Cornell Vegetable Program Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Food Safety
  • Variety Evaluation
  • Market Development
  • Pest Management
  • Cultural Practices

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  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • VegEdge Newsletter
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

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Soil Health

Soil HealthExcess rains and droughts of the past decade pointed out the poor health and productivity of soils on many local vegetable farms. Coupled with high fuel prices and high fertilizer prices, growers have been eager to improve their soil management efforts. Reduced tillage leads to less fuel use and legume cover crops allow the farmer to grow nitrogen fertilizer, reducing their need for conventional fertilizer and the fuel and labor to apply it.

The Cornell Soil Health Test can be used to determine your field's soil management for percentage of water-stable aggregates. A soil with low % water-stable aggregates has  poor crop emergence, more crusting, more runoff, reduced root growth, increased root diseases, and fewer beneficial microbes to cycle soil nutrients.

Vegetable farms using conventional tillage and few cover crops had an average of just 18% water-stable aggregates, while farms using reduced tillage or extensive cover cropping averaged 36-39%. Innovative growers are now beginning to adopt both strategies to improve soils even more.

In addition, the Cornell Vegetable Program is working with a number of conventional and organic vegetable growers on increasing the use of a wide range of cover crops to fill open niches in rotations to improve soil health and grow nitrogen.






Most Recent Soil Health Content

Adding Cover Crops to Your Farm? Consider the Herbicide Rotation Restrictions

Darcy Telenko, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: December 19, 2016
Adding Cover Crops to Your Farm? Consider the Herbicide Rotation Restrictions

One challenge to adding cover crops to your vegetable production system is that herbicides with residual activity may interfere with cover crop establishment and growth. Residual herbicides are a key management tool in vegetable production, especially for management of difficult weeds and their potential to help control herbicide-resistant weeds. Here are some questions to consider when utilizing a cover crop and how well it will work with your herbicide program.

Video: Moving a High Tunnel

Cordelia Hall, Program Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: May 19, 2016
Video: Moving a High Tunnel

Vegetable farmers have embraced the use of high tunnels to enhance productivity and quality of warm weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers. Growers meeting the demand for fresh market produce through high tunnel production face a unique set of soil management challenges. Intensive cropping minimizes opportunities for fallow periods, cover cropping and other techniques for maintaining soil health and fertility. The plastic covering prevents rain from leaching the profile, leading to excess salts and alkalinity. By choosing a moveable tunnel design, like the one in this video, a grower can grow a protected crop continuously while allowing for fallow periods, cover cropping and movement of excess salts through the soil profile. Moveable tunnels can be moved laterally (as shown) or pulled lengthwise to cover an already established crop (ie. move the tunnel from summer tomatoes over fall greens).

Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers Website

Carol MacNeil, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: August 17, 2015
Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers Website

This website enables growers to use a broader range of cover crops to improve soil health in many ways. Cover crop descriptions, seeding, seed sources, cost and management challenges are included.





More Soil Health Content

Living Mulch Project Update
Soil Health Grant Offers Cover Crop Evaluations and the Cornell Soil Health Test
SARE Cover Crop Topic Room: Current Research from Across the Nation
Making the Most of Cover Crop Mixtures
Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables
2009 Elba Muck Soil Nutrient Survey Summary
Preventing Muck Soil Erosion by Reducing Tillage in Onion Production
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Dry Beans

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Eggplant

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Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

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Onions

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Parsnips

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Peas

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Peppers

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Potatoes

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Pumpkins / Gourds

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Radishes

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Rhubarb

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Rutabaga

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Snap Beans

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Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Sweet Corn

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Sweet Potatoes

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Turnips

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more crops
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Upcoming Events

Worker Protection Standard Training & DEC Special Permit Training (Wayne County)

April 4, 2017
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM English Session / 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM Spanish Session
Newark, NY

Just like last year, Special Permits (SP) will only be issued for 11 specific pesticide labels and SP trainees will have to pass a test. This will relieve the certified pesticide applicator from "on-site within voice contact" supervision of non-certified pesticide applicators when they are handling federally-restricted-use pesticides for which they hold a Special Permit. The labels that will be covered include Lorsban Advanced, Endigo ZC, Warrior II with Zeon Technology, Agri-Mek SC, Beseige, Gramoxone SL 2.0, Leverage 360, Danitol 2.4EC, Mustang Maxx, Asana XL, and Lannate LV.

Workers requiring general pesticide training/Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Handler training who do not need special permits are welcome to take the class; they will not be tested and will receive a course participation certificate.
view details

Worker Protection Standard Training & DEC Special Permit Training (Orleans County)

April 5, 2017
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM English & Spanish sessions
Albion, NY

Just like last year, Special Permits (SP) will only be issued for 11 specific pesticide labels and SP trainees will have to pass a test. This will relieve the certified pesticide applicator from "on-site within voice contact" supervision of non-certified pesticide applicators when they are handling federally-restricted-use pesticides for which they hold a Special Permit. The labels that will be covered include Lorsban Advanced, Endigo ZC, Warrior II with Zeon Technology, Agri-Mek SC, Beseige, Gramoxone SL 2.0, Leverage 360, Danitol 2.4EC, Mustang Maxx, Asana XL, and Lannate LV.

Workers requiring general pesticide training/Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Handler training who do not need special permits are welcome to take the class; they will not be tested and will receive a course participation certificate.
view details

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course + Optional Food Safety Plan Writing Workshop

April 5 - April 6, 2017
April 5: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM; April 6: 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Batavia, NY

Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety should attend this food safety training. Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm, how to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm, parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one, and requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.

In addition, the PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in section 112.22(c) that requires
'At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.'
view details
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Announcements

Provide Input on IPM Practices and Adoption in NY

Darcy Telenko is coordinating the Vegetable Crop Pest Program in New York with the Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) Project. As part of the program, a new set of tools is currently being developed to help you manage crop pests and increase your profitability.

A survey has been developed to gather your insights to help shape the development of these tools to best support your pest management efforts. In addition, the results of the survey will help the Cornell Vegetable Program and other Extension professionals get a better picture of pest management practices among fresh market vegetable growers in New York. Read more about this survey.

Hoepting Wins 2016 Excellence-in-IPM Award

For her exemplary work on behalf of farmers, not just in the rich muck-soil region of western New York but statewide and nationally, Christy Hoepting [CCE Cornell Vegetable Program Specialist] has earned an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM) at Cornell University. IPM weaves together a broad range of tactics that minimize the environmental, health and economic risks of pests and pesticides both.

"Christy is a star in Cornell Cooperative Extension," says Brian Nault, a professor of entomology at Cornell. "She's a gifted educator and advocate, more passionate and successful in promoting IPM practices than just about anyone I know." While onions are Hoepting's main research focus -- they're a high-value crop for New York, with annual sales upward of $40 million -- growers in western New York also welcome her expertise in cabbage, broccoli and garlic.

Hoepting has conducted hundreds of on-farm research trials in plant pathology, entomology, weed science, cultural practices and crop nutrition, presented at scores of stakeholder and scientific meetings, and published scores of articles and research papers. It's also why she scouts farm fields relentlessly, tracking every movement of insect and disease pests.

"Christy does her research on the farm in growers' fields," says onion grower Matt Mortellaro. "It makes us confident that her work will apply to our situations. She's extremely responsive, and she's always listening."

Christy Hoepting received her award on March 8 at CCE Cornell Vegetable Program's "Elba Muck Region Onion School" in Albion, NY.

Empire State Producers EXPO Proceedings Available

Proceedings from the Empire State Producers EXPO conference from 2011-2017 are available online. 

2017 Cornell Vegetable Guidelines Available

The 2017 edition of the Cornell Integrated Crop and Pest Management Guidelines for Commercial Vegetable Production is now available. This annual publication provides up-to-date vegetable crop production information for New York State. It is designed as a practical guide for vegetable crop producers, crop consultants, ag chemical dealers, and others who advise vegetable crop producers.

In addition to the annually revised pesticide and crop production information, highlighted changes in this edition of the
Vegetable Guidelines include:
  • Addition of Dickeya blackleg on potato as a disease of concern.
  • Updated regulatory considerations for organic vegetable production.
  • Revised European corn borer management strategies for beans and potatoes.
The Cornell Guidelines are available as a print copy ($41 plus shipping), online-only access ($41), or a package that combines print and online access ($57.50 plus shipping). Cornell Guidelines can be purchased through your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or from the Cornell Store at Cornell University. To order from the Cornell Store, call (844) 688-7620 or order online.

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