Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary November 2010

November 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Kyle in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary November 2010)

 Monthly Summary – November 2010

Prepared by KG November 3, 2011

2010 Winter Production

General Observations: By November we are getting late into fall and temperatures are falling below freezing many nights. WWCFM has ended with the exception of their pre-Thanksgiving market, and Summit ends the sunday before Thanksgiving as well leaving only Hopewell after that. November is the last month of the regular season and the crew must work through the colder weather and darker days to ensure there is produce for the remaining markets. Also, preparations for winter must be made to the farm. Last November also saw the beginning of a Winter Production Season as a special project by RCM and ST.

Administration 72.5 hrs: With the weather getting colder and the day to day workload on the farm lessening, November was filled with plenty of office work. On 11/9 accounting data entry was introduced and reviewed for ST and RCM. The checkbook and Quicken procedures were gone over, including file management, data entry, reports, corrections & splits, and finding and imputing income & expense data. On 11/10 ST finished entering checkbook data into Quicken and the approx. figure of $104,000 in expenses to date was calculated. Recommendations for saving money were discussed. On 11/11 CH did payroll. 11/21, a note in the log discusses the end of the primary market season and the beginning of the winter production season as well as noting lots of admin work to be done. On 11/21 MR did payroll and ST entered market date into Quicken. 11/30 meeting to discuss the past season as well as the new winter schedule. Winter hours would be Tuesday and Wednesday plus self directed work anytime with the priorities of chores, winter season tasks, marketing, cropcare/infrastructure, and a heavy load of 2009 monthly and 2009 and 2010 season summaries to be published on the website.

Infrastructure 47.5 hrs: Colder temperatures dropping below freezing on some nights necessitated some infrastructure work to prepare for the cold. On 11/2 ST and RCM received an introduction to turning the farm’s water system on and off as well as draining it. This process of draining the farm’s water system overnight and turning it back on when necessary would continue throughout the month. With winter production on-going in the greenhouses some rodent pressure was discovered and dealt with, rats were trapped on 11/5 and 11/8, a note in the log suggests looking into rat stew recipes. Chicken chores continued throughout November, with the 09 flock moved into Veg A North for pasture. The composting toilet was also cleaned this month.

Equipment 11.5 hrs:

JD- 2

IH140- 5

Walkin Mower- 2

BCS Rototiller- 2.5

Kabuta, Ford, Weedwacker- 0

On 11/4 replacement batteries for the JD were purchased. The IH140 was used to bed form in Madonna Field North in preparation for Garlic planting, furrows were cut and then compost added. On 11/18 the JD had difficulty starting, battery dead and heavy drain on new batteries. Started after being hooked to charger in the AM and ran fine. Diagnosis was that there is a short somewhere in the ignition system and the solution is to disconnect the batteries when not in use. 11/24 JD used to load compost for Ralphs house, battery disconnected after use.

Greenhouse 34 hrs: With winter production on-going much work was being done in the greenhouses, requiring daily management for temperature control. In addition to the daily greenhouse chores, on 11/11 RCM tightened up the heated greenhouse and noticed a broken heating pad smoking when plugged in.

Composting 21 hrs: Compost was applied to 8 beds in Madonna Field North in preparation for Garlic planting. Ralph’s house also received a treatment of compost in preparation for WP plantings.

Planting 47 hrs: Garlic was cleaned on 11/12 in preparation for planting, yielding 85 lbs of prime garlic cloves for seeding. The planting took place on 11/16, 8 beds were planted with a single row of Garlic, the curved side of the clove facing the bed’s edge to insure uniform stem alignment. There were two groups of plantings in the heated greenhouse for WP in November, one on 11/9 into bread and tomato trays and another round on 11/18 into flipped seedling tables lined with chicken feed bags with soil on top. Both plantings contained field salad, arugula, tatsoi and peas.

Crop Care 50.5 hrs:  Remay management was a large part of crop care in November. Plastic/Remay tunnels for winter production needed to be regularly managed to insure temperatures did not stress the crops. This process meant opening the ends of the tunnels for cooling during the day and closing them at night. A note in the log demonstrates the necessity of the regular management, when it was discovered that when opening the tunnels at 10AM the temperature was already 90*F when the high for the day was only 55*F. On 11/11 the tomato patch was cleaned up in the field, and greenhouse tomatoes were cleared from Ralph’s house by 11/24.

Harvesting 186 hrs: Arugula, Beets, Carrots, Chard, Field Salad, Kale, Peppers, Radish, Tatsoi, and Turnips were still being harvested in November, as well as a diminishing amount of greenhouse tomatoes until finally the plants were removed on the 24th.

Handling 54.5 hrs: Only 2 weekly markets for the month of November and Summit ending the Sunday before Thanksgiving meant less washing than in previous months.

Market 103 hrs:

Hopewell11/3 $430, 11/10 $445.50, 11/17 $403.60, 11/23 $470.50

WWCFM Thanksgiving Market- 11/20 $532         

Summit11/7 $2180, 11/14 $2535, 11/21 $3360

            Total September Market Income: $10,356.60

Special Projects 47 hrs: A note on 11/21 marks the end of the primary market season and the start of RCM and ST ‘s winter production season. The winter production special project which had been in planning and initial preparation before, was now getting much more daily attention. Plantings in the heated greenhouse and management of the remay/plastic tunnels were a large part of this, as well as harvest and handling for the Hopewell market. A summary of last year’s winter production special project is available here.


Week 1: Freezing nights, milder days. Rain on the 4th.

Week 2: Cold, temperatures around freezing at night, but sunny with highs around 60 most of the week.

Week 3: Warmers nights, temperatures in the 40s. Strong winds blow through on the 17th, 35mph+ followed by a drop in temperatures.

Week 4: Cold nights continue, with forecast lows below freezing for the start of December.

Monthly Summary October 2010

October 5th, 2011 | Posted by Jess in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary October 2010)


General Observations:  Winter is coming!!  That is what was on everyone’s mind this month.  All three markets that north slope attended were still in full swing and therefore produce needed to be available.  With temperatures dropping crop health was a concern.  Measures were taken to regulate crop temperatures in the field and all of the greenhouses were prepped and planted for winter production.  With winter coming clean up around the farm and creating proper storage spaces were also high on the task list for the crew. 

Equipment 16 hrs: With winter coming the crew focused on necessary repairs and finding appropriate areas to store equipment.  Started setting up “have–a-heart” traps in greenhouses to catch and remove groundhogs that were destroying green house crops.

Administration 54 hrs: There were a lot of administrative completed this moth with winter and the end of the season approaching. 10/1 crew meeting was held to discuss midseason check in, plan for third year interns and setting priorities.  Manager met with each of the third years to further discuss their specific focuses. 10/5 Crew was given overview of what tasks needed to be prioritized for the month; work that needed to be done to prepare for winter production, tasks that still needed to be completed in both the greenhouses and fields, taking down tomato stakes and strings, weeding strawberries and blackberries, covering crops, equipment clean up and storage for coming winter months.  The usual administrative tasks, payroll, accounting and bills were attended to as always.

Infrastructure 55hrs: Weekly chicken chores, moving coops, cleaning coops and adding new bedding. 10/13 mowing 579 diversions and field perimeters.  10/19 Old chicken pasture was mowed. 10/27 Started mowing the BGB not in production.  Seed shed cleaned.

Greenhouse 10.5 hrs: Winter production seedlings were moved into the greenhouse and tables rearraged to accommodate trays.   The green house gothic was seeded on the 6th for winter production.

Composting 0 hrs:  Received a load of fresh compost on 10/1.

Planting 15.5 hrs: 10/6 greenhouse gothic was seeded for winter production 10/21 transplanted rudbeckia in tea garden 10/22 finished planting perennials in the tea garden. 10/25 turnips and radishes were transplanted into the hoop house for winter production.

Crop Care 113 hrs: Weeding as always!  This month all of the crop care was focused on prepping for winter production.  See “special projects” for further details.

Harvesting 293 hrs:  Chard, kale, beets, turnips, salad mix, green beans, arugula, tatsoi, last of the flowers (sunflowers, zinnas, and marigolds), tomato production decreased as the month progressed but still able to consistently harvest from both the field and the greenhouse. 10/6 crew was unable to harvest kale for Hopewell market due to rain damage. 10/15 Low yield of salad due to slower regowth, arugula showing cold damage.

Handling 68.5 hrs:  Regular washing in preparation for the three markets NSF attends.

 Marketing 109.5 hrs:

 Hopewell10/6 – $464, 10/13 – $467, 10/20 – $399.50,  10/27 – $295   Average sales for month = $406.38

West Windsor10/9 – $1,422, 10/16 – $1,022 , 10/23 – $960 , 10/30 – $1068   Average sales for month = $1118

Summit: 10/10 – $2,080, 10/17 -$1900, 10/24 – $1780 , 10/31 – $1940   Average sales for month: $1925

Total October Market Income: $13,797.50

Special Projects 56.5hrs:  This month most of the crew’s efforts went into preparing for winter production. The crews intent for winter production was “to extend the growing season of greens, lettuce, and roots to serve our existing markets; Hopewell Farmers Market, Nomad Pizza, and Zone 7.”  10/5 all of the seedlings for winter production were moved to the green house due to cooler weather. 10/8 Remey was brought out to cover 2 rows of chard, and beets and one row of kale.  The crew determined that a single row of remey measuring 72″ was the easiest to manage. 10/13 Rebar was cut in 12 foot lengths and covered in recycled drip tube to span over BGBs.  Each tunnel was covered with an outer skin of 6 mil plastic (13′ wide x 50′ long). 10/14 5 field tunnels at 40′ were covered and anchored with sand bags. 10/15 Strong winds pulled tunnel edges loose.  Crew decided to shovel divots to set sand bags in to prevent bags from slipping on sloped edges of the beds.  More sandbags were placed on beds to better secure plastic.  The total remay coverage was WP tunnels (40′): 2 tatsoi, 1 arugula, 1 spinach, and 1 new planting of arugula. BGB with plastic: 4 salad mix (2 unharvested beds and 2 regrowth).  Field beds with Remay: 2 chard, 2 beets, and 1 kale.  10/21 The crew observed temperature changes in the low tunnels.  Opened one of the beds all day and recovered at 4pm found that temperatures reached 80°F.  Left one of the beds closed all day temperature reached 100°F.  Conclusion was that the low tunnels must be opened during the day and closed at night. 10/27 Crew observed that there was substantially more growth on the covered crops compared those that were left uncovered.  An inner layer of remay was added under the plastic to the 4 beds of salad mix in anticipation of cooler weather.  The addition of the remay was to help reduce temperature fluctuation. 10/28 The 2010 chickens were given a treat, 4 cups of first sprouted grain. 10/29 remey was placed over turnips and radishes in Veg B south.


Week 1 – Storms, cold, rainy and wet

Week 2 – mild temperatures, good growing conditions, late in the week strong winds came through

Week 3 – strong winds with gale warnings, cold, scattered showers throughout the week

Week 4 – warmer than average temperatures (70°F +) at beginning of the week, windy, temperatures dropping towards the end of the week, cold frosty nights

Total rainfall for the month 6.25 inches

Winter Production – Introduction

October 19th, 2010 | Posted by steven in Special Projects | Winter Production - (Comments Off on Winter Production – Introduction)

Winter Production
Introduction, prepared by ST

October 19, 2010

Intent: To extend the growing season of leafy greens, lettuce, and root crops to serve our existing outlets such as Hopewell Farmers Market, Nomad Pizza, and Zone 7.


• Capital Investment; North Slope Farm

• Daily management; RCM and ST

• Site Details; infrastructure and fields managed by North Slope Farm
        o 6 outdoor low tunnels 5’ W X 40’ L
        o 2 unheated green houses
                  Farmhouse Gothic; 28’ X 84’ w/ 4 beds @ 48” wide
                  Ralph’s House; 27’ X 76’ w/ 4 beds @ 48” wide
        o 1 heated Greenhouse for table top production

• Outdoor low tunnels will cover crops such as tatsoi, spinach, and arugula. Two cuttings are expected for harvest. The hoops are constructed of 3/8” X 12’ rebar covered in recycled drip tube. The outer skin is 6 mil plastic that is 13’ W X 50’ W. A layer of remay may be added to the interior for extra warmth and reduced temperature fluctuation.

• One hoop house will be used for direct seeded crops such as spinach, arugula, tatsoi, and salad mix. The other hoop house will be used for transplanted crops such as kale, scallions, leeks, swiss chard, fennel, and beets. Carrots and radishes have been direct seeded into one open bed early, as the other beds are currently occupied by late planted tomatoes.

• .The heated greenhouse will be used for table top production of salad mix. Potted herbs such as parsley and basil will also be grown.

• Regular records will be kept of costs and production. Worker hours and market income will be tracked. The materials purchased should be able to be reused, improving profit margins in future seasons.
          o $385.60 for seed costs
          o $370 for plastic and remey over three years
          o $90.80 for rebar and sand over ten years
          o $108 for plastic sandbags over three year
                      Total $954.40 for one year

• Workers will have to be mindful of temperature to open and close the low tunnels or remove remey in the hoop houses. The difficulty of winter weather will be a challenge in harvesting, handling, and marketing. Costs will be calculated against profit to see if this is a viable operation for North Slope Farm.

• The inspiration for winter production at North Slope Farm came from a lecture at the NOFA summer conference. A Connecticut grower, in zone 3, presented a low tech option of covering field crops to produce a nutritious and profitable product for his customers during the winter time. This inspired me to keep producing local organic food through the winter. I hope that having a consistent presence through the winter will support existing customers and win over new customers. Winter production also keeps workers on the farm and in constant dialogue with agriculture. Some challenges we have already faced have been 30mph winds blowing off our outdoor low tunnels. Did we cut the plastic too short? Are the sandbags not filled enough? Do the tunnels need to be smaller? At what temperature should we open and close the tunnels? These are questions that have already risen and in the middle of the winter I am sure there will be many more. To supply fresh local organic food is the main goal and we will need support from our community to make it a reality.