Crop Rotation Planning at the TC3 Farm

This post by Logan about crop rotation planning at the TC3 Farm is the second in our Spring 2016 Sustainable Farming and Food Systems student series. You can find the first post here: http://tc3farm.com/index.php/2016/04/11/tc3-farm-starting-ginger-tumeric-and-seedlings-student-post/ – Taylor

The class at the TC3 farm finally came together and started planning where the crops are going this season. Sitting around the class, students started brainstorming on the whiteboard talking out what crop rotation worked best. With some diverse experience, a lot of advice and tips from Todd, there is pretty good start to this season’s crop rotation. The rotation of crops is important to the survival of the plants and there is a lot to be taken into consideration when planning for the season. Pest and disease pressure, nutrient needs and crop families play a key role in the rotation.

crop rotation planning
Working out the crop rotation plan for the TC3 Farm

Keeping in mind the previous year’s crop rotation, the plants are moved from where they were planted last season. This helps the insect and disease pressure by moving the food source, or plants, away from where these pests may have over-wintered in the soil. When the insect pests come up this year the plants they may have been feeding on will be far enough away to help mitigate an early season loss. This rotation will also facilitate the plants nutrient requirements. Some plants require a lot of one nutrient. Using tomatoes as an example they require a large amount of nitrogen from the soil. It takes time for those nutrients to return making it unhealthy for the plants to go back in the same bed. Rotating in a plant, like beans or peas, can fix the low nitrogen in the soil for the following crop.

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TC3 Farm Starting Ginger, Tumeric, and Seedlings – Student Post

Starting Ginger, Tumeric, and Seedlings on the TC3 Farm – By Steve

The first in a series of Sustainable Farming and Food Systems student posts for the Spring 2016 semester

starting seedlings
Seedling Flats in the Greenhouse at the TC3 Farm

Here at TC3 Farm we have been very busy getting ready for the planting season. In the last few weeks we have started over 5,000 seeds and planted over 1200 lettuce transplants. We also have Arugula and Mustard Greens started in one of our hoop houses. We are taking a lot of our mixed greens to Coltivare Restaurant and to The Rook Restaurant, both in downtown Ithaca. We are supplying the greens to them once a week so they can incorporate fresh local food to their menu items. These greens are what we call, cut and come again crops, which means we will get three or four harvests off each plant. This year the farm also decided to plant some ginger and some tumeric. These plants start right from the root and are in our greenhouse now, germinating and getting ready to be planted when the last frost hits.

planting ginger and tumeric
Planting Ginger and Tumeric

This year the farm is also doing custom seedling sales for the home gardener that does not own a greenhouse or growing lights. They supply the organic seeds they want germinated and we start the seeds in a flat seedling tray to start transplants in the greenhouse for them to plant in their gardens when it is time. Also, we have started many seedlings for a plant sale that will be taking place at Greentree Garden Supply store located on Route 13 in Ithaca, 606 Elmira Road, in front of Ithaca Brewing Company. It is on Saturdays and the dates are May 21st, May 28th, and June 4th , from 9am-2pm. Transplant sales, tours, and workshops. There are over 45 different varieties of produce and herbs being grown on the farm this year which supplies produce for the CSA program and the produce stand out in front of main campus at TC3.

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Radical Mycology and Mushroom Production on the TC3 Farm

Radical Mycology on the TC3 Farm and Upcoming Free Webinar
We have a lot of students that are interested in Mycology. In fact, you can see two capstone projects that our young mushroom lovers did at: http://tc3farm.com/index.php/2016/03/08/growing-gourmet-mushrooms-indoors-using-arduino/ and http://tc3farm.com/index.php/2016/02/05/sustainable-indoor-mushroom-cultivation-capstone/. Because of this interest, and because of the central role of fungi in soil health, plant health, and agroecology, we necessarily incorporate Mycology into our curriculum in a number of different places. The TC3 Farm is also ramping up its Shiitake log production this spring, and we will be doing a Shiitake production workshop on the Farm in a couple of months (stay tuned!). In fact, we see Mycology as central to everything we do on the farm.
 
Radical MycologyThe importance of Mycology within the food system goes beyond the potential role that mushrooms can play as a specialty cash crop in providing a healthy and delicious delicacy to restaurants and other customers. Mycology also has the potential to address some of the biggest and most pressing problems faced by the food system and the planet. This is where the idea of Radical Mycology comes in. According to it’s founders, “Radical Mycology is a grassroots movement and social philosophy based on accessibly teaching the importance of working with mushrooms and other fungi for personal, societal, and ecological resilience”. If you are interested in learning more about Radical Myclology, you can visit the website, or you can participate in a free upcoming webinar on fungal ecology and mushroom cultivation from the founder and author of the book Radical Mycology. Click “Read More” to learn more, including how to register.

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Learn About Farming 101 and Other Local Events

Learn about Farming 101
March 19, 2016, 9am3pm. TC3 Farm, 100 Cortland Road, Dryden, NY

 

CCE Tompkins CountyLearn the basics of operating a farm! This program is designed for anyone who is exploring the possibility of farming, including landowners and those without land of their own. We will cover some business basics but the main focus will be on soils, land prep, and production of livestock or horticultural crops. The program will involve extension educators and farmers as presenters. Register with Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County by visiting http://db.ccetompkins.org/programs/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=613, calling 607-272-2292 or emailing mr55@cornell.edu.
To learn about other local events click READ MORE

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TC3 Farm Solar Project Now Up and Running

The TC3 Farm solar project is now up and running. This is the last of our many major infrastructure projects over the past couple of years. Sustainability has always been a central part of the farm vision, and the TC3 Farm solar project is another important step in that direction. Below you can see the picture of our arrays behind the barn and greenhouses.

TC3 Farm Solar Project

The TC3 Farm solar project consists of a total of 231 panels on 4 arrays. It sits directly behind the barn, greenhouses and hoophouse at 100 Cortland Rd. in Dryden, NY. The panels provide power to offset energy used in the farmhouse, in the greenhouses, and in the barn. The TC3 Farm solar project is a compliment to the 10 acre, 8,676 solar panel project on Tc3’s main campus, which was completed in 2015. The main campus array is expected to offset over 90% of the institution’s energy needs.

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TC3 Sustainable Farming Student Perspectives – Candice

This is the final entry in our series of TC3 Farming Student Perspectives. Students who took Introduction to Soil Science (ENVS 115) in the Fall of 2015 were asked to write a short piece about their experience, and these are the results.

You can read other student perspectives HERE:  HAILEYMARIACEDRICJUSTIN – INDIGO – HANNAH

TC3 Sustainable Farming Students

TC3 Sustainable Farming Student Perspectives – Candice

When I first started this program it was a complete shot in the dark, I didn’t really know much about farming for food.  I am used to farming hay, corn, soybeans and things.  At first when I didn’t really have an answer as if I liked my program or not.  I kind of just tossed myself into TC3 and was going to go for liberal arts and had thoughts about the farm but also had thoughts about transferring to another college for a Vet Tech.  Looking back now I am glad that I chose to stay with this program at the farm and learn what I learned this semester.

After the first month being on the farm I knew this was my path, this is what I wanted to do.  I wanted to learn where my food comes from, and how it grows from seed to an actual food on my plate.  I was interested in learning more about how the food gets to the grocery store and the Wegmans class trip did that for me.  Being on the farm twice a week with my class-mates really brought me close to them, working with them twice a week is really fun as well.  You get to know them pretty well and you get to be connected with them.  Some of the things that were my favorite things to do on the farm was to plant garlic.  The day we planted garlic it was an all-girls day and we had many laughs and shared many stories while working. I also loved picking the carrots and harvesting the potatoes.

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