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Vegetable Crops & Weed Science

The Vegetable Crops Program fosters appropriate research and collects and disseminates relevant information to consumers, growers, and processors in the California vegetable industry.

Vegetable Production
The vegetable industry of Monterey County is a diverse and dynamic industry. The Salinas Valley has a wide range of microclimates and soil types. As a result, there are a large number of issues that confront growers in addition to pest management. The Vegetable Crop Program run by farm advisor, Richard Smith includes general vegetable crop production issues such as plant nutrition as well as, soil fertility and management issues such as use of soil quick tests for nitrogen fertilizer management, slow release fertilizers, organic fertilizers and nutrient cycling by cover crops. Abiotic vegetable crop maladies such as nutrient deficiencies, physiological problems, spray burn and problems caused by cultural practices are researched and identified. New crop introduction have been a traditional part of the Salinas Valley agriculture as it has evolved from an area dominated by field crop and dairy production to one of the major centers for vegetable production in the world. As a result, evaluations of potential new crops such as edamame and others have been evaluated over the past several years.

Weed Science
Weeds are an ongoing and pressing issue for vegetable growers. They have negative impacts on crop yield and on the economics of crop production. In the Salinas Valley weeds are generally under excellent control in lettuce rotations during the summer months due to intensive cultivation and use of herbicides. However, there are key weeds that are adapted to the intensive production conditions and that continue to present challenges to growers. The weed science program evaluates new techniques for controlling weeds in vegetables. Projects include evaluation of the brush hoe weeder, evaluation of the impact of cover crops on weed populations, and evaluation of new weed control materials for the key Salinas Valley crops, as well as minor crops such as cilantro and rapini.


Vegetable Crops & Weed Science Staff

Photo of Richard Smith
Richard Smith
Title: Farm Advisor, Vegetable Crop Production & Weed Science
Specialty: Vegetable Crop Production & Weed Science
Cooperative Extension Monterey County
1432 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 759-7357
Email: rifsmith@ucanr.edu