Tianze farm: Pick up farm en Taian (China)

Good morning to all gardeners! As Lucía told you in her article on peri-urban agriculture in China, we have already visited several farms that not only grow organic products but also develop other activities to give added value to the space. Well, today I present you the Tianze farm, a farm that follows the model of the pick up farming in Taian.

What is pick up farming?

The pick up farming is a model of agricultural exploitation that is based on direct sales from the slaughterhouse to the consumer, within the farm itself. As Lucia told you for about 20 RMB, approximately € 3, those interested can visit Tianze farm and collect the organic vegetables they want as well as buy organic animals such as chickens or goats. These organic products are weighed and charged at the end of your visit to Tianze farm, it is something like shopping in a large greengrocer where you make sure that everything is fresh and ecological, like a consumer group but at origin.

As I have seen, this model of pick up farming, like the one followed by Tianze farm, is very popular in other countries of the world and there are associations formed by farms around the world that follow the same model and invite those interested to come and collect. their organic vegetables. At each time of the year the consumer can find different depending on the sowing calendars .

Tianze farm pick up farming

Of the 70 hectares that Tianze farm has, we were able to visit practically 1.5 hectares in which we found about 6 greenhouses , 4 of them in production and a huge chicken coop. The exact dimensions of the Tianze farm greenhouses I do not have, but by eye they would be about 100 meters long by 20 wide. The methods to control pests and diseases within them were ecological as well as the cultivated species and the temperature and humidity were controlled through sensors. I tell you a little about what I observed in each one:

Greenhouse 1. Strawberries

As Lucia told you, strawberries were the star of Tianze farm, people like to eat this species a lot throughout the year and especially to be able to pick it themselves. Strawberry cultivation was done in black plastic ridges with the drip irrigation line underneath the plastic. What surprised me is that the planting frame was quite tight, normally in a ridge of about 50 cm wide only one plate is placed on the line, since they interspersed two. I suppose in those temperature and humidity conditions the strawberry cultivation at Tianze farm would do just as well.

Greenhouse 2. Tomatoes

The tomato cultivation in this case was not in ridges but in a conventional way with a standard planting frame, about 30 cm of separation between plants. Being such a large greenhouse they did not remove the suckers, something that surprised me, I suppose they would not have much staff at that time in Tianze farm or they would be on other tasks. But what most caught my attention was his way of tutoring them , leaving the plants in a rotated S shape. For this task they used pieces of plastic hanging from the roof of the greenhouse that they tied to the tomatoes at two different points. In turn, each tomato plant was joined to the next by the excess plastic from the second knot, a very professional tutored compared to the use of canes or other structures inserted in the ground, space is gained and the roots are not damaged when nailed into the ground.

Greenhouse 3. Cucumbers

In China, different cucumbers are consumed from ours smaller ones and as with bumps that give them appearance of pimples. In this case it seems that they were growing traditional cucumbers like the ones we know but they were tutored from a very young age with the same system as tomatoes, plastic strips from the roof, to achieve this very particular effect.

With this tutored system, harvesting cucumbers is much easier, you can have more clumps in less space and you can better identify pests and diseases that can affect the plant by having more localized leaves.

Greenhouse 4. Cabbages

This terrace was full of cabbages and cauliflowers, I started looking through its leaves for symptoms of cabbage butterfly and nothing, so it seems that their ecological methods of prevention of pests and diseases work.

The Tianzan farm chicken coop:

Apart from entering the Tianzan farm greenhouses to collect your own vegetables, one of the star attractions of this pick up farm is its organic chickens. These hens feed mainly on the pruning remains of the crops in the greenhouses and corn, it is noted that they are well cared for and have enough space because their plumage was very bright. Visitors can also purchase an organic chicken for the modest price of RMB 300 about € 40.

I liked this model of exploitation, people can visit an organic farm, have a good time and do the shopping. All the best !

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