Vegetable and Fruit Production

The University of Rhode Island Vegetable ​Production ​Program ​​addresses the needs of all vegetable producers​ in Rhode Island and surrounding communities​. Whether ​it’s a one quarter acre ​operation ​or 400 acres, ​URI provides the most current ​science-based ​information in sustainable and profitable crop production practices​ to growers through site visits, newsletters, on-farm workshops and more. Our work spans research and Extension, with applied research conducted at the Gardner Crops Research Center (affectionately known as ​the ​URI ​Agronomy Farm)​ that is then translated for practical application through Cooperative Extension​ workshops and events.

New program! Boots to Bushels (B2B) – Market Garden Training for New England offers veterans, service members, and beginning farmers educational opportunities on a range of topics including fruit and vegetable production, business development, finances, marketing and stress management.  Plus, you’ll make connections with local, regional and national resources. Interested in learning more? Email telourenco@uri.edu.

Resources For Growers

Grower + Industry Organizations

New England-Wide Resources

University of Connecticut UConn-IPM, Greenhouse Program

University of Massachusetts Vegetable Program, Fruit Program, Greenhouse program

Annual Events

Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratories

Projects

Research: ​Vegetable crop research and demonstrations, including field and high tunnels trials of vegetable varieties, production methods research and demonstrations, and cover crop species evaluations.

​Extension: ​Vegetable crop specialist​s​ and plant diagnostician​s​ ​provide assistance via text, phone, email, in-person farm visits, meetings, workshops, email newsletters and more.

Best vegetable cultivars for local market production

We test new and experimental vegetable varieties for adaptation to southern New England, response to diseases and insects, and suitability for intensive production. Species and market classes trialed change from year to year in response to interest from seed companies and growers. Trials are conducted using IPM and sustainable methods.

Season-extending production methods

Consumers have become accustomed to year-round availability of produce, so season extension is an important part of growing vegetables for local markets. Extending the season helps growers increase farm income and customer loyalty. We work to develop and demonstrate best practices for season extension using high tunnels, row covers, and other techniques.

Pest Management Strategies

Insects, microbes, weeds, birds, and rodents are important parts of the ecosystem, but they can also cause significant problems for farmers. Integrated pest management, minimal risk pesticides, and physical barriers are important tools for protecting crops.

Improvements to soil health

Healthy soil is key to healthy crops, and soil organic matter is an important part of soil health. Amending soil with compost and other organic materials, reducing tillage, and growing cover crops are ways vegetable growers can build soil organic matter and improve soil health.

Urban agriculture

Urban farms and gardens enhance the quality of city life. They provide residents with fresh, local, and culturally appropriate food, strengthen social networks, and conserve biodiversity. Urban gardeners and farmers, however, face unique challenges, including limited access to land and soil contamination. Our research seeks to address these challenges by identifying best management practices for smaller scale urban and suburban production systems.

Contact

Program Director, Boots to Bushels - Market Garden Training for New England

Telourenco@uri.edu

Director/ Diagnostician, Plant Diagnostic Laboratory

Plant Sciences and Entomology

401-874-2967
PlantLab@uri.edu || Keiddy@uri.edu

Assistant Professor in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Plant Sciences and Entomology

401-874-4538
camilo.villouta@uri.edu