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The Florida agriculturist. [volume] (DeLand, Fla.) 1878-1911, November 15, 1899, Image 1

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Vol. XXVI, No 44. Whole No. 1345.
Keeping- Irish Potatoes.
The potato crop is becoming one of
considerable importance in the South,
and becoming more so each year. It
is easy to learn to grow them almost
anywhere. The cultivation is simple
and inexpensive. They grow quickly
and yield well, even when poorly work
ed. But there is no crop that pays
better for good culture.
It has been thought that we could
not keep good seed in the South. And
that if kept, Southern-grown seed were
not as good as Northern and particu
larly Eastern seed. This is all a mis
take. Southern are not only as good,
but in some respects, better than any
other potato seed. This, we have
proven by many years’ trial.
But we are constantly met with the
inquiry, “How can we keep our Irish
The potato grows in the ground in
the dark. Its nature, therefore, re
quires two tilings: Keep cool and
keep in the dark. These two things
accomplished and you are safe. How
shall we do these?" If you have a cel
lar that is well ventilated you keep
them there. If you have no cellar, and
your house is elevated a few feet, you
can easily cut off a place so that it will
be dark and not too warm.
If this does not suit you, you can
build a small room, at any convenient
spot. Or you can keep them in hills
just as sweet potatoes are banked,
only you must not cover them so
The Irish potato is very hard to
freeze before the sap begins to fer
ment prepartory to sprouting. After
that fermentation begins, they will
freeze easily.
How .to Prevent This. —Now' light
and heat cause this fermentation.
Hence w'e must keep them in the dark
and keep them cool.
When you dig be careful not to
bruise them any more than you can
help. Then place them away and
about two weeks afterwmrd go over
them carefully and take out every one
that is beginning to decay.
In all warm weather see that they
are not kept too close.
If the weather should be very se
vere, like that of last February, shut
up close and cover with anything con
For convenience it is well to have
shelves or floors about two feet above
each other, and place the potatoes
about one foot deep on each floor.
The first or spring crop is one more
difficult to keep than the second or
fall crop. Hence it is w’ell to let
these remain in the ground until they
are thoroughly mature.
The very best seed are obtained from
tiie second crop. And as w'e can grow
this with more certainty than any
where else, so we can grow the very
best Irish potato seed.
Practical Lesson.—The lesson we
should get from these facts is this:
We should grow our own potato seed;
and further than this, we should be
sellers of Irish potatoes for planting,
instead of buyers. Each year we pay
out immense sums of money for Irish
potatoes to plant. We should stop
this leak. We should reverse this pro
cess and receive large sums of money
for our superior Southern-raised sec
ond crop seed.
We do not think of buying sweet po
tatoes for spring planting or bedding,
but they are much more difficult to
keep than Irish potatoes. This is one
of the erroneous practices of the past
that should be corrected at once. Let
every farmer and trucker save his
own seed potatoes.—Southern Cultiva
The Melon Worm.
Year in and year out, the loss occa
sioned by the melon borer in the
Southern States, is probably greater
than that caused by the pickle
worm. The larvae of these
two species are very much
alike in appearance, and their
work has, in many cases, doubtless
been confused. In Florida the two
species have been frequently observed
in the same field of canteloupes, and
this, doubtless, frequently occurs
throughout the range of the melon
worm. When the fruit of cucurbits is
attacked, there is but little if any dif
ference in the work of the two species,
but larvae of the first brood of melon
worms usually attack the foliage, par
ticularly of the canteloupe. The larvae
of the pickle worm, so far as I have ob
served, rarely, if ever, feed on cucurbit
leaves, but feed on the fruit, blossoms
and stems. It is important to note this
difference in the habits of these two
species, as it becomes quite practicable
to destroy the first brood of melon
worms by poisoning the foliage.
History and Distribution. —This in
sect was described by Linneus in his
System Naturae, published in 1707, and
was at that time placed in the genus
Plialaena. In later writings it has been
variously referred to the genera l’yra
lis, Pliakellura, Eudioptis, and more
recently to Margaronia. In its- distri
bution this species is more tropical
than the pickle worm. Complaint of
is ravages is mainly from the Gulf
States, although the insect has been re
ported from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan,
New York and Canada. Mr. Chitten
den states that the larva has never
DeLand, Fla., Wednesday, November 15, 1899.
been found in the District of Columbia,
and he is of the opinion that there is
some doubt of the permanency of the
species in that latitude. In the West
Indies, the insect has been reported
from Cuba and Jamaica.
Habits and Life History.—As previ
ously stated, the feeding habits of this
insect are very similar to those of the
pickle worm, except that the foliage is
frequently attacked. Larvae are prob
ably more common in canteloupes than
other cucurbits and it is not unusual to
find six or seven larvae in one fruit.
~An attempt was made to determine
the approximate time of appearance of
the insect in different parts of the
State. Answers received in reply to
query in the Atlanta Constitution, of
.July 10, indicate that this may vary
considerably, depending on the nature
of the season. Rainy or damp weather
smms to be more favorable to the in
sect than dry. In Southern Georgia,
the insect appears, in some seasons.,
by .Tune 15, while the present year, in
the vicinity of Athens, their appear
ance was noted July 17. It is prob
able, that in some cases, correspond
ents have confused the melon worm
with the pickle worm. No specimens
of the melon worm have been receiv
ed this year from the State, while the
pickle worm has been quite common.
At the Station, of all the adults bred
out from larvae collected in cucurbits,
none have proved to be the melon
There is but little data recorded as
to the life history of this insect, but
it is doubtless very similar to that of
its near relative. There is a succes
sion of broods from the time of their
appearance, until the cold weather of
the fall. The winter passed in the
pupa state, in hibernation, among the
dead cureubit leaves, and in the trash
in and around the field. One of the
fortunate peculiarities of this insect,
and the pickle worm, is, that they do
not appear until quite late in the sea
son, and seven months, at least, seem
to be passed in the pupa condition.
Larva. —A full-grown larva is some
what smaller than a pickle worm, be
ing but eight-tenths of an inch in
length. In color, it is pale greenish
yellow, with mouth parts black. The
transverse rows of tubercles have
about the same ’position as in nitidalis,
but from their paler color, they are
not so easily distinguished, and the
setae, or hairs, arising from them are
very fine, being almost invisible to the
naked eye.
Pupa. —This is brownish yellow in
color, but darker toward the caudal
end. In length, it will measure about
seven-twelfths of an inch. A loose co-
$2 per Annum, in Advance.
coon is formed, generally in the fold of
a leaf, or nearby trash.
Adult. —In this stage the insect is ex
ceedingly beautiful. The wings are of
a pearly irridescent whiteness, with a
border of brownish black. The ante
rior half of thorax above has the same
color as the wing border, while the ab
domen, above is white, tinged with
brownish towards the caudal end; be
low, body, feet and wings, except the
border, pearly white. The abdomen
terminates in a large movable brush of
shiny, elongated scales.
Preventive and Remedial Measures.
— r rhe first brood of larvae, since they
feed to a considerable extent on the
foliage, should be destroyed by poison
ing the leaves with some arsenite. Care
must be taken that it is not used too
strong. No injury should result if
Paris green is used at the' rate of one
pound ro two hundred gallons of wa
ter. me nnlk of lime, made from two
or three pounds of quicklime should
be added, thus destroying the burning
effect of the Paris green. Be on the
lookout for the larvae from the middle
of June, and treat them as soon as no
ticed. Rotation of crops is advisable,
and the dead vines and leaves should
be carefully raked up and burned, thus
destroying many hibernating pupae.
Crops marketed before June 15th will
doubtless be quite exempt from the
ravages of both the melon borer and
the pickle worm. —A. L. Quaintance,
Bulletin 45, Ga. Ex. Station.
Strawberries in Barrels.
G. \Y. Newman, of Terra Ceia Bay,
is trying a way to raise strawberries
which he found in the -
nstructor, published in Battle Creek,
“Take barrels —flour barrels will do
if you put iron hoops on them. The
barrels should have holes in the bot
tom that excess of moisture may pass
through, and the bottom covered with
gravel, this covered with sacking and
rich earth placed thereon. When eight
inches has been filled the first tier of
holes in the sides is reached, and after
the soil is well packed and mixed with
well rotted stable manure, until even
with the tops of the holes, which
should be two inches from each other
around the barrel. Let the soil slant
down from outside to the center of the
barrel, then place your plants with the
top and bud protruding out of the
hole, spreading the roots carefully, and
cover with fine soil as you go along.
Then fill in the barrel with soil and
fertilizers and pack till you reach the
next tier of holes. When the center
is two inches above the lower row of
plants place a tin, copper or tile tube
in the center, and pack the soil around

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