Organic greenhouse tomato production

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RGANIC OMATO ORGANIC GREENHOUSE TOMATO PRODUCTION
HORTICULTURE PRODUCTION GUIDE
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

www.attra.ncat.org

FOR

RURAL AREAS

Abstract: This publication offers an overview of organic greenhouse tomato production. To be successful, the small-scale producer needs to do thorough production and marketing research, find or create a niche market, and produce aconsistently healthy crop. Maintaining optimum fertilization and moisture levels, practicing rigorous pest management, and ensuring good pollination can increase crop yields. Information in this publication includes organic management methods for major diseases and insect pests; organic fertilization recommendations; a list of organic fertilizer suppliers; and a directory of further resources availableon the Internet.

By Mardi Dodson, Janet Bachmann, and Paul Williams March 2002

Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth M. Lamb, Vegetable Extension Specialist, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, for reviewing this publication.

INTRODUCTION
Table of Contents INTRODUCTION ............................................ 1 EDUCATION IS KEY..................................... 1 MARKETING ................................................ 2 SCHEDULING THE CROP .............................. 2 SOIL AND SOILLESS MEDIA ........................ 3 PEST MANAGEMENT ................................... 3 RESISTANT VARIETIES ................................. 5 NUTRITION .................................................. 6 GROWER PROFILE....................................... 7 POLLINATION .............................................. 8 SUMMARY ................................................... 8 REFERENCES ................................................ 9 RESOURCES ................................................. 9 ORGANIC FERTILIZER DISTRIBUTORS ................................... 9 INFORMATION ON THE WEB .................. 10 APPENDIX ONE................................... 12-13 APPENDIX TWO ......................................... 14
Tomatoes are the leading greenhouse vegetable crop in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., the total acreage in greenhouse tomato production increased by 40 percent between 1996 and 1999. Statistics for 1999 show that the U.S. had about 800 acres in greenhouse vegetable production, with tomatoes accountingfor 750 of those acres (1). The leading states in greenhouse vegetable production are California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania—each with more than one million square feet in production (2). The vast majority of greenhouse tomatoes are produced in greenhouses using conventional production systems. Conventional and organic greenhouse production differ in the types ofpotting media, fertilization practices, and pest control methods they use.

EDUCATION IS KEY
Education is the first step toward a successful greenhouse tomato crop, and there is a lot of

ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology under a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department ofAgriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. ATTRA is located in the Ozark Mountains at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702). ATTRA staff members prefer to receive requests for information about sustainable agriculture via the toll-free number 800-346-9140.

information available on growing greenhousetomatoes. Your local extension agent is an excellent source of information for your area. Extension publications from all U.S. states are available on the Internet. Most publications can be downloaded and printed at no charge. California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi all have excellent information on growing greenhouse tomatoes. Dr. Mary Peet’s Greenhouse Vegetable...
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