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Chapter 1. Commercial Vegetable Production in Florida

Peter J. Dittmar, Nicholas Dufault, and Shinsuke Agehara

Vegetable production remains a tremendous industry for Florida in terms of acreage and value. Including vegetables, melons, potatoes, and strawberries, 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 peninsular geography, allowing Florida to serve as the main vegetable supplier during late fall, winter, and early spring months to the United States. 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).

Table 1. Vegetable production acreage and value in Florida.

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 subject 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 https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Below is a partial list of EDIS publications pertaining to vegetable production for further information beyond the Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida.

Vegetable Crop Production

Complete Vegetable Production Handbookhttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV292

Commercial Transplant Production in Floridahttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV104

Introduction to Organic Crop Productionhttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV118

Value Added Agriculture: Is It Right for Me?https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FE638

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

Row Covers for Commercial Vegetable Culture in Floridahttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV201

Fertility and Irrigation

Commercial Vegetable Fertilization Principleshttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV009

Soil and Fertilizer Management for Vegetable Production in Floridahttps://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV101

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

Cover Crops for South Florida Commercial Vegetable Producers: https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-ss461-2006

Principles and Practices of Irrigation Management for Vegetables: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV107

Drip Irrigation: the BMP Era—an Integrated Approach to Water and Fertilizer Management for Vegetables Grown with Plasticulture: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/HS172

Postharvest Quality and Handling Resources

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

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

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

Marketing and Regulatory Resources

Florida Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS): https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Marketing-and-Development

US Grade Standards for Fruits and Vegetables: https://www.ams.usda.gov/standards

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

National Nutrient Database: https://www.ars.usda.gov

National Organic Program: https://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/publication/FS135

The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS231

UF/IFAS Food Safety: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_food_safety/

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

FDA: US Food and Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/default.htm

Fumigation

Maximizing the Efficacy of Soil Fumigant Applications for Raised-Bed Plasticulture Systems of Florida: https://journals.flvc.org/edis/article/view/118553

Pesticide Safety

Pesticide Provisions of the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA): https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/PI078

Pesticide Safety: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/CV108

Pesticide Labels: Signal Words: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/PI137

Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN1027

Pest Management

Integrated Disease Management for Vegetable Crops in Florida: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/PP111

Florida Nematode Management Guide: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/entity/topic/nematode_management

Weed Managementhttps://doi.org/10.32473/edis-cv113-2006

Vegetable Pest Insects: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_vegetable_pest_insects

Publication #HS710

Date:August 22nd, 2023

Related Experts

Vallad, Gary E.

Specialist/SSA/RSA

University of Florida

Agehara, Shinsuke

Specialist/SSA/RSA

University of Florida

Dittmar, Peter J.

Specialist/SSA/RSA

University of Florida

Freeman, Joshua H.

external

University of Florida

Dufault, Nicholas S.

Specialist/SSA/RSA

University of Florida

Related Collections

Fact Sheet
Commercial

Contacts

  • Peter Dittmar