Horticultural Sciences Department

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Protected Agriculture

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Vegetable culture in Florida is a very technological business involving several high-cost inputs including polyethylene mulch, drip irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. However, there are major challenges in front of the vegetable industry. These challenges are 1.) increased regulation of water, fertilizer, and pesticide inputs, 2.) loss of a major soil fumigant, methyl bromide, 3.) increased urbanization and loss of some of the more desirable (warmer) production land in southern Florida, and 4.) continued challenges from weather, including freezes, winds and rain. Add to these challenges, the increasing problems associated with regional and global market competition. The added crop protection provided through hydroponic greenhouse production could lead to production of higher quality crops that will make Florida growers more competitive against imports from other vegetable production areas in the world. The Protected Agriculture Project at the University of Florida Horticultural Sciences Department provides the much needed information for hands-on training and demonstrations so that Florida producers can examine, work, and train in this exciting new agricultural business endeavor. For more information visit the Protected Agriculture Project Website

Santos, Bielinski M.    Treadwell, Danielle D.