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Chapter 1. Commercial Vegetable Production in Florida

Peter J. Dittmar, Nicholas S. 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 Ask IFAS, the Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) found at Below is a partial list of EDIS articles pertaining to vegetable production for further information beyond the Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida.

Vegetable Crop Production

Complete Vegetable Production Handbook

Transplant Production

Introduction to Organic Crop Production

Value Added Agriculture: Is It Right for Me?

Farm to School:

Row Covers for Growth Enhancement

Fertility and Irrigation

Commercial Vegetable Fertilization Principles

Soil and Fertilizer Management for Vegetable Production in Florida

Controlled-Release and Slow-Release Fertilizers as Nutrient Management Tools:

Cover Crops:

Principles and Practices of Irrigation Management for Vegetables:

Drip Irrigation in the BMP Era:

Postharvest Quality and Handling Resources

UF/IFAS Postharvest Quality & Technology:

UF/IFAS EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source):

Postharvest Technology:

Marketing and Regulatory Resources

Florida Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS):

US Grade Standards for Fruits and Vegetables:

National Agricultural Statistics Service:

National Nutrient Database:

National Organic Program:

Food Safety Resources

Food Safety on the Farm: An Overview of Good Agricultural Practices:

The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program:

UF/IFAS Food Safety:

Good Agricultural Practices Training:

CDC: Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases:

FDA: US Food and Drug Administration:


Maximizing the Efficacy of Soil Fumigant Applications for Raised-Bed Plasticulture Systems in Florida:

Pesticide Safety

Pesticide Provisions of the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA):

Pesticide Safety:

Interpreting PPE Statements on Pesticide Labels:

Honeybees and Pesticides:

Pest Management

Vegetable IPM. Integrated Disease Management for Vegetable Crops:

Florida Nematode Management Guide:

Weed Management

Insects in Vegetables:

Publication #HS710

Date: 8/15/2022


Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is HS710, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Revised annually. Most recent revision May 2022. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Peter J. Dittmar, associate professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; Nicholas S. Dufault, associate professor, Plant Pathology Department; and Shinsuke Agehara, assistant professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Peter Dittmar