Planting Kohlrabi, Picking Rocks, Plant Sale, and More – TC3 Farm Field Journal for the Week of May 9th, 2016 – Student Post by Hailey
This is the last week of classes before finals! Today we will be transplanting! This is my favorite activity because we get to physically see the changes both in the plants and the landscape. We plant thousands of little baby plants and watch as they grow and we help to nourish them when necessary. We watch them develop into mature plants and then literally get to harvest the fruits of our labor. I don’t think there is a feeling that quite matches that one.
Planting kohlrabi. Today we planted a lot of kohlrabi seedlings. We planted two varieties of kohlrabi, I don’t remember the names of the varieties but one was green and one was purple. We placed the strings that guide the rows we made and we placed the measuring tape to guide us while planting. We planted three rows per bed and two entire beds. In the two outer rows we planted the kohlrabi transplants every six inches at the six and twelve marks. We had to stagger the middle row, planting the seedlings at the three and nine inch marks. Before planting we lay out the little transplants and what is called their root ball, which is just the mass of roots and seed starting soil attached to the little plants. As we lay them out we either plant them right away or we have another person walk behind us and plant them as we lay them.
We finished this task fairly quickly and so we moved on to picking rocks from the field. This is not a particularly fun task but it isn’t as awful as it sounds either. We collected piles of the large rocks and tilled up weed clumps. Some rocks were buried deep below smothered in clayey mud and wonderful worms. After making the piles, Taylor, our instructor, came out with the tractor and we piled the rock piles into the tractor bucket. This went on for about an hour. I know we collected at least a total of ten tractor buckets worth of rocks. I think Todd, our other instructor, said that this was about a tons of rocks, or two thousand pounds. Yet it still didn’t look or feel like we removed any rocks from the field at all…
This is the last class before finals. The plant seedlings for the Plant Sale at Green Tree Garden Supply in Ithaca will go outside to spend a week “hardening off” before being sold to transplant. Plants need a bit of time to adjust to rougher conditions when being transplanted from a greenhouse to a garden or field, this is what we call hardening off. Aside from noticing the movement of the seedlings from the greenhouse to the tables outside I also noticed that this is the day that crop report presentations are due. The presentations lasted longer than expected but were really successful. We each chose three different crops and researched them to present them to the class.
After we finished the crop presentations we had only a little bit of time left. We used this time to do some harvesting for the farm stand that we have on campus and for the restaurants that the farm sells some of its produce to. We harvested spicy mustard greens, delicious asian greens, cute little white salad turnips, beautiful and colorful radishes, and some tasty arugula. I harvested the the arugula. This arugula was supposed to be unsuccessful because half of the plantings in this hoophouse had died when an unexpected hard frost hit the Dryden area. The remaining little plants were bushy, and after tasting some for myself I had determined that they were very successful. After filling a large red tub with arugula I went inside the barn to drop off the arugula for washing and to help with cleaning the turnips. I also sampled one of the turnips that were harvested and they were quite delicious as well. Soft yet crunchy and sweetly bitter, perfection. Anyway, to clean the turnips we had to remove the broken and ugly foliage and then place them neatly and facing the same direction in a large yellow tub so that they could later be washed. This is all we had time for before the end of class. The season is really starting off on a good note. I am excited to take the summer courses and participate in the cultivation of the summer crops!