Keys to Successful Tomato and Cucumber Production inPerlite Media
George J. Hochmuth and Robert C. Hochmuth
1. This document is Factsheet HS927, one of a series of Department of Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: January 1996. Updated: January 2003. Please visit the EDIS Web site athttp://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.2. George J. Hochmuth, professor and center director, North Florida Research and Education Center - Quincy, and Robert C. Hochmuth, multi countyextension agent, North Florida Research and Education Center - Suwannee Valley, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,Gainesville, FL 32611
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educationalinformation and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin.For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida CooperativeExtension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean.
Tomato and cucumber are popular and importantcrops for greenhouse production in Florida.Profitability from production of tomato andcucumber requires attention to the many details of crop culture. The major keys to successfulgreenhouse production of tomato and cucumber arepresented in this publication. This guide is directed atthe small to medium-sized grower with one to severalhouses, but much of the information is also useful forlarger operations. The information in this guidefocuses on tomato (Figure 1 and Figure 2) andcucumber (Figure 3 and Figure 4), but also applies toother crops grown in soilless media, includingpepper, eggplant, melons, lettuce, and cut-flowers(Figure 5, Figure 6, and Figure 7). Although thisguide focuses on perlite media in lay-flat bags, mostof the principles also pertain to other soilless media,such as rockwool slabs and peat-mix bags (Figure 8).In addition, many of these principles apply to usingperlite, pine bark, or similar media in containers, suchas nursery containers. More details on each subjectare available from the Florida Greenhouse VegetableProduction Handbook (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ TOPIC_BOOK_Florida_Greenhouse_Vegetable_Production_Handbook).
Greenhouse-grown cluster tomatoes ready forharvest.
What is it?
Perlite is a mined mineral that iscrushed, then expanded under high temperature. Thecrushed material expands like popcorn, is cooled, andsieved into various grades based on particle size.Perlite is white in color, very light weight, and has