BULLETIN No. 23 APRIL, 1936
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
BULLETIN NoO. 23
Foreword ................. ........................... 5
Artichoke, Jerusalem ................................ 139
Asparagus ........................................ 66
Beans, Lima ....................................... 31
Beans, Pole ......................................... 31
Beans, Snap ........................................ 28
Broccoli .......................................... 101
Broccoli, Sauces for serving ....................... 110-111
Broccoli, Research for iron content ..................112-118
Cabbage ............................................. 119
Calory Table ......................................... 166
Cassava .... ........... .............................. 150
Cauliflower ........................................ 107
Celery .............................................. 25
Conserving the Food Value in Vegetables ................ 159
Crucifers ........................................... 89
Cucumbers ......................................... 33
Eggplants .................................... ...... 39
Escarole or Endive ................................... 71
Florida Vegetables .................................... 170
Glovel Tomato ....................................... 21
Jerusalem Artichoke ................................. 139
Kohl-rabi ........................................... 131
Lettuce .............................................. 43
Market Gardening and Truck Farming ................. 7
Okra ...................... ......................... 58
Okra, Methods of preparing .......................... 61
Onions ............................................... 74
Peas, English ...................................... 54
Peppers ............................................. 35
Planting Charts ...............................8. 6-87-88
Plant Structure ..................................... 9
Romaine ............................................ 53
Roselle, "Florida Cranberry".......................... 134
Squash ............................................... 63
Tomatoes ............................ .............. 18
Value of Florida Truck Crops ......................... 11
To make a success of raising vegetables of any kind about
the most important thing to consider is "how to sell them at a
profit" to the producer.
The market gardener as well as the truck farmer should
try to put himself in the position of the buyer. What would
you like to get for your money if you went to a market or a
store to purchase vegetables for your home? Would you want
the stale, wilted or dried-out vegetables that are sometimes
offered the housewife?
Of course, the final condition of the vegetables you raise is
not entirely in your hands. You cannot always foresee just
what the commission merchant, or the vegetable stand, or the
store will do with the vegetables after they are delivered to
them, but a great deal depends on the manner in which the
vegetables are first prepared for market. If you will be abso-
lutely sure that you have first, harvested at the right stage of
maturity; (the most important step in marketing), second,
properly graded the vegetables, third, packed them in the right
kind of crates, baskets, or containers, fourth, neither under-
pack nor over-pack them (what we mean by this is-not too
many nor too few of the articles in the crate), fifth, pack them
as soon after picking as humanly possible, sixth, deliver them
to the express office, (if you are shipping by express) or to
the motor truck for immediate shipment,-a great deal will be
added to the value of vegetables you ship.
Much has been written and said about this very important
feature in the handling of vegetables and still, if all of the
truck gardeners and farmers could go through the large com-
mission houses and see first hand the poor quality of many
shipments of produce sent to market they would realize why
this instruction is repeated.
Luther Burbank is quoted as saying: "I do not blame the
housewife for not wanting to cook some of the wilted, poor
quality vegetables that are offered them."
Harvest the vegetables when you know they are in proper
condition to stand shipment.
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Don't take the risk of having your crop spoil in transit.
DO NOT PERMIT YOUR CROP TO OVER-MATURE IN
THE FIELD. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHEN TO HAR-
VEST A CROP IT IS BEST TO LEARN ALL ABOUT THIS
VERY IMPORTANT PHASE OF SUCCESSFUL VEGETA-
BLE PRODUCTION BEFORE YOU PLANT ANY CROP.
Next, grade correctly, pack and ship promptly and the vege-
tables will remain in good condition a much longer time. The
old adage: "one bad apple remaining in the barrel will spoil
the entire barrel" will always be true. One bad bunch of vege-
tables will spoil the entire crate.
You are producing vegetables as a means of income; so
study every phase of your procedure.
Market Gardening and Truck Farming
Olericulture as a general subject could be correctly sep-
arated into two divisions and designated as market gardening
and truck farming. Most encyclopedias and dictionaries make
no distinction in their definitions, but market gardening which
has as its object the raising of large quantities of many varie-
ties of vegetables for local markets should be differentiated
from truck farming.
Truck farming which may be restricted in the variety of
products raised is conducted on a more extensive scale, the
production being confined to a few standard crops for shipment
to distant markets. The acreage returns are greater in truck
farming than in market gardening.
Vegetables in this state are now being raised as a market
gardening product as well as a truck farming product.
Irrespective of how vegetables are raised, quick transporta-
tion facilities and good markets are most essential for success.
Without efficient, fast transportation development of truck
farming would be impossible.
VALUE OF NEW VEGETABLES
It is a trait of human nature to want something new and
this is no exception to food products. A new vegetable, a new
fruit, or a new canned product finds ready acceptance. Con-
tinued good quality will result in a permanent place for the
article after it has been properly introduced.
Those varieties of vegetables which ship well and which
mature during the season when there is a shortage of other
fresh vegetables, and which are adapted to the climates of the
South, and particularly to certain districts of Florida, will
find ready acceptance on a great many of the best markets of
the North and East.
BUSINESS METHODS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS
However, truck farming or market-gardening depends upon
the man just as it does in any business. A good crop grower
must be a good businessman. He should thoroughly know his
business and have such knowledge that he will be able to over-
come difficulties in crop-production and understand marketing
in all its details.
Before producing any product for market there should be
a carefully developed plan of production which begins with the
most profitable use of the land, the preparation of the land, the
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
care of the land as well as of the crops and the right succession
of crops to meet market demands during the periods when good
prices are obtainable.
ADVANTAGES OF THE SOUTHERN GROWER
With the Southern grower there appears to be less risk in
growing early crops. Crops produced at the time of year when
they can be marketed ahead of similar crops raised in northern
latitudes offer good inducements for the producer.
Acreage devoted to any crop should depend on labor sup-
ply. It is most risky to plant a large acreage in the hope that
labor will be available when the crop is ready for harvesting.
This risk should by all means be avoided.
Crop rotation is necessary for successful operations. Any
soil will wear out if used continuously to produce the same
crop. Every time a crop is raised there goes with the crop cer-
tain elements of plant food from the soil, and unless land is
given an opportunity to rebuild and also assisted through the
proper application of fertilizers the land so used will not pro-
duce a profitable crop.
REFERENCE TO SOILS AND FERTILIZERS
We want to recommend that the prospective producer of
vegetables for the market write the Department of Agriculture,
Tallahassee, Florida, for a copy of their Bulletin No. 3, en-
titled "Soils and Fertilizers." Study this bulletin thoroughly
and give particular attention to pages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and
48, 49, 50, 51 and 52.
ENEMIES OF PLANT LIFE
A great many vegetables are subject to the same class of
diseases and the same insect enemies. Send to the Department
of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Fla., for their bulletin, "Plant Dis-
eases and Pests and their Treatment," and study it.
Land that has become infected with organisms which pro-
duce plant diseases must be abandoned until the disease pro-
ducing organisms can be starved out. Such organisms have the
ability to perpetuate themselves year after year, and for the
reason that they develop in the plant tissues they cannot be
exterminated, nor in fact treated to any degree of success
through the external applications of compounds used some-
times for the purpose.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Crop succession as a rule is more important to the market
gardener than to the truck grower. Truck growers find it ad-
vantageous to have two different crops growing at the same
time. Double cropping or catch cropping is followed on high
priced land. This makes possible a series of crops from the
same acreage. Sometimes four crops are produced from the
same land during a single year in localities having long grow-
Soil character determines to a great extent the length of
maturing of the crop irrespective of climatic conditions. Cold
retentive soils will be late in maturing a crop while warm,
light, sandy soils will produce an early crop. The cold, heavy
soil that retains its moisture cannot be cultivated as early in
the season as the light, sandy soil which dries out more speedily.
When planting seeds in cold soil do not expect them to ger-
minate as quickly. Likewise the plants will not grow as rap-
idly. Your plan of growing and marketing should determine
the nature of soil preferable for your production. Some crops
demand a cold, retentive soil but that is something the grower
Natural fertility of soil is not the most important consid-
eration for the truck grower's attention. With good mechanical
conditions, the fertility can be supplied by manure, the plowing
under of green crops, and the application of the right fertilizers
as referred to in Bulletin number 3, to which we have already
To enable the grower to better understand the effects of
insect enemies and plant diseases on growing plants and also
the effect of fertilizers and moisture supply upon them, we
believe some information on plant structure will prove most
valuable. Plants are composed of three distinct parts, two
above the ground and one beneath the soil. These parts are
known as the root, stem and leaf. Each part of the plant per-
forms certain functions in direct relation to the others.
The root function is both mechanical and physiological. The
mechanical function consists of furnishing anchorage for the
plant and the necessary support to the stem which in turn
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
carries the leaves. The physiological function is properly class-
ed as being of greatest importance and this function covers the
selection from the soil of the crude mineral foods necessary to
plant growth. Some of these foods are nitrogen, potash, phos-
phoric acid, lime, magnesia, silica, iron and sulphur. Elements
such as these are obtained from the soil in what is termed solu-
tion, i. e., they are carried in water, through the growing tis-
sues of the roots. This tissue is generally restricted to the
region near the tip of the root system. The rapid development
of crops is possible through a good actively growing root sys-
tem. Since this development of vegetables is the most desirable
feature to the growth it is of prime importance that the soil
conditions should be kept in such condition as to induce rapid
The stem is the frame work which supports the leaves,
flowers, and later the fruit and it also conducts to the leaves
and other parts of the plant the food elements gathered through
the root system. There are two systems of ducts in the stem
which serve as carriers for the crude materials in solution,
one of which supplies the leaves, flowers and fruit and the
other which carries back to the various parts of the stem and
the root system those various food elements which are used in
building additional stem tissue and roots, or they may be stored
up in the plant structure for future use. From this it will be
seen that the mechanical function of the stem is the most
The functions of the leaves of plants are the more complex
of the many delicate organs of plants. Regardless of whether
leaves are broad and thin or otherwise constructed they have
a proportionately large area that is exposed to air and sun.
With but few exceptions leaves of plants are green in color,
providing the plant itself is in a normal healthy condition.
This surface area of leaves over which this green tissue is
spread contains a very large number of small openings. notice-
ably on the under side of the leaves. It is through these open-
ings that the plant breathes or takes in air as well as mois-
ture. It is likewise through these same openings that excess
moisture is exuded. Whenever the excess moisture is not dis-
posed of the plant will become affected with oedema and will
appear drooping and somewhat wilted.
Minute microscopic bodies contained in the cells of the
leaves give them their green color and they also serve to build
the outer layers of the leaf. These minute green bodies are
known as chloroplasts and when present in correct quantities
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
give the plant its healthy, characteristic, green color. The func-
tion of these microscopic bodies found in the cells is the most
important of any connected with plant growth. Sunlight en-
ables these chloroplasts to take the crude materials supplied
by the root system and the air and develop from these materials
the finished products most necessary in the building of plant
tissue. Some of these products are starch, sugar and oils. The
starches during plant growth are changed into sugars. The
plant needs the foods in this state to build various parts of its
structure. We find that the oils are used by the young plant
in the seed or to build plant tissue. We believe it will be read-
ily understood-that it naturally follows that the greater the
food supply, together with proper moisture and under proper
atmospheric soil conditions, the more rapid will be the develop-
ment and growth of plant tissue and the growth of the plant.
Market gardening or truck farming on a commercial basis if
successful, is largely dependent on quick growth.
In the South satisfactory root storage is made possible
through the building of a simple storage house. This is accom-
plished by cutting poles about eight feet long which in turn are
split into two equal parts. Trenches about one foot deep by one
foot wide that are parallel are dug about eight feet apart. The
ridge pole is placed the right height between the two trenches
and against this the flattened poles, the ends of which have
been cut like rafters, are fixed in position. The opposite ends
of these poles are anchored in the trenches. Boarding up the
ends of the structure and covering the roof with Spanish moss
or other material completes this inexpensive root cellar.
Value of Florida Truck Crops
The combined value of the truck crops grown each year in
Florida exceeds that of citrus fruits, giving vegetable, melon,
and other truck crop production in Florida the position of first
importance in value of income to growers in the State.
The list of vegetables and the varieties, grown in Florida is
a long one, and only some of the most important crops will be
included in this publication.
The Department of Agriculture at Tallahassee, Florida,
have prepared special bulletins on a large number of crops
grown successfully in the State and if this bulletin does not
contain the information you desire it is suggested that you
write the Department of Agriculture and they will forward
information on any crop that can be produced here.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
One of the universal crops of Florida is tomatoes. Every
county in Florida produces some tomatoes for home use and
several districts during the year ship carloads to northern and
eastern markets. The production of this crop has proven profit-
able to those growers who understand marketing as well as
The value of the tomatoes shipped from Florida has exceed-
ed $12,000,000 annually.
Celery has brought as much as $5,000,000 to Florida grow-
ers in a single year.
Snap beans have enriched our growers an additional $5,000,-
These figures on three vegetables indicate the importance of
truck crops to the State.
Irish potatoes, melons, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, egg-
plant, cabbage and other truck crops have brought additional
millions of dollars of income to the farmers of Florida and
nearly every section of the State has been greatly benefited.
The total value of truck crops in a single year amounted to
$33,936,136 in the season of 1934-5.
The table of carlot shipments given on opposite page will
be found interesting.
From the middle of November, throughout the winter and
until the last of June, refrigerator cars carry Florida produce
to many waiting markets. More care in harvesting and grad-
ing should materially aid in creating increased demand for
Florida grown produce. Few cars are placed in storage and
very little is canned.
The chief competition of the Florida grower is the produce
grown by greenhouse producers in the North. The production
of crops in greenhouses usually is more expensive than field
grown products. The shipper of Florida products, however,
must deduct the cost of transportation from his returns.
The greatest percentage of Florida's truck crops is raised
during the cooler seasons of the year when insect pests and
plant diseases are more dormant and more easily controlled.
As the temperature rises greater vigilance is imperative to
bring the crop to a profitable income basis, as plant diseases
and insect pests will be found wherever there is plant life.
STATISTICS AND ESTIMATES ON FLORIDA VEGETABLES, MELONS, AND NON-CITRUS
FOR SEASON 1934-35
SHIPPED FROM FLORIDA, OR SOLD FROM FARMS FOR CANNING, OR FOR FLORIDA CONSUMPTION
Values for Commodities loaded F. O. B. Cars or Trucks, and "Net to Farmer" at Farm
Estimate Florida Estimate Trucked GRAND TOTAL
CARLOT No. Rail & F. O. B. Value Trucked Consumed Canned Canned, Consumed FLORIDA
EQUIVALENT Boat Out of in in
SHIPMENTS Cars Florida Florida Florida
Car Total Volume Value Volume Value
Strawberries-........... 1,363 $ 1,751 $ 2,386,613 100 300 30 430 $ 516,000 1,793 $ 2,902,613
Watermelons.......... 5,831 129 752,199 180 850 20 1,050 63,000 6,881 815,199
Other Non-Citrus.___ 1 660 660 30 150 40 220 83,600 221 84,260
Sub-Total ............... 7,195 $ Av. 436 $ 3,139,472 310 1,300 90 1,700 $ 662,600 8,895 $ 3,802,072
Beans and Limas..... 6,399 $ 656 $ 4,197,744 1,000 1,000 60 2,060 $1,154,800 8,459 $ 5,352,544
Cabbage ..-- --------- 2,196 699 1,535,004 425 700 1,125 641,250 3,321 2,176,254
Celery ..--..- -... ... 7,251 687 4,981,437 400 450 850 483,000 8,101 5,464,437
Cucumbers ...... 895 781 698,995 80 170 Included 250 150,000 1,145 848,995
Eggplant .-... ....... 180 707 127,260 60 150 in 210 121,800 390 249,060
Lettuce ... ........ 316 447 141,252 40 50 Mixed 90 31,500 406 172,752
Peas, English .......... 486 749 364,014 90 150 Vegetables 240 144,000 726 508,014
Peppers ............. 1,424 788 1,122,112 140 280 420 273,000 1,844 1,395,112
Potatoes ........._.._ 3,932 568 2,233,376 225 850 1,075 505,250 5,007 2,738,626
Tomatoes ..... 7,175 774 5,553,450 500 1,000 1,600 3,100 1,240,000 10,275 6,793,450
Mixed or Miscel....__ 4,087 630 2,574,810 525 4,000 125 4,650 1,860,000 8,737 4,434,810
Total Vegetables...... 34,341 $ 697 $23,529,454 3,485 8,800 1,785 14,070 $6,604,600 48,411 $30,134,054
GRAND TOTAL-_... 41,536 $ 643 $26,668,926 3,795 10,100 1,875 15,770 $7,267,200 57,306 $33,936,136
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Soil conditions, weed growth, and the root system of the
plants grown will determine the amount and times of culti-
vation necessary to make a good crop, and here again is evi-
dence of the necessity of full knowledge of all the operations
covering the production of truck crops if a profit is to be made.
A deficiency of humus content exists in most Florida soils
with the exception of some muck soils. All soils become defici-
ent in plant food after being used and crop rotation will not
rebuild the soil to its high point of production unless good
cover crops are planted and turned under. There are a variety
of native grasses that are good for this purpose. Cowpeas, beg-
garweed and crotalaria also make good cover crops.
Any cover crop should be plowed under at least twenty days
before planting the truck crop.
A number of Florida truck crops are started in seedbeds,
and when the young plants have reached the proper size they
are transplanted to the field. Seedbeds should be carefully
planned, and in advance of the transplanting time, to assure
good, strong, healthy plants in the field. The location, the ex-
posure, water supply, drainage, condition of soil and freedom
from insect pests and diseases are some of the important things
that must be considered before seedbeds are started. Some loca-
tions and conditions call for special treatment and no general
information can be given except as a basis for establishing the
seedbed. The particular characteristics of the crop to be raised,
the results already achieved in the locality and a fund of infor-
mation on truck crop production are essentials to success.
Beds 31/2 feet wide are suitable for celery, lettuce, romaine,
cabbage, escarole, endive, cauliflower and other fall-planted
Old stable manure, or compost which is well decayed should
be thoroughly worked into the soil. A surface application of
hardwood ashes, in the proportion of a ton to the acre, should
follow the manure or compost. About a week later the applica-
tion of commercial fertilizer containing 5 percent each of am-
monia, phosphoric acid and potash is necessary and must be
worked thoroughly into the soil. (The reader should refer to
Bulletin No. 3-"Soils and Fertilizers," issued by the Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Tallahassee). The bed is made smooth
and the seeds are sown several days after the commercial fer-
tilizer has been applied. Cover the seedbeds with cloth as
shown in illustrations, using 4-oz. cotton sheeting. A frame of
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 15
lath and wire will support the canvas covering, giving shade
during hot weather and protection against hard rains, winds
Winter seedbeds are used for eggplants, peppers, tomatoes
and other plants of a similar nature. These beds should be
Seedbeds, showing row-planting. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
41/2 or 5 feet wide and boxed in with a wall 24" high at the
back, and 10" high in front. The beds should run east and west
to obtain full benefit of the sunshine. Winter seedbeds must
be so constructed that they can be made tight to provide pro-
tection against frost and cold weather.
Seeds should be planted in rows to facilitate cultivating,
weeding and economical fertilizing. The distance between the
rows is usually about 4 to 6 inches. The seeds should not be
1J6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Shading seedbeds with canvas
planted more than one-half inch deep, and after planting cov-
ered lightly with soil. Very small seeds such as celery and let-
tuce will propagate better if sown on top of the soil and covered
lightly. After planting, place burlap on top of the seeds and
keep it wet until the seeds sprout and take root. Then remove
After the seeds have sprouted keep the bed well watered
until the plants are firmly rooted.
About twelve days before the young plants are removed for
transplanting, it is advisable to block them off, using a blade
long enough for the purpose. In this manner the lateral roots
are cut about two inches from each side of the block of plants.
As a result of this practice the plants will establish a new root
system and make transplanting easier and also protect the newly
j Do not cut the root
4..V 4"a system on both sides the
same day. Cut on one
side, then wait a few
days to give the plants'
roots time to grow, be-
fore cutting on the op-
e s e posite side.
Winter and early spring seedbed cover
7 I. ..
- ` s4 -
Artesian water is used for irrigating tomatoes. Note stakes for supporting tomato vines
(Courtesy A. A. Coult)
*l h I
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The early crop of tomatoes is planted during November and
December in South Florida and is ready for market in Feb-
ruary and March. In the central sections of the State the crop
is planted in February or March. In the north and northwest-
ern part of Florida plantings are made in the latter part of
April and in May. This crop when harvested supplies the late
markets. The early crop brings the best prices.
Tomatoes are planted in four foot rows about 15 to 18 inches
apart. Between 8,000 and 9,000 plants are required to set an
To plant the seedbed about one-half pound of seed will sup-
ply sufficient plants for each acre.
The more successful tomato growers apply from 1,500 to
2,000 pounds of commercial fertilizer to the acre. The formula
most generally preferred is 4-8-8 (4% ammonia, 8% available
phosphoric acid, and 8% potash). The muck soils of Florida
do not require as much fertilizer as the lighter sandy soils.
All of the fertilizer is usually not applied at one time. The
first application is made a week or ten days before setting the
plants. The second is applied about the time, or just before
the first bloom appears. In working the second application
of fertilizer into the soil, the cultivation must be shallow and
care taken not to injure the roots. If the roots are injured the
bloom will drop off.
Some tomato growers also apply 50 pounds of manganese
sulphate to each acre, either mixed with the regular fertilizer or
The early tomatoes bring the best prices. Harvesting is an
important step in the production of the crop.
When the fruit has reached the proper stage for shipment
the shading will be found to be changing from a dark to a light
green. Tomatoes should then be picked. Several pickings are
necessary to harvest the entire crop. For local markets the
tomatoes should not be gathered so early, but allowed to ripen
more, which will improve the flavor. Baskets of a half bushel
capacity are generally used in harvesting. Soon after picking
the fruit must be taken to the packing house to be sorted, wrap-
ped in paper and packed six baskets to the crate for shipment.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 19
A good yield of tomatoes can be secured in Florida
Tomato field in South Florida
-1 -L- .I
'* j st!
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 21
A good thing to remember about any truck crop is that all
of the preparatory work, labor in the field, fertilizer, etc. can
be lost through improper attention to grading and packing.
Don't overlook this last but most important step in making
money from truck crops.
Marglobe, Globe, Cooper's Special, Bonny Best, and Florida
Special are popular varieties among the successful growers.
*" w \^ ^ .- ^ -I
Plant of Glovel tomato just before first harvest
THE GLOVEL TOMATO *
The new scarlet red variety of tomato named Glovel was
produced co-operatively by the U. S. Department of Agricul-
ture and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. The
Glovel is both a local market and shipping variety.
It was developed from a cross between Globe and Marvel,
made in the Department greenhouses in Washington, D. C.
The Marvel has very strong resistance to wilt and was
developed by selection from the French variety, Merveille des
Marches. The new Glovel, therefore, has the same parentage
as the scarlet red Marglobe, but it is not a selection from that
*U. S. Dept. of Agriculture circular No. 388, issued March, 1936.
L1 ~f rT tl-
s V'"' ~j~0~
Typical Iruil of Glovel tomato (natural size)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Marvel was chosen as one of the parents because of its
vigorous vine, its abundant and continuous fruit setting habit
and its long bearing period. In addition to being resistant to
fusarium wilt it also has a high resistance to nailhead rust.
The variety, Marvel produces fruits that are smooth, uni-
formly red and well flavored, but they are a little small, some-
what flat and rather late in maturing for marketing. Likewise
they are not sufficiently solid to make a desirable shipping
The variety, Globe was selected as the other parent for the
reason that the fruits produced on its vines are large, thick
walled, globular and of a scarlet red. However, it is very sus-
ceptible to nailhead rust which in some years has caused dam-
age to tomato crops raised for winter shipment.
The primary purpose in developing the new Glovel was to
produce a scarlet red tomato that would be resistant to dis-
eases and have good shipping quality. By combining the dis-
ease resistant characteristics of the Marvel with the fruit qual-
ities of the Globe, there has been produced in the Glovel a pink
fruited tomato which should appeal to those consumers and
markets who prefer the new variety.
21 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
-. .. o. .
S .. (Ct.s .
-- bt, -'
:.- ~`'- "-,;. ,. -- :1''lPi,~rr~~~Z'
~Stakd omaoe. (Cutey ,, Cu
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Celery is a very important truck crop in Florida. It will
grow on any type of soil that is well filled with humus and
retains moisture well. A large part of the celery in the State
is grown where irrigation is available.
The land should be well prepared by thoroughly plowing
and the surface harrowed. The surface of the soil should be
practically level when ready to plant. Celery is always trans-
planted from the seedbed to the field.
The rows should be 21/2 feet apart and the plants set 3 to 4
inches apart in the row. A trowel or dribble is used for set-
ting the plants. It is very important to have water available
to wet down the plants as soon as set. From 60,000 to 70,000
plants are required to set an acre of land.
After plowing the ground and about ten days before setting
the plants, there should be from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of fer-
tilizer applied. Scatter it over the surface of the soil, working
it in well with the harrow.
Many growers make a second application about thirty days
after setting the plants. The amount varies from 800 to 1,000
pounds to the acre. In some localities both applications of fer-
tilizer are mixed with nitrate of soda in quantities of 100 to 200
pounds an acre. Some growers use 500 to 800 pounds of nitrate
of soda to the acre. On acid soils the use of lime or ashes is
The plants when translated should be about four inches
Blanching and Harvesting
When the celery plants have matured, they are blanched
with either 12-inch boards set on edge on either side of the rows,
or with 10 or 12-inch strips of heavy building paper. The paper
is placed on each side of rows and held in place with wire
wickets. The blanching is started two or three weeks before
Celery is shipped in standard sized containers 10 x 20 x 22
inches, in refrigerator cars containing from 340 to 350 crates.
All cars are iced before shipping, the season being from January
The best are Golden Self Blanching, Sanford Special, Golden
Plume, and Pearl Golden Heart.
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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Snap beans originated in America. They have been common
in this country for several centuries. Florida leads in produc-
tion of market garden beans. Beans are an important although
a short season crop in Florida. They mature from 45 to 60 days
after planting. String or snap beans are cultivated in all parts
of the State. In the southern and central parts of Florida they
are grown for both early spring and early fall crops. They
will grow on a wide variety of soils, including sandy loam and
muck. On muck soil it is necessary to crop it for at least two
years before planting beans if satisfactory growth is to be
Beans will not produce well in excessive alkaline or very
acid soils. High acidity can be corrected through the applica-
tion of lime, but care should be exercised not to over-lime. Both
light and heavy soils are used for bean production, but alkaline
soils should not be planted to beans. Very heavy soils are not
good for bean crops. If the soil is very light apply plenty of
Beans thrive in sunshine and warmth. With sufficient mois-
ture, sunshine and warmth their growth is rapid. The yield
will vary greatly, depending on many factors, but as a general
rule 125 to 200 or more hampers per acre may be expected on
good land and with favorable weather conditions.
The seedbeds should be free from clods and well pulverized.
In the event rains cause the top soil to harden it may be neces-
sary to break the crust to permit the plants to break through.
Beans are not gross feeders and hence are unable to obtain their
share of food from spring plowed sod.
If beans follow a sod crop the land should be plowed in the
fall. It is best to follow some cultivated crop with beans.
Beans should be planted when the soil has become warm and
after danger from frost is passed as they are very sensitive to
Bean seed are drilled in rows about three feet apart. One
bushel of seed is required to plant an acre. The crop does not
need to be thinned. Cultivate sufficiently to keep the weeds
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
In irrigated areas the soil should be sufficiently moist to
make irrigation unnecessary to start the crop. The rate of
evaporation will control the frequency of irrigation. Beans
should have sufficient water to prevent them becoming dark
green in color.
An application of 500 to 800 pounds of 5-7-4 fertilizer is
recommended for each acre, depending on the humus content
of the soil. The ammonia content of the fertilizer is the most
important. The fertilizer should be applied a week or ten days
prior to planting the seed.
Beans are picked by hand when the pods have reached ma-
ture size, but before they begin to ripen. As the beans do not
all reach picking stage at one time, two or three pickings are
Regular bean hampers are used and when filled the tops are
fastened securely for shipment.
The crop should not be harvested when the plants are wet
from dew or rain. Neither should they be cultivated under such
conditions, as this will tend to spread disease among the plants.
Using old bean plants for diverting the flow of water in irri-
gated districts will have the same effect.
In shipping market garden beans by rail many growers place
chunks of ice between the containers and on the lids of the top
layer of containers. Ice should not be put in the hampers with
Farmer's Bulletin 1692, issued by the U. S. Department of
Agriculture, contains full information on the control of bean
N. B. Kennedy produced in 1894 the Dupree Stringless Green
Pod, the first successful stringless beans with green pods.
Both green and wax beans are grown, but green beans are
grown more extensively, due to the fact that the green beans
The green bean varieties generally preferred are Early
Speckled Valentine, Early Refugee, Green or Giant Stringless,
Bountiful, Green Pod, and Black Valentine. The wax bean varie-
ties are Wardell, Kidney Wax, and Davis White Wax.
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SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Lima or butter beans are not as important to Florida as snap
or string beans. Lima beans are grown throughout the summer
and they make a good mid-year crop in Florida.
In the extreme southern part of the State they are raised
as an early spring or late fall crop.
The method of cultivation is the same as for other beans.
Where runner varieties are grown, more distance should be
given both between the rows and plants in the row. Many grow-
ers have found it an advantage to plant corn in the row to act
as a trellis or support for the bean vines.
There are a number of varieties of lima beans suitable for
both shipping and for home use. Among the best are Fordhook
Bush Lima and the White or Mottled Florida butter bean.
The cultural methods for pole beans are practically the same
as for other beans, except that supports of some kind must be
put in position for the vines to climb on.
The varieties generally grown are Kentucky Wonder and
Navy beans are not grown in Florida as a commercial crop.
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Loading cucumbers. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The production of cucumbers in Florida is of such volume
that it ranks high in importance among the truck crops. They
are grown as spring and fall crops, the bulk of the shipments
being made between February and June. The earliest crop
comes from the extreme southern part of the State and is usual-
ly distributed among the home markets within the State. Later
shipments come from the northern sections of the State.
Cucumbers grow best on a sandy loam soil that will retain
a fair amount of moisture. Land subject to overflow should not
be planted to this crop. Neither will it be advisable to plant on
dry, sandy soil that is likely to suffer for lack of moisture.
Soils with a southern slope give very satisfactory results.
Cucumbers are invariably planted in the field where they are
to grow. The seed is drilled in rows four or five feet apart. The
hills are placed about two feet apart. Four to six seed are
planted in each hill.
Plant as early in the season as possible after danger from
frost has passed. The majority of growers make at least two
plantings and some make three. The second is made from a week
to ten days after the first, and the third planting a week to ten
days after the second. These plantings are all made in the same
row. Planting the second and third time gives greater assur-
ance of a crop in the event of low temperatures or high winds.
Protection from wind and cold is provided by making V-
shaped troughs of 10 or 12-inch boards. Troughs can be made
in any convenient length, 10, 12, or 14 feet long. The troughs
are laid over the rows when the plants are small.
When a good stand is secured and the plants are making a
nice growth, they should be thinned, leaving one plant every 11/
to 2 feet.
Two to three pounds of seed are necessary to plant an acre
The most successful cucumber growers in Florida use from
1,000 to 2.000 pounds of 5-7-5 fertilizer to the acre.
About half of the fertilizer is applied ten days to two weeks
before planting, and the remainder a short time before the first
blooms appear. The second application should be just ahead of
cultivation so that the one operation will cultivate the crop and
at the same time work the fertilizer into the soil.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The crop is often helped by a side dressing of nitrate of soda
or sulphate of ammonia, at the rate of 150 to 200 pounds to the
acre. If the fertilizer is not applied when the foliage is dry,
there is danger of burning the plants.
The crop is ready for picking when the fruit has attained a
size from five to eight inches in length, depending on its color.
Cucumbers should be straight and of uniform diameter and of
a dark green color. When a yellow coloring appears it indicates
over-ripeness. Such fruit has no market value.
Several pickings are necessary for the cucumbers will not
all mature at the same time. The field should be gone over care-
fully two or three times a week. The harvesting season may
cover a period of two or three weeks.
Use field crates to gather the crop. These are taken to the
packing shed where they are very carefully examined and
graded and packed for shipment.
The most popular are White Spine, Kirby Stay Green, Dark
Long Green, Davis Perfect, and Early Fortune.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 35
The past twenty years have seen a large increase in the pro-
duction of peppers in the United States. Their use is growing
more popular as new methods of preparing are discovered. Our
native peppers are used in making cayenne, tobasco pepper
sauce, pimientos, tobasco catsup, paprika and chili powder. The
common pepper, Capsicum annuum, is a distinct species from the
black and white pepper, Piper nigrum.
The pepper is a perfect flowered annual, the plant growing
usually from 1 to 21/2 feet high. It has smooth, glossy, heart-
shaped leaves that are elongated. The flowers are generally dull
white, the fruit being green when immature and red when ripe.
Peppers require the same climatic conditions as that which
are necessary for the successful growth of tomatoes and egg-
plants. The pepper plant is more drought resistant than the
eggplant and tomato, but to assure a good crop there should be
an ample and well distributed moisture supply. On account of
their sensitiveness to frost and the long growing season protec-
tion must be given to the plants.
The production of peppers is not confined to any one section
of Florida and for the reason that they are grown so universally
they have become an important truck crop in the State. Every
county raises peppers.
A variety of soils that retain moisture will produce satisfac-
Peppers continue to produce fruit over a long period and
conditions being favorable the plants will bear fruit for eight
Pepper seed requires from 15 to 20 days to germinate. It
takes about eight weeks for the plants to attain the right size
for transplanting. The seed can be sown in the seedbeds either
broadcast or in rows and are set to the field when the plants
are about an inch high.
Peppers are planted every 18 or 20 inches in rows three feet
apart. 10,000 plants are required to set an acre. The plants are
produced in seedbeds and one-half pound of seed should furnish
sufficient plants for an acre. In transplanting the young plants
must be handled carefully as they are easily injured.
Picking peppers. Note rows of crates. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The quantity of fertilizer to be applied will depend on the
length of time the plants produce a crop. Growers use from
1,800 to 3,000 pounds to the acre in two applications. One-half
of the amount is used ten days before setting the plants and the
remainder about thirty days after the plants are set. Four or
six weeks after the second application 100 to 200 pounds of
nitrate of soda should be used to each acre. The condition of
the soil will also determine the correct amount of fertilizer to
use. We suggest studying the Agriculture Department's Bul-
letin No. 3.
When the fruit has matured and has reached the right color
and size it is picked and packed in standard pepper-crates 111/4
x 14 x 22 inches.
Peppers seem to be less seriously affected with plant dis-
eases than most other vegetables. Bacterial spot, Anthracnose,
Rhizoctonia, Fusarium wilt, Phytophthroa blight, Cercospora
leafspot, Sclerotium rot and Mosaic are the most common dis-
eases. Bulletins issued by the Florida State Department of
Agriculture contain information for the control of these dis-
Aphids, red spiders, and flea beetles may cause some dam-
age to the crop.
Peppers are shipped in refrigerator cars containing from 360
to 400 crates.
Ruby King, World Beater, Ruby Giant, Florida Queen, and
Florida Giant are good varieties.
Eggplant such as these are generally profitable. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The eggplant is a native of the Old World. India is probably
its home. The Chinese and Arabs grew eggplants in the ninth
century. The early types had small egg-shaped fruits which
accounts for its name. Its botanical name is Solanum melongena
and it is closely related to the tomato, potato, pepper and other
solanaceous plants. Two of our serious weed pests, the horse
nettle and the nightshade, belong to the genus. The eggplant
will thrive only under relatively high temperature conditions.
Fertility, moisture supply and good drainage are necessary
to its successful propagation. Wherever soil is found in Florida
that will grow vegetables, eggplants can be produced. In South
Florida they are produced as a winter crop; in the other sec-
tions of the State they are raised as late fall or early spring
Sandy loam soil supplied with vegetable matter, plus a con-
stant supply of moisture until the plants have become firmly
rooted is necessary to produce healthy plants.
Growing the Plants
The growing of the plants is very important. Stunted or in-
jured plants will not develop into high yielding plants and pos-
sibly will result in a crop failure. Eggplant seeds should be
sown in rich, mellow soil.
Eggplants are more sensitive to weather conditions than any
other vegetable planted in the same manner. Local weather con-
ditions should govern the time for setting the plants in the
field. Planting should be delayed until all danger from frost
The production of eggplants is similar to that for tomatoes,
but they are not so easily raised and require more cultivation.
The seedbed should receive the best of attention as eggplants
are subject to more diseases than tomatoes. If in the beginning
of the crop this important phase is overlooked the crop is likely
to be a failure. Plant the seedbeds four weeks before trans-
planting to the field.
In transplanting from the seedbed the young plants must be
carefully handled to prevent injury.
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The plants mature in about four months after transplanting.
Six ounces of seed in the seedbed should produce 3,000 plants,
which is sufficient for an acre. Place the plants at distances
of three feet in rows five feet apart. Again the grower is cau-
tioned to protect the delicate plants when transplanting as they
are likely to wilt if set out in warm weather. Shade should be
provided for a few days. Palmetto is used for this purpose,
particularly for fall plantings.
Commercial fertilizer and manure can be used with profit
in eggplant -production. On fertile soils apply 20 tons of well
rotted manure to the acre. It should be well mixed with the soil
while preparing the soil for planting.
The fertilizer is divided and one-half applied two weeks be-
fore the plants are set and the remainder when the plants are
10 to 12 inches high; 1,200 to 4,000 pounds of 5-5-5 fertilizer
is used to each acre, depending on the fertility of the soil.
The harvesting may be started any time after the fruit has
attained sufficient size, and before the flesh becomes tough and
the seed begins to harden.
Flea beetles, aphids, and the Colorado potato beetle attack
the eggplant. Spraying with a Bordeau mixture containing cal-
cium arsenate or dusting with dehydrated copper lime sulphate.
lime and calcium arsenate is effective against flea beetles. This
should also control the Colorado potato beetle.
Prepare the Bordeaux mixture with four pounds of copper
sulphate, eight pounds of hydrated lime, and fifty gallons of
water to which has been added two pounds of calcium arsenate.
The copper lime dust should consist of monohydrated or de-
hydrated copper sulphate 16 percent, calcium arsenate 20 per-
cent, and hydrated lime 64 percent. The plants should be well
covered when using these mixtures, and particularly the under-
sides of the leaves. To control plant lice by dusting with 3 per-
cent nicotine. Check the aphids before setting the plants in the
field. Red spiders may attack the plants during dry weather.
They can be controlled by dusting with equal parts of powdered
sulphur and hydrated lime, using about 45 pounds to the acre.
Do not use any poisonous sprays or dusts after the fruits have
started to develop, unless they can be removed before marketing.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 41
Wilt and fruit rot are the most serious diseases affecting
eggplants. Fruit rot may be carried over the winter by the seed
and in the debris in the soil from the previous crop. Rotate
the crop for three or four years and use clean seed. A Bordeaux
mixture of 4-6-50 with two pounds of calcium arsenate has been
found to be an effective measure for the control of fruit rot.
Wilt effects the plants only in the cooler sections of the country.
Eggplants may be prepared in a number of different ways.
They are both appetizing and nutritious. Information on pre-
paring eggplant may be obtained from the Bureau of Home
Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Two varieties of eggplant are grown in Florida-Black
Beauty and Florida High Bush. Black Beauty plants grow to
a height of 18 to 30 inches. This variety requires about four
months from seed to maturity. The Florida High Bush is slight-
ly later than Black Beauty, requiring about ten days longer to
come to maturity.
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Basket used in picking peppers. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 43
ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION OF LETTUCE *
The acreage planted to the commercial lettuce crop of the
United States in 1928, according to statistics recorded in the
1928 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture,
was 126,780 acres. The product of this area was 18,589,000 crates
of four dozen heads each, valued at $31,601,300. This does not
include small lots of lettuce grown and marketed locally.
Lettuce, commercial crop: Acreage, production, and price per crate, by States,
Acreage Production Price per crate
Season and State
1925 1926 1927 1928 1925 1926 1927 1928 1925 1926 1927 1928
1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Early: Acres Acres Acres Acres cra 3 crates crates cates Dolls. Doll. Dolls Dolls.
Arizona ............ 6,400 8,500 14, 800 28, 700 1,440 1,912 3,034 3,272 1.06 1.90 1.35 1.42
Imperial ..-. 23,000 28,000 34,400-22,000 4,600 4,900 5,229 3,740 1.71 1.95 1.34 1.62
Other --.. .... 24,680 37,100 42,010 50,570 4,368 5,565 6, 049 7,636 1.16 1.37 1.75 1.84
Florida ------ 3,400 1,500 1,840 1,850 765 252 294 314 1.41 2.21 1.62 1.61
North Carolina-.... 1,730 1,420 1,490 1,490 467 379 207 216 1.98 2. 00 1.87 1.60
South Carolina.. 1,480 780 700 750 247 133 158 112 1. 69 1. 81 1.59 2.11
Texas .......... 680 640 950 1,000 68 72 103 100 1. 1. 19 1.00 1.02
Virginia..--.. --... 300 300 300 300 39 8 50 60 2.07 1.70 1.50 1.45
Total ....--...---- 61,670 78,240 96, 490 106,660 11,99413,25115,12415, 450 1.42 1.70 1.37 1.68
Colorado .........-- ,5 13,240 13,240 9,800 1,396 1,523 56 1,2 127 1.58 1.43 1.63 1.07
Idaho -.....--.....- 1. 500 1,200 1 120 900 180 157 218 101 1.86 1.47 .96 1.67
New Jersey ..... 2,200 2,400 2,450 2,300 541 503 612 442 1.64 1.08 2.04 1.89
New Mexico --. 1,400 1,030 410 400 280 77 59 18 1.76 1.66 .75 1.32
New York-..----.. 6,820 7,200 5,540 4,460 1,323 1,246 1,457 1,004 1.42 1.60 1.48 2.68
Oregon .........--- 300 360 300 100 45 18 15 7 1.92 1.42 1.25 1.5
Pennsylvania..----- 70 80 80 80 11 12 10 9 2.50 24 1.50 2.70
Washington......... 1,450 1,600 2,050 2,040 290 336 410 428 2.50 1.3 1.48 1.25
Wyoming-..... 110 210 200 40 16 27 22 3 1.50 1.40 1.20 1.82
Total.....--------. 24, 350 27,320 25, 390 20,120 4, 082 3,89 4, 259 3,139 1. 63 1.43 1. 57 1.75
Grand total...... 86, 020 105, 560 121,88026,780 17,15 19,383 18, 589 1.48 1.64 1.42 1.
Lettuce: Car-lot shipments by State of origin, 1920-1928
State 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928
Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars Cars
New York ..---- --------. 1,775 3,240 3,167 3,817 3,698 3,821 3,019 3,496 3,138
New Jersey --------.-- 208 469 571 456 417 463 303 308 144
North Carolina .--.- ---.. -- 207 445 622 718 714 537 540 447 477
South Carolina .....--... --121 716 987 577 423 736 372 369 241
Florida --..... -------. --- 2,940 2,267 3,323 3,146 2,257 1,519 987 929 813
Idaho ...... ......--------. 25 180 889 1,241 532 501 398 196 67
Colorado -------------- 129 234 812 1,436 1,036 3,096 2,795 2,848 2,368
Arizona..........- -----. 254 168 678 1,108 2,049 3,519 4,906 9,131 9,204
Washington ..--........ .-- 354 635 812 1,081 674 820 904 1,151 1,232
California ............---.-- 7,358 9,850 9,744 15,113 18,480 21,618 27,341 27,574 33,446
Other States..........--------- 417 534 635 792 655 676 540 401 316
Total ----------...... 13, 788 18,738 22,240 29,485 30,935 37,306 42,105 46,850 51,446
* Farmers' Bulletin No. 1609. t United States Department of Agriculture, Statistical Com-
mittee. Agricultural Statistics. U. S. Dept. of Agr. Yearbook 1927: 876. 1928.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Lettuce is an important Florida truck crop. It is grown for
northern markets and for home use. Most of the crop is shipped
in refrigerator cars to distant markets. The crop to do well
must be grown during the cool months in a warm soil.
Factors Governing the Field Production of Lettuce
Temperature, moisture, and soil are important contributing
factors in the successful production of lettuce in Florida. Let-
tuce requires a relatively low average temperature, especially
after the heads begin to form. Any good trucking soil will grow
lettuce, provided moisture and plant-food conditions are suit-
able. Soil requirements consist of adaptability to intensive cul-
tivation, capacity to retain moisture, and an abundance of plant
A large proportion of the commercial crop of head lettuce is
started in beds and transplanted to the field. The usual custom
is to prepare seedbeds either in hotbeds, in coldframes, or in the
open ground, fertilize the soil of the seed bed somewhat highly,
about 4 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet, and sow the seed
thinly so as to produce strong, healthy plants. One-half pound
of good seed planted in a special seedbed will produce enough
plants with which to set an acre of lettuce. Approximately 50
coldframe sash 3 by 6 feet will be required for growing these
plants. Where the beds are in the open and not covered with
sash, a bed 100 feet long and 12 feet wide is recommended.
Great care must be taken in the watering and ventilation of the
plant beds in order to avoid losses by damping off. This disease
seldom gives trouble in the open beds, except during seasons of
excessive rainfall accompanied by warm weather.
Lettuce growers sometimes start the plants by drilling the
seed in rows in the open ground, using an ordinary garden seed
drill and spacing the rows 10 or 12 inches apart. Where the
seed is sown in this manner the plants will be ready for setting
in the field in from 30 to 40 days.
Lettuce seed retains its viability for several years if stored
under proper conditions, but in order to obtain vigorous plants
it is recommended that seed not more than two years old be
planted. Strictly fresh lettuce seed, that is, seed that is planted
the same season that it is grown, is likely to give a poor germi-
nation, and for that reason it is desirable to plant seed grown
the previous season.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Lettuce is transplanted when four leaves have formed. A
rich, moist, compact, sandy loam soil that can be thoroughly
irrigated and well drained produces the best crops. The soil
should be well supplied with humus, and kept moist constantly
but with good drainage. It may be necessary to irrigate. Care
must be exercised as the crop is easily ruined by too much water.
Crop rotation in lettuce growing has proved to be of value,
both in the control of diseases and in the maintenance of soil
fertility and physical conditions through the use of green
Hand cultivation is generally employed in the growing of
lettuce, but in a few sections the rows are spaced so as to per-
mit of horse cultivation. Small garden tractors are now being
employed extensively, both for drawing the gangs of seed drills
used in sowing the lettuce and for its cultivation. The object
of cultivation in lettuce growing is primarily the control of
weeds, as the soil is thoroughly prepared before planting. Where
the plants have been transplanted in check rows they can be
cultivated in both directions until the heads begin to form. This
will eliminate a large part of the hand work of hoeing and
Manure containing a large proportion of undecayed straw
or other coarse bedding should not be applied, because the de-
cay of coarse straw or other woody materials results in the
temporary depletion of the available nitrogen in the soil. This
is likewise true of soil improving crops used as substitutes for
manure, and these should be turned under while green and in
condition to decay quickly. Thorough disking of the material
in advance of plowing will greatly facilitate the disintegration
of the organic matter.
The manure for use on lettuce land should be composted in
a compact pile for at least three months and preferably six
months in advance of being spread on the land. During this
period the leachings from the pile should be collected in a pit
and pumped over the pile of manure from time to time. If the
manure is excessively dry at the time it is piled for compost-
ing, enough water should be added to cause it to decay rapidly.
The manure is usually spread broadcast over the land with a
spreader or by hand at the rate of 20 to 40 tons to the acre and
thoroughly disked into the soil. One such application every
three years interspersed with at least two soil-building crops
46 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
will usually be sufficient to maintain the organic matter in the
A liberal supply of plant food will produce tender lettuce.
If the soil is deficient then liberal applications of 5-5-5 fer-
tilizer is added. The quantity ranging from 1,500 to 2,500
pounds to the acre is divided and half of the amount applied
two weeks before the plants are set and the remainder two
weeks after setting the plants. Each acre will have from 45,-
000 to 50,000 plants to feed and be kept in good condition.
Lettuce requires a constant fairly high moisture content in
the soil. Excessive rainfall or irrigation will seriously damage
the crop. Lack of moisture in the soil will stunt the growth
and produce poor heads. A moisture condition in the soil
which is just a little greater than that required for good trans-
planting is satisfactory or just about as great as is permissi-
ble for cultivation.
Lettuce intended for long-distance shipment is packed with-
out washing. Eastern-grown outdoor lettuce which is shipped
in carloads is packed in the field.
Under favorable conditions the greater part of a crop of
lettuce can be harvested at one cutting, but it is often neces-
sary to go over the field three or four times, each time cutting
4Cs. ctin of hd of lettue, s g e d ce de to or-mtt
Cross section of head of lettuce, showing enlarged core due to over-maturity
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
only the heads that are matured. The different cuttings, how-
ever, may usually be made at intervals of two or three days.
Immature heads are spongy and do not hold up well during
transit and marketing. It frequently happens that head let-
tuce matures and is at its best before the heads are solid. The
solidity of the heads at maturity also depends to some degree
The common practice of lettuce growers is to distribute the
crates or hampers along one side of the field and begin cutting
at that point. Cutting is usually done as early in the morning
as possible. Heads that have been frosted in the field should
never be handled while in that condition. The first 10 or 12
rows of lettuce are cut and packed, and the containers are
loaded upon the wagons or trucks for hauling to the car. An-
other section of 7 to 12 rows is then cut and packed and the
trucks or wagons driven directly through the field for loading.
In harvesting the lettuce the heads are cut close to the ground
or slightly below it. As the heads are cut and slightly trim-
med, they are packed directly into the containers or thrown
into a wind-row from which they are packed. Sometimes the
cutters trim the heads, removing all discolored leaves and
turning the heads upside down where cut. The packers imme-
diately follow the cutters and pack the lettuce in the crates
before it suffers from exposure. This system has the advantage
that one man not only can pack behind two cutters but can do
the work a little better than where the cutters do the packing
If not packed in the field, the heads are placed rather loose-
ly in lug boxes or large crates and hauled from the field to the
central packing houses.
Lettuce that is packed in the field can seldom be graded as
uniformly as in a central packing house.
Before packing, the heads are inspected and if necessary
are given additional trimming to remove any dirt or undesir-
able leaves and to give the cut portion of the stem a neat,
white appearance. The outer leaves are then slightly drawn
together or folded over the head, and the heads are crowded
just enough in the packages to make a firm but not tight pack.
Although most of the outer leaves are finally trimmed off-be-
fore the heads are offered for sale, these outer leaves protect
the head in transit.
Lettuce is a perishable crop and requires extreme care in
handling. To avoid exposure to sun and wind after the cutting
and packing of the lettuce, the crates or hampers should be
loaded upon trucks or wagons, covered with a light canvas,
moved directly to the shipping point, and loaded into the cars.
Lettuce should be hauled to the packing shed promptly after
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
it is cut, and there should be no delay in having it crated and
placed under ice. Rough handling of the crates after they are
packed should also be strictly avoided.
Lettuce is ready for harvesting within 70 to 80 days after
transplanting when the heads have become fairly solid. It is
packed in standard crates 71/2" x 18" x 22" or in standard ham-
pers. A carload contains from 350 to 400 crates or hampers.
Insect Enemies-Cutworms *
The lettuce plant is comparatively free from insect attack.
Cutworms are particularly destructive to the seedling crop.
Some winter in the soil in the immature worm stage, and as
soon as the weather becomes favorable in the spring they at-
tack the early-planted crop. Later in the season the crop may
be damaged by cutworms that pass the winter in the egg stage.
The crop is also subject to attack from worms that hatch from
eggs laid by the moth in early spring and through the season.
Cutworms damage the crop by cutting the plants off near the
ground. They feed for the most part at night, spending the day
inactive just below the surface of the soil.
Cutworms may be controlled by the timely use of a poi-
soned-bran bait, as shown in the directions that follow.
Poisoned bran bait for control of cutworms
Ingredient In small quantities In large quantities
Dry bran ---_. ..___-..__.._...... __ 1 peck or 5 pounds .... 25 pounds
White arsenic or Paris green .....-_.. 1/4 pound ....___ 1 pound
Sirup or molasses ............___ ...... 1 pint __..-..- ___--_ 2 quarts
Water ------------ ----....... .. ... .. 3 or 4 quarts 15 to 20 quarts
(1) Thoroughly dry mix the poison with the bran. This is important, as
each particle of bran must carry a little poison in order to get a good kill.
When making small quantities mix the bait in a bucket with a paddle, adding
the poison slowly and stirring the bran at the same time. A more effective
way is to mix the poison and the bran with the hands, but as soluble arsenic
to a slight extent is absorbed through the pores of the skin, there may be some
objection to this method. If the hands have any cuts, scratches, or other
wounds, do not put them into the bait. When making large quantities, the
poison can be mixed with the bran on some flat, smooth surface, using a shovel
and rake in much the same way as in mixing concrete.
(2) Mix the sirup with the water.
(3) Add the water and sirup solution to the mixture of bran and poison,
stirring slowly all the time. Large quantities of water added at one time will
wash the poison from the bran, resulting in an uneven mixture.
Caution.-Add only enough liquid to make a crumbly mass. It is a good
plan to set aside a little of the mixture of dry bran and arsenic so that if too
much water has been used this reserve can be added to bring the mixture to
Prepared by W. H. White, Entomologist, Division of Truck-Crop Insects, Bureau
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 49
the proper consistency. Large quantities can be made up in galvanized-iron
or wooden washtubs, and small quantities in buckets or similar containers.
How and when to use the bait.-Either broadcast the poisoned bait or sow
it by hand along the rows or about the base of the plants late in the evening
so that it will not dry out to any great extent before the worms become active.
Because cutworms overwinter in the ground, it is a good plan to broadcast the
poisoned bait over the cultivated areas a few days before the crop comes up or
is set in the field. Where plants are to be transplanted to the field, this method
is particularly valuable. If hills are made for melons or tomatoes, apply the
bait directly to the hills a few days before the crop is set in the field. Such
applications will rid the field of many of the worms before the crop is subject
Quantity of bait to use: 10 to 15 pounds of the wet bait is sufficient for
one application per acre. Where the bait is applied directly to the rows or
hills, a smaller quantity will suffice. It may require two or three applications
at intervals of two days to rid the field of the pests.
,.. ,.., 4,
Typical head of Big Boston lettuce
Plant Lice and Other Pests
Plant lice or aphids sometimes attack the lettuce crop.
These pests can best be controlled, especially on the young
crop, by the use of nicotine dust containing 2 percent of nico-
tine. Apply the dust when the air temperature is above 70' F.
and when the foliage of the plants is dry, and when there is
little air movement. The dust should be applied to the under
side of the leaves, where the insects feed. Nicotine dust should
be applied to the crop not later than 10 days before harvest.
The lettuce looper, army worms and wireworms, occasion-
ally become troublesome. Up to the present time no entirely
Ir-.~r.l.~)-, --.c 3 .c ~ .
-C It i; r
I ~ :.
A field of lettuce
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
satisfactory method has been developed for the control of these
pests, although arsenical treatments will control the lettuce
looper, such treatments are not recommended on crops with
edible foliage, except when the crop is in the earliest stages of
Tipburn is a nonparasitic disease, occurring primarily dur-
ing warm weather, and particularly when warm bright days
follow periods of foggy or rainy weather. Although resulting
Head of true Iceberg lettuce
from climatic conditions, the trouble is much reduced by good
cultural methods and care in fertilizing and irrigating. Let-
tuce varieties differ greatly in susceptibility to tipburn.
Simple tipburn is manifested by brown dead areas around
the margins of the leaves without decay. Decay fungi and bac-
teria, however, often gain a foothold in these dead margins,
causing soft rot both in the field and in shipment and markets.
Shippers and dealers frequently refer to this soft rot as slime.
Soft rot may sometimes affect heads that are free from tip-
Downy mildew also attacks wild lettuce, and this weed
should be eradicated from the vicinity of lettuce fields and
greenhouses. Crop rotation is advisable. Applications of Bor-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
deaux mixture to the small plants hold the diseases in check
while the plants are young.
Lettuce drop is caused by a fungus which usually attacks
the stem near the surface of the soil, causing a soft watery rot.
This rot soon involves the entire stem and leaf bases and re-
sults in the collapse of the plant. The casual fungus may live
in the soil for at least two years. Crops recommended for rota-
tion with lettuce are sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, cucum-
bers, radishes, beets, spinach, and onions. Celery and cabbage
should not be grown in the rotation as they are quite suscepti-
ble to the disease.
Damping-off of small lettuce plants, which occurs particu-
larly in seed beds, is caused by various fungi. Keeping the sur-
face of the soil and the plants as dry as possible is of primary
importance in preventing the trouble. Means of accomplishing
this are the selection of a reasonably light soil of a type that
dries readily after watering, the sparing use of water, the
avoiding of crowding of the plants. New soil that has been in
grass or general farm crops for several years usually gives less
trouble than soil that has grown vegetables or flowers for some
Some other diseases are bottom rot, anthracnose, bacterial
nilt, mosaic, and yellows.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 53
Romaine, a variety of lettuce, grows successfully where other
varieties of lettuce are grown. The demand is somewhat
Planting, cultivation, fertilizing, harvesting and marketing
are similar to lettuce.
Paris White Cos and Green Cos are the two varieties gen-
Cross section of head of Romaine or Cos lettuce
4'~U~ ~ 4
54 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
English peas are being raised in all sections of Florida. Care
in the preparation of the soil, the application of stable manure
in the bottom of the rows before the seeds are planted will give
greater assurance of a good crop. Peas should be planted in
richer soil than that in which beans are raised. If the soil is
deficient in humus the plants will be weak and the crop corre-
spondingly light. The plants should produce leaves and vines
in abundance for a good crop. The soil should be fairly moist
but not wet. Sour land or new muck soil will not produce a
good crop. Peas require nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Good ham-
mock soils that are well drained give the best yields.
The pea is a cool-weather plant. Not only will the seeds
germinate and make vigorous growth at lower temperatures
with many vegetable crops, but cool weather is necessary for
obtaining good yields and high quality. High temperature
checks the growth of the plants and causes them to flower and
form pods before the plants have attained sufficient size to
bear a good crop, while cool weather permits a long-continued
growth and the formation of many pods that do not reach the
harvest stage prematurely.
The growing of peas exerts a beneficial effect on many crops
which may follow. The disking of the pea stubble puts the soil
in excellent physical condition. The growth and seeding of
weeds are partly prevented by the early working of the ground,
by the heavy cover formed by the pea vines, and also by the
early harvesting of the crop. The growing of peas increases the
nitrogen content of the soil through the action of the nitrogen-
gathering bacteria when these are present in the root nodules.
Some farmers have deliberately planted peas in a belated sea-
son or have turned under a poor crop of peas without harvest-
ing, in order to get back the value of the seed and of their
labor from the increase in the succeeding crop.
The preparation of the land and of the seed bed is very im-
portant and should receive the closest attention, as a fertile,
deeply prepared, mellow soil is one of the essentials in success-
ful pea culture. The pea is a vigorous, free-growing plant, the
roots of which are extensive and penetrate deeply into the
ground. The crop usually receives no cultural attention after
the seed is sown. The operations before planting will influ-
ence, in part, the water content of the soil for the season of pea
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
growing. The preliminary preparation, furthermore, will con-
trol the development of the root system and influence the ex-
tent of weed infestation.
The rows are generally laid out about four feet apart and
the seed sown fairly thick. About two bushels of seed are re-
quired to the acre. Plant the seeds deep if the soil is dry. Cul-
tivate until it is impossible to drive the horse between the rows
without injuring the plants.
Five hundred to 800 pounds of 4-8-3 fertilizer is recommend-
ed for each acre, in addition to a liberal supply of stable ma-
nure if available. Should the growth be slow 100 pounds nitrate
of soda may be applied when the vines begin to bear and this
will prolong the bearing period.
The quantity of commercial fertilizer that can be profitably
used on the pea crop is dependent upon the needs of the soil,
the price received for the crop, and the probable increase in
yield as determined from the experience of other growers.
The time for harvesting is determined largely by the ap-
pearance of the pods. These should be swollen and well filled
with young succulent peas and changing in color from dark to
light green. By this time the vines have attained their full
growth, and the stem, which retains all of its leaves, is still
succulent. It is the aim to harvest the peas at a time when a
high yield will be secured, but while the peas are still in prime
Within 60 days after planting, under favorable conditions,
the first picking can be made. The harvesting period will cover
from 30 to 40 days. Pick the peas while they are green, do not
allow them to harden. The time of picking will depend on
whether they are being shipped or delivered to home markets.
This is a crop that must be watched carefully if a profit is to
accrue to the grower. The crop is shipped in bushel hampers.
The pea crop is subject to the attacks of certain insect pests.
Among the insects that may cause damage are the pea aphid
and the pea weevil. The aphid is perhaps the only insect that
makes serious inroads on the growing of green peas. The aphid
can be controlled in part by crop rotations. The presence of
the weevil should be noted at the time of planting. Weevil-
infested seed may give a germination as low as 30 percent.
The pea plant is subject to two groups of plant diseases,
both of which vary in prevalence in different localities from
-''~' ''"* -^ ^ ^* ^ A^
-- .; ^ ^^
: iaL. ~Q
English Peas just beginning to bloom
^ ^ -^ -^
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
season to season. The more conspicuous and better-known
group consists of those which attack parts of the plant above
ground. Among these are the so-called pea blight, leaf and pod
spot, and mildew. The less conspicuous and more important
group of diseases cause decay of the plant below ground, re-
sulting in reduced growth and in extreme cases the wilting of
the entire plant. Against both these groups of diseases only
preventive measures are practicable.
Nearly all of the foliage diseases are carried over from year
to year on dead straw and debris of the pea plant. Whenever
these diseases become troublesome they can readily be con-
trolled by crop rotation. The diseases that cause decay of the
plant below ground at the base of the stem or on the root may
also be controlled by crop rotation, though not so readily, since
the fungi causing this injury are soil-inhabiting organisms
which persist a long time when once they have become
Large quantities of vines remain after the peas are thresh-
ed. A large percentage of the vines is fed to livestock. These
vines are now considered a valuable by-product.
Freshly gathered vines may be used in their natural state
as green feed, and as such they are probably equal to any other
The best varieties for Florida are Florida McNeil, Extra
Early, Early Dixie, Dwarf Telephone, Thomas Laxton, Nott's
Excelsior, and Little Marvel.
Varieties Preferred By Canners
Among the early wilt-resistant varieties are strains of the
Alaska, Peerless, and Wisconsin Early Sweet. Mid-season
varieties that resist wilt are the Green Admiral, Green Giant,
HIoral, Prince of Wales, Resistant Perfection, Roger's-K, Yel-
low Admiral and Senator.
Other varieties, even though they do not withstand wilt,
that are sometimes planted are Surprise, Horsford and Can-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Okra, or "gumbo" as it is commonly called, is a tropical
annual. It has for many years held an important place among
the garden vegetables of the Southern States, where it is used
mainly in soups and preparations of which meat forms an in-
tegral part. The young and tender seed pods are used and give
a pleasant flavor to soups and stews.
The okra plant somewhat resembles that of cotton, though
having much larger and rougher leaves and a thicker stem. Its
flowers, which are similar to those of cotton in size, shape, and
color, are always single, and there is very little variation be-
tween those of different varieties.
Okra being a crop easy to grow, is raised in many sections
of the State. In some counties it is one of the most important
truck crops. Okra can be raised on a variety of soils, but pro-
duces the best crops on sandy loam that is warm, when the
crop is planted, and has a fair degree of fertility and moisture.
The small seeds should have a light covering of soil and
planted in rows that are laid off about three feet apart. From
six to eight pounds of seed are required to plant an acre. When
the plants are well established they should be thinned to one
plant for every 10 to 12 inches depending on the fertility of the
soil. The plants bear for several months and are cultivated
similar to corn.
Cultivate like corn or cotton, keeping the ground well
stirred and the surface soil loose, especially while the plants
are small. After the leaves begin to shade the ground, very lit-
tle cultivation is necessary except to keep the land free from
weeds. A poor soil and insufficient moisture will yield pods of
inferior size and quality, and irrigation may often be desirable
in order to produce a marketable crop. The okra plants will
usually continue to grow until late in the season, but after a
time the pods are not so large or tender as those produced
earlier. As the pod is the only part of the plant ordinarily used
for food, it is desirable to secure a rapid and continuous
growth in order to produce the greatest quantity of marketable
If stable manure is available for liberal applications, com-
mercial fertilizer is unnecessary, otherwise from 600 to 800
pounds of fertilizer to the acre applied the same as for sweet
corn should be added to the soil.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
To obtain the full benefit from the crop the okra pods should
be cut every two or three days. Otherwise the pods will harden
and be unfit for use. Cutting the pods increases the bearing of
Pack the pods in six-basket tomato carriers, or for some
Flower and pods of okra. The pod in the center is in prime con-
dition for gathering; the larger pods have been allowed to ma-
ture for seed
shipments in bushel hampers. When the market is good the
grower will find it profitable to ship by express.
The pods should always be gathered, irrespective of size,
while they are still soft and before the seeds are half grown.
The illustration shows a flower, together with the pods formed
the two previous mornings, the middle one of which is in the
proper condition for gathering. The full-grown pods shown to
the right and left of the flower were from those allowed to
mature for seed.
A large field of Okra. (Courtesy A. A. Coult)
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
METHODS OF PREPARATION
No copper, brass, or iron cooking vessels should be employ-
ed in preparing okra, as the metal will be absorbed and the
pods discolored. The cooking should be done in agate, porce-
lain, aluminum, or earthenware vessels.
2 pounds of beef, without fat or 1 pound of butter
bone 1 onion, sliced and chopped
2 cupfuls of okra, chopped fine Salt and pepper
4 quarts of cold water
Cut the beef into small pieces and season well with pepper and salt. Fry
it in the soup kettle with the onion and butter until very brown. Then add the
cold water and let simmer for an hour and a half. Add the okra, and let sim-
mer gently for three or four hours longer.
WINTER OKRA SOUP
1 can of good okra 1 dozen oysters
1 can of tomatoes 3 tablespoonfuls of rice
2 onions, chopped fine A red pepper pod, with-
2 tablespoonfuls of butter out the seeds
Chop the onions and fry them in the butter. Wash the rice well, then
stew the onions, tomatoes, and pepper together in about 3 quarts of water and
1 pint of oyster water for about three hours, stirring frequently. Ten min-
utes before serving add the okra and let it come to a boil. Then drop in the
oysters, boil up once, and serve.
1 chicken, weighing 8 or 4 pounds 1 large slice of ham
1 quart of sliced tomatoes 1 bay leaf
1 onion 1 sprig of thyme or parsley
%/ pod of red pepper, without 1 tablespoonful each of lard and
the seeds butter
2 pints of okra, or about 50 pods Salt and cayenne to taste
Clean and cut up the chicken. Cut the ham into small squares or dice and
chop the onion and the parsley or thyme. Skin the tomatoes and chop fine,
saving the juice. Wash and stem the okra and slice into thin layers of one-
half inch each. Put the lard and butter into the soup kettle and when hot add
the chicken and the ham. Cover closely and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Then add the chopped onions, parsley or thyme, and tomatoes, stirring fre-
quently to prevent scorching. Then add the okra, and when well browned add
the juice of the tomatoes, which imparts a superior flavor. The okra is very
delicate and may scorch if not stirred frequently. For this reason many
Creole cooks fry the okra pods separately in a frying pan, seasoning with the
pepper, cayenne, and salt and then add them to the chicken. Equally good
results may be obtained with less trouble by simply adding the okra to the
frying chicken and watching constantly to prevent scorching. The least taste
of a "scorch" spoils the flavor of the gumbo. When well fried and browned,
add about 8 quarts of boiling water and set on the back of the stove to simmer
for about an hour longer. Serve hot with nicely boiled rice. Round steak may
be substituted for chicken, but it must be borne in mind that the chicken
gumbo is the best flavored.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Another recipe for gumbo which is very similar to the one
just preceding, the process being practically the same, is as
1 quart of tomatoes, sliced One-half pound of corned ham
2 pounds of good beef, cut in or pork, cut up
small pieces Small piece of red pepper,
2 quarts of okra, sliced without the seeds
4 tablespoonfuls of butter Spray of parsley
Boil the young okra pods whole. When cold, dress with vinegar, salt, and
pepper, or, if preferred, use plain French dressing and serve very cold. This is
a most delightful summer salad, the okra being very cooling.
1 quart of young okra Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoonful of vinegar
Wash the okra well in cold water and place in a porcelain or agate sauce-
pan. Add a pint of water and a teaspoonful of salt. Cover the saucepan and
let the okra simmer for about half an hour. Place in a dish, season with salt
and pepper, pour over the okra a tablespoonful of tarragon vinegar, and set
to cool. Serve as a salad with roast meats, etc.
Place a thin layer of rice in a baking dish, add a layer of sliced okra, then
a layer of sliced tomatoes; add salt, pepper, a little currie, and a small lump
of butter. Repeat with alternate layers of rice, okra, and tomatoes until the
dish is filled. Cover and bake in the oven until the rice is thoroughly cooked.
Remove cover and brown on top. Serve in the baking dish. The rice should
be washed in cold water before using and the okra pods and tomatoes washed
and sliced rather thinly.
CANNED OKRA AND TOMATOES
Equal parts of okra and tomatoes may be canned together for winter use.
Cut the tender pods into short pieces and mix with the tomatoes; pack in
cans and process at least 10 minutes longer than for tomatoes alone.
Another method is to blanch the okra pods for 10 minutes in boiling
water, then dip into cold water to cool. Cut into sections, pack into the cans
with the tomatoes, seal, and process as for tomatoes.
Most varieties of okra will ship well. Perkins Mammoth
Podded has the preference, but Long Green and White Velvet
are also very good varieties.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Pumpkins and squashes are considered natives of America.
They are known to have been used by the Indians before the
advent of the white man. Both are nutritious and valuable
vegetable crops. They have many and varied uses. In addition
to their use as fresh vegetables, a large tonnage of pumpkin
and squash is canned each year, the canned product being used
largely for pie making. If properly handled and stored a sup-
ply may be had from mid-summer to late spring. Every garden
having sufficient space for such crops should have at least a
few hills of one or both of them.
The raising of squash is not difficult and while squash can
be produced on a wide variety of soils, the crops raised on high
lands will ship better than those produced on flat or muck
lands. If planted with corn there will be difficulty in cultivat-
ing the corn.
Almost any good garden soil will grow these crops. While
a soil of medium texture is perhaps best, good yields can be
produced on the heavier and lighter soils if properly handled
and well fertilized. A light rich soil that warms up rapidly is
Squashes are less sensitive to unfavorable soil and weather
conditions than melons and cucumbers.
Like other cucurbits squashes and pumpkins have a large
but shallow root system. The root growth is very rapid and
extensive in the upper 6 or 8 inches of soil. The character of
the root systems requires that the upper layers of soil be thor-
oughly prepared and well fertilized for best results. The soil
should be well supplied with organic matter and retentive of
soil moisture. A surface soil capable of retaining its moisture
content is especially desirable in localities where rainfall is
likely to be deficient.
The earlier varieties can be planted 4 feet apart each way,
the later, running varieties should be placed 6 feet apart. Four
or five seeds are placed in each hill and an acre will require
about two pounds of seed to plant it. The seeds should sprout
64 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
within a few days and when they have reached a height of two
or three inches it is time to thin them, leaving about three
plants to the hill. During warm weather the plants will grow
rapidly necessitating continuous cultivation or until the plants
spread between the rows. Squash plants grow close to the
The bush and small vine varieties may be planted in hillsjl
T nt aLmot cn be ud b e If t l
thin, sandy loam it is best to make two applications, one-half
Squash plants need a supply of available am nia.
ground and obtain their food from the surface of the soil. In
cultivating care must be taken not to bruise the plants.
Planting should be delayed until the soil has warmed up
and in good condition for germination of the seed. The seed
germinates best at a relatively high temperature and is likely
to decay if planted in a cold, wet soil.
The bush and small vine varieties may be planted in hills
as close as 4 by 4 feet, but the varieties having long running
vines should be spaced 8 to 12 feet apart each way, depending
on the growth habit of the variety and the fertility of the soil.
If manure or compost are not available, 800 to 1,200 pounds
of 4-8-4 commercial fertilizer should be applied to each acre.
The entire amount can be used before planting. If the land is
thin, sandy loam it is best to make two applications, one-half
before planting and the other after the plants are about a
month old. If manure or compost is available the amount of
fertilizer can be reduced to 600 to 1,000 pounds to the acre.
Squash plants need a supply of available ammonia.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 65
Squash are shipped in standard cabbage crates or bushel
hampers. When shipped early the grower generally realizes
good profit on the basis of cost of production. With ordinary
care in harvesting there should be no difficulty from rotting in
transit. Ripe squash may be gathered in late fall when some
other vegetables are not growing in addition to being a good
spring crop, making it one of Florida's most satisfactory truck
Insects and Diseases
For information on the control of insects and diseases write
to the Florida Department of Agriculture.
The early varieties are suitable for shipping. They include
the Cocozelle, Early Crook Neck, Early Yellow Bush, Patty
Pan and Mammoth White Bush.
66 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
IMPORTANCE OF THE INDUSTRY
Asparagus is one of the most valuable of the early vegeta-
bles and perhaps the most important of the perennial vege-
table crops. It is healthful and palatable, both as a fresh
vegetable and as a canned product.
Asparagus offers fair potentialities as a truck crop in Flor-
ida. It is a very popular vegetable, and although the food value
of asparagus is not high it is a good source of vitamin A,
whether canned, cooked or raw. In its raw state it is an excel-
lent source of vitamin B. The analysis of asparagus shows
that it contains a larger volume of water than most vegetables.
The value of the crop to the truck grower depends upon the
cost of production, the yield per acre and the demand. If the
crop can be raised and .shipped while the market is barren of
fresh asparagus the income should be satisfactory.
The table of production in California and Connecticut gives
the yield per acre in these two States. Practically the entire
crop of California is canned and shipped to many parts of the
United States. Canning of asparagus may develop in Florida.
Yield per Acre Yield per Acre
Year in Pounds in Pounds
First ..................... 0 0
Second .................... 500 830
Third ..................... 1,000 2,425
Fourth.................... 2,000 3,832
Fifth ..................... 4,000 4,838
Sixth ..................... 4,250 5,375
Seventh ................... 4,500 5,259
Eighth ..................... 5,000
N inth ..................... 5,000
Tenth ..................... 4,750
Eleventh .................. 4,500
The advantages to the Florida grower in producing aspara-
gus seem to be early production and economy in raising the
crop. With no fresh, green asparagus on the market until about
the first of March, the truck gardener in this State should be
able to find profitable markets for early shipments.
The price of green asparagus in the early part of the year
for several years has been nearly $4 for a crate of 30 pounds.
The demand for high quality green asparagus is on the in-
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 67
So far as we know, asparagus was first discovered in the
north temperate regions of Europe, where there is a continu-
ance of cold weather for several months. Cold weather prevents
budding during these cold periods and the growth is practi-
cally dormant. Following these dormant periods the plants
begin their normal growth and the green tips will grow rap-
idly. Soon after, cutting of the tips begins.
In South Carolina, where considerable asparagus is grown
profitably, the temperature during November to February is
sufficient to bring about a dormant condition in growth. Like
most natural desert areas, the temperature in the Imperial
Valley Desert, California, (where asparagus is grown) has
continuous cold nights which check asparagus growth during
one or two months of the year.
The average Florida temperature is mild with occasional
freezing weather lasting but a few days. Frost will kill the aspar-
agus tops, but warm days induce new growth. In the course of a
year the tops may be killed two or three times. Every time
new shoots develop, the reserve plant food is depleted and the
new crowns which are formed lack strength and vigor.
In the northern and northwestern parts of Florida some
truck raisers have been able to maintain asparagus plants in
fair production for three or four years. This section of Flor-
ida seems to offer encouragement to asparagus raisers, but
care must be taken in selection of soil, its moisture content
Planting In the Everglades
Several years ago 275 acres in the vicinity of Canal Point
was planted in the muck soil of the Everglades. In May, 1928,
approximately 40 acres were planted to two-year-old asparagus
roots shipped from the Imperial Valley of California. Prior to
September of the same year these plants had made a very sat-
isfactory growth. New crowns had formed within four months
from the time of planting. Growers familiar with asparagus
production in other parts of the United States stated they had
never seen such remarkable plant growth. Indications for cut-
ting a profitable crop during January to March of 1929 were
exceptionally good, but the flood waters from Lake Okeechobee
during that year ruined most of the crop. Credit must be given
those growers who are persistently attempting to overcome
Another tract of 75 acres was planted in the same area of
1929. A good crop was cut during the months of December to
February. The size of the tips were enormous and of fine qual-
ity, but apparent financial success was again destroyed by high
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
waters. Only about half of the plants on a 5-acre field was
saved. Lack of water control is the most serious barrier to suc-
cessful asparagus production in the Everglades. The acreage
now producing has been carried through a period of successive
rainfall by means of a system of dikes and pumps.
There is not sufficient low
temperature in southern
f 1Florida to bring about a dor-
yn mant condition in growth.
S' Repeated cutting, bending or
4 "breaking of the ferns have
not brought satisfactory re-
I sults. The growth of the
1 plants under soil tempera-
ture and moisture conditions
prevailing in this southern
area is so luxuriant that new
J crowns are produced in abun-
dance and new tips grow
rapidly. This may eventual
ly lead to the successful can-
Sning of asparagus in Florida.
;i Muck soil, known as the
S"Custard Apple" provide sat-
isfactory conditions for as-
:-. .- paragus growth where there
i is dependable water control.
The quality is excellent and
a number of cuttings may be
J made from the plants the
first year of production. The
S. use of the mold in and be-
tween the rows prior to
Asparagus Tips planting is desirable. A sandy
loam that contains a medium
amount of moisture and rich in organic matter, is also suitable
for asparagus growing.
The rows generally are 6 to 8 feet apart and the plants set
every 20 to 24 inches in the rows.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Cultivation in muck soil is for the purpose of controlling
weeds and grass and is essential to hold certain insect pests
No fertilizer is being used in the muck soils of the Ever-
glades. Considerable fertilizer rich in potash is being used by
growers in other states and it would appear necessary on the
muck soils since they are deficient in potash. Organic matter
and potash should be used liberally on most Florida soils.
Harvesting The Crop
Three kinds of asparagus, relative to the color of the spears,
are marketed. The spears may be entirely green, green with
white butts, or entirely white. The greatest market demand is
for a green product, whereas most of that grown for canning
is white. Nearly all the green asparagus is harvested with a
small amount of white on the butt end. The entirely green
product that is cut at the surface of the ground does not keep
as well as that cut with a portion of the shoot underground.
Since the part of the stem that was underground is more woody
than the stem above ground, it loses moisture less rapidly than
the tender green portion and adds to the keeping quality of
White asparagus is obtained by growing the spears in dark-
ness. This is accomplished by ridging the soil over the crowns
and cutting the shoots below the surface as soon as the tips of
the spears appear. White asparagus is grown in some localities
where the asparagus beetle is prevalent in order to reduce the
loss from beetle injury. The injury by the beetle causes the
spears to grow crooked, otherwise mars the appearance, and
thus destroys their market value. When white asparagus is
grown the beetles have little opportunity to do much damage
before the spears are cut.
Edible shoots must be taken from the growing fern. The
yield per plant will probably not be as great as where plants
have been previously dormant. Keep the shoots gathered regu-
larly; do not let them toughen before cutting.
The usual methods of packing in 21/2-pound bunches and
the use of a crate such as used in the Carolinas seem satisfac-
tory. The crate is 91/2 inches at the top and 11 inches at the
bottom. It is 101/2 inches high and 17 13/16 inches long. It is
not advisable to wash asparagus prior to shipping unless it is
70 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The most commonly used crate is pyramidal in form, hav-
ing two compartments each holding six 2-pound to 21/-pound
At present the trade centers of Florida seem to offer very
good markets for asparagus. Since no other asparagus areas
can produce a crop during the winter months, there should be
no marketing problem for several years.
There are two insect pests that may be a menace to a crop:
First, the striped cucumber beetle; second, a "six-point" mite.
f.. :.'. .. ....
Asparagus packed in crates ready for market. Note the pyramidal shape
of the containers
Farmers' Bulletin No. 1646
In case the ditch banks adjacent to the asparagus fields are
kept clean and the grass and weeds are allowed to stand in
the asparagus rows, then some danger results, as the insects
are forced to come to the asparagus. If the reverse conditions
obtain, the insects seem to prefer the native growth on the
ditches, and practically leave asparagus unmolested.
Only the better varieties of the rust-resistant types should
be planted. Mary Washington and Martha Washington are
popular with asparagus growers.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Escarole or Endive
Escarole or Broad Leafed Batavian Endive belongs to that
group of plants known as the Composites, which is one of the
largest families in the plant kingdom. Escarole is a variety
of chicory. Endive has been cultivated in the United States
since 1806. Only five of the Composites, however, are known
to have any appreciable economic value as garden crops and
are of importance in the order named:
Escarole or Endive;
Salsify or Oyster Plant.
Escarole is used principally as salad. In its unbleached
state it is also eaten as "greens." Florida produces over $100,-
000 worth of escarole annually. Only within comparatively
recent years has escarole become generally known in American
home gardens. It is gradually gaining favor. When good let-
tuce is not obtainable escarole makes a very good substitute.
From mid-summer through early fall and winter it will be
found in our markets. During the hot summer months and
early fall, solid head lettuce is difficult to purchase in some
markets and unblanched escarole, having a better flavor meets
with ready acceptance among many consumers.
Poor land that is deficient in humus or that is dry and ex-
posed is not suitable for the cultivation of this crop. Any soil
that has ordinary fertility or that has been enriched through
the application of manure or other fertilizer will produce esca-
role. A warm soil to which has been added plenty of manure
raises the best crop.
If the seed is sown in the field, the first planting may be
made in June and followed by other plantings through August.
The rows should be about twelve to twenty inches apart. While
the plants are small they are thinned, leaving a foot of space
between the plants in the rows. The seed may be sown in seed-
beds such as are used for lettuce, and the young seedlings
transplanted to the field. Seedbeds are preferable when the
ground is very dry as this method of planting assures stronger
plants. It is best to transplant after a rain, if possible, while
the soil is moist. If the ground is deficient in moisture it will
72 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
be necessary to water the plants. To ensure tender plants their
growth should be forced through the application of plenty of
plant food and thorough cultivation. If the seed of the Green
Curled variety is planted in August, or transplanted from the
seedbeds early in September, the crop may be kept for winter
use. The full grown, unblanched plants are harvested with a
good ball of earth surrounding the roots and are stored in a
dark root-cellar the same as celery is sometimes kept. Properly
Broad-Leaved Batavian and Moss-Curled varieties of endive. The former is often
harvested and stored plants will bleach within a short period.
When desired for summer use, the first sowing of seed is made
in seedbeds in April and the last in August.
Cover the seed very lightly. Plenty of moisture is necessary
to prevent the plants going to seed.
At the approach of severe weather the best plants should be
removed from the field and placed in a cold frame and pro-
tected from outside conditions. When the weather permits the
frame containing the plants should be given free ventilation..
Eight hundred to 1,200 pounds of standard fertilizer should
be applied to each acre. Escarole is a surface-feeder and the
fertilizer should be distributed evenly in the field. Nitrate of
soda should be used if the soil is deficient in nitrogen.
The plants may be bleached by tying the outside leaves over
the heart or the placing of 10-inch boards on edge along each
side of the rows. The tops of the boards are brought together
to keep out the light. The method of blanching is similar to
that used for celery except no light is admitted at the top. The
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
hearts of the plants are fully covered. About three weeks are
necessary to bleach the plants to a delicate white or creamy
color. The heart and inner leaves will be crisp, tender and have
a pleasant flavor. To overcome the bitter flavor the leaves and
hearts of the plants must be well blanched.
Insect Enemies and Diseases
The diseases and insect enemies that attack spinach and
lettuce sometimes must be guarded against in the production
of this crop. The recommendations for their control is the same
as for these crops.
The varieties preferred by most growers are Batavian,
French Moss Curled and Imperial.
The Green Curled variety has been popular with growers
for many years. It has narrow, curled leaves. When well
blanched it is a very attractive vegetable. Broad Leaf has
wider and plain leaves and is a variety that is gaining in pop-
The curled varieties of Escarole or Endive are both orna-
mental and attractive plants in the home garden.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Onion production in Florida is not an important commer-
cial crop. In the past this crop was more extensively culti-
vated. During recent years interest has revived in onion pro-
duction, resulting in the accumulation of more information of
value to the Florida grower.
This plant is adapted to a wide variety of climate and soil
conditions, so that it is known and grown in most coun-
tries of the world. It is of great antiquity. Onions are grown
in every state in the union.
It is not known definitely when onions were first intro-
duced into the United States, but early in the seventeenth cen-
tury they were being grown in Massachusetts. At the present
time the bulk of the onion crop in this country is grown in
New York, Texas, Indiana, California, Massachusetts, Ohio
and Michigan. The production in each of these states is shown
by the graph.
The root system of the onion is fibrous. According to Goff
a young onion plant with leaves 8 inches long was found to
have developed a root system penetrating to a depth of 16
inches. Most of them are not so deep. This depends mainly
upon soil and moisture. The roots spread outward and down-
ward, few of them being very deep. In general they extend
about a foot from the base of the bulb. The root system of
one plant was estimated at 400 linear feet about 40 days after
Cross pollination is easily accomplished as a variety of in-
sects visit the blooms of the onion plant. In attempting to
develop new strains by selection or cross-breeding the plants
should be planted at least a half mile away from other onion
Sandy loam soil filled with organic matter and having a
compact subsoil to insure a constant supply of moisture or de-
composed muck soil produce the best crops of onions in this
State. Excessive rain or drouth will effect the crop adversely.
Other types of soils will also grow onions, providing there is
a plentiful supply of ammonia, readily available to the plants
at all times. This will induce rapid growth and well shaped
onions. Flat, heavy sandy loam on which pines formerly grew
are suitable for this truck crop.
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
N.q. Texas Ind. Calf Moss. Ohio /ich.
Showing onion production in thousands of bushels in the 7 leading states. Texas is
listed in the "early crop" column along with California and Louisiana. The remainder
of those given in the above graph are so-called "late crop" states.
Best root development is obtained in relatively cool soils.
The young plants will withstand a temperature that is several
degrees below freezing.
During early growth it is highly essential that ample soil
moisture be maintained near the surface. New roots will not
develop in dry soil. Should the growth be suspended the outer
76 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE '
scales of the bulb mature, and when growth is resumed the
inner scales take on additional growth, which results in split-
ting of the bulbs.
Onions grow best when there is plenty of daylight, or dur-
ing long days. Varieties differ in this respect but they seem
to do best when there are about 15 hours of daylight. Possibly
this explains why onions do not "bottom" early irrespective of
the time of planting. Plantings made in January are less sub-
ject to weed growth, insect pests and plant diseases.
The bulk of the crop in Florida is planted directly in the
field. The soil must be in good tilth and thoroughly pulverized.
From 31/2 to 5 pounds of seed are required to plant an acre.
The seed is generally sown to a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch although
in muck soils the seed is often planted 2 inches deep.
The use of a seed drill is necessary for uniform distribu-
tion. The rows range from 14 to 24 inches apart and are
parallel to facilitate cultivating. Onion seed germinate best
when the soil temperature is about 65 degrees.
The root systems of onions will not permit deep cultivation.
If the field has been properly prepared in advance of sowing
the seed a minimum amount of cultivating will be necessary.
Hand tools are used almost exclusively in the production of
this crop as the plants in their early stages are delicate and
Shallow cultivation is easier controlled with hand imple-
The wire weeder is almost indispensable in growing a crop
of onions. It consists of numerous long. fine steel fingers fas-
tened to a cross bar of convenient length. Where flat cultiva-
tion is the rule this may be about 4 feet long. For ridge cul-
ture it would have to be modified to suit such conditions. The
cross bar is attached to the wheel hoe. In case of a heavy rain
which packs the soil prior to germination, this weeder is al-
most the only tool that can be used to break the crust without
seriously damaging the seed. Even after the crop is up, the
weeder renders very efficient service in keeping down the first
crop of weeds.
When it is possible to distinguish the rows, a wheel culti-
vator is used. There are single wheel types with the shovels
and plows offset to prevent the wheel from running on the
plants and also double wheel types which straddle the rows.
With both types the double knife attachment is used. This
cuts a swath just beneath the soil surface on both sides of the
row. This kind of cultivating kills small weeds and stirs the
surface of the soil without covering the young plants. Weed
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
growth, rainfall and other conditions will determine the fre-
quency of cultivating but usually the plants are cultivated
every week to ten days.
For the last cultivation some growers substitute a triple
set of shovels. The shovels turn a small amount of soil against
the rows, affording some protection to exposed bulbs, giving
them a better color. If the shovels are run deep enough, many
roots may be severed, thus hastening maturity. This may be
an important factor in Florida under certain climatic or mar-
Irrigation and Drainage
The control of soil moisture is a prime necessity in onion
culture. Sub-irrigation or overhead systems are quite satisfac-
tory. Tiling of the land may serve a dual purpose-drainage
and irrigation-if properly done. While there are no records
available in Florida, irrigation plants elsewhere have frequent-
ly more than doubled the yield. A small area properly handled
will be more productive, proportionately, than larger areas
The economical way to thin the rows is to bunch the onions
pulled and sell them on the local market. Thinning is neces
White Bermuda onions grown in muck soil on the farm of the
University of Florida
sary and to permit proper growth a space of 4 to 5 inches
should be left between the plants.
Most varieties require a little over four months to mature
where favorable conditions for growth exist. If young plants
are set in the field a crop may be made within 100 days.
78 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
When the plants develop normally, ripening is evidenced
by a drying of the leaves in the region just above the bulb,
which causes the top to fall over while the leaves are still
green. If the tops dry from the tips downward while standing
erect, the neck is not properly closed, with the result that the
bulbs do not keep well in storage.
Harvesting should be done in dry weather. One of the
greatest faults with onion producers is failure to cure the
bulbs. Unless the bulbs are properly cured they will not keep
well in storage. Generally the months of April and May are
dry and afford the best season for harvesting. Should these
months be wet and the crop not ripe then the crop must be
cured in some other manner. Kiln drying has been successful,
tobacco curing houses being used for the purpose.
Muck soils are ordinarily well supplied with nitrogen, but
they require liberal amounts of phosphate and potash. There
is a tendency on the part of many growers to use little or no
fertilizer on muck soils. Experiments on these soils in New
York showed that best onion yields were obtained by using about
a ton to the acre of a mixture containing 3 percent nitrogen, 5
percent phosphoric acid and 10 or 15 percent potash.
Onion growers who use the sandy loams in Florida have
found it profitable to use from 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of ferti-
lizer per acre, and the tendency has been toward a 10 to 12
percent potash mixture with relatively small amounts of
nitrogen. When early fall plantings are made, more fertilizer
is required to produce a crop than when the crop is planted
later and is then forced to mature in a shorter time. A consid-
erable percentage of the nitrogen should be supplied from or-
The Use of Lime
Almost all experiments where acid soils have been correct-
ed by applications of lime, increased yields of onions have
resulted. The use of 200 to 500 pounds to the acre of dehy-
drated lime has proven very satisfactory. Since organic matter
is so essential to the economic growth of most crops, especially
in the sandy soils of Florida, barnyard manure, chicken ma-
nure and most litter should be conserved and made into com-
post. Onions thrive under large quantities of organic matter.
Organic matter not only provides plant food but improves the
physical conditions of the soil, giving it greater water-holding
capacity. In many muck areas where onions are grown exten-
sively, it is not an unusual practice for the growers to give the
land a liberal application of barnyard manure. The beneficial
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 79
action of the bacteria is worth the cost. Usually it is good
practice to apply the manure to the crop grown ahead of
onions, unless it is well composted. Weed seed and a tendency
to keep the ground too open are the chief objections to apply-
ing manure'to onions.
Barnyard manure may not be available and cover crops
must then take its place. Most grasses, except nut and Ber-
muda will add humus to the soil and should be allowed to grow
for the purpose of later turning under. Crotalaria, a legumin-
ous, rank-growing annual that is resistant to nematode infec-
tion, is the most promising cover crop for Florida truckers.
Other good legumes are velvet beans, cow peas and beggarweed.
There are advantages in starting onions in a good seedbed.
The growing can be better controlled, the bulbs will be more
uniform and the yield per acre will probably be greater.
Seed should be sown in drills in a well-prepared seedbed.
About 2 pounds of seed should be planted for each acre of field
to be set. Both top and root pruning are practiced to assist in
developing stocky plants before they are transplanted to the
field. The leaves are cut back to about 4 inches. The plants
should be about the thickness of a lead pencil when ready for
transplanting. They are set every 4 to 6 inches in rows that
are 18 to 24 inches apart. Cultivating the crop is the same as
for seed sown directly in the field.
Market demands, year after year, for cured onions are quite
constant. The average American home does not consume large
quantities of this crop, but it does use a few every week of the
Recently there has been a strong tendency in certain Flor-
ida trucking areas to cater to the demand for mixed cars of
vegetables. Some green onions are shipped in response to this
demand. Some also are sold on the home market which, during
winter, demands considerable quantities of attractively bunch-
ed and good quality green onions. The bunches should be tied
neatly and washed thoroughly, and the tops should be clipped
evenly. The flavor should be mild. Variety and rapidity of
growth usually have the greatest influences upon flavor at this
early stage, although soil types may also be a factor. Where
the demand for green onions is good, it may be desirable to
plant onion sets, in order to get size more quickly. If the green
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
onions are a by-product of the main crop, it is doubtful
whether sets can be economically planted.
The usual method of grading is to pass the bulbs over a
slatted table. The slats are spaced far enough apart to permit
dirt and smaller bulbs (those under 11/2 inches in diameter)
to fall through. United States Grade No. 1 calls for onions of
similar varietal characteristics: Firm, mature, well-shaped;
free from doubles, splits, bottle-necks, scallions, dirt, tops or
other foreign matter, damage caused by sprouting, freezing,
disease, insects, mechanical or other injury. A tolerance of 5
percent is allowed below the requirements of this grade, but a
tolerance of only 4 percent is allowed for decay. Grade No. 2
includes the bulbs which do not meet the requirements of
Grade No. 1. These are further graded into sizes as follows:
Boilers, from 3/% to 11/ inches in diameter; small, from 11/2 to
13/ inches-large, over 21/ inches-very large, over 3 inches.
Not more than 5 percent by weight may be below the specified
size and not more than 10 percent by weight may be above the
specified maximum size.
Most of the northern-grown crop is marketed in "grass
sacks" of 100-pound capacity. They have a coarse mesh which
provides ventilation and easy inspection. Southern or Ber-
muda onions are shipped in slatted crates. The latter move
directly to market, from April to June. Dry onions supply the
markets from then until March, winter shipments coming from
storage. Fewest cars move during June.
Considerable quantities of onions are imported, especially
during years of small production in the United States.
Onions are commonly grouped into three classes as follows:
1. Those propagated by divisions-Potato onions, Multi-
2. Those propagated by bulblets or top sets-Egyptian or
3. Those propagated by seed-Yellow Globe Danvers, Ebe-
nezer, Prizetaker, Red Bermuda and other common varieties.
A very small proportion of the onions produced in the
United States fall in the first two classes. The leading varie-
ties of the third class are listed by Morse (1923) as follows:
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 81
1. Australian Brown
2. Extra Early Red Flat
3. Ohio Yellow Globe
5. Red Wethersfield
6. Southport Red Globe
7. Southport White Globe
8. Southport Yellow Globe
9. White Portugal
10. Yellow Danvers
11. Yellow Globe Danvers
12. Yellow Strasburg
The Spanish varieties, Sweet Spanish, Denia, and Valencia,
are increasing in favor. This is also true of Ebenezer.
Recent studies have shown that Prizetaker and Yellow
Globe Danvers are not adapted to the short days in the tropics
.:. .'. .". ..'
Onions marketed in this manner find favor on many tables. They must be used at an
early stage or they will become too "hot"
Australian Brown has many desirable qualities. It is a very
good keeper. It requires a longer time to mature, however,
than many other varieties and this is objectionable because of
the difficulty of curing during June.
White Portugal is grown as an early-market onion and for
sets. They do not keep as well as most of the yellow varieties,
such as the Yellow Globe Danvers.
82 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Carefully conducted strain and variety tests should be used
as a basis for selection and breeding. Some of the Spanish
varieties are preferred for this purpose.
Good seed is the first and most important factor in suc-
cessful onion production. Onion seed deteriorates rapidly in
this climate. The following comparisons show how onion seed
in Connecticut lost vitality with age. The seed were produced
Seed less than 1 year old............ 400 88.18
Seed between 1 and 2 years old...... 220 77.46
Seed between 2 and 8 years old...... 2,023 57.34
Seed between 3 and 4 years old...... 1 10.00
Seedmen claim that in a single year onion seed loses prac-
tically all its ability to germinate.
Uniformity in size, shape, color and time of maturity of
bulbs is essential. Methods usually employed in growing onion
seed for the trade are not all that could be desired. As a con-
sequence there are usually wide variations in a field grown
from such seed from a single source. For instance, the Ohio
Experiment Station in an onion variety test found one strain,
supposedly a Globe variety, which had but 65.8 percent Globes.
It showed 2 percent scallion, 9 percent flat, 7 percent off color
and 26.1 percent bottle-neck. This was not the poorest lot test-
ed. Off-color is a serious trouble, since a red or yellow onion
in a pile of white ones is very conspicuous. Only 8 of the 66
strains tested passed a perfect record as to color.
This is one of the most destructive diseases in Florida. It
may be recognized by the furry, violet-colored growth upon the
leaves. It is especially conspicuous when the leaves are wet
with dew. Within a few days large areas become pale green
and then yellow. The seed stalk as well as the leaves may be
affected. They collapse and die.
The disease is caused by a fungus called "Pernospora schlei-
deniana" which works very rapidly in high temperatures in the
presence of dews, rains, cloudy and foggy weather. It is often
most destructive to a seed crop.
Control: Good aeration of the field will do much toward
controlling mildew. This may be facilitated by running the
rows in the same direction as the prevailing winds and by
avoiding wind breaks or other obstructions to the wind. If the
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
rows are planted somewhat wider apart, better aeration is
Onions should not be planted on the same piece of land
oftener than once in three or four years. The resting spores of
the fungus are carried on diseased leaves. It is imperative
that these be kept away from disease-free fields.
Spraying has been employed to some extent. A 4-4-50 bor-
deaux mixture, with 3 pounds of resin fish-oil soap to each 50
gallons, is quite effective. Several applications may be required
to protect the young foliage.
The tendency of the Bermuda onion to split may be noticed
among those in these containers
This disease is widespread and affects white varieties most-
ly. Small dark green to black spots form on the outer scales,
often in the shape of concentric circles. The fungus causes lit-
tle damage but lowers the market value on account of the
smudge appearance. Where bulbs are stored without proper
curing or drying, the disease may cause considerable loss.
Control: The fungus that causes this trouble lives in the
soil, hence crop rotation is one of the most effective means of
control. Diseased bulbs or other refuse from the storage house
should not be carried into disease-free fields. Dry the bulbs
thoroughly and quickly prior to storing. See that adequate
ventilation is provided in the storage bin.
In most areas this disease causes loss in both field and stor-
age. Small white dots first appear on the leaves. They rapidly
84 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
elongate in the same direction as the leaf. Surrounding this
point of infection, there develops a water-soaked area some-
what yellowish in color. The fungus lives over in the soil or
on the bulbs. White varieties suffer more than red or yellow.
Control: Early maturity of the crop is effective. Provide
good field aeration. Prevent wounding of bulbs. Dry the bulbs
thoroughly before storing. If neck-rot is prevalent, storage in
bins, boxes or bags is not recommended. Pick a storage tem-
perature close to freezing. Keep diseased bulbs and refuse
from being carried into disease-free fields.
This disease has been reported from a number of states,
notably from Oregon, Kentucky and Virginia. It attacks
onions, leek, garlic and shallot. According to Walker, its first
symptom is a yellowing and dying back from tips of leaves.
Roots and leaf bases are attacked. Roots are gradually destroy-
ed and the scales take on a semi-watery decay with much fluffy
mycelium present. Decay may continue in storage.
Control: So far as known no effective control has been
found. The precautions suggested for the control of other dis-
eases will no doubt be effective in checking white-rot.
This is undoubtedly one of the most damaging pests that
attack the onion crop. It attacks the epidermis of green leaves
and sucks their juices, producing a silvery appearance to the
foliage which later dies. A thrip is about 1/25 of an inch long
and is pale yellow in color, tinged with black. Its eggs are
laid just beneath the leaf surface and hatch in about four days.
Most serious damage usually results when precipitation is
highest and when temperatures are above normal.
Control: The spotted and convergent ladybird beetle, the
insidious flower bug and the larva of the syrphus fly prey upon
thrips. Heavy rains often destroy many of them.
Dusts and sprays usually are not effective as control meas-
ures for thrips. A soap-nicotine-sulphate spray or a 5 percent
nicotine sulphate dust has been helpful. One of the most prom-
ising substances for spraying with nicotine is "penetrol." This
increases the effectiveness of the nicotine by at least 33 percent.
Control: Clean cultivation, burning or clearing of fence
rows, ditch banks, etc., will be found effective. Multiplier
onions or onion sets should not be planted near a field which
is intended for onions, since they serve as breeding places. In
Florida, plantings made in cool weather are less likely to be
seriously attacked. Keep the plants growing by providing
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 85
ample moisture and available plant food. An onion crop, if
properly handled, may outgrow an attack of thrips.
This insect causes great loss in some places. Plants are
attacked at all stages of growth. The bulbs are tunneled, and
this is usually followed by decay. The maggot is white to yel-
lowish. It is blunt behind, tapering toward the head. Adults
are greyish brown, hump-backed flies, that are sluggish in their
Control: One of the most effective control measures is a
trap crop. Where every 50th or 100th row is left vacant in
seeding the field and later planted or set to scallions, a good
breeding ground is provided for the maggots. By destroying
the plants at the proper stage, the control is quite effective.
A poisoned bait is sometimes used effectively. Lovette rec-
ommends sodium arsenite, 1/4 ounce; molasses, 1 pint; water-
1 gallon; chopped onion, /2 pound. The bait is placed in the
field in shallow pans, about 24 of them to the acre. The flies
are att racted to the bait prior to the time of egg laying. There-
fore, the bait must be in the field before this time.
(Courtesy of Florida Cooperative Extension Service)
Variety Seeds or Plants Date to Plant Days to Width of
Per Acre Maturity Rows
Beans (snap) Giant Stringless % peck Sept.-Oct. 45-50 3 feet
(Green) Black Valentine Feb., March
Beans, Wax Davis White Wax April
Wardell Kidney Wax
Beans, Bush Fordhook Bush 60 pounds April to 80 days 2 to 3 feet
(Lima), Pole Seiva 30 pounds August
Broccoli Mammoth White 4 oz. seed Nov. to Dec. 80 to 90 3 feet
Italian Green Sprouting
Cabbage Long Island 12 oz. seed Sept. to Jan. 60 to 80 3 feet
Premium Flat Dutch
Cabbage (Chinese) 8 oz. Sept. to Feb. 60 to 70 2% feet
Cauliflower Early Snowball 16 oz. Oct. to Jan. 70 to 90 8 feet
Erfurt 9,000 plants
Early Golden Self-blanching
Celery [ Specials 8 oz. seed Oct. to Feb. 80 to 100 /2 feet
Late Green Top 60,000 plants
Variety Seeds or Plants I Date to Plant Days to Width of
| Per Acre Maturity Rows
Chayote March to June 120 days 12 feet
Improved White Spine I
Cucumbers Davis Perfect 4 lbs. seed Sept.-Oct. 70 to 80 4 to 5 feet
Early Fortune Feb.-March
Kirby Staygreen i ___
Eggplants Florida Highbuslh 6 oz. seed July to Sept. 120 days 5-feet
Purple Spineless 3,000 plants March to May
New Orleans Market
Endive 12 ounces Oct. to Feb. 50 to 60 2 feet
Lettuce Big Boston 2 pounds Oct. to March 70 days 15 inches
Perkins Mammoth Podded :
Okra Long Green 8 pounds April to Jurle 90 days 3 feet
White Velvet I
Crystal Wax 8 to 12 bu. sets i
Onions White Bermuda 9,000 plants Sept. to Nov. 150 days 12 to 15
Red Bermuda 5 lbs. seed inches
Variety Seeds or Plants Date to Plant Days to Width of
_Per Acre Maturity Rows
Alaska Extra Early
Peas (English) Thomas Laxton 2 bushels Sept. to Nov. 60 to 70 4 feet
Peppers Ruby King 12 oz. Sept. to Nov. 70 to 90 3 feet
World Beater (Ruby Giant) 9,000 plants April to June
Romaine 12 oz. Oct. to March 70 days 15 to 18
a II I
Spinach Improved Curled Savoy 10 lbs. seed Nov. to Feb. 50 to 70 36 inches
Squash Patty Pan 2 pounds Sept. to Oct. 45 to 60 in checks
Early Crook Neck Feb. to May 4x4 feet or
Mammoth White Bush 6x8 feet
Marglobe / lb. seed
Tomatoes Livington's Globe 6,000 to Nov. to April 50 to 80 4 to 6 feet
Stone 9,000 plants
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
The Cruciferae are of considerable economic importance.
This family probably possesses a larger number of crop plants
than any other.
The cultivated crucifers of importance as vegetable crops
in America are:
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
Brassica oleracea Var.
gemmifera (Brussels sprouts)
caulo-rapa (kohl rabi)
juncea (Chinese mustard)
pekinensis (Chinese cabbage)
chinensis (Chinese cabbage)
Many of our common weeds which have been introduced
from Europe, belong also to this family.
CLIMATIC AND SOIL REQUIREMENTS FOR CAULI-
FLOWER AND BROCCOLI
Temperature and Moisture
In most parts of Florida the plants can be left in the open
but in cold regions and at the approach of cold weather it is
best to pull a number of plants with earth adhered to their
roots and store them in a suitable root cellar. When ready for
transplanting the following spring to the fields they would be
in condition to form curds.
These plants attain their most perfect development in those
areas where the temperature during the latter part of the
growing period is cool and uniform and where fairly moist
conditions prevail. Low temperatures delay maturity, reduce
the size, and lower the yield per acre. Extremely low tempera-
tures during the early growth period may cause them to "but-
ton" or head prematurely. Low humidity and wind storms
are injurious. Extremely high temperatures during the time
when the curds are maturing may cause them to become yel-
"Truck Crop Plants" by Jones & Rosa.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
low, ricey, fuzzy, or leafy and may cause such rapid growth of
the curd that it is almost impossible to harvest in the best
stage of development, especially when large acreages are being
handled. Early varieties, however, are often grown successful-
ly as spring or fall crops, in inland regions.
There should always be a sufficient supply of moisture in
the soil to insure a continuous and steady growth. Uniformly
distributed rainfall or well-regulated irrigation is necessary
for the successful production of this crop.
Where a number of different soil types are available, the
medium and heavy soils should be used for varieties which ma-
ture in the fall and spring, as they are cool and retain mois-
ture. When the crop is brought to maturity during the rainy
season, it should be planted in sandy or silty soils so that har-
vesting can be done without getting the soil into poor physi-
cal condition. Soils of very light texture, however, should never
be used unless they are abundantly supplied with organic
These crops are grown in the same manner as described for
cabbage. In Florida, most of the plants are grown in open beds.
A sandy-loam soil of medium fertility is best. Two types of
seedbeds are used, the sunken bed, or the panel, and the raised
seedbed. Where the soil is light and porous and not subject to
packing, sunken seedbeds are generally used. These may be of
any desired length, 12 to 16 feet wide, with small dikes or
levees on each side to facilitate irrigation by flooding. Sunken
beds have a minimum of surface and hence dry out more slowly
than raised beds. On the heavier soil types, the raised bed has
been found to be more satisfactory. These are similar to the
ones used for growing of lettuce under irrigation. They are
usually about 6 inches high and approximately 18 inches wide,
with furrows between. Each bed has two rows of plants which
are spaced 10 to 12 inches apart.
To sow one acre of seedbed, 12 to 15 pounds of seed are
sufficient, and it should produce plants sufficient for 25 acres.
Plants which have been stunted by remaining in the seedbed
too long should not be used.
Protection Against Frost
When the local conditions are such as compel this crop to fol-
low one of another kind the same season, endeavor to make the
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS 91
ground so firm either by rolling or tramping it, that planting is
only possible with considerable difficulty.
A good firm root-run induces a slow but very hard growth
and plants grown under these conditions are much less suscep-
tible to damage from severe frost than others, which during
the warm weather make tremendously large leaves and stems
but fail to give the heart the necessary protection even against
the earliest winter frost. In addition to a firm soil, plenty of
room between the plants is of utmost importance, this being
equally essential while they are still in the seedbed, as when
they are put out in their permanent quarters.
The seedbed should always be made in good open quarters
away from the shade of trees or buildings. When preparing it
use air-slacked lime or soot freely to deter the attacks of many
insect pests. When an extra long succession of good heads is
needed, make a start early in March. To follow this sow again
in April. The main sowing of late varieties may be deferred
until the first weeks in May.
When grown under irrigation the plants are usually set in
the bottom or side of the furrow. In soils of sandy texture,
planting is done on the furrow bottom. Plants are set so they
will not be submerged by the irrigation which follows. They
are usually spaced about 24 to 30 inches, in rows 3 feet apart,
depending upon the variety. Crowding should be avoided, as it
has a tendency to reduce the size of the curd.
Before the plants get crowded in the seedbed, or as soon
as the second pair of leaves are formed, carefully lift a good
number of the most promising with a small fork and replant
in rows about 6 or 8 inches apart, allowing the same distance
between the plants. If this is done at the stage mentioned
every plant will make new roots at once and later on can be
lifted with a good ball of earth full of fibres which enables it
to be transplanted without a check.
It is a good plan when the first seedlings are ready to plant
to harden them off for a day or two before planting in the field.
If cold weather is just at hand, the plants should be kept in
the frame until suitable weather conditions assure proper pro-
tection to the young plant growth. A fresh supply of plants
should always be kept under special protection, to be used in
the event a hard freeze kills those plants already placed in the
Cultivate frequently to a medium depth.
As with other truck crops, there is a considerable difference
of opinion among growers as to the value of the various ferti-
92 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
lizers. Many of the most successful growers use large amounts
of barnyard manure. Dairying makes a good combination with
these crops, as an abundant supply of manure can be obtained,
and a good system of crop rotation can be established. In cer-
tain sections the productivity of the soil must be maintained
by the use of commercial fertilizers. The Chinese growers in
the west formerly used large quantities of fish meal as a source
of inorganic nitrogen.
The market demand is for a pure white curd. Varieties that
have a small amount of foliage do not cover the curd or pro-
tect it from the sun. Exposed curds develop a brown pigment
that is very objectionable. To prevent discoloration, the outer
leaves must be gathered together and tied, while the small
inner leaves still protect the curd. A different kind of color
or tying material may be used each day the field is gone over,
so that at the time of harvest, the plants which have been used
the longest may be identified. The method of breaking the
leaves over the curd is not satisfactory, as the leaves may be
displaced by wind, and if decay starts the curd will become
yellow. The length of time for curds to develop for market de-
pends upon the temperature.
Curds may be ready for harvesting in 3 or 4 days during
warm weather. Two weeks or longer are needed to mature the
crop during cool weather. The curds of some varieties are pro-
tected and need not be tied. All curds do not develop uniform-
ly necessitating several cuttings. The field should be gone over
every few days and all curds ready for marketing should be
cut. There is very little danger of cutting too early. They must
-. ,-%.71-.7.- .g
Excellent type of cart for hauling cauliflower, as well as other similar vegetables,
from the field to the packing shed
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
be harvested while the curds are compact. GRADE AND SHIP
PROMPTLY AFTER CUTTING.
The heads are cut, trimmed and thrown into a high-wheeled
cart and hauled to the ends of the rows, where they are trans-
ferred to wagons, or trucks, to be hauled to the packing shed.
A sufficient number of jacket leaves are left on at the time of
harvest to give good protection. Many growers cut the stem
to the desired length in the field so that it will not need fur-
ther trimming at time of packing. The tips of the leaves may
be cut back at time of harvest or they may be left intact until
the crate is packed. If the plants have not made a good growth
the curds will not grow large regardless of how long they re-
main in the field.
The axles of the carts are bent, thus elevating the bed above
the top of the standing plants. The bed of the cart works on a
hinge to facilitate unloading.
INSPECTION OF CURDS
It is necessary to keep in mind how the curd will appear by
the time it reaches the market. Appearance is an important
factor in the sale of any commodity, and if an over-mature head
gets into the crate, it will probably spoil the appearance of the
entire crate. Over-mature curds are very conspicuous. Younger
curds are more concealed in their jacket leaves.
If a part of the field has become over-mature it is best to
accept the loss and continue to cut only the desirable heads
rather than attempt to harvest those that are not in the best
marketable condition. Occasionally during a rush period the
heads are cut and left inverted in the field for a short time;
this checks the growth and prevents losses which might other-
YIELDS AND RETURNS
Under favorable conditions yields of from 200 to 300 bushel
baskets per acre are obtained, and the crop has often proved
to be a profitable one.
The stage of maturity of the curd affects very markedly its
carrying qualities. The longer the curds are left in the fields
after they are ready to cut, the sooner they appear wilted after
harvest. If the curds are spread by the time they reach the
markets they are almost unsaleable. If the curd is slightly
spread at time of packing, this condition is usually much more
pronounced by the time it reaches destination.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Riciness is caused by the elongation of the penduncles
which bear the individual flower buds. This condition causes
a granular appearance of the curd, and it is not as compact as
it should be. While a ricy curd is not as objectionable as one
that is badly spread, nevertheless, it suffers some differential
in price. This condition may be prevented to some extent by
the selection of good-quality seed and growing the crop under
the most favorable climatic conditions. It is usually more
common when the crop matures during exceptionally warm
weather. It may also be brought about occasionally by allow-
ing the curds to become slightly over-mature. Curds may be
badly spread, however, without being ricey.
When the flower pedicels elongate the curd appears velvety
or fuzzy. This condition is most prevalent when the crop grows
under unfavorable conditions. There is, however, a consider-
able difference between varieties and strains in the tendency
to become fuzzy prematurely. The condition may also be
brought about by allowing the heads to become slightly over-
mature. It may be prevented by observing the same precautions
that prevent riciness.
This is a defect in which small green leaves appear between
the segments of the curd. This condition is generally assumed
to be due to poor seed, but even the best strains may develop
leafy curds when the growing conditions have not been favor-
able. Clayton also mentions leafy curds as one of the symp-
toms of whiptail.
If subject to high temperature after cutting the jacket
leaves will turn yellow and drop off during transit or after
reaching destination. Tests by Weimer (1926) showed that the
rate of yellowing varied with the temperature to which the
curds were exposed. After one week at 70 C. from three to six
of the outer leaves were yellow and loose. In two weeks, or
less, all the leaves dropped at this temperature. At 50 C. the
yellowing was slower, while at 0 C. yellowing had just begun
at the end of a month.
Injury by worms reduces saleability of the curds. If worms
are present in the crate, they leave on the white curd a green
excresence which destroys its saleability and may cause con-
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
demnation of the entire lot by the inspector. The presence of
aphis on the leaves at time of packing is also objectionable, as
they will migrate to the top and between the branches of the
curd during transit.
These vegetables are more subject to deterioration in transit
than are many others. This makes necessary rigid grading in
Trimming and packing cauliflower. This is the standard crate
order that the product can be placed upon distant markets in
Shipment is made in single-layer "pony" crates. The curds
are set erect in the crate, the foliage is trimmed to a bulge, and
the three narrow slats are nailed across the top. When placed
in the car the crates are inverted so that the melting ice water
will trickle down over the leaves.
The main system now used in the loading of cars is known
as the "pigeon-hole method." By this system 480 pony crates
are placed in a car; the third and fifth layers from the bottom
are only four crates wide, and between the crates are placed
25-pound pieces of ice. Braces are nailed across each tier of
crates to prevent them from moving about in the car. Ice is
placed between the crates, on top of the load, and in the bunk-
ers. The ice on top of the crates is usually left in large blocks
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
~k *1riu~ ~
After packing, the leaves are trimmed to a bulge of about 11/2 inches,
and the top slats nailed on. (From Agr. Ext. Cir. 11.)
weighing from 30 to 40 pounds. The amount of ice used at
time of loading varies with the season of the year.
A considerable amount of broccoli and cauliflower seed is
produced by commercial growers. One method of growing seed,
now commonly used, is to set aside several rows in one side of
the field. These are carefully rouged, and the plants which pro-
duce the best curds are saved for seed production. When fol-
lowing this method, unselected plants should not be allowed to
flower in the vicinity. The best means of obtaining good seed
is to select a few of the most desirable plants in the field and
cage them to prevent cross pollination. A cage measuring about
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
four feet each way and covered with muslin usually gives sat-
isfactory service. If a few flies or other insects are enclosed
within the cage, pollination is usually facilitated. It is best to
have the sides of the cage held together by screws, as these can
be taken out without breaking the boards and the cages can be
stored in knockeddown form. The conditions within the cage
usually favor aphis attack, so the plant should be well dusted,
or sprayed, when first enclosed. If 25 or 30 ladybird beetles are
enclosed with each plant there will not be much danger of the
aphis giving trouble. The seed from each plant should be har-
vested separately, and the selections planted side by side in
parallel rows for comparison. Under conditions of commer-
cial production, it is best to retain only one of the progeny lots.
A number of the best plants within the selected lot should be
again caged, and the remainder of the plants open-pollinated,
and the seed used for the commercial crop the following year.
...... ," '
y^ ,- .- u"
The best aphid control is obtained when a cloth trailer is pulled behind the duster to
hold the dust near the plants. (From Agr. Ext. Cir. 11)
By following this system there should be a gradual improve-
ment in uniformity and quality over a period of years.
A large part of the seed, especially the early varieties, used
in this country is imported from Denmark. This seed is grown
mainly on the Island of Amager. It is sown in the fall in seed
beds. Later, the plants are transferred to pots and grown in
the greenhouse during the winter, and in the spring, they are
set in the field. The seed usually matures in September.
98 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
INSECTS AND DISEASES
These crops are subject to the same insect enemies as cab-
bage, which are Aphis, Cabbage worm, Harlequin Cabbage
worm and are controlled in the same manner. We want again
to refer you to Volume 39, "Plant Diseases & Pests and Their
Treatment," published by the State Department of Agriculture.
Some of the same diseases that affect cabbage must be
guarded against in producing these crops.
More specific diseases are noted below.
Clayton (1924) reports whiptail, a malnutritional disease,
prevalent on Long Island. The leaves become narrower than
normal and have ruffled and irregular margins. When badly
affected, the plants are much dwarfed and do not produce a
curd, while those plants less badly affected produce curds that
are ricey and leafy. The plants may show whiptail symptoms
when very young and later recover and produce normal leaves
and curds. Large plants affected by whiptail, however, do not
recover. This disease is due generally to unfavorable soil con-
ditions and was found to be much more prevalent on soils
heavily treated with commercial fertilizer (1 ton to the acre)
than on soil not fertilized. Heavy applications of S (400
pounds to the acre) also produced whiptail. The ill effects
of heavy fertilizer and of S applications can be overcome by
liming. Clayton states that it is becoming "increasingly diffi-
cult to grow potatoes and these crops in the same rotation.
Liming to prevent whiptail makes conditions favorable for
scab; sulphuring to prevent scab predisposes the plants to
whiptail. Certain growers have already met this situation by
setting aside land for two separate rotations." Severe aphis
attack may also cause whiptail to develop. Tests conducted on
Long Island showed a considerable difference among strains in
susceptibility to this disease.
Brown Rot (Alternaria brassicae)
Brown Rot is mainly a transit disease and develops most
rapidly when the temperature and humidity are high. The
head is browned and spotted and is unmarketable when infec-
tions are numerous. During most seasons the disease is not
sufficiently injurious to justify control measures other than
seedbed and field rotation. At time of packing, all of the heads
which show any brown or decayed spots should be discarded.
Weimer (1924) recommends that during shipment the tem-
perature of the refrigerator cars should be held at 6 C. or
SOME FLORIDA TRUCK CROPS
Ringspot (Mycosphaerella brassicola)
Ringspot is prevalent in the San Francisco Bay region and
near Roseburg and Portland, Oregon, but is not widespread
elsewhere in America. Nearly all parts of the plant are suscep-
tible to infection. The blades of the lower leaves are usually
most severely affected, although the flower stalks, seed pods,
midribs of the larger leaves, and even the sepals are sometimes
attacked. The number of lesions per leaf varies. In extreme
cases, almost the entire leaf may be involved and killed. The
amount of infection varies with the age of the leaves, becoming
less toward the center of the plant. According to Weimer
(1926) infection first becomes evident as very small dark-col-
ored spots surrounded by a band of affected tissues having a
water-soaked appearance. The spots may enlarge to a diameter
of 1 to 2 centimeters. The lesions are usually circular. The
.mature lesions are thickly studded with pycnidial or perithecial
or both, and they may be scattered or arranged in concentric
rings. The fruiting bodies are present on both surfaces of the
lesions, although they are usually more abundant on the upper
side. Both the pycnidial and perithecial stages are present
during the entire year. The ascospores may be distributed by
the wind or carried by workmen walking through the fields.
Ringspot may be carried from the seedbed to the field on the
plants. Portions of infected pods carried with the seed may be
a source of seedbed infection. It is believed that the fungus
normally enters the host through the stomatal pore. After
2 to 4 weeks the leaf may be so badly injured that it eventually
drops from the plant.
As to control, Weimer recommends (1) planting seed in
non-infected soil and protection of the seedbed from possible
sources of infection by windbreaks and the removal of infected
plants from the vicinity; (2) immersing the seeds in water for
10 minutes at 55' C. or 30 minutes at 500 C.; (3) a system of
crop rotation, whereby cruciferous crops are grown on the land
only once in 3 or 4 years, other sources of infection being first
U. S. STANDARDS AS APPLIED TO BROCCOLI AND
U. S. No. 1 shall consist of compact heads which are not discolored, ricey,
or overmature; which are free from soft or wet decay and from dirt or other
foreign matter, bruises, diseases, insects, damage caused by wilting, fuzziness,
enlarged bracts, or mechanical or other means. Jacket leaves shall be fresh,
green, well trimmed, and free from serious damage by any cause.
In order to allow for variations incident to proper grading and handling,
not more than a total of 10 percent, by count, of the heads in any container
may be below the requirements of this grade but not more than one-tenth of
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
this amount, or 1 percent, may be effected by soft or wet decay affecting the
As used in these grades:
"Compact" means that the flower clusters are closely united and the heads
"Discolored" means that the head is of some abnormal color.
"Ricey" means that the stems of the flower clusters have started to elon-
gate, causing the clusters to separate and give the head a loose or open and
sometimes granular appearance.
"Overmature" means a stage of growth which is beyond that of a com-
pact, properly developed head. An overmature head usually is loose or ricey.
"Damage" means any injury or defect which materially affects the ap-
pearance, or the edible or shipping quality of the head. "Damage by fuzzi-
ness" means that more than half the head has a distinctly fuzzy appearance.
Mold which causes the flesh of the curd to disintegrate or which exceeds three-
eighths inch in diameter in the aggregate, or any single spot which exceeds
one-fourth inch in diameter shall be considered as damage.
"Englarged bracts" means leaves growing up through and extending
above the curd. Bracts, including small white bracts and enlarged bracts.
which do not materially injure the appearance of the head shall not be con-
sidered as "damage."
"Well trimmed" means that the jacket leaves shall be limited to the num-
ber and length necessary to protect the head. No wrapper leaves are required
on heads which are individually wrapped.
"Serious damage" means any injury to the jacket leaves which severely
affects the appearance of the head.
"Diameter" refers to the average diameter of the head exclusive of the