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Vegetable Farming, part 1 (BF 120)

From Planning to Planting

This course will help new or aspiring vegetable producers to answer basic questions about site selection, crop rotation, seeding and transplants, and financial aspects of veggie production. Topics including variety selection, pre-plant preparation, and cultivation will be covered. Don’t miss BF 121, the continuation of this course, which takes you through the remainder of the growing season into harvest, post-harvest handling, and marketing.

Target Audience

This course is for serious aspiring farmers planning farm start-up within the next year, or those with 1-3 growing seasons of vegetable farming experience. Because the pest complex, production systems and appropriate varieties vary so much from region to region, this course targets farmers in the Northeastern United States. Farmers outside the region are welcome to register, but should do so knowing that some of the information presented may not be appropriate for their region.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand the characteristics of a viable site for commercial vegetable crop production and how to alter that site if necessary.
  • Understand the importance of cover-cropping, IPM, and proper pre-plant preparation.
  • Be able to develop a basic whole farm plan, which will help you keep records, manage time more effectively, and price products.
  • Have a good understanding of the full season of tasks involved in vegetable farming – from pre-plant to post-harvest considerations.
  • Know where to go to find reliable, fact based resource material on topics related to vegetable farming.


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in.


Amy Ivy is a regional vegetable specialist for the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Executive Director of the Clinton County CCE office.

Darcy Telenko is a regional vegetable specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program, and is based at the CCE Erie County office.


Wed. Jan. 13 – Feb. 17, 2016 (no class on Jan. 20). Webinars will be each Wed. evening from 7-8:30pm Eastern time. This course is full. Registration is closed. The course will next be offered in January 2017.

Course Outline

  • Week One: Introduction, Enterprise Budgets, and Siting/Planning a Vegetable Farm
  • Week Two: Soil Health Equals Plant Health
  • Week Three: Selecting Crops for Profitability
  • Week Four: Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Farm
  • Week Five: Season-Long Planning and Care

Cost and Registration

Fee for this course is $200. Registration is currently closed and will re-open in mid-August 2016.