greenhouse tomato industry in Mississippi experienced unprecedented growth
during the 1990's and early part of 2000's. The number of commercial
growers increased from about 15 in 1988, to around 100 now. These growers
make up about 18 acres of greenhouse space, all under plastic. Today,
Mississippi is ranked 12th in the United States in greenhouse tomato
production, with a gross sales value of over $6 million each year. Our
most common greenhouse sizes are 24 X 96 and 30 X 96 feet. When more
than one greenhouse is used, they are generally connected at the gutter,
referred to as "gutter-connected bays." Most of our businesses
are small, averaging 2.4 bays.
The national greenhouse tomato industry
has also grown rapidly, but this is a more recent trend. Since 1996,
there has been about a 40 percent growth in greenhouse tomato acreage
in the United States, now at about 1000 acres. Leading states are Arizona,
Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi,
New Jersey, North Carolina, and Florida.
Growers interested in learning how to grow greenhouse tomatoes should
plan on attending the Greenhouse Tomato Short Course.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I would like to convert our poultry houses (or pig barn or cow barn) to greenhouses for the purpose of growing tomatoes. What is the best way to do this?
- My tomatoes are not ripening to an even red color. What is the reason?
- What kind of fertilizer can I use for greenhouse tomatoes?
- Are greenhouse tomatoes a good business for me?
- How many greenhouses do I need in order to get rich?
- If I grow tomatoes in a greenhouse, does this mean they are organic?
- I am planning on using a deep well for my irrigation water. Do I still have to have this water tested? If so where should I send the water sample?
- How often do I need to pollinate?
- Can I use a vibrating toothbrush for pollination?
- What variety of tomato should I use in the greenhouse?
- How many plants can I grow?
- How much yield can I expect per plant?
- What pH should I use?
- Some of the leaves on my plants are turning yellow. What is causing this?
- At what color should greenhouse tomatoes be harvested?
- Why are my plants wilting?
- What are those funny little white flies on my plants?
- What is the fuzzy looking gray colored mold growing on my plants?
- Why do the plants get flowers, but don't set any fruit?
- The fruit are setting and have good size, but they have strange shapes.
- Why do many fruit have a blackish area on the bottoms?
- Why are my plants so tall, like they're stretched out?
- There are cracks in the fruit. Now what?
- Why do the plants produce fruit that are too small?
- Should I use supplemental lighting to increase my yield?
- Can I grow various crops, e.g. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and strawberries, all together in the same greenhouse? Or will this create an unmanageable problem for me?
- I've been thinking about growing greenhouse strawberries. Will this work?
- Where can I get help in learning more about greenhouse tomatoes?
- How can I get answers to other questions which I don't find in this FAQ?
- Diseases and Abiotic Problems
- University of Florida Protected Agriculture Project
- Ohio State University's Hydroponic Tomato Production program
- University of Arizona's Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes Web Site
- North Carolina State University Greenhouse Food Production
- North Carolina State University Horticulture Information Leaflets
- Kansas State University has good information on greenhouse tomato and
cucumber production. Note: this is in PDF format so will require
downloading the Acrobat Reader.
- University of Florida Hydroponics Site: Growing Vegetables Without Soil
- The Cornell Controlled Environment Agriculture page shows you the
most high tech way to maximize the yield of lettuce hydroponically. Do
not try this at home!
- LSU Ag Center Greenhouse Tomatoes web page
- LSU's Greenhouse Tomato Production Manual
- For the Canadian version of hydroponics (Harrow, Ontario), see the Greenhouse Tomatoes in Canada page.
- A good source for seeds, fertilizers, greenhouses, and greenhouse
tomato supplies of all kinds is Hydro-Gardens, Inc.
- The Florida Tomato Committee site includes educational information, has a
marketing section (including how to export to Japan), retail and
food service resources, "How to get the most out of your tomatoes",
- There are also two hydroponics mailing lists (email) that you can
subscribe to for free. This will allow you to learn and discus hydroponics
with other growers. To subscribe to the Hydro Mailing List, send the
on line command "subscribe" to this email address: email@example.com or,
to subscribe to HGA-L, the Discussion list for Hobby Greenhouses, send
the command "subscribe" to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Listen to a recorded radio interview with Extension Vegetable
Specialist Dr. Rick Snyder discussing the Greenhouse Tomato Short
Course on the Farm and Family Radio Show, hosted by Amy Taylor,
MSU Office of Agricultural Communications, Mississippi State University.
- Watch Farmweek TV feature on Wayne Smith's Greenhouse Tomatoes (7 minute
video clip, 56Kbp -
or listen to the audio track of the same clip (4 minutes, 14 seconds -
April 30, 2002. Smith has since retired from growing greenhouse tomatoes.