Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary – March 2014

March 13th, 2015 | Posted by Dan DeLago in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – March 2014)

Monthly Summary– March 2014

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by DD

General Observations: With New Jersey looking more like the Arctic Circle than the garden state the crew began the month by repairing the collapsed farmhouse gothic through somewhat unconventional methods. After greenhouse repairs were complete the crew shifted its attention to the overcrowded chicken coup. Following these pressing matters, perennials were pruned and greenhouse planting successions were completed despite freezing nights and strong winter winds. With low temperatures well below freezing through the last week of March, thawing greenhouse irrigation was the main priority. Preparing the beds for planting with compost and minerals and moving the chicken coop brought an end to March and the last of the winter weather.

Equipment (16 hrs): (3/17) Leaking coolant required repair of the JD 2240 after being used to repair the snow damaged farmhouse gothic. (3/26) IH 140 used to spread compost of 16 beds on the vegetable C south field at 1.5 yds³/bed. (3/27) Both batteries on JD required replacement after clicking noise and lack of engine turn over observed.

Administration (146.5 hrs): (3/5) Roundtable meeting for crew to discuss personal interests, focuses and plans for upcoming season. (3/6) Completed farm summary of 2013 harvest data with brief comparison to previous year’s summary. (3/13) Seedling sales for market and Whole Earth Center were logged and the March 2013 summary was posted. (3/17) Farm manager joined Matt Conver from Cherry Grove Organic Farm at market meeting in Summit, NJ to discuss the market details, guidelines and liability insurance rates. A pallet of chicken feed was ordered from Lakeview Organics. (3/18) Third year focus, introduction and plan established (3/19) The final seed order from JSS was placed and brief review of seed orders was done. (3/20) Soil fertility introduction for this year’s crew was done with the aid of the previous year’s soil tests. The science of trimming fruit trees was practiced with varying degrees of success. (3/27) April summary completed.

Infrastructure (124 hrs): (3/4) New toilet and shower fittings put in farmhouse for a total cost of $1250. (3/7) Chicken coop moved from chicken yard to Farmhouse Gothic for the time being. (3/12) With the first planting comes lessons of greenhouse operations involving irrigation, heating, ventilation and soil preparation/seeding. (3/13) Thawing of the greenhouse irrigation lines is the major task of the day as the culvert and drain valve are frozen. (3/21) The crew preps the new high tunnel area for construction. A drainage issue in Big Garden Bed south is noticed and furrows are cut to allow drainage. (3/26) Cold and windy temperatures brought inconveniences like freezing of the drain in the greenhouse which required 1.5 hours to drain. (3/26) Electric fences are put up around the chicken flock in the pasture to deter the family of foxes.
Greenhouse Frame Repair
Greenhouse (165.5 hrs): (3/4) Trimming of the greenhouse shade willows begins. (3/5) A major renovation of the Farmhouse Gothic is required after collapse due to heavy snow. JD and the crew were required to lift the hoops and reform the greenhouse structure. (3/7) Ralph’s house beds were formed and staked out. Tomato strings and drip tape were all removed. (3/12) Greenhouse orders were created and the first day of seeding commenced. Onions, leeks and the first succession of vegetables were started. (3/13) Beets, cabbages and zinnias were all started. The farmhouse Gothic walls were all secured to protect the chickens from the heavy winds. (3/14) The entire first seedling succession has been started. (3/15) Heated mats and chimney repairs have allowed the greenhouse to reach proper germination temperature despite freezing temperatures outside. A single heavy watering at 1pm each day supplies ample water while allowing convenient drainage of the pipes so as to prevent freezing overnight. (3/23) Rodents mercilessly killed all the greenhouse sunflowers. Bells of Ireland and dill were planted to replace the sunflowers. (3/30) Post holes were dug and filled on the west end of the Farmhouse Gothic and lumber was inserted into the poured concrete. The remainder of the greenhouse was cleared to make way for the spring rush.

Composting (31 hrs): (3/25) The Big Garden Bed Northeast Vegetable Field South (3 BGB’s and 4 Fieldbeds) had 11 yds³ spread at a concentration of 1.5³ yds/bed. (3/26) The vegetable field south had 1.5 yds³/bed spread over 16 beds. (3/27) Tree trimmings were collected by the crew and brought to the compost pile.

Planting (19.5hrs):  (3/12) First day of seeding with onions, leeks and first vegetable succession begins. (3/13) Planting continues with the beets, cabbages and zinnias all being planted. (3/14) First seeding succession is started for the time being. Extreme cold weather and hard north winds require heat mats and space heaters to ensure germination is successful. (3/20) After soil tests were complete a recommendation of 80#N/ acre or 2#N/1000ft² was decided upon. A change in fertilizer application was decided upon for the season. North Country Organic Natural 6-0-6 No-Phos application was applied ($26.35/50#). (3/25) Seeding for seedling sales and greenhouses, which includes tomatoes, basil and the next round of flowers, has begun.

Crop Care (122 hrs):  (3/4) Shade willows around the greenhouse begin to be trimmed. This task continues throughout the second week of March. (3/14) The introduction to pruning, tree anatomy, tools and shape of tree takes place. (3/18) The field walk with the first years is used to discuss mulching, remay details (ie: light and heat retention) and electric fencing operation. (3/20) With tree pruning nearly complete the focus shifts to the other perennials (blackberries, asparagus).

Harvesting (0 hrs):

Handling (2 hrs): Weekly egg washing, sorting, boxing and labeling.

Marketing (5 hrs): Attendance of the Summit Farmer’s market meeting to discuss details and NSF location at the market.  .

Special Projects (28.5 hrs): (3/5) Older flock separated from younger chickens to reduce infighting. (3/6) 17 chickens in total were slaughtered, cleaned and packed. (3/6 – 3/18) Trimming of the willows is completed.


Week 1: A major snow events collapses the greenhouse.

Week 2: With the ground still snow covered the week ends with an extreme wind storm and below freezing temperatures.

Week 3: Warming weather brings 40 degree temperatures during the day but still freezing at night.

Week 4: Freezing temperatures with heavy north winds threaten to remove the walls of the greenhouse and temperatures are consistently freezing during the day.

Monthly Summary – November 2013

November 19th, 2014 | Posted by miker in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – November 2013)

Monthly Summary – November 2013

Prepared by MR on 11/17/14

General Observations:  The first day of November was memorable for a “freak front,” that plowed through our Salad Harvest.  “..the salad harvest was going nicely until the weather turned very dark, then wind picked up and heavy rain.  A dull roar ensued as hard, wind driven rain pounded down – [the field manager] called the crew to take shelter due the extreme conditions.”  I remember as we stood up, the wind swirled around us, sucking all the cut lettuce out of our crates, creating a mini blizzard of baby lettuce…  “on return to the lettuce, it proved to be severely damaged by pellet like rain drops, and the harvest was abandoned.”  There were some notes of nice days, but more of “frozen ground,”  “uncovered crops lost to frost damage”, “late start to harvest due to freezing conditions.”  So November continues to be a month where the true character of the crew is tested and the manager struggles to fulfill production goals against increasing challenges.  November had the least total worker hours (324), half the previous month and one third of the busiest months.  We close operations after the weekend before Thanksgiving, so almost two weeks are just minimum chores and weather proofing.
Frosted Crops
Equipment; 8 Hrs:  Ford and hay baler.  Notes of the Ford tractor overheating while field mowing.  MR cut the field to the north of the Eco-Cluster, controlling woody growth and rejuvenating a nice hay field.  A third of the field has been allowed to grow up in adventitious woody species as a dynamic opportunity to experiment with micro climates – woody wind break and southern solar access – needs annual and attentive mowing.

Administration; 23 Hrs:   The log notes “Afternoon – Workers need to be self motivated.”  I gave the crew the same lecture this November, and it rings true as ‘a statement of the end of the season.’  The worker and the manager struggle, usually side by side, but at least in common, towards the goal of finishing this and that task.  By the end of the season, it takes a hard push to keep productive, and the manager is usually at the end of their reserves.  Even if cheerful, the expectant gaze of idle workers, stirs deeply, in the manager, the desire; that the worker will internalize the practices of the season, mingled with an awareness of current needs, to be self motivated.  This is complicated by the change of season, conditions and evolving expectations, and the worker is appropriately looking for guidance!

Infrastructure; 39 Hrs:  KG noted thanks for use of newly tilled garden in Farmhouse yard, as he cleaned up the seasons debris.  Chores hampered by frozen conditions, water buckets are filled before draining pipes, and need to be tucked in non freezing corners.  After the last marketing weekend the pressure tank and all water lines were completely drained for the Winter.  Water for chores or misc produce washing now comes from the Farmhouse or the Ranch.

Greenhouse; 2 Hrs:  Tomato vine cleanup from two houses this month.  The hours were probably assigned to Crop Care, because the task must have taken 8-10 worker hrs.  Additionally, KG managed micro greens for sale to the farm ($189 this month), to resell.

Composting; 0 Hrs:  Each week, there is compost generated in the handling and marketing of produce.  A ‘Zero Hours’ hardly does justice to the focus of the composter – who diligently maintains containers to collect compostables, then empties them onto a managed pile in the Composting Area.  Here’s to you, Diligent Composter!

Planting; 20 Hrs:  Seeding cover crop in Farmhouse Yard Garden.  Last planted crops, October 16 and 19, are nowhere near ready to yield crop for last market.  Need to plant crops for last harvests by mid September.  Garlic Planted on the 19th; 6 beds, 10 worker hrs, 500 cloves per bed.  We positioned cloves to see if there is a noticeable difference in leaf spread next year.  Ie. “rounded side of clove planted towards the south vs to the west.”

Crop Care; 29 Hrs:   By this time there is no doubt but that the ‘Agricultural fleece’ or ‘Remay’ should be covering any crops that will be harvested or overwintered.  KG preparing summary, noted that this season we utilized <20,000 feet of drip tape.  Chard under remay protected from frost damage, uncovered it is not viable for harvest!  Where there is remay, there are crews tending them with each windy day, sometimes multiple times in a day.

Harvesting; 90 Hrs: Note that for fall harvest we should plant frost resistant head lettuce, in hopes of better results than the baby leaf.  Two weeks without salad mix due partly to slow growth but also the storm damage..  First week of November and notes are clear as to the effect of cold – “Harvest hampered by cold fingers in am and required warm gear right to the end..”  Second harvest of the month, note that cold hammered kale, collards and chard “all very sad looking, still frozen even at 10 am.”

Handling; 43 Hrs:  With large volume of carrot harvest, MR called Jess from Chickadee Creek Farm, to try out her barrel washer.  Constant tumbling and water spray.  To get product really clean, still had to be careful not to overload a batch and found best results after pushing the tumbled carrots back to top of (the slightly sloped) barrel a few times.

Marketing;  72 Hrs:   Labeling our Tomato Goodness Sauce and Ketsup for retail sales.  Calculations of time invested in the sauce process and $1 per pound for the tomatoes yields a retail value of $15 Quart.  It is an exceptional product, ‘Artisan Sauce’ and well worth the value.  The processor, Baumans Family Fruit Butters, is far away, which adds to the cost, but they treat the product well and it is proven in the taste and consistency.  Weekly market sales dropping, tomatoes fading out by third week.  Noted one week was a Kale cooking demo by Chris of Cherry Grove Organic Farm, wherein “..we all sold out!”  With last market of the season forcast to be 30 degrees F. MR put plan in action for extreme vegetable vending!  We dusted off a salvaged ‘wall mount’ propane space heater, and purchased a bottle mounted heater element to create a ‘warmth envelope’ at our stand.  On actual set up at Summit, we immediately had to give up the idea of tent walls because the wind was too gusty.  Ultimately, the wall mount heater was propped on the truck tail gate and produce was served out of the (above freezing) box of the truck.  The display was frozen solid all day, as folks asked for something we popped into the box truck to bring it out and encouraged the customer to hurry to their car!Heater at Market

            WestWindsor: 11/2 $1482, 11/9 $1,134, 11/16 $1,061, 11/24 $1,554

            Summit: 11/3 $3,210, 11/10 $2,940, 11/17 $2,780, 11/24 $2,320

            Market Total for November 2013:  $16,481

Special Projects; 6 Hr:  Harvested 72 bales of late cut hay from 4 passes around the outside of CNE Field.  The pattern struck me as a way to combine haying and veggie production, that the outside perimeter of a large field might be utilized as the longest straight runs for the hay equipment, leaving the center of the field for shorter rows of tended food crops.

Monthly Summary – October 2013

October 22nd, 2014 | Posted by toddh in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – October 2013)

Monthly Summary– October 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Todd on October 15, 2014

General Observations: Log indicates both beautiful sunny days and rainy days in addition to some frosted mornings. Cover cropping is priority, and the tomatoes hang in until the 29th. On 10/10 the bunkhouse fire is first lit for fall!

Equipment (20.5 hrs): Standard bed forming practices utilized the IH140 and the 265. Some cultivating was done with the Williams tool bar on the 265. Cover crop planting required the disc harrow on the Ford and the broadcast spreader on the John Deere. The late Kubota fulfilled this months mowing duties.

Administration (53 hrs): Organic inspection on 10/4. Our use of conventionally grown strawberry seedlings changed the 579 field from certified organic to transitional until 10/1/2016. Because this space is used primarily to grow our flowers, the re-designation did not disrupt our production. Additionally, the season’s soil samples revealed high levels of Phosphorus. Mike caught up on some admin back log, paying bills, going through e-mails, and some website tune-up. With the end of the season almost in sight, he did the numbers from market and set the goal of maintaining $5,000 gross per week.

Infrastructure (55 hrs): Chickens are cared for and moved. General cleanup, chores, and some mowing and work on the Kubota are also logged. By the 26th, freezing nightly temperatures required draining of our irrigation system at the end of the day. Some downed trees from storms past are pulled from the woodlot for firewood. The tomato field is finally broken down on 10/29.

Greenhouse (.5hrs): Space is cleared for tea drying, Kyle works on microgreens, and potted trees are moved indoors.

Composting (9 hrs): The last beds of 2013 are composted for planting!

Planting (59.5hrs): In the BGB’s we followed the regular planting schedule of our salad mix successions, tatsoi, cover croppingradishes and arugula. In addition the last couple field beds are prepared and planted. Cover crop is a priority during this month. Fields are all prepped with disc harrow and/or Williams tool bar. The beds that were formed for the beginnings of next season are sown with winter kill oats using an over the shoulder broadcast speeder; all others use a broadcast spreader on the back of the John Deere. A double batch that covers two fields consists of 4 bags rye, 2 bags peas, and one bad vetch. Both peas and vetch were not inoculated. The fields are seeded on the third and on the 15th they are thick with rye. Cover crop is also seeded into pathways of last remaining crops. Second round of seeding is completed on the 30th in the tomato field.

Crop Care (130 hrs): Irrigation rotation is maintained through dry conditions. BGB’s get tuned-up by mowing, hand weeding, and scuffle hoeing. Crops are covered in preparation for frost forecast, which happens on the 10/24.

Harvesting (246 hrs): Regular harvests were observed, occasionally delayed by frost. Additionally there was a second large harvesting of lemon verbena for tea filling eight of the green house tables. On a rainy harvest day the crew took comfort in coffee and doughnuts by the first of the late season bunk house fires!

Handling (61.5 hrs): Regular handling practices were performed. In addition we harvested, dried and bagged the lemon verbena tea.

Marketing (120.5 hrs): We recorded both slow and busy days at market through October. This shared the pattern with the weather. With the tomatoes lasting almost to the end of the month, we were able make two runs to the processor for making sauce.

Special Projects (4 hrs): Kyle moved micro greens to the seedling gothic on 10/21, set up heat mats for basil micros, and spent some time working on the general set up.

Weather:  The first October log entry reads, “Beautiful day!”

Week 1: Sunny warm days. Some rain

Week 2: Rainy, some sun.

Week 3: Threat of rain. Touch o’ frost.

Week 4: Dry, windy. Freezing nights and frosty mornings! Hard killing frost 10/25


Sales:              W1                  W2                  W3                  W4                  Market Total

WWFM–         $2,013.75,       $2,048.75        $1,482             $1,605             $7,149.5

SMT–               $3,585             $3,806             $3,370             $3,360             $14,121

Market Monthly Total: $21,270.5

YTD Market Total: $124,909.5

Monthly Summary – September 2013

September 8th, 2014 | Posted by RickMorris in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – September 2013)

Monthly Summary– September 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Rick Morris on September 8, 2014.

General Observations:  The drama of the small farm peaks in the late season! A succession of hardy greens failed (see ‘crop care’ below!), a new generation of baby chicks arrived, and apprentices were trained on the big tractors. All the while the crew was constantly busy with the largest harvest month of the year and began preparations for the coming season.

BY Spreading Compost

BY Spreading Compost on field beds

Equipment (21 hrs):  Apprentices were trained on the tractors for bed forming and applying compost to the field beds. Key lessons included 1) the importance of an efficient pre-planned driving pattern for shaping beds 2) vigilant observation of tractor implements to ensure they are working the ground correctly and to adjust as needed 3) post-use maintenance prevents next-use frustrations (a forgotten wire begot a dead battery that required replacement)! The Kabota ride-on mower was fixed and returned to the farm and its continual task of maintaining walkable walkways.

Administration (23 hrs):  A lunchtime training session lent some excitement to the otherwise Sisyphean tasks of payroll and record keeping. Mike broke out the field maps and driving schema to discuss the new planting of strawberries (a North Slope first!) and the fall and winter cover crop plan. At the end of the month, Mike placed an order for BioBags which we use to store and market crops. He used the record of the previous year’s order to figure out the quantity and stored receipts to help in figuring future orders.

Infrastructure (68 hrs):  As the cool weather begins to roll in the Remay begins to roll out! We rounded up the fabric and rebar hoops to cover cold-sensitive crops. Areas of the farm that are difficult to mow – fence posts, irrigation lines, other problem areas – were tended to with the weed whacker. The whacker hit a line of the electric fencing which was subsequently patched. We moved and cleaned the chicken coops and prepared a home for the new chicks. The truck hit a low branch, smashing the upper corner of the box. The fact that it looks replaceable does little to stem a growing headache.

Greenhouse (17 hrs):  Greenhouse space was at a premium this month! We began drying the lemon verbena tea in our smallest 6-table hoop house and quickly realized the crop required significantly more space. We decided to clear out a succession of seedlings and microgreens from the larger ‘seedling gothic’ greenhouse in order to dry another 10 tables of the tea. In order to create a proper drying environment we piped out drainage and ensured the fans were operating in peak condition.

Composting (5 hrs):  Newly formed field beds were composted by newly trained apprentice Todd!

Planting (167 hrs): Cool weather crops like broccoli, tat soi, mizuna, arugula and radishes were added back into the veggie succession. Strawberries were planted into shaped, plastic covered beds. We mulched the edges of the plastic and the walkways with woodchips and cut trenches at the ends of the beds to facilitate drainage. We purchased cover crop seed and planted a new succession of squash, chard, kale, collards, kohlrabi, and two successions of salad mix and carrots

Crop Care (157 hrs): Kale and Chinese cabbage were covered with Remay at the end of August. By the first week of September the crops failed horribly! Aphids infested these brassicas and the plants appeared to have melted. Special care was given to the perennials as blackberries and apple trees were weeded. Routine care continued as well: we mowed the corner garden’s vigorous weed jungle, wheel-hoed the scallions, staked and strung the green beans, scuffle hoed and hand weeded the crops, and vigilantly maintained the irrigation rotation.

Greenhouse Tomatoes

One use of all that straw is mulching our greenhouse tomatoes!

Harvesting (408 hrs): September saw a 55% increase in harvest hours from the previous month! Besides our regular veggie, herb, and flower harvests, the tomato production peaked, Mike spent several days cutting and baling hay, and the tea was gathered. It seemed that the crew was constantly on the move and small details were missed here and there: the office door was left open with the air conditioner running, a missed wire drained a tractor battery, the logs weren’t kept up to date, etc.

Handling (67 hrs): Farming is beautiful. This beauty is never more manifest then when bunching flowers of every color and petal into cascading bouquets of floral miracles. For 25 such bunches in a week in September, we harvested 550 stems between 5 varieties. Harvesting took about 3 worker hours and bunching required approximately 1.5 worker hours. If we say that harvesting and handling labor is worth $30/hr to account for the previous work of tilling, planting, caring, etc., then it cost the farm about $135 to produce the bunches. Dividing that cost by the number of bunches gives us a farm value of $5.40 per bunch.

Marketing (152 hrs):  Sales were down at the beginning of the month because we did not bring blackberries to market. The display was full of herbs, squash, beans, eggplant, peppers, scallions, kale, cabbage and loads of heirloom tomatoes. The situation suggests an uncomfortable question: What do we sell, and why? Few of us got into this business for money alone (or at all!). Yet bills and staff need to be paid! If squash and hardy greens are the healthiest for the community, but the little berries bring in the most money, then where should be spend more time and attention? Is there anything wrong with reselling another farm’s produce at our stand? What if reselling makes up a majority of the farm’s income? These questions are much discussed. On the less abstract side of things, we noted the importance of having multiple hands loading the truck for market, but the difficulty of attaining labor for such a short period of time at such an early hour. Also, surplus tomatoes were stored and trucked to a processor to make our value-added shelf-stable sauce and ketchup.

Special Projects (55 hrs):  The baby chicks arrived! Mike picked them up from Moyers on the way back from a sauce run. We set up an incubator coop with a heat lamp. The chicks need special protection from the cold, especially during cool September nights.

New Chicks

New chicks with their cozy heating lamp!


Week 1:  Heavy hot and humid! Sunny by the end of the week.

Week 2: Hot and humid days, but cool nights and no rain.

Week 3: One steady overnight rain (1 inch) followed by a perfect clear dry week.

Week 4: Continued clear weather! Soil is dry and requires irrigation.


Sept 1 Sept 7-8 Sept 14-15 Sept 21-22 Sept 28-29 Month Total


















Combined Market Monthly Total: $27,363

YTD Market Total: $103,639


Monthly Summary – August 2013

August 13th, 2014 | Posted by JacobThies in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – August 2013)

Monthly Summary – August 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by JT, August 13, 2014

General Observations: August proved to be hectic and full of activity. Farm visit from NOFA and CRAFT Farm Tour, successions of core veggies continued to be harvested and planted (and even a 100 lb harvest of salad!) and the harvesting of tomatoes and hundreds of lbs of carrots translated to good sales at both SMT and WWCFM. Though, aphids proved to be problematic and Neptune was used and extra care was noted during post harvest handling – specifically for fending off aphid eggs on the under leaf of kale.

Equipment (25 hours): Equipment usage was recorded at 25 hours: down 60 hours from 2012 and down 30 hours from 2011. My guess is not all hours were noted on element hours sheet which has skewed the final figures. As an example, Billy Goat was used on 8/28 but no time was logged on element hour list of using that equipment. 12.5 of those hours were on the Kabota, 3 on the JD, 1 on the ford, and 9 on the IH 40. IH was used on multiple days to form beds by BY, later in month to haul a sprayer, 265 with small tiller for bed preparation, and chisel plowing training for RR. By the end of the month, crew noted that the kabota was “very broken. Needs to be brought to shop or graveyard.”

Admin (46 hours): Accounting and payroll continued as per usual, though with the note that there was a farm audit on 8/13. Another note worth mentioning, KG made an adjustment to the tomato harvest sheet to allow for both location and harvest date tracking. Seeds were ordered for fall planting, and two farm visits took place: Sean from NOFA visited the farm to interview crew about internships and MR prepped for CRAFT workshop on Bio-intensive vs. Bio-extensive at NSF.

BY Bed Forming 265

BY bed forming.

Infrastructure (45.5 hours): Lots of mowing, moving and cleaning chickens, a recycling run, and the destruction of the old “farmstand bench” near the washing area were all logged. Also, as a note, the farmhouse had some plumbing issues – both toilets and dishwasher seemed to quit functioning properly. Technicians were called in to remediate the issues.

Greenhouse (20.5 hours): Tomato care and seeding dominated the greenhouse hours. Tbe tomatoes were given time to clip, mulch, and deal with early blight. The troublesome blighted plants were bagged and buried. Besides the tomato care, seeding veggie successions happened over the course of a week around the middle of the month. The crew was waiting for a seed shipment to finish the succession. Later in the month, the crew noted that the seedlings were consistently “leggy” with no roots. Full summer foliage could have blocked critical sunlight to the seedlings.

BY Spreading Compost

BY spreading compost.

Compost (5 hours): The 140 and spreader were used to get loads of compost over the fields in preparation for planting.

Planting (109.5 hours): From the beginning of the month, crew worked hard to stay on top of planting. Efficient work led to quick work – notes of planting 5 BGB before lunch on both 8/6 and 8/21! Crew members received training from MR regarding bed forming, stale seed beds, and making sure the entire crew is “aware of the plan” for planting and the steps necessary to implement the plan.

Crop Care (215.5 hours): Lots of hand weeding and scuffle hoeing to save lettuce, carrots, leeks, and other crops. Tomatoes in the field and greenhouses needed trellising and mulching. Lemon verbena grew to the point of needing trellising in the corner garden. A long note was made to discuss the aphid infestation on field crops. Crew applied M.Ped  and Neptune to 6 field beds in MFSEN. Crew used a combination of a watering wand, “old sprayer” from barn top, and the 140 with tank and went through 200 gallons of mixture for 9 beds for the day in an attempt to curtail the aphids. Another note of crop issues was noted on 8/22 where kale, chard, beets, cabbage were all “seriously effected by some sort of wilt causing disease.” Were these due to being covered under field tunnels?

Harvesting (264 hours): Down 110 hours from last season and 310 hours from 2011, harvesting seemed to be down due to a combination of greater efficiency and lower yields. On 8/1, crew noted that harvest went quickly due to “small yields.” Elsewhere in notes, crew lauded their efficiency. Crew harvested blackberries, squash, field and green house tomatoes, salad mix (CH handled 100# harvest!), carrots (+200# beds), and core hardy greens.

Handling (50 hours): Handling included all Thursday and Friday harvests, garlic cleaning, and eggs. During the aphid plague on 08/13, the Kale was reported to have lots of aphids. Proper attention was given to properly handle the kale as to remove aphids as best as possible.


WWCFM: $1,181, $1,675, $2,092.50, $2,188 Total = $7,136.50

SMT: $3,522, $4,265, $3,363, $4,830 Total = $15,980

August 2013 Combined Market Total: $23,116.50

YTD: $74,140.50

Special Projects (1 hour): Although noted as just one hour, many more hours were spent with Harvest Moon CSA @ NSF. KG and RR used farmhouse garden to grow tomatoes and basil which was wholesaled to NSF for sale at WWCFM and microgreens that were wholesaled to NSF for sale at SMT. As for microgreens, August was a good month to show the good and the bad with micros. On 8/9, KG harvested 47 1 ounce units of micros for a potential $211.50 if all sold. On the other hand, microgreens proved to be finicky. On 8/14, KG lost “another succession” of micros because of not being uncovered on time. Overall, microgreens seem like a high yield product, though proper care and attention must be paid.


Week 1: Light rain, warm and humid.

Week 2: 80’s and 60’s for most of week with thunderstorm at the end of week 2

Week 3: Cool nights, saturated soils, but nice weather. Heavy dew in the AMs noted.

Week 4: More rain, drying conditions towards the end of the week

Monthly Summary – July 2013

July 16th, 2014 | Posted by Malangie in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – July 2013)

Monthly Summary– July 2013

General Observations:  July was another hot month but things carried on at the farm. The crew was able to get a lot of weeding, mowing and other maintenance taken care of leaving the farm looking tidy and awesome. Mike was out for some time because of back injury but Colleen was able to manage the farm and keep the crew hard at work.

 Equipment (70 hrs): Despite the difficulties with machinery last month, the crew managed with what was available: The Kabota got some mowing time in before getting stuck in the eco cluster. The John Deer was used to load compost into the trailer for easy compost spreading, and the Billy goat helped with the BGB cleanup. The weed wacker was used to clean up the pathways and edges in the corner garden. Also, the ATV got looked at and it was decided that a part needed to be replaced.

Administration (63 hrs):  Mike is out for a few days due to a bad back. Colleen takes responsibility for ongoing farm operations and crew members pick up some extra tasks like payroll and other paperwork.

Infrastructure (87 hrs):  The crew worked around the farm to get it nice and trimmed. The farm perimeter got mowed along with the area around the peach, cherry and hazelnut trees. The farm stand area and the walk in cooler were all cleared out. It took some work but the farm looks kempt.

Greenhouse (61 hrs): While thinning, Colleen noticed that the Swiss chard is being seeded too heavily. It was recommended that it be seeded at 1-2 seeds per cell. The following vegetable succession was seeded (7/17) and two interns are assigned to seed the one after that (7/23). Overall, things were running smoothly in the greenhouse.

Composting (10 hrs):  Compost was laid on a few beds in the Corner Garden and 3 Big Garden Beds. A trench was filled with compost for leeks and scallions. Compost was also laid on 4 beds in Central Field South to prepare for planting (7/9).

Planting (119 hrs):  New Vegetable and Flower successions were planted! Carrots and lettuce (3 varieties: red oak leaf and green and red romaine) were planted in 2 big garden beds. The crew direct seeded 4 beds worth of beets in the central field. Also, 2 beds of cucumbers, 1 bed of kohlrabi and 2 beds of basil were planted in the corner garden. The crew direct seeded 2 Big Garden Beds with field lettuce and planted kale, chard, beets and cabbage in field beds. Flowers were the last thing planted this month. (7/27) Planted 2 beds of flowers and (7/30) planted 4 beds of flowers.

Crop Care (306 hrs): As always there is much to do crop-care wise around the farm. Greenhouse tomatoes got hit first with some weeding and pruning. Then the field tomatoes and leeks were next. Both were weeded and mulched and the tomatoes were strung. Other things also got weeded such as: green beans, salad mix, carrots, grapes, blackberries, kale, and chard. The Green Oakleaf Lettuce was unfortunately abandoned because of “crazy grass growth”. (7/18) A note is made about the importance of keeping a constant cycle of irrigation going especially in times of high heat. (7/22) The crew used the 100 gallon tank to water the trees.
Harvesting (363 hrs): (7/10) Green beans and Summer Squash are cleared from the Big Garden Beds.  As usual kale, chard, beets and salad mix are all harvested. However, on 7/12 the number of pounds desired was 80. However, 76 pounds was all the crew could get. (7/15) 4 tables of Mountain Mint were harvested. (7/18) Flowers were harvested for bunches. Towards the end of the month the carrots were too mushy and the decision was made to not harvest.

Handling (88 hrs): (7/4) Mike started off the month by donating extra produce.  (7/5) Then, Colleen trained the crew in hydrocooling, and explained difference between “producer” and “processor.”  After that, things fell back into their regular groove.  The crew hydro cooled kale, chard, beans, and salad mix.  (7/21) Mike washed eggs while Colleen bunched flowers. (7/25) Crew focused on importance of “containers” and harvest log.

Marketing (115 hrs): (7/7) Markets seem slow.  This was possibly due to heat wave and holiday weekend. (7/13) Markets picked up.  Decent amounts of produce sold at both market but it was still not a busy as usual. (7/21) Third tent set up for the first time at markets! However, there was a lack of: beats, radishes, and eggs.  Note was made that cases of portabella mushrooms were moldy and not sellable.  Also, packing micro greens at market was not working, and time should be set apart during the work week to pack.  (7/27) Both markets very busy (yay)!  Market managers counted 913 cars.  At West Windsor, we almost completely sold out and at Summit we made $4075.

Special Projects ( 19 hrs): (7/2) Micro greens harvested, and sunflowers were sampled.  (7/11)  Micro greens were and cilantro was added to the mix. (7/23) 12 trays were seeded.  Note is made that harvesting should be done during the work week preferable on Friday, and sun flowers need to be harvested early (before fuzzy true leaves show) for best taste.


Week 1:  Heat wave. Rainy, humid week. Temperature started in the mid 80s but ended in the 90s.

Week 2: Heat wave. Temperature in the 90s. Thunder storms with heavy rain.

Week 3: Heat wave still going strong. Temperature in the high 90s. No rain, dry conditions.

Week 4: Heat wave finally comes to an end. Temperature in the 80s. Thunder storms with heavy rain. Humid days.





July 6 – 7

July 13 -14

July 20 -21

July 27 – 28

Month Total

West Windsor

$ 1,130

$ 1,245

$ 1,420

$ 1,775

$ 4,150


$ 2,827

$ 3,500

$ 3,241

$ 4,075

$ 13,643

Combined Market Monthly Total
: $17,793
YTD Market Total: $33,231





Monthly Summary – June 2013

June 11th, 2014 | Posted by RickMorris in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – June 2013)

Monthly Summary– June 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Rick Morris

General Observations:  Extreme heat, heavy rains, and several equipment malfunctions interrupted the normal flow of day-to-day work. The rain allowed us to catch up on some administrative tasks, and a big push for planting at the end of the month kept the farm chugging along.

Equipment (50 hrs):  The blessing of machinery is that it allows the farmer to get more done faster. The curse is that some months you just have to spend a lot of time tending to the machines. The ATV broke down three times and needed to be repaired. The big John Deer tractor had a mysterious leak. The Kubota ride-along mower stalled enough that it was left out in the field in the midst of an uncompleted job. Yet, the farming continues!! Some equipment was interchangeable – eg. the small International tractor could pull the ATV’s trailer while the ATV was out of commission.


Mike demonstrating an important element of the tractor.



Administration (48 hrs):  Organic certification paper work was updated, filled, and filed by 2nd year apprentice TH. The regular cycle of business paperwork continues, with its yearly, monthly, and weekly cycles. Federal and state property taxes were filed and paid, bank statements were reconciled, and the crew was paid. The long stretches of rainy days gave time to work on the website and catch up on emails.

Infrastructure (93 hrs):  The grass was growing fast and mowing had to keep up. Keeping the alleyways between beds and through the fruit cluster is important so that the crew can move about efficiently. Keeping the weed pressure in check on the shoulders and ends of beds requires vigilant attention with the weed whacker. This work often occurs on days when light rain prevents other tasks, though heavy rain prevents the mower from operating effectively. Misters were purchased to increase irrigation capacity. We cleaned and opened the farmhouse pool! It was ready just in the nick of time for the Summer Solstice party.

Greenhouse (44 hrs):  Greenhouse tomatoes were trellised and pruned a few times. During hot weeks the greenhouses need to be checked to make sure they are receiving adequate irrigation. Clear communication between the manager and crew was essential to make sure that the right amounts of crops were started in the seedling greenhouse.

Composting (15 hrs):   We were able to spread compost during the drier parts of the first and last weeks of the month. 6 big garden beds and 6 flower beds were prepared early on, and a number of field beds (10+) at the end of the month. Efficiency was improved by teaching the crew the best positioning of the ATV trailer relative to the compost pile. A good position allows the big tractor to fill the trailer with minimal movements.

Planting (151 hrs):  The 579 field received its first flowers on June 1st! More flower beds were shaped and planted by the end of the week. Heavy rains prevented planting until the end of the month. The last week saw a big push for planting. One day saw a new succession of direct seeded salad mix lettuces, three rows of tomato transplants, and half a row each of pepper and eggplant transplants. Another big day gave us a new succession of transplanted kale, chard, mizuna, squash, and artichoke as well as directly seeded beans.

Crop Care (202 hrs): When rain abounds, weeding abounds all the more fully! The fruit and nut trees were grateful to be tended, but the delicate onions flopped over and exposed their roots. A gentle touch is required. To the delight of all, a brief interlude of sunshine enabled the crew to flame weed the carrot beds 7 days after seeding. The quickly growing tomatoes were strung in the first week, and newly planted beds received irrigation lines in the first and last weeks of the month.

Harvesting (286 hrs): Flowers started getting picked with Sweet William and peonies on the 1st, during which we also picked collards, head lettuce, parsley, asparagus, and kohlrabi. The dry weather allowed for straw bailing. On Thursday of the first week, the crew arrived early (7:30am) to harvest the hardy greens and root veggies before the sun shone too strongly. The next day we harvested salad mix, head lettuce, and parsley in the rain. Saturday, more lettuce, parsley, radishes, and kohlrabi were harvested for the Sunday market. As the harvest month wore on, we noticed animal holes among the radishes in the corner garden, though they still yielded 37 lbs. By the end of the month, we harvested squash, tomatoes, onions, scallions, scapes, turnips, microgreens and bee balm in addition to the standard hardy greens and veggies. With a large diversity of crops heading to different markets and filling a couple of special orders, it is of paramount importance to maintain a clear and up-to-date harvest sheet. Keeping everyone informed and on the same page is key to efficiency.


A harvest of flowers ready for market!


Handling (80 hrs): The weight of the salad mix changes dramatically when it is harvested in a heavy rain. 85 wet pounds turned into 69 lbs after handling. Egg washing and packing continues with the lesson that eggs should be packed with their pointy ends down.

Marketing (141 hrs):  In addition to the normal West Windsor and Summit markets, 80 heads of lettuce were sold to Brick Farm Store. Blueberries and tomatoes were purchased from Zone7 to sell at market. In a dramatic turn, Summit Downtown, Inc. duly informed vendors that the location of the market was moving. Mike and fellow farmers found the new location unacceptable on a number of fronts, rallied together, and protested the move. Read Mike’s article by clicking here. The farmers successfully convinced the board of trustees to vote against the move. Read Mike’s note of appreciation by clicking here.

Summit Market

Summit Market - here to stay!

Special Projects (8 hrs):  Microgreens yielded a stead 6-8 units per variety. The number of trays per succession was increased to 4.


Week 1:  Started hot (90’s!), ended with a tropical storm.

Week 2: Rainy and saturated soil conditions. Serious thunder and lightening. Offered a day off to the crew because it was too wet for most tasks.

Week 3: Rain rain and more rain. The sun started peeking through by the end of the week.

Week 4: Sunny days turned into HOT days. Threat of thunderstorms all week, but they held off until July.


WWFM– 6/1: $1103 / 6/8: $901 / 6/15: $1403 / 6/22: $1557 / 6/29: $1464 | Market Total- $6428

SMT– 6/2: $2685 / 6/9: $2634 / 6/16: $2340 / 6/23: $3210 / 6/30: $2980| Market Total- $13,849

Market Monthly Total: $20,277

YTD Market Total: $33,231


Monthly Summary – May 2013

May 9th, 2014 | Posted by JacobThies in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – May 2013)

Monthly Summary – May 2013

Logs review and summary prepared by Jacob Thies.

General Observations:  Markets up and running, wholesale seedling orders to WHC, all crew members finally together, some unseasonably low night temperatures (5/14-15 & 5/26) that led to major tomato set back, but rest assured, May finally revealed her warming smile with highs in the 90’s and warm nights in 70’s by Memorial Day weekend. May lends itself to be busy, productive, and many variations in weather.

Equipment (80 hrs):  Case: 9, Kabota: 15, JD: 13, Ford: 17, IH: 7, Walking Mower, 4, BCS Roto: 4, Weedwacker: 11. Almost identical total hour usage when compared to May 2012. Cut cover crop in Veg C mid and Veg B mid and baler used to bale up cover crop on central fields. Lots of general mowing and weedwacking around the farm as a product of spring rain and sun. Big Red was put to work for cultivating new beds. MR continued supplemental training for trainees regarding usage of tractors. By mid month, more primary tillage (MSE South) and tractor cultivation with Big Red, specifically garlic.

Todd workin' it.

Administration (55 hrs): Crew received training on the use of Quicken program.  Made and placed an irrigation order to Rainflo (details of order not mentioned) & inventoried tomato stakes (5/8). MR trained TH on payroll, accounting, and a general introduction to the Element (5/14). Updated crop plans for corner garden and made note of opening for green beans and more radishes, carrots, and turnips (5/27). Owen joined the crew and received formal introduction. Total Admin up 10 hours from previous year. Possibly due to TH taking on Admin Element leading to additional training from MR.

Infrastructure (79 hrs): General maintenance including moving of chickens, mowing, weedwacking, and subsequent fuel runs to manage upkeep around the farm. Hay bales were collected from the central fields, 579 North mowed out in preparation for primary tillage, covered crops mowed, and primary tillage performed.

Greenhouse (136 hrs): Overall, there was general upkeep of the greenhouse from watering to seeding to potting on. On 5/8, crew began new seedling orders for WEC. Special note that there was a tomato variety supply crisis created by “poor planning.” Not enough supply to meet the demand. Note of emphasis to “address current shortage and assure ample production for next year.” MR gave greenhouse introduction to MB & BY detailing greenhouse order form, organizing greenhouse tables, proper potting on methods. Prepped Farmhouse Gothic for tomatoes by hanging strings on 5/22.

Composting (38 hrs): Compost was continually sifted throughout the month for potting and seeding. On 5/5, crew composted sweet William and hyssop along with the southern most 100’ bed and northern most 50’ bed in CG. 5/7 crew composted Veg C  Mid in preparation for tomatoes. On 5/31, BGB SW 1&2 were composted.

Planting (177 hrs): On 5/1, crew started the month by seeding lettuce in BGBs. 5/5 found crew thinking tomatoes and used Haybine to cut cover crop off Veg B and C Mids with intention of plating tomatoes soon. Two days later, Veg C mid was prepped for tomatoes on 5/7 and planted tomas, leeks that afternoon. On 5/10, direct seeded intercropping parsley and onions in BGB. On 5/13, focus moved to CG where 3 short beds were seeded with H. Turnips. 5/14, 2 more BGB were planted with beans. On 5/15, RR & KG seeded more lettuce in BGBs. On 5/23, tomatoes were planted in Veg C mid. On 5/27, crew seeded 100’ bed in CG with green beans on shoulders and cantaloupe down center. By the end of the month, crew began next eggie succession beds and the beds for first flower succession. Noted that primary tillage was late and extra rototilling was required to speed up breakdown of residual cover crop.

Crop Care (226 hrs): The crew spent many hours tending to the crops. On 5/1, crew weedwacked in CG – both pathways and bed edges. Southern most strawberry bed wacked as well – save for a few patches of plants for transplant. On 5/2, the east bed asparagus was weeded to remove hyssop, scuffled hoed cabbage in Veg A South and remay applied on newest salad to encourage germination. On 5/5, used fish & seaweed to fertilize all plants in CG. On 5/10, more scuffle hoeing in BGBs specifically for salad, onions and parsly – also stalked grapes and peas on trellis (north side only). On 5/21, TH used Big Red to cultivate the garlic. On 5/22, the crew flame weeded carrots. On 5/28, crew spent time cleaning up FHG and mulching tomatoes w/ straw. A second “Holistic Spray” was applied on all fruit trees, hazelnuts and NW end of Veg A veggie succession on 5/30.7

Harvesting (229 hrs): In preparation for first markets of the season, training was given to first year trainees regarding sanitation, harvesting techniques, and tools. Crew harvested a multitude of crops including arugula, mizuna, kale, tat soi from Ralph’s House, spinach, radishes, salad mix, asparagus, and microgreens. The majority of the crops were available throughout the month for Saturday and Sunday markets. By the end of the month, NSF was harvesting dill, oregano, spearmint, and head lettuce for market.

Crew Harvest

Handling (101 hrs): Hand in hand with harvesting, MR gave training to first year trainees on 5/10 regarding product handling standard operating procedures. On 5/1, stinging nettle was harvested and handled for drying. On 5/8, crew bagged and labeled hyssop and nettles. For the rest of the month, crew spent handling time washing, spinning, and bagging salad mixes and cleaned bunched greens.

Marketing (91 hrs): Market season began! In preparation for seedling sales to WEC, crew marked each individual cow pot and four-pack for sale with plant ID labels. On 5/6, NSF sold four pounds of dried stinging nettle to Cherry Grove Farm for their Nettle Jack Cheese. The middle of the month saw us with great market day weather and successful sales days. The third week was cold and windy for Saturday but warmed up for a successful Sunday market.

Special Projects (4 hrs): KG seeding, tending, harvesting, handling microgreens throughout the month. Noted that there was a missed succession but problem was resolved and back to normal seeding.


Week 1: Sunny, warm, and dry. Night time temps hovered in the 50s.

Week 2: Week started warm but cold and wet by the end. Night times dropped as low as 34F. Frost killed 5/7 planted tomatoes.

Week 3: Cool temps and rain to begin the week, though it gave way to warming weather and sunshine by the end of the week.

Week 4: Rainy, cool, and very windy. Unseasonably low night temperatures. End of the week brought hot (+90F) by the end of the month.


WWFM– 5/2: $ 1645 / 5/11: $1,552 / 5/18: $1546 / 5/25: $ 904   | Market Total- $5,640

SMT– 5/12: $ 2620 / 5/19: $1990 5/26: $ 2,704   | Market Total- $7,314

Market Monthly Total: $12,954

YTD Market Total: $12,954

Monthly Summary – April 2013

March 28th, 2014 | Posted by Malangie in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – April 2013)


Monthly Summary– April 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by Malangie.

General Observations:

 April was a busy month. The crew worked on special projects such as the spinach trials and growing microgreens. The regular day to day work was kept up of course i.e. seeding, planting, and weeding. But they also dealt with unexpected challenges along the way: Frost took some tomatoes and basil while a chicken sickness claimed the life of a chicken.

Equipment (62 hrs):

(4/5) Big Red returned from repairs. (4/7) Replaced battery on IH140 and tires on both Kabota and Case 265. (4/14) Introduced 2nd Years to starting and servicing the Kabota. Weed wacked corner garden bed edges, pathways and tops to prepares them for planting. Mowed garlic bed edges with Billy Goat in preparation for tractor cultivation. (4/18) Introduction to the BCS Rototiller which was later used to till 2 Big Garden Beds. (4/29) Mowed Central Southeast Field and introduced new mowing skills such as adjusting widths and proper positioning for mowing along the fence line.

Administration (44 hrs):  

(4/1) Hour sheets made and the crew took a short field walk for discussion. (4/4) New crew uniforms arrive! (4/11) Introduction to the farm’s finances: account reconciliation, bills, payroll ect. (4/12) Market and WiC application filed. (4/15) Note made that a crew working together with a leader is better for morale.

Infrastructure (51 hrs):

(4/6) New coat rack made for SHOOP. (4/15) Note is made that maintaining clean, clutter free work areas also increases morale. (4/17) Hens moved winter quarters to First Field in 579 Northwest end. (4/19) Purchased new feed from Lakeview Organics and will compare it to the Nature’s Best feed. (4/28) Mowed Corner Garden’s access and borders, field below compost area and the alleys in Vegetable Garden B North Perennial and Vegetable Garden A North Perennial which would provide smooth ride for the IH140. (4/29) Compost delivery arrived.

Greenhouse (212 hrs):  

(4/2) 4th succession of basil seeded along with 5th succession of trial spinach. (4/3) Made more room available in greenhouse by moving some of the spinach trial to tables in the farm house gothic, some kale and cabbage (from 1st Succession) into the hoop house with extra remay. Also seeded red and gold beets for 2nd Vegetable Succession. (4/5) Finished 2nd Vegetable Succession and moved beets, Swiss chard, collards and trial kale into hoop house. Also, started potting tomatoes for the market. (4/11) Took inventory of herbs available for sale. (4/12) Finished potting tomatoes for market and came across space issue in the greenhouse which pushed the idea of moving the house tomatoes into Farmhouse Gothic (hesitated because of cold forecast). (4/16) Began seeding first flower succession. (4/20) Finished potting herbs for sale and took inventory to fax over to WEC. (4/21) Frost damage in Ralph’s House to market tomatoes (15 count) and basil (32 count). The seedling death continued in hoop house where the tomatoes and basil without secondary remay were 50% frosted. (4/22) Further assessment of the loss highlights the shortage. Decision is made to use both own and market seedlings to plant in Farmhouse Gothic and use newly seeded tomatoes for main crop. This will ensure that there will be enough planted to supply the farm and have some extra for seedling market sales.

Composting (43 hrs):  

(4/9) Training in spreading with Earth and Turf. (4/15) Composted short beds and east border beds in Corner Garden. (4/23) Composted Vegetable Garden A & B North Perennials (used up 1 big trailer). (4/24) Composted 3 Big Garden Beds and then broad forked them. (4/29) Took a quick walk to the compost area and decided where to have the net delivery dumped.

Crop Care (148 hrs): 

(4/3) Cleaned up remay, sandbags and some plastic from Big Garden Beds, Vegetable A & B and Central Field. (4/4) Got some weeding done in Farmhouse Gothic. Then moved onto weeding the garlic beds. (4/14) Used a trailer load of woodchips to mulch South border bed in Corner Garden where tulips are. (4/15) Hand weeded Hyssop and Sweet William. Also scuffle hoed peas. (4/17) Weeded in Ralph’s House and used the 265 to get in between garlic beds and make hand weeding easier. Also, weeded some asparagus. (4/18) Started up the irrigation for the Big Garden Beds along with remay and sandbags. (4/19) Finished asparagus weeding and moved onto strawberries. (4/23) Weeded the herb garden, fertilized older fruit bearing trees and got Casey’s placental tree. Also got another hour of weeding the strawberries in and worked on 3 garlic beds. (4/27) Set up more irrigation in the Big Garden Beds, Perrenials, Veg A, Corner Garden and the green house. Note is made to stay on top of irrigation rotation and remay management. (4/28) Used the IH140 and 100 gallon tank to water fish and kelp  onto strawberries, peas, collards, kohlrabi, head lettuce and herbs in the Corner Garden.

Harvesting (28 hrs):

(4/21) Harvested a tray of spinach which yielded ¾ lbs. (4/18) Harvested and weighed spinach. (4/26) First harvest of stinging nettle.

Handling (18 hrs):

(4/14) Washed, packed and delivered eggs to WEC. Note made that the ‘New Girls’ (’12) are still laying small eggs. Spoke to Stalin from Nomad (NAME) and he took 2 dozen to see if he could use them.

Marketing (25 hrs):

(4/27) First seedling delivery to WEC ($444). A beautiful display of tomatoes and basil was set up.

Special Projects (5 hrs):

Spinach Trial

(4/11) Ordered 200 containers for microgreens. Later, discussed spinach trial and pricing. (4/12) Worked on photoset for spinach trials and set up irrigation for microgreens. (4/14) Chicken coop clean up day! Also worked on some fence extensions for the ’11 Girls. (4/18) Seeded 1st Succession of microgreens (4/26) Quarantined bird from day before now dead. On further inspection of the flocks, they both seem to have same sickness. Sick birds isolated from healthy flock and plans made for them to be culled.


Week 1: Sunny during the day with cold even freezing nights, dry conditions.

Week 2: Warm days lead to a heat wave with and thunderstorms at night at the end of the week.

Week 3: Sunny, yet windy and cool, saturated conditions.

Week 4: Sunny with a bit of overcast in the afternoons, hot and dry towards the end of the week.

Monthly Summary – March 2013

March 13th, 2014 | Posted by Casey in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – March 2013)


Monthly Summary– March 2013

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by CH

General Observations: As tensions in the chicken yard heated up and a violent coup erupted, Big Cheese was found dead.  Cause:  chicken inflicted wounds.  Who done it?  The other rooster.  Perhaps it was name envy.  Elsewhere on the farm, the greenhouses are abuzz with activity.  Perennial crop care is the main outdoor job for this month.  Special projects are numerous but all fit into the main production scheme with ease.    

Equipment (10 hrs): Tune up of JD, Ford and trailer. Filled tires, checked fluids and used engine block warmer on JD.  Introduction for second years and review for third years of systems, visual inspection and operation procedures for tractors.  Additional training for second years on using bucket loader to scoop and fill trailer with mulch, using trickle charger on Ford and engine block heater on JD.     

Administration (122 hrs):  Preparation of materials for beginning of season crew meeting.  (3/5) First crew meeting to introduce farm and crew and to discuss crop plan and immediate greenhouse obligations to get the seasons crops started.  (3/21) Check in with crew members to review priorities and tasks and responsibilities.  General introduction to Administration (hard data file systems, logs, WordPress, Flicker, e-mail etc.) for 1st year trainees and review for returning crew.  Created fertilizer order and updated the “Materials Master List” in the Soil Amendments folder.  Trainees tasked with summarizing element hours in Excell spreadsheet.  Final tweaking of the crop plan and seed order utilizing previous years harvest and market records; a shout out to RR for inventory of seed stock. (3/6) Seed order placed.  2013 element hours summarized and work begins on our monthly summaries for publication on website.  Second year trainees work on publishing introductions their special focus for the season.  Farm manager interviewed and offered a position to OS.  (3/27)  Fit in a field walk with the crew which is always beneficial.  Cowpots ordered for greenhouse.    

Infrastructure (41 hrs): (3/7) Water system charged.  Freezing nighttime temperatures mean draining the system at the end of the day and charging again in the mornings.  Care for chickens a bit more demanding with all the mud.  We maintain a layer of hay over the mud in “high traffic” areas within the chicken realm.  We made a recycling run. Seed shed basement flooding due to rain on top of saturated conditions.  (3/20) Small fire at farmhouse.  Alarm system response time quick.  Very minimal damage and everyone unharmed.  Shoop cleaned and set up as gear storage area for crew!!  Thanks TH.  Irrigation set up in FG.  Supply, materials, fuel run and bank deposit.  

Greenhouse (277 hrs): Clean up/set up of greenhouse and potting shed. In addition to the foam insulation and heat mats, set up included repurposing of old bunk bed frame covered in plastic for super insulated seedling shelves. Observation of both aphid and white fly infestation on remaining vegetation/weeds on greenhouse floor.  Used a dilution of M-Pede sprayed once a week for three weeks to prevent aphid takeover.  Overview of greenhouse systems for crew including: circulating fans, inflation, ventilation fan and vents, heat and thermostat and waterline.  Humane (hopefully) removal of resident mouse family found living large up in the pilot light box. Temporary “plastic wall” put up sectioning off a portion of the greenhouse to be heated for plant starts.  Greenhouse heat officially turned on. Check air and soil temperatures and be sure ventilation and all systems working properly.  Watering schedule begins. Formal introduction to seeding given for trainees as needed.  (3/7)Seeding begins with an early seeding of tomatoes that are destined for greenhouse production.  Seeded 1st round of herbs and onions.  Additional greenhouse seeding orders for NSF and wholesale orders gets things really rolling.  (3/12) Started seeding our first field succession of veggies (calculated $4/tray in labor and supplies).  By end of month there is a fluid routine now preparing greenhouse order forms, compost sifting, mixing potting soil batches, seeding, watering, thinning and repeat.  New hose installed in greenhouse!! Bye bye leaks…for now.  Supply run to Griffin Greenhouse to purchase Greenhouse Poly ($1,985 for two rolls).  New “skin” pulled on and secured to Ralph’s House and Farmhouse Gothic.  Weeded Farmhouse Gothic mulched pathways (2cubic yards and 8wkhrs.).  BY received verbal and practical training/orientation in greenhouse management and production; from office forms and inventory to irrigation and watering schedules.

Composting (48 hrs):  Compost sifting for greenhouse potting soil mix is underway (1 bucket load = 1 ½ barrels sifted compost).  MR cleaned up compost area with tractor in preparation for today’s compost delivery.  A second compost delivery recorded.  Big trailer loaded and used to compost older apple trees in farmhouse yard.  Composted beds in Farmhouse Gothic and Ralph’s House.  Composted blackberries.     

Compost Load

Planting (20hrs):  (3/3) Frost seeded clover and mix of old Timothy and orchard grass over Permaculture Field Western Hay Section in an attempt to establish a hay crop for harvest later in the season.  Farmhouse Gothic cleaned up and prepared for planting of edible greens; Special care was taken to minimize carry over of tomato blight. (3/22) Seeded small patch of peas (2×100’ rows) in corner garden.  (3/22) Direct seeding of beds in Farmhouse Gothic with greens.  Ralph’s House prepared for seeding/planting.  Planted dwarf cherries in VegBNP west end.  (3/30) Seeded lettuce in RH. 

Crop Care (109hrs):  Cleaned up asparagus beds by quick weeding and cutting back dead plant stalks to 2-4” above ground.  Cleaned up grapes in corner garden to make way for grape trellis to be installed.  Peaches, Cherries and young apple trees pruned.  Blackberries pruned/cleaned up this month as well.  (3/14)Introduction to apple tree pruning and practical on oldest apple trees (assassin bug eggs discovered on trees.  Set up irrigation, rebar hoops and covered newly seeded greens in FG with perforated plastic.  Asparagus mulched with compost. Weeding begins in the Corner Garden with reports of ground ivy take over.

Harvesting (2hrs): Harvested overwintered spinach from field tunnel.

Handling (5hrs): Weekly egg washing, sorting, boxing and labeling. (1.5hrs. yields 16 dozen)

Marketing (4hrs):  Weekly delivery of eggs to WEC.

Special Projects (2hrs):  Farm Manger meets with mentor (JHR) to discuss this year’s manager focus, financial details, price tracking and an update on recent farmhouse improvements. Work begins on “House spinach trial” in an effort to supply high value product to Nomad Pizza. A weekly seeding routine is established.  “Basil Trial” tacked on to spinach.   Dedicated shelving for microgreens project constructed;  Issues with humidity and overheating addressed.  Soil samples taken on first five plots and layed out to dry; Project goal is to sample all of the production plots on the farm this year.  Conducting a one month soil inoculation trial in our greenhouse potting mix.

Spinach Trial


Week 1:  Weeks ends with heavy snow.

Week 2: Snow cover quickly melts with warming weather.

Week 3: Cold Winds and some snow followed by rain leaving saturated conditions.

Week 4: Continued freezing conditions but the sun is shining.  Heavy snow at the end of the month.