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Third Year Summary – 2013

October 30th, 2013 | Posted by RR in Equipment - (Comments Off on Third Year Summary – 2013)

Third Year Summary -2013

It’s coming to the end of my three year training period at North Slope Farm. The years have passed in the blink of an eye but the amount of personal growth and knowledge I’ve experienced and gained will stick with me for a lifetime. Organic farming is a trade that is simultaneously coherent and chaotic, exhausting and rewarding, liberating and nerve wracking, but overall it’s just pretty darn fun.  Few other jobs allow one to be outside enjoying the blue sky and bright sunshine; to make one’s own decisions about what needs to get done and when; or to see the final result (perhaps a shiny, colorful bunch of Swiss Chard) of hard work, all while helping the greater community and by practicing environmental sustainability. Training here over the years has begun to give me an understanding of how to balance the fun, the practical and chaotic nature of working and managing a farm. All potentially confusing tasks are broken down in to easily manageable elements: administration, infrastructure, compost, equipment, crop care, planting, greenhouse, marketing, harvesting and handling.  And our years are structured such that we can get the most out of our experiences. My first year here was a whirlwind of information since trainees are made to engage with small tasks in all of these elements in order to be able to pick which one to focus on during the second and third years.  The second year I had I focused on greenhouse duties.  For the third year, I chose to focus on equipment, not as a manager, but because they were frightening during my second year, and I needed more practice with them.

To allow me to get more aquatinted with the equipment, Mike often gave me the tasks of stale seed-bedding the Big Garden Beds, mowing and weed-whacking the sides of the BGBs, mowing the perimeter of the deer fences that surround our fields and then weed-whacking around the wooden fence posts, mowing the trails in “backyard” area and finally by occasionally assigning me to some light tractor work.

The two tasks I’m going to focus on describing are stale seed-bedding and mowing the perimeters of the fences. These are repetitive tasks for almost the entire growing season.

First on the docket is stale seed-bedding the Big Garden Beds. A good explanation of a stale seed bed can be found here:

In order to prep the bed, we mow off the sides and then existing crop on the top using the Billy Goat, our walk-behind mower, and the weed-whacker:

Walk Behind Mower Weedwhacker

Then we till the remains on the top of the bed using the rototiller:


The result looks something like this:


(*Note: This is a picture of field beds, but the top of the Big Garden Beds looks like that after rototilling.)

The next task was mowing the perimeter of the fence with the Kubota and scalping the posts with the weed-whacker.

This is our riding mower:

When the perimeter and weed-whacking is done, it looks something like this:

(*Note: as the Flicker page says, this particular area of the fence is also mowed for water management)

I’ve found that any sort of mowing with the Kubota, Billy Goat or weed-whacker is accompanied by a complex set of instructions due to hazard avoidance and removal, making sure the grass-blower is facing the right direction (grass clippings can damage crops, or mowing through a build-up of clippings can cause equipment damage), and general efficiency of movement. So, I’m not going into full detail about the riding patterns needed to complete the perimeters with the Kubota, but just note that getting lost is easy (especially in the “backyard” areas), double-mowing and getting stuck in the mud and running over branches is easy when attention is lost.

Of course, there’s always a word of safety and caution before working with machines. Always know what safety measures are in place for the equipment that’s being used. It may be needed in an emergency or it may be engaged by previous user upon shutdown and maybe the reason for a machine not starting.  Remember to check all fluid levels (gas level and fuel type, oil, hydraulic fluid, etc.) and to grease any joints that need it. Since each piece of equipment is unique, it’s best to check the corresponding manual (which means keep the manual) if something isn’t working, or turning on, or if you can’t remember what type of fuel or oil to use. Finally, always use headphones, protective eye-wear, heavy-duty pants and at the very least, sturdy shoes. Overall, the experience I’ve had with machinery this year has made me a lot more comfortable operating them.The mystique and fear have almost vanished, and now I just need to keep practicing in order to be able to work with them intuitively.

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.


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

Wk 2:  Sunny, clear.

Wk3: Sunny, clear and cool.

Wk4: Overcast and rainy.


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.”


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”

Third Year Introduction

May 15th, 2013 | Posted by RR in Training - (Comments Off on Third Year Introduction)


Introduction to 3rd Year Focus

RR 5/15/13


My second year was spent focusing on greenhouse production. I found that it took a lot of time to manage and that I needing more training in other elements of the operation. So, this year, instead of focusing on one particular element, I want to be open to accomplishing tasks in as many elements as possible. To me, this means to be aware of what jobs there are to do (that no one else is assigned to) and to prioritize those jobs and finish them in a timely manner.  It also means that I’ll need to work with others so they may accomplish their tasks.  That being said, I do want to find jobs with in the elements that challenge me to operate machinery such as tractors, trucks, mowers, weed-whackers, tillers, and power tools.  These are the things that have frightened me in the past and I desperately need to gain experience with them.  My hope is that by the end of the year I would have the ability to continue working on these skills for a future job or training program.


To be open and aware of different tasks around the farm, particularly those that I find challenging, and to do my best to complete the task.    

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.


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.

Greenhouse 2012 Summary

March 21st, 2013 | Posted by RR in Greenhouse - (Comments Off on Greenhouse 2012 Summary)

Greenhouse 2012 Summary

Heated Greenhouse

This structure held all our seedling successions for the farm and for sale. There was very bad aphid infestation, noticed in late March, and became full-blown a month later.  An OMRI-approved insecticidal soap, M-Pede, was bought and used according to the directions (except we found the hard way that certain flowers should not be sprayed).


It’s the structure that transitions the seedlings from the heated greenhouse to the outdoor hardening-off tables. Plans to take down and re-purpose this structure began last season.

 The Farmhouse Gothic

            Beds were prepped for the first succession of market flowers in late March 2012. Sunflowers, zinnias were among the flowers grown in this greenhouse in the spring.  In August, the flowers were removed to make way for a late planting of tomatoes. They also received a minimal amount of tending and blight soon got them. Then Hurricane Sandy blew off the plastic covers.  It will be replaced in March 2013.

 Ralph’s House

            This greenhouse was home to kale and chard during the winter of 2011. Late April 2012, some of those plants were taken out due to an aphid infestation. Peas were then transplanted a little while later and were followed by a direct seeding of radishes. By mid May the chard that had remained had bolted and then removed. Rows and pathways in this greenhouse got a weeding and mulching in mid May as well. A week into June, most beds were emptied and were prepped for tomatoes.  They did well for the next few weeks despite aphids and minimal tending in July and August. Early September, blight was discovered on a few tomato plants. The farm manager cut down 1/3 of that bed and covered them well. The tomatoes received a little more tending before Hurricane Sandy.  This structure survived the super-storm, however, a week later, another storm with strong winds tore the plastic off. New plastic will also be added this March.

 My major focus

            Some personal interest goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year included soil testing and experiments with soil fertility. I didn’t get around to the soil tests, but I did the latter by way of making compost tea. Two different types were made by steeping stinging nettle and comfrey in water, and waiting two weeks. My memory recalls the results after application being favorable, but better data is required.

 Seedling sales

I attempted to increase seedling sales this year. After going over last year’s notes (2011), I reduced the varieties of seedlings offered for sale and upped production on those varieties that seemed popular. What resulted was a more streamlined set of seedlings being offered.  Varieties mostly consisted of tomatoes, beets, chard, kale, peppers and eggplants. Unfortunately, weather and aphids had it out for the plants and a lack of personal, practical labor and marketing experience decreased the sales. The dates of the sales to the account ranged from April 14 to May 9, 2012, for a total of 5 weeks.  During this time period the number plants sold did go up as there were more to offer, but again, since weather aphids, and my own bad judgment decreased the quality of the plants, sales didn’t last. The amount made from sales alone, not counting equipment or labor expenses, was $1456.00. Compared to 2011, when sales totaled $2368.00 (3/21/13 Edit: Wholesale accounts totaled $2573.00 in 2011 according to RC’s post below. I must have overlooked at least one week of sales, or am missing a different account) over the course of 10 weeks, only $272.00 more was made in half the time (in 2012)  as a result of having more plants available (3/21/13 Edit: Nope). So, technically the attempt was a success (3/21/13 Edit: False), but expenses, equipment, stress and the time it takes away from other areas, makes this project I personally wouldn’t try again.


Tend the plants everyday!

Introduction to Second Year Focus

September 19th, 2012 | Posted by RR in Greenhouse - (Comments Off on Introduction to Second Year Focus)

Greenhouse Element Introduction

Written by: Rita

Date: 4/12/12

Intent: To continue the management practices of greenhouse productions at North Slope Farm.

Parameters: As a certified organic farm, we operate under organic standards and procedures from NOFA New Jersey as well as the USDA.  To uphold these organization’s requirements for organic certification, our greenhouse management practices do fit within their standards. In addition those standards, there are more greenhouse management responsibilities implemented by the farm. Both requirements will be outlined below, starting with certification standards, followed by farm greenhouse management responsibilities.

Certification Standards include:

  1. Having a greenhouse with either a bench system or in-ground production system as defined in the NOFA NJ organic standards and procedures booklet.
  2. Having each greenhouse inspected when necessary.
  3. Filling out a form on the certification packet for each greenhouse.
  4. Record Keeping of:

Greenhouse Structures

  • -Keeping records of the greenhouses in their current structural form and updating those records when a structure is added or changed.
  • -Our heated seedling greenhouse and hoop-house use a bench system with plastic glazing. This glazing must be replaced every three years.

Materials, Potting Mixes and Applied Substances  

  • -All materials will be approved substances and the use of which will be recorded in a daily log or end-of-year inventory list.

Farm GH Management Responsibilities include:

  1. Care and Maintenance: Maintaining tables and internal design, clutter control, weeding floors, glazing replacement
  2. Making Orders of: Approved: seeds, materials, potting mixes, applied substances
  3. Seedling Care: Watering, ventilation, hardening-off, pest control, filling out seeding sheets and sticking to successions
  4. Working with Farm Manager and Planting Manager: To ensure their plans are upheld according to the limits of the greenhouses
  5. Daily Log: Will be used to record greenhouse operations on a day-day basis.
  6. Year-End Summaries of: Supply Inventory, seedling successions (varieties, amounts and dates seeded), special orders, greenhouse efficiency, personal experience and assessments




Monthly Summary July 2010

July 1st, 2011 | Posted by RR in Monthly Summary - (55 Comments)

2010 second download 070


Monthly Summary –_July_, 2010

___RR__: Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 6/30/11

General Observations:  When I think of July, I think of sitting on the porch after a long day of with my hand wrapped around a cold drink. And I imagine that’s just what the crew did last July after a long day’s work.  With a massive heat wave and drought that brought 99-100 degree days, threatened crops and changed work hours to a 6am start up, a bit of relaxation must have been necessary.  Thankfully, however, July didn’t seem to be all that bad.  The month brought along the first exciting harvests of tomatoes, sungolds, eggplants, carrots, cucumbers, and garlic. Chickens were taken care of, equipment problems seemed minimal, the 3rd succession of crops was planted, and other issues seemed to find quick solutions.

Equipment 20 hrs: July seemed like a month with few equipment problems.  The John Deer had a bit of trouble starting one day which postponed composting and planting in a field.  MR fixed it later that day with a jump start from the Ford and the battery charger.  There was also mowing going on early this month. Maintenance was necessary for the Farmhouse and Ranch yards, waterways and for the cluster area. Field beds were also mowed down.

Administration 13 hrs:  The website had some difficulties working and delayed the posting of the July 2009 summary. (The 7/09 summary eventually got posted. Just scroll down and click on “next page” until it pops up!) Other administrative duties included payroll, bill-paying and the quarterly tax statement.  Non-financial tasks were out of the ordinary. MR gave a two hour tour to farmers from Philadelphia on 15th. On another day, someone stumbled upon the old North Slope Farm logo on the computer and had plans to revive it.

Infrastructure 38.5 hrs:  Our chickens were movin’ on up. The older girls got moved to fresh pasture. The young gals were given a new home in a bigger coop, within which, they were described as, “content and adventurous.” Heat and drought made bringing water to both groups of chickens a critical task.  The office and shoop (an equipment storage facility), including the compost toilet area, received a clean-up and it was discovered that the shoop needed a new cover.    

Greenhouse 2 hrs:  Ralph’s house (the name of one of our greenhouses) was home to the tomatoes and some garlic beds last year in July. This particular greenhouse was cleared of weeds as workers harvested garlic. The remaining tomatoes received constant trellising.

Composting 7.5 hrs:  The field we know as Veg B South had six beds composted in total in preparation for planting the 3rd succession of crops. Fruit trees such as the Asian Pears and Clem. trees also got composted.

Planting 21.5 hrs:  The 3rd succession was planted by CH, SJ and ST. Crops included the transplanting of basil, fennel, red beets and zinnias on 7/2 and gold beets on 7/6. The 4th and 5th successions of field salad were direct seeded on 7/6 and 7/28, respectively.

CropCare 134.5 hrs:  Weeding, weeding and more weeding. One bare-fallow field needed a hard weeding down the center of its beds after several passes with mechanical cultivation. Doing so was noted to promote less weedy beds for next year. Another bare-fallow field was weeded of big plants and then needed weeding of the smaller plants. Experiments regarding weeding and worker hours were conducted.  It was concluded that worker hours were less when weeds were smaller in size. It was also concluded that philosophical discussions made the work go faster.

Harvesting 312 hrs:  Last July they harvested: Kale (285 bunches), Scallions (176 bunches), Squash (396 pounds), Garlic (6 rows), Radishes (56 pounds), Zinnias (169 bunches), Tomatoes (25.5 trays), Sunflowers (39 bunches), Greenbeans (263 pounds), Field Salad (300 pounds), Sungolds (284 pints), Cucumbers (205 pounds), Carrots (184 pounds), Eggplants (64 pounds), Flowers (500 bunches).

Handling 66 hrs:  The walk-in cooler was broken! RCM had a difficult time moving crates around and finding storage. She eventually settled on using the display cooler for blueberries. Dried loose-leaf tea was packaged and the harvested garlic was cut and stored. Also, ST, RCM and SJ received a detailed flower harvesting introduction.  Fun handling observation: 17 pounds of wet salad mix becomes 12 pounds of salad mix after spinning! (5 pounds of water spun out).

Marketing 141 hrs:  Garlic, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes were sold wholesale to Nomad last July. The Farmstand was also open and its revenue for the month totaled $297.00. Each week there was any combination of chard, salad, snow peas, scallions, beans, garlic, squash, eggs, blueberries, beets, cucumbers, sungold cherry tomatoes, and other tomatoes. Other markets are West Windsor, Summit and Hopewell.

West Windsor: (7/3) $1431.75, (7/10) $1328.00, (7/17) $1763.00, (7/31) $2111.50

Summit: (7/4) $2,200.00, (7/11) $2,500.00, (7/18) $2630.00

Hopewell: (7/7) $466.00, (7/14) $530.35, (7/21) $523.50, (7/28) 723.56 (Yea for tomatoes!)            

Special Projects 9.5 hrs:  Some of the fruit trees, sadly, did not do well in the heat and had passed on.  Another special project involved discussing the future of our website.

Monthly Summary April 2010

March 31st, 2011 | Posted by RR in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary April 2010)

Monthly Summary – April, 2010

Rita: Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 3/25/11 

Blooming Peach

General Observations: As a new trainee at North Slope Farm, I learned that last April was filled with all sorts of excitement. The weather was interesting as the month started with a sunny heat wave followed by a thunderstorm that led to dry, cooler days the rest of the month.  So much cooler, in fact, that there was a frost warning on the 23rd. Weather didn’t stop production, however, and among the usual tasks that accompany the start of a growing season were challenges, experiments and special projects.  From equipment repair to greenhouse issues, newly planted fruits to chicken coops, the crew was kept on their toes all month.   

Equipment 26 hrs: Minor issues with the JD tractor on the 7th resulted in the creation of a sheet of instructions regarding where to grease the zerks. The same tractor had problems toward the end of the month when it started leaking hydraulic fluid. 

On the 8th, a tire for the Kabota was repaired and put back on.

An old trailer was resurrected from weeds and given new tires. Its purpose is to carry a water tank to water remote fields.

Finally, the ATV had work done on its ignition system.

Other tractors were used to mow the Market Garden and Grain Field.

Administration 54 hrs:  Summaries for April and May of 2009 were started and finished during this month. Other administrative work included correspondence with CowPots early in the month regarding certification potential, and orders of organic corn seed and tomato grafting clips. Also, a cost estimate data for the BGBs and Top Dressing Garlic were created on the 8th.

Infrastructure 78 hrs:  The water source and system changed this month, and a fence was taken down around the compost.

Irrigation was created for many areas on the farm including the strawberry, arugula and lettuce beds, as well as the fruit cluster and the Farmhouse Gothic. Later on, the strawberries got a new supply line so it didn’t have to keep switching with that of the Gothic.

Finally, the permaculture field, once overgrown with brambles, saw an amazing transformation after being mowed on the 29th.

Greenhouse 110.5 hrs:  It was a rough month for the greenhouses. An aphid infestation overwhelmed the Red Russian Kale in Ralph’s House. Plants and planted tomatoes (Taxi, Paragon, Arbasen and crimson summer) were removed from R.H. on the 14th.

On the 23rd, snails were found to have eaten 65% of the planted tomatoes on the east bed of R.H. and those tomatoes were replaced. A possible solution to the problem would be to feed the snails beer.

Composting 47.5 hrs:  The fruit cluster, apple trees, garlic in the 579 Field, the BGBs and Veg B North all received a layer of compost.

Planting 171 hrs:  Many crops were seeded, direct seeded, transplanted and potted this month. Most notable plantings were the Chester Blackberries along the north edge of the composting area, 9 more apple trees on the South East edge of the fruit cluster.

Planting of grapes and Hardy Kiwi also garnered excitement from crew members.  

April also held the seeding of the 3rd and 4th succession of seedlings for sale at markets, planting of crops for the Kitchen Garden and the 1nd succession of veggies on the 8th.

CropCare 151 hrs:  Tea plants were weeded and peas were trellised.

Beds were prepared for arugula and lettuce. This included, mowing, forking, tilling, raking, rolling and finally seeding the field. The 579 field, which had garlic planted, was cultivated, composted and mulched. A threat of frost on the 23rd moved the outside tomatoes and flowers into a truck.

Harvesting 21.5 hrs:  Swiss chard and salad mix were harvested for market sales this month.   

Handling 2 hrs:  Chicken eggs were washed and packed on the 16th.

Marketing 53 hrs:  North Slope Farms participated at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Hopewell (?) during this month. Some days were better than others in regards to sales and turn out. Both factors seem to be correlated with the weather… such as less people coming to the market during a thunderstorm.

Produce continued to be delivered to local restaurants this month.

Special Projects 99 hrs:  The lucky girls had BD building and improving on their homes (chicken coops/tractors) the entire month.  And a routine for chicken chores was either created or reviewed on the 20th.