INSTITUTE OF FOOC AND
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ka4s 21f' J;
A Vegetable Crops Extension Publication
Veetable Crops DepartmenL *1255 IHSDPP CGincville, FL 32611- Telephone 392-2134
December 18, 1987
I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. Vegetable Crops Calendar.
B. New Publications.
II. PESTICIDE UPDATE
A. Fusilade 2000 Labelled on Dry Bulb Onions or
III. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLES
A. Improving Food Safety.
B. 1987 Okra Variety Trial Results.
C. Portable pH Meter Problems.
D. Muskmelon Cultural Studies at Live Oak.
IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING
A. Florida 4-H Horticulture Delegation Winners at
Note: Anyone is free to use the information in this
newsletter. Whenever possible, please give credit to the
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for
the purpose of providing information and does not
necessarily constitute a recommendation of the product.
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
I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. Vegetable Crops Calendar.
January 14, 1988. Seminole Co.
Master Gardener Training School,
January 18, 1988. South Florida
Fair, Horticultural Judging, West
Palm Beach. (Stephens).
January 26-27, 1988. Escambia-
Santa Rosa Master Gardener Training
School, Pensacola. (Stephens).
January 28, 1988. Watermelon
Institute. Florida Farm Bureau
Bldg., Gainesville. 1:00-5:00 pm.
January 31 February 3, 1988.
A.S.H.S. Southern Region Mtg., New
February, 1988. Florida State
Fair, Horticulture ID Contest, 4-H
and FFA. (Stephens).
March 4, 1988. State FFA Vege-
table Training Contest, Central
Florida Fair, Orlando. (Stephens).
April 29, 1988. State FFA Vege-
table ID Finals, Reitz Union, UF,
B. New Publications.
Protecting Perishable Foods
During Transport by Truck. USDA Agr.
Hdb. 669, September, 1987. For sale
by the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.
Hochmuth, G. J. and C. Meline.
1987. Effects of mulching and plant-
ing methods on yield of muskmelon at
Live Oak. VEC 87-08.
Hochmuth, G. J. 1987. Diagnos-
ing nutritional disorders and salt
damage. VEC 87-06.
Hochmuth, G. J. 1987. Tenslo-
meters. VEC 87-10.
Hochmuth, G. J. 1987. Foliar
nutrition of vegetables. VEC 87-07.
Maynard, D. N. 1987. Vegetable
variety trial results in Florida for
1986. Circular S-341.
Maynard, D. N. 1987. Commer-
cial vegetable cultivars for Florida.
Colvin, D. L. and W. M. Stall.
Weeds in the sunshine WIS-102, 17 pp.
Copies may be secured from the
II. PESTICIDE UPDATE
A. Fusilade 2000 Labelled on
Dry Bulb Onions or Garlic.
Fluazifop-p (Fusilade 2000) has
been granted labelled use for control
of actively growing grass weeds in
dry bulb onions or garlic.
A total of 96 oz product (.75 lb
a.i.) may be applied to the crop per
season. Rates for the control of
actively growing grass species at
specific growth stages are specified
on the label. Depending on species,
the leaf stage ranges from 3 to 8.
The rates, in most cases, do not
exceed 24 oz product per acre (.188
Only oil concentrates and non-
ionic surfaclants cleared for use on
growing crops may be used in the
spray mixture. A pre-harvest in-
terval of 45 days must be maintained.
All applicable directions, restric-
tions, and precautions on the EPA-
registered lable are to be followed.
The label or supplemental label
for the use of Fusilade 2000 must be
in the possession of the user at the
time of application.
(Stall: Vegetarian 87-12)
III. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLES
A. Improving Food Safety.
In Vegetarian 87-1 there is a
report "How safe is your food supply"
that indicates the illegal residue
rate in imported foods is twice the
rate for domestic foods. Legislation
has now been introduced (bill HR-
3504) that would toughen federal
pesticide inspection of food imports.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Leon
Panetta, D.-Calif., and Rep. John
Dingel, D.-Michigan. "This legisla-
tion is designed to give American
consumers adequate protection from
dangerous pesticides and to ensure
that U.S. and foreign farmers compete
on a level playing field."
Key provisions of the bill
a requirement that raw agri-
cultural imports be accompanied by a
document identifying pesticides used
on the commodity during production;
a requirement that the Food
and Drug Administration establish a
computerized data management system
to track and evaluate the results of
its monitoring program and provide
annual reports on the information it
instructions to the FDA to
begin compiling information about the
pesticide programs of foreign coun-
directing FDA to make sure
the pesticide monitoring results
submitted by private labs are accur-
a requirement that FDA begin
research and development of new pest-
Panetta, who is chairman of the
House Agriculture Subcommittee on
Domestic marketing, Consumer Rela-
tions and Nutrition, said, "The
current enforcement system is so weak
that not only does tainted food from
abroad frequently reach American
consumers, but importers who violate
the law, even when caught red-handed,
are rarely penalized."
Dingel, who is chairman of the
House Committee on Energy and Com-
merce, pointed out that "over the
past decade, various reports have
found serious deficiencies in the
federal government's program for
monitoring pesticide residues in the
After touring a U.S. import
inspection facility, Panetta found
the FDA rarely communicates with
foreign governments to determine what
pesticides are used on agricultural
products imported into the United
States or to gain foreign cooperation
in curbing pesticide violations. He
cited a number of government defi-
ciencies in the monitoring of pesti-
cides on imported foods:
less than 1 percent of the
nearly one-million, annual shipments
of imported food are sampled for
FDA labs cannot test for a
large number of pesticides.
even after violating residues
are found in imported produce or
other foods, the food often reaches
consumers because of the delay in
getting tests results.
importers who fail to recall
contaminated produce seldom are
the FDA doesn't know what
pesticides are being used in foreign
This bill, HR-3504, has been
referred to the House Energy and
Commerce Committee for action. Pas-
sage would benefit Florida growers
and all consumers.
(Gull: Vegetarian, 87-12)
B. 1987 Okra Variety Trial Re-
Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus, is
grown commercially throughout Florida
mostly in small acreages for local
use. However, significant plantings
occur in Dade and Hillsborough Coun-
ties that are utilized for shipping.
Statewide there are an estimated
2,400 acres with a value exceeding $2
Previous okra cultural research
in Florida has demonstrated that high
yields are associated with high
fertilizer rates, high plant popula-
tions, and use of the full-bed,
polyethylene mulch cultural system.
Evaluations of four standard varie-
ties in 1974 and 1975 showed no
significant yield differences among
them. A variety evaluation conducted
in 1986 at the Gulf Coast Research
and Education Center indicated that
some recently introduced varieties
and hybrids produced higher yields
than older varieties (See Vegetarian
The purpose of this trial was to
provide additional information of
varieties, hybrids, and experimental
lines that performed well in 1986,
and to evaluate some additional
Days from seeding to first har-
vest ranged from 52 to 55. Varieties
included in the 1986 trial ranged
from 54 to 64 days from seeding to
first harvest. The association
between early bearing and high total
yield noted in 1986 was evident
although not as pronounced as
The production system used in
these trials resulted in very
vigorous plants that grew extremely
tall; much taller than the descrip-
tive material provided by the seed
companies would suggest. Plant
height varied from 7.6 to 10.1 feet
in the varieties included in this
trial. The experiment was terminated
because of the difficulty of harvest
although the plants were in good
condition and were still productive.
In 1986, plant height ranged from 7.2
to 9.9 feet.
In-row spacing was 3 inches
which is less than the 4 to 10 inches
currently recommended in Florida, but
greater than the 1-inch in-row spac-
ing found to be optimum at the Dover
Agricultural Research & Education
Center. Plant height was depressed
rather than enhanced in dense plant-
ings in those experiments. Fertilizer
rates were less than those used at
Dover, but somewhat higher than rates
suggested for unmulched okra. A
possible explanation for the very
vigorous growth obtained is the
method of irrigation. Seep irriga-
tion used in this trial provided
uniform moisture throughout the
growth period whereas the overhead
irrigation used at Dover may have
resulted in some plant stress during
A complete stand at 3 inch in-
row spacing was not obtained because
of poor germination even though
overseeding had been used. However,
stand counts indicated that only
"Prelude" had a significantly reduced
stand from 'NVH 2601', the line with
the highest plant stand percentage.
Length:diameter ratios obtained
at mid-length from 2, 3, 4, and 5 in.
long pods provide an indication of
pod conformation. Accordingly,
'Emerald' and 'Parson's Special' pro-
duced the thinnest pods in relation
to length whereas 'Clemson Spineless'
pods were thickest in relation to
Highest early yields were pro-
duced by 'NVH 2601', 'NVH 2600',
'Prelude', and 'Annie Oakley' (Peto-
seed). On the other hand, lowest
early yields were produced by 'Par-
son's Special', 'Emerald', and 'PSR
1585'. Over half of the varieties
produced total yields in the highest
grouping: 'NVH 2600', 'NVH 2601',
'Clemson Spineless 80', 'UGA Red',
'Prelude', and 'Annie Oakley' (Peto-
seed). Lowest total yields were
produced by 'Parson's Special',
'Emerald', and 'PSR 1585'. 'UGA Red'
is not suitable for commercial okra
production except as a specialty
Generally, those varieties that
had highest yields in 1987 also had
high yields in 1986. Also, the strong
association between high early yields
- 5 -
and high total yields noted in the
previous trial continued in this
Yields in this trial were very
high, ranging from 433 bu/acre for
the lowest yielding variety to 970
bu/acre for the highest yielding
variety based on 9680 lbf/acre.
These plot yields are much higher
than the estimated state average
yield of 113 bu/acre. Higher plot
than commercial okra yields are to be
expected because fresh market okra is
rarely harvested to its potential
because of market constraints. High
plot yields have previously been
reported in Florida; 'Clemson Spine-
less' produced 620 bu/acre in 1974
tests at Dover and 877 bu/acre were
obtained from 'Annie Oakley' in the
1986 trials at Bradenton.
See Bradenton GCREC Res. Rept.
BRA1987-19 for a complete report of
(Maynard: Vegetarian 87-12)
C. Portable pH meter problems.
pH Meter Information. Many of
us justly consider pH as a basic test
that is very helpful in predicting
the underlying chemistry of a soil or
water system. For some people a
quick pH determination in the field
is worth the extra effort of acquir-
ing a portable pH meter, even though
the Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
offers a pH test for a modest $1.00/
sample. In reality, there are two
types of people that own portable pH
meters: those who have had trouble,
and those that will have trouble with
these little scientific wonders.
The technology is certainly
available to make good pH meters, so
WHY am I having so much trouble?!
The answer to that question is as
complex as the pH electrode and the
meter's circuitry. It is only the
test that makes pH measurements look
For troubleshooting portable pH
meters, you should consider three
main problem areas: the electrode
assembly, the connection of the elec-
trode to the meter, and the meter
The Electrode. Most of your pH
headaches can be traced to a problem
with the pH electrode. The electrode
is really a combination of a pH
sensing electrode and a reference
electrode. The sensing portion is
the thin glass ball or globe at the
very tip. This glass membrane is
very fragile and is usually protected
by a plastic extrusion. If the glass
is broken, discard the electrode.
Ensure that they are between the
plastic protection and the glass
membrane is clean and free of salts
and other foreign material by rinsing
with plenty of clean water.
The reference portion of a
combination electrode is usually
indicated by a small ceramic plug.
The plug can be located in several
places but is usually on the outside
of the barrel within a quarter inch
of the glass membrane. This plug
should be free of salts and white in
color. If the plug is missing or
damaged badly (rough handling),
discard the electrode. The plug
actually leaks very slowly to make
good electrical contact with the
tested solution. When taking a pH
reading, both the glass ball and the
plug MUST be in contact with the
solution. If only the glass ball is
in contact with the solution, you
will still get a reading from the
instrument. The reading, however,
will not be the pH of your sample.
If you find that the barrel and
attached wiring are free from defects
and the glass ball and plug are
serviceable, you may still experience
problems due to failure of one or
more of the internal parts. I recom-
mend that you soak the electrode
overnight prior to use in the field.
Many electrodes fail because of
disuse and dehydration.
Some electrodes come equipped
with a plastic boot that will fit
over the business end of the elec-
trode for protection and to keep the
glass ball and ceramic plug moist.
Use this boot only while transporting
your meter to and from field. I have
found that prolonged storage with the
boot in place results in dehydration
of the electrode. I recommend that
while the electrode is not being
used, you place the electrode in
either a buffer solution, say the pH
7.0 buffer solution, or in a potass-
ium chloride solution. If you choose
to use the buffer solution, discard
this solution before trying to cali-
brate the pH meter. Always use fresh
buffer solutions for calibration
If the electrode goes long
periods of time between uses, you may
have to replenish the solution. Don't
be alarmed by the white salts which
will form on the electrode and stor-
age beaker, if you are using potass-
ium chloride solution. Just add
distilled water and the crystals will
The electrode connection. There
are many different types of electri-
cal connections used to fasten the
electrode wire(s) to the meter. All
are plagued with the usual electrical
shortcomings: corrosion, wear
resulting in a poor fit, and physical
abuse in the field. Inspect and
clean the fitting, often. Problems
with this connection may be diagnosed
by placing the electrode in a stan-
dard solution and gently wiggling the
connection. A poor connection will
result in wildly changing pH read-
ings. Try another electrode. If the
problem still exists, the meter will
The meter. About the only meter
trouble that is user-repairable is
replacement of the batteries. Always
use new batteries and carry a spare
set when going to the field.
The pH meter is designed to
measure voltage changes from the
combination electrode that are
measured in millivolts, a very weak
signal. Treat the meter kindly? To
get a feeling for the millivolt
scale, consider the tension headache
you get when your pH measurements
don't make sense. The headache is
really pain from the muscles at the
base of your skull being tensionedd'
with about 3 to 7 millivolts. Not
much power both on what an effect -
just like your pH reading!
A reasonably accurate and very
low cost alternative to the portable
pH meter is found in indicator paper.
While this method is not as techni-
cally sophisticated as a properly
operating pH meter, its cost and
worry-free operation make indicator
paper a possible alternative. The
Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
offers indicator paper to County and
State Extension faculty at a cost of
$3.00. This paper will respond over
a pH range from 1 to 12. With some
practice, ph can be estimated to
within a 0.5 pH unit.
You must keep the paper from
prolonged direct sunlight, high temp-
eratures, or moisture for proper pH
indications. Two small rolls are
included in a plastic dispenser which
also contains the printed color bars
and corresponding pH values.
Remember that a portable pH
meter can be very helpful to diagnose
or indicate potential problems in the
field. Such meters are NOT labora-
tory grade instruments. Use the
field instrument to pick up the
presence of a potential problem, but
make your management decisions from
reputable laboratory analyses.
(Ed Hanlon, Ext. Soil Management
Specialist: Vegetarian 87-12)
D. Muskmelon Cultural Studies
at Live Oak.
Muskmelon (cantaloupe) produc-
tion in Florida amounts to about
1,300 acres with an average yield of
140 cwt per acre. Most of the crop
is produced in southern Florida using
plastic mulch. The main reasons for
limited muskmelon production in
Florida have been the lack of suita-
ble cultivars or chemicals for foliar
disease control. Recent improvements
in these two areas has led to renewed
interest in muskmelon production in
Muskmelons could potentially
become a profitable crop for North
Florida. The soils, climate, and
proximity to market centers are
factors in favor of muskmelon pro-
duction in North Florida.
We conducted a demonstration
study at the Live Oak experiment
station during the spring of 1987 to
evaluate methods for early production
of muskmelon. In the test, we com-
pared mulching with polyethylene to
bare-soil production. In addition,
transplanting was compared to several
techniques of direct-seeding. The
seeding methods were: 1) raw seed
with plug-mix, 2) raw seed covered
with soil, 3) primed seed with
plug-mix, and 4) primed seed covered
with soil. Priming was conducted by
soaking seed for 4 days in an aerated
solution of 2% potassium nitrate.
Muskmelons were planted in
raised beds on 5-foot centers. Fer-
tilizer was applied according to IFAS
standardized recommendations at rate
of 1,000 lb/A of a 13-4-13 (N-P 0 5-
K 0) analysis. All plots were
irrigated with a drip irrigation
system using a twin-wall, 10 mil.
tape (Chapin Watermatics) with
emitter spacing of 12 inches and a
flow rate of 0.5 gal. per 100 feet of
bed at 10 psi pressure.
Mulching with polyethylene more
than doubled the early yields (First
2 harvests) over no mulch (1960 lb/A
compared to 760 lb/A). The increase
was due to an increase in the amount
of No. 1 grade fruits in the mulched
plots. Mulching did not affect the
total yields (28,150 lb/A for the
mulched plots compared to 21,550 for
the unmulched plots).
Transplanting increased the
early production of fruits over
direct-seeding by enhancing the pro-
duction of No. 1 grade fruit. There
were no differences among the direct-
seeding methods for early yield.
Total yield was the same for all
This study showed that early
muskmelon production in North Florida
can be enhanced by use of polyethy-
lene mulch and transplants. The
combination would be favored by eco-
nomic considerations because extra
trips across the field for fertilizer
sidedressing and for weeding would be
needed in the unmulched system.
Information for this article was
summarized from Vegetable Crops
Research Report 87-08.
(Hochmuth: Vegetarian 87-12)
IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING AND YOUTH
A. Florida 4-H Horticulture
Delegation Winners at Indianapolis.
Each year Florida is represented
at the National Junior Horticultural
Association (NJHA) convention by a
delegation of State 4-H contest
winners in Horticulture. A different
city hosts the event annually. This
year the convention was held at the
Radisson Plaza Hotel in Indianapolis,
Indiana, October 30 through November
The Florida delegation, led by
State NJHA Chairman Bob Renner
(Marion County 4-H Agent), and David
Dinkins (Leon County 4-H Agent),
consisted of the state-winning 4-H
Horticulture Judging and Identifica-
tion team from Leon County; the State
4-H Plant Science Demonstration team
from Marion County; Dick Wooton,
District Extension Director, who set
up the ID contest; Nancy Davis, Leon
County Master Gardener who coached
the ID team; 4-H observer Elaine
Davis; and two other participants in
Here is a summary of how our
4-H'ers fared in the competitive
events. The highest honor went to
Joe Judge, Leon County, who had the
top score in the Nation in the Hor-
ticulture I.D. and Judging event.
- 8 -
Teammates Ann Eberly was sixth, and
Jimmy Daniels placed 10th overall.
This threesome on the Leon County
team coached by Nancy Davis, Leon
County Master Gardener, placed second
nationally. Only five points separ-
ate them from the winning team from
the state of Maryland.
The Horticulture Demonstration
team from Marion County, composed of
Karen Daughtery and Karen Brown, was
a National Winner in the Production
Division with their demonstration on
"Growing Ferns". Their coach was Bob
In other contests, 4-H'er Sister
Anna (Marion County) won a Worthy
Award for her single-color photo in
the Hort-Photo event, and Ben Yawn
(Marion County) was a National winner
in the 12-14 year old category of the
Young America Awards Plant Propaga-
tion. All of these 4-H achievers are
to be congratulated for their out-
standing performance in these
national events, and we should thank
the organizations who sponsor our
4-H'ers in Horticultural activities:
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Associa-
tion, Florida Department of Agricul-
ture and Consumer Services, and the
Florida 4-H Foundation.
(Stephens: Vegetarian 87-12)
Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops
Dr. D.J. Cantliffe Dr. D.D. Gull
Chairman Assoc. Professor
Dr. G.J. Hochmuth Dr. D.N. Maynard
Asst. Professor Professor
Dr. W.M. Stall r J.M. Stephens