The Vegetarian Newsletter

A Horticultural Sciences Department Extension Publication on
Vegetable and Fruit Crops

Eat your Veggies and Fruits!!!!!

Issue No. 561 September 2010

Featured Articles


Announcements & News

The electronic version of the 2010-2011 Vegetable Production Handbook for Florida is available online!  Click here to see it now.

The 2009 Tomato Institute Proceedings are now available on-line. Click here to view them now.

EPA's 2009 Methyl bromide Allocation Rule is available, click here to view.

Monthly Climate Summaries are now available at - click on the state you want to view: Florida, Georgia or North Carolina.

Visit our archives. All of our archived issues from 1950-1999. These archived issues are full of interesting bits of knowledge. Click here to check out the topic of your interest now.

New EDIS Horticulture Publications

Our latest publications are now available on EDIS: 

HS1175 Managing Yellow and Purple Nutsedge in Florida Strawberry Fields" is avialbe at: -
This 3-page illustrated fact sheet by Andrew W. MacRae, gives management guidelines for these perennial weeds that are well adapted for growth in plasticulture production systems.

" Florida Pusley Biology and Control in Fruiting Vegetables, Cucurbits, and Small Fruits" is available at: - This 3-page illustrated fact sheet by Andrew W. MacRae, describes this drought-resistant annual with hairy leaves and stems that is common in row middles, strawberry production fields, and organic mulch for highbush blueberries — classification, seedling identification, mature plant, management considerations, and classical control.

"Microgreens: A New Specialty Crop" is available at: - This 3-page illustrated fact sheet by Danielle D. Treadwell, Robert Hochmuth, Linda Landrum, and Wanda Laughlin, provides an overview of this new type of market crop and its production. Includes references.

"Homeowner Detection of and Recommendations for Mitigating Redbay Ambrosia Beetle-Laurel Wilt Disease on Redbay and Avocado Trees in the Home Landscape" is available at: This 4-page illustrated fact sheet by Jonathan H. Crane and Jason A. Smith, provides homeowners with an update on redbay ambrosia beetle-laurel wilt disease in Florida, how the beetle and pathogen are spread, symptoms of infestations, and recommendations for homeowners. Includes references.

"American Black Nightshade Biology and Control in Fruiting Vegetables, Cucurbits, and Small Fruits" is available at:
- This 3-page illustrated fact sheet by Andrew W. MacRae, describes this weed common in fruting vegetable fields, cucurbit, and strawberry production — classification, seedling identification, mature plant, management considerations, and chemical control.

"Goosegrass Biology and Control in Fruiting Vegetables, Cucurbits, and Small Fruits" is available at: - This 2-page illustrated fact sheet by Andrew W. MacRae, describes this large grass common in mulched row crops and blueberry production fields — classification, seedling identification, mature plant, management considerations, and chemical control. Includes references.

"Homeowner Considerations Prior to Selecting a Weed Control Product" is available at: - This 3-page fact sheet by Andrew W. MacRae and Marina D'Abreau, coaches homeowners to consider weed type and location in the landscape in selecting a herbicide as part of an effective weed management program.

"Protected Culture for Vegetable and Small Fruit Crops: High Tunnels for Strawberry Production in Florida" is available at: - This 4-page illustrated fact sheet by Bielinski M. Santos, Teresa P. Salamé-Donoso, Craig K. Chandler, and Steven A. Sargent, presents the results of research comparing the effects of high-tunnel and open-field production on the growth, fruit earliness, and yield of strawberry cultivars in Florida.

"Hydroponic Vegetable Production in Florida" is available at: - Revised! This 8-page fact sheet by Dr. Richard Tyson, Robert Hochmuth and Dr. Daniel J. Cantliffe, is a guide to hydroponic vegetable production in Florida. Includes history, marketing considerations, growing systems, seasonal limitations, and economic considerations.

Other sources of horticultural information.
Direct link to the BMP Manual for Vegetables & Agronomic Crops in Florida

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Sweet Onion Variety Trial, NFREC - Quincy Spring 2010

By: Stephen M. Olson, Professor of Horticultural Sciences, North Florida Research and Education Center


Now is the time to start thinking about planting sweet (short-day) onions.  Although sweet onions are a relatively minor crop in Florida, their value on a per acre basis can be quite high.  Production exists as both green tops (immature) and as dry bulbs (mature).  Limited production exists throughout the state.  The biggest deterrent for increased production is from competition from established markets in south Texas and middle Georgia (Vidalia) areas.  However, the potential exists for expanding production, especially in the areas of local sales and direct marketing. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the performance of sweet onion entries under northwest Florida conditions.

The transplants for this trial were produced from field beds at the NFREC, Quincy.  Twenty one entries were seeded on 6 Oct 2009.   Seed were planted at rate of about 30 seed per ft into rows spaced 12 inches apart.  Preplant fertilization of seedbeds was 40-40-40 lbs/A of N-P2O5-K2O.  Dacthal W 75 was applied over the top at 10 lb/acre after seeding.  Seedbeds were top dressed once with 34 lbs N/A.  Entries were transplanted into the production field on 14 Jan 2010. The quality of plants when pulled and transplanted was poor.  Soil type was an Orangeburg loamy fine sand.  Total fertilization was 190-100-160 lbs/A of N-P2O5-K2O.  Production scheme was 3 rows spaced 15 inches apart under a 6 ft tractor and in-row spacing was 4 inches (65,340 plants/acre).  Goal 2XL at 2 pts/acre was applied on soil surface before transplanting.  Registered pesticides were applied as needed to control pests.

Entries were harvested as they matured. Maturity is defined as 50% or more of the tops of an entry had fallen down naturally.  Bulbs were lifted, allowed to dry for a few hours and tops and roots removed.  Bulbs were then placed in bushel baskets and dried for 72 hours at 100o F in large drying rooms.  After drying time was complete, onions were removed, allowed to cool down and graded.  Grading consisted of discarding culls (small onions, splits, off color and decayed bulbs) and sizing into medium (1.5-2 inches), large (2-3 inches) and jumbo (>3 inches) categories.  Bulbs were then weighed and counted.

Harvest occurred from the period of 22 April to 18 May.  Total yields ranged from 1,111 50 lb bags/acre for ‘HA-10229’ to 214 50 lb bags/acre for ‘Sweet Jasper’ (Table 1).  Yields were poor to excellent in 2010 and weather was severe.  We had one of the coldest winters on record and had 10 straight days where morning temperatures were below 32o F.  ‘HA-10229’ produced the largest bulb at 16.0 oz and ‘Honeybee’ produced the smallest at 5.7 oz.  Percent marketable bulbs ranged from a low of 35.2 % for ‘Sweet Caroline’ to a high of 99.8 % for ‘WI-3115’.  Days to harvest from transplanting ranged from 97 days for ‘Frontier’, ‘Sweet Deal’ and ‘Honeybee’ to 123 days for ‘Ringo', ‘Carmelo’ and ‘Sweet Jasper’.

Table 1. Onion Variety Trial Spring 2010. NFREC, Quincy.



Yield (50 lb bags/acre)


Bulb wt.


Days to












17 hi

1091 a

1111 a

89.1 ab

16.0 a

1.5 e-g




103 de

654 b

766 b

99.4 ab

9.2 f-h

2.8 d-f




122 d

603 bc

736 bc

99.8 a

9.0 f-i

2.5 d-g


Sugar Belle


30 g-i

658 b

695 b-d

83.2 a-c

11.0 c-e

1.9 d-g




68 e-g

605 bc

682 b-e

87.3 ab

10.7 c-f

6.4 b




138 cd

497 b-d

652 b-f

98.7 ab

7.6 h-k

5.6 bc




78 ef

551 b-d

642 b-f

81.0 b-d

9.8 e-g

3.7 c-e




120 d

493 b-d

630 b-f

98.6 ab

8.5 g-j

9.3 a


Don Victor


47 f-i

575 bc

628 b-f

70.1 c-e

12.2 bc

0.6 fg


SSC 1535


78 ef

506 b-d

593 b-f

98.5 ab

7.4 i-k

3.9 c-e


Sweet Deal


190 b

348 de

559 c-f

99.5 ab

6.9 j-L

0.4 fg


SSC 2893


172 bc

336 de

541 c-g

99.7 a

6.5 kl

0.1 g




13 i

496 b-d

512 d-g

56.6 e

11.8 b-d

2.3 d-g




11 i

481 b-d

494 d-g

61.2 e

12.8 b

3.7 c-e




58 f-h

408 c-e

481 e-g

64.6 de

10.2 d-g

4.1 cd




25 hi

449 b-d

478 e-g

58.5 e

10.6 c-f

1.9 d-g




228 a

202 e

461 fg

99.2 ab

5.7 l

0.4 fg


Sweet Harvest


46 f-i

400 c-e

452 fg

58.4 e

10.3 d-f

2.5 d-g


Sweet Caroline


5 i

337 de

343 gh

35.2 f

13.1 b

2.1 d-g




34 g-i

202 e

247 h

39.5 f

9.3 e-h

0.6 fg


Sweet Jasper


8 i

202 e

214 h

33.9 f

10.5 c-f

0.6 fg


Large = 2-3 in. diameter; Jumbo = > 3 in. diameter bulbs; Total = Large & Jumbo.
Mean separation by Duncan’s Multiple Range Test, 5 % level of significance.

Horticultural Sciences Department, 1117 Fifield Hall, PO Box 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690
Phone Number: 352-392-1928 - Fax Number: 352-392-5653