Vegetable Production on the TC3 Farm – Student Post by Jasmine – Week of June 5th, 2017
Summertime is almost officially here and vegetable production is in full swing at the Tompkins Cortland Farm. The CSA has begun, restaurant orders form Coltivare are being placed, and the Farm Stand on campus has been going well. During the week of June 5th-9th, the students were engaged in a variety of different tasks including planting transplants like lettuce, beets, sorrel, dandelion, and a variety of peppers and tomatoes out in the field. We also weeded in the strawberry patch, and harvested spring crops such as Hakurei turnips, strawberries, and garlic greens, Garlic greens are simply young garlic harvested before the bulb has a chance to develop. They can be sautéed just like traditional garlic and are a nice addition to salads or soups.
Due to the large amounts of rain we have received, the field was very wet. In some cases, we would find ourselves outside putting transplants in the ground and suddenly the sky would be filled with clouds and it would start raining. Other times, in this case, as we planted shallots, the field block was so wet that we had to carefully walk between the rows and try not to get stuck in the mud as it clung to our boots and weighed us down. A shallot is similar to an onion but it develops a smaller bulb. It can be used the same way garlic and onions are-sautéed, or made into salad dressing. We planted the shallots in three rows with 14 inch spacing between the rows and the shallot plants themselves at 6 inches apart. The shallots that were transplants had been sowed in one of the smallest size trays we have available on the farm (trays that hold 200 plants each) in February and had been growing in the greenhouse for several months. Because the soil was wet it was easy to dig holes and plant them in the ground. With four people working in the bed, it took under an hour to complete the task of planting about 300+ shallot plants.
This year, the Farm has invested in some biodegradable paper mulch in which we will plant our tomatoes and peppers. This mulch, which is called Bio360, will help to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture to allow the plants to grow strong. It was a challenge to try and lay the paper mulch down in a straight row at first due to the large amount of rocks speckling the field. Once the mulch was laid down in a straight line, we covered the sides up with soil to hold the paper down. Then Todd showed us how to cut an X in the paper with a sharp knife every 18 inches in which we would come back later and plant tomatoes into. We are all hopeful for a great crop of strong tomatoes by using this mulch! Here is a link that you can use to purchase this Bio360 mulch as well. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/mulches-and-landscape-fabric/biodegradable-mulch/
It has been a very busy and enjoyable first few weeks back on the farm and we all look forward to a great growing season!