COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
STATE OF FLORIDA
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION *SERVICE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. AND e Co Spec*iali COUNTY AGENT AND
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT Vo HO DEMONSTRATION WORK
OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATING A GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
April 13, 1956
MR. COUNTY AGENT:
Several vegetable field days are scheduled. Growers appreciate advance notice.
April 19; 9:30 AM SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOiESTEAD (HIGHLANDS),
April 26; 1:30 PM IMDIAN RIVER LABORATORY, FT. PIERCE
May 17; 9:15 AM EVERGIADES STATION, BELLE GLADE
May 9;10:30 AM GULF COAST EXPERIMENT STATION, BRADENTON
On request, copies of the recent field day programs at Hastings and Ft. Lauder-
dale can be supplied.
We called on Dr. Jim Crall of the Watermelon and Grape Investigations Laboratory
at Leesburg to review tests carried out some years ago at that location. A number of
inquiries were received on this topic last year, and we'd like to help you anticipate
answers for these that will likely come your way this season.
"....use of a lime paste was found to reduce sunburning of watermelons. Two pound
of hydrated lime was mixed well in a gallon of water and applied on the exposed upper
surface of maturing melons with a rag swab or brush.
"The lime paste did not eliminate sunburning altogether, but at the two pounds
per gallon rate sunburning was reduced from 75% to 25%. With a thinner lime paste
( pound per gallon) about 70% of the melons sunburned, almost as many as if no
paste at all was used.
"The application of lime must be made prior to the bleaching that preceded sun-
burning or it is ineffective. The paste can readily be removed from the melons with
a moist rag at the time the melons are ready for marketing. The cost of this sunburn
protection is little more than the cost of labor involved."
MECHANICAL BEAN HARVESTING: insurmountable?
Being a constant witness to the mechanical genius of Florida's vegetable industry,
we thought you'd be interested in some comments from some ofthe pioneers in develop-
ment of the mechanical 'bcan harvesters. Ever wonder what might happen if these ma-
chines are put into wide use in other areas, but won't work ,down here?
Here are some of the problems itemized for one machine, i.e., problems to be
solved before the present machine could be used in Florida:
Anchorage--devising a means of holding the plants so they can be picked.
Adjusting design to existing row spAcing and bed or level culture.
Redesign machine to fit whatever type tractor or carrier unit necessary.
Possibility of marks on the beans from being struck by picking fingers.
We might expand the manufacturer's comments on these "marks"...."This will occur
under some conditions of growth and entirely disappears under seemingly similar con-
ditions. Where beans are picked for processing, this is usually not objectionable
where it does occur, as the marks, if present, will disappear in the processing and
not be noticeable in the finished product. It is not possible to definitely predict
the possibility of these objectionable marks, but the possibility of their occurrence
is nevertheless present where beans are to be used in the fresh market".
Yes, we realize there could be other problems..,..such as adaptable varieties.
BUT, somehow, none of these seem particularly out of reach when you look at some of
the mechanical rigs being used throughout the State....don't miss a chance to guide
some of the efforts toward a Florida-adapted bean harvester.
HERBICIDE-NEIATOCIDE-SOIL FUNGICIDE: combinations.
Most of you are faiiliar with Don Burgis' review of seedbed chemicals to control
weeds, nematodes and damping-off fungi in Station Bulletin 550. Of particular in-
terest has been the new field of drenches for this purpose, such as the allyl -alcohol-
EDB mixture mentioned therein.
Thought we might tell you about an additional step along this line by Dr. J. F.
Darby, Central Florida Station, Sanford. In the past two years in tests at that
location formaldehyde (fungicide) has been added to ally alcohol (herbicide) and DD
or EDB (nematocides), and applied to the soil as a drench with sufficient water to
carry the chemicals into the soil. No cover was used. Three-way control compared
favorably with methyl bromide and cost was less than half. Handling care includes
rubber boots, gloves, apron, and full-face gas mask.
In'addition to promising celery seedbed use, we're particularly interested to note
the drench has been used successfully 1nthe field in bands two weeks before planting
beans, and has also been used as a preplanting band treatment on squash, cabbage and
celery. Seems like a very good potential to explore.
A mimeo on Dr. Darby's work can be furnished on request.
BLOSSOM-END ROT: leaning too heavily on calcium sprays?
From some of the reports we've been getting, some folks are expecting too much
from calcium sprays. Let's review some opinions of Dr. C. 11. Geraldson, Gulf Coast
"The primary objective of the control method is to maintain a Ca/SSSS level (pro-
portion of calcium contained in the soil solution soluble salts) which will remain
above 20% during the entire growing season. The supplementary objective is to supply
a 0.0 M CaC12 foliar spray whenever demand by the plant is expected to exceed the
Here are just some of the considerations Dr. Geraldson feels are important:
"When liming materials containing magnesium are utilized, less calcium as
well as greater ano-'nts of a competitive ion are being supplied per unit of lim-
"Fertilizers cont inning potassium, ammonium, magnesium and sodium supply
cations which reduce the percent Ca/GS3S.
"Nitrogen becomes a special problem because it can exist as a cation or anion
and excesses of either can accentuate a calcium deficiency.
"Nitrogen levels and nitrate/amniinnium ratios can vary with the amount and rate
of breakdown of organic matter as well as with the amount added in fertilizers;
also varies with pH and moisture level.
"Rapid growth tends to accentuate the effect of any contributing factor."
Space doesn't permit additional details, but above is enough to show the answer
may not be simple. Yes, we can furnish a mimeo on the topic....on request.
Yours very truly,
F. S. Jamison
Vegetable Crop Specialist