Poland has an important place in European production of vegetables.
In production of cabbage and carrot we have the first place in Europe (tab. 1) and as much as 20% of the total vegetable production of Europe consists of cabbage and about 18% of carrots produced in Poland.
Comparing to the total world production of vegetables the share of polish cabbage amounts about 5% and that of carrots slightly above 5%.
In 1990 the per capita production of vegetables was only in Greece, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary (tab. 2) higher than in Poland.
These countries are located however in a much warmer climatic zone and have better conditions for vegetable production.
Vegetable production plays an important role in Polish agriculture, although, participation of vegetables in total cultivated land amounts to below 2% only, the participation of vegetables in product value of agricultural production in years 1984–91 amounted 19.2%, but higher level (over 22%) was noted in 1987.
After the World War II the vegetable production in Poland constantly increases (Fig. 1). Vegetable production in Poland in the last few years fluctuated around the level of 5.5 milion tons.
The last two years were not typical for the cultivation of vegetables.
In 1991 vegetable production reached a record level of 6 million tons, while in 1992 due to a strong negative influence of the dry growing season the obtained yields showed a decrease of over 20% (1.2 million tons).
In Poland the cultivation of vegetables in the open field takes place mainly in private farms.
State and cooperative ouned farms were always limited (below 10% of total production). Mainly root vegetables, green peas and spinach were grown in those farms.
At the present time vegetable production in individual farms reached the level of 95% of total production.
The field produced vegetables from private farms are mainly cultivated on small areas.
Presently there is no official information on the number and structure of farms cultivating vegetables.
According to our calculation made in 1982, about 200 thousand farms produce vegetables under contracts made with buyers and half of them cultivated vegetables on area below 0.5 ha.
About 40 vegetable species are cultivated in Poland commercially but only seven of them play a leading role in the structure of vegetable production, namely: cabbage, carrots, onions, red beets, tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflowers.
The total area of the field cultivated vegetables has reached 270 thousand hectares, (Fig. 2). The highest position in the cropped area has cabbage (55.1 thousand ha), next are cucumbers (34), onions (33.5) carrots (32.5) and tomatoes (29.9).
In the species structure of the produced vegetables presented in Fig. 3 cabbage comprises 31%, carrots 15%, onions 11%, red beets and tomatoes 9%, cucumber 8% and all other vegetables 13%.