Elsa Sánchez, Ph.D.

Elsa Sánchez, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Horticultural Systems Management
315 Tyson Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Sustainable vegetable systems
  • Organic vegetable systems
  • Field vegetable production systems
  • High tunnel vegetable production systems
  • Hydroponic vegetable systems


  • Ph.D., Horticulture, Washington State University, 2001
  • M.S., Agriculture Biology, New Mexico State University, 1996
  • B.S., Horticulture, New Mexico State University, 1994

I am a commercial vegetable crops specialist at Penn State's University Park campus.

My extension program is focused on the production of vegetable crops with a focus on environmental sustainability. The goal of my extension program is to develop and disseminate science-based information to assist commercial vegetable growers in making informed production decisions. I work in organic and conventional vegetable systems. 

My research focuses on developing and investigating different management methods for vegetable production systems. My focus has been on studying production issues including cultivar evaluation, nutrient management with organic nutrient sources, cultural pest management strategies, the use of reduced tillage and hydroponics systems. Trials have been conducted in field settings, high tunnels and greenhouses and have evaluated numerous vegetable crops.

I also teach several undergraduate courses: 

  • Horticultural Systematics (HORT 232, 3 credits) In this course we explore the biosystematics and taxonomy of important horticultural plants. It includes a weekly laboratory session and is offered every Spring semester.
  • Gardening for Fun and Profit (PLANT 220, 3 credits) The overall objective of this course is to provide future homeowners with the fundamentals of designing, planting and maintaining gardens and the home landscape. It includes a weekly laboratory session and is offered every Spring and Fall semester. It is co-taught with Dr. Rob Berghage.
  • Vegetable Crops (HORT 433, 3 credits) In this course we study the cultural requirements of important vegetable crops in conjunction with physiological processes and problems related to commercial production. It includes a weekly laboratory session and is offered every other Fall semester.
  • Hydroponics and Aquaponics (HORT 497A, 3 credits) In this course we examine the principles and practices in hydroponics and aquaponics systems, design, management and crop production. It includes a weekly laboratory session and is offered every Spring and Fall semester. It is co-taught with Dr. Rob Berghage.

 Recent Refereed Publications

  • Sánchez, E.S., M. Gorgo-Gourovitch and L. Stivers. 2019. Creating a sense of belonging for Hispanic farmers and farmworkers in agricultural programming. HortTechnology 29:476-481. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04336-19.
  • Sánchez, E.S., T.M. Butzler, L. J. Stivers, R. Pollock, T.E. Elkner, S.M. Bogash, and W.J. Lamont. 2016. Performance of spring and fall broccoli cultivars for the mid-Atlantic region. HortTechnology 26:869-876. 

  •  Lilley, J.M. and E.S. Sánchez. 2016. The potential of strip tillage for organic cucurbit production. HortTechnology 26:628-636.

  • Sánchez, E.S., E. Hernández, M.L. Gleason, J.C. Batzer, M.A. Williams, T. Coolong, and R. Bessin. 2015. Optimizing Row Cover Deployment for Managing Bacterial Wilt and Using Compost for Organic Muskmelon Production. HortTechnology 25:762-768.

  • Butzler, T.M., E.S. Sánchez, S.M. Bogash, T.E. Elkner, W. Lamont, R. Pollock, and L.J. Stivers. 2015 Pennsylvania statewide sweet corn cultivar evaluation. HortTechnology 25:687-695.

  • Sánchez, E.S., T.M. Butzler, L. J. Stivers, T.E. Elkner, S.M. Bogash, R.E. Oesterling and M.D. Orzolek. 2012. Pennsylvania statewide winter squash evaluation. HortTechnology 22(6):826-837.

  • Sánchez, E.S. and H.D. Karsten. 2011. Development and evaluation of a training program on whole farm nutrient planning for organic farms. HortTechnology 21(4):500-503.
  • Barbercheck, M., N. E. Kiernan, A. G. Hulting, S. Duiker, J. Hyde, H. Karsten, E. Sánchez. 2011. Meeting the "multi-" requirements in organic agriculture research: Successes, challenges, and recommendations for multifunctional, multidisciplinary, participatory projects.  Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 27:93-106.
  • Sánchez, E.S., T.M. Butzler, S.M. Bogash, T.E. Elkner, R.E. Oesterling, M.D. Orzolek and L. J. Stivers. 2011. Pennsylvania Statewide Bell Pepper Cultivar Evaluation. HortTechnology 21(3):384-390.
  • Sanders, G.Q., E.S. Sánchez and K. Demchak. 2011. Evaluation of Alternative Management Options for Gray Mold on Field Grown Raspberries. Journal of the American Pomological Society 65(2):39-46.
  • Sánchez, E., W.J. Lamont, Jr. and M.D. Orzolek. 2007. Newspaper Mulches for Suppressing Weeds for Organic High Tunnel Cucumber Production. HortTechnology 18(1):154-157.
  • Sánchez, E. and R. Craig. Undergraduate Students as University Instructors: Students Teaching Students. 2007. HortTechnology 17(2):258-261.
  • Sánchez, E. and R. Craig. 2007. Strengthening Teaching Effectiveness through Collaborative Learning Activities. HortTechnology 17(2):254-257.
  • Montri, D.N., K.M. Kelley and E.S. Sánchez. 2006. Consumer Interest in Fresh, Inshell Edamame and Acceptance of Edamame-based Patties. HortScience 41(7):1616-1622.
  • Montri, D., K. Kelley and E. Sánchez. 2006. Direct marketing edamame (Glycine max [L.] Merrill) to professional chefs. Journal of Extension volume 44(1). Article number 1RIB4. http://www.joe.org/joe/2006february/rb4.shtml.
  • Kelley, K.M. and Sánchez, E.S. 2005. Accessing and Understanding Consumer Awareness of and Potential Demand for Edamame. HortScience 40:1347-1353.
  • Sánchez, E., K. Kelley and L. Butler. 2005. Effect of Seedling Emergence on Edamame Production. HortTechnology 15:672-676.