OSU Investigates New Crop Options for Local Farms

By Kristie Buckland

The Vegetable and Specialty Seed program at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in in Aurora has been working to identify crop production practices for several Asian vegetables and medicinal herb crops over the last three years. The projects have been funded through Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and aim to identify best management strategies to develop Extension publications for use on farms and in backyard gardens. Crops grown in 2022 and 2023 include fresh vegetables (mizuna, gai lan, adzuki bean, Korean radish), as well as medicinal herbs (red sage, tulsi and ashwagandha).

The project also funded a ¼ acre demo garden which hosts 20 species of herb crops suited for production in our region that has served as a teaching opportunity for three education events so far. Preliminary work on herb crops for the region resulted in a list of potential crops, as well as challenges, detailed in an Extension publication “Medicinal Herb Production in the Pacific Northwest” ( Two graduate students have been trained on these new crops and are analyzing the first trials in the region evaluating fertility treatments and mechanical harvest options which will be highly impactful to local farms. Look for updates from the website listed below.