Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is bringing Cornell University Horticulture Professor Dr. Stephen Reiners to Northern New York for two workshops for commercial vegetable growers. This workshop is for both organic and conventional growers.
Dr. Reiners will present a workshop from 10am to 3pm on Tuesday, February 14 at CCE Jefferson County, 203 North Hamilton Street, Watertown, and on Wednesday, February 15 at CCE Clinton County, 6064 Route 22, Plattsburgh. Growers must register by February 6 with CCE Jefferson County at 315-788-8450 or Clinton County at 518-561-7450. The $25 fee includes lunch and a resource packet.
In the morning session Dr. Reiners will cover the fundamentals of soil fertility and irrigation; in the afternoon, workshop participants will apply those principles to real-life case studies from actual Northern New York vegetable farms.
Workshops organizer Amy Ivy, executive director of CCE Clinton County and a horticultural specialist, says, "The short growing season in Northern New York makes it especially important for growers to keep their crops growing at full capacity all season long for maximum yield and income."
Dr. Reiners, an Associate Professor with the Cornell Department of Horticultural Sciences at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, since 2000, says understanding soil fertility and how to maintain it can make a huge difference for vegetable growers.
"Some growers apply too much fertilizer, some not enough. With proper knowledge, growers can develop a soil fertility plan that prevents mid-season deficiencies of key macro-nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium when the crop need is greatest, that, in turn, is a plan for higher yields and income."
Dr. Reiners will talk about pH and proper application of nutrients. Organic growers who rely on fertilizers such as fish emulsion need to be especially mindful of application rates to be sure crops receive adequate nutrition. Fertigation - combining fertilizer and irrigation - is one technique that will be discussed.
"Once growers properly apply the practical information they gain at this workshop, they will see positive results in one season," Ivy says.
Vegetable production for fresh market sales has dramatically increased in recent years across New York's six northernmost counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. This workshop has been approved as a Northern New York Agricultural Development Program small grants project.