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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 Event

2018 Empire State Producers EXPO

Event Offers DEC Credits

January 16 - January 18, 2018
1.25 hr sessions throughout each day
Syracuse, NY

Complete Tomatoes Content

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.

Leaf Mold in High Tunnel Tomatoes 2015

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: December 2, 2015
Leaf Mold in High Tunnel Tomatoes 2015

Leaf mold is a fungus disease of tomatoes that has been increasing across New York State in recent years. It is favored by high humidity and is therefore seen in greenhouse and high tunnel production but rarely in field production.

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. 

Priaxor: New Fungicide for Upstate NY Growers

Last Modified: September 16, 2015
Priaxor: New Fungicide for Upstate NY Growers

Written by Margaret T. McGrath, Cornell:
Priaxor is labeled for disease control and plant health in the following crops: barley, corn (all types), dried shelled peas and beans, edible-podded legume vegetables, fruiting vegetables (including tomato), oats, oilseed crops (flax seed, rapeseed, safflower, and sunflower), peanut, rye, sorghum and millet, soybean, succulent shelled peas and beans, sugar beet, sugarcane, tuberous and corm vegetable (potato), wheat and triticale. Priaxor is classified for restricted use in NY. Use is prohibited in Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island. REI is 12 hours. PHI is 0 days for tomato. It is as long as 21 days for some other crops.

Video: New York State Produce Auctions

Last Modified: April 30, 2015
Video: New York State Produce Auctions

Currently, there are 6 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 HarvestNY 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.

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.

2014 Tomato Disease Management Strategies

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 22, 2014
2014 Tomato Disease Management Strategies

Disease Management Strategies for Conventional, Organic and Home Garden Production:
This PDF from the VegMD site provides photos of common tomato diseases and descriptions of risk factors. Scroll down for a table of conventional and OMRI-approved fungicides and ratings of their effectiveness against common diseases. Always check with your organic certifier before using any material. Scroll down for a table of Outstanding Tomato Varieties for the Northeast, with brief descriptions of the varieties, notes on resistance to late blight, early blight and Septoria leaf spot, and seed sources.

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. 

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in Tomatoes

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: September 23, 2013
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in Tomatoes

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has gained notoriety for its impact on berry crops. We are including an update here as it has also been documented to infest tomatoes.

As a brief recap, SWD is a new invasive fruit fly with the unique ability to lay eggs in unripe fruit. The eggs and larvae become crop contaminants, unfortunately often not apparent until post-harvest and sometimes post-sale. So far in 2013 SWD has been confirmed in the Hudson Valley (Ulster and Orange Counties); Northern New York (St. Lawrence Co.), Long Island (Suffolk Co.) and the Finger Lakes (Ontario Co.). These specimens were all caught in traps near berry plantings. From the wide range of geography and macro-climates of these confirmed findings we can infer that SWD is present throughout NYS. Read more to learn how much of a threat SWD is to tomato growers.

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.

2013 Tomato, Eggplant, and Pepper Fungicide Roster for NYS

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: July 16, 2013

An overview of tomato, eggplant, and pepper fungicide roster.

Late Blight Sample Collection and Submission to Bill Fry, Cornell

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: July 16, 2013
Late Blight Sample Collection and Submission to Bill Fry, 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 Bill Fry's lab at Cornell. Instructions for reporting and sampling are provided.

Responding to Hailstorms

Crystal Stewart, 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.

Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: January 22, 2013
Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables

Plasticulture production of vegetables has been widely adopted in the Northeast providing farmers with in-row weed control, soil moisture regulation and season extension. However, the bare row middles in this system require herbicide or cultivation which increase environmental impacts; impairing water quality, decreasing soil organic matter levels and increasing labor inputs. In 2012 the Cornell Vegetable Program was awarded a NESARE grant to evaluate a new use of cover crops, by sowing winter rye between plastic-mulched beds of tomatoes and onions on two cooperating farms. Both farms provided cultivation and herbicide treatments to enable us to compare weed control, yield and pest and disease impacts.

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, 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.

Managing Phytophthora Blight in 2012

Last Modified: August 7, 2012

Phytophthora blight was more severe in 2011 than it has been for many years, which raises concern that 2012 could be another bad year for this very destructive disease because of the quantity of pathogen spores left in fields at the end of last season to survive over winter. Blight was severe in areas where there were intensive rainfall events, which created unusually favorable conditions. A key to successfully managing this disease is managing soil moisture to avoid saturated conditions that favor pathogen development and infection. Achieving this is difficult when rainfall amounts are large. Another key has been fungicides registered recently with targeted activity for pathogens in this biological group (Oomycetes). Rain events in 2011 challenged maintaining a good spray schedule and thus achieving effective control. Once blight starts to develop in a crop, it can be difficult to stop, thus a management program will be most successful when initiated before symptoms begin to develop. This includes fungicide applications. An integrated program with cultural practices and fungicides is considered essential.

Armyworms are Poised to Eat Your Vegetable Crops

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

Last Modified: June 6, 2012
Armyworms are Poised to Eat Your Vegetable Crops

They're back! Remember 2008 when armyworms marched from wheat into vegetable fields, eating everything in their path? Well, reports in western, NY are that populations of true armyworms in wheat are the highest they've been in years. True armyworms have also recently been reported in grass hay in Washington and Schenectady Cos., and in numerous crops, including sweet corn, Swiss Chard, and lettuce in Ulster/Orange Cos.

According to the NYS IPM Weekly Field Crops Report, the most common infestation sites for true armyworm larvae include dense fields of grasses, including wheat and other cereals, grassy forages, fields with rye cover crops and corn. Good grass control within and along field margins helps reduce the risk of infestations.

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.

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Upcoming Events

NY Veterans in Agriculture Summit

November 29, 2017
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Syracuse, NY

Come gather for a day of education and networking. Learn about resources that are available to farmer veterans in New York and participate in educational sessions on topics including animal health, financial management, high tunnels, and business planning. 
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Second Annual Cut Flower Conference

December 1, 2017
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Rensselaerville, NY

Cornell Cooperative Extension's Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program, announces their upcoming Second Annual Cut Flower Conference. The initial Cut Flower Conference, held in 2016, was very popular with established and beginning cut flower growers and growers considering adding cut flowers to their diversified farms.
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2017 Processing Vegetable Crops Advisory Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

December 13, 2017
9:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Batavia, NY

All processing vegetable growers and industry members are invited to attend. Discuss the 2017 growing season and management concerns. Reports and discussion of the 2017 Projects funded by the New York Vegetable Research Council/Association. Review priorities and the role of the advisory group in applications for state and federal grants. Give your input on the format of future advisory meetings and future educational programs. 
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Announcements

Available: 2017 Certified Seed Potato Directory

The 2017 NYS Certified Seed Potato Crop Directory is now available. There is a wealth of information on NYS potato seed certification, as well as on the varieties grown for certification in 2017. The varieties include standards for processing and tablestock, newer varieties and numbered lines, and specialty/heirloom varieties. Brief summaries of the varieties' maturity, appearance, yield potential, and major disease susceptibility are included. Contact info for the growers with seed supplies of each variety is included. There is also a listing of the inspectors from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets in Albany and Syracuse.

Growing for Wholesale Guidelines Available

Grading and packing guidelines are now available for 16 commonly grown specialty crops in NYS: broccoli crowns, Brussels sprouts, corn, green peppers, cucumbers, green cabbage, red cabbage, savory cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, jalapenos, poblanos, Hungarian hot peppers, summer squash, and zucchini.

Acceptable quality standards and common defects that should be sorted out on the grading line are depicted in these resources, both visually and in outline form. Find all of the grading sheets here.

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