Praying Mantis Student Video

Praying Mantis Student Video Post by Jake This video of a praying mantis was captured by Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Student Jake at the TC3 Farm. Jake describes some of the characteristics of this fascinating beneficial insect, and the video captures some of it’s interesting behaviors. Problems viewing the video? Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JkJnL_ssdA&feature=youtu.be Please follow and … Read more

TC3 Farm Plant Identification Tour – Student Post

A Plant Identification Tour of the TC3 Farm – Learning Common “Weeds” – Student Post by Make

Today’s post is a plant identification tour of the TC3 Farm. All the species we will discuss today are potentially “weeds” on the farm. But what is a weed? A weed is simply a plant that is growing where it is not wanted (even a single tomato plant growing in a field of squash can be identified as a weed). The plants being discussed here are all things that grow on the TC3 Farm and can sometimes be found where we don’t want them. Gardeners and farmers alike know all too well the main problem with weeds: competition with their cultivated crops which reduces yields.

Here are some things to think about as you learn to identify your weeds. There are other attributes weeds possess that often get ignored. Weeds can be used for sustenance as mentioned in an earlier post (http://tc3farm.com/index.php/2017/06/19/harvesting-wild-plants-at-the-tc3-farm/). Weeds can be medicinal and are used in traditional medicine. Specific weeds under certain conditions can be used productively in a sustainable manner to properly manage your soil and environment (add organic matter, habitat for beneficial insects, encourage healthy soil biota). Other weeds need to be suppressed because they can harbor certain pests and ultimately leave you open to crop failures.

Horsenettle
Horsenettle

The first weed in our plant identification tour is known by the common name Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense). It is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Solanaceae or Nightshade family. All parts of the plant are toxic to human health when ingested and can lead to death (its fruit which can resemble tomatoes are the most toxic). The most identifiable characteristic are its spines on the stem and underside of its larger leaves. Each fruit contains around 60 seeds. It flowers throughout the summer, from April to October. The plant can spread through seed and rhizomes (sexually and vegetatively). This plant can harbor and sustain Colorado Potato Beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), Eggplant Flea Beetle (Epitrix fuscula), and Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) just to mention a few. Leaving the Horsenettle unchecked can lead to lower crop yields for Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Eggplants. Hint: The plant should be removed preferably with gloves as to avoid the stinging spines which can become embedded in your skin.

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Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip

Edible Acres Permaculture Farm Field Trip – Student Post by Juliet

Edible Acres Permaculture Garden
Permaculture Garden at Edible Acres

The summer Integrated Pest Management class had the opportunity to take a field trip on Monday June 19th, 2017 to see Sean Dembrosky’s homestead farm, Edible Acres.  Edible Acres is a permaculture farm business and nursery where he plants, cultivates, cares for, harvests, and sells both perennial and annual plants like chestnut trees, currants, wild onions, and cacti.  He farms several plots of land throughout the Ithaca area, owned by several different people.  This flexibility allows him the opportunity to continually expand his business and experiment with different practices since he is not tied down by the cost of land ownership.

It was a gray, drizzly day on Monday, and the sky threatened to crack and cause a downpour.  The  weather this spring has been a complete reversal from what we had experienced at this same time last year.  In any case, this was farming, and rain or no rain, we were all excited to head out on this field trip.  And so, we quickly bundled up into our raincoats and jumped in the van to make the short drive to Sean’s homestead.

When we arrived at Edible acres, Sean eagerly greeted us in the front of his yard.  Our class had worked with him previously, because he helped us to create a small nursery and permaculture minded growing space at the farm where we planted our gooseberry, elderberry, and currant bushes.  It was during this past workshop that  we learned about the true meaning behind the term ‘permaculture’.  Coined by its founder, Bill Mollison, permaculture is actually a combination of two words- permanent and agriculture.  According to Mollison, Permaculture is an ethically based design system for human habitation that is in harmony with the natural world.   Mollison himself states that, “It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing for their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”   For example, pumpkins planted in between hop plants, the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn, beans, and squash) system of planting, or peas trailing up a nut tree would all be examples of permaculture practices. (http://library.open.oregonstate.edu/permaculture/chapter/what-is-permaculture/)

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Wild Foods Forage and Feast at Tompkins Cortland

Farm to Bistro Wild Foods Forage and Feast – Tompkins Cortland Community College

When: Saturday May 6th, 2017 – 10:30-2:30

Where: Starting at the TC3 Farm – 100 Cortland Rd, Dryden, NY

Ending at Coltivare Restaurant – 235 S. Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY

Cost: Public $35/Students $25. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Spaces are limited so RSVP to haydenstebbins@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

Forage and Feast

 

 

 

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Agroecological Alternatives to Herbicides

What to do when over-zealous pesticide use exacerbates pest management problems – Agroecological alternatives to herbicides Open Lecture

David MortensenThursday, March 9, 2017 at 12:20pm to 1:10pm

Emerson Hall, 135, Cornell University

Agroecological Alternatives to Herbicides: The prevailing form of agriculture performed today suffers from “lock-in” which is to say the production system has features that limit it’s ability to redirect. One such feature is genetically modified herbicide resistant crops. Widespread adoption of the package of seed and associated traits, matching herbicides and insecticide and fungicide seed treatments has resulted in significant increases in pesticide use.  Mortensen will outline how this lock-in has evolved, the downside effects of lock-in then spend the remainder of the seminar outlining recent agroecological advances that offer a glimpse to a more sustainable path forward.

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