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|Commercial Hydroponic Production|
The Most Popular Hydroponic Crops
The most popular hydroponic crop in the US is tomatoes, followed by fancy lettuce and leaf crops, cucumbers then herbs, peppers and flowers. Ironically, there are more hydroponic produce flown into the US from Holland, Canada and Mexico than grown here. As more and more growers are established in the US, this will change. You can grow hydroponic produce at a lower cost and offer fresher, better quality.
Productivity of Commercial Systems
The productivity of commercial systems has risen dramatically in the past few years. Commercial tomato growers who once hoped to annually pick 20 pounds of tomatoes per plant are now picking as much as 35-50 pounds per plant per year.
In a 12,000 square foot greenhouse, a tomato grower can grow 4,000—5,000 pounds of tomatoes every week! Lettuce growers are picking mature heads of lettuce in under 5 weeks and, with 20,000 square feet of growing space, can produce nearly 3,000 heads per week.
The cost of establishing a commercial hydroponic greenhouse operation is quite reasonable when considering the potential profit and the intensive volume of high-quality produce that can be grown on a small lot.
The addition of new equipment such as electronic monitoring systems, nutrient dosing systems, row bed heating, CO2 generators, insect screening and retractable roof greenhouses have greatly increased the overall poundage many growers are harvesting.
In addition, new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and leafy crops that are more disease resistant and produce higher yields are now available and great advances in biological pest and disease control have been made. Commercially, Hydroponics, Aquaculture and Aquaponics can all be used to produce large quantities of food in an environmentally friendly way.