SOME MARKET VEGETABLES FOR FLORIDA.
P. H. ROLPS.
The Bulletins of this Station will be sent free to any address in
Florida upon application to the Director of the
Experiment Station, Lake City, Fla.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA :
THE DACOSTA PRJINTIG COMPANY.
Bulletin No. 31.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
HON. WALTER GWYNN, President . . . .. Sanford
HON. W. D. CHIPLEY, Vice-President . . ... Pensacola
HON. F. E. HARRIS, Ch'n Executive Committee . . Ocala
HON. A.:B. HAGEN, Secretary . . . ... .Lake City
HON. S. STRINGER . . . . . . .Brooksville
HON. C. F. A. BIELBY.. ... . . . . DeLand
HON. J. F. BAYA . . . . . . . Lake City
O. CLUTE, M. S., LL. D . . . . . ... Director
P. H. ROLFS, M. S. . . .. Horticulturist and Biologist
A. A. PERSONS, M. S ... . . . .... Chemist
C. A. FINLEY. . . . . . . Director's Secretary
A. L. QUAINTANCE, M. S. . .... . Assistant in Biology.
H. K. MILLER, M. S. . .... . Assistant in Chemistry
JOHN F. MITCHELL . .. .. Foreman of Lake City Farm
J. T. STUBBS .. ... Supt.CSub-Station, DeFuniak Springs
W. A. MARSH . ..... Supt. Sub-Station, Fort Myers
F. B. MOODIE . . . ... Experimenter with Tobacco
SOME MARKET VEGETABLES FOR FLORIDA.
I. Vegetable Soil................... .43
2. Preparation of Hot-Bed . . . ....... . 143
3. Preparation of Cold-Frame . . . . .... .46
4. Preparation of Plant-Bed. . . . . . . 47
5. Fertilizer . . . . . . . . . . 147
x. Beans ............ .. ...... ... 148
Fertilizer . . . . . . . . 15
How to Mix .......... 151
2. Beets ....... .............. .154
3. Cabbage ...... .. ............ 56
Fertilizer ... ..... ...... .158
4. Cauliflower . . . . . . . . 159
5- Celery ..... ..... ............ 162
The New Culture . . ...... . 167
Marketing ................ 69
Fertilizer. .. . . . . . . 171
6. Cucumbers . .. .. . . .. . ... x71
Preparation of Field ... ... ..... 172
Fertilizer . . .. . . .. .... .. 174
7. Eggplant . . . . . . . . . . 174
8. Lettuce . . . . . . .. . . . 177
9. Onion ...... .. ... ......... 179
Time to Sow ............. .8o
Fertilizer. . ... . . . ... .18
Cultivation ..... .... .... ... 182
The old Plan .......... . ... 83
o.: Pea-English ... ............ x8
i. Tomatoes... .................. .88-
Seed Bed.' ........ ........89
Preparing the Field . . . . .. .. 90
Fertilizer . . . . . . . . 9
Setting Out. ................ 192
Pruning . .......... ..... 194
4' Staking and Tying. ........... 194
Packing .... ........ '... . ..195
Varieties ................. 98
Canning............... . .198
The light sandy soil and sandy loam of Florida are particu-
larly well adapted to the production of vegetables. These soils
will produce an abundance of early vegetables in whatever local-
ity they may be found. These soils also give up their fertilizer
readily, hence respond quickly to any change in the necessary
elements. We may, by judicious selection, find nearly an ideal
soil for this purpose in every county of the State. There are,
however, other conditions,-as those of temperature and moisture,
that need to be taken into consideration.
Sandy soil and sandy loam give up water readily, so in
many localities we have thirsty land; again under other condi-
tions the land becomes "water sobbed." Soil that is too dry or
too wet is not fit for vegetable growing. Careful mechanical
analysis shows that there need not be any difference in structure
between thirsty land, "water sobbed" and good vegetable land.
The difference may be one of water supply. It should not be
understood that if all thirsty land were irrigated it would make
good vegetable land, nor that all "water sobbed" land if prop-
erly drained would make good vegetable land.
Prof. Whitney has shown that (p. 136, Year-Book, U. S.
Agril. Dept., 1894,) the variation in size of the particles that
make up different soils is very great, and when soils are classed
as the same, in common usage, as, for instance, the high pine
land soils, there may be a wide difference in the size of the grains,
and also in the power for retaining moisture. He remarks, "It
will be seen (from the table) that the Florida soils contain very
little silt, fine silt, or clay, the whole amount of these three
grades being less than five per cent. They are extremely light-
textured sandy soils, adapted to the earliest spring vegetables."
This very convenient form of plant-bed is not as generally
saed in Florida- as it merits; probably from the fact that many
persons do not:ufderstand the principles underlying a Isuccess.
ful operation of the same.
When any undecomposed manure, leaves or other vegeta-
ble matter begins to decay, a certain amount of heat is given
off; if the pile is large and in a compact heap the amount of
heat evolved will be considerable. This is due to the breaking
down of plant tissues through the actions of low forms of life,
such as bacteria and molds. This breaking down takes place in
the, presence of moisture; vegetable matter stored in a dry state
will remain undecomposed for an indefinite time. Any applica-
tion of this fact will make it possible for every one. who keeps a
horse or a cow to provide himself with a hot-bed.
During the early part of the season the manure may be
stored away dry, and kept so, and when the time to fix a hot-bed
comes it may be prepared.
SELECTION OF A LOCATION.
Four points should be borne in mind when one is selecting
the place for a hot-bed:
First, it must be sheltered from cold winds, that is, it should
be in a warm spot; there should be a wind-break of some kind,
the bed should be and free to the full sun all day; the south side
of a barn may be used in some cases.
Second, it must be protected from rains; the drippings of
eaves must be carried away and the surface drained so that water
will not run under.
Third, water must be handy, or the needed supply may not
Fourth, it must be near one's house or near his daily work,
so as to require the least possible time to look after it.
In States north of Florida it is quite necessary to use glazed
sashes in building hot-beds. These come in sizes of 3x6 feet,
and can be had in large markets for about $1.50 apiece. In
northern Florida these will be found to be quite useful, but for
central and South Florida they are not needed often enough to
warrant one's, investing in them, except for special purposes.
Last winter has been acknowledged generally to be the:coldest
that Florida has had for many years. The temperature on the
college campus went down to 13% F. During the freeze flre
was a hot-bed containing egg-plant seedlings covered with two
thicknesses of best protecting cloth; the seedlings, eight inches
away from the edge of the bed, were not frozen. Many seedlings
of other vegetables were not frozen under a single thickness of pro-
tecting cloth. It can be stated therefore with confidence that in
ordinary winters protecting cloth will be sufficient to keep plants
from freezing even in North Florida. It is not the intention to
give'the impression that sash are not better than cloth, but that
we have so few nights and sunny days which are cold enough to
injure plants that it is more economical to use the protecting
The hot-beds used in the Experiment Station garden are
six feet wide, and long enough to suit the particular use. All
material used in their construction is one inch thick. The back
or north sides are 26 inches high, and the south sides o1 inches
high. When glazed sash are used a pitch of four inches is suffi-
cient; that is, the front is made o1 inches high and the back 14.
But experience has taught us that this pitch is not sufficient for
frames covered with plant-cloth. The sides are nailed to 4
inch pieces that were driven into the ground six feet apart. The
ends of the frame of are trimmed to an even slope. At intervals
six feet, three-inch pieces are dove-tailed into the front and back,
to steady the sides, and to hold the protecting cloth from bagging.
The protecting cloth is sewed into a sheet large enough to
cover an entire frame. The seams run crosswise for obvious
reasons. The sheet is fastened to the back and then stretched
over the frame; and just far enough over the front to press the
cloth down tightly, a strip is nailed to serve as a roller for a cur-
tain. By turning at one end the whole curtain may be raised
andfastened at the top; when it is wanted for use the fastening
is loosened and the curtain unrolls itself, at the same time shut-
ting the whole frame up for the night. The wood work and
cloth for a frame six feet wide and thirty feet.long should not
cost more than $2.50.
USING THE MANURE
When the frame for the hot-bed has been completed the
undecomposed manure is placed in it to, the, depth of six to ten
inches.. It is usually necessary to remove some of the earth in-
side of the frame; this can be used to bank it on the outside.
As the manure is placed in the frame it should be. thoroughly
soaked and tramped down. In two or three days this will
begin toheat, and will continue to rise in temperature for
eight or ten days, and often will risp very high, running con-
siderably over a hundred degrees. If the bed is kept moist,
and this can be tested by digging into parts of it, there is no
danger of its "burning." This does not mean that there is
ever any danger of it actually generating fire, but the stuff
becomes dry and discharges valuable fertilizing quality as
gasses and hence is about destroyed. When large quantities of
fresh manure are used the gardeners dump it in piles, and
fork it over every day or two to keep it cool enough, and at
the end of ten days or two weeks place it in the hot-bed.
After the manure has been placed in the frame an inch
of rich loam should be spread over it, to arrest any gasses
that may be escaping. After about ten days of fermenting the
manure has reached its highest temperature, and seed can be
sown in the loam without danger. From this time on the
temperature falls gradually until decomposition is complete.
The only advantage a hot-bed has over a cold-frame is
that the decomposing manure gives off heat, and the amount
of heat given off will vary with the amount of manure used.
If one desires to keep a bed extra warm the frame may be
banked with fresh manure.
PREPARING A COLD-FRAME.
The frame work and cover are prepared in the same way as
for hot-bed. Cold-frames require less fertilizer, and hence are
cheaper than hot-beds. The soil in them should be made very
fertile by using commercial fertilizer, or preferably compost.
IMake the soil about six inches deep,' sifig about as much well-
Tr6tted compost as earth. The fertilizer must be worked in thor-
oughly, and the frame thus prepared allowed to stand ten days
or two weeks, all the time keeping it thoroughly wet. A cold-
frame is as valuable in the summer as in the winter. In the
summer the cloth is raised to allow air to pass under, thus pro-
tecting small plants from the scorching sun. In the manage-
ment of a cold frame, and of a hot-bed, plenty of water is indis-
pensable, and it must be applied in liberal quantities daily.
PREPARATION OF A PLANT-BED.
Plant-beds are very largely employed in this State for raising
seedlings, especially tobacco. A cold-frame will serve the pur-
poses of a plant-bed for raising seedlings, and has many advan-
tages. Seedlings, after growing to a size that are easily handled
are often planted in a bed for further maturing; this is especially
so when large quantities of tomato, cabbage or celery plants are
wanted. The advantage of having these plants in as small a
space as practicable is apparent to all. The plant-bed must be
very fertile, and have plenty of water to be used in case of need.
The ground should be raked carefully, the fertilizer applied, and
the bed spaded or plowed, and then raked again. The bed
should lie a week or ten days, to allow the fertilizer to be incor-
porated, when the plants may be set out. Plants should not be
allowed to become checked in their growth at any time. It does
plants good to be planted several times, and with some vegeta-
bles such frequent planting is profitable; but for plants to come
to a standstill for want of water or fertilizer works a detriment
that is strikingly noticeable in the crop. Hence in the trans-
plantings great care should be taken as to moisture, temperature
and soil, so that growth may not be checked.
This subject has been thoroughly and clearly discussed by
my colleague, Prof. A. A. Persons, in Bulletins 20 and 22 of the
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Any one finding dif-
ficulty in preparing formulae of fertilizer herein mentioned should
consult these Bulletins for information. In this Bulletin formulae
of'fertilizers are given in the discussion of particular crops.
Vegetable growers having only a few acres will doubtless
find it cheaper to have the fertilizer mixed at the factory, but
those who cultivate large areas of one kind of vegetable should
be able to save the profit that the manufacturer makes on mixing
The bean is a tender annual and does not grow to perfec-
tion in cold weather. Its value as a food has long been recog-
nized, but the people in this country are slow in adopting it as
food for animals, though for household consumption it is
used extensively. In Europe and Asia it is used largely for
fodder. The main reason for its not being used more extensively
in the United States is that much time is consumed in gathering
the crop. As soon as we are able to harvest it by horse-power
we shall probably use it largely as a feed for domestic animals.
Seedsmen divide beans into two classes, the bush beans and the
pole beans. Each of these classes requires quite different treat-
ment. We will consider the bush or dwarf kind first.
This is the kind that is used for shipping purposes as green
snap-beans or snaps. In some portions of this State the grow-
ing of string-beans is a lucrative class of gardening. All beans
are very tender and sensitive to cold, even when it is not severe
enough to freeze. Only those portions of Florida that are free
from frosts and long cold spells can grow them for mid-winter
SELECTION OF SOIL.
For early or winter market a light sandy soil should be se-
lected, and this should be well manured. While beans are a6le
to add nitrogen to the soil, they cannot produce a good crop in
a soil that is deficient in this element. When the beans are
about half grown is the time to pick them for market, for by
this time the pods have attained nearly their full length. The
picking must be done after the dew is off, and the pods and
plants are dry. After allowing them to lie a short time, say an
hour or two, to lose their crispness, they are ready to crate. The
usual crate holds about a bushel, and is partitioned. In crating,
the pods are straightened out more or less and laid into the crate
lengthwise. When the crate is full the top is pressed down
firmly and nailed.
When the crop is to ripen, the hills are planted about twice
as far apart in the row. The cultivation in either case is the
same; that is, they are plowed as long as the vines will permit.
There is a good market for dry beans, but that is usually over-
looked by our gardeners. The vines that have been picked over
several times for string-beans rarely produce enough dry ones to
pay for the gathering. When they are raised to sell dry, they
are cut off with a mower or scythe like hay and cured, then
raked together, piled and stacked. The threshing may be done
by a separator or flail. The use of the threshing machine makes
the labor of producing a crop quite small, but it breaks so many
beans that they often have to be sold for 40 per cent of the price
paid for the flail threshed ones.
If the crop is planted for string beans the rows are made
about two feet apart, and the hills about six inches apart in the
row. From one to four plants are allowed to grow in a hill; de-
pending on the strength of the soil. The hills are planted
farther apart if the variety is one of the larger bush-beans. It
-should be the aim in planting to get the row as narrow as possi-
ble; it is better to drop a bean every inch than to drop six beans
every six inches, provided it can be accomplished as easily.
When the rows are narrow there is much less land that has to
be worked by hand. When the rows are straight and very nar-
row it often happens that there is no occasion to use the hoe at
all. Excellent crops of beans are grown without taking a hoe
into the field at all.
In planting, care must be taken not to use diseased nor
Buggy seed, as the pods may be badly damaged before picking
,r, they may be spoiled on the way to market. In picking, sepa-
rate all culls from the good ones at once, to prevent the inoculat-
ing of sound pods with the diseased ones. The culls and spot-
ted pods should be picked and removed from the field to be de-
How PLANTED FOR IRRIGATION.
When the land can be irrigated deep double furrows should
Ibe plowed. This will throw the field into ridges about thirty
inches across the top. Two rows of beans may be planted on
each of such beds. This deep furrow serves as guide or trough
for water and also as a good drain during rainy weather.
The earliest and hardiest is the Mohawk. A good green
podded variety is the Valentine. A much prettier variety for
table use is the Golden Wax. The larger portion of our crop is
of the green varieties, as they are considered hardier and the
seed more generally distributed and cheaper.
The pole beans require a much richer soil than the bush
beans and are rarely used for shipping purposes. These beans
are more desirable for family use, but are somewhat later in ma-
turing, so both kinds should be planted for home use. The
pole limas are very desirable, but there is much difficulty in the
pods setting. Long rows of very fine vines have been grown at
Lake City without producing a mess of good beans. The bush
limas produce a fine crop however.
The early preparation of the soil is the same as for the low
growing forms. Lay the land off four by four, or six by six feet,
fertilize the checks thoroughly, and after the fertilizer is well in-
corporated plant the seed. Plant from one to four beans to the
hill; vary the number of plants to suit the strength of the land.
Such ordinary care as given the garden crops will be suffi-
cient. As soon as the vines begin to run they should be staked.
In this matter it is best to set the stakes so the tops of four will
come together, and tie them; in this way they will support one
another. By staking them in squares the space between the
rows arched together must be cultivated by hand, but the vines
will soon shade the ground, so preventing much further growth
In fertilizing for a bean crop the material should be applied
broad cast, as the bean roots will go a long way in the soil.
There is danger of having it too concentrated if one applies it ia
the hill. The bean is a gross feeder, and will grow on land
that is too raw for the ordinary crops.
Available phosphoric acid . . .. 7 per cent.
Potash. . . . . . . 7 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . . . . .. 3 per cent.
Use x,ooo to 2,ooo pounds per acre. If the land is rich in
vegetable matter the nitrogen may be omitted; in such a case
only phosphoric acid and potash need be applied.
How TO Mix FERTILIZERS.
Let us consider how we can prepare fertilizer equal to a ton'
of the above formula. Our formula calls for 7 per cent of phos-
phoric acid. This simply means that we want 140 pounds of
available phosphric acid to the acre (140 pounds being 7 per
cent of 2,000 pounds-a ton). Doubtless the cheapest source
of this element is our acid phosphate or super-phosphate. This
usually contains from o1 to 14 per cent of available phosphoric
acid, or, stating it in other words, every hundred pounds of acid
phosphate contains from 10 to 14 pounds of available phosphoric
acid. Now, if our phosphate contains to per cent available
phosphoric acid, it will take 1,400 pounds to supply the desired
amount If the phosphate analyzes 14 per cent it will take
i,ooo pounds. Dissolved bone contains from 13 to 15 per cent
of available phosphoric acid. If the fertilizer at hand is a 13
per cent one it will take 1,o77 pounds to supply the desired
amount of this element; if a 15 per cent one, 933 pounds.i
There are other sources of phosphoric acid, but these two are,
the more common in our markets.
Potash may be obtained from various sources. A high
grade of sulphate of potash contains from 5o to 55 per cent of
potash. To make up the 140 pounds (7 per cent of 2;ooo
pounds) desired, -it will take from 254 pounds (of the higher per
cent) to 280 pounds (of the lower per cent). A low grade of
sulphate of potash contains from 27 to 30 per cent of potash;
518 pounds (of the lower per cent) to 466 pounds (of the higher
per cent) would be required. Kainit, which is a still lower
grade of sulphate of potash, contains about i5'per cent of potash.
Of this it would require 933 pounds. Muriate of potash con-
tains about 50 per cent potash. Of this it would take 280 pounds
to supply the desired amount.
Nitrogen may be obtained from sulphate of ammonia, which
contains from 19 to 22 per cent of this element. As 60 pounds
(3 per cent of 2,000 pounds) are called for by the formula, it will
take 314 pounds (of the lower per cent) or 272 pounds (of the
higher per cent). Nitrate of soda contains from 15 to i6 per
cent of this element; so it will take 400 pounds (of the lower
per cent) or 374 pounds (of the higher per cent). Dried blood
varies from xo to 15 per cent of nitrogen; so it will take 6oo
pounds (of the lower per cent) or 400 pounds (of the higher per
cent). Cotton-seed meal may contain 8 per cent nitrogen; of
this grade it would require 759 pounds to supply the desired
amount. The amount of potash and phosphoric acid in cotton-
seed meal is small, so it has not been taken into consideration.
Concentrating these statements, we may use, to obtain the
desired amount of phosphoric acid :
Phosphate (available phosphoric acid, o1 per cent)
cc c 4 r4 "cc
Dissolved bone" 13 ".
( o ti t he 15 cc" "
To obtain the amount of potash desired:
Muriate of potash (50 per cent potash) .
Sulphate (55 )
S (50 "' ) .
'' ,i ( 21 ) .c
Kainit .. . (5 )
1,400 lbs., or
. 280 lbs., or
* 933 "
To obtain the amount of nitrogen desired:
Sulphate of ammonia (22 per cent nitrogen) 272 pounds, or
(19 ) 314 "
Nitrate of soda (x6 ) 374 "
. .(15 (" ) 400 "
Dried blood ..... ..(i5 ) 400 "
.. .(ro ) 600 "
Cotton-seed meal. (8 ) 750
By selecting one amount from each of the three required
fertilizer elements we should have a complete fertilizer, and the
amount of each element desired, though we should not neces-
sarily have a ton of fertilizer. To illustrate, let us take :
Dissolved bone (15 per cent avail, phos. acid). . .
Sulphate of potash (55 per cent potash) . .
Sulphate of ammonia (22 per cent nitrogen) . .
Total . . ... . . . . ... .
To get a ton, add earth ...... ........
1 ,469 lbs
Acid phosphate (io per cent avail. phos. acid) ..... 1,4oo lbs
Kainit (15 percent potash) . . . . .... 933 lbs
Cotton seed meal (8 per cent nitrogen) ...... 750 lbs
Total ....... ......... .... 3,o83 lbs
If our calculations have been correct, these two fertilizers
should be equally valuable to the land, though the latter con-
tains more than twice as many pounds as the former. The per
cent of the different fertilizer elements in the two fertilizers will
be found different from those suggested in the formula, but the
number of founds of each element are just what the formula calls
for. In case the earth is added the fertilizer will continue just
the per cents called for in the formula.
Both of these fertilizers are faulty; the first has all the nitro-
gen in a soluble form, which is easily washed out of the soil by
rains, and before the "snaps" are ready to be picked the plants
may be suffering for want of this (nitrogen) element. The sec-
ond fertilizer has all its nitrogen in the form of cotton-seed meal,
which would not be available to the seedling, especially during
cold, dry weather. A better fertilizer would be obtained by
using 580 pounds of cotton-seed meal and 68 pounds of sulphate
of ammonia (22 per cent nitrogen) to supply the desired amount
This vegetable is not grown extensively in Florida for North-
ern markets. It ships well, and sells easily, but our market gar-
deners have not learned to be satisfied to raise crops on small
profits. By Northern gardeners it is regarded as one of the im-
portant vegetables for early market, and for bringing a quick re-
turn. It is merely a question of time until the gardeners of our
State will turn their attention to the beet.
SOIL AND PREPARATION.
A soil that is well adapted to growing the usual vegetables
will be found good for this one. It may be slightly heavier than
that for the crops that are grown for their foliage, as lettuce. A
good cabbage soil will be found qf about the right consistency.
Wet or soggy land will not raise a crop. Plow deep and prepare
the ground well; the seedlings are quite small and need consid-
erable coaxing before they will make a good start. Use plenty
of fertilizer of some well prepared kind. Rough or undecom-
posed material should not be used. Along the row some nitrate
of soda or guano should be scattered to give the seedlings a quick
start, and to form a good root system to tide them over a possi-
ble dry spell.
SEEDING AND CULTIVATING.
It is not profitable to transplant beets; it may be done on a
small scale, but it is too expensive to practice on a large scale.
Sow the seed in drills about twenty inches apart. The seed
should be sown thick enough so that a half or two-thirds of the
plants may be weeded out. Do not thin the plants until they
begin to crowd one another, and then thin to four or six inches in
the row. The best time for thinning is when the seedlings have
reached a size of two inches; if the seed has happened to grow
well it may be necessary to thin them out before this time.
The time for sowing will depend upon conditions of weather.
They should be sown, however, early enough, so a good start
may be had before the cold of winter is expected. In the lati-
tude of Lake City, if the weather is favorable, near the first of
November is a good time.
If the seed has been sown in a wide row, and this is to be
commended, it will be necessary to do considerable hoeing. The
ground in the row should never be left to become hard, but be
kept mellow; this will let the fleshy roots sink into the soil in-
stead of forming on top.
The usual method is to use barrels or large boxes; this is a
clumsy way, and one not calculated to bring the best price. The
usual vegetable crate will be found handy and desirable.
In districts where there are pickling factories, and near
large cities, small beets, with greens, are raised with profit, but
these cannot be shipped to a distant market. For a distant mar-
ket gather tops and all; carry to the packing-house; remove the
tops with a sharp knife, leaving about an inch of the leaf-stalk
on the beet. Remove the dirt, and pack in vegetable crates:
The leaves put' in a compost heap will pay for the trouble of
hauling, or they can be fed to domestic animals with profit. The
beet itself makes one of the best feeds for milch cows, and is ex-
cellent for other domestic animals.
Extra Early Blood Turnip, Eclipse and Extra Early Egyp-
tian are good varieties to grow for market. The first named is
probably the best; the last named has the disadvantage of be
coming stringy if it matures during a long dry spell, or if allowed
to stand too long. The deep red varieties are preferred in the
markets, and those that are turnip shaped sell better than the long,
Available phosphoric acid ....... 6 per cent,
Potash. ............... 7 per cent.
Nitrogen. . . . . . . 6 per cent.
Kainit, sulphate of potash or muriate of potash. may be used
as a source for potash. Twelve hundred to two thousand pounds
will not be found too muph to produce a good crop.
The season for marketing cabbage is not long, because the
Maine and Nova Scotia cabbage will keep until March or April,
while the spring crop of Georgia and South Carolina begins to
reach market in June. Some years the Northern crop is small;
in such cases, late winter cabbage commands a high price. If
at the same time the potato crop is light, there will be a demand
for Florida cabbage. Often the vegetable grower can anticipate
such conditions, and put in a large crop of cabbage. There is a
large Southern market that would depend on Florida for cabbage
if the supply were constant. An extensive trade has already
sprung up with New Orleans.
Cabbage is an excellent crop to feed to cattle. In some of
the dairying districts it is raised as a second crop with a view
of feeding to milch-cows.
This is probably the earliest vegetable to grow from seed
that we have in the market. It is not necessary to have a cold-
frame to start the seedlings, but success is more certain by using
it. The bed used to raise the seedlings need not have bottom
heat, and need not be as fertile as for most other seedlings. To
produce stocky plants, it is better to have the bed rather cool.
If one discovers that the plants are not progressing rapidly
enough to bring them to the size desired by transplanting time,
they can be stimulated to rapid growth by the use of some liquid
manure, or some cotton-seed meal. The latter must not come
in contact with the plants, as it is liable to cause a "damping
off" in the seed-bed when it begins to decay. One-half ounce
to an ounce of seed should give plants enough for an acre.
SEWING THE SEED.
It is preferable to sow the seed in drills, far enough apart to
*permit them to be worked either by hoe or hand-plow. In our
latitude, July, August or September, depending on the variety,
is the right time to sow for spring markets of the North. This
will bring the crop into market after the Northern stored crop
has been consumed, and before the early spring crop has matured.
The drills are made about three-fourths of an inch deep. As
soon as the seedlings begin to break through the ground, make
.a liberal application ot tobacco dust; repeat the dusting every
three or four days. This will kill or drive away some insects
that are quite numerous at that time of the year.
If the seeds grow well the plants become crowded in the
drills. In this case a portion of them may be shifted to another
bed, if it is desirable to save them; otherwise they should be
thinned out. The plants should not be allowed to grow more
*than five or six inches tall, nor is it well to keep them in the
-seed-bed until they grow to this size. They can be checked in
their growth by withholding water, and by shifting them several
times; the latter is an excellent practice, though rarely followed.
Cabbage is a gross feeder, and will succeed on soil where
many other crops fail. The soil for ordinary gardening is con-
sidered excellent for this vegetable. If the land is not level, a
-northern slope is preferred, as that is cooler and keeps a more
nearly constant temperature. The freezes of last winter killed
-small cabbages in the field, which would have lived with only a
slight protection, nor would they have been killed if the plants
had been older. The seedlings, or plants in the plant-bed, can
stand about 200 F.
PLANTING AND CULTIVATING.
Before transplanting it is well to harden the plants off, and
when one is ready to remove them, soak the ground thoroughly;
this will cause the soil to adhere to the roots better. A rainy
time is preferable for planting them out, and this can usually be
waited for in our State, though it is not really necessary, as the
,plants grow very readily. For medium to large varieties, make
the rows three feet apart, and put the plants two or three feet
qpart in the row. They should be planted with a view of doing
all the cultivating by horse-power. If the season happpen to be
dry, be sure to give frequent and thorough cultivation, to con-
serve the moisture in the soil.
It is to be regretted very much that we do not supply our
Some market. A rather striking case occurred in the spring of
1894. The grocery men at Lake City bought cabbage from
New York, and retailed it at ten cents ahead. At the same
time a vegetable grower in Manatee county was shipping cabbage
by the car-load to St. Louis, Mo., at a loss of fifteen dollars per
Available phosphoric acid ...... .7 per cent.
Potash ... . . .... .8 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . .. . . . 5 per cent.
Cabbage has very little choice as to the source of the fertil-
iser, but it wants abundance of it. An acre requires 1,500 to
3,ooo00 pounds, according to the kind of land.
There is no settled form of package for cabbage. The
smaller early cabbage is usually crated or barreled; the fall cab-
bage is sometimes shipped in bulk, especially when sold by the
car-load. Barrels are frequently used, when only a few are to
be shipped to one address. Crates are often seen on the markets
of large cities; these are about 2 X4 by 4 or 5. In Florida, cabbage.
crates are made to hold a hundred pounds -smaller than the
dimensions given above.
PREPARING FOR MARKET.
It often happens that much rain falls when the heads have
become solid, causing them to burst. This may be prevented
by running a plow with a long sweep on one side of the row to.
cut off most of the roots. The bursting is caused by an assimi-
lation of too much moisture, and a consequeni expansion of the
heart, while the outer leaves cannot give sufficiently.
For shipping, nearly all the outer leaves are stripped off,
leavig )fst enough to protect the head; the stalk is then cutoff
ab6ut even. The heads should be gathered dry, and kept so
iitil they reach their destination. If somewhat wilted when
reeelVed by the retail dealer, they may be placed in a cellar, or
other moist place, when they will become crisp and fresh again.
Cabbage may be classed among the staple products, so peo-
ple are not very notional about how it appears in the market.
While it is an easy crop to grow, there are, on the other hand,
a great many failures.
As there is practically no killing frost for this vegetable
in our State it is found more profitable to raise the large
kinds. Charleston Wakefield, Premium Flat Dutch and Louis-
ville Drumhead are favorites in various portions of the State.
For family use, when cabbage is wanted in as short time as
possible, Jersey Wakefield or Early Winningstadt are desirable
Up to the time of setting out the treatment of cauliflower
is the same as that for cabbage.
The rows are three feet apart, and the plants set about
eighteen inches distant in the row. It requires more caution
to set the plants out in time, if kept in the plant-bed too long.
The plants should be set out as soon as they are large enough
to handle easily. For this vegetable it is better to make three
different sowings, about ten days apart, so as to be sure to have
plants in good condition when weather is favorable for trans-
The vegetable must be treated more nearly like early cab-
bage than like the later. The soil needs to be richer and
deeper than for cabbage. Plants must not be allowed to be
iheckeli in their growth at any time, as they are liable to run to
seed, just as when they are allowed to remain in the plant-bedl
too long. It is a profitable crop for our home markets and
can be matured until May, but after this maggots are liable to-
infest the heads. In the fall it may be planted to mature as-
early as the middle of December. It can be matured earlier
than this, but the insect and fungus enemies are quite destruc-
tive in the fall and early winter.
When the crop is raised for shipping purposes the plant-
ing should be gauged so as to bring in matured heads by the
middle of January, as the northern grown crop can be kept un-
til about Christmas, and an early crop from north of us can be
brought in by the middle of May, so we should try to have
our crop mature from the middle of January to the first of May.
As mentioned before, the early cultivation and care is the
same as for cabbage. When the heads have grown to about
the size of a tea-cup the leaves are tied over them for bleach-
ing, if it isto go to the fancy market. This is by no means a:
prevailing practice. However, this operation is a paying invest-
After this vegetable has begun to head it requires a good:
deal of judgment to put it into the market properly. The field
must be picked over repeatedly, and the matured heads removed,.
or they will spoil. If the weather is warm they are liable to
spot, and this makes them unfit for market. To examine a head,
part the leaves and see if it is beginning to crack; if so, remove
it. In case the leaves have been tied over the head to bleach it,
the leaves must be parted on the side to keep the sun off and
light out. In cutting, a good strorig knife with a blade about
eight inches long is needed. Cut the stalk so as to leave about
three circles of leaves. If the product is first-class it will pay
to cut the stalk below the leaves and cart the crop to the pack-
Trim off all but the inner circle of leaves and cut the stalks
off and wrap in a thin paper. (The stalk should have been cut:
off smooth and even with the last circle of leaves.) In the fancy
markets nearly as much pains is taken with this vegetable as with
fancy fruits, and the growing of this class of cauliflower pays
best. Before wrapping each head should be allowed to dry
thoroughly. In the matter of package, the customers are not
so particular, because the product is usually removed from it'
before it is sold by the retail dealers. The barrel or box should
not contain more than two and one-half bushels, to avoid bruis-
ing the lower heads by the weight of the upper ones. For a dis-
tant market it is better to use a crate that will hold about as
much as a tomato or an orange crate.
It has not been many years since it has been considered
possible to grow this vegetable in our State, and the limit of its
production has not been reached.
The seed is imported from Europe; only a small quantity
being grown in this country. It is quite difficult to grow
the seed in the gardening districts of the United States, as
the heads have to be kept over winter and the seed grown the
next summer. Fine heads cannot be kept from rotting, so half-
matured specimens have to be chosen. This you see would
degenerate the kind in a few generations.
Is not here a profitable employment for a small capital?
Our crop can be matured so the seed can grow the same season.
If a crop happened to be somewhat late it might be allowed to
go to seed. With a decrease in the price of the seed there would
be an increase in the quantity grown and an increase in con-
sumption. As it is one of the most delicious vegetables there
need be no fear of over-production.
Early Erfurt and Snowball are both good, and can be
depended upon for a crop. There are other varieties coming
into common use, but these two have the lead.
The price of the seed is one great drawback on cauliflower
Available phosphoric acid ...... 7 per cent.
Potash ......... . . 8 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . . . .. 5 per cent.
There is no choice as to the source of potash.
It will require about 2,ooo pounds of the above formula to
The reports of success and the profits in celery growing in
this State have been very flattering: Around New York City
and Kalamazoo, Mich., it is one of the important crops.
Our State has enough excellent celery land to supply the
market of the United States. In choosing a plot two points
must be kept in mind. First, and the most important, the soil
must be rich, not in humus alone, but in phosphoric acid and
potash also. Second, the soil must be moist, but well drained.
Much of our drained muck land has failed to produce celery
because it was too dry. Again some. have failed because the
essential elements were not well balanced, and hence the soil
was not really fertile. Again, some muck lands were too new,
and caused the crop to "rust" and decay. Celery raising
pays, because it takes more brains to raise it than many other
PREPARATION OF THE SOIL.
When celery raising is carried on for the market, as near
New York and Kalamazoo, it is planted as a second crop. A
crop of early vegetables is taken from the land, and then the
celery planted. The land, having received a heavy treatment
of manure before the early vegetables are planted, is not fertil-
ized again, unless some thoroughly rotted compost can be
applied. Fresh or undecomposed manure causes a rusting of
the vegetable that unfits it for market. The old way of grow-
ing celery was to prepare the land well and deeply, and then
make trenches six to eight inches deep, and set the plants in
these trenches. This method is not followed now by the best
Let us suppose that we have control of a field of drained
muck land. The way to proceed will be first, to make the soil
sweet and then plant the crop. Muck land will not be fit to
plant the crop on for two or three years after it has been re-
claimed. One of the best crops to prepare the muck land for
vegetables is corn; this is quite exhaustive, but the roots pene-
trate the soil well, and corn is able to stand more sourness than
many other crops. Rye and oats prepare the upper stratum
well, but their roots do not penetrate so deeply as that of corn.
When the soil has become perfectly homogenous, and the vege-
table matter thoroughly incorporated, we may feel quite sure
that it is in good condition for celery. It is advisable to test
the field by planting out a short row of celery, the year before,
on a typical portion; the growth of this will tell with a certainty
whether the soil is in good condition. When the soil is in
good condition plow the land deeply, harrow it thoroughly and
remove all rubbish. Before plowing, all cornstalks, large weeds,
*sticks, and anything else that may interfere with cultivation,
-should be removed.
If it is a pine woods land that is to be put into condition
the land must be cleared of all woody matter. The rows are
then laid off and a double furrow plowed out deeply; as deep as
,possible with a two horse plow. Scatter in this furrow thor-
oughly decomposed compost of muck and stable manure, at the
rate of about a two-horse load to a hundred feet of furrow. Mix
the soil and compost thoroughly, gradually filling the furrow in
doing so. It is true that celery will grow and produce good
looking spenaiens without any vegetable matter being added,
but it is of such quality as would not compete with the northern
The seed is sown in July or August, preferable in a cold-
frame or in a plant-bed, where the young plants can be watered
-easily and protected from the hot sun. If the plant-bed or cold-
frame has been used before new fertilizer must be added before
the seed are sown. If a new plant-bed has to be made follow
the directions given for the preparation of these on a former
page. Put a considerable emphasis on the use of plenty of fer-
Wlizer. Do not put the bed near trees to secure shade from
them; they will exhaust the soil before the plants are ready to be
When the bed is level and smooth use a six or eight inch
board to mark off the rows. Lay the bbard down and mark
along one side with a dibber, make the drill about half an inch
deep and sow the seed in it, turn the board over and make a
second drill and sow this, and so on until the bed is sown. The
seed should be scattered thinly, about two to the inch. The
plants should be thinned to about an inch apart, when the
leaves begin' to form. Care should be exercised to keep the
weeds out by cultivating and weeding.
A celery bed should be cultivated at least every week and while
the weeds are still inithe seed-leaves they should be weeded out.
If the plants' tend to become spindly shear the tops off and the
leaves will groWi stocky. The outer leaves that were sheared off
would have been lost anyway. Crowding the plants in the row
makes them send out a strong down-growing root, that might be
called a tap-root. If the plants are not crowded the roots spread
out on the surface, and are constantly subject to slight droughts.
In the case of a strong central root system the plant is nourished
from the portion of the soil that is constantly moist. Another
decided advantage is that the plants may be transplanted with
less injury to the root system.
Fine plants for transplanting are offered for sale every year
at such a low price that it is difficult to see where" the profit to
the plant-grower comes from. However cheap the plants may
be in the market, it is safer and preferable to grow your own
plants and your own seeds. It however happens sometimes,
through Cneglect or carelessness of the employees, that celery
plants must be bought or the crop abandoned for that year.
If one has to buy plants from a distance the land must be
entirely ready to receive the plants when they arrive. If it
happens to be a dry spell the plants must be put into a bed
where they can be shaded and water in abundance be supplied.
A quantity of the plants can then be set out from time to time
as one is able to take care of them. The setting out must not
be delayed, for the plants will soon form roots from the reserve
material within themselves, and if this has to be done the second
time it will be a severe draft on the plant. If one has raised his
own plants he may delay transplanting for weeks, awaiting a
rain. If the land is in perfect readiness, as soon as the plants
are large enough, which will be in October or November, they
oan be set out at the proper time.
The distance to plant the rows is three or four feet, accord-
ing to the variety, putting the plants five or six inches apart in the
row. Have the soil mellow and deep; stretch a line and use a
dibber for planting. The surface of the land should be even
and level. Cut off the tips of the roots; if they are quite long
one third of them can be cut off to advantage. Cut the leaves
back about the same proportion. Place the plant into the hole
made by the dibber, and press the ground about it firmly. Mr.
T. Greiner says: "If you want to know if your work is done
quite right, take a good hold of one of the leaves and pull. If
the plant comes out of the ground, it was not set firmly enough;
if the leaf breaks without loosening the plant, all is right." In
our sandy loam we have to be a little more moderate, but the
soil must be pressed firmly to the plant. In setting out put the
bud even with the surface of the ground. The work of setting
out can be facilitated by cutting the roots and leaves to the pro-
per size before taking to the field. A strong boy may be em-
ployed to hand the plants out in good shape to the one doing the
After setting, the plants must be watered, unless the setting
out is done immediately after a rain. After watering, as soon as
the water has soaked into the ground, rake a thin layer of soil
over the moist earth. If it is after a rain, work the ground lightly
to give some loose soil on top. These directions, if followed
out, will do much to conserve the moisture of the soil.
A few days before transplanting the plants should be har-
dened off to lessen the shock of transplanting. Alter having set
the plants out they should be shaded to accustom them to the
field gradually. The best device for this is an eight or ten inch
board placed obliquely over the row. The board is secured by
stakes, which are driven on the south side of the row and slant-
ing toward the north; by leaning a board against these the plants
will stand in the shade during the hotter portion of the day, and
be exposed to the sun in the evening and morning.
Celery receives the greater portion of its cultivation in the
seed-bed. It is cultivated once or twice after setting out, and
then the earth is gradually drawn up to the row, keeping the fo-
liage on top of an A-shaped ridge. In the family garden this is
made with a common hoe, but on the celery farms they have
special machines for this purpose. These machines are drawn
by a team, and hill both sides at once. This banking is for the
purpose of blanching. This is simply to keep chlorophyll from
forming in the stems, and to remove what has already formed.
Shutting out the light in many other ways is just as good
as banking or chilling, if it keeps the light out as thoroughly.
Another way of bleaching (or blanching) that is employed ex-
tensively is to use boards in the place of earth. Eight to twelve-
inch boards are taken, according to the variety of celery to be
bleached, and laid flat alongside of the row with one edge next
to the plants; raise the outer edge ot the boards up against the
plants; now move the lower edge out a few inches, this will let
the board stand against the row of celery; press the board down
to shut out all light from the bottom, and the whole work of
banking is done. In two or three weeks the celery will be
bleached sufficiently for use. If there is danger of the boards
falling they may be fastened by nailing a light strip from the one
to the other. The upper edge of the boards should be pressed
together firmly, but not hard enough to bruise the leaves. This
method is fine for family use, but when celery is grown on a large
scale it takes too much lumber and too much work in handling
Among other methods of bleaching are those of putting tile
around the plant, and of wrapping with thick paper or covering
with a paper tube, but all of these have failed to meet the wants
of celery gardeners.
There are, then, two ways of bleaching celery: First, by
banking it with earth; second, by banking it with boards. The
former is preferable when celery is grown on a large scale, and
may be accomplished by hand, by a one-horse plow, or by a two-
horse plow. The second method is preferable when celery is
grown for home market or for family use, where refuse boards
can be used, and only a small portion of the crop is wanted from
time to time. Later in the season, or when the celery has at-
tained its full growth, it takes nearly twice as long to bleach it.
This should be borne in mind when it is prepared to meet the
wants of a certain time.
THE NEW CELERY CULTURE.
The process is not quite true to name. It could be
applied as well to the method of cultivating without using
trenches. In short, the new celery culture is simply to culti-
vate celery with profit when the rows are planted about six
inches apart and the plants six inches in the row. The main
point in mind when this plan was suggested was to do away with
the expense of bleaching. Three points must be kept in mind
to succeed with this method. First, we must have a variety
that is self-bleaching; that is, we must have a variety that makes
enough shade to keep the stalks bleached from the time that it
is large enough for the market. Second, the soil must be rich
enough to support and mature six or eight times the usual crop.
Third, there must be moisture enough present to fulfill the same
In preparing for this method we should remember how
much fertilizer there was used on six or eight acres, and then
put a hke amount on one acre, and it will be necessary to have
some way ot supplying moisture. Some system of irrigation
will be necessary.
This method, although it has many warm advocates, has
not been tested sufficiently to be recommended without reserva-
tion. It has met with sufficient success to warrant thorough
trials. The work up to the time of setting out is the same as for
the old method, except in regard to the fertilizer. In marking
out the land make checks from 7 x 7 to o1 x 10 inches, accord-
to the size of self-bleaching variety.
It must be borne in mind that the foliage must be dense
enough to shut out the light as early as the stalks are large
enough to market. As soon as the plants shade the ground
completely the work is done; there is no hilling up except
around the outside row. By planting successively from the
earliest to the latest varieties we can have the crop come in dur-
ing the entire marketing time, and bank only the out side row of
the entire field.
The ordinary method furnishes about 20,000 plants to the
acre; this new method nearly or quite I50,000. Mr. T. Greiner,
quoted before, in his "Celery for Profit," makes a comparison of
the two methods. He finds the expenses for raising and mar-
keting one acre by the old method, is $260; that of the new pro-
cess $920. These figures are about as low is they can be put;
for our State we must add something for additional cost of ferti-
lizer, and for transportation, but on the other hand our land is
cheaper, and possibly the labor and plants are cheaper. Now
for the profits; on the acre under ordinary cultivation it was
$190; on the acre by the new culture it was $1,18o. The esti-
mate seems entirely fair; the celery is estimated at 30 cents a
dozen bunches, and allows for a loss of about twenty-five per
,cent. of the plants set out.
Celery sheds have not been tested sufficiently to be rec-
ommended, but where this vegetable is raised on the new plan
it will probably pay. The shed is constructed like a pineapple
shed; posts are set ioxio feet, and stand nine feet above the
ground. The tops of the posts are connected by stringers running
east and west. On these stringers are placed four inch battens
about four inches apart. This shed cuts off one half of the sun's
rays, and diffuses the remainder so they will not fall heavily on
any one place. The battens running north and south distribute
the sunlight more evenly than when they run the other way.
In following the new celery culture it is necessary to resort
to irrigation for the water supply. This supply may be distribu-
ted in one of two ways; either by open ditches at short intervals
-or by running tile near the surface.
When the water is distributed by open ditches, the ditches
are cut three to four feet apart. In watering, these are allowed
to flow full of water until the earth is thoroughly soaked, then
the water is turned into another set, and thus continued until
the whole area has been watered. These ditches are shallow,
only. a few inches deep. On a clayey soil the ditches are run
nearly on the level, but on sandy loam there must be a consider-
able decline to have the water reach the further end, or the
plants at the upper end alone will receive water.
Irrigating by the use of tile, or other more or less solid pipe
laid into the soil is the better plan. This is especially advisa-
ble when the water supply is limited, as less is lost by soaking
away and from evaporating. In this, as in the open ditches,
we have a main supply, and running from this are the arms that
do the feeding or furnishing to the crop.
There is a rapidly growing demand for celery in our home
market, and judging from the price that it brings to the retail
dealers in our State, there must be a large profit somewhere, or
somewhere a large waste. The many rich people who visit
our State during the winter consume large quantities. These
people want the very finest, and are willing to pay a good price
for a fine article, while an inferior article will remain on the
market, and usually would better remain in the field.
With the increased facilities for transportation we can put
the article into the hands of our home consumers in two or three
days less time than the New York or Kalamazoo market can,
and this means a preference, even at an advanced price. Con-
sumers want this vegetable crisp, fresh and free from "strings."
PREPARING FOR MARKET.
Celery is not grown so generally in our State that the local
markets are supplied. There are only a few places that produce
it at all, and these do so in quantity. It may seem like a small
and slow business to train people up to like any vegetable, but a
taste for this vegetable is easily cultivated. It has been only a
few years since gardening for local sales has been profitable in
many sections of our State, and in some it is not meeting with
success even yet. The fault is as much that of the producers as
of the buyers. There are a great many reasons why home mar-
kets should be cultivated rather than look to New York or other
Northern markets, where our celery has to compete with(the pro-
duct from fertile land and cheap fertilizer. Jacksonville is not a
good market for us, as we have to compete with the cheap ocean'
transportation from New York. We should rather look to some
of our inland cities and towns. It is not uncommon to see an
inferior grade of celery selling for ten and fifteen cents a bunch
at the local markets and on inquiring it has been found that this
has been shipped from a distance.
In the matter of preparation for market there seems to be
very little choice in Florida. The main point is to get it on sale
in a crisp form, and to have it sightly; both points are often over-
looked, however. In the Northern markets there are two dis-
tinct ways for preparing this vegetable for market. The Kala-
mazoo shippers make a large bunch of twelve plants, the
outer leaves are stripped off nicely, and the root cut very short
and square across. These dozen plants are trimmed off nicely,
are put into a square frame and tied and are then packed
in flat crates or boxes and sent to market-either West-
ern or in the Middle States. The Eastern or New England
market calls for a little different kind of bunches. For this the
plant must be trimmed to expose the heart to view. From three
to five of such plants are then fastened together by driving a
long nail through the roots, or they may be tied together. Most
of the root is left on the plant, making the nailing possible. The
size of the plants governs the number to be used in making a
bunch. The bunches are then packed in long, narrow crates, so
the whole can be inspected from the outside. The New Jersey,
Maryland and Virginia markets usually accept celery packed
tightly in boxes or barrels. For the local markets it is not neces-
sary to use any particular form of package, yet where one intends
to establish a business some regular form of package or crate
should be adopted, as that makes a trade mark; the crate should
be light and tasty. For long shipping a good crate can be made
by making a solid bottom of half or three-fourths inch stuff; a
rim around this about four inches high; this portion of the crate
should be water-tight; put a one-inch square post in each corner,
twelve inches high; nail a strip across each end, and several
strips nailed to hold the plants from being removed. Crates of
this kind, about two feet square, have been used, but the size
may be varied to suit the occasion. In these crates the plants
are shipped without trimming their roots.
To prepare celery'for the market two tubs of water are
taikci to the field, and as soon as the plants are dug they are
plunged into one tub, washed off well, and then into the second
to rinse, after all the green and partially dried leaves have been
picked off. If they are intended for a near market the roots are
cut to suit the trade. For long distance shipping the roots are
left on and the crate sprinkled after it has been packed.
Giant Paschal is said to be the best for our State. Several
other varieties have been grown successfully, but not generally
enough to warrant definite statements. Probably one will find
that most of the good varieties for other States will do well
Available phosphoric acid . .... 7 per cent.
Potash . . . . . . . 7 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . . ... 5 per cent.
On muck lands or drained bottoms use less nitrogen and
more potash than given in this formula. Fourteen hundred to
2,500 pounds to the acre will be necessary; for the new celery
culture about six times this quantity is needed.
This has become one of the leading vegetables for the
South. It stands shipping to distant markets remarkably well.
In that portion of the South where there are frosts the seedlings
should be started in a cold-frame or in a hot-bed. This seems
like very remarkable advice to those who have tried to trans-
plant them, but it is easy enough when you know how. For
every acre that is to be planted procure twelve hundred two-
inch, paper flower pots; the same number of four-inch, and, if
very early cukes are wanted, the same number of six-inch. Use
only the best seed, and plant them four in each pot. These pots
should be filled to within a half inch of the top with good pot-
ting soil; it is planted six weeks earlier than the last frost usu.
ally occurs, if it is intended to use only the two smaller sized
pots;:but about nine weeks if the three sizes are to be used.
The cost of the pots in the former case will be less than nine
dollars; in the later about twenty-five dollars. There is no
doubt but that one could obtain a large discount on these pots,
if a large quantity were to be bought at one time. If these pots
are not sunk into the sand they will stand for two crops. Dur-
ing their growth the plants should be examined frequently to see
that they do not become pot-bound. They should be shifted to
a larger pot as soon as the soil is permeated by the roots. This
may be tested by removing the soil from one of the pots which
may be done easily as follows: Hold a pot upside down, press
on the bottom, this will loosen the soil, the condition of the
roots can now be examined without difficulty. As soon as the
roots have taken up most of the space in the pot shift the plant
to a larger one.
The plants should not be transferred to the field until two
weeks after danger from frost; if the spring is cold and back-
ward it is better to keep the plants under the protecting cloth.
This method seems to be rather expensive, but it avoids all dan-
ger from frosts, andif the six-inch pots are used the plants will
be too far advanced to be hurt by the cucumber aphis. Much
useless working of land is also avoided. On the other hand it
requires skill and experience to prepare the potting soil properly,
also care in handling the plant bed. The amount of work will
be found to be less than when they are planted directly in the
field. The amount of seed is reduced to a minimum, and its
efficiency to a maximum.
PREPARATION OF THE FIELD.
The light sandy soil of Florida is well adapted to this vege-
table. It thrives well in all parts of the State. Any kind of
decayed vegetable matter will make good manure. Lay the
field off in checks six by six feet, in these spread the fertilizer in
a circle about three feet in diameter. Work it well into the
soil and plant the hill in the centre. If one desires to plant the
cukes in the field the seed is dropped in the centre of the fer-
tilized spot; in this case drop about a dozen seed in a hill a foot
across; the insects and other enemies will destroy so many that
you will not have to thin out many hills. After the yines are
about six inches long the hills should be thinned to three or four
plants. Some hills will be missing, these can often be supplied
by taking up a portion of some other on the hoe and transfer-
ring it to the place that has failed.
If there is no other crop on the same land no attention need
be given to the portion in the middle of the rows so long as
there are no weeds going to seed. As the vines grow out from
the hills as a centre more and more of the middle is added, until
the vines have finally taken the whole field. If any vine or
vines toke a notion to run, the end should be cut off; this will
make them branch. It is well to see that the hills claim all the
ground as they grow out; if they fail to do so, cut the tips of the
runners and new ends will form. It is not a well to shift
a vine-that is, take it up and shift it from one place to another.
At various points roots come out, and these help the tap-root to
support the plant, and any interference with these works a dam-
age to the plant as a whole.
PICKING AND PACKING.
As soon as the blossom-end of the young cuke has filled out
plump it is mature, and should be picked for shipping or for
market. Care must be taken to remove any that have grown too
large, as the vine sets only a few more after a cucumber has
been allowed to ripen. If they begin to show the want of fer-
tilizer, some quickly available form can be given them, and the
bearing season prolonged almost indefinitely. The size that is
wanted for pickles varies with the market. Some require large
and other markets small ones. In no case should a cull be
allowed to remain on the vine; they often pay for their picking
in the local market, or they can be given to hands and neigh-
bors, but they are not worth the shipping room.
The marketing is done in a crate, of the same size as the
pea and tomato crate. Cukes are picked dry and taken to the
packing-house; here they are sorted and crated. They are laid
evenly and tightly in the crate, and finally pressed down and
nailed. The packing must be so tight that the product will not
shake on the way. A field has to be picked over three times a,
The amount that an acre will produce is almost incredible.
While two hundred to three hundred crates may be considered
a fair crop, we have reports of six hundred, eight hundred, and
even nine hundred crates to the acre.
There are many varieties that are commendable for forcing,
but for field crops none have yet exceeded the Improved White
Spine in popularity.
Available phosphoric acid ...... .7 per cent.
Potash ........... ......8 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . . . . .. 5 per cent.
Fifteen hundred to 2,500 pounds per acre will be required
on most land. If the land is rich in organic matter, use less or
none of the nitrogen, according to the amount present. A table-
spoonful of nitrate of soda sprinkled about the hill as soon as
the plants are up will hurry them along out of danger from
insects. Too much nitrogeneous matter makes poor shippers
and over-grown sizes.
This vegetable is rapidly becoming a money crop in Florida.
Although it can be grown in the Northern gardens it is not prof-
itable and does not do well. It requires long-continued heat to
develop the fruit well.
The greatest obstacle in the way of success has been that
the gardeners have failed to supply the necessary fertility to the
soil. One of the prominent eggplant growers of the State began
by raising ten acres, and did not make anything on the crop;
thIn he reduced the acreage to five, and gave the same amount
4f fertilizer that he had put on the ten acres before; again he
*cut down the acreage, this time to two and a half acres, but the
amount of fertilizer was kept at the original figure, and the at-
tention increased. The two and one-half acres have as much
fruit as, and of a better quality and finer shape than, the five
acres. At this point the gardener did not cut down the area, as
he thought he had reached the maximum of high culture.
For early fruit plant the seed in a hot-bed about the first of
December. When the plants have grown to be about an inch
prick them out into two-inch paper pots; keep them in a hot-bed
or a cold-frame, and guard closely to protect from cold. During
the cold, windy days the protecting cloth should be raised, but
when there is a chance to let in some warm sunshine it should
be done. If the weather is rather cold the plants will grow very
slowly, but if there is some bottom heat the roots will make a
good growth. As the roots begin to show that the room in the
pots has been occupied the plants must be shifted to larger ones.
If six-inch pots are provided the plants may be grown to six or
-eight inches high before setting in the field. They should not
be set out until 11 danger from frosts, and from having a cold
spell, is passed.
There is very little danger in getting too much fertilizer on
the land, the difficulty is in not having it incorporated thoroughly
,enough. Two tons to the acre of the ordinary vegetable fertil-
izer will be found to be only a moderate application.
KIND OF SOIL.
A sandy loam will be found excellent soil; this should be
well drained and have a moist subsoil. Land that has been
-drained, if all other conditions are proper, will make an excellent
This plant is a deep feeder, so that the land should be
plowed as deeply as possible. A new field should not be taken,
while one might succeed, the chances are not so good as on an
-old and well-tried piece of land. Be sure that all rubbish and
matter that could interfere with cultivation has been removed.
Fertilize the field broadcast; there is little or no danger of
the plants failing to get the food if it is in the soil. The best way
is to apply the fertilizer just before plowing the field, and then
apply a smaller amount where the plants are to stand; work the
fertilizer in well a week or two before setting out.
Lay the land off into rows four feet apart, and set the plants
three or four feet apart in the row. At convenient distances a
row may be skipped to make a road to gather the crop.
After the crop has been planted there is little or no use for
a hoe; the plow can and 'ought to do the work. No weeds
should be allowed to show more than the seed leaves, and the
ground should be kept mellow enough to let a person sink
nearly to the ankles in dry times. When the fertilizer has been
applied properly the roots will seek the deeper soil, and the or-
dinary horse cultivator will not reach them at all. Eggplant
raising pays best under high cultivation.
By replenishing the fertilizer, plants may be kept in bearing
until frost kills them in the fall, but it will be found more profit-
ble to renew the field, if a summer or fall crop is desired.
The fruit is mature for shipping when it is half grown or
before the seed begins to swell. This can be determined best
by trying several specimens. The change of color is also some-
what of a guide; it usually turns from a bright purple to a dull
color. Eggplant is usually marketed in barrels, and is quoted
in this way. This is not a good way, however, as it gives more
opportunities for petty fraud. Some form of crate which is easily
handled and that will exhibit the vegetable is very desirable.
The crop is too bulky for the ordinary vegetable crate, and by
the time the crop has reached the proportions of supplying the
demand more barrels will be required than can be supplied.
A barrel crate, exhibiting well packed and nicely colored
fruit, sells more readily than the same amount in a barrel.
Several varieties have been fruited on the Experiment Sta-
tion; the earliest was Improved New York Spineless; this is a
good variety for table use, but is not prolific enough for com-
mercial purposes. Black Pekin is a later variety, but produces
a large crop and finer berries. Seed bought under this name
proved to be the best market variety in the test.
Available phosphoric acid. . . 6 per cent.
Potash .. ...... ... ... 7 per cent.
Nitrogen. . . . . . . 4 per cent.
Three Thousand to 4,000 pounds to the acre applied to the
hill and well incorporated. Cotton-seed meal or other vege-
table matter should be used to apply the nitrogen.
This vegetable is grown with profit as a market crop in
some sections of our State. As far north as Gainesville it may
be grown in the open field during the entire winter. It will
stand a temperature of 20 F. without material damage. Some
varieties are more sensitive to cold than others.
The loam in the seed-bed should be rather coarse-grained,
with a mixture of humus; much very fine sand in the soil makes
it unfit for either seed bed or field. Seed is sown in drills two
or three inches apart, ot it may be scattered broadcast and cov-
ered lightly. It should be protected from the sun, and not al-
lowed to be dried out by winds. Plenty of moisture is neces-
sary, but the drainage must be good. As soon as the seed-leaves
are well developed the largest plants should be picked out with
some small tool, and transplanted to a plant bed. Here the
rows may be four inches a part, and the plants an inch in the
row. In selecting the seedlings to be transferred only the largest
are chosen, the inferior ones should be destroyed. The plant-
bed being made up of strong soil will force the plants along
rapidly. In about three weeks the plants will be ready for a
transfer, this time they may be set in a cold-frame or in the field.
For setting in the field only the best should be chosen, thus se-
lecting the best of the best, and getting a lot of plants .that are
PREPARING THE FIELD.
The soil should be made up of a friable loam; there should
be an abundance of humus present but a very small amount of
silt or very fine sand. While the soil must be rich it need not
be deep, and the preparation may be shallow; deep plowing is
useless. All rubbish must be removed. Lay off the rows eigh-
teen inches or two feet apart, and make checks from six to ten
inches, according to the variety. Having a handful of selected
plants drop one at every check; then with a dibber or forefinger
force the root into the ground at the check. Press the soil
tightly about the plant and the work is done. The plowing
should be done with a horse and finished by hand if necessary;
the work should be shallow but all the weeds kept down.
One of the best varieties is Grand Rapids. Black seeded
Simpson and Blond Blockhead each make excellent heads, and
in their prime are finer than the first named, but their time is
much shorter than that of the former, and they do not mature
Available phosphoric acid. .... .9 per cent.
Potash. .. . . . . .. 12 per cent.
Nitrogen. . . . . . ... 5 per cent.
If the land contains an abundance of nitrogenous matter the
per cent of nitrogen may be decreased. Use 200ooo to 3000
pounds per.acre. In a cold-frame or hot-bed, or in composting
for these, use a pound for every two lineal feet (12 square feet)
The tastes of different markets is not fixed; any good ship-
ment will meet with a fair sale, however. Some prefer loose
,heads while others choose solid ones. It may be shipped in bar-
rels or open crates; in either case the packing must be firm, but
the leaves must not be crushed. If the crop is not of a golden
yellow and tender, it can be made so by covering it with some-
thing that will keep out the light. For such purpose boards or
heavy, cloth may be employed: Lettuce that has matured a little
too much may be treated this way and be made marketable.
Of all the crops that we have there is none thit requires
more attention in the manipulation of the land previous to plant-
ing than this one does. The only reason why this crop is not
more largely raised in Florida for market is that so many people
do not go into vegetable-growing with a view of sticking to it.
In the onion-growing districts land is said to improve with each
crop that is removed from it. Land that has been cropped for
twenty years is raising better crops now than the neighboring
land that is just being cleared for that purpose.
A sandy loam, with clay subsoil, will give excellent returns,
provided there is an abundance of humus or other nitrogenous
matter present. Most of our land is subject to too great a varia-
tion in the moisture it contains. The roots of onions do not
enter the soil deeply, so they are easily affected by changes ii
the upper stratum.
PREPARING THE LAND.
SIn selecting a plot of land, be sure to take one that does not
become soggy in wet weather nor dry during a drouth. If the
right kind of land is not at hand, some should be bought that is
all right-not rented, unless one can have the option of buying
it at a fair price. One should not go into onion-raising as a tem-
porary employment, unless he be an onion grower from some
other section-and those need no advice. Where it is possible
to have an artesian well it will be found profitable to irrigate the
land. The land should be well drained. Put the under-drains
close together, so as to remove the surplus water quickly.
The land should be shallow but thoroughly plowed, leaving
no particle unturned. Remove all roots or sticks, or other debris,
before plowing and again after plowing, then harrow thoroughly,
removing every particle in the form of sticks or straw; even the
roots of last year's grass should be removed. After the land has
been thus thoroughly prepared, it should be allowed to remain a
month or so before planting; during this time it should be stirred
again and fertilized.
The Bermuda has been recommended as being the best
variety for a crop in this State. There seems to be a good deal
of difficulty in obtaining the genuine seed. This is a very im-
portant point in the success of onion-growing. There is proba-
bly no other crop where so much depends on obtaining a good
strain of seed. It is not profitable to use old seed when new
can be obtained.
The seed should be sown in seed-beds, or cold-frames, pre-
pared with special care. These should be prepared a month or
so beforehand, and should be worked over frequently to have
the fertilizer incorporated into the soil. These seed-beds must
be constructed so the moisture in them can be controlled.
If the seed-bed is free from weed-seed, as it should be, the
rows may be made about three inches apart and the seed sown
thick enough to raise about three thousand plants to one linear
foot (six square feet) of 'standard cold-frame. This will give
500 to 750 plants to a row six feet long. There is considerable
variation in the number of plants that can be produced from an
ounce of seed. Good gardeners are able to produce 5,000,.but
we will put the figure at 4,000. There are so many elements
that enter the question that the number cannot be exact. When
the seed-bed is cared for properly it will give plants large enough
to be set out in six weeks.
TIME TO Sow.
As in the case of potatoes, one should watch the -Northern
markets and crops. If onions are selling for a very small price
in the fall it is clearly not wise to put a large crop for early
spring, but shipping time should be delayed a month or two. A
good product never fails to bring a fair return; it is quite
unusual to sell any portion of the crop in our State for less than
a dollar a bushel.
The seed may be sown any time from the first of Septem-
ber to the first of January. The last date brings it into com-
petition with the crops raised in the States just north of us, but
the price is not usually low enough to make the crop an ex-.
pense. October is a favorite date, and one that brings the crop
into market after the stored crop has been consumed. Imme-
diately after the seed has been sown in the cold-frame the prepa-
ration of the field should be commenced.
Good compost or well-rotted barnyard manure will be
found excellent, and guano still better. Whatever kind be used
be sure that it contains no weed seed. If both home made and
commercial fertilizer are to be used, plow the former in, and after
the land has been well worked down use the latter broad cast,
and mix it with the soil by using a cut-away harrow. In the
matter of using fertilizer Mr. Gaitskill's advice to the Florida
State Horticultural Society should be followed. When discuss.
ing the amount of fertilizer to use on vegetables he said: "Put
on all you think the land can stand, then put on as much more,
and you will have about half enough."
The most expensive operation in the growing of onions in
this way is the setting out. This will be found to cost about
$40 an acre. Boys and girls will set out 2000 to 3000 a day; a
good man can set 4000 to 5000, and it takes about 16o,ooo
plants to an acre it will be seen that it is no small job. It is
claimed by persons that have set out several acres that they can
do so at the cost of $20 per acre. Persons that are not familiar
with onion growing will consider this an almost insurmountable
obstacle, but when we remember that it does away with the
early weeding and hoeing, the expense will not be so heavy as at
first supposed. Twenty dollars is not sufficient to bring an acre
of onions to four weeks old by the old method, and have the
field free from weeds.
After the seedlings have grown large enough to be handled
easily they should be transplanted. Mark the rows off about
twelve inches apart if they are to be worked by hand; if by
horse-power the rows must be from twenty to twenty-four inches
apart. A simple rake-like contrivance that has teeth at proper
intervals will serve the purpose of a marker. If the marker is
wide enough to mark out six or eight rows at once it will be
foeifd steadier than a small one. All that is nedceiary is to
make a mark for a guide; the lines or marks need not be de&p
nor broad. A revolving marker may be made byfasteninkg
thin rope around a wooden roller and inserting pegs at proper
intervals on the circumference, it will lay off distances and be a
good guide in planting. If the pegs have been put so they will
make a dot every twelve inches in the row, all that is necessary
is tO set a plant in each dot, and then put three between. These
dots ate especially desirable if one has boys and girls at work.
For setting the plants a small, flat dibber is used; a home-
made one will serve the purpose as well as any. A piece of
seasoned hard wood, one inch square and six long, should be
shaved down to a flat point and a handle fixed across the top.
Such a tool can be made easily and quickly, or one may have a
steel one made by a blacksmith; these will be found better, but
where a good many hands are being worked it requires some
forethought and some .expense.
To set the plant insert the dibber on the line and press it
from you, set the plant with the other hand, remove the dibber
and set it in the ground beyond, and press the dirt firmly to the
plant. This operation insures that the soil will be pressed firmly
about the roots of the plants. The plants must be set perpen-
dicularly, or an ill-shaped onion will result. When one has
many hands at work they should be divided into gangs and
placed under a careful foreman, who shall see that the work is
done properly and keep the planters supplied with sets.
The seedlings may be removed from the bed by passing a
trowel under the row and lifting a lot of them at once; then sep-
arate from the soil, and trim off the long roots and leaves. The
leaves are in the way of later cultivation and the roots bother in
"Tillage is manure," is an old and true saying, but in
cultivating onions we must be careful that it is done properly.
There are just two points to be kept in mind when cultivating
onions; the first is to keep the weeds down, and the second is
to conserve the moisture in the soil. The former of these is
well understood by all gardeners and needs but to b tfnention'ed;
the decoxid, however, ii usually overlooked; many people recog-
nize the value of working land during dry times, but do not
know why it has the desired efect on the crop. At least an
inch of loose soil should be kept on the ground as a mulch dur-
ing dry times.
For hand cultivation the double wheel-hoe is undoubtedly
the best machine now on the market. Whatever tool is used it
should not penetrate the ground more than an inch and in no
case touch the bulb of the plant.
If the field is to be cultivated by horse-power it will require
a plow made especially for that purpose; there is no difficulty
in training a horse or mule to do the work well, and a great
deal of hard work can be avoided by using one. In the onion-
growing sections the land is too costly to permit the use of a
horse, so the wheel-hoes are used exclusively.
The workers in the field carry a bag with them to receive
any purslane or other plant that may have been missed or
allowed to grow to flowering size. All large weeds are carried
to the edge of the field and thrown in heaps to rot. There are
very few fields that are free enough of weed seed to grow a crop
without some hand weeding; this should be done with a knife, i. e.,
large weeds should not be pulled when growing in the row. For
this purpose there are knives made, which may be obtained from
most supply stores, but an old case-knife may be bent into good
shape, without costing as much. The point is turned up to
lessen the danger of hacking into the plant as the hand works
The ordinary garden hoes do not work well in the onion
fields; a worn out one that has been cut down to one half its
width, so as to leave the corners obtuse, will work pretty welL
All tools should be kept as sharp as the steel will permit; a dull
hoe will soon use up more time than would buy a new one.
THE OLD PLAN.
The primitive method of raising onions is to sow the seed
in the field where the crop is to grow. This method is still
followed in many onion-growing sections. Prepare the land in
the same way as you would for setting out. Sowing is best done
by a seed drill. Set the drill so it will sow from twelve to thirty-
six seed to the linear foot, according to the variety and the ger-
minating quality of the seed. Make the rows from fifteen to
twenty inches apart. During dry weather the seed is very slow
to germinate; I have known it to lie in the ground for six weeks
without any perceptible change. To anticipate such a condition,
one should mix radish or rape seed with the onion seed in such
proportion that one of these seeds will be dropped about every
toot. Radish and rape seeds spring up very quickly, and are
easily seen. This will mark the rows so cultivation may be
carried on before the onions are up. If a beating rain occurs
before the onions are up, or as they are just appearing, it is liable
to smother the tender seedlings, but by cultivating after a heavy
rain the water draws off rapidly, and does less damage. (Of
course this cannot be practiced on clay soil.) Cultivating during
dry weather keeps the soil moist.
It is only in an exceptional year that onions can be grown
with profit on weedy land. Keep down all weeds in the middles
by the use of a hoe or wheel-hoe. The weeding, or removing
of weeds from the row, is, at best, a slow and expensive task;
often the workmen have to get down on their knees and elbows.
Only competent laborers should be employed; incompetent ones
are liable to disturb the seedlings, or simply pull the tops off of
the weeds, either of which might go without detection for a
CURING THE CROP.
When a majority of the tops fall it is a sign of their being
ripe. The crop should be pulled and allowed to dry; this will
take about a week of dry weather. If a rain occurs it will be
necessary to turn the bulbs, which can be done with a garden
rake with dull teeth. Rain is liable to bleach the crop and so
damage the sale. This is best prevented by taking the crop to
a curing shed, which simply needs a roof to keep the rain off,
and possibly some movable sides for rain-breaks, to prevent a
driving rain from wetting the crop.
The tops should not be removed until they are dry, and
break easily and can be stripped off without difficulty. It is
usually better to push our crop forward as early as possible.
The maturing may be hastened somewhat by knocking the tops
over. As soon as the roots loosen their hold on the ground
they may be pulled, but there is some danger of their making a
second start if the season is rainy. In such a case they must be
drawn out and cured quickly. In a dry storing room onions
may be kept for a long time to wait for a good market.
It is not necessary to use fine material to make onion-crates;
the poorer quality left from sorting tomato crates will be found
to bring as good a price as the finer ones. In packing, the
crates should be well filled to prevent the product from being
bruised, as bruised ones rot down very quickly. All culls should
be removed from the field, and composted, to prevent them from
drawing insects and growing fungi.
It has been mentioned before that stable manure is not
popular as an onion fertilizer; principally because it contains so
much weed-seed. A soil that contains an abundance of humus
is desirable, consequently all weeds and manures should be com-
posted and used in this way.
If the land is already rich in nitrogen, as, for instance, muck
land, it will not be necessary to add much of this element in com-
mercial fertilizer. A well balanced fertilizer for ordinary gar-
dening land should contain.
Phosphoric acid, available ...... .6 per cent.
Potash . . . . . . 7 per cent.
Nitrogen. . . . . . . 4 per cent.
Use a ton of this on land that is considered fertile enough
for an ordinary crop; two tons may be applied on land that has
been cropped several years.
If the plants do not start off readily, and the conditions of
temperature and moisture are all right, a light dressing of ni-
trate of soda will be found valuable. Mr. T. Greiner advises
the use of seventy five pounds of nitrate of soda to the acre;
sown on broadcast as soon as the field has been set out. And a
repetition of this about every ten days, until five applications
have been given. If this is done when the plants are free from
-dew and rain there will be no difficulty from scalding the foli-
ago, It should not be carried on too long, as it will keep the
onions growing after they should have ripened; this same dif
culty will be experienced if one uses a fertilizer containing an
unusual amount of nitrogen, or if one should use 4 complete
fertilizer on muck land.
RAISING ONIONS FROM SETS.
The earliest onions to mature in the north are those raised
from sets. The operation differs from the above only in that the
sets are in a dormant state and are handled more easily. The
general; directions will remain the same.
This vegetable is very generally cultivated in the South for
early market. It is quite a staple crop, and as it requires very
little skill it is a favorite with many who are not able to raise
other vegetables. The land should be well prepared though not
deeply, about the last of October or ifi November; the fertilizer
scattered along the row and mixed with the soil. This crop will
stand a light frost and grow even in quite cold weather.
For shipping purposes the dwarf varieties should be chosen.
The McNeil pea has been very largely grown in Columbia
County. The American Wonder and Blue Beauty do exceed-
ingly well. The large number of varieties offered for sale often
leads to confusion, but the three named above may be regarded
A light warm soil is very desirable for winter crops. If
one uses a seed drill a row should be made up of three or four
drills about one inch apart. This will give them a chance to
hold to one another and thus form supports. The ordinary
practice is to make a row about six inches wide by scattering the
seed along a furrow and covering about an inch deep. Peas
sown later than the first of January are liable to come into com-
petition with those grown farther north.
Available phosphoric acid . . . 7 per cent.
Potash . . . . . . . 7 per cent.
Nitrogen . . . . . . .. 3 per cent.
For this crop it will be found desirable to use mineral fer-
tilizer rather than compost. If nitrate of soda is used it will re-
quire two applications, one at the time of sowing, and the second
just as the first flower buds begin to show. Cotton seed meal
can be used as a source of nitrogen before planting, as a portion
of a complete fertihzer. Nitrate of soda will cause the vines to
make a vigorous growth, so should not be applied when a frost
is looked for. Use 1,200 to 2,000 pounds to the acre.
Cultivation is needed more to get air into the soil than to
keep the weeds down. During cultivation the soil should be
gradually worked up to the row so as to leave them killed up at
the last plowing. The distance between the rows should be
about twenty inches for strong soil.
An ordinary vegetable crate without a partition will be
found the proper thing to ship in. Picking is a tedious job, but
it is not difficult to obtain an abundance of help. As soon
as the pods are well filled the hands may be sent into the field.
The earliest shipments are usually the most profitable. There
is rarely any difficulty in the way of diseases in the field or rot-
ting on the way. Sorting is also not necessary, and the peas may
be put into crates immediately.
Most of our seed is imported from England on account of
so much of the home grown seed being infested with the pea
weevil. While this insect usually leaves the germ unhurt, the
amount of nourishment taken out of the seed weakens the seed-
ling. This insect is not severe in our State, hence much seed
could be supplied to the market, especially in those years when
the market for green peas is overstocked.
Twenty years ago it was considered by many people living
in this State that this crop could not be grown successfully.
Later experience has demonstrated that not only can the crop be
grown, but that it is profitable for whole communities to make
this their money crop. To those who understand how to ma-
nipulate this plant it is as certain to be a paying crop as any
As has been stated before, it will not pay afny one to go into
this industry as a temporary employment. There is too much
downright hard experience in tomato raising to warrant the un-
dertaking of it for a single crop or so. Your neighbor cannot
superintend your work, nor can he give you sufficient instruc-
tions to enable you to carry it on successfully. The operations
from the buying of the seed to receiving the cash for returns are
so many and varied that the beginner is very liable to make a
mistake somewhere. The prospective gardener should not con-
sider it insurmountable, but he would better begin moderately
and work up gradually.
It is not out of place to emphasize the advice given before,
that one should procure nothing short of the very best article in
buying seed. If a new variety has been offered to the trade, go
slow before discarding the old and well-tried one. Buy of no
one but seedsmen that you know to be entirely reliable in their
dealings. The seedsman has his reputation at stake, but you
have your capital. Then there is some choice even among the
seedmen who belong to the first class; buy tomato seed from the
firm that makes this their special work, and the same with other
In South Florida it is not necessary to have any other pro-
tection on the seed-bed than shade; it is well to be able to sup-
ply this, however. The seed-bed should be made as carefully in
the tomato section as the hot bed or the cold-frame is made in
Northern Florida. Some tomato growers have planted the seed
in the field; i. e., it was not sown in beds. From the amount of
trouble that this gives rise to there can be no doubt but that the
method of planting in the seed-bed is better and cheaper in tbe
end. At the time of the year when the seed must be planted
the insects and the weeds are exceedingly destructive. The ease
and efficiency with which one can take care of the plants in a
plant-bed will more than compensate for the time required in
setting them out.
The plot of ground after being prepared for the seed should
be rich in nitrogenous matter; either compost or commercial fer-
tilizer will be found to give good results; cotton-seed meal has
given excellent results. Whatever substance is used it should
be worked in thoroughly, and the bed be allowed to stand ten
days or two weeks before the seed is sown. During this time
the intended seed bed should be kept thoroughly wet so the soil
can take up the fertilizer. If the plants are to be shifted, a bed
five by six feet will hold enough plants for an acre, but if they
are to be planted in the field without shifting it will take a bed
six by fifty feet. In the latter case each plant is allowed sixteen
square inches. If the rows are made eight inches apart, and the
plants thinned to two inches in the rows, it will give the required
space. In making a plant-bed an abundance of fertilizer should
be used, and water liberally supplied. A half a sack of cotton-
seed meal to a space six by fifty feet will not be too much, pro-
vided it is worked into the soil thoroughly, and decomposed be-
fore the seed is sown. If the matter of decomposition is not
looked after cautiously there is great danger of damping off. If
leaf-mold can be obtained from a neighboring hammock it will
pay to haul this and make the bed of it, adding commercial fer-
tilizer, however. The fresh leaf-mold is not good, but it will be
found excellent after the sourness has been taken out of it by
raising a crop of radishes or some other short-lived plant on it.
Use four cart loads of well decomposed leaf-mold to a hundred
square feet of bed surface.
The leaf-mold is also used for the seed-bed. When you are
sure that the fertilizer is mixed evenly with the soil, and is de-
composed, the seed may be sown in drills. If the plants are to
be shifted, and this is certainly advisable, make the drills three
or four inches apart, and sow the seed at. the rate of five to an
inch. As soon as the leaves (not seed leaves) appear the plants
may be pricked out and planted in beds. Make the rows four
inches apart and set the seedlings an inch apart in the row.
When they have reached a height of four inches they should be
shifted to another bed. This time the rows may be made eight
inches apart, and the plants set two inches in the row. If pos-
sible the plants should be kept in this bed until the danger from
grasshoppers in the field is past. They may be kept in this bed
until they are ten inches high; there is nothing gained by setting
out small plants. The object of shifting the plants so many
times is to harden and give them a strong fibrous root-system.
A plant grown without shifting is usually wanting in the first
particular and always in the second.
One should not be in a hurry to plant out tomatoes. The
field should be well prepared, and the ground well warmed up
by the spring sun in northern sections of the State. Much time
may be thrown away by being in a hurry to set the plants out
even in South Florida. The shock attending the setting out of
a crop is not so much because of root mutillation, but because
of being placed in disagreeable surroundings. When the plants
have been grown in an open bed the atmospheric conditions are
usually all right; in such a case the mechanical condition of the
soil is all that is necessary to be considered. For several days
before setting out water should be withheld; if the plants are
quite large and the time can be spared, it will be found better
to harden the plants for a week or ten days. Just before re-
moving from the plant-bed wet the soil down thoroughly. Much
more soil will adhere to the plant, and it will be found compar-
atively easy to start a field in this way.
PREPARING THE FIELD.
The tomato plant is a comparatively deep feeder and so
wants as much soil as can be supplied. New land is not the
best to use for this crop; there is much danger from fungoid dis-
diseases on such land. So long as the soil is kept free from
the enemies of the tomato, the plant will not grow tired of a
location; crops may be raised a great many consecutive years
by the use of commercial fertilizer, without any diminution in
yield. Some tomato growers are able to raise better crops on
old land than on new.
The soil should be light, warm and sandy. There is not
much choice in regard to the slope, except for northern Florida,
where the southern slope will be found preferable. A good
water protection should be sought. This cannot always be
found, but a wind break can be grown and kept by every one.
While this will not protect a field against frost, it will break the
force of many cold winds which do much more damage than we
think. An unprotected location should not be selected; while
the best of land and locations may be had for the same price it
is folly to work against odds. In 1892 a case was observed
where a narrow strip of oaks was of more value than a water
protection. In this case the field was lying to the southeast of
a small oak hammock, it was really the southeast slope of a
cleared hammock, a portion of which had been left to the north
and west. The frost killed out all the tomatoes but about five
acres highest and nearest to the remaining portion of the ham-
mock. Other fields of the same altitudes within sight that were
not protected, and all fields not as high even though near bodies
of water, were frozen.
There are fertilizers on the market that have been put up es-
pecially for tomatoes, and usually go under that name, Tomato
Special. The ingredients of these "tomato specials" are not
always known, but should contain about the following :
Available phosphoric acid. .... .7 per cent.
Potash . . . . . . 6 per cent.
Nitrogen. . . . . . . 4 per cent.
Kainit is a good source of potash, and at the same time
the by-products in it act as fungicides, and give very beneficial
results on blight. Nitrogen should be obtained from nitrate of
soda and cotton-seed meal; the former, making up about one
per cent. will be available immediately, and the latter gradually.
Use 2000 to 3000 pounds to the acre, and apply at one time
and work in deeply. If the land-is thirsty the fertilizer should
be applied at three different times, using about one-fourth of it
the first time or just before setting the plants, and one-third
when the plants begin to bloom; the remainder to be applied
a week before the earliest picking. The best tomato land will
give the most profitable returns for the amount of fertilizer used
by applying it all at one time. If hill fertilization is practiced
the space that the fertilizer is applied, to should be about three
feet in diameter.
A great many different schemes have been invented to do
away with the peg-and-bucket" method of transplanting, but
cautious tomato growers still adhere to the primitive method:
The nearest approach to this method is a machine drawn by a
team, and the planting performed by two boys.* A certain
quantity of water is left at the place where the plant is to be set;
after the plant has been set the machine covers the roots and
also the moistened places, and at the same time presses the soil
firmly into place.
When they are being removed from the bed a sharp spade
should be set down deeply between the rows, and then again in
the row; this will secure a square of the plant-bed soil. Put the
plant in the setting out tray, and move to the field. This tray
may be made from a shallow soap-box with one end knocked
out, and a hoop handle nailed to it or auger holes put into the
sides. When the plants have been cut properly such a tray,
24x17x4 inches, will hold at least twenty-five, and sometimes as
high as seventy-five plants. A plant can be slipped from the open
end to the place where it is to be set, and so avoid moving much of
the soil from its roots. Some time can be saved by one person
passing along the row and dropping the plants while another
follows to set them.
Some tomato growers have used a method that seems to be
quite unique, but judging from the number who have abandoned
it one would judge that it does not meet with great success. A
furrow is run out and the plants dropped in checks; a second
furrow is thrown onto the roots; on the return the plow is run
down the other side, so as to set the plants upright. This
*Illustrated on page 15 of Bulletin 21, Fla Ag'rl Exp. Station.
method is mentioned here to advise the readers on that point.
Those who have not tried this method, and wish to adopt it,
should consider it carefully and then use it only on a portion of
the crop. There are conditions and localities where it might be
used to advantage.
Most of our land cannot support plants well when set two
by two feet. A very common distance is four by four feet. It
is well to lay the field off with a marker. This may be made by
using two-inch planks about eight inches wide; cut them into
four-foot lengths, fasten four of these in the fashion of a four-
runnered sleigh, making the distance between the runners just
what you wish that between the rows to be. After the field has
been laid off one way, it may be crossed, and the plants set out
in the checks. If it is desirable to have the plants closer in the
row the distance between the runners may be changed. A drag,
which may be changed from one side to the other, can be at-
tached to mark a guide-line for the next set of marks. It will
usually require a team to drag one of these markers. A wagon-
tongue or pole is usually attached to it to make the marker man-
It is well worth the while to have the rows as straight as
they can be made, and to make the cross rows equally straight.
It is possible to put the field into such a condition that a hoe will
not be needed, and this should be kept constantly in mind.
Under the proper conditions one man and a team should be
able to cultivate six or eight acres in a day. By using a two-
horse corn cultivator, and exchanging the inner "shovels" for
some more shallow-running plows, and using the "fenders," the
crop would be cultivated as easily as a crop of corn. The com-
mon practice of using one horse and then leaving a considerable
space around the plant to be hoed is a waste of time and energy.
The great trouble with all one-horse plows and cultivators is
that they have no "fender." This is simply a piece of sheet-
iron fastened to the cultivator so as to keep the soil from being
thrown on or against the plants, but allowing the finer particles
of soil to settle in around each plant. When the cultivator
passes on each side, the plant is pressed from both sides at once
and so is not knocked over. Level cultivation will be found
the better in our sandy loam. When plowing near the plants
care should be taken not to injure the roots; this needs special
care after the plant begins to blossom.
In this State, where good tomato land brings $ioo an acre,
it is claimed that it will pay to trim and stake tomatoes. After
planting out watch the plants and see that only one branch
grows up, this will send the entire food supply in one direction,
and will produce the first tomatoes earlier than to let the vine
take its own course. We make the general statement that
where tomatoes are wanted earlier, prune, but where the largest
crop is desired do not prune.
STAKING AND TYING.
The long petioles of the cabbage palmetto leaves make good
stakes to tie to. They are cheap and, when dry, light. Where
the palmetto stakes cannot be obtained for the gathering it will
be better to secure bamboo or cane stakes. These should be
firmly set into the ground, and when the plants reach the height
of from fifteen to eighteen inches the first tie should be made;
the stakes need not, as a rule, stand more than two and a half
feet above the surface of the ground. Any cheap form of twine
or something of that nature may be used; it should not be sharp
enough to cut the vines. By giving the twine a wrap about the
stake, and then tying it to the stake before tying the vine, it will
be found to keep its place, while to simply tie it will allow the
loop to move up and down on the stake. The vine should not
be tied so tightly that the string will grow into it. A boy can
drive a team astride of a row while two or three men set the
stakes, and the tying may be done later.
For distant markets it is difficult to tell just when to pick
the crop so it will arrive ti ere in the proper condition. Usually
tomatoes will color up well in two or three days if they are full
grown. The atmospheric conditions modify the time to some
extent, but it is necessary to be more or less familiar with the
time required by the particular variety that is being handled.
A test of this may be made by keeping a quantity of the fruit on
SIn gathering, all fruit that has reached a certain-degree of
ripeness should be picked. All culls and diseased fruit, either
from fubtgus or insect attack, should be gathered and taken from
the, field. If there is not too much, the refuse fruit ;may be fed
to stock; if there is more than can be eaten by stock the part
that is not used should be buried deeply. It should not be used
in composting; many of the disease spores would be taken back*
to the field, and insects would pass through their life cycle un-
harmed. It is certainly a very bad practice to pick the defective
fruit and leave it in the field, and still worse to leave it on the
Although it is not much practiced, it would pay to sort the
crop into grades depending on the size and degree of ripeness.
First grade, or large ripes, being wrapped in-a fine grade of pa-
per, and packed in the best crates. Second grade, or small ripes,
might be wrapped or left unwrapped, depending on the market,
and put into good crates. Third grade, large green. Fourth
grade, small green. Finally the culls. -By the term culls we
should not understand that they are wormy or diseased, but that
they are defective in some way that will not allow them to be
classed among perfect specimens. These may be shipped to lo-
cal markets if one knows that they will sell there, or they may
be used in canning.
The final operation in tomato growing should not be care-
lessly done. By putting a few finishing touches on the last act
the producer often makes a large per cent of gain in the selling
price. It frequently makes enough difference to change the
balance from one of loss to one of gain. This has been demon-
strated repeatedly in the industry of growing oranges.
One thing should be kept in mind constantly, and that is
that there is not time for leisure when shipping season arrives;
everything has to be on the move. So all should be in readi-
ness when this time arrives. The crate material should have
been stored and sorted, if there is any chance for grading it.
Enough crates should be made for the first shipment and be
ready for use. A delay of twenty-four hours in sending out
often'neans a loss of ten to twenty per cent on theselling price
In selecting the laborers for picking one has to use good
Judgment; a careless hand can easily waste or easily spoil an
amount equal to a day's wages. He should not be employed if
it can be avoided, If he must be hired he may be most useful
to do the heavier work of hauling and handling full crates, and
to "setup" crates.
It is usually necessary to pick the fruit before it shows any
signs of turning; in Georgia the growers can usually wait until
the berry shows a slight tinge.of red. The pickers gather the
fruit into ordinary market baskets, which are emptied into boxes
placed in the field to receive the fruit.
The picking boxes are about ten inches wide, fourteen deep
and thirty long; they hold about two crates. It is best to leave
no cracks open in making these picking boxes; it lessens the
danger of brusing the fruit on the sharp edges. Near the top
and on each end is nailed a cleat; these cleats serve as handles,
and should run across the-box to give additional strength. It is
quite desirable to make these boxes large enough so the average
man must give his attention to the work to handle it when full.
Again there will be a gain in the man being able to do more
If one canr have the packing-house so situated that the
crates can be loaded directly into the car it -will save one hand-
ling, and it will compensate for a haul of a mile, but if the full
crates have to be hauled it is better to have the packing-house ,
as near the centre of the crop as possible. There are a good
many reasons why it would better be removed from dwellings.
Many persons do not recognize the expensiveness of having
to lift packing.boxes on to an elevated floor,'and then to lift
these on to a high bench from which'to sort and wrap, yet when
we remember that this work is an absolute loss, we can see the
force of an argument to make a careful plan for a packing-house.
It the tomatoes are to be sorted, it should be done immedi-
ately on being received at the packing-house. This place re-
quires the best and quickest hand that one has in his force.
Chutes may be made to carry the fruit to their respective, bins
from the sorters table. If five grades are established it will re-
quire that many chutes and bins to receive the fruit. The de-
sirability of sorting will not be denied, but some may doubt
whether it will pay. To these we will simply say that it will be
carried much further within a very few years than it is at present.
Much of the time spent by the man who grades the crop will be
saved in the uniformity of the work of the wrappers. The grades
of rines" and "greens gives the grower a chance to distribute
the product, while otherwise he would have to ship so the cargo
would reach a market when the ripest were in the proper condi-
tion. Then the divisions of "small and large will meet the re-
quirement of any market better than any kind of a mixture.
The "large" should be wrapped and crated or wrapped
and put into carriers; or they may be put into "carriers with-
out being wrapped. Whenever tomatoes are packed in carriers
the blossom end should be placed up. It takes more time to
pack a crate with the carriers, but there is enough gain in fruit
(room occupied by carrier) to pay for the extra work, as a crate
with carriers sells, for just as much as one without.
The small are usually sold to boarding-houses, and the less ,
wealthy, who expect to get as much as they can for their money.
Defective large tomatoes may be sent out with these. In the
early market only a few need to be sent to the cull bin. Later
in the season it is necessary to throw more to the cull bin.
Handle tomatoes as carefully as you would handle eggs;
any bruising may end in rotting, and a low price for your whole
shipment. In this branch of vegetable growing one has to estab-
lish himself as well as in any other branch of horticulture, and
it may be repeated with emphasis that it does not pay to enter it
as a temporary occupation.
There is very little attention paid to our home market. The
growers seem to have set their range of vision so as to over-shoot
the money right at their doors. To be sure none of these small
cities can consume more than a few crates a day, but if a regu-
lar trade were worked up there would not be so much canned
goods shipped into the State. Gardening sections in other
States pay more attention to this trade than is usual in our com-
munities. Good tomatoes can be grown throughout a considera-
ble portion of the year, and a local market will take these when
it does not pay to ship. A shrewd man can sell fresh tomatoes
several months after the last have been shipped to the distant
KINDS TO SELECT.
In selecting varieties it makes a great deal of difference
whether one lives near the market or far from it, or whether one
wishes to use the crop Jor canning or for other.purposes.
Florida growers should not choose a yellow variety nor one
that does not dolor up evenly.
Mr. A. W. Livingston, who is our best authority on toma-
toes, gives the following as the best shippers: "For early red,
Perfecton and The Aristocrat, especially in those parts of the
country where staking up is largely employed. The Beauty, of
purple color, comes next, and should be given place for one-half
of the whole crop. New Stone, for bulk of crop between early
and late. 'This is a red tomato, and very choice for this purpose.
And Paragon for late red."
For market garden, Acme, Perfection, for early red; New
Stone,- Beauty, for medium, and Paragon for late. The Buckeye
S'State is also good, but not so good for shipping. -
For home use there is possibly a greater latitude than for
market, either distant or home. Favorite is a good red variety.
Beauty, Golden Queen, Royal Red, Potato Leaf, and others, are
The subject of canning tomatoes has been discussed, and a
.great deal of advice has been given on that subject, and com-
munities condemned as not progressive because so many tomatoes
were allowed'to waste in the field. Speaking from contact with
canning factories, I think this allowing tomatoes to rot is rather
commendable than otherwise. It is not an easy matter to con-
vert oneself from a tomato-shipper to a tomato-canner. It requires
experience, skill, forethought and close economy to make it pay
for aWfactory to buy tomatoes at twenty-five cents a bushel (crate).
At this;price, the tomatoes must arrive at the factory in a con-
tstanntq ity daily, so that hands are not idle for want of toma-
tees on the one hand, and on the other hand that the force, may
beAtble to work up all that comes in. Ripe tomatoes handled
roughly and lying in large piles;rot in a short time. Another
coltideration is that the plant in most districts would be idle for
about ten months. As soon as we shall diversify our vegetable
and fruit crops so there will be material to can and dry for six,
eight or ten months in the year, factories for these purposes will
be established. This whole matter has been considered very
carefully by persons of means with a view of engaging in this
business, but it is yet too uncertain to warrant the investment of
the required capital.