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Monthly Summary – October 2012

October 9th, 2013 | Posted by Kyle in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – October 2012)

Monthly Summary – October 2012

Posted By: KG Date: 10/08/2012

P1110218

General Observations: For the most part October 2012 continued the smooth sailing of September, our cold-weather fall crops yielded well and gave us a nice boost in marketable product that helped soften the effect of the tomatoes tapering off. Looking at the data and writing this summary in October 2013 I can see some interesting comparisons. In 2012 tomato harvest ran from 7/13-10/5 (roughly 80 day harvest period), while our 2013 tomato harvest is running 7/24-present (75 days and counting). As of the time of writing it looks like we could get another week or so of yield.

By October last year most of the planting was finished, so we had the time to accomplish most of our fall tasks including crop care, cover-cropping and other end of season preparation and clean up tasks, while keeping up with regular harvests and markets. As the weather became colder with frequent rain we had opportunities for catching up on administrative duties and working on summarizing the data we collect throughout the season.

The rough patch came at the end of the month, with Hurricane Sandy making landfall and colliding with a Nor’easter over New Jersey. Considering the destruction wrought by the storm across the state and region, the farm came through relatively unscathed. The tally of damage was a broken window in the office, part of the walk-in cooler unit blown off, loosing the plastic on the FHG high-tunnel and damaged plastic on RH that blew off in a wind storm later that year. We also lost power, and subsequently our well water, for more than two weeks. Numerous trees were blown down, but incredibly none falling on any structures or equipment. A large branch from a willow tree that fell on the baby chick pen miraculously did not cause damage or injure any birds. Compared to others around the state, we were lucky. However our growing season was severely crippled following the storm. Already saturated fields were inundated by inches more rain and crops were damaged and lost. The lack of power and clean water meant no washing or refrigerating what we could still harvest and the widespread destruction across the state meant even when we were able to get to our markets (after many detours) we found many fewer customers who were able to attend and/or had electricity to be able to store the perishable vegetables we sell. A big thanks to those who could and did attend even as they themselves were dealing with their own part of the aftermath of the storm. It was a great morale boost and emotional support to see all the regulars, exchange stories of the storm and trade complaints about the aftermath.

Equipment 20hrs: Less time on the machines this month. This is a function of less planting and other field work as well as the saturated reality of much of last October. There was some equipment used on 10/11 as part of some final cover crop seeding. RR and KG received training on working in seed using IH265 with the Williams Tool Bar cultivator’s spring tines and the Ford towing the disc cultivator, then used ATV with roller to compress soil over the seed. On 10/24 the box truck had a minor accident in Hopewell when it collided with a lamp post. The accident was reported promptly and without issue.

Administration 101.5hrs: Time spent on administrative tasks tripled from September, but was roughly the same as October 2011. As the season is winding down and days growing shorter, darker, colder, and wetter the appeal of spending time in the office tabulating data and summarizing the season increases.

10/2- “Payroll, Email, Website updates”

10/4- BY posts October 2011 Summary, discussion on how to organize and date photos

10/9- Staff Meeting at Farmhouse w/ coffee! Agenda for meeting is to engage crew to brainstorm task list and priorities. Notes:

  • -discussion of willows, desire and need to cut back from shading greenhouses
  • -discussion of chickens, need to renovate chicken tractors
  • -need to split firewood for winter, much of wood split did not fit in wood-stove
  • -inventory of supplies and restock: irrigation, marketing, seed, greenhouse, etc.
  • -need to clean out equipment shed
  • -focus on summaries, financial data entry
  • -prep. Garlic for planting
  • -fence fruit cluster

10/16- Data entry: MR on oversight, payroll, accounting/bills; RR on greenhouse summary; KG on financial data entry into Quicken. Also our organic certification inspection took place on this day. Our inspector was kind enough to let 2nd year apprentices KG and RR take part and get some experience of the process. Notes:

  • -Cow Pots added to application as an ‘input’
  • -Manure: “not applied yet, will report as applied”
  • -RR and KG assisted audit of greenhouse and production. Swiss Chard chosen for audit, needed to track production of crop from seedling through to market sales to show it was grown by NSF. Found 220ft bed yields 480 bunches total over a several week harvest period.
  • -KG presented crop rotation map and description of rotation.
  • -Reiteration that a physical barrier must be maintained between organic and non-organic crops in truck and cooler. At minimum, cardboard that is discarded can be used.
  • -Tour of fields and production areas (greenhouses)

10/17- MR interviewing potential candidate for program next year

10/20- MR receives ‘BFF’ Award from NOFA-NJ for “Contribution and Support for NOFA’s Beginning Farmer Program”. BFF stands for Beginning Farmer Friend. Congratulations MR!

Infrastructure 104.5hrs: General clean-up jobs typically fall under the infrastructure element. In October that means a lot of things coming out of the fields to prepare for winter; used drip tape, tomato stakes and trellising string, etc. The ongoing wood splitting also falls under this element.

10/3- Tomato field clean-up, ½ field finished.

10/3 to 10/5- Cleaning out adolescent chicken pen in preparation for them moving in. A concrete block floor was installed. Chix moved in.

10/29 to 10/31- Various hurricane clean-up jobs. Much of our Remay was ruined; a note in the log reads “wet, muddy, ripped, tangled!”

Greenhouse 12hrs: By this time of the year there is not too much left to do in the greenhouses. The few hours logged were mostly clean-up although an entry on 10/2 reports that the FHG tomatoes were “pimped out”, pruned, clipped, and cleaned-up.

As the hurricane approached we opted to leave the plastic on the greenhouses and secure them as best we could. During the hurricane we observed some serious bending and racking of the Farmhouse Gothic greenhouse as the plastic was catching a lot of wind. The call was made to cut the plastic in the hope of preventing the loss of the structure. It made for an exciting time in the middle of the storm! We were able to cut the plastic using an improvised tool (harvest knife taped to a long pole) to cut along the ridge line and secure the two halves. The structure survived and the plastic was replaced the following spring.

Composting 12hrs: Some of RR home-made compost tea was applied to GH tomatoes. Also regular compost applications prior to direct seeding in the BGBs and garlic planting.

Planting 39.5 hrs: There was not much planting going on in October. The BGBs were seeded a final time on 10/13; 2 beds of salad and 1 bed spinach. 4 BGBs where also cover cropped in a rye, pea, vetch mix. On 10/18 we got our garlic planted. MR, TH, BY, RR, KG were crew for the planting. Notes remark on the beautiful weather and the increase in efficiency from the previous year. Four beds with two rows each were planted. Below is our planting sheet which contains some of the calculations we used. 2012 Garlic Planting Calculations

The space we had available was:

4 Beds X 2 Rows X 2640 inches (220ft bed length) / by our spacing of 5 inches.

This means we need 4224 garlic cloves to fill the space, rounded up to 4500 to give us a buffer.

We had 48# of our own garlic saved; on average we get 46 cloves per pound of garlic yielding 2208 cloves. From 15# of our own small garlic, yielding 88 cloves per pound, we got 1320 cloves. Together 3528 cloves of our own seed stock.

We also had 12# purchased seed garlic, at an average 42 cloves per pound yielding 504 cloves.

Final total of available garlic for planting was 4032 cloves, which was 200-500 less than we calculated for, however since the field in which the garlic was planted is prone to flooding on it’s ends it was not necessarily a bad thing to shorten the beds up.

Crop Care 117 hrs: As fall deepens the cold temperatures become more common and frosts more frequent and severe. This can give us a bit of a break with the weeds, as certain varieties will not survive the cold and everything is growing slower, but it means another crop care job moves to the forefront; Remay. Remay is a lightweight fabric row cover we use in conjunction with metal hoops to protect our crops from cold damage. It can be frustrating to handle, especially if there is any wind. This past year we started using wider sections to cover more beds with one length, and it makes the job a lot easier. Instead of using 6 pieces for 6 rows, we can use 1 piece for 6 rows. On 10/11 the log notes “First Serious Frost Warning, Cover Crops!!!”

KG carrying remay 2012

Harvesting 277hrs: Regular Wednesday (for Hopewell), Thursday and Friday (WWCFM and Summit) harvests continued. Notes:

  • 10/5 Final field tomato harvest
  • 10/10 Winter Squash harvested. Very small yield and undersized
  • 10/22 Echinacea and Nettle harvested for tea

Handling 121.5 hrs: Regular Wednesday, Thursday and Friday rinse and sorting continued. In addition, on 10/10 sorting, stripping, and breaking cloves apart of seed garlic was completed.

Marketing 165 hrs: In addition to our regular markets, CH attended the market at Gravity Hill Farm with an offering of specialty dried herb teas.

  • Hopewell– 10/3 – $346, 10/10 – $370, 10/17 – $348, 10/24 – $474        | Market Total- $1,538
  • WWCFM– 10/6 – $1458, 10/13 – $1108, 10/20 – $1322, 10/27 $1327  | Market Total- $5,215
  • Summit– 10/7 – $2644, 10/14 – $2810, 10/21 – $2975, 10/25 – $2215 | Market Total- $10,644
  • Month of October Total- $17,397
  • Year to Date Total- 114,596

Special Projects 9 hrs: Most of the special project hours this month logged by KG for the Micro Green project. Thanks to RR for helping with another late night harvest by flashlight on 10/13.

On 10/15 North Slope hosted a NOFA-NJ incubator interview and social dinner for NOFA Beginning Farmers Tom, Jonathan, and Taylor. The log reads “excellent evening, nice energy and enthusiasm” and I must agree, it was a fun time.

Weather: October was wet, and then Hurricane Sandy hit on the 29th.

Week 1: Humid and Rainy

Week 2: Rain transitioning to cold and dry. “Hard frost warning”

Week 3: Wet, strong winds and cold nights. “No hard freeze yet”

Week 4: “Sweet and mild” then “Forecast Darkening” and “Super Storm Approaching”

 

 

Monthly Summary – September 2012

September 11th, 2013 | Posted by RR in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – September 2012)

Monthly Summary – September 2012

Posted By: RR    Date:9/11/13

5th succession 2

General Observations: Last year, the month of September gave us a bountiful harvest while operations were working smoothly!

Equipment 63 hrs: KG and RR received various equipment training. The Billy Goat walk-behind mower arrived.  Fields were disk-harrowed for cover crop seeding.  Veg. B mid was chiseled and rototilled.  The Williams Tool Bar attached to the 265 was used successfully for crop cultivation.

Administration 36.5 hrs: General administrative chores were attended to.  

Infrastructure 66 hrs:  Baby chicks arrived early in the month. Their nursery was cleaned out, prepped and rat-proofed.  The new Big Garden Beds were finished by forming them into a usable shape with the rototiller.

Greenhouse 14.5 hrs: See Crop Care.

Composting 3 hrs: Compost went to the corner garden and the new Big Garden Beds.

Planting 57.5 hrs: Cover crops were seeded onto certain fields. Some cover crop seed required inoculation and the crew received training on how to use the innoculant.

By mid month, there was a push to get beds seeded for the new moon. The central field was seeded with kale, radishes, arugula, salad and tatsoi. This was an unusual practice.  With the exception of kale, the other crops are usually seeded in our raised garden beds, not a field bed, and they were watered for 6 hours instead of 4. But they grew well, as shown in the photo above.

At the end of the month, the new Big Garden Beds were seeded for the first time with salad mix. Also, the corner garden was planted with Bee Balm, Mountain Mint, Sweet William and Lovage.

CropCare 158 hrs: One notable message, written after a 5hr afternoon in the tomato greenhouse, stressed the importance of keeping up with pruning and trellising.

But many hours went into crop care. Beds were mulched with hay, others were weeded by hand or with scuffle hoe, flower beds were staked and strung, and one greenhouse was completely cleared out, just to name a few activities.

Harvesting 372.5 hrs: There was plenty to harvest in September 2012. Our vegetables included: kale, chard, fennel, beans, beets, carrots, salad mix and squash. Hay was harvested (it was noted that the 579 field was cut 3 times last year), tomatoes got picked several times a week and CH’s corner garden provided a lot of lemon verbena.

Handling 97 hrs: Tomatoes take a long time to sort.

Marketing 167.5 hrs:

Summit: 9/2 – $3300, 9/9 – $3358, 9/15 – $3285, 9/23 – $3380

West Windsor: 9/8 – $1945, 9/14 – $2048, 9/22 – $2043, 9/29 – $1541

Hopewell: 9/5 – $485, 9/12 – $383, 9/18 – $459.95, 9/26 – $297.90

Market Total as of 9/30/3012: $97,199.00

In addition to market sale records, lots of product-value calculations were written in the log this month. Our ketchup and tomato sauce had arrived from processing: 600 pounds of our tomatoes yielded 104 quarts of sauce at a cost of $361.00. If tomatoes are $1/lb, and worker pay at $15/hr with 12 hrs of work, and the cost of processing is $361.00, then total cost of labor is $1141. Divide by 104 quarts and the minimum value is around $11/quart.

Ketchup bottles had a similar calculation which put them valued at $8-9/pint. There were also calculations for flower bunches and salad mix values where the worker pay was raised to $30/hr. Flower bunches were found to be valued around $12/bunch and salad mix was valued at $10/lb.

Special Projects 2.5 hrs: Hay bales were collected for a winter project of building a hay bale dwelling.

KG experimented with micro-green production and switched from a three week seed to harvest time, to two weeks.

Weather:

 Wk 1: Overcast and rainy. Arrival of Hurricane Issac.

Wk 2:  Sunny, clear.

Wk3: Sunny, clear and cool.

Wk4: Overcast and rainy.


 

Monthly Summary – August 2012

August 13th, 2013 | Posted by miker in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – August 2012)

Monthly Summary– August 2012

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by MR, August 10, 2013

General Observations:  Eight Thunder storm events noted and 21 irrigation applications.  Electrical fire near farmhouse after powerline broke along route 579.  It seemed like a lot of tractor activity with late season plowing and haying, and lots of planting as the crew prepares for the end of the season.  Finally MR expands the Big Garden Beds, plowing in a new section to the south of the Blackberries.
New Big Garden Beds
Equipment 85 hrs: Up from 30 hours last year, 15 hours mowing with the Kabota, 25 hours with the Ford, 10 hours with the JD (it was only 5 last August) and 12.5 with our new Case 265.  Seemed to be lots of Tractor time for our 2nd year Trainees KG and RR, cultivating and bedforming, also chisel plowing for KG.  Haybine required removal of blade and reriviting of two cutter teeth.  Observed and assisted by KG, RR and TH.

Administration 25 hrs:  As ever, accounting and payroll.  Payroll for the month was $5,987 for 6 workers ($3,000 less than ’11).  Cash coming in is regularly deposited and quarters and ones retrieved for the cashbox.  Significantly less hours than last August, probably too busy in field.

Infrastructure 100 hrs: Hard predation of chickens noted, down to 55 birds total.  Field edges and Diversions mowed.  8/16 the fence lines and irrigation valves were weed wacked.  MR pointed out clear example of soil erosion at the end of a newly planted field beds to crew.  Emphasized the significance of soil loss even on a small scale – imagine how bad on a large scale.  New BGB’s!  finally plowed into shape by MR with JD using moldboard plow.  Fairly roughly done, enough to clearly delineate the beds for excavator to finish the job.  While Moldboard plow attached, MR modified the layout of the Fields in Veg. C, moving the central field to the North, to accommodate a poorly drained area between the south and mid sections.  Disc harrow in use at end of month for rough tillage of fallow fields.

Greenhouse 14.5 hrs: RR and KG slogged thru “hard work!” of clearing zinnias from Farmhouse Gothic in order to plant Tomatoes.  During rainy days, transplants thinned.  Weekly thereafter members of the crew trellised the House Tomatoes, pruning and clipping.  By end of month, House Tomatoes yielding well but losing more than half to rodent damage – Critical to control rodent population – Cats adopted, but too late to protect this years crop.

Composting 6 hrs:  10.5 cubic yards applied to fields, pre-planting.

Planting 78 hrs:  Training for KG and RR; bed forming and the associated tractor ‘Set-up’ of straight shanks and spyders.  Ordered Cover Crop Seed; 1,200# Triticale Rye, 250# Hairy Vetch and 320# Winter Pea.  CH filled out edges of Corner Garden with perennial Sweet William flowers.  Nice notes of crew working well together, tuning up BGB’s for big direct seeding push on 8/17.

Crop Care 174 hrs:  Hand weeding in Salad mix, with heavy weed pressure and poor germination.  Weeding and cultivating, Tomato Trellising both field and greenhouse.  With increased irrigation towards end of month.  Late Blight discovered in Ralphs House, MR cut down and buried effected plants under hay and plastic tarp in order to reduce spore distribution – seemed to contain the Blight from spreading.

Harvesting 376 hrs: Down 200 hours from last year, was it increased efficiency or less to harvest?  Multiple entries of Harvesting being disturbed by heavy t-storms in first half of August.  Carrot yields from 100’ BGB’s of 500#!  Special harvest and discussion of the ‘Wild Greens- Purslane’ from beds that had poor yield of the intended squash crop.  Tomatoes yielding well, over 50 trays harvested on 8/21.  Late cutting of Hay in Veg. D and Central Northeast fields, and raking too, hoping to get crop in before arrival of Hurricane Issac.  Crew introduction to harvesting zinnias – stem size, where to cut and handling into buckets.

Handling 82 hrs:  Friend of RCM asked to use our facilities for upcoming event, needed space for many sunflowers.  Full training review for crew regarding selection and sorting of ripe vs ripening, handling trays and calculating the cost of labor into the actual yield 8/21.

Marketing 187 hrs: There was a “market assessment” done on 8/14 as we tried to identify the cause of decreasing sales as compared to last year.  The most significant finding was that the amount of produce sold, compared to what it should have earned was consistently inaccurate, sometimes more, sometimes less.  One clear difference was the impact of having SO Blueberries last year and not in 2012.  The take home message was despite a decent effort to accurately record crop sales, we need to do a lot better recording sales info.

Hopewell– $383, $553, $467, $507, $661; Total: $2,571 (decrease of $1,490 from 2011)

WWCFM– $1,231, $1,297, $1,415, $1,549; Total: $5,492 (decrease of $3,216)

Summit $2,556, $2,670, $3,284, $3,555; Total: $12,065 (increase of $3,316)

Total August 2012 Market Income: $20,128 (decrease of $1,400 from 2011)

Special Projects 8.5 hrs:  Delineation of ‘Permaculture Field’, mowing a section to be renovated into hay and defining the remaining area to be planted with Orchard and Perennial Plantings.  KG took on the preparations for ‘Tomato Fight’, mowing paths.  RCM culminated long hours of planning and prepping with a successful delivery of Flowers for her friends wedding.  Last of the “ranchettes” killed by marauding raccoon.  End of month Tomato Processing run – 650 pounds of ripe tomatoes for sauce and ketchup.

Weather:  Drought conditions at beginning of Month

Week 1:  Heavy shower associated with Thunder Storm.

Week 2: More Thunder storms, noted 2.5 inches in ½ hour, then another 3.5” three days later.

Week 3: Finally, Clear weather, conditions drying.

Week 4: Dry until last days then saturated with heavy shower.  Weather turning cool.  Hurricane off Coast of Louisiana approaching.

Monthly Summary – July 2012

July 9th, 2013 | Posted by Owen Spath in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – July 2012)

Monthly Summary– July 2012
broad forking carrots

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Owen Spath, July 9, 2013

General Observations:  The month began with a heat wave reaching an unbearable 102* by the 7th. The heat and dryness continued harshly throughout July killing our crop of fennel as well as some of our chickens in the coop. Midway through the month people from NOFA NJ stopped by to film tools being used for a video to raise money for tools for the incubator farms at Duke Estates. With multiple days of heat over 100*, and only three days of rain at the end of the month, July was very irrigation dependent month for us at North Slope Farm.

Equipment 11.5 hrs:  There was not too much use of equipment in July. A broken sprayer hose left KG smelling terribly while MR rechiseled the Veg C North and then rototilled it. 7/25 KG and RR tilled planted and cultivated Veg C NorthThe month ended with KG mowing production fields, edging two fields in the Veg Field; while MR chisel plowed Veg A’s and B’s which were the 1st succession field for 2012.

Administration 31.5 hrs:  KG presented on his special project of growing micro-greens in which he discussed farm sponsorship vs. individual venture. MR requested that KG publish a special projects proposal as well as accounting for every step accurately and completely. On July 10th MR began working on the Juyly 2011 summary and works on payroll and bills. 7/19 the crop availiblity was updated on the website, and documents were prepared for a Workman’s Compensation Audit.

Infrastructure 55 hrs: About half as many hours were spent on infrastructure this year as there were in 2011. On the 4th irrigation and fertilizer were put on the kale. 7/11 two chickens are found dead at different parts of the day, both of which look like they could have been killed by the heat. Ocho was found in the hoop house maybe assisting with the rat problem, while Diez remains hidden in the seed shed frightened. On July 12, while driving down rt. 31 to make a recycling run the fuel gauge went to completely empty and the gas light of the truck suddenly turned on, eventually the light went off and the gauge returned back to ¾ of the way full. Contiunally irrigating even into the late evening we had trouble keeping up with the heat and dryness. Chicken coops were cleaned and moved on the 17th, 24th, and the 31st. Also on the 31st the fruit in the walk-in cooler was mouse-proofed.

Greenhouse 36 hrs: With most of the seedlings planted the work in the greenhouse was minimal in July. KG and RR thinned chard and kale seedlings. On 7/18 CH seeded the early fall succession of herbs which included parsley, dill, bee-balm, lavage, mt. mint. July 24th the 5th succession of kale, chard, leeks, scallion, fennel, zinnias, sunflowers, and beets were finally seeded.

Composting 12 hrs: On 7/4, 6 cyds. of compost was spread on Veg C North 1st bed. 7/17, 19.5 cyds. were spread on Veg C North finishing the bed, 7.5 cyds. were spread over the Big Garden Beds, and 3.5 cyds. were spread on miscellaneous furrows.

Planting 64 hrs: On the 4th of July the poorly germinated beet beds were renovated and basil, beets, and nappa cabbage were planted. 7/5, Veg C North was planted with basil, chard, and parsley. On the 6th the Big Garden Bed’s; 8 West and 8 East, were seeded with the next succession of salad mix. 7/9, the 3rd planting of parsley was re-planted. On 7/12, MR and RR went out to find a spot for late tomatoes and winter squash along rte. 579, the beds were then mowed and ripped while KG planted the remaining succession. 7/13, zinnias were planted in the 579 bed, and a short bed of wrigley’s spearmint was also planted in the Corner Garden. On 7/18 KG and RR direct seeded two beds of field salad, two beds of carrots, and a partial bed of turnips; RR then planted two rows of winter squash in Veg B South. On the 19th with a small amount of rain the night before 13 beds remained to be direct seeded: beans, beets, chard, cucumbers, and summer squash. 98 plugs of sweet william were planted in the corner garden also on the 19th. 7/25, was filled with planting new girl tomatoes in the new 579 beds and in the farm house gothic, as well as planting chard, kale, leeks, and scallions in Veg C North finishing the planting for July.

Crop Care 196 hrs: Because the month was so dry irrigation became a very large part of crop care in July with 53 different entries in the systems log. Weeding in the Big Garden Beds began on the 3rd as well as the stringing of tomatoes and the brewing of nettle compost tea for 6 beds of tomatoes. On 7/10 Ralph’s house was weeded and trellised and the newest carrots, Veg C South tomatoes, and 579 basil were hand weeded. On 7/12 the dreaded weeding of the strawberries took place, after that the west and east bed of asparagus was weeded. After a Field Moisture Test with the soil probe on 7/16 it was found that every major area of production needed irrigation. The month of July continued and passed with constant trellising, irrigation, and weeding.

Harvesting 417 hrs:  Basil 38 bn, beets 168 bn, beets 442 lbs, carrots 200 lbs, chard 392 bn, eggs 102 doz, field salad 276 lbs, cut flowers 103 bn, kale 137 bn, micro-greens 45, mint 5 bn, nappa cabbage 86 lbs, parsley 26 bn, scallions 16 bn, summer squash 378 lbs, strawberries 94 pp, sungold tomatoes 164 pt, cherry tomatoes 54 pt, turnips 88 bn, turnips 130 lbs. On the 12th of July we harvested our Negovia carrot trial, with 80 days the carrots had medium germination, and decent growth however there about 1/3 of the crop that was subprime with many multi-branched carrots and many rodent chews on the tops. On 7/26 we harvested our first cabbage which was fairly eaten. Small salad plants on the 27th kept us from harvesting salad mix.

Handling 71.5 hrs: On the first day of July our second batch of Echinacea was stripped and stored. 7/13 the harvested garlic was cut, sorted, and put away by RR and TH. On 7/24 the first cutting of L. Verbeva was stripped and stored. The rest of the month’s handling time went to washing station where throughout the month of July the harvested hardy greens, salad mix, and root vegetables were cleaned.

Marketing 119 hrs:  On 7/1 after a very hot but still profitable market in Summit, we received the map of the layout for the market move on July 22nd.  The first market of the month in Hopewell was moved to Tuesday July 3rd, and was very slow, it was here that KG trained TH on filling out harvest sheets. 7/7 was the first sale of the micro-greens which sold slower than expected due to the fact that people did not know what to do with them. At WWCFM on 7/14 even with the market seeming busy and no other vendors having salad mix we still came out with only $844.

Hopewell– $170, $433, $348.50, $404, $382.50; Total: $1,738

WWCFM– $815, $844, $, $1,130, $1,140; Total: $3,929

Summit $2,230, $2,030, $2,310, $3,150; Total: $9,720

Total July 2012 Market Income: $15,387

Special Projects 17 hrs: On July 5, a new special project was started, headed by KG, to introduced micro-greens into our selection at market. KG wrote a special project proposal and was asked to account for work hours, materials cost, handling description, an established wholesale value per unit, materials that have been already purchased. Micro-Mix seed $15/ #1/4 estimate seeds 10 trays; seed cost=$1.50 per tray. 7/6 the first succession of micro-greens was harvested, it was noted in the log that the trays need to stay level. On 7/8 KG planted his 3rd succession of micro-greens and created a data sheet for the seeding dates, yields, etc. On 7/23 MR presented at the NOFA Twilight Meeting on the NSF Training Program and Farm Tour.

Weather:  Very Hot and Dry with Heat-waves threatening both crops and chickens, only three days of rain.

Week 1: Heat-wave all week +95*, 102* on Saturday.

Week 2: Dry conditions cause crop lose due to insufficient irrigation.

Week 3: Heat continues, dryness continues, high need for rain. Rain finally comes overnight 7/20, .9”.

Week 4: Still hot, rain 7/27-28 equaling 1.75”.

 

Monthly Summary – June 2012

June 7th, 2013 | Posted by RR in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – June 2012)

Williams Toolbar
Monthly Summary – June 2012

General Observations: Life on the farm is on-going and it’s nice to look back and find that activities are much the same this year as with last.  Last June, the grass needed to be mowed or whacked regularly, hay fields needed to be cut and baled.  With three weekly last year, we spent most of our hours harvesting and caring for existing crops and planting more.

Equipment 44 hrs: On the first of June, new beds were ripped in Veg. C South using the IH140. It took .75hrs for a single rip of 16 beds. Later in the month, the Kubota mower had a broken belt that was fixed, the new 265 wouldn’t start, so the beds that needed to be roto-tilled were done with the BCS instead, and the hay baler broke which involved an intense fixing process.

Administration 27 hrs:A rainy day on the 12th provided the crew with a pie break and a discussion of future plans. Meanwhile, CH began working on the organic certification forms which were copied and filed away when complete. RCM worked on the June summary for 2011, and the website got an update featuring new crop availability and invitations to the Solstice party.

Infrastructure 52.5 hrs:The first major hay cutting occurred on 5/31 and took approximately 5 hours to complete the Mulch field SE, Veg D and 579 field N. Then on the 10th and 11th respectively, the cut hay was raked in Veg D and MSE, then it baled in Veg D until the “bushing shredded on plunge center.” In the market garden, there was a second cutting of hay from a cover cropped field on the 16th. Mowing and weed-whacking of various areas around the farm happened every week this month. There was an on-going fox watch from May, and one day while stringing tomatoes KG spotted it in the chicken fields and the crew promptly cut off our strings and chased it out. KG and TH went on a reconnaissance mission and found the fox’s hole and (if my memory serves correctly) set a trap. One chicken was injured due to a laceration and put into a recovery home.

Greenhouse 16.5 hrs: Ralph’s house was cleared and prepped for tomatoes. Sungold, Brandywine, and Corsalo were all transplanted in. There was a general seedling clean up, and the 4th succession of veggies, 2nd succession of flowers, and another succession of tomatoes were seeded.

Composting 6 hrs: After ripping the beds in Veg C South on the 1st, 8 of them were composted with 1.75cyrds ea. Totaling 2.35 hrs. The other 8 beds in Veg C S were composted later with the same amount. A couple big garden beds were composted this month as well.

Planting 125 hrs: BGBs were prepped and direct seeded with salad. Beets, fennel, basil and the rest of the 3rd veggie succession got planted in Veg C S. Flowers were planted in the 579 field, though they were planted late. Other BGBs were prepped and seeded with turnips, carrots and transplants of scallions. 7 beds of Veg C S were direct seeded with beets, beans, squash and radishes. Veg C North received primary tillage with the chisel plow and was then roto-tilled.

Crop Care 215 hrs: Lots of time weeding, sometimes the soil was too wet and the weeds need to be cut instead of pulled to avoid pulling out clumps of mud. There was also a lot of trellising and stringing for the flowers and tomatoes, and cleaning out irrigation lines and other debris from Veg B. The Williams tool bar was used on the 265 to cultivate small beets, chard and kale. One major issue regarding the field tomatoes was that their trench was dug too deep and it wouldn’t drain so they got flooded with water.

Harvesting 249.5 hrs: 6/1- Salad mix 96.5lbs, 6/2- Strawberries, scapes, and various herbs. 6/6- salad, tatsoi, peas, chard, turnips, strawberries, beets. 6/7- Kale, chard, beets, tatsoi, peas, scapes. 6/8- Salad mix 67lbs, cut flowers. 6/12- Cut flowers. 6/13- Beets, kale, chard, salad mix, tatsoi, strawberries. 6/14- Kale, chard, radishes. 6/20- Salad mix, chard, kale, beets, turnips, carrots, flowers, hay. 6/21- Hardy greens, turnips, carrots, hay. 6/22- Salad mix 90lbs. 6/28- Hardy greens, carrots. 6/29- Salad 79.5lbs.

Handling 76.5 hrs: KG and RR handled/washed produce a lot this month.

Marketing 103 hrs:

Hopewell: 6/6- $422, 6/13- $459, 6/20- $302.5. 6/27- $530

WWCFM: 6/2- $1150, 6/9- $817, 6/16- $830, 6/23- $1019

Summit: 6/3- $1713, 6/10- $2220, 6/17- $2460, 6/28- $2130

Total June 2012 Market Income: $14,052.5

Special Projects 8.5 hrs: RCM delivered watermelon seeded trays, KG seeded first round of micro-greens, KG, RR planted tomatoes in “auxiliary tomato field.”

Weather:

Week 1: Thunderstorms early in the week with hail on the 3rd, then clear skies

Week 2: Sunny and warm, but with heavy rain on the 12th

Week 3: Sunny and warm again, with promise of more

Week 4: Beginning of heat wave, soil “getting too dry”

Monthly Summary- May 2012

May 29th, 2013 | Posted by Owen Spath in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary- May 2012)

Monthly Summary – May, 2012

Posted By, Owen Spath;    Date; 5/28/13
Salad Harvest
General Observations: May is a busy month for North Slope Farm and 2012 was no exception. With the first harvesting of salad, field kale, field chard, and radishes; the planting of the 4th succession, and the fox that kept stealing chickens the crew had their hands full. The unpredictable May weather gave a little flexibility with short periods of rain with sun in-between.

Equipment 79.75 hrs:JD:9.5, Ford:13, Case:11, Kabota:24, IH140:8.75, Walkin Mower:4.5, BCS:0.5, Weedwacker:8.5. On 5/8 a bolt was tightened on Big Red ending the squealing noise. 10 days later KG found the Ford Rototiller was overheating, the engine was then cleaned from all debris.

Administration 45 hrs: On 5/1 there was a crew meeting discussing ‘special orders’. 5/3 KG finished the monthly summary for May, 2011. On 5/15 MR discussed ‘cost of production’ which derives from the total work hours of harvesting and handling.

Infrastructure 142 hrs: May began with a heavy amount of mowing, weedwacking and protecting the chickens from the devious fox. 5/3 the walk in cooler was cleaned. 5/8 half of the MSEN was mowed to prepare for the chicks move, the fence was tended and the chicks were secure from the fox. 5/9 Hens were moved into the fence. On 5/13, 30 minutes after sunset the chicken pen was about to be closed when there was evidence found of a fox attack, electric fence did not deter the fox. 5/16 fence tested with amp meter, weak spots were found and repaired.

Greenhouse 105.5 hrs: Things in the greenhouses started off slow for the first two weeks of May. On 5/9 nettle tea was applied to the tomatoes seedlings which were then sprayed for aphids and taken out of the greenhouse. 5/13 Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer was added to the tomato seedlings that would be for sale. The second half of May became more interesting with the discovery of jewel weed growing in the east edge of the greenhouse, the potting on of the black eyed Susan’s and the 4th succession of seedlings for sale on 5/16. On May 30th, the 4th succession of veggies was started.

Composting 26.25 hrs: In addition to the compost sifted for potting and seeding the garden and flower beds got their fair share of composting as well. On 5/9, the Big Garden Beds, and Veg. B North were each given 3.5 cubic yards, while 4 cubic yards was given to the Corner Garden. On 5/17, the Big Garden Beds were given 3.5 more cubic yards and on 5/20 the flower field was given 7 cubic yards using the spreader.

Planting 162.5 hrs: In May the planting began on 5/7 with the planting of flat leaf parsley, and curly leaf parsley in the corner garden. On 5/11 three rows of tomatoes were planted, one sungold, one striped german, and one brandywine. 5/13, two Big Garden Beds were planted with salad mix and on 5/18 the beds were replanted due to poor germination. May ended with the planting of ½ a row of Echinacea, dill, stevia, chamomile, bee balm, and hyssop on the 28th; and on the 29th five beds of tomatoes, one bed of eggplant, and one bed of peppers were planted.

Crop Care 300.5 hrs: Crop care took some attention in May as the aphids attacked and the weeds still grew. On 5/1 KG sprayed second M-PEDE application to control aphids, and remay and mulch were laid over Veg B South for weed control. 5/4 the entire crew was dedicated to hand weeding pea beds in Veg B South. On 5/7 the pathways in the corner garden were weed wacked and the peonies and Echinacea were stalked and strung. 5/8 plastic was spread over BGB’s to protect from rain. 5/9 hand weeded fruit trees from pears to apples. 5/18 BGB’s irrigated and weeded, weeding revealed that the carrots need to be replanted; rerototill and replant!  On 5/24 while weeding workers were chased off by lightning and forced to weed gothic flower beds, stake zinnias, and sunflowers.

Harvesting 347.25 hrs: May is a busy month for harvesting, for the workers this made up the majority of their time. 5/2 was the first harvesting of the first salad succession, and the last of the spinach. On 5/4 the first harvest of field kale & chard, also the first harvest of radishes though some were damaged by slugs and insects. 5/18 harvested comfrey and catnip, comfrey filled solar dryer and catnip filled the greenhouse. The remainder of harvesting in May was spent with strawberries, field salad, chard, kale, turnips, asparagus, radishes, and arugula.  

Handling 105.5 hrs: 5/1 began with the washing of eggs which yielded 28 dozen ex-large and 4 dozen large eggs. On the 4th the walk-in cooler was set up again after being washed the day before and the wash are was arranged, this was followed b a demonstration on washing lettuce. 5/18 a demonstration was given on washing tender greens which included sanitizing, plunging, draining, spinning and finally bagging.

Marketing 166 hrs: The first Market of May was a slow one due to rain. 5/5 began North Slope Farm’s 9th year at the WWCFM. As May pushed on the Hopewell market continued to be slow and rainy, however on 5/12 WWCFM had a beautiful day which was very busy. 5/13 in Summit a record amount of salad was sold at 63lbs, as well as 70lbs of kale, and 70lbs chard!

Hopewell: $257, $317, $514, $516, $523.90; Total: $2,127.90

WWCFM: $913, $1,037.25, $1,134, $1,110, $1,150; Total: $5,344.25

Summit: $2,240, $2,220, $1,920, $2,070; Total: $8,450

Total May 2012 Market Income: $15,922.15

Special Projects 14 hrs: On 5/11 Nettles were bagged for Cherry Grove Cheese to make Nettle Jack Cheese. On 5/16 Ben from Highland Gourmet supplied the seeds for approximately eight flats of watermelons, and on 5/17 the watermelons were seeded.

Weather: No mention of frost in log, total rain fall 4.25’.

Week 1: wet and rainy, sun just peaking through, and back to rain.

Week 2: started off with rain, finally getting sunny, heavy showers.

Week 3: clear and sunny, ground started to get dry and in need of irrigation.

Week 4: rain in the forecast, thunderstorms on the 24th and 29th totaling 2’.

April 2012

April 5th, 2013 | Posted by Michelle in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on April 2012)

Food Safety 2012

Jason the mason installing a new floor in the washing station

 

Monthly Summary – April 2012

 

General Observations: 

April was a cold and windy month. There were lots of farm repairs to be done including spring cleaning and some farm improvements – installation of paver floor in washing station and farm house was painted. Lots of weeding, composting, mulching and seeding going on, and weeding.  Seedlings order for WEC reviewed. And the on going war with the vermin,ie rats and aphids continues.  

 

Equipment 70.5 hrs:

Intro of the box truck and demo of tillage with the Ford and rototiller was given. We received a new compost spreader; first trial of new multi-spreader resulted in broken link on main drive chain and noticing that tire rubs; it requires Z passes. The axle and drive gear on new spreader was reoriented. The Kubota was serviced; air and oil filter/oil changed in Ford and JD and the roller was repaired. The corn planter and potato sorter was loaded to be taken to Come Back Farm for storage and hopefully use at months end.

Administration 43 hrs:

Pictures from farm camera were downloaded onto website and sorted.

Infrastructure 132 hrs:  

Outside contractors were brought in to install a new block floor in the washing station area; the farm house was scrapped and painted, screened porch was repaired and spruced up. The door to the refrigerator was repaired also.  Intro to the electric fence was given and broken sections were repaired. Intro to irrigation rotation was given and the rotation was started. Ralph’s House flooded, drainage areas were cleared. Weeding, weed wacking, mowing, mulching and clearing of all access areas and walkways was done. Sink holes in veg gardens were filled in.

Greenhouse 199.5 hrs:

Peas were planted, herbs such as parsley (2nd succession), assorted flowers, 1st, 2nd and 3rd succession of seedling for sale done this month as well as field tomatoes and potted peppers, eggplants and tomatoes for sale.  The seedlings order for the Whole Earth Center was prepared this month. An aphid infestation was dealt with M-Pede being sprayed in greenhouse and to seedlings. Zinnias seedlings died; possibly due to the direct spaying of M-Pede or the cold?            A new seed order was prepared.

Composting 60.5 hrs:

Manure delivery from Gilberts Horse Farm had lots of wood shavings in it. Lots of compost was spread in the BGB, veg beds, farm house gothic, herb bed and corner garden.

Planting 147 hrs

First succession of chard, kales, salad, beets, carrots and radishes were direct seeded in Ralphs House and the kale had to be removed due to infestation. Two new asian pear trees were planted. Flowers were planted in the gothic beds,

Crop Care 162 hrs: 

Everything needed  weeding, mulching, pathways  were weed wacked and cleared, remay frames build and installed to protect newly planted plants from the frost at night and then there was more weeding to be done, again.

Harvesting 57 hrs / Handling 30 hrs:

First harvest of asparagus, spinach, kale, scallions, radishes and eggs went to market. Stinging nettle, catnip and thyme was cut, dried and stripped for teas; it was observed that catnip was not drying well.  Fields of cover crop of rye/vetch/pea was cut for straw but it was a bit wet due to rain and straw was cut from the market garden.

Marketing 40 hrs:  

Wednesday’s market atHopewellbrought in 4/4- $249.50 (sold lots of apple sauce), 4/11- $201.00, 4/18- $256.00, 4/25- $382.00 monthly total of $1,088.50.

Special Projects 7.5 hrs:

MR did a chicken talk for an afterschool group this month. The chickens were moved weekly and a run for chicken feed was needed. A total of the number of eggs that was collected this month for the 2010’s was 740 and the 2011’s was 1,253 = 1,993 eggs.

Weather:

week 1: clear, wet, windy and cold, 36F at night

week 2: windy and cold, 45mph in beginning of week

week 3: clear, cold, windy, warmed up one day in beginning of week

week 4:bright, cold, windy; some frost damage to seedlings

 

 

Monthly Summary – March 2012

March 27th, 2013 | Posted by RR in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – March 2012)

Monthly Summary – March 2012

Case IH 265

General Observations:

Last March we recorded long periods of warm and dry weather during the first few weeks. At night, temperatures sometimes dropped below freezing, especially toward the end of the month. The warmer weather made more outdoor work possible, and crop care was in full swing. But indoor work and training also needed to be done as the season began.

Administration 87hrs:

The office was tidied up, website worked on and apple trees were ordered. With the full crew around, MR gives an introduction to the farm by explaining the elements task list, and discussing the specifics of the crop plan and crop rotation. The March 2011 summary was posted on the website.  Seed orders and supply orders were made. The Quick Books Payroll was set up.

Infrastructure 87.5hrs: 

Road trip to buy supplies! They came back with a new tractor (named: Big Red), irrigation supplies and a new mulch spreader. RCM cleaned out and organized the walk in cooler. Everyone got training on the farm’s water system. Mowing occurred. The fence was repaired.

Equipment 27hrs:

Second year interns got tractor training including a review of engine systems, safety and operating procedures, and drove them for the first time.

Compost 23hrs:

Always needs to be sifted for greenhouse potting mix.

Marketing 31.5hrs:

Hopewell Market was every Wednesday.

3/17- 122.00

3/14- 199.00

3/21- 145.00

3/28- 184.00

Total: 650.00

There was one run to Solebury orchards for apple sauce and juice for Hopewell Market.

Crop Care 325.5hrs:

Remay over strawberry beds. Weeded asparagus beds. Weeded and mulched strawberry beds. Pear trees were thickly mulched.  Water to fruit trees.  Greenhouses were weeded. Weeded strawberries again. Garlic beginning to be freed from crab grass. Big Garden Beds were cleared of plastic and hoops. Blackberries were securely trellised. Garlic still being freed of crab grass. Pruned older apple trees. Garlic was easier to free after a pass from a tractor.

Greenhouse 140hrs:

Seed orders for seedling sales were made. Inventory of supply. Salad tables were slowly cleared out to allow for an extended salad harvest.

1st succession field veggies done: beats, chard, kale, scallions, peas

1st succession field tomatoes done

1st succession greenhouse flowers done

Aphids noticed on floor weeds, those plants were removed.

Planting 57hrs:

Hazelnut, Almond and Walnut and Apple tress were planted. KG proposed a slightly modified crop that factored in beans and leeks. Peas were planted and radishes and turnips were direct seeded in Ralph’s house.

Harvest/Handling 48.5hrs:

New interns got training on harvesting kale. Table top lettuce and spinach was harvested for wholesale accounts.

Weather:

Week 1:  Mild days, just freezing at night

Week 2:  Clear, windy, mild temperatures, feels like spring, but freezing at night still.

Week 3:  Sunny, warm, 70F during day, 40F at night

Week 4:  Warm, sunny, windy, with freezing nights at the end of the month.

Monthly Summary – November 2011

November 30th, 2012 | Posted by Robin in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – November 2011)

Monthly Summary – November 2011

General Observations-

Last year at the beginning of November we were just recovering from a bizarre October snow storm.  This year we had another oddly powerful storm wreck havoc over our state, whose aftermath will need to be dealt with for a long time to come.  It seems odd that people still debate the change in our weather, regardless of opinion, it seems wise to invest in systems which are not electrically dependent, or at very least, a working generator.

Besides for November being a time to contemplate the ever changing climate of our world, it’s a time for cleaning up, finishing markets and beginning to settle down for the winter months.  Infrastructure was improved upon and fields tidied up for winter.  Extra hoops, remay, irrigation lines, etc. were cleaned up, labeled and stored or tossed if not suitable for use next spring.  Administration was also a major focus, assembling end of the year wrap up summaries and posting on the website.  November also marks my anniversary for arriving at North Slope, now three years later, I look at November as a pleasant month.  It is a calm month of finishing up to prepare for the coming holiday season.

Equipment 8hrs-

The weedwacker needed some attention, a new starter pulley was needed but successfully replaced.  The crew moved the old, broken down box truck to its ‘final resting place’ by the farmhouse and 579, the truck had to be hauled by tractor since the engine does not run any longer.  KG and RR also began training on tractor, rototiller use and had to take the BCS tire to be fixed.

Administration 97 hrs-

End of the year summaries were worked on; greenhouse summary, harvest and market summaries, a winter market summary/proposal and payroll. There was work on the website and summaries were added.  Also there was continual clean up of office odds and ends.

Infrastructure 92 hrs-

The end of October snow storm left snow to shovel and structures to uncover and fallen trees/branches to clear away.  The snow also knocked out the power, which returned at the beginning of the month, allowing us to run water and refrigeration again.  However, with the cooler temperatures, especially at night, the water situation has to be continually monitored to make sure pipes won’t freeze.  Screens on the farmhouse porch were measured and paneling was cut to fit in to create a ‘sun room’ on the porch and to help heat up that area to add to heat trickling in from the outside to heat the house.  General upkeep on the farm was a continual effort, with jobs like fixing fence line and trimming overgrown plants and branches.  The chickens also needed care, feeding, coop moving, etc.

Greenhouse 6 hrs-

Clearing out of old seedlings and bringing potted perennial plants into the heated greenhouse for over winter.  The greenhouse tomatoes were also cleared out and hoops were cleared from the farmhouse gothic.  Also, table tops were set up and seeded in the heated greenhouse for winter production again.

Composting 12 hrs-

Woodchips and manure were piled up for future seasons, several loads of horse manure was brought in from a nearby horse farm.

Planting 4 hrs-

The garlic order was cancelled so North Slope provided all of it’s own seed for 2012 garlic.  Planting the garlic went well, the ‘garlic challenge’ game was created to test who can consume the most fresh, raw garlic.  Some final BGBs were also prepped and seeded with spinach, covered and left for spring.  Also, cover crop was spread over fields for the winter.  And heated greenhouse tables were prepped and seeded for winter production.

Crop Care 56 hrs-

Blackberry plants were staked, a bit late as they should have already been trellised at this point to help control their wild growth but sometimes (more often than not) perennials get put on the back burner during the busy summer months.  Fencing for small trees was also needed and set to help protect the young plants against deer and other nibblers.  Some spinach, lettuce, carrot and kale beds were covered with layers of remay and/or plastic to help preserve into the winter and in some cases, next year.  Remaining hoops, remay, sandbags, etc. were collected and stored for the winter.

Harvesting 113hrs

The harvest continued for end of the season markets and storage over the winter, including salad mix, radishes, scallions, kale, chard, a one time harvest of our enterprise apples, carrots, baby fennel, arugula and tat soi.

Handling 52 hrs-

Washing of roots and greens becomes a very cold job in November, cold air, burning winds and constant hand submersion makes for a chilly job even in the sunny afternoon.  But the cooler weather of November does help one to appreciate the warmth from the fire in the bunk house.  Egg washing continued, selling out at markets, eggs continue to be popular.  And 1st years are trained on salad washing.

Marketing 102 hrs-

The end of the season of weekend markets. West Windsor had their last regular market in October with a special market the weekend before Thanksgiving.  With Thanksgiving comes, the end of the season and both weekend markets are over until the Spring.  Hopewell continued, weather permitting, through the winter time but still by the end of November profits slow.  However, cool customers that love the Hopewell market continue to visit and even bring gifts of old farming books from the turn of the century, very interesting to see how things change.  Meanwhile, JR is trained on driving the box truck and taking on marketing tasks for the coming season.

West Windsor Thanksgiving Market: 11/19: $800

Summit: 11/6: $2530, 11/13: $2500, 11/20: $2560

Hopewell: 11/2: $386,, 11/9: $313, 11/16: $361, 11/22: $164, 11/30: $393

Total November Income: $10,007

Special Projects 29 hrs-

Panels for the farmhouse porch were installed to help heat the house.  The seed shed loft was worked on.  A chicken slaughter was scheduled at the Wilkinson’s property after Thanksgiving.  The remaining flocks were consolidated with the healthiest looking birds left to over winter at the farm.  The 11 birds which were culled were taken to be slaughtered and used by the crew for soup and other eating.  We must give a big thanks to Matt Wilkinson for allowing us to use his equipment and teaching us how to do the job correctly.

Weather:

Week 1: Recovering from an October snow storm, with nice sunny, warm days to melt the snow

Week 2: A heat wave came in to give a break from the chilly fall, days up to 70s but a windy front brought rain and a change in weather.

Week 3: Rain starts off the week, cool weather to follow

Week 4: Cool weather ending the month of November

Monthly Summary – October 2011

October 4th, 2012 | Posted by Beau Young in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – October 2011)

Monthly Summary – October 2011

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by BY September 27th, 2012

Fall Chores

General Observations:

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.

Weather:

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.