Cornell Vegetable Program Enrollment

Program Areas

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  • Cultural Practices

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  • 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

Women in Agriculture Discussion Group: Urban Farming

May 6, 2019
Monday, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Buffalo, NY

Most Recent Soil Health Content

How to Take a Soil Sample

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: January 14, 2019
How to Take a Soil Sample

Soil sampling is an important part of managing your crops, but it's important to do it correctly. In this video, ENYCHP vegetable specialist Amy Ivy demonstrates how to take a soil sample.


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.


More Soil Health Content

Video: Moving a High Tunnel
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

Upcoming Events

Women in Agriculture Discussion Group: Urban Farming

May 6, 2019
Monday, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Buffalo, NY

Each monthly Women in Ag discussion group meeting will feature an established, innovative Farm-her leading the group on a tour of her operation and sharing her expertise on business management and production. Several guest speakers, as well as Cornell Vegetable Program staff, will be brought in to act as resource people for developing solutions to common production challenges.

The May 6 meeting will cover positive public relations and navigating municipal ordinances in urban farming. The meeting will be hosted by Mayda Pozantides (Groundwork Market Garden) and Allison DeHonney (Urban Fruits & Veggies). Participants will learn about production in urban soils and how to adapt farming techniques for urban environments.
view details

Women in Agriculture Discussion Group: Small Fruit & Vegetable Production plus Insect Control

July 15, 2019
Monday, time TBA
East Aurora, NY

Each monthly Women in Ag discussion group meeting will feature an established, innovative Farm-her leading the group on a tour of her operation and sharing her expertise on business management and production. Several guest speakers, as well as Cornell Vegetable Program staff, will be brought in to act as resource people for developing solutions to common production challenges.

The July 15 meeting will cover small fruit production and insect control led by Elizabeth Buck, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program, and Abby Seaman, NYS IPM Program. The meeting will be hosted by Gayle and Naomi Thorpe (Thorpe's Organic Family Farm). Gayle and Naomi will share their experiences managing a diversified organic farming operation and family farm transitions.
view details

Announcements

How to Take a Soil Sample

Soil sampling is an important part of managing your crops, but it's important to do it correctly. In this video created by the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, Vegetable Specialist Amy Ivy demonstrates how to take a soil sample.

For more information or to get soil sampling forms and supplies, visit Agro-One online.

Cornell Commercial Vegetable Guidelines Available

The 2019 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 2019 Vegetable Guidelines include:
  • Updated pesticide options for economically important vegetable crop pests.
  • New pests: beet armyworm in beets; cabbage looper and tarnished plant bug in lettuce and endive; allium leafminer in onions; and Cladosporium, Cercospora, and Stemphylium leaf spots in spinach.
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 many local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, or from The Cornell Store at Cornell University or call (844) 688-7620.

Empire State Producers EXPO Proceedings

Proceedings from the Empire State Producers EXPO conference from 2011-2019 are available online.

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