Title: Vegetarian
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087399/00105
 Material Information
Title: Vegetarian
Series Title: Vegetarian
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: January 1975
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087399
Volume ID: VID00105
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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S 1

January 7, 1975

Prepared by Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists

J. F. Kelly

S. R. Kostewicz
Assistant Professor

James Montelaro

J. R. Hicks
Assistant Professor

J. M. Stephens
Associate Professor

R. K. Showalter


FROM: James Montelaro, Extension Vegetable Specialist .




A. "Strawberry Production Guide" (Circular 1420) Available


A. Double-Cropping Mulched Fields
B. Pruning Determinate Tomato Varieties
C. Growing Tomatoes in Greenhouses


A. Lettuce Handling and Quality


A. Timely Gardening Topics
B. Know Your Vegetables Amaranth

NOTE: Anyone is

free to use the information in this newsletter.
please give credit to the authors.

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A. "Strawberry Production Guide" (Circular 142D) Available

The "Strawberry Production Guide" after being out-of-print for a period of
time is now revised and ready for distribution. Because of a somewhat limited
number of copies which were printed, we are again asking that good judgment be used
in distribution of this publication. It is intended to service commercial producers
of strawberries and representatives of allied industries servicing such growers.

(Kelly, Kostewicz)


A. Double-Cropping Mulched Fields

It is estimated that 35,000 acres of vegetables are being produced this season
under full-bed, black plastic mulch culture. A goodly portion of that acreage will
be planted to a second crop of vegetables. The reason is simple--growers ha'-e found
that they can grow a second crop successfully at minimal cost initially for soil
preparation, fumigants, fertilizer, etc.

Research and experience in double-cropping mulched fieldsare somewhat limited.
However, some information has been gleaned over the past few years which may be very
helpful to growers trying it for the first time. The decision of whether or not to
plant a second crop on a field to be mulched should be made before the plastic mulce
is laid for the first crop. Once plastic is laid in a field, it is almost impossible
to make any adjustments in the root zone under the mulch.

Probably the most important factor to take into consideration prior to mulch-
ing is the control of soil pests. These include weed seeds, nematodes, insects
and diseases. A second crop may not succeed in a mulched field which showed moderate
to heavy infestations of nematodes. To a lesser degree, this may be true of other
soil pests, also.

Following are some pointers to be considered in planning for double-cropping
of plastic-mulched fields.

(1) Use good agricultural practices in land selection, leveling, drainage,
irrigation, preparation, etc.

(2) Lime soil, if needed.

(3) Treat for soil pests with (a) multi-purpose fumigants or (b) with a
nematicide, insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, or (c) combination of two or more
listed under (b).

(4) Apply adequate fertilizer for two crops. NOTE: A rule of thumb is to
increase total fertilizer by 25"' to supply second crop.

(5) Keep moisture level at optimum level for plant growth even during fallow
period between crops. Do not allow surface soil to become dry as it is hard to re-
establish a desirable moisture level in that zone. In extreme cases, it may become
necessary to punch small holes in the plastic mulch and overhead irrigate to wet
surface soil.


(6) Do not seed or transplant second crop in holes where first crop plants
were grown. Punch new hole to the side or between old holes for second crop.

(7) Do not follow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant with each other. The most
successful second crops have been the short-season ones like cucumber and squash.

(8) When harvest is completed in late spring or early summer, remove plastic
and plant a cover crop to protect the soil and trap residue fertilizer.

Growers using plastic mulch for fall and winter crops certainly should plan
to double-crop their fields. They will probably find that double-cropping can add
to profit potential. (Montelaro)

B. Pruning Determinate Tomato Varieties

Should the determinate varieties of tomatoes like 'Walter' and 'Florida MH-1'
be pruned and if so, how many prunes? It is a fact that if these questions were
asked of trellised tomato growers, the answers would be quite different. Researchers
at the Agricultural Research & Education Center at Bradenton, Florida, have conducted
a series of experiments over the past few years to study this problem.

In a study completed in 1972, Mr. D. S. Burgis and Dr. Pat Crill reported that
"pruning," restricted to the removal of 4 to 7 lateral branches up to, but not
including the lateral shoot in the leaf axil below the first flower cluster resulted
in earlier yield as well as increased fruit size over a 5-week harvest period for
both 'Florida MH-I' and 'Walter' tomato varieties. Yield data is presented in Table 1.
Note the sizable increase in yield in 'Walter' variety.

Table 1. Total marketing yield from pruned and unpruned 'Florida
MH-1' and 'Walter' tomato plants expressed as number of 30 lb.
packed boxes per acre at harvest.

Harvest Florida MH-l Walter
number Pruned Unpruned Sum Pruned Unpruned Sum
1 83 28 llld 54 20 74c
2 202 157 359c 184 119 303b
3 443 456 899a 402 248 650a
4 194 286 480b 236 312 548a
5 54 83 137d 77 57 134c
976 992 1986 953 756 1709
ZAny two sums followed by the same letter are not significantly
different (LSD .01).

In a subsequent study, Mr. Burgis and Mr. Levins tested 0, 3, 6 and 9 prunes
on 'Florida MH-1', a variety which would be most apt to be adversely affected because
of its concentrated fruit set. They reported that "Taking three prunes produced
the highest total number of 13.61 kg cartons (30 Ibs.) followed by 0, 6, and 9 prunes,
in that order. Market value was at a maximum for three prunes and at a minimum for
nine prunes."

Yields of the various sizes obtained for pruning treatments are presented
in Table 2.


Table 2. Projected per hectare (2.47 acres)
yields by sizes of number of 13.61 kg (30
Ibs.) cartons of tomatoes for different
pruning procedures.
Total and
Prunes Fruit 7x7 6x7 6x6 larger
13.61 kg cartons (30 Ibs.)
0 2836 450 1465 731 190
3 3456 420 1611 1090 336
6 2763 138 1001 1320 304
9 2286 101 739 1080 336

Note the effect of number of prunes
To relate size and yield more practically,
crop under different marketing conditions.

on yields of the larger size tomatoes.
the researchers estimated value of the
The data are presented in Table 3.

Table 3. Estimated F.0.B. market values of dollar
yields under different pruning procedures.

Without supply control With supply control
No. Average Good Average Good
prunes prices prices prices prices
Dollars per hectare (2.47 acres)
0 12,063 18,794 10,566 16,996
3 14,901 23,726 13,741 22,046
6 12,788 20,200 12,273 19,647
9 10,887 17,583 10,583 16,904
zAverage prices were estimated from (4) and were
taken to be $3.00, $4.00, $5.00 and $5.50 F.O.B.
per carton for 7x7, 6x7, 6x6 and 5x6 and larger,
respectively. Good prices were based on grower
estimates of spring 1974 prices and were taken to
be $4.00, $6.50, $8.00 and $8.50.

The data in Table 3 clearly show that 3 prunes increased
'Florida MH-1' tomato crop under the conditions of this study.

market value of the


C. Growing Tomatoes in Greenhouses

A great deal of interest in greenhouse tomato production has been generated
in the last several years in North and West Florida as well as other southeastern
states. It is common to find sales literature and popular articles speaking glowingly
of handsome profits to be made with this method of production. Unfortunately, a
good number of people have been rudely awakened by the realization and costly experien(
that it is not as easy or as profitable as they were led to believe. In too many
instances after several years of operation, they find that it has not been profitable
and they cease operation.


Greenhouse production of tomatoes is a very exacting and demanding operation
thdt requires technical know-how and management ability before commercial success
can be realized. If one examines the historical development of greenhouse tomato
production, an enlightening story unfolds. In early years, this means of production
was the only source of fresh tomatoes for people in the northern areas of the United
States. In recent years as the outdoor production of tomatoes from Florida and
Mexico increased during the winter months, extreme economic pressure was placed on
the greenhouse tomato market. What resulted was a decrease in numbers of greenhouse
operations because they could not meet the competition. The first to go were the
poorly-managed houses or the ones unable to master the production techniques
necessary for economic production.

The development of plastic-covered structures and artificial growing media
for production stimulated some renewed interest because of decreased costs to get
established in a range of houses. This combined with a switch to warmer southern
areas meant less cost for heating during the fewer and shorter colder periods of
the year seemed to bring about a renewed interest in this type of production. How-
ever, the same economic pressure exists, if not greater, from outdoor-grown tomatoes
and still affects success or failure.

In a previous Vegetarian article (72-12), a few of the intensive production
aspects were pointed out as examples of the technical know-how that needs to be
mastered to successfully grow greenhouse tomatoes. To this list must be added the
new concept of managing artificial soil media such as the peat-vermiculite mixes now
being used in many areas. Initially, slow-release fertilizer materials were tried,
but success with these was limited. The newest fertilization method in use is that of
injecting soluble nutrient materials to the system via drip or other irrigation lines.
The when, how much, and how frequently are some of the problems to be dealt with as
well as other unknown quantities with this method.

It has been our experience that a person familiar or experienced with inten-
sive vegetable production and one that starts with a small unit to master the total
greenhouse program has been the most successful. In this way, the mistakes and
failures, and indeed there will be some, will result in a minimal financial loss.
A number of inquiries we receive are from relatively large investors with no
experience with growing plants of any nature. It has been our approach to attempt
to scale down their ideas to "get their feet wet" first along the lines mentioned above

A critical factor for success is marketing the tomatoes after they are pro-
duced. As with any business venture, one does not produce an item blindly and then
try to sell it, but one seeks out and analyzes the market before heavy investment
and production costs are incurred. In the area of tomato production, it was mentioned
earlier that indeed the competition from outdoor-grown tomatoes is tremendous. How-
ever, there does exist in some areas at some times of the year a certain local or
specialty trade. Some growers have been successful in finding this, but we are still
looking for the operation that has "made it big" financially.

In summation, we are recommending that interested people:

(1) Seek out and analyze the marketing picture in their area before

(2) There are many sources and suppliers of greenhouses and greenhouse supplies
Investigate as many as possible.


(3) Start small. Identify and master the techniques and know-how needed.

(4) Check your local Extension office for information. If they don't have
it at their fingertips, they know who to contact to get it.

(5) Keep accurate records on costs and labor involved. Are you working
or would you work for 50t an hour?

(6) Concentrate on quality. People won't buy "junk" even if it was grown
with tender loving care.


A. Lettuce Handling and Quality

Although the per capital consumption of most fresh vegetables has been declin-
ing during recent years, lettuce consumption has increased on both a total tonnage
and per capital basis. At present, the per capital consumption is approximately 22
pounds. There are a number of reasons for increased demand for lettuce including
the increase in percentage of meals eaten away from home. A second factor may be
the changing profile of our present population. The fastest growing segment of our
population is the young adult group between 25 and 34 years of age. In addition to
being the fastest growing group, these young adults also control a large share of the
purchasing power in the United States, and are the leaders in salad consumption.

It has been obvious for some time that we are in an age of "consumer awareness.'
A great number of today's consumers are much more critical, particularly in regards
to the foods they eat, than were their parents. They expect more quality in all
fresh vegetables they buy. Lettuce, because of its importance in salads and fast
foods, and also due to the changing profile of the population will probably continue
to be demanded in greater quantity. In short, it appears that the lettuce industry
can expect increased demands in both quality and quantity.

Lettuce is one of the produce leaders in terms of number of shipments which
are rejected or discounted at the terminal markets. The loss rate continues to be
high during wholesale, retail and in the home. A large percentage of these losses
is attributable to poor handling at some point between harvesting and consumption.
Poor handling at any point causes deterioration of quality and increased losses. The
damage may not be apparent immediately after it occurs. In fact, losses incurred by
poor handling during or shortly after harvest may not be obvious until the lettuce
has reached the terminal market--or even the retail level.

The relatively high respiration rate of lettuce presents a series of problems,
most notably heat and carbon dioxide accumulation.

(1) Heat One of the products of respiration of any living organism is heat.
The faster the respiration rate, the greater the amount of heat produced, and with
vegetables the warmer a product is the faster it respires. A ton of lettuce at 4nOF
will produce approximately 3,000 to 4,000 BTU's per day. In other words, that much
refrigeration will be needed just to maintain the lettuce at a temperature of 400F
even without considering heat exchange from outside the storage. At 600F (because of
increased respiration rate) roughly twice as much refrigeration will be needed just
to maintain the same temperature.

(2) Carbon dioxide CO2 is another major product of respiration which can
present problems during storage and transportation of lettuce. Since CO2 is a direct


product of respiration, the rate of production is dependent on temperature. In
storage or transport vehicles when there is very little air exchange, temperature
may be an important factor in whether or not enough CO2 accumulates to cause damage
to the lettuce. For long periods of storage or transport, there is some benefit
to be derived from the use of hydrated lime to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere but
this will not compensate for improper temperature regimes.

As can be seen from above, temperature plays an extremely important role in
maintaining quality of lettuce. Reports from the University of California show
that stored lettuce will remain in a salable condition twice as long as 320F as at
380F and that a few hours with temperatures in the 80's will cause as much
deterioration in quality as a week at 320F. Since lettuce is mostly water and has
a high freezing point (31.70F), quality and storage life are dependent on precise
temperature control. Precooling immediately following harvest is essential. Lettuce
should always be kept cold after precooling. Vehicles used to transport lettuce
should be cooled before loading. In order to deliver high-quality lettuce to the
market and the consumer, the temperature must be brought down immediately after har-
vest and maintained throughout marketing until consumption. Everyone in the chain
from grower to retailer and the consumer must do their part if losses are to be

This article has dealt primarily with the effect of temperature on lettuce
quality. There are numerous other factors which result in excessive trimming and
other forms of loss at retail level such as mechanical damage, decay and transpiration
or water loss. The causes of mechanical damage are usually apparent. While decay
and transpiration cannot be entirely eliminated by temperature manipulation, the
proper temperature regime does play an important part in reducing the amount of loss
from these two factors.


A. Timely Gardening Topics

These questions and answers are provided for your use in developing periodic
(weekly) radio or newspaper briefs. They are based on letters of inquiry received
from Florida gardeners.

(1) Timely Topic for week of January 19-25.


I plan to have a "WIN" garden. Where can I get advice and a booklet on how
to proceed?


Various gardening literature and helpful assistance on gardening are available
from your local Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Check the telephone listing
under County Government.

Some of the literature for Florida gardeners distributed free by the Extension
Service include: (1) Circular 104, "Vegetable Gardening Guide", (2) Circular 375,
"Organic Vegetable Gardening", and (3) Vegetable Crops Fact Sheets.

- 8-


The gardener may obtain these and other helpful booklets on gardening by
writing to the appropriate address. Note--Exclusion of other similar booklets on
gardening is not intended.

(1) "Florida Vegetables How to Grow Them", an excellent booklet by Lewis
S. Maxwell, 6230 Travis Blvd., Tampa, Florida, 33610, For Sale at garden supply
stores; (2) "Vegetable Gardening in Florida", free from State Department of
Agriculture, Tallahassee; (3) "All About Vegetables", For Sale from Chevron Chemical
Company, 200 Bush Street, San Francisco, California, 94104; (4) "Vegetable
Gardening", For Sale from Southern Living Magazines, P. 0. Box 2463, Birmingham,
Alabama, 35202; (5) "The Home Vegetable Garden", For Sale from Brooklyn Botanic
Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11225; (6) "Sunset Book of
Vegetable Gardening", For Sale by Lane Magazine and Book Co., Menlo Park, California,
94025; and (7) "Suburban and Farm Vegetable Gardens, For Sale by Superintendent of
Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 20402.

(2) Timely Topic for week of January 26-31.


I want to grow a few fresh garden vegetables, but my house sits in the only
sunny spot in the yard. What can I do?


Why not consider a roof garden? These gardens have been common in such cities
as London. It is not an easy venture, due to the carrying or hoisting up of the
materials. Perhaps the major consideration is that the roof is strong enough to
support the weight of the containers, plus persons tending the garden. Containers,
whether wooden, plastic or other, can be varied in design to give an appealing
effect. It is a good precaution to support containers on cross-members so that excess
moisture drains away. Some roofs may have a railing, so as to allow a trellis for
climbing plants such as pole beans, to give the effect of an enclosed garden, and to
partially screen off the containers from the ground level.

(3) Timely topic for week of February 2-8.


I have been plagued with a plant-destroying condition that my neighbor refers
to as "damping off". The small plants turn dark at the soil level and fall over.
What can I do for them?


Usually, "damping off" is caused by one or more fungus diseases living in
the soil, although a similar condition may be the result of other causes such as salt
injury. These fungi attack the stems of young vegetable plants at the soil level.
The plant weakens at that point and falls over. In cases where this disease con-
dition has been noticed previously, the soil should be fumigated with an approved
fumigant before the seeds are planted. Further safeguarding can be accomplished by
planting seed treated with a fungicide.


Where the disease shows up on the seedlings, a fungicide drench of captain,
thiram or terrachlor applied to the base of the plants, along the seed drill is
sometimes helpful. However, once infected, the plant's condition is seldom helped
by use of such materials.

(4) Timely Topic for week of February 9-15.


I have saved my tomato plants from freezing by covering the plants with
cloth. Some of the fruits from these plants were picked green and placed in my
house to ripen. About two weeks have gone by with very little color change showing
up. Will they get ripe?

Although you covered the plants, chances are the fruits have been exposed
to temperatures in the thirties and forties. Thus, they probably have suffered
chilling injury, which will prevent them for ripening properly. There will more
than likely be a color change, but it will be a light yellowish orange. Edible
quality of the fruit will be greatly diminished. Tomato fruits should be refrigerated
only after ripening for best color and quality. Furthermore, if you picked them
too green before they became mature, they will remain green and have poor quality.

B. Know Your Vegetables Amaranth

Amaranth (Amaranthus sp.) is also known as Tampala, Hon-toi-moi, and Chinese
spinach. Several species of Amaranthus are used for food in different parts of
the Tropics. Leaves of the different species or varieties are either red, variegated
or green. The green form of A. gangeticus L. is most commonly cultivated for use
as boiled greens. It is an upright branched annual. The young leaves and stem tips
are ready to eat 3 to 6 weeks after the seed is sown. There is a red-leaved species
(probably A. tricolor L.).

Amaranth or Chinese spinach grows well and rapidly at all altitudes in the
West Indies. The green-leaved variety Tampala, which can be obtained from United
States seedsmen, is satisfactory. Direct broadcast seeding is practiced and the
seedlings are thinned when quite young to 3 inches apart. The thinnings can be used
for greens. Tampala may be killed by cold, so grow it in warm weather.


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