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Organic

OrganicAccording to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY (NOFA-NY), organic farming "seeks to maintain and improve the productivity of the land by encouraging and enhancing natural biological processes. Organic farmers nurture healthy plants by working to create a foundation of healthy soil. Great attention is paid to nurturing the soil with composts, cover crops, rock minerals and natural fertilizers. Plant disease and pests are controlled through the use of crop rotations, resistant varieties, cultivation, biological pest controls and botanical controls. The use of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides are prohibited in certified organic production."

The number of organic farmers in NYS continues to increase, driven in part by the increasing demand from consumers for produce that is free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The Cornell Vegetable Program has been working with organic farmers to determine their needs and offer alternatives to conventional production methods.



Eastern Organic Broccoli Webinar Recording

Last Modified: January 23, 2019
Eastern Organic Broccoli Webinar Recording

In this webinar, The Eastern Broccoli Project presents information of value to those raising Organic broccoli in the Eastern US.  

  • Organic nutrition for a nitrogen-hungry crop
  • Weed management in high fertility and short season
  • Insect management amid many hungry pests
  • Varieties suitable for organic production in the East
  • The market for organic broccoli

Hot Water Seed Treatment Using a Sous Vide Device

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: January 14, 2019
Hot Water Seed Treatment Using a Sous Vide Device

Learn to use a sous vide device to heat treat seeds as a simple, economical way to control diseases.


Organic Production Guides

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: July 17, 2017
Organic Production Guides

Organic Production Guides for fruits, vegetables and dairy are available through the NYS Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. They outline general practices for growing vegetable and fruit crops using organic integrated pest management techniques.

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.

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.

Garlic Production in the Northeast (from NOFA NY's Winter Conference, 2015)

Last Modified: April 7, 2016
Garlic Production in the Northeast (from NOFA NY's Winter Conference, 2015)

WNY garlic farmer Ed Fraser of Fraser's Garlic Farm and Cornell Cooperative Extension's Crystal Stewart presented at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference. Their presentation titled, Intermediate Garlic Production, focused on more advanced techniques to deliver a consistently high-quality garlic crop, including cover cropping plans, fertility management, weed control techniques, post-harvest handling, and seed selection. Information was based on research results, on-farm trials and experience.

Winter Aphid Management Fact Sheet

Cordelia Machanoff, Program Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: December 8, 2014
Winter Aphid Management Fact Sheet

Aphids can be a major problem in winter greens. This fact sheet outlines our experience with biological and biorational controls over four years of field research.

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. 

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.

How Copper Sprays Work and Avoiding Phytotoxicity

Last Modified: June 26, 2013
How Copper Sprays Work and Avoiding Phytotoxicity

Copper has been widely used in both conventional and organic production for some time. Copper was one of the first elements used as a plant fungicide (the other was Sulfur). Its discovery can be traced back to the famous origin of Bordeaux mixture, containing a mixture of copper sulfate (CuSO4) and slaked lime, and used for downy mildew control in French vineyards. 

SARE Cover Crop Topic Room: Current Research from Across the Nation

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: June 7, 2013
SARE Cover Crop Topic Room: Current Research from Across the Nation

A section of the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) website, the cover crop topic room provides educational materials developed from cover crop research. Topics include selection and management, economics, establishment, rotations, soil and fertility management, water management, pest management, and no-till.

Leek Moth Control and Information

Christy Hoepting, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: May 24, 2012
Leek Moth Control and Information

Leek Moth was detected in four home gardens in Plattsburg, NY in 2009. It was first detected in Ontario, Canada in 1997 where it has become problematic especially to small-scale, organic growers in eastern Ontario and to commercial producers in western Quebec, who have limited insecticides available to them.

Leek Moth continues its spread to more farms and gardens across the U.S., a new comprehensive website is available to aid in the identification and management of this pest. This Cornell website features maps of the distribution of leek moth, protocols on insect monitoring and identification, best management practices for farms and home gardens, a photo gallery of damage symptoms and a comprehensive resource section.

Visit the Leek Moth website.


Spring Garlic Recommendations

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

Last Modified: April 2, 2012
Spring Garlic Recommendations

Garlic fertility and weed control recommendations for March through May.

Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management

Robert Hadad, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: April 1, 2012
Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management

Organic farmers rely primarily on preventive, cultural and integrated methods of pest and disease management. However, there are a number of materials available for use that can complement and support organic management. This guide was developed to provide a useful and scientifically accurate reference for organic farmers and agricultural professionals searching for information on best practices, available materials and perhaps most importantly, the efficacy of materials that are permitted for use in organic systems.


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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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