Well, folks, we made it. Another CSA season is in the books and I can’t thank you all enough for taking this roller coaster of a farm season with us and for supporting the TC3 Farm! Many of you have been with us since year one, while others have joined along the way and for some, this is your first season being a CSA member. We’ve come a long way since that first season when it was just myself and a roto-tiller. I had minimal help that first summer, since the degree program didn’t start until that fall. There wasn’t a barn to work out of, a cooler to store veggies in, sinks to wash in or hoophouses or a greenhouse to grow veggies in year-round. I was driving all over Dryden and Cortland, relying on the help of friends who wanted to support the farm by giving us a place to start vegetable seeds, wash and store vegetables and even a little space to grow some food. Now, after completing our 5th CSA season, the farm is starting to come into its own. There’s still a ways to go but with the support of awesome members, like you all, we can get there!
Even though the end of the season is in sight, the amount of work that needs to be done each week is still a pretty long list. I spent some time last week with the student interns discussing what the end of the season looks like and where our priorities lie. There are many projects that still need to get done before the ground freezes. And with how temperamental the weather can be, who knows when that will exactly happen. We’ll revisit our list weekly but some of the big projects that we have left are to sort our seed garlic, prep the ground where garlic will be planted, weed and mulch our newly planted strawberries, prep the hoophouse and greenhouse beds for winter plantings and harvest, harvest, harvest!
Last week we began to harvest beets and potatoes. The name of the game this time of the year is to try to get ahead as much as possible because we don’t want to have too many storage crops that are still in the ground when the weather really starts to turn. Another big project that we got done was to “top” all of our tomatoes growing in the hoophouses. Topping the plants means to cut off their growing point. This is an important task because we want to have as much fruit as possible ripen before the season is over. If we left the plants as is, they would still continue to put on foliar growth and fruit clusters. With the days starting to shorten and the temperatures starting to cool a bit, there just isn’t enough time to grow and ripen fruit. The topping signals to the plant that their time is almost up and they begin to put their remaining energy into ripening.
Alrighty folks, week 15 of the CSA is here! We have 7 weeks of the CSA season left. I was getting a little worried about how the weather seemed to be turning so quickly but we got a nice reprise of Summer-like days, especially over the weekend, and this week looks like a perfect one.
I was able to take advantage and start planting cover crops in some areas that are done for the season. Cover crops play an important role on our farm in the fall/winter. Cover crops suppress winter weeds, provide erosion control, add organic matter and return nutrients to the soil. These are all important things since we don’t use any synthetic fertilizers or herbicides on our farm. It was pretty good timing when I got them in on Wednesday because we had a nice little rain on Thursday. When we were out in the field today, I noticed that they had germinated over the weekend. Hopefully, there will be a few more weeks of nice weather to help them establish themselves. I’ll keep you posted.
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.
Well, another week has gone by and we saw more rain on the farm. It was so wet that I thought that we weren’t going to be able to get any transplanting done last week but we were able to sneak in a few beds on Friday. The talk among my farmer friends is whether … Read more
TC3 Farm’s PSA: Don’t forget to vote!!
Ok folks, we did it! The 22nd and final week of the 2016 TC3 Farm CSA season. What a rollercoaster of a ride. First off, I want to say thank you to all of you. It’s been an honor and absolute pleasure to grow for you your food. I truly hope you enjoyed as much eating it as the TC3 Farm enjoyed growing it. I know the farm can be and will be better, but we’ve come a long way since our first season in 2014. I can probably go on and on about that but I really just want to focus on this season.