Growing onions in Florida

Title: Florida quarterly bulletin of the Agricultural Department
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077083/00081
 Material Information
Title: Florida quarterly bulletin of the Agricultural Department
Uniform Title: Avocado and mango propagation and culture
Tomato growing in Florida
Dasheen its uses and culture
Report of the Chemical Division
Alternate Title: Florida quarterly bulletin, Department of Agriculture
Florida quarterly bulletin of the Department of Agriculture
Physical Description: v. : ill. (some fold) ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: -1921
Frequency: quarterly
monthly[ former 1901- sept. 1905]
Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agricultural industries -- Statistics -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: -v. 31, no. 3 (July 1, 1921).
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 19, no. 2 (Apr. 1, 1909); title from cover.
General Note: Many issue number 1's are the Report of the Chemical Division.
General Note: Vol. 31, no. 3 has supplements with distinctive titles : Avocado and mango propagation and culture, Tomato growing in Florida, and: The Dasheen; its uses and culture.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00077083
Volume ID: VID00081
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 28473206
 Related Items

Table of Contents
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    Growing onions in Florida
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Full Text

Volume 27 Number 4 .'

Supplement to



OCTOBER 1, 1917



Entered January 31, 1903, at Tallahassee. Florida, as second-rlass
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
"Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for
in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized Sept. 11, 1918."


v. a3i-sf
*IdO P I



By H. S. Elliot, Chief Clerk, Department of Agriculture.

This is one of the best crops to plant in Florida for
foreign markets as well as home markets, although it is
also considered by many writers on agricultural subjects
to be one of the most difficult crops to grow. But this is
questionable. Of course it has its drawbacks, the prin-
cipal one of which is having to weed it carefully several
times, but if the plants are first grown in seed beds and
then transplanted after attaining the height of five to six
inches, using good, well-rotted lot manure, as also com-
mercial fertilizers, when you transplant them, weeding
and cultivating will not be needed so often, and in that
way much labor will be saved. A good many growers
complain of the cost and trouble of transplanting them,
but we believe that the bulk of experience shows that it
does not cost any more to transplant the plants than it
does to thin them out and weed them. Another fact in
connection with this is, that with most root plants the
yield is better from being transplanted than by growing
from seed direct. There is one great advantage that the
onion has; and why it is suited to Florida soil in general
being adapted to the successful growth in all sections of
the State, cold weather does not often damage them. The
principal variety of onions grown in Florida is the Ber-
muda. These are raised from seed grown in Teneriffe.
The Bermuda onion is considered the best adapted of any
other variety to Florida, and is one that we advise all
those who wish to grow onions to plant. Bermuda onion
growing in Florida is no new industry. They have been
grown in this State and shipped to northern markets
since in the early eighties, but the demand for them has
never been so great until in quite recent years, and is
greater today by far than ever.


PLANTING.-Seed may be planted at any time from
the middle of August to about the first of January, de-
pending, of course, upon the section of the State in which
the grower lives or farms, and you can either plant the
seed in the field where you wish the plant to grow, or you
can plant them in seed beds. Planted in beds, the amount
of seed required will be less than where panted in the
drill to be thinned out. In the bed it will require from
four to five pounds to the acre. In the drill in the field
it will require from one-half to one pound additional.
SEED BEIS.-In order to raise the best crops it is
necessary, of course, to have good thrifty plants. That
means that the seed beds shall be properly prepared, and
to obtain this condition it is well to bestow extra care
on its preparation. The land best adapted in making the
seed beds is that which has not been under cultivation
for from two to three years, and on which a crop of
leguminlous plants, either cow peas or velvet beans, were
grown the previous year. Construct your beds in a con-
venient and protected location, where they can receive
prompt attention if necessary. It is also good to scatter
thickly over the beds, some ten days or two weeks before
arranging to plant the seed, a heavy dressing of hard-
wood ashes, and rake them into the soil of the beds. Make
the beds just about wide enough to reach across con-
veniently from either side when sowing the seed or weed-
ing the bed. Make the drills in which you sow the seeds
cross-wise of the bed and about six inches apart. Four
feet is a good width for the beds, because you can reach
at least half way across from either side of the bed. You
will find it also a good plan, when first making up the
beds to apply a moderate quantity of a good commercial
fertilizer in the soil, so that it will thoroughly mix in
the soil during future preparation. When you have sown
the seed, planting them about three-quarters to an inch
in depth, press down the dirt over the seed. One of the

best tools for this purpose is a light roller. We make
this suggestion because, when the seeds begin to germi-
nate the plant is very tender, and should the rays of the
sun be hot or the season dry, the germ or young plant
would be killed by the heat. Another suggestion we have
found to be good as a great protection against either the
sun or the rain, is to stretch cheese cloth lengthwise over
the beds. This will protect them against both sun and
excessive rains. It also conserves moisture, which will
have to be applied in dry seasons. The cheese cloth can
be supported by small stakes, to which the cloth can be
tied anywhere from S to 12 inches above the seed bed.
When the plants have attained about six inches in height
they are ready for transplanting to the field, or if the
seed was sown in the field they are ready for thinning
and for their first cultivation.
where the plants are to be planted should be broken and
thoroughly prepared, from four to six weeks prior to
transplanting. In about three weeks before the trans-
planting to the field the fertilizers for the field should
be applied. If chemical manures are to be used, it should
be sown broadcast, and harrowed in with a light disk
harrow, and then re-harrowed with a slanting toothed
harrow. If possible, about one ton of good commercial
fertilizers should be applied to the field as suggested
above. The formula should be about as follows: Am-
monia, six per cent; available phosphoric acid, five per
cent; and muriate of potash or sulphate, from eight to
ten per cent-all broadcasted and harrowed in, in the
manner above suggested. In planting the field the rows
should be about from fifteen to twenty inches apart, and
the plants should be set in the row from six to eight
inches apart. Be careful in cultivating the onions, as
their roots are shallow or near the surface, and deep cul-
tivation would destroy the root system and retard the
growth of the plants. During the period of their growth

onions to do their best should have at least two aplplica-
lions of nitrate of soda. The last one should be applied
about the time the bulbs are getting into good shape. This
will carry them through until they are matured. The
varieties that we suggest as the most profitable to Florida
growers are about as follows: The Crystal Wax, which
is pure white, and the ordinary white, which is to some
extent a straw color; it is called white, but it is not en-
tirely so. The Red Bermuda also is a very hardy and
thrifty and fine onion, and except for the color is the
equal of either of the other. Three other varieties that
succeed remarkably well in Florida are the Creole, the
Yellow Globe, and Prize Taker.
IMATURITY.-As soon as the onion tops begin to turn
yellow and dry up, the crop can be considered matured.
This is usually from the middle of April to the middle of
May, depending upon the section of the State in which
they are grown. In the far South they have been placed
on the market as early as the first of April, but generally
the marketing period is within the date first above men-
lioned. Bermuda onions, or all of those considered here-
in, are tender and should be handled carefully in the prep-
aration for market. They should only be pulled when
the weather is good, if it can be so arranged. When they
are pulled, which is the only proper way to gather them,
they .should be left long enough, if the weather permits,
to dry out. If left in piles for a day or so, they will be
in good shape for trimming preparatory to packing and
shipping. In trimming them the tops can be best re-
moved by clipping with a pair of scissors or shears, not
too close to the bulb. Our advice at the present time to
truckers and others to grow onions is based upon the
demand, not only arising in this country, owing to war
necessities, but for shipment abroad as a part of the sup-
plies which are needed by the United States Government.
The indications are that the good prices now existing will
be maintained.

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