UF/IFAS HORTICULTURAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT A VEGETABLE CROPS EXTENSION PUBLICATION
VEGETARIAN 04-02 FEBRUARY 2004 PRINT VERSION
FEBRUARY IS POTATO-PLANTING SEASON FOR HOME GARDENERS IN NORTH AND NORTH-CENTRAL FLORIDA
As an agent, I'm asked some basic questions which some of you agents in rapidly urbanizing counties might be asked by retirees, homesteaders, and even
experienced gardeners who have been "transplanted" from another part of the country or state who need guidance so they can enjoy the growing season of your
Is it too late to lime?
What to fertilize with in the absence of a soil test?
What varieties are available to plant?
How small to cut potato seed pieces?
How deep and far apart should the potatoes be planted in the row
I'd like to share some of my experiences that might help other agents during this month as you work with clientele who like to garden.
FERTILIZATION AND LIMING QUESTIONS
It's probably too late to take a soil sample and get the results back in time to lime the garden site properly. However, potatoes grow best in a well-drained, slightly
acidic soil (pH 5 to 6), so liming may not be such an issue if the area has been gardened the past season. Many of our soils have a native pH of 5 to 5.5. Liming
may not be a major concern on new garden sites.
Without the benefit of a soil test and its recommendations, you may have to rely on experience based on many soil tests taken in the county. Yet, experience is no
substitute for a soil test.
On New garden Sites: Pre-plant fertilization with a complete, balanced fertilizer (such as a 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer for example at the rate of 7.5
pounds per 100 square feet of garden area) incorporated into soil may be helpful. Once plants emerge they should be side-dressed every 3 weeks at
the same rate until flowers form. After the appearance of flowers, there is little advantage to fertilizing.
On Old garden Sites: Preplant fertilization may require more nitrogen and potash than phosphorous (such as 6 pounds of a 13-4-13 analysis fertilizer
per 100 square feet of garden area). Once plants emerge they should be side-dressed every 3 weeks at the same rate until flowers form. After the
appearance of flowers, there is little advantage to fertilizing.
To answer variety questions, most garden and farm supply stores stock the old standby varieties: 'White Kennec' and 'Red Pontiac' (Fig. 1). Commercial varieties
recommended by the University of Florida include white-skinned ones like 'LaChipper', 'Sebago and 'Yukon Gold'. Recommended red-skinned commercial varieties
include 'Red LaSoda' and 'LaRouge'. These varieties are difficult to come by for the average home gardener. Homeowners may want to try a row or two of some of
the blue, red, yellow and differently shaped tuber varieties available in seed catalogs as a trial in their garden and compare the yield to the old stands before
planting entire gardens to the newvarieties.
To answer on how small to cut seed pieces, many home gardeners tend to cut the pieces too small. Cut seed pieces should be about the size of an egg with at
least one good "eye" on it (Fi. 2). Fifteen pounds of potatoes should plant about 100 linear feet of garden row. Store the seed pieces in a cool dark room for two
days to callus the cut area before planting to reduce the chance of the seed pieces rotting in the ground.
Planting depth and population can affect late frost survival and yield. Seed pieces should be planted 4 inches below the soil surface with the cut side facing
down. On 36-inch distances between rows seed pieces should be planted 6 to 8 inches apart in the drill (in the row).
Hopefully this short recap of some potato questions has been helpful. You can always direct homeowner and gardening clientele to an excellent reference EDIS
Pack, J.E., J.M White and C.M. Hutchinson. 2003. Growing potatoes in the Florida home garden. HS933.
Stephens, J.M., R.A. Dunn, G. Kidder, D. Short and G.W. Simone. 1994. Florida vegetable gardening. SP103.
Figure 1. Standby varieties that can normally be lound in
farm and garden supply stores.
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(Jacque Breman, Union County Extension Director -Vegetarian 04-02)
INTELLIGENT PEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES STARTED THE STRAWBERRY SEASON
What a year! From our perspective, 2003 will be one of the most memorable for the strawberry industry (although we still have three months to go until the end of
the season!). According to Al Herndon (Ferris Farm, Floral City), "This season has been outstanding as compared with the 2002-2003 season" (Fig. 1 Just to
remind you, the low temperatures in the months of January and February 2003 challenged Florida fruit and vegetable production. Nevertheless, by February 2004
the strawberry harvest has been well underway. Some folks had already experienced early problems with twospotted spider mite, aphids, and budworms; however,
proper decisions and good timing made control measures effective in most cases.
SUMMARY OF THE SEASON
Dr. Jim Price, UF Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), indicated that this year, strawberry transplants arrived with less than usual spider mites than
previous years. Some growers reported better than expected results for spider mite clean-up of young transplants by applying Brigade (bifenthrin) pyrethroid plus
diazinon (organophosphate) after the transplant establishment period. Dr. Price added that we should not expect serious losses from spider mites even with an
expected increase in mite numbers in February since several effective biological and chemical control measures are now available. Appearances of other pests
such as Lepidopterous larvae ('worms') and aphids normally occur in February and thereafter since good control measures are available for these pests. Price
indicated that thrip problems increase in warm weather, which continued this season into early January 2004. However, since colder days arrived there seems to be
no current increase in thrip numbers. According to Hillsborough county agent, Alicia Whidden (Berry/Vegetables Times January 2004), some farmers reported fruit
bronzing and cracks under the calyx. These problems were due to consecutive applications of sulphur for powdery mildew as well as thrip and aphid damage. UF
researchers are investigating the sulphur related damage in orderto minimize the ill effects of the fungicides.
BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF TWOSPOTTED SPIDER MITE
For the past couple of years, we have studied the impact of biological control methods for strawberry arthropod pests. For instance, in an effort to increase the
effectiveness of predator mites as a control of twospotted spider mites (Fi. 2), we have set up three experimental trials in Floral City (Citrus County), Plant City
(Hillsborough County), and Dover (Hillsborough County) to evaluate the feasibility of using two predatory mites: Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot and
Neoseiulus califomicus McGregor. This project collaborates with growers, extension agents, and crop consultants to conduct on-farm demonstrations and
experiment station trials. The project will also determine the potential for using predatory mites in combination with reduced-risk pesticides to control twospotted
spider mites. Information obtained from these studies will be presented in workshops and field-days this spring and summerto train growers in basic biological
control pest management techniques.
BENEFITS OF USING AN INTELLIGENT MANAGEMENT APPROACH
Some of the pesticides that are currently used on Florida strawberry farms to control arthropods and diseases include organophosphates which are considered to
pose the greatest risk for human health and the environment. The high level of pesticide use combined with the method of frequency of harvesting means that
there is a risk of occupational exposure to these pesticides by crop workers. Reduction of pest control usage in strawberries through Intelligent Best Management
practices based on various control measures (cultural, biological, and chemical control compatible with biological methods) are important to followto reduce
environmental hazards and human exposure, cost, and insect resistance. Thus, the continued use of only one practice, i.e. chemical control only, can be extremely
costly in terms of not only costs for the chemicals and applications but more importantly losses due to rapid build-up of chemical resistance to the applied
chemicals. Ultimately, the combination of control measures leads to the greatest returns to profit in terms of fruit quality and yield for the least 'long term' expense.
Fig. 1. Field strawberry production under way. Healthy young strawberry
plants in raised beds and plastic mulch.
2. A Twospotted spider mites on a strawberry leaf.
If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact Drs. Silvia 1. Rondon (srondon .mails.ifas.ufl.edu) and Daniel J. Cantliffe (djc@.mail.ifas.ufl.edu)
(Rondon and Cantliffe -Vegetarian 04-02)
ROTATIONAL CROP RESTRICTIONS
In the past, there have been some questions raised about whether the rotational crop restrictions on a herbicide label are simply for the protection of the
manufacturer, in case rotational crops are damaged, and to supply information to the grower about potential crop injury. In fact, the rotational restrictions are fully
Barry Brecke, West Florida REC Jay, sent out a letter documenting the background of cotton injury a year after Cadre application in peanuts. A DOACS inspector
was called to a grower field in the panhandle during the summer 2003 to look at damaged cotton. The inspector discovered that they had applied Cadre to
peanuts grown in the field during 2002. The inspector told the grower that he was in violation of the Cadre label (which lists the minimum time between Cadre
application and cotton planting as 18 months) and wrote the grower a warning letter concerning this "violation" of the Cadre label. The same inspector during a
routine check of spray records of another grower discovered that the second grower had also planted cotton in a field in 2003 where peanuts had been grown and
treated with Cadre in 2002. In addition, the records of the second grower indicated that the surfactant used with the Cadre contained 70% active ingredient while
the Cadre label states that the surfactant with at least 80% active ingredient is to be added to a Cadre application. The inspector included the surfactant "misuse"
in the warning letter to the second grower.
Dr. Brecke checked with Dale Doubberly, DOACS Enforcement, and he assured him that the rotational restrictions are an enforceable part of the label. Greg
MacDonald also checked with Carlton Lane who is recently retired from US EPA. The following is his response:
Yes the directions are fully enforceable. Anything on the label that is an affirmative instruction do or do not is enforceable even though the
growermay have suffered harm as a result of the error orintentional "mistake". There is no such thing under the law as no harm, no foul. An
agency might take the harm under consideration and mitigate the penalty, but private applicators who are caught in the practice you describe are
simply giving up their free pass. The next time they are caught, it will result in a fine on top of their damage.
Vegetable growers are going to have to become more informed on rotational restrictions of the herbicides used and what crops can follow,
especially with methyl bromide alternative options under mulch. There still are rotational crops restricted for a period of time even though there are
now tolerances and labels of the herbicide or another herbicide with the same active ingredient on that crop. We are working with the companies
to reduce or eliminate these problems. If anyone has specific plant-back restriction information that should be brought up with registering
companies, please let us know.
FLORIDA'S BIGGEST VEGETABLES 2004 UPDATE
Although retired, Jim Stephens still keeps up with Florida's biggest vegetables as one of his Emeritus Professor duties. The system he employs still requires the
assistance of Extension agents in each county following guidelines established in1989. Prior to that year, no one kept records of big vegetables grown in Florida.
While a record may be established at any time throughout the year, many have been set during agricultural fairs. One such fair that has become quite popular for
setting records is the South Florida Fair at West Palm Beach. The fair encourages growers to brinq in their largest vegetables by providing very liberal premiums for
winning exhibitors, both youth and adult.
At this year's fair just concluded in January, approximately sixty vegetable specimens were exhibited. From this display, two state records were broken. Gardener
Joseph Forcivia brought in a Florida Broadleaf mustard plant which tipped the scales at 20 pounds and 4 ounces. That not only won him the $200 top prize but it
established a new standard for mustard greens. Henry Ozaki broke his own record for cassava with a root specimen weighing in at 15 pounds 4 ounces. Henry
also has the record for malanga which he set back in 1996 at the South Florida Fair.
Perhaps the most notable records set during the past three years were for cantaloupe and pumpkin. Mr. Canniff of Bradenton holds both these records. In 2001,
Canniff established the mark for Florida-grown pumpkins with his 610 pound Atlantic Giant. Then in June of 2003, he set another record with a 35 pound 3 ounce
cantaloupe. Both of these records are still unbroken.
Palm Beach County holds the most Florida records with 10 out of the 53 that I keep. The runner-up is Suwannee County, holder of eight records. The following is a
list of the current record-size big vegetables (through January, 2004).
Vegetable Size County Grower Date
Bean, Lima 9 1/2 in. St. Lucie Walter 04\12\95
Beet 8 lb. 1 oz. Duval Lewis 05\30\98
Boniata 12 lb. 10 oz. Seminole Phillips 03\05\91
Broccoli 5 lb. 4 oz. Suwannee Graham 06\06\93
Cabbage 20 lb. 9 oz. St. Johns Worley 05\28\97
Cantaloupe 35 lb. 3 oz Canniff Manatee 06\19\03
Carrot 3 lb. 1 oz. Pinellas Nehls 04\16\93
Cassava 15 lb. 4 oz. Palm Beach Ozaki 1/23/04
Cauliflower 15 lb. 6 oz. Alachua Severino 02\19\92
Chicory 1 lb. 3 oz. Alachua Lazin 02\13\86
Collard 13 ft. 3 in. Leon Kelso 08\26\93
Corn, sweet 3 lb. Suwannee Graham 6/21/00
Cucumber (wt) 4 lb. 7 oz. Suwannee Graham 06\29\92
Cucumber (length) 27 in. Suwannee Graham 06\29\92
Cucumber Armenian 30 in. Escambia Harrison 08\01\96
Eggplant 4 lb. 8 oz. Palm Beach Laluppa 01\17\92
Garlic 1 lb. 8 oz. St. Johns Hester 05\20\93
Gourd 55 lb. Suwannee Graham 08\08\95
Gourd, cucuzzi 61.5. Hernando Pizzino 07\18\94
Honeydew 11 lb. 2 oz. Escambia Harrison 08\04\96
Jicama 21 lb. 8 oz. Palm Beach Oppe 01\26\93
Kohlrabi 19 lb. 8 oz. Duval Faustini 06\05\93
Lettuce 58 oz. Suwannee Graham 05\06\97
Malanga 29 lb. 15 oz. Palm Beach Ozaki 01\12\96
Melon, winter 80 lb. 13 oz. Palm Beach Yee 01\17\97
Mustard 20 lb. 4 oz. Palm Beach Torcivia 1/23/04%
Okra, pod (wt) 8 oz. Suwannee Graham 06\28\93
Okra, pod (length) 22 1/4 in. Suwannee Graham 06\28\93
Okra, stalk 19 ft. 10% in. Flagler Mikulka 10\27\94
Onion 3 lb. 11 oz. Manatee Geraldson 08\07\90
Pepper 1 lb. 3.84 oz. Palm Beach Hyatt 04\12\02
Potato, irish 2 lb. 13 oz. St. Johns Kight 05\23\89
Potato, sweet 34 lb. 14 oz. Manatee Henderson 01\19\01
Pumpkin 610 lb. Manatee Canniff 06\08\01
Radish, S. 3 lb. 12 oz. Palm Beach Vanderlaan 01\31\90
Radish, W. 25 lb. Hillsborough Breslow 1977
Radish, W. 23 lb. 5 oz. Alachua Neilson 03\28\92
Rutabaga 22 lb. Lake Salter 11\19\93
Squash, calabaza 36 lb. 8 oz. Seminole Chitty 08\16\91
Squash, hub. 131 lb. 12 oz. Santa Rosa Bynum 10\26\94
Squash, banana 47 lb. Putnam Bryant 07\12\96
Squash, butternut 23 lb. 12 oz. Santa Rosa Bynum 09\26\92
Squash, scal. 3 lb. 12 oz. Nassau Horne 06\22\99
Squash, spaghetti 47 lb. 9 oz. Duval Beck 09\09\96
Squash, zucchini 14 lb. 10 oz. Nassau Lynch 06\22\99
Squash, Zucchini hybrid 16 lb. 6 oz. Marion Licari 06/8/01
Squash, summer 6 lb. 2 oz. Escambia Harrison 07\13\95
Taro 8 oz. Palm Beach Oppe 01\17\92
Tomato 3 lb. Marion Spangler 07\11\90
Turnip 18 lb. 4 oz. Union Clyatt 01\20\93
Watermelon 205 lb. Levy Bumgardner 07\21\92
Yam (True) 12 lb. 15 oz. Palm Beach Oppe 01\26\93
Yardlong Bean 52 in. Orange Yoganand 01/07/97
(Stephens -Vegetarian 04-02)
Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists
Daniel J. Canlliffe
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John R. Duval
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Chad M. Hutchinson
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Stephen M. Olson
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Mark A. Rilenour
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Slteven A. Sargent
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Eric H. Simonne
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James M. While
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University of Florida
Horticultural Sciences Department
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
North Florida Research and Education Center Suwannee Valley
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center Dover
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