PRESS BULLETIN No. 95.
Florida Agricullural Experimeln StaNion.
BY R. Y. WINTERS.
TIME TO SOW CELERY.
Celery beds should be prepared during August and September to produce
crops that are to be marketed from January to April. Seed should be sown
at intervals of about two weeks during these two months. By this means the
crop is divided into portions which mature at different times, making it more
easily handled under the present labor conditions. This method lessens the
chance of failure from diseases or adverse weather; it does away with the
rush to ship the whole crop at once, which is quite a problem when labor is
scarce; and it also diminishes the danger of flooding the market.
SELECTING THE LAND.
It is usually best to use newly cleared land for seed-beds, because old
lands are apt to be infested with rootknot and other diseases as well as with
grass and weed seeds. The seed-beds should be as near as possible to the
field where the celery is to be set. The dark, almost black, fine mellow loam,
or "hammock land" is excellent for celery beds. Its physical condition is
better suited to plant-beds than that of the more sandy soils.
PREPARATION OF BEDS.
The plot to be made into seed-beds is first cleared of trees, shrubs, and
rough trash. In breaking up the soil care should be taken to prevent the
turning up of the sandy subsoil, since this sand would not make a good sur-
face for the seed-beds. The disc turn-plow and the disc cutaway harrow are
good implements for the work, as they tend to pulverize and mix the soil.
Thorough drainage and irrigating facilities are absolutely necessary at this
season of the year. Should the beds be in the region where the underground
system of irrigation is used, the tiles may be extended under them, and
should be given sufficient slope to be able to drain the beds in the event of
heavy rainfall. In localities where the overhead system is used, provision for
watering may be made by extending the pipes, or by the use of hose. Proper
drainage may be secured in this case by constructing trenches at suitable dis-
tances. For fertilizing these beds, 1000 pounds of unleached hard-wood ashes
and 500 pounds of nitrate of soda to the acre have been used with success.
The hardwood ashes supply the needed potash and also counteract any acidity
of the soil that might occur. However, if wood ashes are not easily secured,
a combination of 500 to 800 pounds of lime, 150 pounds of high-grade sul-
phate of potash, and 500 pounds of nitrate of soda to the acre may be used.
The lime would correct any acidity of the soil. The plot is laid off into beds
Augu'st 22, 1908.
from four to six feet wide, with narrow paths between. The paths are made
a few inches lower than the beds, and are connected with a main ditch so as
to act as drains in case of heavy rains. After applying the fertilizer, the
beds should be allowed to stand for several days before sowing the seed.
They are then raked level, and finished off by running a roller or drag over
the surface. Small shallow drills are made for the seed by simply drawing
the end of the rake handle or other stick across the beds "at distances of six
The bed is now ready for the seed, which is to be sown by hand. A num-
ber ten thimble full of seed to eight feet of drill is a fair rate of sowing.
The seeds are not covered with soil, but simply sprinkled down with water in
the drills where they lie. The bed is then covered with pieces of wet burlap,
which are kept moist until the seeds have germinated, when the burlap is
taken away and the seedlings protected by some kind of shade.
As the sun's rays are intense at this time of the year, it becomes neces-
sary to use some form of shade. 'This may be constructed of narrow slats
fastened together to produce half shade. An efficient shade may also be
made of cheese-cloth. This form of shade is made by first stretching a wire
along the center of the bed, and about eighteen inches above the surface.
The cheese-cloth is then drawn across the wire like a tent, and attached to
pegs on each side along the edges of the bed. These pegs along the edges
should be placed close enough to keep the cloth pulled evenly down to a height
of from three to six inches above the bed.
State papers please copy.