Cornell Vegetable Program Enrollment

Program Areas

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

Enrollment Benefits

  • 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.






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

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 Machanoff, 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
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
view calendar of events

Upcoming Events

2018 Empire State Producers EXPO

Event Offers DEC Credits

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

The 2018 Empire State Producers Expo combines the major fruit, flower and vegetable associations of New York State in order to provide a comprehensive trade show and educational conference for New York producers, as well as the surrounding states and Eastern Canada. 
view details

Growing, Washing and Packing High Tunnel Winter Greens: Doing It and Doing It Well

January 18, 2018
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saratoga Springs, NY

NOFA-NY 2018 Winter Conference: Pre-Conference Event
This event promises to help growers bring their winter greens production to the next level -- both in the high tunnel and in the packshed. There will be an emphasis on best management practices in the high tunnel, especially practices which support long term soil health and fertility. In the packshed, processing efficiency and food safety will both be stressed.

The day will begin at 9:00 am in conference room Broadway 1, with workshops on issues and opportunities in winter high tunnel production and best practices for postharvest handling, including food safety concerns.

Upon completion of the workshops at 10:30 am, everyone will board a bus and travel to Paul and Sandy Arnold's Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, NY for a farm tour and farmer-led discussions in the high tunnel and packshed. A farm to table lunch, with a vegetarian option, will be served at the farm. After lunch, the tours and discussions will continue and then everyone will come together for a Q&A session with hot cider and light snacks. The bus will leave the farm at about 3:15 pm and should be back at the hotel by 4:00 pm. 
view details

Produce Grower Food Safety Training - FSMA and GAPs/HGAPs

January 30, 2018 : FSMA and GAPs/HGAPs Produce Safety Alliance Training Course

January 31, 2018 : Workshop on Farm Food Safety Plan Writing

This program is for fruit and vegetable growers who need Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) certification or GAPs/HGAPs (Good Agricultural Practices/ Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices) training required by buyers (i.e. 3rd-party food safety audits based on a written food safety plan) or if you are just interested in learning about produce safety.

Over the course of the training, certified Produce Safety Alliance trainers will cover content contained in these seven modules:
  • Introduction to Produce Safety
  • Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  • Soil Amendments
  • Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use 
  • Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water) 
  • Postharvest Handling and Sanitation 
  • How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan
An optional farm food safety plan writing workshop is offered on January 31. Separate registration required.
view details
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Announcements

Cornell Commercial Vegetable Guidelines Available

The 2018 Cornell Integrated Crop and Pest Management Guidelines for Commercial Vegetable Production are now available!

Written by Cornell University specialists, this publication is designed to offer producers, seed and chemical dealers, and crop consultants practical information on growing and managing vegetable crops in New York State. Topics include general culture, nutrient management, transplant production, postharvest handling, organic production, and managing common vegetable crop pest concerns. A preview of the Vegetable Guidelines can be seen online.

Highlighted changes in the 2018 Vegetable Guidelines include:
  • Updated pesticide options for economically important vegetable crop pests.
  • Significantly revised pest management practices.
  • New onion and sweet corn IPM scouting report forms.
Cornell Crop and Pest Management Guidelines are available as a print copy ($41), online-only access ($41), or a package combining print and online access ($57.50). Shipping charges will be added to your order. Cornell Guidelines can be obtained through your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office, or from the Cornell Store at Cornell University or call (844) 688-7620.

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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