What’s Growing 2020
The winter months give farmers an opportunity to think strategically and gear up farm operations for the coming season.
At the Farm Hub, it’s a time to refine the crop plan, order the seeds, create a planting schedule, reorder supplies, and make repairs to machinery and farm infrastructure.
The plan for the 2020 growing season reflects this careful preparation. Rotating between cover crops, field crops, and vegetables, our multi-year approach is designed to promote soil health, support research, provide food for donation, and maximize the flow of people and equipment across the farm.
On the northernmost section of the map below, you will see The Akwesasne Seed Rematriation Garden (formerly known as the Native American Seed Sanctuary) where we are growing Haudenosaunee traditional varieties for the rematriation of seeds and food to the people of Akwesasne, including youth and cultural programs for a fifth consecutive year. In the 2020 season we are growing White Corn, Bear Paw Popcorn, Crooked Neck Squash, and we are planting a Mother Earth Garden. The “Mother Earth Garden” – its name based off its shaped in the form of a woman – includes corn, squash, beans and native pollinator plants.
Among the vegetables to be grown this year are the usual broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, carrots, and garlic, along with new additions such as Brussel sprouts, radishes, turnips, and onions. New greenhouses opened in March to meet the increasing demand for food donations; we sought to make fresh food available as quickly as possible to support the community’s COVID-19 response. We also planted successions of crops like broccoli and kale earlier than usual this year for the same reason. The majority of our produce is donated to emergency feeding programs throughout Ulster County.
When it comes to field crops our land is planted in a five-year rotation of corn, soybeans, small grains, and perennial legumes and grasses. Our field crops team will continue the corn tortilla project while launching a new project growing varieties of dry beans. On about 40 acres the team will also experiment with planting corn into vetch, triticale and winterkilled oats, and then rolling the vetch afterwards at half bloom to terminate.
In addition, “we’re hoping to get our no-till corn in sooner so it has more time to mature in the fall,” says Jay Goldmark, field crops manager.
Existing field trials that move ahead in 2020 include the native meadow trial, small grains trial, the nematode biocontrol trial related to Colorado Potato Beetle, a larger grow out of Kernza and the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) research trial.
New trials this year center on soil health and promoting biodiversity in agriculture. A collaborative study with researchers from Cornell University looks at greenhouse gases from tillage and fertilization treatments in squash to evaluate CO2 exchange, nitrous oxide, and methane. A study with Cornell uses broccoli to examine pest control in organic management of brassica diseases. Finally, a new native meadow planting is getting established this year.
For a full view of the 2020 growing season check out the Farm Hub’s crop map.