Sep 27, 2021
Getting started with greenhouse tomatoes: what you need to know at the 2021 Great Lakes EXPO

For many in the industry, this year’s Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO is the first chance to gather as a whole once again. The Michigan-based show is chock-full of meetings, education sessions and chances to connect with other growers, vendors and Extension agents from around the country.

Rick Snyder is returning as an EXPO speaker for the first time since 2013 and will lead the Protected Culture session. His specialties are in greenhouse tomatoes and vegetables, field vegetables and mushrooms, and as a horticultural vegetable specialist, he will discuss the latest research on healthy growth, nutrition, water quality, pruning and pollination — all with the goals of producing the most delicious vegetables with high yield. 

Within the session, Snyder will have two talks, the first about getting started growing greenhouse tomatoes. The second talk will cover diagnostics, tissue sampling and analysis, and other common problems in greenhouse tomato production. 

Some of the most important aspects of growing greenhouse tomatoes aren’t just timing and temperature. Marketing is an aspect often overlooked; being able to educate buyers goes a long way towards making a sale. Temperature control and environmental monitoring are also important, as well as producing fruit with good flavor. Snyder will cover pruning techniques, harvesting, ensuring the tomatoes are of the highest quality and even equipment maintenance fall under this first talk.

Second, Snyder will discuss what can go wrong and how to mitigate or prevent those common problems. This could include environmental quality, temperature range and how heaters can come into play with certain issues. Snyder often sees physiological problems in his Extension work, so he’ll cover blossom end rot, splitting, leaf roll, blossom drop and how to diagnose and treat these problems.

The session will also feature an entomologist and pathologist to round out the discussion and help any grower get started with this important endeavor.

In-person education is more important now than ever before. Every year, researchers confirm new processes and test new chemistries and tactics for growing healthy vegetables, and this year’s EXPO is chock-full of opportunities for growers to hone their skills. Even those who attend most years should make a point to get to EXPO in 2021.

“No one retains everything they learn, so some may have attended in past years and some knowledge slips away. Of course, the bottom line is the bottom line. It will help people make more money in their businesses — prevent losses and make more money,” Snyder said. “Growers in Michigan and the surrounding states are fortunate that they have a comprehensive EXPO right now,” Snyder continued.

To learn more about the 2021 Great Lakes EXPO, visit

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