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Vegetables Grown Under Protected Ag Structures

Fresh vegetables can be grown in a variety of protected agriculture structures, including greenhouse, high tunnels, shade houses, insect-screen covered structures, or even inside warehouses or shipping containers. The culture of vegetables under protected ag in Florida has rapidly increased in the past decade, increasing from less than 100 acres statewide in 2009 to nearly 500 acres in 2019. Culture includes in-ground, soilless media, and hydroponic solution techniques. Popular vegetable crops traditionally being grown under protected ag structures in Florida include tomato, lettuce, and other leafy greens, cucumber, and pepper. More recently, increased production has been seen with basil, arugula, and other herbs; baby spinach; strawberry; edible flowers; and microgreens. Some 250-300 operations are actively growing these specialty crops throughout the state. Most operations are producing on less than one-half acre and primarily selling their products retail directly to consumers, while others are much larger in scale with 5 to 125 acres under protected ag and those larger operations are primarily selling to wholesale outlets.

Key search words: greenhouse, high tunnel, vegetables, hydroponic, protected ag

Contact: Robert C. Hochmuth