Production Systems - Florida Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook, Vol 3

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There are numerous production systems currently being utilized worldwide by commercial greenhouse vegetable producers. Among the more important include bag culture, trough culture, rockwool, nutrient film technique (NFT), and ground (in-soil) culture. Many modifications of these basic production systems are presently being utilized and most are appropriate for Florida, except ground culture.

There are also several minor production systems, including container culture, ring culture, straw bale, and aeroponics. Aeroponics is a relatively new production system which involves growing plants in a trough or container in which the roots are suspended and sprayed with a nutrient mist.

All greenhouse production systems require the use of similar environmental controls, shade structures, support wires, and general production practices. The major differences would be in the irrigation and nutrient delivery methods and controls.

Individual production systems are not necessarily crop specific. All of the major greenhouse vegetable crops can be grown successfully in most systems. No single system is superior to the others. The cost of each system is comparable and the production from all systems is high when the system is managed properly. Research studies have shown that there was no significant difference in tomato yield among rockwool, bag, and hydroponic NFT systems. However, the study found that all of these systems produced higher yields than ground culture.

M. S. Sweat
G. J. Hochmuth
University of Florida, IFAS Extension