The weeks keep rolling by as we get closer to the impending end of the season. The mornings are much cooler and darker when I start my day and I’m afraid that I’ll be adding more and more layers sooner than later. But the optimist in me is ever hopeful that we will have a resurgence of warm dry days. As Autumn quickly approaches, we shift gears a little to start to get ahead. With the uncertainty of the weather, we want to stay on top of getting crops out of the ground. Last week we got a jump on getting a chunk of our potatoes and carrots out of the ground. Most of our potatoes have died back (their tops of turned brown and are starting to wilt) and because they are planted near our tomatoes that have late blight, it’s hard to tell if they are diseased or not.
Week 7 of the TC3 Farm CSA is here! That means we’re about 1/3 of the way through the season. I’m not exactly sure where the time has gone but I can’t believe that it’s almost August. And guess what? It rained a bunch again. I’ve been able to sneak in some tractor work here and there to prep some fields but we still have a field that we haven’t been able to get in all season because of how wet it’s been. And even though the weeds are growing at an epic pace, this wet weather makes them easy to pull. We slowly but surely continue to make our way through the fields. Last week we made it through our potatoes and were able to “hill” them. “Hilling” potatoes is when we mound soil around the base of the potato plants. This allows them to grow more potatoes per foot and protect them from sun exposure. After our potatoes, we started our field peppers. Hopefully, we’ll get through them this week.
Pollinators on the TC3 Farm – Student Post by Kateri
Hi all! It is the time of year on the TC3 Farm when flowers are appearing all around us! Tomato plants are flowering and fruiting, wildflowers are filling up the wild areas around our worked fields with color, and the squash plants need their white row covers to be pulled so that pollinating insects can visit their beautiful yellow flowers. All of these things make this a good time to share with our readers about these important friends of ours, the pollinators.
No doubt you have been hearing about bees in the news lately-and with good reason! The populations of these superior pollinators are on the decline-even in Upstate New York. But what do pollinators do for farms? Farmers rely on pollinators like bees to fertilize their flowering crops. Fertilization, occurs by way of the transfer of pollen (male gametes)-found in the plant’s flower and produced by the male part of the plant found there- to the ovule, the female part of the plant also found in the flower. This process must take place in order for the farmer to obtain the fruits of his labor (pun intended!). It is important to clarify that bees are not nature’s only pollinators. Butterflies, moths, and other insects also enable the fertilization of crops by spreading pollen, though not as much as bees. The incredibly designed hairs that cover the bodies of bees and easily pick up pollen as they buzz in flowers, make bees pollinators of extreme importance, and not just to farmers, but to anyone who eats most edible plants!
Tomato Time – Student Post By Cody – Week of July 26th, 2017
Hey all! It is that time a year again to get excited about all the delicious varieties of tomatoes being sown at the TC3 Farm. With over two dozen heirloom, cherry and hybrid tomato varieties on the Farm, it is a mighty challenge to tame those taste buds as all the young seedlings are transplanted. The TC3 Farm grows both field and greenhouse/ hoop house tomatoes. Crop rotation best practices are followed in determining where the tomatoes will be grown both in the field and indoors. This week the farm team transplanted a variety of tomatoes in the greenhouse and hoop house. In this post, I will describe the techniques in preparing and setting up a greenhouse for tomato cultivation and some tips for having a successful and healthy growing season.
At this point you may be wondering why the TC3 Farm grows so many different varieties of tomatoes. I believe the unequivocal answer is that crop diversity is a key attribute to a successful and healthy farm operation. One might also be asking if there is an advantage to growing tomatoes in a greenhouse. I believe there are many advantages for the use of a greenhouse, especially in a relatively short northeast growing season. The first advantage is that a greenhouse can extend the growing season, and this is especially important for tomatoes which are a high value crop. Secondly, a greenhouse provides for temperature, precipitation and air flow control. This is crucial for tomatoes as it reduces the chances for fungal and oomycete diseases such as early blight and late blight which can devastate plants in the nightshade family. Proper crop rotation planning can reduce blight and pest problems during the growing season.
TC3 Farm Update and Harvesting Wild Plants at the TC3 Farm – Student Post by Jacob – Week of June 12th, 2017
Howdy folks. My name is Jacob and I am giving you all a quick update on what has recently been happening on the TC3 Farm. We have been hustling to get a lot of transplanting done and over the past week we got a lot of our nightshades planted including, field peppers, field tomatoes, and field eggplants.
We also had the owners of Thalli Foods, a food business based on harvesting wild plants as well as invasive species visit us during lecture. The owners: Edward and Avery, gave us a tour of their farm website which has a ton of different plants that are available to harvest in this region for all seasons. They are foragers and have many years of experience harvesting wild edible plants in Kent, England, Their mission is to bring the ancient knowledge of harvesting wild edibles to the public and to encourage biodiversity and nutritional diversity. As the human population continues to grow, our need for food will increase. Being able to harvest or potentially incorporate these wild plants into our diets will vastly increase humanity’s food supply. These wild foods are very flavorful and add a unique option to any chef’s menu.
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.