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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: October 1976
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I I FLOHIDA CUOOH---HA[- T IVI b- 1 bNXL I:l UIN V IL..-t


II AS
'"^rlI~


J. F. Kelly
Chairman


J. M. Stephens
Associate Professor


James Montelaro
Professor

G. A. Marlowe, Jr.
Professor


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

FROM: James M. Stephens, Extension Vegetable Specialist


VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER 76-10


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF INTEREST
A. Youth Programs in Vegetable Crops
B. Vegetable Specialist North Florida
C. Departmental Series Publications
D. Research Report


AND HORTICULTURE) AND


II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION


pH Benefits from Good
Nutritional Problems:
Portable Soluble Salt


Management in Vegetable Production
Deficiency or Excess?
Meter


III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING
A. Reducing Postharvest Vegetable Losses

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING
A. Timely Gardening Topics
B. Know Your Vegetables Lentils


NOTE: Anyone is
possible,


free to use the information in this newsletter.
please give credit to the authors.


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


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

VEGETABLE CROPS DEPARTMENT

The VEGETARIAN Newsletter

October 7, 1976



Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


Whenever




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Youth Programs in Vegetable Crops

Because of the increased demand for support in the home gardening field,
we have assigned primary responsibility for youth programs (4-H and FFA) to Susan
Gray. Susan has been assisting Jim Stephens in the broad area of gardening. Jim
will retain overall responsibility for the broad area, but most work and materials
related to the youth programs will be initiated by Susan.
(Kelly)

B. Vegetable Specialist North Florida

We are pleased to report that Dr. Raymond William has accepted a position in
the Vegetable Crops Department. He will be with us in January, replacing Steve
Kostewicz as Vegetable Specialist for the northern tier of counties and in the area
of vegetable weed control for the state. Steve has moved into an important Teaching-
Research position in the department.
(Kelly)

C. Departmental Series Publications

To meet demands beyond those which can be met from the Extension publications
budget, the Vegetable Crops Department produces departmental Extension and Research
Reports (formerly referred to as mimeos). These reports are produced in limited
quantities for distribution from the Department in response to individual inquiries
and to County Extension Offices for reproduction locally. We are unable to supply
these in large quantities. From time to time, a listing of available reports will
appear in the Vegetarian. (Kelly)
(Kelly)

D. Research Report

The second in a series of reports covering vegetable variety responses to
planting dates is available for distribution (see above policy statement) to agents
and other interested workers. The report by L. H. Halsey and S. R. Kostewicz is
entitled "Seasonal Response to Vegetable Crops for Selected Cultivars in North Florida.
II. Solanaceous Crops." The first report covered leguminous crops. More will be
coming. (Kelly)
(Kelly)

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. pH Benefits from Good Management in Vegetable Production
Growers probably hear more and understand less about soil pH than any other
subject in the production of vegetables in rFlrida. There is some confusion about
disciepLncies in re;idings on the same soil at different times, optimum pH levels for
crop production, materials to use and many other factors. Admittedly, the subject
of" pil and how it should fe managed is a complex one. Soil scientists are studying
soil iAl even now as intensively as ever in an effort to develop more accurate detenri-
nations and meaningful systems of managing soil pl.

Most vegetable growers are convinced that good soil pH management is a pre-
requisite for high yields and good quality in vegetable production. The question is
how best to accomplish this task. Probably, the best way is for growers to more hilly






TIIIE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

understand the principles underlying good soil pH management. Simply defined, p1l
is a measure of acidity (sourness) or alkalinity (sweetness) of soil solution. It
is reported on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral. As pH value decreases below
7.0, the soil becomes more acid. Likewise, as it increases above 7.0, it becomes more
;ilkal inc.

Armed with a good pH determination, a grower is in a position to adjust it
to the most satisfactory level for vegetable production. The advantages of establish-
ing a satisfactory soil pH level (and not below or above it) are best explained by
the following chart (Fig. 1). It can be seen from the width of the bar in the chart
that iron, manganese, zinc, copper and boron become less available with increasing pH
to a point where little, if any, of the 5 nutrients are available at pHl 7.5 or above.
This is the situation on the limestone soils of Dade County. Growers use more micro-
nutrients and phosphorus than is actually absorbed by plants. Much of the phosphorus
and micronutrients applied become insoluble shortly after application to these soils.

In the lower pH ranges, the major and secondary nutrients including nitrogen,
phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are less available to plants.
To make matters worse, iron, zinc, manganese, copper and aluminum are highly soluble
in the lower pH ranges. In excessive amounts, they are toxic to plants. For reasons
which will be discussed in a subsequent article, we recommend that growers "shoot" for
a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 for most vegetable crops.

There are many other benefits to plants from good soil pH management. In
addition to the benefits of nutrient availability discussed above, it is an inexpensive
way to supply needed calcium and magnesium to the soil. Beneficial soil microbiological
activity, including nitrification, proceeds best in this pH range. An adequate supply
of calcium, by counteracting the effects of sodium on soil flocculation, helps maintain
permeability to water.

This article has discussed the benefits of good soil pH management in vegetable
production. The next will discuss accuracy of determination, interpretation and how
soil pH should he managed.
(Montelaro)

B. Nutritional Problems: Deficiency or Excess?

The diagnosis of nutritional problems of vegetable crops requires a knowledge
of the crop, skilled observation, alertness, and patience. The Extension agent or
field man must first assess the nature of problems to see if they are caused by patho-
gens, insects, water, temperature or whatever. The history of the field is just as
helpful as obvious symptoms at hand.

Diagnosis of nutritional disorders requires a familiarity with deficiency
symptoms as well as those created by excesses. This brief article may help to clarify
some confusion caused by certain nutrient interrelations. This compilation is adapted
from three current texts: Hewitt and Smith, 1975; Gauch, 1972; and Chlapiian, 1965.

1. Nitrogen (N)

Deficiency: Leaves yellow, plants unthrifty may be stunted, leaves and
fruits small, roots very elongate, premature leaf fall. Readily confused with deficiency
symptoms of iron and sulfur.

Excess: Plants very soft, usually dark-green, overly vegetative, few
fruits develop. Excess N may induce copper or zinc deficiency.










Fig. 1: The availability of plant nutrients at various soil
pH levels. The width of the bar indicates the
relative availability of the nutrient.


- -P~ ~. I





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

2. Phosphorus (P)

Deficiency: Plants thin and erect, poor root development, petioles and
leaf veins may show purpling, bud development suppressed.

Excess: Reduced growth. Excess P induces copper, iron and zinc deficiency.
P excess reduces aluminum toxicity, especially in acid soils.

3. Potassium (K)

Deficiency: Mature leaves show chlorosis first, scorched spots appear
between veins at leaf margins, leaves turn down, internodes short, stems may split
longitudinally, roots brownish. K deficiency can be associated with iron deficiency.
Excess Ca and Mg can induce K deficiency. K deficiency usually more readily noted
with ammonium N sources than nitrate N.

FEcess: Leaf necrosis, odd-shaped fruits. Excess K hinders absorption
of Mg, Mn, Fe and Zn.

4. Magnesium (Mg)

Deficiency: Chlorosis in older, most recently matured leaves first,
chlorotic interveinal areas become necrotic, leaves may curl, growth and yield reduced.
Deficiency may be caused by high calcium levels, deficiency decreases with nitrate N,
increases with ammonium N.

Excess: Leaves deformed, apical portions roll upward, puckered areas
in leaf appear mottled and then turn reddish brown followed by dead spots, roots long
with few branches.

5. Calcium (Ca)

Deficiency: Because normal cell division is suppressed seed leaves appear
necrotic, roots die early and rot, root and top growth inhibited. Dieback of terminal
buds. Looks like B deficiency. High salts may induce Ca deficiency, and if Ca level
is very low plants are unable to absorb nitrate N which could then resemble nitrogen
deficiency.

Excess: Excess liming may induce deficiency symptoms of B, Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe,
Mg and K. Excess liming decreases P availability. Most symptoms related to the anion
accompanying Ca rather than Ca itself.

6. Sulfur (S)

Deficiency: Stem diameter small, abnormal cell division, smaller cells,
growth retarded, leaves necrotic. Resembles N deficiency but with N older necrotic
leaves are noted, whereas in S deficiency the young leaves show the most necrotic signs.

Excess: Excess S looks like excess boron. Leaf size is reduced, margins
collapse, turn from yellow to brownish red.

7. Iron (Fe)

Deficiency: Young leaves chlorotic, veins remain green, root cell division
ceases abruptly, plants stunted. Fe deficiency looks like excess symptoms of copper,
Mn, Zn, and N. May be induced by excess liming or excess copper. Iron deficiency





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


resembles Zn, Mn and N deficiency, but Fe has sharp line between chlorotic area and
veins whereas Zn, Mn and N show gradual differences.

Excess: Information not available.

8. Manganese (In)

Deficiency: Cotyledons shrivel and appear scorched; leaves become whitish
and necrotic areas fall out; leaves small, slender, and weak; premature leaf abscission.
Looks like Fe and Zn deficiency, except Mn shows chlorosis on young and old leaves,
Fe only on youngest leaves. Calcium ions antagonize Mn uptake.

Excess: Leaves cup, margins become chlorotic, interveinal chlorosis become
severely necrotic, death of growing points. Excess Mn induces iron chlorosis.

9. Boron (B)

Deficiency: Growing points of shoot and root die, leaves curl, flowers
abortive, leaves wilt and have speckled spots, fleshy tissue and fruits may show brown
flecks. Resembles calcium deficiency and may be induced by high liming. B has blackenE
areas at the base of young leaves, whereas Ca blackens at apical area of young leaves.
Top leaves may show deficiency while lower leaves express toxic symptoms.

Excess: Progressive necrosis of leaf beginning at tip, leaves develop
golden yellow color and then appear scorched and drop prematurely.

10. Copper (Cu)

Deficiency: Shoot dieback, stunting of growth, short internodes, leaf
wilt, flower abortion and flower drop are common symptoms.

Excess: Excess copper similar to toxic effects of Zn and Mn. Roots
stunted, very little branching, dark in color. Leaves smaller and chlorotic. Excess
Cu causes Fe chlorosis.

11. Zinc (Zn)

Deficiency: Vegetative growth reduced, seeds fail to develop normally,
root tips split and appear cracked, leaves chlorotic, interveinal chlorosis. Zn
deficiency looks like Fe deficiency, but not quite as intense demarcation.

Excess:. Zn is a highly toxic nutrient. A yellow-green chlorosis is noted.
Excess Zn induces Mn deficiency.

12. Molybdenum (Mo)

Deficiency: Tips of shoots remain green while other leaves turn yellow
aund wither, older leaves mottle and cup upward and latter scorch; flowers wither
before opening. No deficiency similar to N deficiency. Phosphorus enhances Mo uptake;
excess Mn causes Mo deficiency. Mo availability decreased in acid soils, increased
by liming.

Excess: Leaves of tomato exhibit a golden yellow, cole crops show purple.
with excess liming or excess Mo fertilizer application.





'lK VI ;l.I'I ARIAN N1l-.,'LT1IIT R

Cobalt (Co) and chlorine (Cl) do not meet the requirements for essen-
tiality set forth by many plant physiologists, but both can exert strong influence
when in excess or completely absent in certain crops.

Symptoms of sodium (Na) and chlorine excesses nmay be of interest relative
to soluble salt injury.

Chlorine, Deficiency: A wilting of leaf blade tips of young leaves,
upward cupping of leaves, bronzing and necrosis of leaves, roots stubby. High levels
of nitrate and sulfate generally decrease uptake of Cl.

Excess: Reduced growth, firing of leaf tips, premature leaf abscission.
Syinptoms easily confused with Fe deficiency.

Sodium, Excess: Growth is generally depressed in relation to the combined
moisture stress created by the osmotic tension from the dissolved solids. Leaf injury
usually shows necrotic areas on the tips or interveinal areas. Root growth shows a
general lack of vigor. The contribution of sodium to injury is generally confused
by levels of chloride or other elements.

Diagnosis or troubleshooting is a large part of the extension agent's
and fieldman's daily work. It must be approached with care. Less experienced workers
often express more sureness than experienced diagnosticians who realize how complex
these nutrient interrelations may be.

Following is a list of references on plant nutrition. The list was compiled
by Dr. S. J. Locascio.

1. Bear, F. E., et al. 1951. Hunger Signs in Crops. Published by
American Society of Agronomy and National Fertilizer Association.
3rd Edition.

2. Chapman, H. D. 1973. Diagnostic Criteria for Plants and Soils.
Univ. of Calif. Citrus Research Center F, Agricultural Experiment
Station, Riverside, California.

3. Epstein, Emanuel. 1972. Mineral Nutrition of Plants: Principles
and Perspectives. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 463: 34; E 64M.

4. Gauch, H. G. 1972. Inorganic Plant Nutrition. Dowden, Hutcliinson
and Ross. 463: 34; G 2651.

5. Gilbert, F. A. 1919. 'Mineral Nutrition of Plants and Animals.
Univ. of Okla. Press. Pages 1-11.

6. Hausenbuiller, R. L. 1972. Soil Science Principles and Practices.
W. C. Brown Company.

7. Meyer, B. S., D. B. Anderson and R. H. Bohning. 1966. Introduction
to Plant Physiology. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

8. Mortvedt, J. J., P. M. Giordano, W. L. Lindsay. 1972. Micronutrients
in Agriculture. Soil Science Society of America (ed.), Madison,
Wisconsin.
9. Wallace, T. 1961. Mineral Deficiencies in Plants. Chemical
Publishing Company, Inc.
(Marlowe)




THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


C. Portable Soluble Salt ?Meter

A portable meter for rapid determination of total dissolved salts has been
tested in Southwest Florida during the past month. This meter could be helpful in
field diagnosis and for monitoring of soluble salt levels by growers and fertilizer
fieldmen. The model tested is battery operated, transistorized, light weight, and
low in cost. A scale of 0-5000 with an extender allows readings from 0 to 10,000
ppm. Each meter should be standardized with known salt concentrations or a:iirin;t a
laboratory solubridge.

The operation is rapid and simple. Fifty-five grams (or cc) of water are
added to 100 grams of soil at field capacity, stirred and the liquid is poured into
the test cell, and read. Multiplication of the direct reading by a factor of 5
gives a reasonably accurate measure of total dissolved salts in the soil solution.
Water samples can be read directly.

Other meters may also be available now or in the near future and we will try
to alert you to these as soon as we test them. For specific information on the
available meterss, please contact the Vegetable Crops Department.
(Marlowe)

III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Reducing Postharvest Vegetable Losses

It is never too late to begin planning nor is it ever too early to start.
Now is the time. What plans have been made in your area to assist in reducing the
excessive losses that occur during harvesting and handling fresh vegetables? We
have "improved" techniques, cluipment, containers, etc., over the years, but we have
not effectively reduced either physical or biological losses. We must continue to
estimate that 1/4 to 1/3 or more of the fresh vegetables produced are never consumed
because of waste.

The USDA examined all fruits and'vegetables arriving in New York from 1938 to
1942, and estimated that almost 5% of the vegetables were discarded due to decay
alone. Selected studies 25 years later indicated no reduction and a possible increase
in decay losses. Value of total vegetable losses during harvesting and distribution
was shown by a 1965 IUSDA report to exceed $170 million annually. The losses For
fresh produce had increased to $300 to $500 million in a 1975 estimate quoted by a
University of California vegetable marketing technologist. All of these losses can-
not be controlled by the grower, packer, or snipper, but each segment of the distri-
bution system can help. These losses occur after production and other costs have been
incurred, and prices received by growers do not include an add-on to compen.-cte for
waste. This is only the tip of the iceberg--these are only the visible losses.
The conditions that cause physical losses also result in deterioration of other
quality factors. ConsumLer. are increasingly aware of price and quality, and lost sales
are : frequent response to displays of marginal quality produce.

It has been suggested that efforts to reduce these tremendous losses would be
the "opening of a second front" in the war against worldwide hunger. Visualize a
20 to 30% increase in available food with little increase in expenditures of resources,
or conversely, a reduction in utilization of resources for production of the same
amount of food.





'11il VEXiGTARIAN NEWSLETTER

What is the answer? We suggest for one a review of the basics, or back to
the "Three R's". Respect, Refrigerate, Rush. These will not solve all the problems
but they will help. Ihe application of the proper biological principles must be
balanced with economic considerations of the moment. However, the basic biological
principles demand their due consideration, and ignoring them may be costly.

Most vegetables are harvested prior to botanical maturity. We must, therefore,
respect these fragile plant parts and protect them from harm. Their growth has not
been completed, and they may continue to grow even after harvest. This can lead to
elongation, sprouLting, or toughening. These 'youngsters' have tender skins and are
easily bruised and broken. Then they discolor, "weep", "bleed", and become infected.
Some of the most serious postharvest decay organisms require a skin break before
they can establish themselves and produce rots. Excess moisture loss, or wilting
and desiccation, is one of the primary causes of quality loss and waste. Immature
tissues have not fully developed their natural protection, and surface breaks and
bruises add to the seriousness of the water loss. Careful handling is a most important
treatment to apply from harvesting until the ultimate use by the consumer.

Proper refrigeration is the single most effective method of slowing metabolic
processes of the living vegetables after harvest. Low temperatures also inhibit
the growth of most microorganisms and slows the development of decay. Rapid reduction
of temperature (precooling) has 3 major effects: (1) it quickly slows the very fast
metabolic processes, particularly those such as loss of sugars; (2) it reduces moisture
loss by rapidly lowering the product temperature to ambient temperature; (3) it more
nearly assures that refrigeration capacity of transport vehicles will be adequate to
maintain proper product temperature. Note that we said proper refrigeration. Gen-
erally, temperatures near 0C are most desirable, but do not forget that many of our
fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, beans, etc., are
susceptible to chilling injury. These crops may suffer significant losses if
improperly held at temperatures below 100C. Chilling is a time temperature phenomenon,
and generalities do not always provide the answer. Good management always is essential.

Trying to extend vegetable life after harvest is somewhat like a pass in a
football game: sometimes it is necessary and pays off in big dividends, but more bad
things than good are possible. Life after harvest is very limited. Quality is
deteriorating and vegetables tend to become more susceptible to decay and discolora-
tion, for example. Further, more vegetables are being harvested daily and entering
the pipeline to compete for the market. We are trying to emphasize freshness and
quality. Therefore, do not abuse the time-after-harvest period when so m.any bad
things and very few good things can happen. push these tender, perishable products
through the marketing process under proper reTfrieration and with respectful, careful
handling.

(:. ll': This article was prepared by Dr. B. D. Thompson, Professor, Vegetable Crops
Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.)

IV. VTGITABLE GARDEN ING;
A. Timely Cardening Topics

These questions and answers are suggested here for your use in developing
periodic c (weekly) radio or newspaper shorts. They are based on letters of inquiry
from gardeners around the state.
(1) Timely Topic for Week of October 17-23.
Question
Is the fall a good time to plant potatoes in my Florida garden?





THE VEGETARIAN NEWlSLETTER


Reply

Fall potatoes may not be successful every time in most areas of Florida,
except in the southern portions. The risk is due to the fact that the potato is a
cool-season vegetable, yet is damaged or killed by frosts and Freezes. The high
temperatures of summer prevent early planting, and a September or later planting
usually schedules the crop to mature after the first fall frosts. Of course, in
South Florida counties where danger of frost is minimal, potatoes may be successfully
planted in September and October.

Another factor which must be considered that affects fall planting is the
seed donnincy problem. Freshly dug potato tubers are "resting"; that is, they will
not sprout right away until this dormancy is broken. In the spring this is no problem,
since sufficient time elapses between the digging of the seed potatoes in late
summer and their subsequent planting in the spring. However, in the fall, northern
seed potatoes are dug just prior to planting. So the dormancy must be broken
chemically. Seed dealers usually do this with such chemicals as gibberellins and
ethylene. Some varieties have short dormancy periods, and this fact, coupled with
their early maturation up north, make them more suitable for planting in the fall in
Florida even without treatment. One such variety is 'LaRouge'. Therefore, most
Florida gardeners including the southernmost counties should try the 'Larouge' variety
wherever offered by garden supply stores, should they wish to try a fall planting.

(2) Timely Topic for Week of October 24-30.

Question

Is it, as I have been told, wrong to place fertilizer in with the seed? I
have alway;-s done this and have grown a fine garden each year.

Reply

I suspect you are placing a relatively small amount of fertilizer in the bottom
of your seed drill, then mixing it into the soil before dropping in the seed. As
long as you use only a little (1/2-1 lb./100 feet of row) and mix it well with the
soil, you should have no trouble from fertilizer burning your seedling roots. In Iact,
some fertilizer, mainly phosphorus, is necessary in the vicinity of the germinating
seedling for immediate use by the tiny plant especially in cool soils. In order to
insure the plants'early fertilizer needs are met, we suggest a broadcast application
over the entire bed surface just prior to planting. Be sure to rake or otherwise mix
it well into the soil. This broadcast application should be light--less than 2 pounds
per 100 square feet of bed surface. Following the broadcasting, or scattering of the
fertilizer over the soil surface, additional fertilizer may be -:i plied in hands
beside the planted row. Organic fertilizer, such as well ground-up compost, ImI be
mixed in the soil in the planting furrow prior to planting.

(3) Timely Topic for Week of October 31-November 6.

Question

What causes my sweet potatoes to develop a hard center after we hoil them?
Reply
A condition known as hardcore develops in cooked sweet potato roots that have
been stored at low temperatures, then removed to room temperature beF!ore cooking,. 'he




-IJ-


'11IE Vi ;IITARJAN NI 'i.1 IT liR

Iroc lure that brings- this on is storage ol1 the roots in the refrigerator at 32-3(6:.
l'or one to t three weeks, followed by removal to roan temperature of 68 for a couple
of' lays prior to boiling. The longer they are kept at the chilling temperature, the
more severe the hardening of the internal core becomes. I f they are cooked immediately
iaftlr removing [mrom the refrigerator, the hardcore condition does not develop,
thoughh the overall tissue is firmer than if not chilled. The condition does not show
up until the roots are cooked. Hardcore, as described, is different from a common
disease called internal cork which develops in roots stored at high temperatures. For
best results, store sweet potatoes from 55-650F.

(4) Timely Topic for Week of November 1-13.

Ouest ion

Last year I had trouble getting a stand of parsley. Can it be grown here in
Florida?



Parsley may be grown successfully in all areas of Florida, if planted at the
proper time of the year. Being a cool-season vegetable, it should be planted at the
beginning or during the coolest part of the year. Once established in the cool
months, parsley will remain in fairly good shape through the summer, especially if
well mulched. By the second year, it usually goes to seed.

The very small delicate parsley seeds are slow to germinate. Plant then
shallow (1/8 to 1/4 inch deep) and keep them moist while they are sprouting. Soaklin
the seeds in warm water for 6 hours will help them germinate more rapidly. The tiny
seedlineis are not vigorous growers, so do not let weeds crowd them out. Failure to
keep the soil moist in the vicinity of the seeds is perhaps the biggest reason for
your poor stand of parsley. Keep in mind, however, that even under the best conditions
it takes twice as long for parsley seeds to sprout (two weeks) compared to most other
garden vegetables (1 week or less).
(Stephens)

R. Know Your Vegetables- Lentils

Lentil (Lens culinaris Medic) or (Lens esculenta Moench) is a bean-like plant
that has been grown in the Mediterranean region since ancient times. Seeds are
reported to have been found in Egyptian tombs of the 12th dynasty (2,400 B.C.). It
is seldom grown in Florida, even in gardens, for it is more adapted to dry drought
conditions. Most production in the U. S. has been centered in the Pacific northwest.
Almost 40,000 acres of lentils were produced in 1972. A bushel of dry seeds weighs
about 60 pounds.

The le4uminous plant may be described as a low, bushy, Cea:ly upright to semi-
viny annual h1vinr a general appearance to vetch. It has many soft, hairy branches
that bear pinnately compound leaves and numerous oval leaflets. Flowers are white,
lilac, or pale blue. The pods are oblong, broad, short and smooth. Each pod bears 2
seeds which are thin, lens-shaped, usually smaller than pea seed, and of various colors
including brown and yellow. A pound contains 6,000 to 12,000 seeds.

They are cultivated much as are dry beans. Therefore, there should he a period
of 2 or 3 weeks of sunny dry weather at harvest time for drying the pods. Young
immature pods may be used as a vegetable. The mature dry seeds are a favorite
ingredient in soups and stews.
(Stephens)




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