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Publication #HS710

Chapter 1. Commercial Vegetable Production in Florida1

Josh H. Freeman, Peter J. Dittmar, and Gary E. Vallad2

This is Chapter 1 of the Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida, 2017–2018 edition. The most current version of this chapter may be found at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/cv/cv10000.pdf.

Contents

Vegetable production remains a tremendous industry for Florida in terms of acreage and value. Including vegetables, melons, potatoes, and strawberry, production occurred on approximately 251,011 acres and generated more than $1.34 billion in gross sales in 2016, which ranks second among all the states. Growing seasons are well defined by the peninsula geography, allowing Florida to serve as the main vegetable supplier during late fall, winter, and early spring months to the U.S. Although more than 40 vegetable crops are commercially-planted in the state, Florida ranks in the top three on production value of tomato, bell pepper, snap bean, squash, sweet corn, watermelon, cabbage, cucumber, and strawberry (Table 1.1).

Table 1.1. 

Vegetable production acreage and value in Florida.

Crop

Planted acres

Value (million US$)

US Rank

Tomato

30,000

382.2

1

Strawberry

10,800

449.7

2

Bell Pepper

13,500

209.7

2

Sweet corn

37,600

160.0

2

Potato

29,300

117.0

11

Snap bean

28,200

105.6

1

Watermelon

22,500

123.3

1

Squash

6,000

30.0

2

Cabbage

8,500

49.4

3

Cucumber

11,000

66.0

1

Source: Vegetables-2015-2016 summary, NASS, USDA.

The objective of this publication is to provide updated information on crop cultivars, pesticide labels, and certain practices for vegetable production in Florida. Suggested practices are guidelines for growers to plan farm activities and are always subjected to review using the latest scientific data available.

Web Links to Additional Information on Vegetable Production Topics

UF/IFAS Extension provides information through the Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) found at edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Below is a partial list of EDIS pertaining to vegetable production for further information beyond the Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida. The boxes on the left are QR codes that can be scanned with a mobile device and a QR scanning app will direct you to the listed website.

Vegetable Crop Production

Complete Vegetable Production Handbook: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/cv/cv29200.pdf

Variety Selection: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv102

Seed Quality and Seeding Technology: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv103

Transplant Production: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv104

Introduction to Organic Crop Production: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv118

Value Added Agriculture: Is It Right for Me?: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe638

Farm to School: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_farm_to_school

Row Covers for Growth Enhancement: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv201

Fertility and Irrigation

Commercial Vegetable Fertilization Principles: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv009

Soil and Fertilizer Management for Vegetable Production in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv101

Controlled-Release and Slow-Release Fertilizers as Nutrient Management Tools: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS1255

Cover Crops: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa217

Principles and Practices of Irrigation Management for Vegetables: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv107

Drip Irrigation in the BMP Era: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs172

Postharvest Quality and Handling Resources

UF/IFAS Postharvest Quality & Technology: http://irrec.ifas.ufl.edu/postharvest/

UF/IFAS EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source): http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_Postharvest

Postharvest Technology: http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu

Marketing and Regulatory Resources

Florida Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS): http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Marketingand-Development

U.S. Grade Standards for Fruits and Vegetables: http://www.ams.usda.gov/standards

National Agricultural Statistics Service: http://www.nass.usda.gov/fl/

National Nutrient Database: http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm

National Organic Program: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm

Food Safety Resources

Food Safety on the Farm: An Overview of Good Agricultural Practices: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs135

The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs231

UF/IFAS Food Safety: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/hnfs/FoodSafety/

Good Agricultural Practices Training: http://www.gaps.cornell.edu/

CDC: Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases: http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/

FDA: U.S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/default.htm

http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/default.htm

Fumigation

Maximizing the Efficacy of Soil Fumigant Applications for Raised-Bed Plasticulture Systems in Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1169

Plastic Mulches: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv105

Pesticide Safety

Pesticide Provisions of the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA): http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi078

Pesticide Safety: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv108

Interpreting PPE Statements on Pesticide Labels: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi137

Honeybees and Pesticides: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1027

Pest Management

Vegetable IPM. Integrated Disease Management for Vegetable Crops: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp111

Florida Nematode Management Guide: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/features/handbooks/nematode.html

Weed Management: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv113

Insects in Vegetables: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_vegetable_pest_insects

Footnotes

1.

This document is HS710, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 1995. Revised July 2017. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Extracts upon Chapter 1, "Vegetable Production in Florida," of Vegetable and Small Fruit Production Handbook of Florida 2016–2017.

2.

Josh H. Freeman, associate professor, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center; Peter J. Dittmar, assistant professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; and Gary E. Vallad, associate professor, Plant Pathology Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.