INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES COOPERATIVE
IFASW I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA EXTENSION SERVICE
____^ VEGE -TA IAN
A Vegetable Crops Extension Publication
SVgelablc Crops Departmcnl *1255 HSPP Gainesville, FL 32611* Telephone 392-2134
Vegetarian 91-4 April 5, 1991
I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. Vegetable Crops Calendar.
B. Prospective Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLES
A. Spinach Varieties for Florida.
B. Problems with Band Placement in Seepage
t_-- Irrigated Vegetables.
C. Postharvest Handling Seminar and Tour
D. Does Tomato Transplant Age Make a Difference?
SIIIM. PESTICIDE UPDATE
SI A. Pursuit Label on Certain Edible Legume Vegetable
B. Changes in Paraquat Labelling.
IV. HOME GARDENING
: r A. 4 H'ers Help Solve Water Shortage Problems.
S Note: Anyone is free to use the information in this newsletter.
Whenever possible, please give credit to the authors. The
purpose 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.
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I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. Vegetable Crops Calendar.
April 18, 1991. Postharvest
Handling and Precooling Seminar.
Presentations by S. Sargent, J. Brecht and
M. Talbot at the Southwest Florida REC,
Immokalee from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
(Contact Charlie Vavrina).
April 19, 1991. State FFA Vegetable
ID and Judging Contest. Reitz Union,
Gainesville (Contact Jim Stephens).
May 16, 1991. Gulf Coast REC
Vegetable Field Day, 8:45 am. A box lunch
and three field plot tours featuring (1)
plant improvement, (2) plant protection,
and (3) plant production research are
scheduled throughout the day. Contact Dr.
Don Maynard or Dr. John Paul Jones for
May 30, 1991. Organic Gardening
Research and Education Park Open
House and Tour Day. Fifield Hall, UF,
Gainesville (contact Jim Stephens).
B. Prospective Greenhouse
Vegetable Growers Seminars.
April 16, 1991. Baker County
Extension Office, MacClenny.
April 18, 1991. Suwannee County
Extension Office, Live Oak.
May 2, 1991. Columbia County
Extension Office, Lake City.
Prospective Greenhouse Vegetable
Growers Seminar Program
Registration fee: $2.00 each.
7:00 pm Welcome
Overview of the greenhouse vegetable
industry in Florida Bill Thomas, Columbia
County Extension Director.
Major points to consider prior to becoming
a greenhouse vegetable producer Bob
Hochmuth, Multicounty Extension Agent,
Suwannee Valley, AREC.
Choosing a production system Mike
Sweat, Baker County Extension Director.
Budgets for greenhouse vegetables in
Florida Emil Belibasis, Greenhouse
tomato grower, Wellborn, FL.
9:00 pm Discussion
9:30 pm Adjourn
II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLES
A. Spinach Varieties for Florida.
Spinach, (Spinacia oleraceae L.) is a
fast-growing, cool-season, annual vegetable
of relatively limited economic importance
in the United States. In the 1979-1981
period (the USDA discontinued data
collection after the 1981 crop) fresh-market
spinach was grown on 15,523 acres with an
average yield of about 79 cwt/acre. For
processing in the same period, 20,763 acres
of spinach were grown with an average
yield of 7.58 tons/acre. California, Texas,
and Colorado were the leading spinach-
producing states in the 1979-1981 period.
Spinach production in Florida for
processing was a flourishing industry until
the processing plant closed. In the mid-
1960's, more than 2500 acres of spinach
were grown in central Florida. Current
acreage is estimated to be about 200
statewide. This trial was initiated because
of grower interest in spinach as an
alternative crop for winter production.
The EauGallie fine sand at GCREC,
Bradenton was prepared in early January
by incorporating 4 lbs 18-0-25 and 4 lbs 18-
6-12 (Osmocote) per 100 linear bed feet
(lbf). The final beds were 32 in. wide and
8 in. high and were spaced on 5 ft centers
with six beds between seepage
irrigation/drainage ditches which were on
41 ft. centers.
On 3 January 1991 seeds of 16
spinach hybrid entries (Table 1) were
planted in two rows 14 in. apart on the bed
with a Model 1001B Earthway precision
seeder using the spinach seed plate. Each
plot was 12 ft long and was replicated three
times in a randomized complete block
design. The spinach was thinned
periodically to attain an in-row spacing of
approximately 4 in. Weeds in the bed were
hoed or hand pulled and row middles were
cultivated. Additional fertilizer, 5.7 lb 6-6-
6/100 lbf, was sidedressed on 1 February
1991. One application of Bacillis
thuringiensis was made for worm control.
Time of harvest was judged
subjectively according to plant size. Plants
were harvested during the period between
19 and 22 February by cutting at the base
and then counted and weighed.
Leaf form of the spinach entries in
this trial included three smooth leaf, four
semi-savoy leaf, and nine savoy leaf types.
These designations agree fairly well to
those provided by the seed sources. As a
broad generalization, smooth-leaf types are
used for processing, savoy-leaf types are
used for fresh market, and semi-savoy leaf
types may be used for either processing or
fresh market. However, local market
demand may favor production of one type
over the others.
SPINACH ENTRIES, LEAF FORM, GROWTH HABIT, YIELD AND SEED SOURCE
Entry Leaf Form Growth Habit 25-lb bushels Source3
#10 Smooth Semi-erect 222 a2 A&C
#19 Smooth Semi-erect 201 ab A&C
#30 Smooth Upright 198 a-c A&G
Ambassador Savoy Upright 193 a-d A
Chinook II Semi-Savoy Semi-erect 190 a-d A&C
Gladiator Semi-Savoy Semi-erect 184 a-d A
Grandstand Savoy Prostrate 182 a-d A
Hybrid 612 Savoy Upright 181 a-d A&C
Kent Savoy Semi-erect 171 a-d A
Marathon Savoy Upright 169 b-d A
Melody Savoy Prostrate 167 b-d A&C
Meridian Semi-Savoy Prostrate 163 b-d A
Seven R Semi-Savoy Upright 156 b-d A
Skookum Savoy Semi-erect 149 b-d A&C
Tyee Savoy Prostrate 148 cd A&C
Vienna Savoy Prostrate 142 d A&C
'Acre = 8712 lbf.
2Mean separation in columns by Duncan's multiple
3A&G = Abbott & Cobb, A = Asgrow.
range test, 5X level.
Growth habit of the spinach entries
in this trial included five prostrate types,
six semi-erect types, and five upright types.
These designations generally agreed with
those provided by the seed source. Again,
as a broad generalization, those entries
with an upright or semi-erect growth habit
provide greater ease of harvest than those
entries with a prostrate growth habit.
Also, the upright types provide the
advantages of being cleaner because of less
soil contact and avoiding the possibility of
being infested by soil-borne pathogens.
Although plant populations were
thought to be standardized by thinning,
there was considerable variation among
entries. Populations ranged from 35.6 for
'Seven R' to 55.4 thousand plants/acre for
'#10'. Undoubtedly, plant populations
affected yields, but the population effect
was not a dominant factor in yield
Spinach yields in this trial varied
from 142 for 'Vienna' to 222 25-lb bushels
per acre for '#30'. The only Florida yields
for comparison are those reported for
processing spinach in the 1959-67 period
which were equivalent to 432 bushels/acre.
However, this spinach was grown on
organic soils which traditionally produce
higher yields of leaf crops than do sandy
soils. Also, yields of processing spinach,
because of higher plant populations, a
longer production period, and predominant
use of smooth-leaf varieties, may be almost
twice those of fresh market spinach.
Accordingly, the highest yields obtained in
the trial were about what should be
The average yield of the smooth-leaf
varieties in this trial was 198 bushels/acre,
semi-savoy leaf varieties had an average
yield of 176 bushels/acre, and the lowest
yields, 168 bushels/acre, were from the
savoy-leaf varieties. These yields parallel
observations of plant and leaf size made at
From the results obtained in this
trial, based on yield and growth habit, '#30'
was the most outstanding smooth leaf
entry, 'Gladiator' and 'Chinook I' were the
most outstanding semi-savoy leaf entries,
and 'Hybrid 612' and 'Ambassador' were
the most outstanding savoy-leaf entries.
(Maynard, Vegetarian 91-04)
Problems with Band
in Seenpae Irrirated
There have been numerous
instances of production problems recently
with peppers and tomatoes in seepage
fields. These problems have included
reduced yields and fruit size from various
nutrient deficiencies, especially N and K,
blossom-end-rot, and soluble-salt injury to
young plants. In several cases, we feel a
large part of the problem arose from the
placement of the N-K bands in the bed and
the severe drought conditions. The
fertilizer bands had dried out leading to
the observed production problems.
In the so-called "gradient-mulch"
system, the shoulder bands of fertilizer
need to be continually moist so that
nutrients are solubilized and move by
concentration gradients to the root zone.
This system requires a continuous supply
of water to maintain the nutrient gradient.
In the problem situations, this continuous
moisture had been broken or severely
reduced. In some cases, the problem was
due to inability to supply enough water to
the bed shoulder area; in others, it was due
to placement of the N-K fertilizer too near
the bed surface (even on the bed surface)
so that the material was out of capillary
reach of water.
When the bands (or beds) dry out,
several things happen. Soluble salt
concentrations increase and can lead to
burning of plants, especially young
seedlings or transplants. Early in the
season, soil is usually moist because of
irrigation during soil preparation. A large
amount of N-K is solubilized soon after
bedding and fertilizing. These nutrients
in Seei3aLre Irrivated
can contribute to soluble salt injury if the
beds dry out, even slightly. The situation
is made worse as fertilizer rates increase
above recommended amounts.
As bands dry out, deficiencies of N
and K show up, usually about harvest time.
As mentioned before, nutrients are
solubilized early in the season and these
usually carry the plant to near harvest. If
the beds dry out, deficiencies show up soon
enough to result in reduced yield and fruit
Blossom-end-rot shows up as a
result of the water deficit to the plant.
Calcium moves in the water (transpiration)
stream of the plant and so does not move
rapidly to fruits. Developing fruits can,
therefore, be seriously deprived of calcium
during drought conditions.
These problems are not likely to go
away as long as we experience droughts
and especially in situations of restricted
water availability due to local rules.
Growers might wish to consider alternative
fertilizer placements and reduced fertilizer
amounts. Both factors can be interrelated
in these production problems discussed
above. Bands can be placed deeper in the
bed to increase the chances the fertilizer
will stay in contact with moist soil.
In a study in Martin Co. with Green
Cay Farms, we saw no difference in deeper
band placement (4 to 5 inches) versus one
inch for the effects on soluble salt injury,
yield, and fruit size of pepper. In other
studies at Gainesville and Bradenton,
incorporation of nutrients in the bed (i.e.
no band) resulted in equal yields to band
placement in drip-irrigation, sprinkler
irrigation, and seepage test sites. The
above studies show that there are
alternatives to placement of the N-K
fertilizer in bands. It seems investigating
one or more of these options might be
justified especially where a grower is
currently placing N-K fertilizer on, or very
near the bed surface.
Shoulder placed banded N-K
fertilizer can be eliminated from drip-
irrigated systems. It is rare to see these
dry fertilizer bands completely solubilized
in a drip irrigated bed unless they were
placed close to the tube or extra water was
applied to wet all the way out to the bands.
If 20 to 40% of the N and K fertilizer is
incorporated in the bed with the P, then
the bands should not be needed if the
remaining 60 to 80% of the N and K is
Finally, use of excessive amounts of
nutrients, no matter the placement, can
lead to trouble, especially during drought
periods. IFAS research and Extension
trials have shown that current IFAS
recommendations for fertilizer and water
management can be used to reduce the
potential for problems with soluble salts
and nutrient deficiencies.
(Hochmuth, Vegetarian 91-04)
C. Postharvest Handling
Seminar and Tour.
We were very pleased with the
participation at the first Seminar on
Harvest and Postharvest Handling of
Horticultural Crops held in Gainesville.
There were over 70 participants present,
representing a wide spectrum of the
industry, including packer/shippers,
extension agents, wholesale buyers,
students, researchers, and design/sales
engineers from Florida and 3 states and
Canada. Many thanks to each of the
extension agents and specialists who
helped publicize this event through
newsletters and by word-of-mouth. The
tour was at capacity with 24 participants, as
we visited harvest, packing, shipping, and
port facilities throughout central and south
Florida. Karl Butz, Tom Schueneman,
Mary Lamberts and Ken Schuler met the
group at the respective stops and provided
excellent overviews as to the different
production areas. The enthusiasm and
knowledge of the hosts at the various visits
was also greatly appreciated.
Judging from the positive response
of the participants, we will plan to have
another seminar and tour next year, most
likely from March 9 13, 1992, which is
the week of spring break at U.F. With this
advance notice, I hope we can have even
more participation from extension agents
and industry across the state.
(Sargent, Vegetarian 91-04)
D. Does Tomato Transplant Age
Make a Difference ?
Vegetable growing is not an exact
science and delays in meeting field
planting schedules complicate transplant
production schedules and delivery dates.
Should the grower have to hold transplants
after arrival, storage conditions may affect
performance. At first planting growers
may reject the older transplants because
they appear non-typical, yet should they
need to replant, they may only find resets
of greater age. The question then arises
"Will these old plants do as well as my
"optimum" age plants?"
Surprising as it may seem,
reviewing our scientific knowledge reveals
little evidence for designating an "optimum
transplant age" for any vegetable.
Research being conducted concurrently at
the University of Florida Southwest Florida
Research & Education Center (SWFREC)
and Pennsylvania State University is
providing new information about the
importance of tomato transplant age.
Tomato transplant age studies
conducted at SWFREC (fall '90) utilized
transplant ages of 11, 9, 7, 5, and 3 weeks.
Preliminary data shows that no significant
differences occurred in fruit size or total
yield at first harvest in mature green
tomatoes. However, the red ripe/breaker
data indicated that a three week old
transplant produced a smaller extra-large
crop and subsequently a smaller total red
ripe/breaker harvest suggesting
perhaps delayed maturity. No differences
in total yield or fruit size were noted at
second harvest among treatments.
Combining the mature green information
over the two harvests showed total yield
was reduced in the 3 week old plants but
only with respect to the 9 week old
treatment. This phenomena appeared to
be the result of a reduced pack out of
extra-large tomatoes. Surprising few
differences occurred in this study between
transplants of differing age.
In the Penn State study (11, 9, 7, 4,
and 3 week old transplants) extra-large
fruit size was reduced among some of the
older transplant treatments, but overall
marketable yield was unaffected by
transplant age. Dr. Mike Orzolek of Penn
State says "Since PA growers have
difficulty in correctly timing transplant
deliveries, this study shows that the grower
should order a five to seven week old plant.
This way, as long as no hardening
technique is performed, the grower would
be able to tell the transplant grower to
hold his order for 4 6 weeks without
damaging fruit yield potential."
Additional studies are needed before
generalities can be made about the effect
of transplant age on crop yield. Florida
grown transplants certainly experience
different environments when shipped to
other production areas and the effects of
these environments on transplant age
needs to be determined. There may also
be varietal differences.
The choice of vigorously growing
transplants will always be recommended
over "old" transplants. However,
preliminary data suggest that if tomato
transplants must be held a couple of weeks
to accommodate a planting schedule, the
overall yield should not suffer. It is
recommended however, that if transplants
must be held, let the transplant producer
do so, as they are the best-equipped and
most-skilled people to do so.
(Vavrina, Vegetarian 91-04)
II. PESTICIDE UPDATE
A. Pursuit Label on Certain
Edible Legume Vegetable Crops.
Imazethapyr (Pursuit) has a label
for use in Navy, Great Northern, Red
Kidney, Black Turtle, Cranberry, and Small
White Type Dry Beans, Lima Beans, and
Southern and English Peas only.
Rates of application vary for each
commodity labelled. Pursuit may not be
applied to Navy, Great Northern, Red
Kidney, Cranberry, Black Turtle and small
white type dry beans grown on sand or
loamy sand soils.
Southern Peas must have 30 days
between application and harvest.
Application to Southern peas may be
preplant incorporated, preemergence or
Pursuit controls a large number of
broadleaf weeds. There are specific
rotational crop restrictions that must be
followed. Many crops are up to 18 months.
The current label expires December 31,
The user must have the label in
hand and follow all precautions before use.
(Stall, Vegetarian 91-04)
Changes in Paraquat
1. The special local needs (24c) labels for
the use of paraquat in melons, and lettuce
has changed. Gramoxone Extra, the 2.5 lb
paraquat/gallon material, is now labelled.
Gramoxone Super, the 1.5 lb
paraquat/gallon material no longer is
labelled for use on these crops.
For labels that are not special local
needs (24c), Gramoxone Super may be used
until the supply is gone. For the above
commodities, Gramoxone Extra must be
2. A supplemental label has been issued
for Gramoxone Extra for use of nonionic
surfactants or crop oil concentrates.
Nonionic surfactants: Add nonionic
surfactant containing 75% or more surface-
active agent at 0.125% v/v (1 pt per 100
gallons) or add a nonionic surfactant
containing 50-74% surface-active agent at
0.25% v/v (2 pts per 100 gallons) of
finished spray volume for ground
Crop oil concentrate: Add a non-
phytotoxic crop oil concentrate containing
15-20% approved emulsifier, at 1% v/v (1
gallon per 100 gallons) of finished spray
volume for ground applications. For aerial
applications, add 1 pt of crop oil concen-
trate per acre.
(Stall, Vegetarian 91-04)
IV. HOME GARDENING
A. 4 H'ers Help Solve Water
It appears ironic that in a state such
as ours virtually surrounded by water, we
should have water shortages. But that is
the situation, and in fact we have severe
water shortages in many sections of
For example, the Southwest Florida
Water Management District has just
established (March, 1991) emergency water
use restrictions for that district, based on
the determination that sufficient water is
not and will not be available to meet user
requirements, including gardening and
Educating the general public on
ways to grow landscapes and gardens with
less water and within the guidelines of
restrictions is the goal of 4 H'ers in six
Florida counties who have just received
grants in the 4H Southern States Utilities
(SSU) Environmental Landscape Project.
The six counties that received a
check for $725.00 along with a brief
summary of their proposals, are as follows:
Duval County Happy Homers 4H Club
(Marilyn Halusky and Terri DelValle,
Summary The 4H club will develop
a Xeriscape Demonstration garden on a
busy street corner in front of the
Jacksonville agriculture Extension office.
Escambia County Diamond "N" 4H Club
and County 4H Council (Kay Brown and
Beth Phelps, leaders):
Summary The 4-H group will
design and install demonstration landscape
featuring water conserving practices, at the
entrance to the Langley Bell 4H Center.
Gilchrist County County 4H Council
(Marvin Weaver and Elaine Faison,
Summary The 4H Council will
completely landscape two new public
service buildings using drought tolerant
plants and water conserving techniques.
Marion County Majestic Oaks 4H Club
(Bob Renner, Bill Phillips, and Mrs.
William Bostwick, leaders):
Summary The 4H Club will plant
natural vegetation that survives on rainfall
alone along a walking trail in Oakcrest
Park (a public park).
Nassau County Pine Grove 4H Club
(David Dinkins, Cortney Mertz, and
Charity Hall, leaders):
Summary The 4H Club will
completely landscape a public park, called
"Peter's Point Beachfront Park," using
drought/salt tolerant plants, yard waste
mulch, low-volume irrigation, and other
low-maintenance landscaping practices.
Pinellas County County 4H Foundation
(Craig Miller and Joan Bradshaw, leaders):
Summary The Pinellas County
4H'ers will incorporate six informational
stations around the entrance to a 10-acre
extension demonstration teaching facility.
Each station will address the main issues of
ELM, including water conservation, as will
all the landscaping within the facility.
In the words of the sponsoring
company, SSU Services, "clearly each 4H
organization, (who submitted a proposal)
gave considerable thought and research on
the continued preservation and availability
of clean, safe drinking water, a critical
concern to both Southern States Utility
Services and the University of Florida's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Through these projects, we take an
unprecedented step in the campaign to
educate Floridians on the necessity of
water conservation and the methods of
accomplishing that conservation at home or
on the grounds of government and business
We all look forward to some
excellent reports at the conclusion of these
exceptional 4H projects.
(Stephens, Vegetarian 91-04)
Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists
Dr. D.J. Cantliffe
Dr. S.M. Olson
Mr. J.M. Stephens
Dr. G.J. Hochmuth
Dr. S.A. Sargent
Asst. Profess Editor
Dr. C. S. Vavrina
Dr. D.N. Maynard
Dr. W.M. Stall
Dr. J.M. White