Onion Seed Growing in California
Sunny California is not only noted for its gold, its scenic and natural wonders, but has become very prominent as a source of supply for large quantities of garden seeds.
Thousands of acres are devoted to seed growing. Beet, carrot, endive, lettuce, onion, parsley, parsnip, radish, salsify, celery and flower seeds are the principal varieties produced. …
Two years are required to make a crop of onion seed as the bulbs require a year to grow from seed and another year to produce the seed from the bulbs. …
It will be readily seen that there is no small amount of labor connected with the production of onion seed, as it requires practically all hand labor from the time the seed is planted to the production of the bulbs and the growing of the seed, which takes two years. During this time the crop is subjected to injury from floods, drought and disease. The ripening period during July is a very critical time as should a hot wind come at that time, when the crop is in flower, there is always a heavy loss. The flowers are very easily injured by heat. When this happens the seed is not perfect.
The disease most to be feared and which is prevalent more or less each year is Perinespora, known locally as “Blight” or “Mildew” and as yet there has never been a remedy found for it.
All-America Entries for 1940 Now Due
February 1 is closing date for making applications and sending in seed samples for 1940 All-America seed trials.
Anyone having a new variety or undisseminated species of annual, biennial or perennial flower or vegetable, naturally propagated by seed, is eligible to enter it in the competitive trials towards award and wide publicity. Only varieties should be entered which have not and will not be offered for sale until after the 1940 seed crop is harvested. Varieties must be sufficiently different from those now in commerce to be recognized as distinct, and superior to others of their kinds or colors, for the judges to vote for them towards awards.
Entering a variety in the All-America trials automatically registers its name, provided the name is acceptable for the seed industry and isn’t a duplicate. All reasonable assistance is gladly given to help successfully and profitably introduce winning varieties. The organization is a cooperative one entirely, seeking worthy varieties for the gardeners of America and anxious to recognize, publicize and otherwise help launch outstanding new varieties.
Seedsmen’s Responsibility in Using or Selling Chemicals
We have touched several times in our columns upon the responsibilities of seedsmen as far as seeds are concerned—recommending to their customers top quality seeds of kinds and varieties they feel will grow best under the conditions in which customers will plant them, advising customers as to the quantities they will need for the acreage they wish to plant, giving them information on recommended planting rates and practices, fertilizer applications, etc., for each particular variety of seed, and charging them a fair price for the seed. In this editorial we would like to touch upon the responsibilities of seedsmen in a different field—chemicals.
In his remarks on “Pesticides and People” in our last issue, Dr. E. P. Sylwester, extension botanist and plant pathologist at Iowa State University, pointed out how much pesticides have meant to American agriculture. If you read his remarks carefully, you probably also noticed that he pointed out several times that all chemicals have to be used carefully and according to directions. And it is upon the responsibility of those who use or sell agricultural chemicals to use them carefully themselves and to emphasize to those to whom they sell them the need for reading the labels and following the instructions that we wish to touch here.
Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides—any substances which will kill something whether it is insects, fungi or weeds—contain ingredients which are dangerous and can be harmful if they are not used in the right way. Chemical companies spend a tremendous amount of time and money in research, testing and re-testing in making up their formulations so that they contain only the necessary ingredients in the quantities necessary to perform the job for which they are intended, and then in testing and re-testing them to determine the rates of application required to do the necessary job so that they may recommend only the quantity absolutely needed. …
In speaking in this editorial about seedsmen’s responsibilities, we are not talking about legal responsibility. That is a field which we feel should be left to members of the legal profession. What we are referring to is moral responsibility, the responsibility we accept voluntarily as part of our code of ethics, our duty, our privilege, our desire to help promote the best interests of our customers, our industry and American agriculture as well as ourselves.
Big Capacity Cyclone Seeders
The Cyclone Model 100 seeder is a new push-type broadcast spreader/seeder designed to give the same spreading results as the Cyclone Model B. It is designed for spreading fertilizer, seed, granular herbicides and insecticides, ice melters, etc. The hopper has a capacity of 100 pounds of average material. It is made of galvanized steel and finished in black enamel. Stainless steel is used for the feed guides, rotary agitator and feed flow control cable. The wheelbarrow type handles give good operating balance. The Model 100 gives a spread width up to 10 feet wide depending on the material being spread.
The Cyclone Seeder Company also has placed on the market a new pull-type spreader with a drawbar mounting adaptable to all popular lawn and garden tractors similar to the Model 99 in its specifications.
Broccoli Demand Bears Research Fruits
Brassicas, or the mustard family of vegetables, comprise all those things most of us did not like to eat as children—cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale and mustard greens. We still may not eat a lot of these vegetables, but more people are now recognizing that what their mother said was true—they are good for us.
Brassicas are a good source of minerals, particularly calcium, potassium, phosphorous and iron, as well as vitamins A, B and C. These vegetables contain complex sulphur compounds which are responsible for their distinctive aroma. These compounds also have been linked recently with the prevention of certain cancers.
Health concerns have been largely responsible for the increased consumption of certain members of brassicas. The most notable example is broccoli. While grown in France and Italy as early as the sixteenth century, broccoli was virtually unknown in the U.S. until 1923 when a test shipment of Italian sprouting broccoli was sent to Boston from California. Since then, broccoli has risen to the number two fresh green vegetable in terms of dollar value ($265 million) to California growers, behind lettuce ($632 million). Dollar value to U.S. growers is $292 million for broccoli and $1 billion for lettuce.
As broccoli consumption continues its upward trend, seed producing companies are being asked to produce more seed. The competition between seed companies, as well as demands from growers, produce buyers and consumers, calls for seed companies to continually produce better varieties. Northrup King Company, Vegetable Seed Division, in Gilroy, California, was one of the first companies to produce and market hybrid broccoli seed on a large scale commercial basis—Green Duke in 1970. Today, it has a large breeding and seed production program in place. Varieties have been developed for both fresh market and processing industries, with improvements in uniformity, shape, color and productivity.
Four Firms to Build Southern Canola Market
Allelix Crop Technologies, Agratech Seed, Inc., Gold Kist, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland have joined forces to build a market in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina for canola. This is considered the first major introduction of canola on a commercial scale in the region.
The marketing thrust in the Southeast will offer farmers a canola variety called Delta, which was developed by Allelix Crop Technologies, Clarksville, Tenn. The variety has shown a seven bushel per acre yield advantage in trials at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Ga.
Seeds will be marketed by the Atlanta-based Agratech Seed, Inc., and will be sold through the Gold Kist, Inc. distribution network. The delivery point will be through Gold Kist elevators.
Agratech is a producer of hybrid seed corn, proprietary wheat and soybeans, and is a supplier of private variety peanut seed. Gold Kist, Agratech’s parent company, operates the largest distribution network in the region, and will be providing chemical and fertilizer recommendations to growers.
Archer Daniels Midland will crush the canola crop, grown in the region, at its Augusta, Ga., plant. ADM is considered the largest oil processing company in North America with annual turnover of $8 billion. It has canola processing plants in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
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