Crop Production

A field of sdoybeans.

Delaware’s Vegetable Industry is alive and vibrant, with nearly 60,000 acres planted annually. Kent and Sussex Counties each are in the top 1% of all counties in the U.S. in vegetable production. Approximately 60% of the acreage is devoted to processing vegetables, 40% is devoted to fresh market.

Vegetable and Small Fruits Program


The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Vegetable Crops Program provides non-biased, research based information for producers, processors, and agribusiness personnel in Delaware, the region, and the nation. The program addresses the needs of commercial producers of fresh-market and processing vegetables.

The needs are addressed with applied research and demonstration programs in variety trials, plant nutrition, and innovative cultural practices. The information and knowledge is disseminated through a wide range of venues, including educational meetings, publications, direct contact, and this website.

Lima Bean Breeding Program

Lima beans are Delaware’s most widely planted vegetable crop. Approximately 14,000 acres of green baby limas for processing are planted in the state each year.

Lima beans are Delaware's most widely planted vegetable crop. Approximately 14,000 acres of green baby limas for processing are planted in the state each year. Fordhook and large seeded pole limas for fresh market are also grown in Delaware.

In 2004, Emmalea Ernest, University of Delaware Extension Associate for Vegetable Crops, began a lima bean breeding program. The goal of the breeding program is to develop new varieties of lima beans, which possess disease resistance and are well adapted to Delaware’s growing conditions and production practices.

The first green baby lima lines developed in the breeding program were tested in replicated yield trials in 2008. Fordhook breeding lines from the UD program were first trialed in 2010.  


Baby & Fordhook Lima Bean Trials

Below is a table of trial results saved into pdf report format.

















A graphic overview of the lima breeding program.
A graphic overview of the lima breeding program.

Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations for 2020/2021

This copy of the 2020/2021 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations replaces all previous editions of the Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations. Information presented in this publication is based on research results from the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, The Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, West Virginia University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, combined with industry and grower knowledge and experience.

This publication will be revised biennially. In January 2021, a critical update with important updates for this publication will be communicated through local Extension Agents and Vegetable Specialists.

Vegetable Crop Budgets and Irrigation Cost Calculators


The Delaware Processing Vegetable Crop Budgets and Fresh Market Vegetable Budgets are updated every five years.  The vegetable budgets are available as downloadable Excel files with a static example worksheet and an editable worksheet, where values may be changed to reflect an individual grower’s production situation.

Processing Vegetables

Fresh Market Vegetables

Irrigation Cost Calculators

Baby Lima Beans
Pickling Cucumbers
Snap Beans
Sweet Corn

Bell Pepper
Seedless Watermelon
Sweet Corn

Diesel Center Pivot

Electric Center Pivot

Drip Irrigation


Program contacts