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 specialist at Penn State's University Park campus with a 60% extension and 40% teaching appointment.

My extension program aims to develop and disseminate science-based information to assist vegetable farmers in making informed production decisions. It includes applied research focusing on studying solutions to problems farmers face and evaluating new techniques and technologies for producing vegetables. Areas of emphasis include cultivar evaluation, nutrient management with organic nutrient sources, cultural pest management strategies, reduced tillage, and hydroponics systems management. I have conducted trials in field settings, high tunnels, and greenhouses and have evaluated numerous vegetable crops in organic and conventional systems.

Click here to find recent Extension publications.

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) This course aims 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 semester.
  • 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 Fall semester.

Refereed Publications

Huerta-Arredondo, I., Sánchez, E. S., & Ewing, J. (2023). Understanding Latinx Farmers in Pennsylvania to Meet their Needs for Non-formal Education. Horticulturae, 9(5), 590.

Duque, L., & Sanchez, E. S., et al. (2022). A Win–Win Situation: Performance and Adaptability of Petite Sweetpotato Production in a Temperate Region. Horticulturae, 8(2). 

Sánchez, E. S., Pollock, R. C., Elkner, T. E., Butzler, T. M., & Di Gioia, F. (2021). Fruit Yield and Physicochemical Quality Evaluation of Hybrid and Grafted Field-Grown Muskmelon in Pennsylvania. Horticulturae, 7, 14. 

Sánchez, E. S., Butzler, T. M., Elkner, T. E., Pollock, R. C., & Di Gioia, F. (2021). Pennsylvania State University Statewide Cultivar Evaluation Program Model. Horticulturae, 7, 8. 

Sanchez, E. S., Gorgo-Gourovitch, M., & Stivers, L. (2019). Creating a sense of belonging for Hispanic farmers and farmworkers in agricultural programming. HortTechnology 29:476-481

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., Hernández, E., Gleason, M. L., Batzer, J. C., Williams, M. A., Coolong, T., & Bessin, R. (2015). Optimizing row cover deployment for managing bacterial wilt and using compost for organic muskmelon production. HortTechnology, 25, 762-768. 

Butzler, T. M., Sanchez, E. S., Bogash, S. M., Elkner, T. E., Lamont, W., Pollock, R., & Stivers, L. J. (2015). Pennsylvania statewide sweet corn cultivar evaluation. HortTechnology, 25, 687-695. 

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. 

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. 

Barberchek, 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. (2007). Undergraduate Students as University Instructors: Students Teaching Students. 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.

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.