Welcome to the Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory

…Physiology …Quality …Efficiency

Serving many communities — agricultural, scientific, educational, economic development, food and human health…

Contributing to the discovery and use of improved crop management tools and techniques…

Building on the cornerstone of stakeholder-driven horticultural science…



We work on a systems basis to strengthen vegetable farms and businesses, to aid peers and to increase product value to end-users and consumers.


We listen to farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders and partners to identify issues which can be addressed through enhanced combinations of crop genetics and cultural management.
We document the performance of these combinations in a range of conditions and using scientific methods and many criteria. Those with whom we choose the subject of our research often partner in its completion. We synthesize information and guide stakeholders in applying it. This guidance is delivered in different formats.


We work in multiple settings to develop information and products that are useful to commercial stakeholders and fellow scientists. Our efforts include large-scale experiments conducted in open fields and smaller-scale studies conducted under tightly controlled environmental conditions in growth chambers. High tunnels and greenhouses offer intermediate levels of scale and control. Regardless, sample analysis in the laboratory yields important insights. And, data management, report development and extension product development typically require offices.

The Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory conducts research in fields managed by The OSU and Laboratory personnel in Wooster, Celeryville, and Fremont, OH. Other studies are conducted on the farms of grower-cooperators located throughout the state. These fields are managed using conventional, sustainable and certifiable-organic approaches.




High Tunnel

high tunnelThe Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory employs nine high tunnels in its work. All of the high tunnels are located at the OARDC in Wooster, OH. Six of the high tunnels measure 21 ft wide x 48 ft long and three measure 30 ft wide x 80 ft long. Four of the six small high tunnels were built by Laboratory personnel in Spring 2003, the remaining two were built by a local contractor in Fall 2009 and all six are managed using certifiable-organic methods. All three large high tunnels were raised by a local contractor in Fall 2009 and one is managed using certifiable-organic methods. All high tunnels have been indispensable in related research and extension activities.


???????????????????????????????The Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory regularly employs up to two thousand square feet of climate-controlled greenhouse space (all located at the OARDC in Wooster, OH) in its work. Greenhouse space is used in routine activities such as seed, cutting and transplant production and in research requiring the unique combination of scale and environmental control available only in a greenhouse. Conventional and certifiable-organic methods are used in the management of these greenhouse spaces.

Growth Chamber

growth chamberThe Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory employs reach- or walk-in Conviron Growth Chambers located at the OARDC in Wooster, OH when required. The scale of growth chamber studies is typically small but much can be learned through them. In our experience, growth chamber activities spark follow-up work completed in greenhouses, high tunnels, and open fields (including on farms). Growth chamber studies also help answer questions left open in research conducted in less-controlled settings.

laboratoryLaboratory-based, benchtop analysis of samples collected in all other research settings is key to the Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory. This analysis allows us to describe the influence of pre-harvest management on crop physiology and quality, especially chemical makeup. A wide range of standard and advanced equipment and instrumentation is available in the home laboratory and at other facilities at the OARDC in Wooster, OH.






Offices of The Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory are located in Gourley Hall on the campus of the OARDC in Wooster, OH (map).

Partners and Sponsors

Commercial vegetable and industrial crop production offers many opportunities. However, paths to obtaining the full benefits of the process are often blocked by complex barriers. A multifaceted, team approach that integrates the talents and knowledge of many people is required to shrink these barriers. With each improvement in commercial cropping systems, farmers, many other people and the environment profit. The VPSL is pleased to collaborate with individuals, groups, businesses and organizations near and far to meet that overall goal.

Working groups, centers, and interdisciplinary programs are one way in which people throughout agriculture form outcome-oriented teams. The VPSL works with members of OSU Vegetable Team, Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group, Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program, Agroecosystem Management Program, Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship, Food Innovation Center, Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives, International Programs, and others to accomplish shared objectives. We also recommend that stakeholders consult other groups including the Agricultural Risk Analysis Program, Ohio Integrated Pest Management Program, Local Foods Team, Direct Marketing Team, and Social Responsibility Initiative.

That effort involves integrated research and extension activities and sponsorship. Below are the logos of a cross-section of sponsors of Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory activities.