Organic vegetable systems are often complex, including many vegetable varieties with rotations of fallow and cover crops to build the soil and reduce disease incidence. A good farm plan takes into consideration many factors:

  • Soil type
  • Current state of soil
  • Your expectations of the crop
  • Rotations to deter the pests but also to build and balance the soil
  • Climate
  • Environment
  • Market expectations
  • Your market(s)
  • Resources at your disposal
  • Personal experiences and those of fellow farmers
  • Most importantly: your skills and abilities

When starting an organic vegetable business, you should:

  • Allow for at least a year to plan
  • Speak to those with experience
  • Read to educate yourself
  • Attend educational sessions
  • Share your ideas with fellow farmers
  • Listen to responses
  • Incorporate ideas into a farm plan

Vegetable Production Resources

Yields of Michigan Vegetable Crops – PDF
This bulletin outlines factors affecting Michigan vegetable crop yields and provides a basis for estimating future yields.

Producing Garlic in Michigan – PDF
This bulletin presents the basics of garlic production for commercial and home gardeners in Michigan.

Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds – PDF
This bulletin provides recommendations for the production of pumpkin and squash varieties, discussing types and cultivars as well as vegetable yield.

Rhubarb: Cultural Guidelines for Michigan – PDF
This bulletin provides guidelines for perennial rhubarb production including recommended varieties as well as climate, soil and planting requirements.

Radish, Rutabaga, Turnip – PDF
This bulletin provides seasonal guidelines for production of vegetables in the Cruciferae (mustard) family.

Producing Onions in Michigan – PDF
This bulletin presents the basics of onion production for commercial and home gardeners in Michigan.

Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower – PDF
This bulletin has been prepared as a guide for commercial production of cole crops.

Pepper Production – PDF
This bulletin provides information on the basics of pepper production for commercial and home growth in Michigan.

Production Guide for Organic Peas – PDF
This guide for organic production of processing peas provides an outline of cultural and pest management practices and includes topics that have an impact on improving plant health and reducing pest problems.
Full PDF available for download.

Production Guide for Carrots – PDF
This guide for organic production of carrots provides an outline of cultural and pest management practices and includes topics that have an impact on improving plant health and reducing pest problems.
Full PDF available for download.

Production Guide for Cucumber and Butternut Squash – PDF
This guide for organic production of pickling cucumbers and butternut squash provides an outline of cultural and pest management practices.
Full PDF available for download.

Production Guide for Snap Peas – PDF
This guide for organic production of snap beans provides an outline of cultural and pest management practices and includes topics that have an impact on improving plant health and reducing pest problems.
Full PDF available for download.

Sweet Onions for Michigan Production – PDF
This report summarizes sweet onion production research at Southwest Michigan (SWMREC) including variety adaptability, direct seeding and harvest period.

Midwest Vegetable Production Guide – PDF
This publication presents research and experience-based recommendations for vegetable production and management in the Midwest.
Full PDF available for download.

Commercial Tomato Rootstocks – PDF
This table is a compilation of publicly available information developed with support by the USDA and presents common tomato diseases, pests and susceptibility characteristics.

Extension Articles

All Michigan State University Extension articles are selected from MSU Extension: Agriculture. Additional articles were selected from other university extension site. To stay current, subscribe to MSUE news digests.

Vegetable Growing Guides
Cornell University extension provides guides to 58 garden vegetables, each with a profile containing a descriptions, growing instructions, site and soil requirements, varieties and solutions for managing pests and diseases. You can also register for Cornell’s Gardeners citizen science program, which includes 5,000+ vegetable profiles.

New Vegetable Grower Factsheets
Penn State University extension provides a series of beginner factsheets and farm profiles designed for new vegetable growers.

Specialty Cropportunities
The Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs created a resource for specialty vegetable growers, providing crop-specific profiles and pest information.

Purdue Fruit and Vegetable Connection
This extension site provides news and resources to commercial fruit and vegetable producers in Indiana.

Disease management tactics for vegetables
This MSUE article outlines requirements for successful disease management including pathogen identification, pathogen biology and the environment that affect vegetable development.

When will my vegetables be ready to harvest?
Most fruiting vegetables require successful pollination for fruit development. This MSUE article outlines the general time requirements from flowering to harvestable fruit.

Freeze damage in fall vegetables: Identifying and preventing
This MSUE article details vegetable tolerance to frost and offers recommendations for preventing damage.

Asparagus IPM bulletin provides information on asparagus insect pests and diseases
This MSUE article discusses pests commonly affiliated with asparagus production and offers download of MSU Extension Bulletin E3219, “Disease and Insect Pests of Asparagus.”

Organic Nutrient Sources

Crop Services International (CSI), Portage, MI – 616-246-7933
CSI is a Michigan-based company that aims to help transitional, sustainable and organic growers achieve their goals. CSI combines technology, testing and natural inputs such as mined phosphates, sulfate of potash, gypsum as well as fish, seaweed, and a wide variety of biological and other products to increase soil, plant and animal life. If they do not carry a product you need, call for ordering or brokerage options.

Honeyville Farm and Feed Supply, Topeka, IN – 260-593-9943
Established in 2001, Honeyville meets the farm and feed demands of transitional and organic growers in Indiana and southwest Michigan, providing a full line of organic, non-GMO (and conventional) feed and fertilizer options.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s