Cooperative Extension Service 

  Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Southwest Florida Vegetable Newsletter

Hendry County Cooperative Extension Office
PO Box 68
Labelle, Florida 33975

November/December 1999



January 7-10, 2000                         Australian Vegetable Tour:
                                                     Contact:  Dr. Doug Sanders, NC State University  919-515-1222

January 13, 2000                            Growers Meeting -  SWFREC, Immokalee, CANCELED
                                                     Research into Keplex DP - Contact Mike Seese at 800-433-7017

January 8, 2000                              Suwannee Valley Field & Greenhouse Shortcourse & Trade show:
                                                     Suwannee County Coliseum, Live Oak, FL
                                                     Contact:  Bob Hochmuth  904-362-1725

January 27-28, 2000                       CCA Exam Prep will be held at the CREC, Lake Alfred, FL
                                                     Contact Mary Hartney at FFAA for more details at (941)293-4827

Feb. 28th - Mar.1, 2000                 The 2000 Florida Weed Science Society Meeting
                                                    Ocala, Florida  CEUs & CCAs will be available. Contact:John Altom  (352) 336-4844

March 6,  2000                              2000 Florida Postharvest Horticulture Institute & Industry Tour.
                                                    Institute-, University of Florida, Gainesville, with video-links to several sites in Florida.
                                                    Industry Tour-March 7-10th Statewide
                                                    For  more information contact: Steve Sargent or Abbie Fox, 352-392-1928
                                                    For the Immokalee site call Gene McAvoy 863-674-4092

May 15-19, 2000                          Aquatic Weed Control, Aquatic Plant Culture and Revegetation Short Course.
                                                   Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   Earn up to 24 CEUs.  For more information contact:
                                                   Beth Miller-Tipton at (352)392-5930, fax (352)392-9734
                                                   or e-mail:
                                                   Visit the workshop web site at: htpp://
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Note  from Gene 
Gene McAvoy 
Vegetable Extension Agent II 
Hendry County Extension Office 
PO Box 68 
LaBelle, Florida, 33975 

Hope this finds you all well as we approach the new millenium.  Many growers and others in the vegetable industry are probably wondering what the 21st century will bring.

The last decade certainly provides a number of clues to help answer this question.  Our industry has been rocked by tremendous changes in the last two decades and it is plausible to expect that the pace of change will only accelerate as we enter into the next century.

Events that have shaped the evolution of the vegetable industry include: the globalization of trade and the rapid emergence of new competitors for formerly secure markets, an unprecedented proliferation of government  rules and regulations, especially in the areas of environmental protection, labor and pesticide use,  escalating production costs,  the continued appearance of new pests and diseases while we lose some of our of  traditional pest control materials, changing perceptions and dwindling public support for
agriculture, the decline of the small independent grower and a confusing array of mergers, consolidations and new alliances between not only agri-business giants but also between growers, packers, shippers, and marketing  entities.

Whether or not all of these changes are good or bad is certainly debatable.  What is certain is that they are inevitable and an individual’s future survival in this industry will depend the ability to adapt and assimilate these changes in positive ways.

Vegetable farming has never been an easy proposition and in recent years survival in this dynamic environment has not been easy.   The Southwest Florida Vegetable Advisory Committee has been pondering this situation for the past few months  and has considered  ways to alleviate the plight of area growers and help shift the competitive balance in their favor.

With this goal in mind,  the committee has decided to launch the  “SW Florida Vegetable Research Investment Fund.” The fund is envisioned as a strategic partnership of growers and others in the vegetable industry who come together to pool their resources to address research needs of common concern.

The SW Florida Vegetable Research Investment Fund  is set up to be managed by the contributor-members who will prioritize and fund research  projects through a democratically elected advisory committee.  Membership will be based on contributions of one dollar per cropped acre per year or flat fee for non-growers.  Growers will hold the purse strings and will be free to choose from public or private research groups and hold researchers accountable for performance.

You are strongly urged to consider this proposal favorably.   The strength and ultimately the future survival of not only the vegetable industry in southwest Florida but each and every vegetable grower depends on unity within the industry.

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Watermelon Variety Evaluation
Spring 1999
Watermelon varieties were evaluated in the spring 1999 season at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Bradenton.  The trials included 32 diploid entries and 28 triploid (seedless) entries.

Production Practices

The EauGallie fine sand was prepared in late January by incorporation of 0-0.8-0lb N-P205-K20 per 100 linear bed feed (lbf).  Beds were formed and fumigated with methyl bromide:  chloropicrin, 67:33 at 2.3 lb/100 lbf.  Banded fertilizer was applied in shallow grooves on the bed shoulders at 3.1-0-4.3 lb N-P205-K20/100 lbf after the beds were pressed and before application of the black polyethylene mulch.

The total fertilizer applied was equivalent to 148-40-206 lb N-P205-K20/acre.  The final beds were 32 in. wide and 8 in. high and were spaced on 9 ft centers, with four beds between seepage irrigation/drainage ditches which were on 41 ft centers.  The diploid watermelons were planted in rows adjacent to the ditches and also served as pollenizers for triploid watermelons that were being evaluated in the two center beds of each land.

Diploid watermelon seeds were planted on 15 February in holes punched in the polyethylene mulch at 3 ft in-row spacing.  Seedling were thinned at the two true-leaf stage to one per hole.  Triploid watermelon transplants were field planted on 15 February.  The 30-ft long plots had ten plants each and were replicated three times in a randomized complete-block design.  Weed control in row middles was accomplished by cultivation and application of paraquat.  Plant stand counts recorded just before vines grew together showed no significant difference among plots.  Pesticides were applied as needed for control of
silverleaf whitefly (endosulfan, esfenvalerate, abamectin, and ultrafine oil), gummy stem blight (chlorothalonil and azoxystrobin) and worms (Bacillus thuringiensis and methomyl).

Watermelons were harvested from late May to mid-June.  Marketable (U.S. No.1 or better) fruit according to U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelons were separated from culls and counted and weighed individually.  Triploid fruit 8 lbs and larger and diploid fruit 12 lbs. and larger were assumed to be marketable.  Tetraploid fruit, where they occurred, were not included in the marketable category because they are not seedless.  Soluble solids (a measure of sweetness) were determined with a hand-held refractometer on at least six fruit from each entry at each harvest.  The resulting data were subjected to analysis of variance and mean separation was by Duncan’s multiple range test.

Diploid Results

Early yields, based on the first of two harvests, ranged from 0 for “Starbrite’ and ‘Stargazer’ to 426 cwt/acre for ‘Sentinel’.  Twenty-one other entries had early yields similar to those of ‘Sentinel’.  Average fruit weight ranged from 19.9 lbs. for SWD 8307 to 30.6 lbs. for ‘Big Stripe’.  Soluble solids concentration varied from 10.9% for ‘Huck Finn’ to 13.2% for WX 8.  The incidence of hollowheart ranged from 0 in ACX 7402, ‘Fiesta’, ‘Huck Finn’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Royal Star’, RWM 8036, RWM 8074, ‘Sentinel’,  ‘Sultan’, Summer Flavor 500’, ‘Summer Flavor 800’, ‘Summer Flavor 810’, Summer Flavor 820’, SWD 8307, SXW 5023, and SXW 5038 to 100% in ‘Big Stripe’,  ‘Pinata’ and ‘Stars-N-Stripes’.

Total yields varied from 450 cwt/acre for SXW 5023 to 856 cwt/acre for ‘Big Stripe’.  Twenty-six other entries had yields statistically similar to those of ‘Big Stripe’.  Average fruit weight over the entire season ranged from 20.6 lbs. for ‘Sangria’ to 28.2 lbs. for ‘Big Stripe’.  ‘Summer Flavor 810’ average fruit weight was 26.7 lbs., ‘Huck Finn’ average fruit weight was over 26.0 lbs. and a number of other entries had substantial average fruit weights.  Fruit per plant varied from 1.3 for SXW 5023 to 2.2 for ‘Mardi gras’.

Soluble solids concentrations ranged from 10.8% for RWM 8074 to 12.9% for ‘Sultan’.  Seasonal average soluble solids for all entries exceeded the 10% specified for optional use to designate very good internal quality in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelons.

The incidence of hollow heart varied from 0 in ‘Starbrite’ and SKW 5023 to 83% in ‘Pinata’ (large seed).

Based on this and previous trials, the following Allsweet and blocky Crimson Sweet type varieties are expected to perform well in Florida:  ‘Fiesta’, ‘Mardi Gras’, ‘Regency’, ‘Royal Flush’, Royal Star’, ‘Royal Sweet’, ‘Sentinel’, ‘Starbrite’, 'Stars-N-Stripes’ and Summer Flavor 800 and 900 series.  Other varieties may perform equally well on some farms.

Triploid Results

Early yield, as represented by the first of two harvests, varied from 157 cwt/acre for DRS 4571 to 648 cwt/acre for XWT 8706.  Twenty-two other entries had yields similar to those of XWT 8706 and 15 other entries had early yields statistically similar to DPS 4571.  Average fruit weights at the first harvest ranged from 13.5 lbs. for RWM 8084 to 28.3 lbs. for DPS 4548.

Soluble solids concentrations varied from 12.4% in RWM 8089 to 14.3% in DPS 4548 at the first harvest.  The percentage of fruit having hollow heart at the first harvest ranged from 0 in ‘Fandango’, ‘Summer Sweet 5544’, and ‘Triton’ to 83% in

Total yields ranged from 686 cwt/acre for ‘Triton’ to 1186 cwt/acre for XWT 8706.  Only seven entries produced yields significantly lower than XWT 8706.

Average fruit weight for the entire season varied from 13.0 lbs. for RWM 8089 to 24.3 lbs. for DPS 4548.  The number of fruit per plant ranged from 2.3 for DPS 4548 to 4.3 for XWT 8706.

Soluble solids concentrations varied from 12.1% for ‘Triton’ to 13.6% for SXW 1003.  Accordingly, soluble solids in all entries far exceeded the 10% specified for optional use in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Watermelons to describe very good internal quality.  The incidence of hollow heart ranged from 0 in ‘Fandango’ and ‘Summer Sweet 5544’ to 67% in ‘Constitution’.

Based on results of this and previous trials, triploid hybrids, in alphabetical order, that should perform well in Florida include ‘Constitution’, ‘Crimson Trio’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Genesis’, ‘King of Hearts’, ‘Millionaire’, ‘Revere’, ‘Summersweet 5244’, ‘Summer-sweet 5544’, ‘Tri-X-313’ and Tri-X-Carousel.

‘Triton’, a yellow-flesh variety should be evaluated for that niche market.  Other varieties may perform well on individual farms.

Those readers needing more details on these trials should request Research Reports BRA-1999-5 and BRA-1999-6, from the author.

Maynard, Vegetarian Newsletter 99-11
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The End of the “Dead Bed” Era
In case you haven’t  noticed, we are about to leave the “dead bed era.”  Methyl bromide served us well, killing most soil-borne pathogens, insects, nematodes, and weeds.  But by all accounts (i.e., IFAS research) the alternatives leave something to be desired.  Hence, a “lively” bed will be the result.  Sure, we’ll develop chemical cocktails tailored to certain situations, but we are losing more ground than we are gaining when it comes to the use of agricultural chemicals.  If we continue on the present course, most of what we are using today will either be ineffective or have lost it’s registration when we lose methyl bromide (2005).
So what’s an alternative?  Dare I say it?  Biologicals!

Believe it or not, over the past two years many transplant houses in Florida have silently put away their copper/EBDC sprays in favor of “the phage,” a virus that attacks bacterial spot.  Learning how to use the phage was frustrating at first, but this year several transplant facilities have mentioned how “clean” their transplants have been under phage technology.  Transplant producers are just like vegetable growers, except they plant hundreds of crops each year.  So if biologicals are working for them, perhaps you should take a closer look at this technology.

Biological control has been around for decades, yet success stories are few.  That is because we have expected too much.  Our chemistry has been so effective in defeating diseases and insects that we have used chemistry as the standard on which to judge the biological.  But Mother Nature operates according to the familiar phrase “you win some, you lose some.”  Let’s face it: you never really beat bacterial spot!

With the public clamoring for safe food and a turn toward reduced pesticide usage, several enterprising companies have stepped up to market biologicals.  The jury is still out on most products as they simply haven’t undergone enough testing.   However, the USDA web site ( lists 36 commercially available products as antagonists of plant pathogens.

Most plant pathologists will tell you that in side-by-side tests, chemicals will outperform biologicals every time.  In fact, in tests that pit the biological against the disease it is supposed to control, the biological often delivers only minimal control at best (10% or less).  Most research stops when poor performance is indicated.  And that’s the point, while these products can’t stop Mother Natures’ disease arsenal, they do provide other benefits along the way that help you help yourself.

So how can these biologicals help you?

Easy Application.  These products are generally applied either as a seed treatment or as an amendment to the peat/vermiculite when growing transplants.  The products themselves are either dusts, granules, or flakes, and liquid formulations are on the drawing board.  Just a one-shot deal and forget about it!  No repeat applications, no tricky timing issues, and best of all, no re-entry or pre-harvest interval considerations.

Growth Promotion.  Of the several products tested at the SWFREC, all have shown an ability to increase plant growth.  This growth response is most noticeable in the transplants, but measurable growth differences have been seen in the field as well.  Enhanced growth in plants can translate to an ability to “out run” seedling diseases, rapid establishment, better foraging performance (accessing water and nutrients), and in the long run, earlier maturity.  These benefits simply increase the plants’ ability to take full advantage of the resources in the surrounding environment.

Disease Reduction.  Tests at SWFREC have clearly shown reductions in both the incidence and severity of disease.  Products varied in level of performance and differences may not have been detectable to the naked eye.  For example, in a trial involving a natural infestation of bacterial spot on pepper, 20% of the untreated plants were diseased compared to 13% of the treated plants.  Furthermore, there were 6 spots per leaf on the untreated plants compared to 4 spots per leaf on the treated plants.  This may not seem like a great deal of protection, but it might make the difference between an epidemic and a controlled outbreak.  Additionally, the slower advance of the disease provides the grower a management tool in that chemical controls and application timing can be more effective.

Similar results were noted for Phytophthora capsici on cantaloupe (lower incidence/slower development).  However, the virulence of P. capsici simply proved too devastating for the biologicals in the end (“ lose some.”)  This is by no means an exhaustive list of disease trials, but a trend seems to be emerging.

Insect Repellence.  We have not seen this aspect at the SWFREC; however, insect repellence has been documented. Researchers at Auburn University have shown that certain biologicals altered the level of cucurbitacins in  cucumbers and thereby made them less pleasant-tasting to cucumber beetles.  This biochemical phenomenon also reduced the amount  of cucurbit wilt pathogen transmitted by the cucumber beetle apparently due to its reduced feeding.  This may be just an isolated case; however, the ramifications seem very beneficial.

Nematode Reduction.  USDA researchers have documented reduced root galling and improved root condition in nematode infested soils for tomato and pepper, right here in Florida.  Some organisms were better than others in eliciting these responses and some were more effective in one crop or the other.

Yield Effects.  If the biologicals bring about any of the above-mentioned effects, you will probably see a positive impact on yield.  We have seen everything from more extra-large fruit at first harvest and more total fruit after three harvests in pepper to no yield differences, early or late, in cantaloupe.  We even had one incident of a reduction in extra-large tomato fruit size at first harvest, but no effect on total harvest (size, weight, or grade).  Again, these effects vary with the organism and the crop on which it is used, and will probably not perform identically every know, like Mother Nature.

So what are we to make of all this?  At this level of development you cannot expect great things from biologicals.  However, you can expect these organisms to show up every day of the season and give you the best they can give.  It’s the little things that add up over the course of the season that produce the successful year.  As we enter the “lively bed” era without the “grand slam” of methyl bromide, we are going to need all the help we can get, and this broad spectrum of benefits provided by biologicals will certainly help.  What better way to help yourself than to put something “live in that transplant plug or on that seed.

Vegetarian Newsletter
Vavrina,  November 99
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Suspension of the Watermelon Crop Insurance Program 
for the Crop Year 2000
What started out as a worthy program by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) has turned into an unmanageable nightmare in some areas of the state.  Lofty goals were set  to provide a safety net for watermelon growers to pay back out-of-pocket costs for crops which might be ravaged by the forces of nature.   Alachua, Jackson, and Manatee counties in Florida  were selected to be "pilot counties" in 1999 to give this program a trial.

As it turned out, the policies were loosely written regarding what production practices were considered important for the grower to use, and no consideration was made as to the  irrigation, fertilization, and previous cropping history of the land and present watermelon crop,  making it evident that the FCIC had not consulted any university personnel.  Growers in Jackson and a few other counties found that it was almost an open invitation to overproduce,  and several disregarded proper cultural and management practices.  The acreage planted here in spring 1999 exceeded 9,000 acres, compared to the previous 20-year
high of 1,600 acres  planted for a spring crop.  The fall 1999 crop is now estimated at 6,000 acres, compared to about 800 acres maximum planted in the past 10 years.

To make a long story short, after two hearings were held, and several complaints were made, the FCIC suspended the crop insurance program for watermelons for the year 2000.  Industry members had said that the insurance program led to oversupply of watermelons and   low prices.  The announcement to this effect was made on 13 September, 1999.  The sixty-day comment period began on that date, and written comments regarding the Watermelon Crop Insurance Program may be submitted no later than 12 November, 1999, to these contacts:

Research and Evaluation Division
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
United States Department of Agriculture
9435 Holmes Road
Kansas City, MO 64131


For further Information:  Contact is Kathy Tiefel, Insurance Management Specialist, Research and
Development Division, FCIC, at the address listed above. Ms. Tiefel's telephone number is 816-926-6343.

Vegetarian Newsletter October 1999
Charles L. Brasher, Extension Agent III, Jackson County
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You will find Spanish and English versions of EPA pesticide safety programs for farm workers, certified applicators, and health care providers at this new web site.

The site offers specific information on applicator certification and training requirements and EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, including pesticide safety training, notification of pesticide applications, use of personal protective equipment and emergency medical assistance.  The site also provides information on the Pesticides and National Strategies for Health Care Providers, an EPA-led initiative aimed at helping health care providers become trained in diagnosing and preventing pesticide related illnesses.

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter
October 1999
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Field Production of Specialty 
Tomato Varieties 
in Southeast Florida
Fruit and plant characteristics of 10 specialty tomato varieties were evalu  at three farms in Southeast Florida during the winter/spring season, 1998-99. The tomatoes were grown on sandland using fumigated (methyl bromide/chloropicrin) full-bed plastic mulch culture and sub surface seepage irrigation.

At the first farm, transplants were set December 3, 1998 and varieties were evaluated on March 10 (98 days after transplanting).  Beds were on 6' centers and plants were set at three different within-row spacing: 24, 36, and 48 inches (3,630; 2,420; and 1,815 plants/A, respectively).

At the second location, transplants were set on January 15 and evaluated on April 26 (101 days after transplanting).  Beds were on 6' centers and plants were set at a 33 inch within-row spacing (2,640 plants/A).

At the third farm, tomatoes were transplanted on February 3, 1999, and evaluated on May 4 (90 days after transplanting).        Plants were set on 5' centers and at a 24 inch within-row spacing (4,356 plants/A).

Plant and fruit descriptions for the first demonstration are in Table 1.  Tomato plant and fruit characteristics for the second and third demonstrations were averaged and presented in Table 2.  Varieties are listed in order from the smallest sized fruit to the
largest sized fruit.  Results of a taste test conducted for four of the grape/cherry varieties from the third demonstration are in
Table 3.
Table 1. Plant and fruit descriptions for specialty tomatoes in a variety demonstration Alderman Farms, 
Boynton Beach, FL  1998-99.z
Seed Source 
Fruit shape 
Plant Type y
 Mini Charm 
Fruit on a cluster. Good fruit set.  Reddish orange to red. OK for 36” within-row spacing.  Some splits 
extending halfway across fruit.
Fruit on a cluster. OK fruit set, could be heavier. Orangish red to red.  OK for 36” within-row spacing. 
May be too large as a grape.  OK to good  fruit set. Orange/red to red & red/orange.  Vigorous plant. 36" 
within-row spacing recommended.
Sweet 100 
Fruit on a cluster. Good fruit set.  Reddish orange to red.  OK for 36” within-row spacing. Mature fruit did 
not stay attached well and fell easily.


Western Seed 
Fruit on a cluster (slightly large for cherry). OK fruit set.  Orangish red to reddish orange. Vigorous  plant. 
36” within-row spacing recommended.  Moderate radial cracking around fruit.   When ripe, fruit detaches 
easily; might break off too easily from cluster when picked. 
Western Seed 
Round, slightly squatted fruit.  5-6 fruit/cluster.  24-30” within-row spacing should be enough, 36” may not 
be needed 
Western Seed
Plum, orange
Light orange;  some darker fruit is reddish orange.  Good fruit set; medium yield.  Solid, not pithy or 
hollow.  Determinant plant;  24” within-row spacing recommended.
z Transplanted December 2, 1998, 98 days to evaluation of mature fruit. Nectar, Campari, and Triton were not planted at Alderman Farms; they all had round fruit. 
Y Deter = determinate. Indet = indeterminate

Table 2.  Whitworth Farms, Boynton Beach, and Thomas Produce, Fort Pierce, FL,  Winter/Spring 1999 z
Cluster y
(gms) x
fruit wt. 
(gms) w
Fruit lgth 
x width 
Ratio xwv



inches u
Mini - Charm 
0.90 x 
 1.38 x 1.04 
0.92 x 0.95 
1.18 x 1.28 
1.68 x 1.23 
2.10 x 2.45 
2.55 x 2.12 
z  Whitworth Farms transplanted January 15, 1999, and evaluated April 26, 1999 (101 days after transplanting).  Thomas Produce transplanted February 3 and evaluated May 4, 1999, (90 days after transplanting). 
Whitworth Farms, fruit from 4 to 9 clusters per variety.  Thomas Produce, fruit from 10 to 14 clusters per 
Weight of all fruit along with the stems holding the clusters. 
w Only fruit weight;  stems not included. 
Measurements taken from Alderman Farms demonstration, March 10, 1999.  Ten fruit per variety.  Nectar, Campari, and Triton were not planted at Alderman Farms. 
Top of bed to top fruit.

Table 3.  Results of a taste test conducted for four grape/cherry varieties, May 5, 1999.z
Variety  Seed Source  Type Preference y Sweetness x Blandness x Acidic
Mini Charm  Seedway grape 3.00 (10) 3.00 (10)  2.50 (2) 2.33 (3) 
Santa  Seedway grape 2.87 2.44 (9)  2.33 (3) 2.67 (3) 
Sweet 100 Seedway  cherry 2.53  2.43 (7) 2.40 (5) 2.25 (4) 
Nectar   Enza cherry 2.53 2.83 (6) 2.00 (6)  2.33 (3)
z Participants were given two tomatoes of each variety to taste.  Red ripe fruit which had been picked on May 4 was washed and stored at room temperature. 
y Participants were asked to rank varieties in order of preference.  Rating scale:  4 = most preferred to 1 = least preferred. 
( ) = total number of responses. 
x Participants were asked to rank varieties.  Rating scale:  4 = sweetest, blandest, or most acidic, respectively.  ( ) = total number of responses for each variety.
Vegetarian Newsletter, October 1999
Ken Shuler, Extension Agent IV,
Palm Beach County
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Organic Farming Listserve
The Organic Farming Listserve is a way for Florida organic farmers and others interested in organic farming to communicate with each other, share information and send/receive announcements of general interest.  Essentially it is an email list in which all messages to the listserve address are sent to everyone who has indicated they wish to be added to the list. Anyone can add/delete themselves to the list and any member of the list can post messages to the list for everyone else to read.

Hopefully, this listserve can improve statewide communication about organic farming questions, problems and resources.  Give it a try!

How do I subscribe?

To subscribe to the listserve, you must have an email account and access to electronic mail.

1)  Log in to your email account and invoke mail.
2)  To subscribe to the Organic Farming Listserve mailing list, send an email message to:
3)  Type the following message as the message text: sub organic
4)  Send the mail message.
5)  You will receive an email confirmation of your subscription to the list like this: The address: jjfn@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU has been added to the organic mailing list by Jim Ferguson
6)  To send a message to the listserve, the address is
7)  To remove your email address name from the organic listserve, send the following command: “unsub organic" to

Florida Organic Certifying Agencies

The Florida Department of Agriculture licenses agencies ($500.00/year) to act as Organic Certifying Agents after review by the Organic Food Advisory Council.  This list is maintained by the Bureau of Compliance Monitoring (Contact Van Madden; (850)487-3863; As of 11/8/99, only two agencies were licensed, down from six in previous years.

The first step in becoming a certified organic grower is to contact one of the below listed agencies for information about certifying fees and certification standards, which usually are sold as a manual.  While there may be some difference among the standards of different organic certifying agencies, these standards are generally the same.  National Organic standards have been under discussion since the passage of the Organic Farming and Food Bill in 1990, but no definite date has been set for the completion of this process.

If you're certified by one of the below agencies, you will probably also maintain certification when the national standards are   approved.

Florida Organic and Consumers, Inc.
POB 12311
Gainesville, Fl 32604
(FOG) has already certified approximately 115 growers in Florida and several in Mexico and Costa Rico.

Organic Crop Improvement Association
1405 South Detroit Street
Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311
(513) 592-4983
As of 11/8/99, OCIA had no listing of growers it had certified in Florida.

Jim Ferguson UF/IFAS
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in Fruits and Vegetables
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals found predominantly in foods of plant origin.  According to information provided by Cyndi Thomson, a nutritionist with the Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson and others, evidence has shown that those who consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables -and thus phytochemicals -have a lower incidence of certain types of cancer and/or coronary
artery disease.

This is a list of some of the key phytochemicals found in produce under study, their food sources and their potential roles in health. -The Packer

Found in: green and yellow fruits and vegetables.  Possible benefits: reduced risk of cataracts, coronary artery disease, and lung and breast cancers;  enhances immunity for the elderly.

Found in: chili peppers.  Possible benefits: reduced risk for colon, gastric and rectal cancers; inhibits tumor growth

Found in: green and black tea, berries. Possible benefits: antioxidant; increased immune function; decreased cholesterol production

Found in: artichokes.  Possible benefits: Lowers cholesterol levels

Ellagic acid
Found in: wine, grapes, currants, pecans, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, seeds.  Possible benefits: reduces cancer risk; inhibits carcinogen binding to DNA; reduces LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Found in: cabbage, broccoli Brussels sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, watercress, turnip, kohlrabi, kale, rutabaga, horseradish, mustard greens.  Possible benefits: reduced risk of hormone-related cancers; may "inactivate" estrogen; inhibits growth of transformed cells

Found in: cabbage, cauliflower.  Possible benefits: reduced risk of tobacco-induced tumors

Found in: high-fiber foods (especially seeds).  Possible benefits: reduced risk of colon cancer; reduced blood glucose and cholesterol.

Lycopene carotenoid
Found in: tomatoes and tomato products, grapefruit, guava, apricots, watermelons.  Possible benefits: antioxidant; reduces risk of prostate cancer; may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

Monterpene limonene
Found in: citrus peel and membrane, mint, caraway, thyme, coriander Possible benefits: antioxidant; reduced risk of skin and breast cancer; reduced cholesterol production; reduced premenstrual symptoms

Phenolic acid
Found in: cruciferous vegetables, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, celery, parsley, soy, licorice root, flaxseed, citrus, whole grains, berries.  Possible benefits: fights cancer through of nitrosamine formation

Found in: parsley, carrots, celery.  Possible benefits: Possible benefits:  fights tobacco induced tumors.

Organosulfur compounds
Found in: garlic, onions, leeks, watercress, cruciferous vegetables.  Possible benefits: reduced risk of gastric, colon and lung cancers, inhibited tumor promotion; reduced cholesterol; lower blood pressure.

Found in: pear and apple skins, peppers, kohlrabi, tomato leaves, onions, wine, grape juice.  Possible benefits: antioxidant, decreased platelet aggregation.

Found in: broccoli sprouts, broccoli, radish, horseradish, mustard greens.  Possible benefits: Inhibit tobacco-related carcinogens from binding DNA

Organic Production & Marketing Newsletter
UF/IFAS  11/99
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Health and the Environment 
Do you know what to do with pesticides, fertilizers, and other farm chemicals when a natural disaster strikes?

The disastrous impacts of hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding can cause both dollar loss and environmental pollution with respect to agricultural chemicals.  Fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, fuels, etc. can be physically lost, contaminated themselves, or pollute the surrounding environment and areas downstream.

With these tips from Clemson University you can be prepared.

1 Be aware of weather predictions.

2 Be prepared.  Do not wait until a disaster is imminent.

3 Maintain a current inventory of your pesticides and other chemicals.  An inventory will be useful for insurance claims and chemical clean ups.  Include the product name, the active ingredient, and the container size.  Receipts from your chemical purchases will provide some or all of the information.  In the event of a large storm system, e-mail, FAX, or mail a copy of the inventory to a friend or associate outside of the affected area.

4 Review your insurance.  Does it cover your chemical inventory or the damage your chemicals could cause?  Find out now.  Your insurance agent will be very busy during and after an emergency.

5 If severe weather is threatening, delay chemical applications and purchase/delivery of additional chemicals.

6 Secure all chemicals, including fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, fuels, etc.  Close and secure container lids and move containers and application equipment to the most secure location.  Do not store pesticides or fuels with food/feed or animals.  Place containers that could be damaged by water into secure steel or plastic drums.  Raise chemicals from the floor.  Protect product labels/labeling, if possible.  Lock doors, windows and other points of access to chemical storage areas.  Board up windows when
necessary.  Do not leave chemicals in vehicles or in application equipment.

7 Review the Material Safety Data Sheets for your chemicals.  Store MSDS in a secure location.  Provide a copy of your MSDS and chemical inventory to local emergency service providers.

8 Secure your personal protective equipment.  You may need it after the storm to clean up pesticides or other chemicals.

9 Store pesticides in sturdy, secure buildings.  You may need to take additional precautions (e.g., tying down storage sheds or tanks) before an impending storm.

10 All chemical storage areas should be clearly marked.

11 Make a list of emergency phone numbers.  You can find pesticide emergency numbers in the Georgia Pest Control Handbook.

12 Consult your chemical dealer and insurance agent for additional suggestions.

13 Make a written plan of steps to be taken before and during a weather emergency.

14 We hope that you will never need this publication, but Florida has a bulletin to help you mop up after a storm.  “Storm-Damaged Agrochemical Facilities” is available at

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter
October 1999
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If you think that biotechnology is evil, you should read this article
Vitamin A deficiency affects about 400 million people, worldwide, leaving them at risk of infections and blindness.

Additionally, iron deficiency, common in people with rice-based diets, afflicts more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

Women consuming such diets are particularly at risk from anemia and complications during childbirth.  If you had a magic wish, would you help these people?

At the 16th International Botanical Congress in St. Louis, scientists presented a high tech, golden-colored rice, which had been genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, and a healthy dose of Iron.

This rice should be available in the fields of developing countries within 5 years if it is not entangled in regulatory red tape.  Keep in mind that some countries have completely stopped the flow of genetically modified foods.  This type of shortsighted hysteria could delay improved nutrition for the billions of people for whom rice is a staple.

Any new technology has risks, and biotechnology is no different.  Keep in mind, however, that biotechnology is an extremely broad field.  We must not label the entire field ‘evil’ and close our eyes to the tremendous relief that biotechnology can bring to some human suffering.

American Council on Science and Health,

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter
October 1999
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Ask yourself one simple question...
Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at it again!  This time the EPA is re-reviewing all pesticides under new, more stringent standards!  EPA is beginning its review with the organophosphate insecticides, which includes chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Lorsban insecticide.

Don't let EPA limit important pest control options!

Do I need Lorsban insecticide?

Believe it or not, taking a few minutes to answer this one simple question can make all the difference in the world.  That's all there is to it!
 How would you answer this question?  For example, do you find that:

Lorsban insecticide provides effective, economical control of important pests?  If so, let EPA know that their decision could cost you and your customers money!

Lorsban insecticide is a critical part of your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or resistance management strategy recommendations?  If so, tell EPA how Lorsban insecticide fits into your customer's operation.

Other products are not as effective in controlling important pests?  If so, relate your experience to EPA!

Write a brief message in your own words. Your message to EPA can be brief and it's best if you write it in your own words.  For more help see "Tips for Sending a Message to EPA" below, or contact your Dow AgroSciences sales representative.

Submitting your message to EPA is easy!

To respond by e-mail:

You can send your message directly to EPA or through the website.
Sending e-mail directly to EPA:
1.  Compose your message to EPA (see guidance below).
2.  Send EPA e-mail at
3.  In the subject line of your message, type "chlorpyrifos POP-34203”, this will ensure your comments won't get lost at EPA!
4.  Your comments must be submitted to EPA by December 27,1999.  Time is short!  Send your message today!

Sending e-mail through
1.  Go to
2.  Click on Compose E-mail.
3.  Compose your message to EPA (see guidance below).
4.  Click on the "Send" button to submit your message.
5.  When you send your message through, "chlorpyrifos POP-34203', will automatically appear in the subject line.  This is the "docket number" that ensures your comments won't get lost at EPA!
6.  Your, comments must be submitted to EPA by December 27,1999.  Time is short!  Send your message today!

To respond by U.S. mail:

If you prefer, you can respond by U.S. mail.  You can use the guidance above to compose your letter.  Be sure to include the docket control number OPP-34203 on your letter.  Comments must be submitted by December 27, 1999.  Mail your written comments to:
Public Information and Records Integrity Branch
Information Resources and Services Division (7502C)
Office of Pesticide Programs
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street SW
Washington, DC 20460

Tips on Sending a Message to EPA:

1.  Tell EPA what you do (i.e., grower, dealer, applicator etc...)
2.  Tell EPA why you recommend Lorsban insecticide.
3.  Tell EPA that you support the continued availability of Lorsban insecticide to meet your customers' needs.
4.  When stating your position avoid using inflammatory language or a harsh tone.
5.  Your message to EPA should be in your own words.

Sim NiFong
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From the Courtroom 
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking $90,000 from Sunrider International of Torrance, California, for selling an unregistered pesticide, SunSmile Fruit and Vegetable Rinse, and making unproven claims about its effectiveness.  The company had claimed the product rinses away bacteria, fungus, and parasites.

If any company claims their product will control any pest (including bacteria and parasites), the product is a pesticide and must be registered with EPA.  The Food & Drug Administration regulates products that kill bacteria/parasites on people or animals.  The EPA will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions.  The agency also makes sure that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the
products safely.  The EPA registration number before you buy any product that claims to control pests.

(EPA Press Release, 9-30-99)
The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter
October 1999
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 NOTE:  The initial minimum regulations deemed necessary by the Florida Tomato Committee, are the same regulations that were in effect at the end of the 1998-99 season except:

Paragraph (d) EXEMPTIONS has been amended by adding another sentence at the end of (1) For Types as follows:

(1)  For Types.  Producer field-packed tomatoes must meet all of the requirements of this section except:

The container net weight requirements specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(i);

the requirement that each container or lid shall be marked to indicate the designated net weight specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(ii);

the requirement that all containers must be packed at registered handler facilities as specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(ii);

the requirement that such tomatoes designated as size 6x6 must meet the maximum diameter requirement specified in Paragraph (a)(2)(i) and

the labeling requirement specified in Paragraph (a)(2)(iii):  Provided, that “6x6 and larger” is used to indicate the listed size designation on containers.

If you have any questions, please call Reggie Brown or Skip Jonas at the Florida Tomato Committee office (407) 894-3071.

Florida Tomato Committee,
Orlando Florida
October 8, 1999
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Chemically Speaking

Federal Register
October 21, 1999
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The past two winters have given us ample opportunity to test the theory of whether or not there is a benefit to mowing freeze damaged pepper.  In the winter of '96 Southwest Florida experienced three successive freezes (four in some areas) over the course of about 30 days whereas '97 featured only one freeze.

Regardless of the year, temperatures dipped below 280 F (240 F in one case) and stayed there for five to eight hours!  As cold as it was, pepper crops more likely than not survived, often supporting one half to two thirds of the foliage that existed prior to the freeze. History tells us that these plants will continue to grow and produce new fruits.  But can we "help" Mother Nature by perhaps mowing away the old tissue to make room for the new?

Studies conducted by the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, on late fall planted bell pepper crops that underwent a freeze(s) in either'96 or '97 may shed new light on the effects of mowing.  Obviously the stage of crop growth when a freeze event and mowing occurs can effect the experimental results.  These crops were sufficiently close in maturity to make the results comparable as the crown fruit had been picked in the '96 crop and the '97 crop had not yet been picked when the freezes occurred.

The compact growth of winter pepper generally results in plants that are less than 20 inches in height.   To determine how much foliage (debris) removal was "too much" we imposed several mowing treatments from none to severe.   In 1996, freeze damaged 'Enterprise' bell pepper stands were mowed with an electric hedge trimmer to leave 3 and 6 inches of plant or left unmowed.  In '97, with 'Memphis', a 9-inch plant height was also included.  These mowing  removed all dead or damaged tissue caused by the freeze.

Local growers may mow less severely, removing only the top 3 to 6 inches of top growth, leaving 14 to 17 inch plants.

The major impact of mowing occurred at first harvest and in both '96  and '97 the results were the same, with one small difference.  Pepper that had  been left unmowed yielded no more fruit than the lightly mowed treatments, but had more culls, mostly buttons.  In '96 the higher cull production of the unmowed treatment lead to a greater marketable yield by plants that had been mowed to leave 6 inches of foliage.

Moderate mowing (6 inches in '97 and 9 inches in '97) resulted in similar yields to the unmowed treatment.  Severe mowing (3-inch height) however, consistently yielded fewer total and marketable fruit than the other mowing treatments.

Unmowed or slightly mowed pepper probably had more pre-formed flower sites, which resulted in more fruit at first harvest (and some cases other harvests as well) than the severely mowed plants.  Conversely, those same flowering sites may have lead to the increase in culls exhibited in the unmowed pepper.  It should be noted that In '96 the mowing experiment was established after the last freeze so the plants were subjected to several weeks of additional freezes.  All that additional cold weather may have
affected newly forming fruit (i.e., more buttons).

In '97 only a handful of days following the mowing treatments had  temperatures that dipped below 500 F and no additional freezes occurred.  Therefore one might expect varying results from mowing according to the number and type (duration, severity, etc.) of freeze experienced.

These studies may however support the practice of cosmetic mowing.   For those growers who just can't let Mother Nature, do her job, some mowing seems appropriate and may remove some potential buttons in the process.  So to answer the question ... to mow or not to mow maybe no, or just a little is the  way to go!

Dr. Charles Vavrina
SWFREC, Immokalee
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Ninth Annual Postharvest Institute 
Industry Tour
The ninth annual Postharvest Horticulture Institute & Industry Tour is designed for produce industry professionals, educators, researchers and students involved in such diverse areas as field and packinghouse management, wholesale and retail sales and import/export.

The Postharvest Institute will be held on Monday, 6 March, in the facilities of McCarty Hall on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville.  This year's topic is "Innovations in Fresh Produce Transportation" and will feature leading experts presenting the latest practical information for maintaining postharvest quality of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruit, vegetables and ornamental crops destined for domestic and export markets.  A reference notebook and industry reference materials will also be

The Postharvest Institute will also be held at three UF/IFAS research and education via live, video-conferencing.  The locations are: Tropical Research & Education Center (Homestead), Southwest Florida Research & Education Center (Immokalee) and Indian River Research & Education Center (Ft. Pierce).

The Postharvest Industry Tour. The tour will provide an opportunity to experience first-hand the latest technologies for the harvest, handling and shipping of subtropical and tropical fruits, warm and cool season vegetables and ornamental crops.  Dr. Steven Sargent, Extension Postharvest Specialist, will conduct the tour, with visits planned to the following areas: Dover/Plant City (strawberry), southwest coast (vegetable, citrus harvest, packing & cooling; protected vegetable production) and Tampa (port facilities, a regional produce distribution warehouse and a major supermarket produce department).

The tour will depart from Gainesville on Tuesday morning, 7 March, and return to Gainesville on Friday evening, 10 March.  Tour enrollment will be limited to 30 participants.

For more information, contact Ms. Abbie Fox, Institute Facilitator at 352-392-1928, ext. 235 or by e-mail at

Periodic updated information is available on the homepage of the Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida at:

This program is co-sponsored by the Horticultural Sciences Department and the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida; and by the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando.

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Pest Management Report
The USDA Economic Research Service’s report entitled Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture is now available.  This report presents results on the extent of adoption of individual pest management practices and techniques for field crops and select fruit and vegetable crops.  The report also summarizes the major issues and discussed unresolved questions related to the development of pest management strategies, including IPM, in U.S. commodity production.

The report’s findings include:

Scouting was the pest management practice used most extensively by producers.  Crop rotation was the top cultural practice used to manage pests.

Weeds are the biggest pest problem in most field crops and, consequently, more herbicide is used than insecticides or fungicides.

Cotton and potato producers use IPM practices more than do other field producers.

Future progress in IPM adoption will depend on weed management efforts for corn and soybeans, given the large acreage in these crops.

Among producers of fruits and vegetables, scouting for pests was as high as 98% of the planted acreage for strawberries, with an overall average of about 80%.

Pheromones for both management and monitoring were more often used on fruit and vegetable acreages compared with field crops.

Pest-resistant varieties were used at relatively high rates for tomatoes (37%), strawberries (37%), and peaches (44%).

A common pest management practice among producers of fruits and vegetables was alternating pesticides to reduce pest resistance.

Full text of this publication is available on the USDA ERS website, or  hard copies are available by calling (202) 694-5050

Chemically Speaking
November 1999
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On The Lighter Side

Group Therapy

Clergymen spend a lot of time consoling and consoling others, but have little outlet for their own problems.  Thus, the heads of the various churches in a small town decided to to get together for a sort of group therapy session.  They met in a park outside of town and began to talk.

The first minister said, "My allowance is rather meager, and I have to admit that sometimes I will skim a little money from the collection plate for myself."  The others agreed that a man has to live comfortably and that this sounds fine, as long as he doesn't get extravagant.

The second minister said, "I am in charge of the wine cellar for communion, and sometimes after a hard day, I'll go down and have a few glasses of wine."  The others don't see any harm in this, as long as he doesn't get stinking drunk.

The next to speak said, "Sometimes I fantasize about the young women in the congregation."  This is similarly accepted and counseled.

Finally they turn to the last minister, who hasn't said anything.  "What do you wish to talk about?"  The minister just shakes his head and says "No, no, it's all right.  I'm ok."  The others work on him, saying that everyone has problems, it's ok to talk about them, they're all peers here, etc.

Finally the minister flushes strongly, looks at the ground, and says, "Well, you see, ... I'm a terrible gossip, and I can't wait to get back to town!".

Help Wanted

A  young  passenger,  having  to  bail  out  of  a troubled aircraft, nervously  strapped a  parachute to  his back  and jumped  out of the plane.  On the way  down, he  struggled to  open the  parachute to no avail.

Suddenly he passed a man  in hiking  apparel going  UP, so he quickly shouted to the man, "Do  you know  how to  open a parachute?"

The man shouted  back, "Nope  -- do  you know  how to  light a butane stove?"

Quotable Quotes

“Whoever can make two ears of corn or two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, will better
serve mankind and his country than the whole race of politicians put together”

- Jonathan Swift

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