Vegetable Gardening Resources

Although it seems like no one really knows what is going on right now or how long this situation is going to last, one thing that I am sure of is that there is no time like the present to start your own vegetable garden!

Whether you’ve been growing vegetables for 30+ years or this will be you first year, here is a list of resources that should help you along the way.


Vegetable Gardening Resources – Getting Started!A cucurbit seedling showing the two cotelydons and the first true leaf just starting to unfold.

  • Beginning a Vegetable Garden This resource takes you through choosing a location for you garden to dealing garden pests.
  • Vegetable Growing Guides From artichoke to zucchini, find information about site characteristics and plant traits as well as growing information and special considerations.
  • Vegetable Planting Guide This resource includes a chart that shows when you should seed things inside, when you should seed things outside and when it is time to transplant. (Note: Although written for Rockland County, it works Orange County as well.)
  • Average Last Frost Date Although the last frost date is important, keep in mind that even after the last frost, cool temperatures will stress warm season crops like peppers and tomatoes.  These crops like nighttime temperatures consistently above 45°F and soil temperatures at about 70°F.
  • Soil Amendments and Fertilizers This guide includes fertilizer guidelines by plant group as well as information about pH adjusters, growth stimulants and potting mixes

Soil Samples

A trowel stuck in a raised garden bedBefore starting a garden, it is always a good idea to get a soil test.  As our office is closed, we are no longer accepting soil samples at this time.  Fortunately, if you need your soil tested, you can mail it directly to the soil testing lab, Dairy One.

Once you have your results, we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Vegetable Garden Problems

  • Vegetable Pests Colorado potato beetle on a potato stemFrom cucumber beetles and aphids to spider mites and slugs, this guide will help you identify your pest and give you tips on how to manage it.
  • Vegetable Diseases Choose your vegetable and then look through Fact Sheets and Information Bulletins to help identify the disease and learn the best way to manage it. 
  • Vegetable Cultural and Environmental Problems Sometimes you might think your plant has a disease when in fact the problem is not caused by a pathogen but environmental conditions or a cultural practice.  This resource will help you diagnose your problem and teach you what you can do about it.

Garden Helpline!

Garden Helpline Card (Information in text below image.)If you need help identifying the cause of a problem or figuring out a management strategy give us a call.  Our Garden Helpline phones are staffed April – November, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm.  But you can always leave us a message or send us an e-mail.

Call (845) 343-0664 or e-mail your questions to mghelpline@cornell.edu.

Online Classes

If you still want to learn more, take advantage of these online classes!

Wicker basket full of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, beets, turnips,onions and a sprig of mintVegetable Gardening 101: Virtual Class (via Zoom)

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County

Date and Time: Saturday, March 28, 2020, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Cost: $10-$30 / person self-determined sliding scale, pay what you can afford

This class will help the beginning vegetable gardener learn how to choose a site for their vegetable garden, prepare the soil, start and transplant seeds, how to choose and use compost and mulch, how to care for your plants throughout the season, and when to harvest. Get the basics so you can have a great garden no matter how much experience you have.

Tray of cabbage seedlings in Starting Seeds 101: Virtual Class (via Zoom)

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Cost: $10-$30 / person self-determined sliding scale, pay what you can afford

Grow everything from artichokes to zucchini from seed at home. Save money and enjoy the miraculous process of seed germination and plant growth in your home to get you through these last weeks of winter and get your garden started early. We’ll cover techniques such as cold stratification and scarification as well as simple recipes for making your own potting and fertilizer mixes to save even more money. We’ll talk about tools such as grow lights and heat mats and soil blocks.


So in the time of uncertainty, I encourage you to grow some food.

Stay home!  Stay safe!  Be well!  Happy Gardening!