Organic Veggie Course Set Jan. 18

Salinas event will cover all aspects of organic production by state experts. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jan 14, 2005

In response to growing demand for organic vegetables and an increasingly competitive market, the California Cooperative Extension is offering a one-day course in organic vegetable production Jan. 18 in Salinas.

Organic vegetable production has grown into a significant part of the agriculture industry," says Richard Smith, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in and one of the program organizers. "We’re pleased to be able to offer this short course with presentations by local and statewide experts on all aspects of organic vegetable production, from the costs of production to soil and pest management."

Program to include:

  • Santa Cruz County Director Laura Tourte will discuss the costs of producing organic lettuce and broccoli.
  • Richard Smith will talk about cover crops in organic crop production.
  • Louise Jackson, UC Davis land, air and water resources professor, will present results of a three-year study on the transition to organic production for cool-season vegetables.
  • Husein Ajwal and Susanne Klose, vegetable specialists, will discuss the impact of cover crops and cropping systems on soil organic matter quality.
  • Will Horwath, UC Davis professor in the land, air and water resource department, will talk about the role of soil organic matter and its impact on crop production.

Other topics include weed management, organic sources of nitrogen, and organic disease management. Researchers and growers will also participate in a panel discussion on insectaries and border plantings to control insects in organic vegetable production. All participants will receive a manual on the topics covered.

"The course will emphasize readily usable information for small- and large-scale growers," says Milt McGiffen, Cooperative Extension specialist and plant physiologist at UC Riverside, a program organizer.

Other sponsoring organizations are the UC Sustainable Agriculture and Research and Education Program (SAREP), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s "Buy California" Initiative and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers.

The 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. course will take place at the UCCE office, 1432 Abbott St., Salinas. The cost is $50. To register, contact Lynne Cochran at (951) 827-4430, For more information, contact Smith at (831) 759-7357,