Geraniums can be stored over the winter for replanting next...

Geraniums can be stored over the winter for replanting next spring. Credit: AP

Of the 21,585 horticulture operations in the United States, 1,040 are in New York, according to the 2009 annual Census of Horticultural Specialties published in December. That makes New York No. 6 in the country. 

Nationwide, the top five annual bedding plants in 2009 were (in descending order) geraniums, impatiens, petunias, pansies/violas and begonias. I suspect little, if anything, has changed there. And the five most popular nursery stock categories were broadleaf evergreens, coniferous evergreens, deciduous shrubs, deciduous shade trees and fruit and nut plants.

The top horticulture production expense nationwide -- we're talking for nurseries, etc. -- was hired labor, followed by seeds, plants, vines and trees; all other production expenses; containers; and purchased gas, fuel and oil.

The top five states for wholesale sales were California, Florida, Oregon, Texas and Michigan, and the top five for retail sales were California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Texas. 

The 2007 Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years, found that Nassau County had 59 farms in 2007, down 9 percent from 2002, but the amount of land dedicated to farming increased by 15 percent, to 1,288 acres, with the average size of each farm increasing 29 percent, to 22 acres. According to dedicated farmland, the county's top crops were vegetables harvested for sale, nursery stock, grapes, sweet corn and collards.

In Suffolk, there were 585 farms in 2007, down 10 percent from 2002, with an increase of 1 percent in total farm acreage, which was 34,404 acres that year. The average size of a farm rose 13 percent, to 59 acres, during that period. The top crops in Suffolk vegetables harvested for sale, harvested sod, nursery stock, potatoes and grapes.

You can see the full Census of Agriculture and the Census of Horticultural Specialties here.

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