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.






Relevant Event

3rd Annual Vegetable Pest Management Field Day

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 23, 2018
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM plus light supper and networking
Portland, NY

Most Recent Soil Health Content

High Tunnel Best Management Practices for Long Term Soil Health and Fertility

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: March 19, 2018
High Tunnel Best Management Practices for Long Term Soil Health and Fertility

These best management practices were selected by experienced high tunnel growers and extension staff as a result of a four year project tracking economic, soil and irrigation water data from high tunnels across New York State. They can be used remedially, or implemented in a new high tunnel system.

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).


More Soil Health Content

Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers Website
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

Fresh Market Vegetable Grading & Packing Workshop

August 21, 2018
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Deposit, NY

Are you interested in farm to school or selling to institutional markets? Maybe you'd like to know more about grading and packing your fresh market produce right in the field? CCE Broome County, in partnership with the CCE Cornell Vegetable Program and the Cornell Baskets to Pallets program, is offering a hands-on, on-farm experience designed to prepare farms in NY, both beginning and experienced, to enter new markets.
view details

Oswego Onion Growers Twilight Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 22, 2018
4:00 PM registration, 4:30-6:30 PM educational program, 7:00 PM dinner
Oswego, NY

This in-field twilight meeting will feature a tour of Christy Hoepting's fungicide trial for Stemphylium leaf blight and Botrytis leaf blight. Hoepting will share head to head comparisons of FRAC groups, alternatives to FRAC 3 and 7, reduced rates, and fungicide programs. A first look at 2018 results from onion thrips research trials will be presented by Brian Nault and Ashley Leach, Cornell University. Hear about the 2018 onion maggot research trial results and new research initiative with Brian Nault and Erica Moretti. Hoepting will also provide information about a new seed treatment for onion smut control.
view details

3rd Annual Vegetable Pest Management Field Day

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 23, 2018
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM plus light supper and networking
Portland, NY

Research trial results, cultural technique showcases, and effective varieties and treatments for organic and IPM production are the meeting focus. We will highlight current disease issues, their detection & spread based on this season's climate conditions, and management tools available to reduce yield impacts. Sessions will also be offered on pest identification and control options.  Regional equipment dealers and industry representatives will be invited to display equipment and new technology.

2.25 DEC credits available in categories 1a, 10 and 23
view details
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Announcements

Growing for Wholesale Guidelines Available

Grading and packing guidelines are available for 17 commonly grown specialty crops in NYS: acorn squash, 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.

Vegetable Sizing Templates Available

To assist farmers looking to sell into wholesale markets, vegetable sizing templates are now available for bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash. The crop templates are scaled to size (8.5 x 11 paper). They can be printed and used to create sizing templates to be used by workers on the wash and pack lines. Additional grading resources are available too.

Managing Bird Damage in Sweet Corn

Former CCE Cornell Vegetable Program Specialist Darcy Telenko shares information on her on-farm research of bird management options to minimize damage to sweet corn in this video and final report. Learn more about the tools she evaluated -- chemical control, air dancers, scare-eye balloons, and detasseling.

Watch the video now! 
Read the final report now!

This research was supported by a Northeast SARE Partnership Grant and the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Empire State Producers EXPO Proceedings

Proceedings from the Empire State Producers EXPO conference from 2011-2018 are available online.

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