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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: February 1976
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Volume ID: VID00394
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I \ UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


IFAS


February 9, 1976





Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


J. F. Kelly
Chairman

S. R. Kostewicz
Assistant Professor


James Montelaro
Professor

R. K. Showalter
Professor


J. M. Stephens
Associate Professor

G. A. Marlowe, Jr.
Professor


TO:


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


FROM: Stephen R. Kostewicz, Extension Vegetable Specialist


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 76-2 2


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Manuscript on Production of Transplants

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Diagnosing Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegetable Crops
B. Late Blight Control Update
C. Some Effects of Soil Water Quality on Vegetable Crops
Growth and Development
D. Vegetable Varieties and the Small Local Sales Grower

III. VEGETABLE GARDENING


Timely Gardening Topics
Know Your Vegetables Paprika


NOTE: Anyone
please


is free to use the infoniat ion in this newsletter. Whenever possible,
give credit to the authors.


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


INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

VEGETABLE CROPS DEPARTMENT

The VEGETARIAN Newsletter






THE VEGETARIAN N.FSILIFT-ER

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Manuscript on Production of Transplants

We have a limited supply of a department report entitled "Vegetable Transplant
Production" authored by Dr. Geor;ie A. Marlowe, Jr. This manuscript should be of
interest to anyone producing vegetable transplants, either containerized or bare-
rooted. Anyone dcl.irine a copy can request it by writing us at the Vegetable Crops
Department, 3026 Mc(kari-' y al and asking for Vegetable Crops Extension Report VC 1-1976.

(Kelly and Montelaro)

II. CO'I, ARIAL IG-TiA IBU Pr'ODliTI1ON

A. Diagnosing Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegetable Crops

A quick diagnosis of a nutrient deficiency in a field of vegetables can mean
the difference between success and failure with any crop. Even if not of immediate
help, an accurate diagnosis can be of considerable value toward the prevention of the
same problem in future crops. An accurate diagnosis is not an easy undertaking. It
requires the best of the art as well as the science of vegetable production.

How then does a person go about making a quick and accurate diagnosis of a "so-
called" nutrient deficiency? Note the use of the term "so-called" nutrient deficiency.
Too often what was thought to be deficiency symptoms turns out to be plant injury
resulting from viruses, fungi, bacteria, nematode or insect attacks, disorders caused
by wind, extremes in temperature and air humidity, genetic factors, etc. Once "other
causes" are eliminated, it is a rather simple task to diagnose a nutrient deficiency.

There are five "techniques" which may be used in diagnosing plant deficiencies.
They are (1) visual identification, (2) soil analyses, (3) tissue analyses, (4) soil
application tests, and (5) foliar application tests. All five techniques are worthy
of consideration. The experienced fieldman may use a combination of two or more of the
techniques to make an accurate diagnosis. Following is a brief discussion of the
techniques and how they may be used as diagnostic tools.

(1) VISUAL IDENTIFICATION This is the quickest and least expensive of the
five techniques. Visual identification of a nutrient deficiency should not be relied
upon by the beginner. Only the well-trained experienced fieldman, familiar with the
crop, the deficiency and the area, generally is capable of making a recommendation solely
on his on-the-spot observations.

Those interested in improving their proficiency in visual identification of
nutrient deficiency should avail themselves of the literature available on keys for
pinpointing possibilities and the abundant literature giving good descriptions, pictures,
etc. Expertise in visual identification is obt-ined over a period of time by first
determininin deficiencies by one of the other four techniques.

(2) SOIL ANALYSES As a diagnostic tool, soil analyses can be of great value
in ascertaining nutrient deficiencies in a growing crop. A drawback is the time and
cost involved in samnpling and analyzing the sample. Soil analyses include such deter-
minations as pH, levels and ratios of major, secondary and micronutrients, total soluble
salts, toxic or hamful ions and even chemical composition of nutrients. Since benchmaias
are not always available to make a judgment, experienced fieldmen often sample extremes.
By this is meant soil areas of a field showing. the best (or devoid of symptoms) and the
worst plants. By comparing extreme values, it is often possible to pinpoint the deficiency
accurately.




-3-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

(3) TISSUE ANALYSES What applies to soil analyses applies to tissue analyses
as well. References can be found in the literature giving deficient, adequate and
excessive levels of most nutrients for most crops. However, sampling methods, age of
plants, season, lab techniques and many other factors affect nutrient levels in plant
tissue. Tissue analyses are very time consuming and expensive.

As stated for soil analyses, sampling of plants showing extremes may prove to
be most rewarding. Samples should be drawn primarily from affected plant parts. For
instance, if the roots are chlorotic, that portion only may need to be analyzed.

(4) SOIL APPLICATI~T TESTS This technique is used to a limited extent but
can be of considerable value under certain conditions. The addition of nutrients singly
to the soil in areas of suspected deficiencies may help pinpoint the problem. Results
may be slow in coning or they may not materialize due to chemical or physical complica-
tions in the soil. NOTE: Solution culture is similar to soil application tests in
many ways. It is a complicated test to set up and operate and for that reason it is
not recommended except for the research scientist.

(5) FOLIAR APPLICATION TESTS Probably the least known and least used technique,
foliar application, may be the most accurate of all techniques used. Simply, the
technique is what the name implies--application of nutrients to the foliage of plants.
Selecting an area of the field showing typical symptoms, nutrients of the major,
secondary, micro, or all groups are sprayed individually to single plants or a plot of
plants. Within two to three days, absorption through the leaves may show dramatic
improvements in one (sometimes more) treatment. Conversely, antagonism between nutrients
may show an intensification of the problem in plants or plots of plants sprayed with
another nutrient or nutrients. For example, a plant exhibiting a deficiency symptom
may be greened with a foliar application of iron. However, other plants treated with
manganese, zinc or copper may show an intensification of the deficiency. In other words,
a deficiency of nutrients may actually be a toxicity or excess of another.

Those interested in this technique need only to obtain a small hand sprayer,
wooden labels (or tags) and a small amount of the nutrient chemicals. Simply select an
area in the field with severely affected plants. Lay out the plots or select single
plants. Apply the chemicals singly at the rates sucggsted in the following table. Be
sure to label or tag each plot or plant accurately for identification later. NOTE: If
foliar injury is observed, reduce the concentration and treat another plant or plot. It
is advisable to treat duplicate plots or several individual plants being sure to label
each accurately.

Nutrients, Chemical Sources and Rates for Foliar Application Tests
for Diagnosing Deficiencies in Vegetable Crops

Rates, Level Table-
Nutrient Chemical Sources spoon/l gal. water Remarks
1. Nitrogen Calcium nitrate 1 to 2 Results may be con-
Magnesium nitrate 1 to 2 founded by Ca and Mg
ions.
2. Phos Phosph s Phosphloric acid 2 to 3 Other soluble materials
may be used.
3. Potassium Potassium sulfate 1 to 2 "
4. Calcium Calcium chloride 1 to 2 "
5. Magnesium Magnesium sulfate 1 to 2 "
(Epsom salt)
6. Boron Boric acid 2 to 3 "
Borax 1 to 2 Borax should be dissolved
in warm water first.






THE VEGETARIAN NEWS LETTER

Nutrients, Chemical Sources and Rates for Foliar Application rests
for Diagnosing Deficiencies in Vegetable Crops (continued)


Rates, Level Table-
Nutrient Chernical Sources spoon/i gal. water Remarks
7. Copper Copper sulfate (Bluestone) 1 to 2 Copper fungicides and
chelates are good
sources of Cu.
8. Iron Iron sulfate (Ferrous) 1 to 2 Chelates are good
sources of iron.
Ferrous ion oxidizes
rapidly.
9. Manganese Mlanganese sulfate 1 to 2 Chelates are good
sources.
10. Zinc Zinc sulfate 1 to 2 Chelates are good
sources.
11. Molybdenum Sodium molybdate 1/2 to 1 Rarely encountered,
except at low pH.


Availability of some of these materials may present a problem. Some can be
obtained from drugstores, garden and farm supply dealers, chemical supply houses (mail
order), fertilizer formulations and others. Properly stored, these materials will last
for a long time. Take care not to cross-contaminate the bottles.

A beginner should realize that there are no hard and fast rules. The guidelines
given here should be modified as experience dictates. With time and effort, it is
possible for any technically trained fieldman to develop a high degree of proficiency
in diagnosis of nutrient deficiencies.
(Montelaro)

B. Late Blight Control Update

Recent reports out of South Florida indicate severe outbreaks of late blight
on tomatoes and potatoes. Again as they did in 1968 and 1972, growers are doubling and
tripling recommended amounts of fungicides for each application and increasing the
number of applications without complete success. See articles in the April, 1963,
February, 1972 and March, 1973 issues of this newsletter for these articles. hen asked,
Dr. Robert McMillan, Plant Pathologist at AREC, Homestead, reiterated what he and Dr.
Conover have said many times in the past. Most of the failure results from oor applica-
tion techniques especially excessive speed of the spray rig. In a report dated 1972,
they list four principles determining success or failure. They are:

(1) Fungicides must be present before infection occurs.
(2) Fungicides must be present where a spore "lands" on the plant.
This means complete coverage of plant.
(a) if fungicides are not present at that exacct spot, infection
results.
(b) all susceptible tissue, i.e. both leaf surfaces, stems, and
fruits, must be covered with a fungicide, since spores may
"1 nnJ any-where.
(3) Fungicides must be reapplied often and thoroughly enough to maintain
effective residues and to protect new growth.
(4) Any compromise of these principles will be revealed by disease when
inoculum is available and weather favors disease development.




-5-

THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

The report discusses factors involved in obtaining good coverage which is a
must for good control. These include speed, droplet size, pressure, nozzle arrange-
ment, size and numbers, gallonage, frequency of application, etc. A copy of the
report entitled "Some Factors Affecting Fungicidal Application" authored by Dr. Robert
A. Conover, Plant Pathologist, AREC, Homestead, is available upon request from the
Vegetable Crops Department, 3026 McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville,
Florida, 32611.
(Montelaro)
C. Some Effects of Soil Water Quality on Vegetable Crop Growth and Development

Since man first cultivated crops, the availability of water for production has
been of prime consideration. A recent worldwide survey of factors which limit crop
yields showed that water quality was as much of a restriction as quantity of water.
In areas of the world with low rainfall or insufficient water for irrigation the quality
problem is usually compounded by poor internal drainage, inadequate leaching of salts
from the soil, and high evaporation.

Soil water quality, as applied to Florida vegetable production relates mostly
to the total soluble salt level (TSS) and the composition of salts within this total.
Soluble salt levels may be expressed in parts per million (ppm) or in some measure of
electrical conductivity (EC) or resistance mhoss). Sodium, boron and chloride levels
seriously impair soil water quality in some arid regions of the Western United States.
Salt (sodium chloride) water intrusion into irrigation sources is becoming a problem in
Florida wherever the extraction rate exceeds the replenishment and dilution rate of more
pure water such as rain.

The salts in the soil solution come from the weathering of rocks, mineralization
of organic matter, and application of fertilizers. Plant nutrients are absorbed in the
form of salts or their constituent ions, but all salts may be harmful to yield and
development beyond the small quantity required for plant growth. Crops vary in their
response to excess salt levels. In a recent USDA study, yield reductions of 25% were
associated with the following salt readings:

Beets 6080 Sweet Corn 2555 Lettuce 1932
(highly salt tolerant) Onions 2432 Carrot 1600
Tomatoes 4352 Sweet potato 2240 Beans 1280
Cabbage 2560 (highly salt sensitive)

The study revealed that high salt levels may exhibit some benefits under some
conditions, such as firmer heads of cabbage, higher sugar content of carrots, and
hastened maturity of potatoes, but perhaps resulting in reduced crop yields. These
same factors were associated with decreased soil moisture levels which in essence is
similar to the effect of excess salts. Drought symptoms are generally different from
salt excess. However, salt excess usually does not cause wilting.

Vegetables also respond differently to excess salts at various stages of growth.
Excess salts delay or prevent seed germination; decrease root development and stunt
seedlings; inhibit leaf size, and disturb chlorophyll production. In more mature
plants, excessive salt levels are associated with decreased plant size, lower yields,
smaller fruit, more culls and yellowing of foliage. High salts delay flowering in
sweet corn.

As shown by Dr. S. S. Woltz of the AREC-Bradenton, high soluble salt levels in
the soil solution reduce water uptake by roots of tomatoes and cause nutritional






THE VEGETARIAN !ESLETTER

imbalances or toxicities. For example, sulfate may reduce calcium uptake, excess
calcium may reduce potassium uptake, and excess sodium may reduce the uptake of
calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Vegetable growers are becoming more aware of the problems associated with
high soil salt solutions. In the irrigated agriculture of the western U. S., leaching
is a common preventive. To achieve the same tomato yield on soils of increasing
salt levels, a study revealed that irrigation frequency had to be increased from 16
times at the 1000 ppm salt level to 22 times at 1200 ppm, to 29 times at the 1400 ppm
salt level.

Florida growers should monitor their soil salt solution levels frequently to
avoid the salt problem rather than trying to correct the problem. It is not easy to
correct salt problems in the soil after high levels have been established. Dr. James
Montelaro has been a long term advocate of programs which provide growers a means of
preventing this serious problem. The excellent suggestions he has presented in previous
issues of the Vegetarian (72-1, 72-4, 72-6 and 75-5) should be a part of every county
program.
(Marlowe)

D. Vegetable Varieties and the Small Local Sales Grower

The popularity of direct local grower to consumer sales outlets in recent years
has brought many questions about suitable varieties. In general, most of those inquir-
ing have had little experience' with the crops they plan to grow and are seeking informa-
tion which will enable them to make the right selection. It is human nature to want
to try something new and this certainly is reflected in vegetable variety selections.
New varieties appear every year and are accompanied by appropriate fanfare and publicity
making them attractive to the grower. However, it is this author's opinion that the
grower we are referring to should be advised to stick to recommended (proven) varieties
for the major part of his planting. After he has had experience with the crop, he may
then take the opportunity to experiment with new varieties.

The following guidelines are proposed to help advise interested growers.

(1) Use recommended varieties. Modern-day plant breeders have developed
varieties which contain features such as disease resistance, high yield, uniformity and
high quality. Frequently, these "highly tuned" varieties are developed for particular
production area conditions which may or may not be present in all growing areas. New
varieties or selections are continually being released and this necessitates a constant
trial program to evaluate how they will perform under our conditions. Such trials are
conducted in Florida and are the basis for our recommendations (refer to specific
production guides).

(2) Use the highest quality seed available. Mhny definitions of what good seed
should be can be found, but in general it should be true to type and with high germina-
tion, and good seedling vigor. We are protected by seed laws in Florida by which seed
companies must operate, but occasionally problems do occur. One should not try to save
his own seed or use old "bargain" priced seed. These usually are poor quality and result
in serious problems. Good seed is cheap when one considers its price in relation to
the total money invested in fertilizer, fuel, labor, etc., used in the production of a
crop.

(3) Handle seed properly. Seeds are living organisms which are respiring, but
at a very low rate. The biggest threats to seeds on the most damaging conditions which
can make "good seed bad" are high temperature and high humidity. Some points to remanber
when storing seed before planting or between successive plantings are:






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


(a) Keep seeds in the original container or a sealed container.
(b) Keep them cold.
(c) Keep them under low humidity conditions.
(d) Do not handle roughly especially if the seeds are large
(beans for example). Pough treatment can break or split
seeds which results in no germination for that seed.

(4) Seeds versus transplants. The advantage of transplants is one of earliness.
This factor is especially important in the spring and less so in the fall. With trans-
plants, the time in the production field is less than if seeded. Transplants can be
set out after last chance of frost and thus gain several weeks over seeded crops. Not
all crops can be transplanted nor are tra:inpl;ints easy or cheap to grow or handle.
Good transplants are:
(a) Stout, not leggy or stretched.
(b) Good green color, not pale or starved looking.
(c) Free of diseases and insects.
(d) Hardened properly to reduce transplanting "shock" in the field.

(Kostewicz)

III. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Timely Gardening Topics

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

(1) Timely Topic for Week of February 15-21

Question

I have an average size garden, roiiulv 1000 square feet in size. How much money
can I save by growing my own vegetables in this plot?

Reply

When calculating the economic feasibility of gardening, certain considerations
must be kept in mind. First, larger gardens pay bigger dividends. Second, crops grown
determine margin of profit, since some crops (tomatoes, for example) are worth more than
others (radishes, for example) based on retail price and yield from a given area. Third,
labor must not be considered as a cost item, or a profit will probably not be realized.

To arrive at the answer to your question, make a simple cost and returns compari-
son. Total up all your material e-pencsec such as seed, fertilizer, fumigant, insecticide,
fungicide and water. Then figure your equipment costs on items like hoes, rakes, roto-
tillers, garden hoses, sprayers and sprinklers. Most of such items will last about five
years with good care, so use 1/5 of the purchase price as an expense entry. Next, figure
potential yields from the crops to be 2roi.n. Calculate retail value based on the prices
you would have to pay in the stores for the same product. Now, subtract total expenses
from total value. You should come up with roughly $150-250 per 1000 square feet saved
by growing your own rather than buying. One more thing to remember, the produce you
grow may mature rather suddenly, so you muLst plan your garden so that you have a usable
assortment of vegetables coming into harvest over a broad range of time. Otherwise, you
may end up giving any "profits" away to your neighbors.






THE .TTCTTARIAN NT,'iWS.LETTER

(2) Timely Topic for Week of February 22-28

Question

Does home preservation of vegetables pay off in a money-saving way?

Reply

To answer this question, one must speak in generalities. However, cost and
returns studies have been done which give us a fairly clear picture. Indications are
that food frozen at home .2 under best conditions costs almost 19 cents per pound more
than that purchased. With unsuitable or poorly-operating freezers and high electric
rates, home freezing may add as much as 53 cents a pound to the cost of food. For the
most economical home-freezing of foods, a person must select a freezer to fit family
needs, use it properly, freeze only foods liked by the family and in usable amounts,
and find lowest-cost food sources possible.

On the other hand, home canning can provide savings if produce is home-grown (or
obtained free), and if jars 'an equipment are available from previous years. There
still are small savings if jars and produce have to be purchased. Of course, savings
may be nullified if commercially canned foods can be bought in case lots at discounted
prices. Just for example, a 1974 study showed tomatoes could be canned for 4.3 cents
per quart (excluding the jar and the produce). The cost would rise to 50.9 cents per
quart if tomatoes and jars had to be purchased. In the stores, canned tomatoes were
selling for 64-90 cents per quart.

(3) Timely Topic for Week: of February 29-March 6

Question

I am often told that the vegetables in my garden may need micronutrients. What
can I do to supply them?

Reply

The secondary plant foods iron, zinc, copper, boron, manganese, and molybdenum
are essential for good plant growth, but are needed in very small amounts. For this
reason, they are called micronutrients. It is quite easy to over-supply plants causing
toxic results. When conditions call for a need to supply them, garden fertilizers can
be purchased which contain micronutrients, either in a water-soluble form available to
plants or in more slowly available forms. The fertilizer tag or container label will
tell which ones are in the bai,. There is a wide variety of sources of these plant
foods, including both soluble and insoluble forms. Common sources are sulfates, oxides,
chelatess" and "frits". In the fritted forms, elements are held in ground up glass.
There are spray forms of minor elements available, but these are usually one soluble
material for a specific problem--like iron sulfate to correct an iron deficiency. Also,
organic materials such as plant residues in compost release micronutrients as they
decompose. Even commonly used fungicides such as maneb, :ineb and copper supply micro-
nutrients to the plants as they are sprayed on for disease control (manganese, zinc,
and copper, respectively).

(4) Timely Topic for Wece of March 7-13

Question
How much sulfur should I use to make my garden soil more acid?






T'E VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

Reply

In general, most soils require about 1/3 as much sulfur to lower the pH as the
amount of lime needed to raise it to the same extent. Therefore, on sandy soils with
a little bit of organic matter, three pounds of limestone per 100 square feet (equivalent
to about 1200 pounds per acre) will adjust the pH upward by 1 unit (say from pH 5.0
to pH 6.0). To reduce it from pH 6.0 down to 5.0, sulfur at one pound per 100 square
feet (400 pounds per acre) would be required. A commonly used garden practice is to
apply calcium sulfate (gypsum) or magnesium sulfate (epsom salts). With these materials,
sulfur, calcium and magnesium are added to the soil, but the pH is neither lowered nor
raised to any appreciable extent.
(Stephens)
B. Know Your Vegetables Paprika

Paprika (Capsicum annuum) is a type of mild pepper which is dried, ground and
used as an herb or spice. Most of the paprika peppers grown in the U. S. have been
introduced from Southern Europe. In areas where grown, selections have been made for
color, shape and thickness of pods, and flavor of the ground product. Some of the local
selections have become fairly well established as to type, but none as varieties.
Processors have developed varieties for dehydration, but these are not available for
public planting.

The so-called Hungarian paprika has been grown more widely in the U. S. than
any other paprika. The Spanish paprika has been grown to a limited extent.

Hungarian paprika produces fruits two to five inches long, depending on the
strain; the shape varies from conical (pointed) to oblong (tapering); walls are usually
thin. Some strains are more pungent (hot) than others, but usually they are mild.
There appears to be great variability in the strains of paprika from Hungary. Some are
much smaller and rounder than the Hungarian already described.

Spanish paprika has larger, longer fruits, usually five to nine inches long,
with thick walls. The ground powder is bright red with good flavor. Due to the larger,
thicker, fleshier pods of the Spanish paprika, it is also more susceptible to disease
in the field than the smaller Hungarian paprika.

The Spanish type is usually milder, due to the complete removal of the "hot"
central portion--the placental core and its seeds.

However, like other peppers, paprika appears well adapted to Florida and to
other warm areas of the South. Very little paprika pepper is grown in Florida. It was
grown commercially in South Carolina and Louisiana years ago.

Paprika is started from seed, early in the spring as soon as frost danger has
passed. Plants are spaced 12 inches apart in rows three feet apart. Fruits of varying
degrees of maturity are found on the plant in summer and fall because flowers are
produced over a long period. Fruits are picked when fully mature, indicated by the
bright red color. Drying and curing of the peppers require clear hot weather or
artificial heat in a suitable structure. Home gardeners can dry them by placing mature
peppers in mesh bags and hanging the bags up in an attic, a heated room or structure
(13nF to 1500F) for about three days to a week. About 85% of the pod weight is lost
in drying.
(Stephens)




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