Progress of the Polyfarming Project/ Stinner Summit IV

Kobi Quaye's picture


Participants: Casey Hoy, Brian Gwin, Bill Boyer, Bob Recker, Ron Becker, Rouf Mian, Ron Fioritto, Hannah Daneshvar, Kobi Quaye

Since the beginning of the project only three weeks ago, much has been accomplished in the field that we have been conducting research in.  After meeting with Roger Gwin, the owner of the field in which we are performing the project and Brian’s father, we immediately begin preparations for planting. 

During the first week, Ryan, Hannah, and myself went to the field and pulled all of the weeds in the first strip in order to prepare for planting.  The 1st strip, which is the farthest west in the schematic, will contain crops grown by Bill Boyer.  Two days later, the same group of Hannah, Ryan, and myself returned to the now cleared strip and helped Bill to plant two different types of potatoes, Yukon Gold and German Butterball, as well as Virginia Red peanuts.  Potatoes and squash were planted in the 5th strip shortly thereafter.  Bill strongly supports taking the initiative to address climate change, and, as a result, uses only organic fertilizers and pest controls such as compost,crop rotation, green manures, and mechanical cultivation.

At the beginning of the following week, a group of interns and mentors went back to the field to plant a total of 77 traps in screen cylinders(4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter) filled with soil and each baited with 5 wax worms, Galleria melonella, in the grassy border as well as the 1st strip of the field.  These traps will be used to assess the presence of entomopathogenic (beneficial, insect pest controlling) nematodes in the fields by looking for them infecting the wax  worms after a specific period of time.  On the same day, the group also planted muskmelon, watermelon, and pumpkins in the 7th strip with farmer Brian Gwin (see pictures below).

In addition to planting melons and pumpkins in the 7th strip, three varieties of edamame soybeans were planted in the 3rd strip.  The three different cultivars of edamame were planted in a specialty strip not only to further test the impact of crop diversity, but also in order to measure their overall performance against each other.  The three different types of edamame that are in the strip are Sweet Bean 292, Sweet Bean 215, and Sweet Bean 2001, all with harvesting periods of one week.  This analysis of the different cultivars will help local growers choose edamame that does well under local conditions.

After planting all the specialty crops in their respective strips and after we had begun to see emergence of the crops after just a couple of days, Casey, Hannah, Rouf, Ron, Brian, and myself all met on Tuesday morning in order to discuss the specifics of the edamame project. We nailed down what we plan to do in the strip of edamame while simultaneously obtaining background information of the plant.  The strip will be divided into 5 pseudo replicates (see excel schematic) that will serve as indicators of the overall plot.  Using a meter stick, Hannah and I will measure the number of plants per meter of row for each different cultivar, observing and collecting data on things such as number of nodes, plant height, and number of harvestable pods to name a few.  We also discussed the ideas behind the sunlight portal, which we plan to begin tomorrow.

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