Monthly Summary – August 2009
Steven Tomlinson; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 12/10
General Observations: August is filled to the brim with energy. The daily chores and ebb and flow of harvesting, washing, marketing, and replanting hit its stride with the workers. This is time that people start to feel the totality of their work. Machines and tools break, the relentless rain never gives up, and people usually make a decision whither farming is meant for them or maybe they should try their hand at something else. I love August for this reason. It is the intensity of all the seasons work magnified by the sun. The days are long and the planning for fall crops are floating around. By the months end one feels a new beginning, but maybe that just has to do with the cycle of school starting up for the youth and people returning from their summer adventures.
The crew at North Slope Farm dealt with a lot of rain in 2009. This lead to some delayed harvesting and radical growth of weeds made the third succession of vegetables a wash. Some markets were great; others were slow due to rain. The organic certification audit came and went with success. This is why it is important to keep records and have everything filed correctly. The workers play a major role in the administrative tasks. Each journal entry yields important information that the workers of next year will look to for guidance. It also fills in missing information that sometimes dose not get written down if a planting extends beyond the normal work day. It also accounts for the weather and pinpoints the struggles of growing vegetables for the market.
Administration 26.5 hrs: The Organic Inspection was handled well with some notes to add the new salad spinner to our equipment list and to do annual soil testing to possibly not rotate tomatoes, or plant them in the same spot year after year. Some figures were tallied and $2550 a week should be made to hit the target gross yield. A seed order was placed for fall vegetables. A trip to Genesis Farms for a NOFA twilight meeting was made to learn about winter CSA planning.
Infrastructure 83.5 hrs: Cleaning out the box truck from the weekend market became a weekly, but much need chore. Routinely mowing the edges of the field and diversions kept the farm in working order and clearly defined pathways for foot traffic and water runoff. The pool filter was changed and a new home was made for the chickens by attaching fencing to a greenhouse.
Greenhouse 10 hrs: Seedlings were planted and watered. The limited hours reflects the small amount of activity in the greenhouse. Mold was found on the basil in Ralph’s House.
Composting 4 hrs: One note was found about composting in the log: In vessel method for 3 days at 131*F with cover to ground is ok.
Planting 17.5 hrs: The Big Garden Beds were prepped for 2 more successions of field lettuce and 2 beds of carrots.
Crop Care 50 hrs: Weeding always plays a huge role in a vegetables success. With out using black plastic mulch to suppress weeds, time becomes a challenge. The third succession of vegetables was lost to over achieving weeds. Two rows of tomatoes were hand weeded and the rest of the beds were abandoned due to the amount of energy that had to go into it. Edges of beds were cut back by hand and everybody pitched in when time was available.
Harvesting 250 hrs: By far the most time spent this month was harvesting. Weekly harvest for the market included field lettuce, green beans, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, Asian pears, scallions, tomatoes and flowers. Herbs such as spearmint and lemon balm were harvested and dried for herbal tea.
Marketing: 140 hrs: Saturday market was at West Windsor, Sunday market at Summit, and Wednesday market at Hopewell. The most fruitful market was Summit, due to its location and reputation. The weather played a role in the success of people coming out and purchasing at the market. This is North Slope Farm’s main outlet for selling vegetables. MR was out for a week and people at the market were concerned for him. I filled in at the market this year at the same time and experienced the same concern among patrons. This proves that having a face for the farm means a lot to people, or that people just like MR.
Special Projects 0 hrs: