Monthly Summary – June 2014
Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Anna Blank
General Observations: Summer is here! Well, not quite, but it sure feels like it. Temperatures are on the rise and activities on the farm are in full swing. The chickens are on the move, construction on the high tunnel continue, a rainy second week provides a much-needed chance to catch up on some greenhouse and administrative tasks, and a big push for planting at the end of the month keeps things moving right along.
Equipment (45 hrs.): Case 265: 2; Kubota: 11; JD 2240: 14; Ford 4600: 8; IH 140: 7; Walking Mower: 1; Weedwacker: 2. There’s always somethin’ that needs fixin’! Mid month it was discovered that the JD 2240 battery was run down and perhaps may need to be replaced (again). A week later the recoil on the BCS wouldn’t catch; MR disassembled and found a loose screw (center screw that holds together the inner workings of the machine). Time was spent tightening things up and reassembling, but it seems some tension was lost and a rattle remains. Other equipment hours fall mostly into the category of field prep and general mowing / maintenance around the farmhouse yard, market garden, field beds, etc.
Administration (41 hrs.): The daily, weekly, bi-weekly grind of administrative duties continues (payroll, accounting, et cetera). Federal deposit for May filed early on in the month. Several big bills taken care of towards the end of the month, including insurance, liability and workers comp; approx. $5000 combined. Farmland Assessment paperwork and NOFA Mentor Progress report taken care of. Other administrative hours were spent discussing daily tasks, equipment diagnostics and repairs, introductions to planning & permits, the creation of a strawberry field along 579, and the potential of weekday markets in Woodbridge and here at NSF.
Infrastructure (181.5 hrs.): Moving day for the chickens! They are now in the 579 fields (6/16). Keeping up with general maintenance (mowing, weed whacking) is an ongoing task. More tomato stakes needed, crewmember sent to lumberyard on 6/9. Work on the high tunnel continues (see special projects below).
Greenhouse (57 hrs.): The rainy second week of June provides a great opportunity to catch up on some greenhouse work. Tomatoes in Ralphs house are weeded, mulched & clipped. MR researches the double leader system – first sucker of the lowest fruit cluster becomes the second leader. In Farmhouse Gothic beds are prepped for artichokes, zinnias are staked and strung, edges weeded. End of the month greenhouse activity includes seeding several flats of arugula, basil and microgreens, potting on of tomatoes from 406s into cowpots, and seeding of the 4th vegetable succession.
Composting (16.5 hrs.): Prep begins for the 3rd vegetable succession: 10 field beds composted in Veg C North. Composted via spreader attached to IH140 (6/3). More composting in Veg B North (6/4). Three flowerbeds in 579 fields composted and broad-forked on 6/25.
Planting (69 hrs.): The week of 6/16 brings back sunny weather and drying conditions that allow for much needed catch up on planting that was delayed due to the previous week of rainy & stormy weather. Veg C North veggie succession (3rd) planted on 6/17, followed by 2 beds of field salad in NW BGBs (6/18). On the 25th planting of beans and squash in Veg C North was started but interrupted by rain and soggy conditions. The task was finished later in the week.
Crop Care (197.5 hrs.): The battle with the weeds continues! Lots of scuffle hoeing and hand weeding this month. Field tomatoes staked and mulched on the 10th. Tomato clipping continues in Ralphs House as the plants grow taller. Crew finds an unwanted visitor munching in Veg C North on the 27th. The small groundhog is captured but is quickly released after attempting to munch on his captor!
Harvesting (260.5 hrs.): Weekly harvesting for markets. First flowers are harvested from the hoop house on the 6th. Three trays of delicious strawberries harvested on the 10th. Mid month brings the first harvests of garlic scapes and broccoli. End of the month harvest on the 25th yields one brown crate full of yummy summer squash! MR cut hay in Veg D on 6/7. Thick vetch growth binding up the rake proves to be an added challenge. The last spring baling of cover crop & Veg D yields about 200 bales. Chances were taken and hay collected was left uncovered (no cover was easily available) in hopes that forecasted thunderstorms would hold off. But the rains came and the bales now usable as mulch or compost material. Lesson: when harvesting it is important to have a plan in mind in terms of preserving and protecting the crop (consider ahead of time what resources and facilities might be available).
Handling (57 hrs.): Weekly handling of greens and salad mix harvested for weekend markets. RM takes on first hardy greens handling on 6/5. TH on lettuce duty on the 6th: 81 lbs. of mixed salad, 6 worker hours. Crew takes note on the 19th that harvesting & handling rates need to increase. As flower harvesting continues, CH gives introduction to AM on handling and bunching practices here at NSF.
Marketing (125.5 hrs.): Weekend markets in West Windsor and Summit off to a great start this month (see market sales below). Incredible market day in Summit on 6/1! Sales compare to those in June 2013, even without mushroom sales. Twenty more lbs. of lettuce sold, egg sales up by 10 dozen. The next week however brings a significant drop in sales at both markets. Perhaps weather related? Lower harvest yields? Summit market sales back up at final June market, but WW sales remain low.
Special Projects (12 hrs.): High tunnel construction continues. In the first week of June the crew tackles adjustments to previously set posts in the NE and NW corners. JD 2240 used to pull posts out and they are reset. Fine gravel used as fill. The last three ribs are put up and two more rows of purlins completed on the 12th. A rented scissor lift is used to mount the purlins. Crew notes that the further away from the ridgeline, the more challenging the process. But by the end of they day a few tips and tricks made the process much easier!
Week 1: Feels like summer! The month starts off sunny warm, with temperatures in the 80s. Mid-week rain showers with a total rainfall of 1”.
Week 2: Rainy days with forecasts of thunderstorms.
Week 3: After a rainy week the sun is back and conditions are drying (much needed for planting!).
Week 4: Sunny & breezy, temperatures in the 80s with moderate humidity.
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Market Total|
Market Monthly Total: $15,049
YTD Market Total: $30,906