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Introduction—Florida Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook, Vol 1

G. J. Hochmuth


George Hochmuth, Horticultural Sciences, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center—Quincy, (850) 875-7116

Robert Hochmuth, Multi County Extension Agent, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center—Suwannee Valley, (386) 362-1725

Robert Dunn, Nematology, Retired

Freddie Johnson, Nematolgoy, Office of District Directors, (352) 392-1781

Pierce Jones, UF/IFAS Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department, (352) 392-8074

Tim Momol, Plant Pathology, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center—Quincy, (850) 875-7154

Jimmy Rich, Nematology, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center—Quincy, (850) 872-7130

Steven Sargent, UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department, (352) 392-2134

Gary Simone, Former Extension Specialist, UF/IFAS Plant Pathology Department, (352) 392-1980

Suzanne Stapleton, Multi County Extension Agent, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, (386) 362-1725

Mike Sweat, County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Extension Baker County, (904) 259-3520

Bill Thomas, County Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County, (386) 752-5384

Susan E. Webb, UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department, (362) 392-1901

David Zimet, Food and Resource Economics, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, (850) 875-7125


The production of greenhouse vegetables has increased in Florida during the 1980s and 1990s. Area in Florida counties under greenhouse vegetable production in 2001 is shown in Figure 1. A greater number of small operations exist in North Florida and fewer, but much larger operations exist in South Florida.


Figure 1. Greenhouse Vegetable Production in 2001.
Figure 1.  Greenhouse Vegetable Production in 2001.


Greenhouse operations have been viewed by many as a means to diversify and improve farm income. These new growers are trying to take advantage of vegetable crop production which, in general, has higher return per unit area than agronomic crops. In addition, greenhouse vegetable growers have recently been able to benefit from the increased demand for specialty horticultural crops, a category which encompasses greenhouse vegetables (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Newly transplanted tomatoes.
Figure 2.  Newly transplanted tomatoes.


Greenhouse vegetable production is not easy nor should it be viewed as an easy solution to a particular individual's economic problems. The difficulties inherent in greenhouse vegetable production are reflected in the relatively few acres of greenhouse vegetables grown in the United States compared to field vegetables. In general, greenhouse vegetable production in the United States is located near urban areas to benefit from the larger market potential, near industrial power plants to take advantage of reduced power and heating costs, or they are located in areas of the country with year-round abundant sunshine, such as Colorado or Arizona.

Greenhouse vegetables cannot usually compete directly on a price basis in the same markets with field-grown vegetables. Greenhouse vegetable production is much more expensive and more intensive and the crops must be marketed as specialty produce. Since greenhouse production is very costly and intensive, and the market for the specialty items is volatile, the prospective grower must be keenly aware of the special and exacting requirements of greenhouse vegetable production. This publication presents the special considerations that must be understood by all new or perspective greenhouse vegetable growers. Each point should be considered in light of one's own particular personality, capability, and financial status. Careful consideration of these factors will help prevent the perspective grower from making a regretful decision.

More Information

For more information on greenhouse crop production, please visit our website at

For the other chapters in the Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook, see the documents listed below:

Volume 1: IntroductionFinancial ConsiderationsPre-Construction ConsiderationsCrop ProductionConsiderations for Managing Greenhouse PestsSummary

Volume 2: Physical Greenhouse Design ConsiderationsProduction SystemsOther Design Information Resources

Volume 3: PrefaceGeneral Aspects of Plant GrowthProduction SystemsIrrigation of Greenhouse VegetablesFertilizer Management for Greenhouse VegetablesProduction of Greenhouse TomatoesGreenhouse Cucumber ProductionGreenhouse Nematode ManagementAlternative Greenhouse CropsVegetable Insect Identification and Management


Publication #HS766

Release Date:November 26, 2018

Reviewed At:September 3, 2021

Related Experts

Hochmuth, George J.


University of Florida

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is HS766, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date December 1990. Revised January 2001. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

G. J. Hochmuth, professor emeritus, Department of Soil and Water Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Florida Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook is edited by George Hochmuth, professor emeritus of the Department of Soil and Water Science, and R. C. Hochmuth, Extension agent IV, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center–Suwannee Valley; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Robert Hochmuth
  • George Hochmuth