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Tomatoes

Tomatoes In 2014 Empire State farmers planted 2,800 acres of tomatoes for an estimated value of $24.0 million (2014 Vegetable Summary). Most field production is devoted to determinate cultivars, with plastic mulch, drip irrigation and stake-and-weave trellis essential production elements for early and quality yields. Greenhouse (and high tunnel) production is on the rise in New York with structures of less than 1/10th to in-excess of 40 acres under protection. Indeterminate, greenhouse lines, as well as heirloom varieties are grown under protected culture. Tomatoes are a popular crop with New York fresh market vegetable farmers due to high demand and fair prices. The Cornell Vegetable Program conducts a number of research projects each year addressing improved tomato production. Check out the links below to learn more.

Relevant Events

Chautauqua Winter Vegetable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 10, 2023
Clymer, NY

Orleans Regional Vegetable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 15, 2023
Albion, NY

NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 15, 2023 : Morning Session: Snap Beans, Sweet Corn, and Peas
Batavia, NY


March 15, 2023 : Lunch Break and Networking


Event Offers DEC Credits

March 15, 2023 : Afternoon Session: Beets and Carrots
Batavia, NY

Late Blight Sample Collection and Submission to Cornell

Margie Lund, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: March 4, 2020
Late Blight Sample Collection and Submission to Cornell

If late blight is detected or suspected on your farm, and you cannot get a sample to a Cornell Vegetable Program staff member in a day or two, you should submit your sample to Chris Smart's lab at Cornell. Instructions for reporting and sampling are provided.


Be on the Lookout for Southern Blight

Ethan Grundberg, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: April 27, 2018

Southern Blight (Sclerotium rolfsii) was found on golden storage beets this winter in Dutchess County. The fungal pathogen is fairly new to New York and poses a threat to a wide range of vegetable crops. Early detection and proper diagnosis are key to managing this disease.


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.


Growing for Wholesale: Vegetable Grading/Sizing Templates

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: February 21, 2018
Growing for Wholesale: Vegetable Grading/Sizing Templates

To further assist farmers looking to sell into the wholesale markets, the Cornell Vegetable Program has put together some helpful tools. The tools provided here consist of a color photo guide highlighting the grades of some of the most common vegetables grown for wholesale market in WNY. To aid in the visualization of the grading sizes, the templates are available here for you to print off. These are scaled to size and can be used to create sizing templates to be used by workers on the wash and pack lines.


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.

Nitrogen Fertility Options for Organic High Tunnels

Cordelia Machanoff, Program Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: May 25, 2017
Nitrogen Fertility Options for Organic High Tunnels

Several years of foliar sampling in high tunnel tomatoes throughout NYS has shown that organic high tunnel tomatoes generally start out with sufficient or even excess nitrogen, but go into a mid-season dive in foliar nitrogen levels. Given the longer season and higher yields of tunnel tomatoes, a nitrogen fertilizer to inject or side-dress will help prevent mid-season deficiencies.

Cold Storage Chart and Reference Guide to Commercial Vegetable Storage

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: December 13, 2016
Cold Storage Chart and Reference Guide to Commercial Vegetable Storage

Commercial vegetable growers will find a Cold Storage Chart by crop type with temperature and relative humidity recommendations. The maximum number of weeks that the crop can be held under ideal conditions is provided as well.

Adapted from the USDA Bulletin #66, The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stock, growers will find information on quality, grading, sizes, and packaging, chilling and storage, and post-harvest pathology of vegetables.


Video: Produce Washing Stations - How to Use a Germicidal Bleach

Last Modified: January 26, 2016
Video: Produce Washing Stations - How to Use a Germicidal Bleach

Good Agricultural Practices or GAPs are the steps taken in produce packing areas to reduce microbial contamination. One area where reducing micro contamination is critical is in the washing and cleaning of produce. This video shows you a set of standard operating procedures for using a germicidal bleach in a produce washing station. Learn what supplies are required and how to calculate the amount of germicidal bleach needed to sanitize the water.


Tomatoes for High Tunnels

Last Modified: December 2, 2015

One of the first choices when beginning high tunnel tomato production is the type: determinate or indeterminate. Differences in the growth habits, nutritional needs, disease resistance, and fruit attributes of determinate and indeterminate tomatoes will influence the types and varieties a grower will choose. 

Training and Pruning Tomatoes in High Tunnels

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: December 2, 2015

Well trained and well pruned tomatoes are easy to work around, have better air circulation, optimum light penetration, and have higher yields since excess foliage is removed to focus plant energy on producing and ripening fruit. 

Video: Farm Food Safety as if Someone's Life Depended On It

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 3, 2015
Video: Farm Food Safety as if Someone's Life Depended On It

This video is an overview of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) through on-farm risk assessment. Cornell Cooperative Extension, along with the National GAPs Program and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, has developed and implemented a nationally-recognized training program in GAPs to prepare New York growers for the marketplace's increased vigilance in food safety. You can learn more about that program through this video, as well as updates on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and economic information on the implementation of GAPs collected from growers through extensive interviews.


Tomatoes for the High Tunnel: Determinate versus Indeterminate

Cordelia Machanoff, Program Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: December 18, 2014
Tomatoes for the High Tunnel: Determinate versus Indeterminate

One of the first choices when beginning high tunnel tomato production is variety selection. This comparison guide will help with the decision.

Grafting Tomatoes Video: The Motivation and Benefits of Grafting

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: October 16, 2013
Grafting Tomatoes Video: The Motivation and Benefits of Grafting

As soil based production of tomatoes continues in tunnels and greenhouses, risk of root-zone diseases, insects and nutrient imbalances increase. Grafting, the combination of two separate cultivars into one plant, is one management approach to these challenges. Learn more about the motivations and benefits of grafting tomatoes in this video of Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist for the Cornell Vegetable Program.

How to Graft Tomatoes: An Instructional Video and Factsheet

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: October 16, 2013
How to Graft Tomatoes: An Instructional Video and Factsheet

Grafting can significantly increase tomato yields and increase plant resistance to soil-borne diseases. Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program has developed a step-by-step tutorial for growers on how to graft tomatoes. 

Determining Late Blight Sensitivity to Ridomil Takes Time

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: September 19, 2013
Determining Late Blight Sensitivity to Ridomil Takes Time

The % LB diseased foliage in a field significantly affects how well any fungicide works against it. On September 16, 2013, Bill Fry, Cornell said, "Years ago we did experiments on the effect of timing of Ridomil on the suppression of LB [on a sensitive LB strain]. The treatments included metalaxyl/Ridomil, mancozeb, or no fungicide. We initiated applications at ~0.5% disease or at 2-5% diseased [foliage]. The effects of Ridomil were apparent within a day or two, but the effects of mancozeb were not visible for at least one week. LB increased explosively in the mancozeb and untreated plots for the first week. Subsequently, mancozeb did slightly suppress disease relative to the water control. The effect of Ridomil was dramatically different with an immediate observable effect in [reducing disease development]. Nonetheless, the amount of disease in the Ridomil plots continued to increase gradually for the next four weeks. When we initiated Ridomil applications at 0.5% disease the final level of disease was less, and the rate at which disease increased was less, than when we began at 2-5% diseased foliage. There was inoculum from other plots that probably contributed to increased LB. Thus, once disease is established, it's really difficult to totally stop this pathogen. I suspect that given the wet weather and favorable conditions we've had recently, any fungicide may have been challenged."

Copper Fungicides for Organic Disease Management in Vegetables

Last Modified: September 16, 2013
Copper Fungicides for Organic Disease Management in Vegetables

There are several different copper fungicides approved for use in organically-produced crops. Copper fungicides are important tools for managing diseases that cannot be effectively managed with cultural practices alone.

Responding to Hailstorms

Crystal Stewart-Courtens, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: June 26, 2013
Responding to Hailstorms

While no one wants to think about the possibility of hail hitting their beautiful crops just as they start to respond to the heat and take off, the likelihood that we will see more hail seems pretty high. So let's talk about it.

Grafting of Tomatoes for Soil-based Production in Greenhouses & High Tunnels

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 25, 2013
Grafting of Tomatoes for Soil-based Production in Greenhouses & High Tunnels

In 2012, the Cornell Vegetable Program conducted trials of grafted cucumbers and tomatoes. We grafted 2 tomato scions (Panzer and Big Dena) onto 3 different rootstocks (Arnold, Colossus and Maxifort). We also grew out ungrafted control plots for comparison. Tomatoes were grafted using the 'tube-graft' method. Detailed information on our materials and methods can be found in the full report.

2012 Capital District Beefsteak Tomato Variety Trial

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

Last Modified: March 20, 2013

In 2012 the CCE Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program evaluated 16 different fresh market beefsteak tomato varieties for yield, overall fruit quality and other characteristics. Of these varieties, Primo Red, Red Deuce, Red Bounty, Volante, RFT 6153, Mt. Merit, Mt. Fresh and Scarlet Red showed promising yields and fruit quality. To view the entire report, please open the pdf files below.

Spotted Wing Drosophila in Tomatoes

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: September 13, 2012
Spotted Wing Drosophila in Tomatoes

Although this new pest in gaining attention from berry growers, it is also a threat to tomatoes.  Spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) lays eggs in ripe or maturing fruit with a rear-end that favors a miniature hack-saw. The eggs, which have creepy breathing tubes, hatch out into nasty worms that feed inside the fruit creating a liquefied mass. Reports on tomatoes mention organic, heirloom and high tunnel crops. A common theme to these observations is that insecticides are generally absent. SWD has been reported in 2012 throughout the state, so far in traps and fruit plantings (see map courtesy of Hudson Valley Fruit Program). Likely there are unreported cases of infested tomatoes. 

O-zone Injury on Vegetables

Crystal Stewart-Courtens, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: August 22, 2012
O-zone Injury on Vegetables

Hot, humid weather with stagnant air masses may lead to ozone damage on crops. Ozone warnings were recently issued for much of New York. These warnings are intended for people with respiratory problems and let them know they should limit their outdoor activity and try to stay as much as possible in air-conditioned locations. These warning are also a good indicator that ozone damage may occur in plants.

Why Aren't My Tomatoes Ripening?

Steve Reiners, Co-Team Leader, Cornell University
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: August 22, 2012
Why Aren't My Tomatoes Ripening?

With all of the hot weather we have experienced this summer, growers were expecting their tomatoes to ripen very quickly. Unfortunately, just the opposite is happening. Ripening seems very slow, almost like what we see in the autumn when temperatures are much cooler.

High Tunnel Tomato Trial 2011 (determinate varieties)

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 2, 2012
High Tunnel Tomato Trial 2011 (determinate varieties)

High tunnel tomatoes continue to grow in popularity with New York vegetable growers for disease control, earliness and fruit quality. Variety selection is one of the most important management decisions for tunnels. The decision between determinate and indeterminate varieties depends on grower preference and market demand. Total yield must be balanced with fruit quality and disease resistance

Nightshade Management Reduces Crop Loss

Julie Kikkert, Team Leader, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: March 20, 2012
Nightshade Management Reduces Crop Loss

Depending on the crop, nightshade can reduce crop yields, harbor diseases, and cause crops to be rejected by processors. Learn about the species of nightshades in NY, physiological differences between them, emergence and growth information, and control strategies.

High Tunnel Hanging Baskets, 2010

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: January 19, 2011
High Tunnel Hanging Baskets, 2010

Although Cornell Vegetable Program research from 2009 showed a net positive impact of hanging baskets of petunias on tunnel economic performance, tomato yields were decreased. In 2010 the project team repeated research in an unheated high tunnel, representing a dramatic decrease in fuel inputs compared to a heated greenhouse for hanging baskets. A lower density treatment was used, compared to 2009, and light intensity data was collected. Risks of shading an in-ground tomato crop and spread of insects and diseases between the flowers and vegetables were investigated.

Grafting of Tomatoes for Soil-based Production in Protected Culture

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 15, 2010

Soil based greenhouse and high tunnel production of tomatoes has risen dramatically in the Finger Lakes Region within the last 5 years. This season extension technology offers farmers an opportunity to target market price peaks and capitalize on the rising demand for locally grown produce. Tomatoes from these protected culture systems have proven profitable in wholesale auction settings as well as farmer's markets and CSAs.

As production continues in the same soil beds, risk of root-zone diseases and soil nutrient deficiencies increase. Grafting of desirable fruiting varieties onto vigorous, disease resistant rootstock has become a standard production technique in hydroponic facilities throughout the world. This project seeks to evaluate the potential of grafting for small scale farmers in New York and demonstrate its advantages.


more crops
Asparagus

Asparagus

Beets

Beets

Broccoli

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cabbage

Carrots

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

Peas

Peas

Peppers

Peppers

Potatoes

Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

Radishes

Radishes

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Turnips

Turnips

more crops

Upcoming Events

Chautauqua Winter Vegetable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 10, 2023
Clymer, NY

Meeting will feature growers from Ohio sharing their production know-how and thoughts on food safety. Other topics include weed control, pesticide safety, and the impact of poor crop nutrition. 0.75 DEC credits in 1a, 23 plus 0.5 in CORE, which is good for all categories. Trade show booths available. 

Meeting cost is $20/person, includes snacks and educational materials. Registration required by 4 pm on Friday, February 3. 

Orleans Regional Vegetable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 15, 2023
Albion, NY

Offering presentations in pesticide safety, tips for managing diseases in vegetable crops, how to attract beneficial insects to your field, herbicide options for cole crops, and strawberry disease information. Meeting cost is $10 per person, payable at the door via cash or check. Pre-registration requested by 5:00 pm on Monday, February 13.

DEC credits available: 2.25 in 1a and 10; 2.0 in 23; 1.5 in 22; and 0.5 in CORE (used in all categories)!!

NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 15, 2023 : Morning Session: Snap Beans, Sweet Corn, and Peas
Batavia, NY

Processing vegetable industry members who grow, manage, or support snap bean, sweet corn, or pea production for Nortera and/or Seneca Foods, should attend this session of the roundtable meeting. You will:

  • Network at this in-person meeting.
  • Learn the results of industry-funded research.
  • Have a voice in Cornell research and extension.
  • Earn 2.0 DEC credits in categories 1a, 10, 23 and CCA recertification credits.

This FREE event is followed by lunch! Pre-registration requested.


March 15, 2023 : Lunch Break and Networking

Lunch is FREE to anyone attending either the Morning Session or the Afternoon Session of the NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable Meeting. Registration is required.


Event Offers DEC Credits

March 15, 2023 : Afternoon Session: Beets and Carrots
Batavia, NY

Processing vegetable industry members who grow, manage, or support beet or carrot production for Nortera, Seneca Foods and/or Love Beets, should attend this session of the roundtable meeting. You will:

  • Network at this in-person meeting.
  • Learn the results of industry-funded research.
  • Have a voice in Cornell research and extension.
  • Earn 2.0 DEC credits in categories 1a, 10, 23 and CCA recertification credits.

Lunch is provided before this session. It's FREE! Pre-registration requested. 

Announcements

2022 Year in Review Released

Our 2022 Year in Review report highlights some of our 2022 projects and community outreach efforts impacting commercial vegetable, greenhouse, potato, and dry bean producers in 14 counties of western and central New York, and beyond.
  • Education and Technical Assistance Provided to Providence Farm Collective
  • Engineering Improvements in Biodegradable Mulch
  • Perseverance Leads to Solution for Perennial Sowthistle in Onion
  • Potato Programming Spans Farms of All Sizes
  • Improving Winter High Tunnel Soil Nitrogen Management
  • Laser Scarecrows Tested on Local Farms
  • New York Vegetable Industry Support
Cornell Cooperative Extension is Your Trusted Source for Research-Based Knowledge!

Small-Scale Fresh Mkt Potato Variety Trial Results

This year, the Cornell Vegetable Program planted a potato variety trial focused on commercially available fresh market potato varieties, with the small-scale potato grower in mind. This trial allowed us to test different varieties of potatoes that might be of interest to consumers at farm markets and see how well they perform in a western NY climate. 

We've posted a brief overview of our results on the Potato page.

If you would like the full report (PDF with photos and yield data) emailed to you, email Margie Lund.

New Ag Climate Factsheet Released

The intersection of agricultural production and greenhouse gases is gathering increasing attention. This is an opportune time to consider how vegetable production interacts with carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions, and how using cover crops may alter this picture.

The factsheet, Greenhouse Gases and Soil Organic Carbon in Vegetable Production and the Role of Cover Crops, written by Zach Spangler, Ag Climate Resiliency Specialist with CCE Harvest NY, and Elizabeth Buck, Fresh Market Vegetable Specialist, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program, discusses:
  • Sequestration of atmospheric carbon in agricultural soils as soil organic carbon (SOC). Is vegetable production impacting SOC?
  • Net greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4) from the soil.
  • Impact of cover crops on soil organic carbon, nitrous oxide emissions, and other GHG emissions.