The greenhouse tomato industry in Mississippi experienced unprecedented growth during the 1990's and early part of the 2000's. The number of commercial growers increased from about 15 in 1988, to around 100 today. 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.
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?
- How can I prevent blossom end rot?
- 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?
- What causes tomatoes to become mealy or soft?
- Greenhouse Tomato Handbook
En Español: Guía del cultivo del tomate en invernaderos
- Greenhouse Tomato Growers' Glossary
- Environmental Control for Greenhouse Tomatoes
- Fertigation: The Basics of Injecting Fertilizer for Field-Grown Tomatoes
- Starting Vegetable Transplants
- Greenhouse Tomatoes: Pest Management in Mississippi
- Greenhouse Tomato Budgets for Mississippi
- Tomato Troubles: Common Problems with Tomatoes
- 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 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.
- LSU's Greenhouse Tomato Production Manual
- 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", etc.
- There are also two hydroponics mailing lists (email) that you can subscribe to for free. This will allow you to learn and discuss hydroponics with other growers. To subscribe to the Hydro Mailing List, send the online command "subscribe" to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or, to subscribe to HGA-L, the Discussion list for Hobby Greenhouses, send the command "subscribe" to this address: email@example.com.
- 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.
There’s nothing more satisfying than homegrown tomatoes. You don’t have to be a gardening expert to grow delicious tomatoes in your backyard. Here are a few tips that will help you grow the best looking (and tasting) tomatoes out there: