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Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds New York State ranks among the top 3 states (Illinois and Pennsylvania are the other two) in pumpkin production in the country with over 5,500 acres of production with an estimated value of $20.5 million each year (2014 Vegetable Summary). Nearly all of these are for fresh market use for either decorating or eating. The pumpkin industry is highly variable with fruit ranging from quarter pound to several hundred pounds each. Pumpkins are grown throughout NYS and are marketed through roadside stands, nursery centers and farmers markets and are also important in areas that have lots of agri-tourism. Included in this group are also other fall ornamentals such as gourds and ornamental squash. Pumpkins are susceptible to many different diseases, the most prevalent of those being Powdery Mildew, Downey Mildew and Phytopthroa blight. In the last eight years, plant breeders and seed companies have released a multitude of varieties resistant to Powdery Mildew and are widely used by growers. Another concern for growers are several different viruses which can cause plants to not produce fruit at all or results in poor fruit quality (size, color etc.). Striped Cucumber Beetles and Squash bugs remain the main insect pests. Aphids are also important because they are the primary vectors of those viruses mentioned above.

Video: New York State Produce Auctions

Last Modified: March 8, 2018
Video: New York State Produce Auctions

Currently, there are 8 produce auctions in New York State. These auctions are aggregation points that allow local farmers to sell their produce in wholesale lots to buyers from across the region. To document the economic impact of produce auctions on agriculture, local businesses, family farms, and produce buyers, the Cornell Vegetable Program worked with Harvest New York to survey top sellers and buyers.

A new Cornell Vegetable Program video shares general information about produce auctions, how buyers and sellers use the auctions to expand their businesses, and how local communities benefit from them.


2017 Cucurbit Downy Mildew Management Guidelines

Last Modified: July 5, 2017
2017 Cucurbit Downy Mildew Management Guidelines

From Margaret McGrath, Cornell
Producing a high-quality cucurbit crop necessitates effectively managing downy mildew. This foliar disease is common in the northeast because the pathogen produces a large quantity of asexual spores that are easily dispersed long distances by wind, which enables it to spread widely. There has been no evidence that the pathogen is surviving between growing seasons where winter temperatures kill cucurbit crops (outdoors above the 30th latitude); however, recently both mating types have been found, albeit typically on different cucurbit crop types, thus there is the potential for the pathogen to produce oospores (sexual spores) that could enable the pathogen to survive in northern areas of the USA. The downy mildew forecasting program has documented based on downy mildew occurrence movement of the pathogen throughout the eastern USA each year via its wind-dispersed asexual spores. The pathogen does not affect fruit directly; however, affected leaves die prematurely which results in fewer fruit and/or fruit of low quality (poor flavor, sunscald, poor storability).

The most important component of an effective management program for downy mildew is an effective, properly-timed fungicide program. And the key to that is applying mobile fungicides targeted to the pathogen starting when there is a risk of the pathogen being present. Mobile (or translaminar) fungicides are needed for control on the underside of leaves. Each year there often are changes to the fungicides recommended as the pathogen develops resistance or new products are registered. Because these fungicides have targeted activity, additional fungicides must be added to the program when there is a need to manage other diseases such as powdery mildew. Most targeted fungicides effective for downy mildew are also effective for Phytophthora blight.

Video: Flea Beetles

Last Modified: June 5, 2017
Video: Flea Beetles

Flea beetles are a common vegetable pest affecting peppers, cucurbits, sweet potato, potato, peas, beans, beets, tomato, corn, turnip, pumpkin, melon, eggplant, and others. This short video gives you some general information about this pest.

Storage Conditions for Squash

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: December 13, 2016
Storage Conditions for Squash

From Vegetable MD Online:
A chart of recommended storage conditions for different culinary types and their storage life expectancy.

2015 Pumpkin Variety Trial

Last Modified: March 17, 2016
2015 Pumpkin Variety Trial

In 2015, the CCE Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program evaluated 20 pumpkin varieties including novelty, pie, medium and large Jack-O-Lantern types.   

Guideline Tools: Weed Management in Cucurbits, 2015

Darcy Telenko, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: June 9, 2015
Guideline Tools: Weed Management in Cucurbits, 2015

This reference sheet lists the herbicides that are labeled for cucurbits in New York and which species are controlled, as well as other important considerations and photos of weeds. While this is a handy references, it is critical to read the product labels thoroughly.

Decision-Making Guide for Bee Supplementation of Pumpkin Fields

Steve Reiners, Co-Team Leader, Cornell University
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: May 17, 2013
Decision-Making Guide for Bee Supplementation of Pumpkin Fields

Reliance on wild bees for pumpkin production is potentially risky, but costs of supplementing fields with managed bees is increasingly expensive. Pollination service costs can be reduced by identifying scenarios, based on the background level of wild bees and attributes of the surrounding landscape, where supplementation might not be necessary. This decision-making guide will help determine scenarios where reliance on wild bees will likely provide sufficient pollination of pumpkins.

Early Pumpkin Ripening

Last Modified: August 22, 2012
Early Pumpkin Ripening

Written by Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts

Ideally, pumpkins should be harvested when fully mature, with a deep orange color and hardened rind. However, as long as pumpkins have started to turn color, they will ripen off the vine if held under the proper conditions. While not ideal, this may be preferable to leaving them in the field if conditions are not favorable.

2011 Pumpkin Herbicide Trial

Chuck Bornt, Team Leader, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: April 2, 2012
2011  Pumpkin Herbicide Trial

The Capital District Vegetable & Small Fruit Program evaluated current herbicides and one un-labeled herbicide for pumpkins. Weed control ratings and the cost associated with each prodcut can be found in the the full pdf. 


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Upcoming Events

Food Safety and Wash/Pack Facilities: Virtual Training

November 16, 2020

A well-thought out Wash/Pack Facility can go a long way in improving produce quality, worker health and safety, and overall efficiency. But how can intentional design impact food safety? This virtual training will help farmers and workers understand the food safety risks present in wash/pack facilities and outline ways in which risks can be minimized.

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