2nd Year Focus Summary – 2013
2nd Year Focus Summary – 2013
Intent: As my second year focus I chose the Greenhouse Element because it seems to me that it is the foundation of everything that springs forth during the farm season and therefore the management thereof is essential to an efficient and productive year. While there is an obvious standard operating procedure for greenhouse duties, my initial observation is that none of it has been converted into the form of a manual, or written record. My intent is to document the procedures and processes of greenhouse management on North Slope Farm that have been implemented for years and have stood the test of time in order to facilitate the educational process for trainees to be able to reference and at the same time help me to acquire and increase my own personal knowledge of the element which prior to this year was lacking.
Task and Responsibilities:
Monthly Summary – October 2011
Logs reviewed and summary prepared by BY September 27th, 2012
Rainy conditions from late summer rolled into October leaving behind saturated conditions. First week saw clear skies but that led to continued rain through the second week. Mid month saw the planting of the BGB’s with fennel, scallions, kale and beets as well as winter cover crops. Special projects included a newly built loft in the seed shed and harvesting throughout the month included tomatoes, carrots, salad mix, arugula, tot soi, scallions, peppers, tea and parsley. The month came to a close with an unprecedented snow storm that dropped about twelve inches of snow and took the power out for three days as a result of snow covered tree branches falling on power lines.
Equipment 37 hrs:
Most of these hours were dedicated to trying to fix the Kabota which was difficult to start at the beginning of the month and by the third week it wouldn’t start at all. The crew backblew the fuel line, bled air successfully, but it still would not work.
Administration 97 hrs:
Normal payroll duties and filing of 3rd quarter payroll tax returns. $30,000 balance in bank account seems to indicate above break even cash position and potential exists for full payment of 2011 liabilities. Crew worked on element focus for next year and created new map folder. End of month crew meeting to discuss remainder of season and markets also took place. Plan discussed regarding the coming cold weather strategy to cover beds with plastic and remay.
Infrastructure 92 hrs:
Chickens moved to new locations along with other normal chores. Identified need to find winter housing for chickens and the 2011’s are getting too big for their coop. Location still unidentified at end of month, but future logs indicate the 2011’s ended up spending the winter in the farmhouse gothic. Cleaning and stowing equipment for winter was part of normal cold weather preparation. The power went out in the farmhouse due to snow storm for two and a half days. The basement flooded and was pumped out with a gas powered water pump.
Greenhouse 16 hrs:
I assume winter production seedlings were tended to but no log entries to verify that.
Composting 12 hrs:
Cleaned piles and received horse manure and shavings from Charlie Gilbert on 10/6 and one load of piled on heavy base of woodchips. On 10/18 the crew composted garlic beds plus seven others, nine total beds composted.
Planting 69 hrs:
On 10/11 the crew weed wacked, broad forked and fertilized BGB’s in order to plant fennel, scallions, kale & beets. Planted winter cover crop-triticale rye, hairy vetch and Austrian winter pea at five times recommended rate due to late seeding and rough manner of seeding including disking to cover the seed and forecast of lots of rain. Germinated well, chickens began eating it but figured it was ok as a result of the heavy seeding. End of month saw the preparation of field beds for garlic, 3 beds planted on 10/25. The crew forked the old basil bed in corner garden, seeding with spinach to overwinter, saw good germination 30 days later.
Crop Care 102 hrs:
10 Entries for irrigation during the month, mostly Ralphs house and Farmhouse Gothic. On10/5 hoed new salad mix in the west beds and on 10/6 hand weeded the BGB’s. Cleaned up tomato fields starting mid month. Set up rebar and remay on beds in preparation for cold days ahead.
Harvesting 119 hrs:
Harvested carrots, salad mix, arugula, tot soi and scallions and parsley throughout the month. Tomatoes harvested until mid month then cleanup of tomato fields began. Tea was harvested successfully and included Hyssop, Comfrey and Nettle. On 10/12, 220 pounds of winter squash was harvested: Butternut, Acorn, Delicate and Kabotcha from one fifth acre. The assessment is this would mean a price of $18 per pound to meet $20,000 per acre requirement. Farm manager is reluctant to sell the squash and would prefer to utilize it on the farm. Recognized a need for a solid assignment of the true value in order to determine if it can be considered a “cash crop”
Handling 96 hrs:
Normal handling of salad mix, kale, chard and carrots took place. The crew came up with the “swirling bucket” technique for washing carrots, presumably to make cold weather washing more bearable.
Marketing 207 hrs:
West Windsor: 10/1- $1,588, 10/8 – $1,247, 10/15 – $1,429, 10/22 – $1,226, 10/29 – $724.25 Average sales for month=$1,243
Summit: 10/2 – $3,370, 10/9 – $2,500, 10/16 – $2,865, 10/23 – $2,780, 10/30 – $565 Average sales for month= $2,416
Hopewell: 10/5 – $616.50, 10/12 – $393, 10/19 – $240, 10/26 – $476.50 Average sales for month= $431.50
Total October 2011 Market Income: $20,020.25
NOFA NJ requested veggies for their winter conference, no word on whether any were delivered.
There was some discussion of viability of Hopewell market through November considering low customer base and high rent.
Special Projects 58 hrs:
Cutting Hay in Veg D led to getting stuck as soil was too wet to pull implement. On 10/10 39 hay bales were harvested. Lots of wood splitting for the farmhouse, and a new loft was built in the seed shed. Total cost was $560 and completed with 10 worker hours.
Week 1: lots of rain, saturated conditions.
Week 2: Heavy rain
Week 3: Dropping temperatures but clear skies.
Week 4: First frost and a Halloween blizzard to end the month.
Monthly Summary – April, 2011
Beau: Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 4/3/2012
April of 2011 saw snow showers on April fools day and progressed to rain showers which created very wet conditions through most of the month, ending in a beautiful sunny day on the 30th. Notable issues were the water system leak, which delayed the use of the well irrigation. The rat traps were unsuccessful, instead only catching ants with the peanut butter bait, and subsequently some seedlings were lost to an opportunistic groundhog. Market sales included Hopewell market on Wednesdays beginning the second week of April, as well as sales to Kindle Café, Nomad and seedling sales to Whole Earth.
Equipment 8 hrs:
There were few equipment issues other than vehicle repairs for Isuzu, Prius and Volvo.
Administration 47 hrs:
Tasks performed included finalizing the flowers and supplies order, ordering of fruit and nut trees. Preparing 1st quarter payroll reports for state of NJ, and finalizing the crop plan.
Infrastructure 96 hrs:
The beginning of month saw a leak in the water system so the crew had to resort back to the farmhouse water supply. Later in the month, the crew dug up the pipe between the office and the farmhouse. Turns out the leak was coming from about 8 feet down from the nozzle, not at the elbow as was originally believed. The fence surrounding the Madonna needed repairing due to a problem with the posts not staying in the ground. Later in the month, irrigation of Ralphs house led to over watering and a trench had to be dug on the east side to drain it. Other duties included mowing of the market garden and Veg C, as well as the fence line and compost filtration strip.
Greenhouse 122 hrs:
Greenhouse work consisted of an introduction to daily management including venting systems, seeding and watering. Cleaning /mulching of pathways and edges of interior, reorganizing and moving the seedlings to farm stand area to harden off and moved some to the hoop house. Potting of orange blossom, Rosa Bianca and orient charm for seedling sales. Grafting of tomatoes toward the end of the month.
Composting 66 hrs:
Composting consisted of Strawberry and Pea beds early in the month, then moved to Asparagus beds, Apple trees and other fruit trees and of course, lots of compost sifting.
Planting 83 hrs:
Potting of second succession seeding. Seeding of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, arugula, tatsoi and flowers. Very wet conditions but nevertheless planting commenced following lots of rototilling and raking. Direct seeding of lettuce on the 14th, planting of kale and chard on the shoulder of two beds, with turnips and radishes planted in the center of the beds. Planting of spinach (half bed) and swiss chard with beets down the center. “New Girl” tomatoes planted in farmhouse gothic and Tunnel tomatoes in greenhouse.
CropCare 166 hrs:
Weeding party on Saturday the 2nd resulted in completion of 2/3rds of the strawberry beds and beer and shrimp were the much-deserved reward that evening. Blackberries started peeking out on the 4th, Peas were planted on the 6th. Mulching of strawberry beds completed on the 8th. Uncovering of strawberries on the 14th. The 21st saw almost freezing temps so the crew covered the beds to protect them from frost. Beds were renovating in the tea/corner garden. Woodchip/cardboard mulch was used on the blackberries. Weeding of four garlic beds in the Madonna field finished off the month.
Harvesting 64 hrs:
Harvested Arugula, Spinach, Tatsoi, Salad Mix, Swiss Chard and Kale for Hopewell market. Harvested stinging nettle for flush tea, took 4 days to dry in solar dryer. Harvesting of house lettuce, arugula and six nice stalks of asparagus by the 23rd.
Handling 42 hrs:
All of the above were washed and bagged for Hopewell market and sales to Kindle Café.
Marketing 57 hrs:
Participated in Hopewell market on Wednesdays, yielding $1,192.31. Delivered spinach, salad mix and kale to Kindle Café. The first seedling order of 120 plants to Whole Earth was on the 20th.
Special Projects 13 hrs:
Chickens were moved during a fierce and windy rainstorm. Firewood was cut and a dog pen was sited and constructed. Hired a mason to build a better walkway and steps to access the main drain valve and wetlands by greenhouse. And ultimately egg washing and packing for Hopewell market.