Week of August 6th – CSA Newsletter

Last week was the final week of our Summer Internship on the TC3 Farm for the students in the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program at Tompkins Cortland. For most of them it was their third and final semester on the farm. This cohort has been an absolute pleasure to have out here and their “growth” has been amazing since they first stepped onto the farm last fall. I feel that they’ve all come a long way in their personal growth and as a learning community. For those of you on campus, if you see any of the farming students, please say thank you for all their hard work. They are a big part of what happens on the TC3 Farm, from crop planning/rotations in the winter months to planting and harvesting in the summer and everything in between. I look forward to seeing where and what they all end up doing next.

We kept very busy on the farm during the last week. In addition to our weekly harvests and trying to keep up with the weeds, we did one last big planting. We got 14 beds of fall brassicas in the ground, including cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kohlrabi and napa cabbage. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have a long enough season and that we can keep the pests (mostly the woodchucks) at bay.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Week of June 25th – CSA Newsletter

Well, June has zipped right by. It’s hard to believe but the summer internship for the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students is just about halfway over. The students continue to impress me with their work ethic and how quickly they are picking up life on vegetable farm during the summer. Last week was a big week of transplanting on the farm. We got all of our winter squash, melons and second round of summer squash and cucumbers in the ground.

A field of winter squash planted and covered.

It was a lot of work to get them planted, fertilized and covered with remay, aka row cover. We use row cover on our cucurbits (and brassicas) to protect them from pests while they are getting established. The main pest that goes after all the squash, cukes and melons are cucumber beetles. These little buggers can affect the plants in a few different ways. First, they can stunt the plant’s growth, especially when they eat the flowers. They also can transmit bacterial wilt and do damage to the fruit. There aren’t many effective organic sprays that also won’t harm our many wonderful beneficials, including bees. So, we don’t do any spraying. Instead we use cultural controls, which includes row cover. We also try to select varieties that have good disease resistance. This season we are also using a trap crop to hopefully lure the cucumber beetles away from our main crop. We have two beds of a Hubbard squash that is supposedly more attractive to cucumber beetles not covered. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it has a positive outcome.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Week of October 30th – CSA Newsletter

Sunrise rainbow over the farm!

Well, here we are folks, the second to last CSA pickup of the 2017 season and the night before Halloween. The wind is howling this chilly night. Where I grew up the night before Halloween was known as Mischief Night. The only mischief I’m getting into these days is eating a few too many pieces of candy corn.

This past week, we checked off another item on our end of the season list. We got our garlic planted. Garlic is the one crop that we save seed to replant the following season. We sort our bulbs when we harvest them at the end of July and the largest most uniform bulbs are saved for seed.

Garlic cloves awaiting planting
Cloves going in the ground

I usually aim to plant garlic at the end of October, using Halloween as my guide. I was feeling like it would be good to get it in last week and I’m glad that I did. We got some serious rain Saturday night into this morning out on the farm. It made for a difficult harvest today, with our feet sinking in the mud. I can’t imagine it being any better later this week because of off and on rain in the forecast. 

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Week of September 18th – CSA Newsletter

We love spotting a praying mantis in the field!

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.

Getting ready to seed an oats/peas cover crop.

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.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Week of September 11th – CSA Newsletter

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.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Week of September 4th – CSA Newsletter

Sunrise over the farm

Ok, so who forgot to pay their heating bill? Saying last week was unseasonably cool would be an understatement. We had nights in the 40s and even a couple that were right below 40. Friends of mine that farm in Cortland County even had a light frost. Yowza! I always look forward to the fall and cooler temperatures but this is definitely too early for me. There’s not too much that can be done so I try not to worry about it that much.

The students doing their internship on the farm this semester had a great week. There’s a lot to get caught up to speed but they seem to be rolling along with it. A lot of what we do for the first part of the semester is harvesting and post-harvest handling of vegetables with a little bit of planting sprinkled in. They seem to be catching on quick and are asking great questions and being thorough with their work. We’ve got a lot of work to do before the farm is put to “bed” for the season, so I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue.

Read more

Please follow and like us: