Greenhouse production of several fresh-cut herbs in vertical hydroponic systems in North Central Florida

Suzanne C. Stapleton, Robert C. Hochmuth

Abstract


Herb production in Florida greenhouse has increased dramatically from less than 1 acre in 1991 to nearly 17 acres in 2001. Sales value of fresh-cut herbs from Florida greenhouse were  $647,000 in 1998. Greenhouse production of culinary herbs offers producers several market advantages, including fewer days to harvest. Herbs and other specialty crops with multiple harvests provide the potential to maximize returns from expensive and limited greenhouse space. Vertical hydroponic production systems can serve to increase economic efficiency of greenhouses. However, little research information on hydroponic herb production is available.This trail was conducted to examine the marketable yield of selected fresh-cut herbs from fall through spring in a vertical hydroponic greenhouse production system in north central Florida. Herbs included in this study were: arugula (Eruca vesicaria),basil l (Ocimum basilicum),purple basil (Ocimum basilicum), chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), dill (Anethum graveolens), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana), oregano (Origanum vulgare), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Italian (flat leaf) parsley (Petroselinum crispurn), sage (Salvia officinalis), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). First harvests of fresh-cut herbs occurred 15 to 28 days after transplanting. Total yields ranged from 215 to 697 oz per hydroponic tower of 32 plants. Terminal market price varied by market and type of herb throughout the time of the trial.



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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283