The evolution of production, harvesting, and marketing techniques for radishes from stephen's produce "Garden Fresh" vegetables at local green markets in Palm Beach county, Florida

K. D. Shuler, S. J. Nie, P-A. N. Shuler


Stephen's Produce began as a 0.03 acre market garden to supply the Jupiter Farms Green Market with a Saturday supply of "garden fresh" produce during the 1995-96 season. The garden has gradually been expanded to 0.14 acres for the 2000-2001 season and now serves a larger clientele at the Green Market in West Palm Beach. Radishes have been included in the crop mix each season. The sandy soil is amended annually with compost from the local Solid Waste Authority and with locally available horse manure and bedding. Open beds are made and irrigation has evolved from one moveable over head sprinkler to drip tubing. A granular insecticide (chlorpyrifos) and most of the fertilizer are applied preplant. Radishes are direct seeded to stand weekly. At harvest on Friday night, they are pulled individually, damaged leaves removed, remaining tops and roots washed and stored overnight in a cooler with ice. Planting for the 2000-2001 season began 14 Sept. for sales on 21 Oct. Days to harvest ranged from 34 to 47 days. Approximately 1,100 radishes were planted each week on 180 linear feet of row (approximately 2 inch within-row spacing, usually three rows per bed in beds spaced four ft apart, an area of 240 ft2). Weekly harvests averaged 814 marketable radishes which were bunched loose as they were sold, 5 to 14 radishes per bunch (based on root size). Radishes were sold for $1.00/ bunch for an average gross value of $105 per week ($1.75/linear ft of bed at three rows/bed or $19,058 /acre/crop). Labor for This research was supported by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta tion, and approved for publication as Journal Series No. 02198. radish planting, weeding, harvesting, and washing averaged 7.5 hours/week (gross value at $14.00/hour excluding sales time) and was provided by three family members. Constraints to expansion include lack of additional "free" labor and limited market demand for radishes if sales are confined to the weekly West Palm Beach Green Market.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283