is to work on some special projects of his own and
to assist us in evaluating our own harvesting and handling methods. We plan to
take advantage of his expertise and experience in our attempts to develop an
effective extension program in vegetable handling in Florida.

We hope you will welcome Bob and show him around on his visits throughout
the state.

(Montelaro)

B. William Moves West To Oregon

Since joining the IFAS team, I've enjoyed the terrific experiences and pro-
fessional challenges of working with Florida's vegetable industry and providing
leadership in the North Florida region and statewide weed control programs. This
past year has been fantastic, both from the standpoint of program and professional
recognition. We have accomplished many of our educational and extension program
goals for the North Florida region. I congratulate the County Extension Agents
for their dedicated daily efforts of successfully completing specific program
objectives based on county needs. I also appreciate our statewide efforts in
weed control programs involving the vegetable production industry and IFAS colleagues
throughout Florida.

However, after carefully considering both my professional and my family's
personal goals related to several excellent opportunities including continued
involvement in IFAS extension programs, my wife and I decided that I should
accept the position of Associate Professor and Extension Horticultural Weed
Specialist at Oregon State University beginning in mid-December. Oregon's horti-
cultural industry is somewhat smaller than Florida's (about $800 M!!), but will
be as challenging in the area of weed management. More than 30 major and as
many as 140 horticultural crops are grown under various climatic and environmental
conditions including coastal valleys with intense rainfall, interior valleys with
seasonal rainfall, high plains, and dry deserts.

I sincerely wish to thank every colleague in Florida for a delightful and
challenging experience and many personal friendships. Both my wife and I have
enjoyed our home in Florida. We express our sincere regards and best wishes to
everyone as we look forward to continuing our friendships, professional relation-
ships, and cooperation in areas of mutual interest.


(William)




-3-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


C. Sweet Corn Variety Trials Zellwood, 1979

We just received a copy of Dr. J. M. White's summary of a sweet corn variety
trial conducted at Zellwood last spring. It is a comprehensive report worthy of
close study by anyone interested in sweet corn varieties. A copy (Research Report
CF80-1) can be obtained from Dr. J. M. White, AREC, Sanford or from my office.

(Montelaro)


II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Potentials For Further Expansion of Vegetable Production in Florida With
Certain Crops

Over the years we have seen a significant change in vegetable crops grown in
Florida. Lima beans and garden peas, once important fresh market crops in the state,
are no longer grown in quantity. These crops were lost to the canned and frozen
food market. With cheap energy, production of many crops was regionalized in areas
where climate was favorable or labor was plentiful. The processed product and
even fresh vegetables have been transported many miles to the ultimate consumer.

Will this continue to be the case in the eighties with energy no longer
plentiful and cheap? People "in the know" seem to think not. They see a gradual
shift back to more local production in fresh market commodities.

Even without a changing picture in market concepts as we know today, it is
imperative for vegetable growers in Florida to continually reassess their position.
We have seen a surge in "on-the-farm" retailing and it has not hit its peak yet.
New crops like sweet corn, radish and carrots have replaced those lost to the pro-
cessed market. Vegetable growers now are looking at crisphead lettuce and cauli-
flower as potentially promising crops for expanding production in the state.
Others have been successful in searching out specialty markets for a wide variety
of the so-called minor vegetables. All of these have helped to maintain a dynamic
industry in Florida.

There is more that can be done in each category listed above. The one offering
the greatest possibility is with the crops that are being produced in insufficient
quantities to supply local needs. With increases in freight rate for produce shipped
from distant production areas, Florida and near-by areas offer good market potentials.
Freight-rate differentials may be sufficient now, and possibly more so in the future,
to place Florida in a good competitive position with many vegetables grown to a limited
extent, if at all, at the present time.

What are some of the vegetables grown in insufficient quantities to supply
local needs and can they be grown successfully in Florida? The information presented
in the following table is an attempt to answer this and other questions on this
subject and to stimulate further thinking and inquiry by interested growers.





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


Table 1. Crops Offering Possibility For Further Expansion in Florida
Extent of
Crops Harvest in Fla. Remarks


Onions, dried bulb
Onions, green

Garlic
Broccoli, fresh
Cauliflower, fresh
Sweet potatoes


Beet, turnip &
rutabaga roots
Turnip, mustard,
collards, kale and
spinach greens
Tomatoes, cherry

Southern peas, horti-
cultural beans, lima
beans and garden peas-
fresh shelled
Vegetables for Ethnic
groups

Ex. Chinese water-
chestnut, Chinese radish,
edible-podded peas, taro,
dasheen, cassava, etc.
Other "minor" vegetables
Ex. chayote, Jerusalem
artichoke, parsnips,
chickory roots, Halloween
pumpkins, etc.


April June
Oct. June

April June
Oct. May


Oct.
May


- May
- Nov.


Oct. May

Oct. May


Nov. June

Oct. June



Oct. June


Oct. June


Standby curing facilities needed
Direct seeding and local "set"
production possible to reduce cost
Standby curing facilities needed
Offers good possibilities
Caution advised to avoid over-expansion
Excellent possibilities for central
and north Florida for early market
No major production problems

Could be mechanically harvested and
packaged in film

Cultivar and disease control evaluation
needed
Mechanically harvested, shelled, pre-
cooled and moved to nearby markets
rapidly

Includes many specialty-type vegetables
requiring special marketing efforts
but usually commanding steady prices


Includes many specialty-type vegetables
requiring special marketing efforts but
usually commanding steady prices


Searching out new market potentials and learning to grow new crops is not an easy
task. Anyone considering such a venture is best advised to proceed with caution. It
requires careful analysis to determine feasibility and a common sense, limited approach
during the "trial" period. For the ingenious and venturesome, returns might prove to
be rewarding, indeed.
(Montelaro)






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

B. Cauliflower Preliminary Variety Test Data

Renewed interest in cauliflower production in Florida prompted research and
extension workers in the Bradenton area to conduct a much-needed cultivar (variety)
study. It was a simple test of only one planting of promising cultivars grown in
duplicate plots. Preliminary data, such as that obtained in this study, cannot
be relied on to make firm recommendations. In the absence of detailed cauliflower
cultivar tests in recent years, this study can be of some value to growers considering
production of this crop. Growers are advised to consider the information presented
in the following table with the reservations discussed above.

Table 1. Cauliflower Cultivar Test AREC, Bradenton (1978-79), Two Replicates

Avg. Total Total Total Cull Avg.
No. No. No. Wt. Wt. Wt.
Maturity* Harvests Plants Heads -------(lbs)------- Remarks

Moran
Self-Blanched M 3.0 36 31 77.8 2.5

Monarch 73M XE 5.0 36 31 82.8 3.4(2) 2.7 S1. leafiness

Snowball 23 E 3.0 37 31 85.3 2.7 Almost self-
blanching

M 2028 4.0 38 36 113.0 0.9 3.2 Almost self-
blanching

FM
Snowball 42 E 3.0 37 35 110.7 3.2

Burpee
Burpeeana XE 4.0 37 36 80.3 2.2 Leafiness

Early Snowball A XXE 4.5 35 28 69.8 5.0 Leafiness

Snow Crown XXE 2.5 38 37 138.0 3.8


*Key E = Early
XE = Extra Early
XXE = Earliest (Snow


Crown was outstanding)


Leafiness Has small leaves in head more than 2 or 3 is not desirable
Boron deficiency was evident in the test. Thus, Molybdenum was probably also deficient.

Additional cultivar tests are planned for this coming season at Bradenton and
Gainesville. Anyone interested in these tests should keep in touch with both units.


(Montelaro)





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

C. Yield Estimates and Planning a Vegetable Business

Planning for efficient production of vegetables or other commodities requires
an estimate of average and perhaps above average yields. Even though the estimates
presented in Table 1 lack precision and depend on many factors, the data are necessary
for planning sales and calculating breakeven and per unit costs.

"Average or acceptable yields" listed in Table 1 are statewide averages or
estimates of acceptable yield levels for crops grown throughout Florida under
various crop management levels and on several types of soil. "Excellent or high
yields" are estimates that most vegetable growers in Florida can strive to attain
in the long-run over a few years. By figuring production costs at the two yield
levels, growers can maximize production efficiencies and calculate breakeven or per
unit costs. In most long-run situations, per unit costs will be less for the higher
yield levels. In regions of Florida where yield levels are below average, County
Extension Agents and growers may wish to identify production and educational program
goals designed to improve production efficiencies and profitability over the long-run.

Information needed to plan part of the work and harvest schedule or for producing
certain vegetables over extended time periods is listed in Table 2. By combining this
information with yield estimates (Table 1), peak labor requirements and amounts of
fresh vegetables may be estimated. For example:

A market gardener wishes to provide a reasonably dependable supply
of 30 bushels each of eggplant, southern peas and yellow squash to a whole-
sale buyer or manager of a local roadside stand on a weekly basis. How
many acres of each crop would be required to maintain a steady supply for
12 weeks beginning in early spring?

If we calculate the following from the general information presented
in Table 2:

Eggplant 12 weeKly harvests will provide 50 bu/wk.
Southern pea 3 weekly harvests will provide 35 bu/wk.
Yellow squash : 10 harvests every 2 to 3 days will provide 15 bu/wk.

We need to plant 0.6 acre of eggplant, three 1-acre plots of southern
peas every 30 days, and four-2 acre plots of yellow squash every 20 days
to provide a reasonably dependable supply of 30 bushels of each vegetable
per week.

Other useful information can be obtained from these data to plan a vegetable
production business. However, you must remember that these data are statewide averages
or estimates and depend on many factors such as your crop and business management
skills, soil types, location and season, weather, etc. The information is useful in
planning your vegetable production, but should be modified as you study and gain
experience in your particular region of the state.

Interested persons are encouraged to report comments and suggestions to the author
for improving both the yield estimates and information contained in the article for
possible publication in a new extension circular entitled "GROWING QUALITY VEGETABLES
FOR PROFIT An Introduction for Small-Scale and Part-Time Market Gardeners".


(William)





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

bible 1. Average or acceptable yields and excellent or high yields for vegetables grown
commercially in Florida. Remember yields of vegetables can range from zero to
record harvests depending on weather and many other factors, especially your
management practices and skills.

Yield per acre
Vegetables Unit Average or acceptable Excellent or high
yields yields


Beans, snap
pole
lima


bushels
bushels
bushels


100 to 125
300
150 to 200


Broccoli
Cabbage
Cantaloupes
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chinese cabbage
Collards

cumbers, pickling
slicing
Greens, mustard & turnip

Eggplant
Escarole
Lettuce
Malanga
Okra, fresh
soup
Onions, bulb
green bunching
Peas, English
Chinese or snow
southern
Peppers, bell
Potato, white
sweet
boniato
rinach
squash, yellow
zucchini
acorn
butternut


21 lb. cartons
50 lb. crates
lbs.
50 lb. bags
30 lb. cartons
45 to 50 lb. crates
doz. bunches
tons
bushels
bushels
doz.
tons


10


bushels


bushels
bushels
50 lb. box
bushels
tons
50 lb. bags
4 doz./carton
bushels
crates
bushels
bushels
cwt.
bushels
50 lb. box
cwt.


bushel s
bushels
bushels
bushels


250 to 400
450 to 600
,000 to 25,
250 to 350
250 to 450
400 to 600
300 to 500
8 to 15
150 to 200
200 to 300
300 to 325
9 to 10
600 to 750
500 to 600
500 to 600
150 to 200
200 to 400
8 to 9
300 to 600
900
50 to 100
100 to 125
100 to 140
500 to 900
200 to 225
400 to 600
350 to 400
30 to 40
150 to 175
400 to 800
250 to 400
200 to 300


000


25


400 to 500
700 to 900
,000 to 35,000
400 to 500
500 to 900
700 to 900
600
20 to 25
250 to 300
300 to 400
350 to 400
10 to 12
800 to 900
700 to 900
800 to 900
300 to 400
400 to 600
15
800 to 1200
1200
100 to 125
150 to 200
200
1100 to 1500
250 to 300
800
500 to 550
50 to 60
200 to 225
900 to 1000
450 to 600
350 to 400


150
350
250


Z


------~


000


i


i





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


Table 1. (continued)


Yield per acre
Vegetables Unit Average or acceptable Excellent or high
yields yields

Strawberry flats 1400 to 1500 1600 to 1800
Sweet corn crates 150 to 250 300
Tomato 30 lb. boxes 600 to 800 1000 to 1200
Watermelon lbs. 20,000 to 30,000 40,000 to 50,000


A/Sources: 1. Florida Agricultural Statistics Vegetable Summary 1978. Florida Crop
and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando.

2. Brook, D. L. 1978. Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops in Florida, Season 1976-
77 with comparisons. Econ. Info. Rep. 85 from Food & Resource Economics Dept., IFAS, Univers
of Florida, Gainesville.

3. Halsey, L. H. 1976-78. Seasonal Response of Vegetable Crops for Selected Cultivars
in North Florida. Veg. Crops Res. Rep. 1-7 from Vegetable Crops Dept., IFAS, University of
Florida, Gainesville.

4. Personal communications from J. M. Barber (GA), R. L. Brown (Zellwood), J. D. Dilbe,
L. H. Halsey, J. Montelaro and J. M. Stephens.



Table 2. General harvest and timing information needed to plan vegetable production and
marketing options.


Vegetables


Harvest
1/
season-


Days
to first
harvest


Days Days of
between harvest duratio
harvests per crop


Beans, snap
,pole
lima
Broccoli*
Cabbage*
Can taloupes __
Carrots
Cauliflower*
Chinese cabbage*
Collards, young plant
bunched leaves


warm
warm
warm & hot
cool (short)
cool & cold
warm (short)
cool
cool (short)
cool
cool & cold
cool & cold


50 to 60
60 to 70
65 to 75
65 to 90
75 to 90
70 to 85
100 to 140
55 to 65
50 to 65
40 to 60
50 to 70


(harvest mechanically)t
3 to 4 20 to 30
3 to 4 20 to 30
5 to 10 20 to 40
7 to 10 15 to 20
5 to 7 10 to 15
(one digging)_
5 to 10 15 to 20
7 to 10 15 to 20
(one harvest)
7 to 10 60 to 90


--






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


aL j 2. (continued)


Harvest Days Days Days of
Vegetables easn/ to first between harvest duration
seaso- harvest harvests per crop


;ucumbers, pickling
i. lisinn


warm
warm


40 to 50
40 to 55


3 to 4
3 to 4


15 to 25
15 to 25


greens, mustard & turnip cool 40 to 60 (one harvest)
eggplant* warm & hot 85 to 100 7 to 10 50 to 100


escarole


cool


ettuce, crisphead
cos
butterhead
Sleaf
lalanca


cool
cool
cool
cool


warm & hot


80 to 100


to 90
to 80
to 70
to 60


10 to 12 months


(one or two harvests)


(one or two harvests)
(one or two harvests)
(one or two harvests)
(one or two harvests)


(one digging)t


warm R hot


50 to 60


2 to 3


60 to 100


Minions, bulb
areen bunching


April & May (short)
cool


120 to 150
50 to 100


(one harvest)
(one harvest)


English (bush) early warm (short) 60 to 80 5 to 10 20 to 30
,Chinese or snow early warm (short) 50 to 70 5 to 10 30 to 40
,Southern warm & hot 55 to 70 7 to 10 20 to 30


pnnpr_ hpll*


warm


70 to 85


10 to 20


20 to 40


early warm
warm &
warm &


cool


ye allow
zucchini
acorn
butternut


warm
warm
warm
warm


(short)
hot
hot


80
120
6 to


to 95
to 140
8 months


40 to 45


to 45
to 45
to 105
to 105


(dig
(dig
(di


mechanically)t
mechanically)t
mechanically)t


(one harvest)


2 to 3
2 to 3
(one
(one


15 to
15 to
harvest)
harvest)


trawhPrrv


cool & earlv warm (short)


90 to 120


weet corn


omato*, vine ripe
matiirp arppn


atermelon


early warm (short)


-/In Florida, planting and harvest seasons vary depending on location. Specific planting
ates are listed in each crop production guide printed by the Florida Cooperative Extension
service. Harvest seasons listed in this table are defined as follows: hot season normally
nc" 'ding high rainfall during summer months; warm season during spring and fall vegetable
rn..ng periods including "winter" production season in South Florida; cool season when
temperatures may range from at or near freezing to 500F regularly; cold season when freezing
temperatures are expected regularly. Short harvest duration means that the crop is harvested
t one time within a single production region.
*Information for transplanted crops
tThese vegetables are produced by growers who own or rent harvesting equipment.


white
sweet
hnniatn


otato,
,


ninach


quash,
,
,


warm


warm
warm


4 to 7


65 to 85


80 to 90
75 to 85


45 to 70


2 to 3


2 to 3
7 to 10


80 to 90


4 to 6t


20 to 30
20 to 30


5 to 7


15 to 20


slicin, 40 to 55 3 to 4


coo


cool to 60


,- warm & hot


warm & hot 60 to 100--- --


l 7 t


boit warm & hot 8 months


col 0to4


warm -- har ves


--- ---- .,, .- ....\--- ---- -


warm 65 to 85- -


m e ert 5 10


"rr


r-,',


" "


VD




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING


A. Pepper Harvesting Characteristics

Peppers, one of Florida's leading vegetables, had a value exceeding 42 million
dollars for the 1977-78 season. Although Florida's largest production consists of
the bell-type, other peppers are grown with a wide range in plant characteristics
and fruit shapes. Crop seasons in Florida may be grouped into fall, winter and spring
with north and central Florida limited to the fall and spring seasons.

With good cultural practices pepper plants continue to produce fruit over ex-
tended periods, but growers usually limit the number of harvests to three or four.
The fruits from early harvests are larger and sell for higher prices than the
smaller fruits from later harvests. In recent years, labor availability has decreased
and the costs of hand harvesting have sometimes equaled the growers net returns.
Mechanical harvesters are needed to ensure profitable pepper production and enable
pepper growers in the U.S. to compete in world markets.

A recent USDA survey revealed that 60 different machines have been built
worldwide to mechanize pepper harvesting. Experimental methods varied from placing
the entire plant into the machine after cutting the main stem to removing peppers
in the growing position by shaking, stripping, raking, pulling or snapping actions.
The IFAS Agricultural Engineering Department pepper harvester for selective harvesting
of marketable sizes uses a combing and pulling action as contrasted to the snapping
and bending action of the machine developed at the Georgia Experiment Station. The
machines thus far developed have not achieved effective removal of peppers with
various shapes, sizes and detachment forces from plants with different development
patterns.

At the August, 1979 meetings of the American Society for Horticultural Science
the writer and L. N. Shaw, Agricultural Engineering Department, presented a paper
summarizing the following pepper fruit and plant characteristics related to mechanical
harvesting, and the plant improvements that are needed by pepper breeders.

1. Fruit set characteristics

a. Many peppers develop near ground level and need to be higher on the
plant for better machine accessibility and collection.
b. Many plant stems and excessive branching near the ground result in
easily broken stems and increased trash. Plants should be erect
with few main stems and lower branches. Plants should have no large,
easily broken nodes.
c. Peppers grow near the center of the plant where stems interfere with
fruit detachment. Fruit need to be located on the branches just under
the foliage.

2. Root system

a. Plants need strong root systems to prevent uprooting when peppers are
harvested.

3. Maturation

a. Most varieties have long flowering and fruit maturation periods suit-
able for multiple harvests. Concentrated fruit set and once-over harvest




-11-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


would be more economical.

4. Fruit removal

a. Detachment force ranges from 1 to 30 pounds for bell pepper varieties
grown in Florida. These varieties usually have no abscission zone
in the pedicel. Certain breeding lines have an easy detachment
character which should reduce damage to machine-harvested fruits and
plants.
b. Pepper detachment force is greatly influenced by the direction of the
pulling force in relation to fruit orientation. When pulling the
fruit in a direction parallel to the natural orientation on the plant,
high force is required to tear the pedicel between the fruit and stem,
or at the fruit surface. Less force is required when peppers are de-
tached by the snapping action used in hand harvesting (perpendicular
to the stem).
c. Fruit of present varieties are oriented in all directions on the
plant. Since parallel pulling should be avoided, a more uniform
orientation would be advantageous.
d. A smooth pedicel break point at a joint or abscission layer is better
than a rough break because of less opportunity for postharvest decay.

Success in mechanical harvesting often requires more than engineering, and there
appears to be a current need for breeders to develop new pepper varieties that can be
successfully machine harvested.
(Showalter)

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING


A. Wide Row Gardening

Many gardeners look at planting vegetables in a single-file row as a big waste
of space. "Why not broadcast them over the entire area of the row surface?", they
say. Well, for many vegetables this wide row method of planting can work really well.
For others, there are more advantages to single-file planting.

Vegetables which do quite well planted in a wide-row fashion are turnips,
radish, mustard, spinach, New Zealand spinach, leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce, romaine,
collard, bush beans, beets, carrots, onions, and herbs. Many of the legumes such as
beans and peas might perform well planted in a wide row.

A recent study in Puerto Rico with okra has shown that a single plant given a
wide spacing (36") will grow large and produce a lot of pods. However, it also
showed that the highest production for that space was achieved by six or more plants,
even though production of pods per plant was reduced. 'Clemson Spineless', a favorite
Florida variety, was especially adapted to close spacing.

Other vegetables such as squash, tomato, potato, and sweet corn do best in a
single-file row. Each plant of these vegetables requires its own individual spacing
to produce its crops. Single-filing allows the gardener to work quickly and efficiently
around the base of each plant for cultivation and weeding. It is difficult to hoe




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


among crowded, closely spaced plants in a wide-row system, and a wheel hoe is
limited to the outer edge of the wide-row only.

Advantages to wide-row planting are that (a) more plants per square foot of
space are grown, (b) plants cover the bed area fully, thus blocking out considerable
weed growth, and (c) plants may be harvested young and eaten, allowing remaining
vegetables more space to develop.

Not only is cultivation more difficult with wide-row planting, other practices
such as mulching and side dressing fertilizer are curtailed to some extent.

Where wide-row planting may be practiced to advantage, it is fairly easy to
accomplish.

First, decide whether to have a raised (elevated 4 to 6 inches high) planting
bed, or to plant on a flat surface. Of course, this decision is based on soil
drainage conditions bed on wet soils, and plant flat on dry soils.

Next, after cleaning and conditioning the soil, flatten off the top of the bed
or prepare a row 12 to 18 inches wide. Mix your fertilizer into the entire row
surface by broadcast method. Apply a little more than usual since it will be somewhat
difficult to side-dress or top-dress more fertilizer later. Two quarts of 6-8-8
fertilizer per 100 feet row length is about right under average soil conditions.

Then, rake the surface soil smooth and level to receive the seeds. Evenly
sprinkle the seeds over the surface.

Now comes the difficult part covering the seeds with just the right amount
of soil. Most of the vegetables suited for wide-rowing are very small seeded and
require only about 1/4 inch covering of soil. At least three ways may be used to
cover seeds.

1) sprinkle soil by hand from a bucket
2) use a rake to pull soil from the row edge up over the seeds
3) lightly scratch the surface with the tines of a garden rake, thus burying
a sufficient number for an adequate stand

When the young seedlings emerge and become large enough to grasp with the
fingers, thin them out so that the most vigorous have room to develop properly.
Wide-row planting has been popular with "grow-box" gardeners for years. Boxes
filled with good soil mix are constructed just wide enough for gardeners to reach
the center plants easily. However, in these boxes, vegetables are often planted in
short rows running across the width of the boxes instead of lengthwise.

Probably the extreme example of wide-row planting is the gardener who mixed
an assortment of vegetable seeds in his grass seeder, then walked across his prepared
plot churning the handle. Seeds were scattered every which way and the kinds and
varieties were thoroughly mixed in a broadcast fashion. To complete the planting he
drove his garden tractor across the plot with a very shallow disk setting, just
mixing the seeds with the soil. The results turned out to be quite satisfactory.

In any event, wide row planting is an area that gardeners might wish to explore
on their own. The method could turn up some interesting surprises and even change
some life-long planting habits. (Stephens)




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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


B. Know Your Minor Vegetables Chaya

Chaya (Cnidoscolus chayamansa McVaugh) is a leafy green vegetable of dry regions
of the Tropics. Although little known, its potential as a garden vegetable is so
great that a comprehensive bulletin, entitled "Vegetables For the Hot, Humid Troics.
Part 3. Chaya" was published by F. W. Martin and Ruth Ruberte, U.S.D.A. Mayaguez,
P.R. This newsletter article is a brief summary of that report.

The name "chaya" comes from the Mayan chayy" which is the Indian term for the
plant. Other common names are tree spinach, chaya col, kikilchay, and chaykeken.

The genus Cnidoscolus consists of 40 or more species, but only the chayamansa
refers to the vegetable chaya.

Chaya is a large, leafy shrub reaching a height of about 6 to 8 feet. It
somewhat resembles a vigorous hibiscus plant. The dark green leaves are alternate,
simple, slick surfaced with some hairs, and palmately lobed (much like the leaves
of okra). Each one is 6 to 8 inches across and is borne on a long slender petiole
(leaf stem). Where the leaf stem connects to the leaf, the leaf veins are fleshy
and cuplike.

Chaya blooms frequently. Both male and female flowers are borne together at
the end of long flower stems. Both kinds of flowers are small, less than 10
millimeters long. The white male flowers are much more frequent. The plant is
not known to fruit in Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Florida.

The wood of young stems is soft, easily broken, and susceptible to rot. When
cut, it exudes a white latex. Stinging hairs are usually found on the young stems.

Wild Chaya is rarely eaten, due to the stinging hairs. Cultivated varieties
differ in the degree of lobing of the leaves, the size of the leaf, and the quantity
of the stinging hairs. "Pig Chaya" is one of the very best eating varieties. It
has small leaves, with three shallow lobes and almost no spines. The type found in
Florida has five lobes.


Cultivation

Chaya is killed by cold. It should be started at the beginning of a warm season.
Thick woody stem cuttings about 6 to 12 inches long should be used. These root
slowly. Cuttings can be established in the soil where they are to grow if the soil
is well drained. Probably one or two plants is all any Florida gardener would want
to try. Early growth is slow. After the first year the plants may be pruned or
leaves may be harvested, resulting in new rapid growth. Up to 60 per cent or more
of the leaves may be removed at harvest, with enough left for healthy new growth.
Most gardeners would need only a few leaves at a time. One plant may be harvested
several times a week on a continuous basis.

Few pests have been noted in chaya. The tomato hornworm, however, has been
observed to defoliate a plant in just a few days.




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THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Uses

Chaya is used much like spinach. Younger leaves and a bit of the stems are
cut. Gloves are suggested due to the spines. Large leaves are cut to manageable
pieces before cooking. Leaves are immersed and simmered for 20 minutes. The dish
is then served with oil or butter. A variety of recipes are used, from stewing
to frying to making of tortillas.


Composition

Chaya is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron. However, raw
chaya leaves are highly poisonous due to their high content of hydrocyanic acid
(HCN). In this respect it is similar to the cooking of other common food plant
leaves such as cassava. With chaya, one minute of boiling destroys most of the
HCN. Sufficient boiling to soften the leaves eliminates all the HCN, with none
left in the cooking water. Breathing the cooking gas should be avoided, as it is
poisonous.


Chaya in Florida

Even in the tropics, chaya is not all that popular. In Florida, very few
gardeners are aware of this crop. Chaya was introduced into Cuba, and from there
into Florida. In South Florida it is often found as a rank shrub, but seldom
appreciated for its food value as a vegetable. Its potential in Florida is
excellent, but it likely will never be much more popular than it is now due to
the availability of so many more popular cooking greens. Also, the poisonous
properties likely will tend to scare most gardeners away from trying it.

(Stephens)


Statement: "This public document was promulgated at a cost of $ 192.8- or 3
per copy, for the purpose of communicating current technical and educational material
to extension, research and industry personnel."




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