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.
Resources For Growers
Grower + Industry Organizations
- Young Farmers Network
- Rhode Island Farm Bureau
- RI Fruit Growers Association
- RI-Raised Livestock Association
- Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT)
- New England Farmers Union
- RI association of conservation districts
- RI Farm Energy Program
- Division of Agriculture-RIDEM
- USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service
- USDA-Rural Development Agency
- USDA-Farm Services Agency
- Farm Credit East
- RI Small Business Development Center
- RI Agricultural Council
- Farm Fresh RI
- RI Resource Conservation and Development Council
- NOFA Rhode Island
- NOFA Massachusetts
- NOFA Connecticut
New England-Wide Resources
University of Connecticut UConn-IPM, Greenhouse Program
University of Massachusetts Vegetable Program, Fruit Program, Greenhouse program
Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratories
- UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory
- UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory
- UMaine Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service
- Agro-One, a division of Dairy One- Feed and Forage testing, field crops testing, soil testing
- URI Digital Commons Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station Reports, including vegetable variety trials
Research and Extension 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 specialists and plant diagnosticians 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 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.