Skip to Main Content


Frequently Used Tools:

Evaluating Specialty Crops for Organic Production

(Rogers, Smith and Wszelaki)



Specialty crops are those crops and their unique varieties that allow growers to fill niche markets. We grew three varieties of many specialty crops, including eggplant, tomato, potato, carrots, peppers, melon, beans, greens and herbs. The objectives of this project were to evaluate the performance of different vegetable varieties and to observe potential problems organic vegetable growers in Tennessee might experience.


Cucumber trellis

Purple Dragon Carrots

In our first year (2008), there was very little disease pressure. Cucumber beetles were our biggest challenge and fed on all of our cucurbit crops (cucumbers, melons, squash), as well as sweet corn. We collected three different species of the beetles: Striped Cucumber Beetles (Acalymma vittatum), Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) and Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera). In the spring of 2009 , we started a trap cropping project to combat these pests. In the spring of 2010, we will start another project to combat cucumber beetles using a novel biopesticide.