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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: November 1976
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Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00403
Source Institution: University of Florida
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

VEGETABLE CROPS DEPARTMENT

The VEGETARIAN Newsletter

November 3, 1976




Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists


J. F. Kelly
Chairman

J. M. Stephens
Associate Professor


James Montelaro
Professor

G. A. Marlowe, Jr.
Professor


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

FROM: James M. Stephens, Extension Vegetable Specialist 'j


VEGETARIAN NhIELETTEP 76-11


IN THIS ISSUE:

I. NOTES OF INTEREST

A. Research Report
B. Color Photography as a Tool in Plant Diagnostics

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTTCA!

A. Soil pH Determination and Interpretation in Vegetable
Production
B. Fertilizer Fieldmen's Training

III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Squash

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Timely Gardening Topics
B. Know Your Vegetables Pimiento


NYFE: Anyone is free to use the information in this newsletter.
possible, please give credit to the authors.


Whenever


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






THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

I. NOrES OF INTEREST

A. Research Report

The third in a series of reports covering vegetable variety responses to
planting dates is available for distribution to agents and other interested
workers. The report by L. H. Halsey and S. R. Kostewicz is entitled "Seasonal
Response of Vegetable Crops for Selected Cultivars in North Florida. III. Okra,
Sweet Corn, Sweet Potato".
(Kelly)

B. Color Photography as a Tool in Plant Diagnostics

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true in
plant diagnostics. Recently, we received a color photograph from an enterprising
county agent that proved to be extremely valuable in helping to diagnose a pro-
blem with okra. He circled areas on the photograph showing the abnormalities.
The photograph of two plants "in site" showed clearly foliar injury from 2,4-D,
distinct curvature of the stem and stem cracking at the point of curvature.

Color photography serves a purpose in plant diagnostics next in value only
to actual field visits or availability of good plant specimen. It should be
used regularly by extension agents and fieldmen needing assistance from people
located elsewhere.
(Montelaro)

II. COMMERCIAL VEGETABLE PRODUCTION

A. Soil pH Determination and Interpretationn Vegetable Production

This is a follow-up of last month's article on the importance of proper
management of soil pH for the production of vegetables in Florida. A confusing
thing to growers is discrepancy in test values from different labs on the same soil
sample. The chance of human error or equipment failure in the lab, even though
possible, is remote. Technicians are trained to check themselves for accuracy
on a regular basis. Human error is more apt to occur in taking the soil sample.

A "representative" soil sample is an absolute must for best results. It
is advisable to take soil samples for pH analysis 2 to 3 months before planting
time. To obtain a good sample, growers should divide fields into manageable blocks
of about 15 to 20 acres each where soil is uniform. If not uniform, fields should
be divided into smaller units to obtain the greater uniformity. Each block
should be sampled thoroughly by taking cores at 15 to 25 locations representative
of the block. Core depth, usually 6 inches, should be equal to the depth to which
the applied lime will be mixed. Soil cores from each block should be mixed
thoroughly and a portion taken, properly labeled and recorded before sending to a
lab for analysis.

Growers should avoid sampling fields that are too wet or too dry. Either
of these conditions may affect pH readings, depending upon the presence or absence
of "fertilizer salts" which are primarily acid in nature. The pH of a soil high
in soluble salts may be as much as one unit lower than in the same soil law in salts.

Often growers note a drop in pH after a crop is fertilized. This is a
fertilizer salt effect. It can be predicted quite accurately by having a "KC1" pH





THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


test made instead of the more cam~on "water" pH test. Liming recommendations
should be based on KC1 pH which simulates conditions in a heavily fertilized
soil. In its absence, salt level can be determined easily with simple instru-
ments or estimated based on rainfall, etc., and corrections made for it. Where
salt levels are found to be very low, it may be safe to assume a drop of 0.5
unit or more after the soil is fertilized heavily. In such a case, additional
lime should be applied to compensate for the potential drop in pH brought about
by heavy fertilization.

In addition to a good soil pH test, a soil analysis showing levels of
calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) is needed. With this information, growers can
determine if lime is needed and if so, what type and how much. Most vegetables
can be produced most economically at a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. A general "rule of
thumb" for our sandy soils is to apply about 200 pounds of lime for every 0.1
unit increase in pH desired. Sandy soils high in organic matter may require more
lime than suggested here. The reverse is true for sandy soils low in organic
matter.

Liming not only corrects acidity problems, but can supply the nutrients
calcium and magnesium. Having determined a need for lime, the next question is
"What type?" We have found a Ca/Mg ratio of about 8 to 1 to be satisfactory for
most vegetables. If the Ca/Mg ratio is 9/1 or higher, use dolomitic limestone.
On the other hand, with a Ca/Mg ratio of 7/1 or lower, use high calcic limestone.
If no lime is needed, but soil magnesium is low, it may be applied together
with the mixed fertilizer at planting time.

Lime should be applied and mixed well into soil two to three months before
planting. In an emergency, it can be applied up to planting time. Late applica-
tion of lime is better than not liming at all.

Good management of soil pH is a key to successful vegetable production.
It need not be looked upon as an area to be handled by "experts" only. Growers
can and should learn as much about it as is necessary to manage it intelligently.
In this way, "guesswork", often resulting in unnecessary expenditures and possible
loss in yield and quality, can be avoided.
(Montelaro)

B. Fertilizer Fieldmen's Training

Fertilizer salesmen and fieldmen keep current in their information through
in-house training, reading popular and technical publications, direct contact
with extension and research personnel and, of course, attendance at grower meetings.
Many also attend scientific meetings, but some of this clientele have expressed
a need for a technological update specifically for the service and supply industry.

An initial training meeting will be held December 1, 1976, at the Manatee
County Agricultural Auditorium in Palmetto. The Area Vegetable Specialist met
with County Extension Agents on September 8 and formulated a program based on the
needs of these allied industry representatives. The meeting is open to all
Extension Agents, fertilizer salesmen and fieldmen, and other tradespeople who
might find the following program of value.

Five of the most important problems have been defined and appropriate
speakers have been selected to address these topics. Dr. Herman Breland of the IFAS
Soil Science Department will discuss "Why different soil tests confuse growers."




-4-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETPER

Dr. S. S. Woltz of the AREC-Bradenton will speak on "The influence of liming
materials on pH and other nutrients." Dr. Paul Everett of the AIC-Immokalee
will treat the topic of "What happens when the soil nutrient solution is out
of balance." Dr. James Montelaro, Extension Vegetable Specialist, will cover
another important issue with the aid of a panel, G. M. Whitton, County Director,
Pinellas County, and D. A. George, County Director, Sumter County. They will
discuss "Methods of field diagnosis".

The present status of soluble salt problems in southwest Florida will
be expressed in panel form by D. W. Lander, County Director, Collier County;
T. Pospichal, Extension Agent, Hillsborough County; R. T. Curtis, County
Director, Lee County; R. T. Montgomery, Extension Agent, Manatee County;
moderated by the Area Vegetable Specialist, George Marlowe.

There will be no charge for this meeting and meals will be on a Dutch
treat basis. Refreshments will be furnished by a commercial company. Handout
materials will be supplied by speakers and panelists.

The conference will be evaluated at the end of the meeting by the
participants. If a further training meeting is indicated, plans will be genera-
ted accordingly.

This unique and important segment of agriculture deserves our very best
efforts. The contact they make with ccmnercial growers is usually far more
frequent than we can provide in Cooperative Extension. Agents are encouraged to
help their local allied industry representatives keep up-to-date. Please let
them know of this meeting, 10 AM to 3 PM, December 1, 1976. Programs will be
forwarded on request.
(Marlowe)

III. HARVESTING AND HANDLING

A. Squash

Squashes are among the most widely grown and important vegetables in Florida.
This crop also is representative of many problems that may occur during harvesting
and handling and their possible solutions.

Summer squash types are harvested as soon as the fruit are of edible size
and while the skin is very tender and seeds are immature. Repeated harvests are
made at 3 to 5 day intervals over a period of several weeks. Future production
will be reduced if fruits are permitted to mature on the plants. Size and appear-
ance of the fruit determines the time of harvest. Elongated fruits generally are
harvested when less than 3 inches in diameter and under 8 inches in length. Scallop
squashes may be 3 to 4 inches in diameter when harvested. Although sane markets
reportedly desire the more mature squash, fruits larger than this will have harden-
ing skin, maturing seeds, perhaps a pithy interior and will be classified as culls.
Fruit may be field-packed or hauled to a shed or p;.clkinghouse at the edge of the
field or a central location in the area. Picking and hauling containers should
be kept free of sand, splinters, or roughness to prevent scuffing or breaking of the
tender skin.

Sorting is done to remove fruits having decay, mosaic, insect injury,
physical damage or other defects. Fruits are separated into 2 sizes, large and
small, with the latter usually considered the best quality. U. S. Standards are




-5-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

are available for grading, but official inspections are rarely requested. Wash-
ing may be done under some conditions to remove sand, but extreme care must be
used in handling sand, squash to prevent any fruit damage.

Baskets, crates, or cartons from 5/9 to 1-1/9 bushel size are used as
shipping containers and provide adequate protection if used properly. Surfaces
should be smooth to prevent abrasion, bulge packing puts pressure on the fruit
rather than the container; and loose packing permits rubbing or scuffing damage.
lr apping individual fruit with tissue wraps may provide some protection aqai nst
abrasion, but the cost-benefit is questionable.

Temperature for transit and storage should be 70 to 10C (45-500F).
Chilling injury will occur at lower temperatures. The damage will be cumulative,
and symptoms will be accentuated if the squash are moved to higher terparatures
after chilling has occurred. Surface pitting as a symptom of chilling injury
generally appears first as isolated spots, but those coalesce to produce large,
irregular sunken areas. These, particularly where skin damage has occurred from
rough handling, almost always develop into decayed areas. Damaged tissue or a
break in the skin generally is a prerequisite for the development of postharvest
decay. Thus, careful handling can reduce decay losses as well as assist in
maintaining a good appearance of the fruit. Yellow squashes may develop irregular
patterns of more intense color and develop a dull surface as chilling injury
increases. Decay, more rapid discoloration of physically damaged fruit surfaces,
and wilting are more severe at temperatures above 100C (500F). Relative humidity
of 90% should be maintained during transit and storage.

Winter squash types generally are harvested when fruits are more mature.
If multiple harvests are made, they will be at less frequent intervals than for
summer types. Fruit maturity, including compositional changes, as well as size
and appearance should determine the proper time for harvesting. A proper com-
bination of sugars and starch is necessary for best eating quality, but there are
few external indicators for judging when this occurs. Although skin of winter
squashes is more developed than that of summer types, it is still tender and
susceptible to physical damage. Only undamaged fruit should be packed.

The most common container for winter squashes is the 1-1/9 bushel crate.
Some large winter squashes may be shipped in bulk containers or loose in trucks.
Care should be taken to avoid any physical damage.

Transit and storage temperature should be 70 to 100C (45-500F). Chilling
injury of winter squashes may be severe because of the comparatively longer
marketing or storage time and the decay, frequently alternaria rot, which develops
following chilling injury. Moisture loss generally is not a problem with winter
squashes unless storage is prolonged or conditions are severe. Relative humidity
should be maintained above 50%.


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




-6-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER

IV. VEGETABLE GARDENING

A. Timely Gardening Topics

These questions and answers are suggested here for your use in developing
periodic (weekly) radio or newspaper shorts. They are based on letters of inquiry
from gardeners around the state.

(1) Timely Topic for Week of November 14-20

Question

What could be causing the pods on my bell pepper plants to develop dark,
discolored areas along the side? They are not rotting, but just look unsightly.



There have been other recent reports concerned with this condition in the
northern half of Florida. Apparently, it is cold wind injury to the pods. I suspect
the pods were located near the top of the plant in unprotected positions. This time
of year there have been several days of brisk, cold north and northeasterly winds.
Since pepper is a warm-season crop, requiring a daily average temperature of about
750F, it is susceptible to a variety of low temperature induced problems. This
purplish-black skin discoloration (not water-soaked) is one of them. Their edibility
is probably not affected to any great extent.

(2) Timely Topic for Week of November 21-27

Question

What is causing the Chinese cabbage is my garden to be soft and bitter?

Reply

At this cool time of year, you should be getting good-quality Chinese cabbage
from your garden. Chinese cabbage does best during the short days and cool but mild
temperatures of winter. However, when the temperature during the day stays over
75F for several days, the leaves do become soft and bitter. Best quality is at
60-70F. At temperatures below 60F, the plant will send up a seed stalk. In tests,
seed stalks appeared following two weeks' exposure to 470F. Longer days also cause
more seeding, so spring planting for early summer production can bring on seeding
even though there is no exposure to low temperature.

(3) Timely Topic for Week of November 28-December 4

Question

What is causing my turnip greens to be light yellow colored? I have fertilized
them.

Reply

Generally, a pale yellow color instead of the desired green signals a need for
more nitrogen fertilizer. However, it is possible, among other things, that you have
planted them too closely in the row. I suspect you may have broadcast the seeds on
the bed surface which, without poorer ltrinring, would leave them too closely planted.




-7-


THE VEGETAPIAN N-ESLEITER

Researchers have shown that color in turnips fertilized with nitrogen is reduced by
increasing the seedir~ rate. So even though there was nitrogen in the tops, the
green color was faded. Crowding may be keeping the sunlight from the leaves where
it is needed to cause gre-n leaves.

One further possibility that should be mentioned is that although you may
be fertilizing, you may be using a source of nitrogen that does not convert well in
cool weather. For example, organic fertilizers need warm weather to decompose and
release their nitrogen into a form usable by the plant. Likewise, some forms of
inorganic nitrogen, such as anmonium sulfate, must also underqo a chemical change
before the plant can use the nitrogen. Unless soil temperatures are high enough,
the necessary changes to nitrate may not occur.

(4) Timely Topic for Week of December 5-11.

Question

What are the advantages for using black plastic mulch instead of a natural
organic mulch?

1tply

Both kinds of mulches are beneficial to gardening. Plastic is easy to work
with, is clean, and does not greatly affect the food chain or the microorganisms
beneath it in the soil. Organic mulches such as sawdust sometimes start to decay
and cause the microorganisms in the soil to use the fertilizer for sustenance while
decomposing the sawdust. Otherwise, a natural, organic mulch is quite satisfactory,
and even has a few advantages of its own. Leaves, straw, and hay are porous, so allow
better penetration of water than plastic. Also, they are more insulative, so keep
the soil temperature more even than under the plastic.
(Stephens)
B. Know Your Vegetables Pimiento

Pimiento, also pimento, (Capsicum annuum L.) is a type of pepper somewhat
similar to the bell pepper. Instead of being blocky, however, the fruit (pod) is
smooth, concial or heart-shaped, up to 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 2 1/2 inches at
the shoulder. The flesh is very thick, sweet and red to reddish-yellow in color at
maturity.

This is the main type used for canning. The outside peel, the seeds, and the
tissue around the seeds are removed, so only the interior part of the flesh walls is
used. Though pimientos are good sources of vitamins A and C, they are used chiefly
for color and flavor in salads, meat products, vegetable dishes, and sandwich spreads
with perhaps the most going into pimiento cheese. Large amounts are used for stuffing
olives and for coloring salad dressing.

In the processing of the pimientos, the tough skin must be removed. The old
Spanish way (it is native to tropical America but was made popular in Spain) was to
suspend the pods on sticks and pass them through a fire. The skins were charred by
burning, then removed with a rough cloth. Today, while many improvements have been
made, the same principle of "roasting" is still used by same carmercial companies.

In Florida, pimientos are grown only to a limited extent commercially. Likewise,
the bell type is much preferred by home gardeners. Just to the north, however,
Georgia has usually been one of the leading states in the nation both in the pro-
duction and processing of pimientos.




-8-


THE VEGETARIAN NEWSLETTER


For production in hane garden, pimientos should be grown in a manner similar
to bell peppers. They may be seeded directly in the garden, or seeded into a seed-
bed or appropriate container for transplant production. A pimiento seeding is
ready for transplanting when 6 to 10 inches high. It may be set bare-rooted or in
an individual transplant container such as a peat pot. Allow a bit wider spacing
for pimientos than for the bells. Set plants 24-30 inches apart in a 36 to 48
inch wide row.

The main variety used in the South is 'Perfection', or improvements such
as 'Truhart Perfection'. 'Perfection' becomes red ripe about 80 days after seeding.
Fruits are 3 1/2 inches long, 3 to 3 1/4 inches in diameter, heart or top shaped.

(Stephens)




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