Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary – October 2011

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

Monthly Summary – October 2011

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

Fall Chores

General Observations:

Rainy conditions from late summer rolled into October leaving behind saturated conditions. First week saw clear skies but that led to continued rain through the second week. Mid month saw the planting of the BGB’s with fennel, scallions, kale and beets as well as winter cover crops. Special projects included a newly built loft in the seed shed and harvesting throughout the month included tomatoes, carrots, salad mix, arugula, tot soi, scallions, peppers, tea and parsley. The month came to a close with an unprecedented snow storm that dropped about twelve inches of snow and took the power out for three days as a result of snow covered tree branches falling on power lines.

Equipment 37 hrs:

Most of these hours were dedicated to trying to fix the Kabota which was difficult to start at the beginning of the month and by the third week it wouldn’t start at all.  The crew backblew the fuel line, bled air successfully, but it still would not work.

Administration 97 hrs:

Normal payroll duties and filing of 3rd quarter payroll tax returns. $30,000 balance in bank account seems to indicate above break even cash position and potential exists for full payment of 2011 liabilities. Crew worked on element focus for next year and created new map folder. End of month crew meeting to discuss remainder of season and markets also took place. Plan discussed regarding the coming cold weather strategy to cover beds with plastic and remay.

Infrastructure 92 hrs:

Chickens moved to new locations along with other normal chores. Identified need to find winter housing for chickens and the 2011’s are getting too big for their coop. Location still unidentified at end of month, but future logs indicate the 2011’s ended up spending the winter in the farmhouse gothic. Cleaning and stowing equipment for winter was part of normal cold weather preparation. The power went out in the farmhouse due to snow storm for two and a half days. The basement flooded and was pumped out with a gas powered water pump.

Greenhouse 16 hrs:

I assume winter production seedlings were tended to but no log entries to verify that.

Composting 12 hrs:

Cleaned piles and received horse manure and shavings from Charlie Gilbert on 10/6 and one load of piled on heavy base of woodchips. On 10/18 the crew composted garlic beds plus seven others, nine total beds composted.

Planting 69 hrs:

On 10/11 the crew weed wacked, broad forked and fertilized BGB’s in order to plant fennel, scallions, kale & beets. Planted winter cover crop-triticale rye, hairy vetch and Austrian winter pea at five times recommended rate due to late seeding and rough manner of seeding including disking to cover the seed and forecast of lots of rain. Germinated well, chickens began eating it but figured it was ok as a result of the heavy seeding. End of month saw the preparation of field beds for garlic, 3 beds planted on 10/25. The crew forked the old basil bed in corner garden, seeding with spinach to overwinter, saw good germination 30 days later.

Crop Care 102 hrs:

10 Entries for irrigation during the month, mostly Ralphs house and Farmhouse Gothic. On10/5 hoed new salad mix in the west beds and on 10/6 hand weeded the BGB’s. Cleaned up tomato fields starting mid month. Set up rebar and remay on beds in preparation for cold days ahead.

Harvesting 119 hrs:

Harvested carrots, salad mix, arugula, tot soi and scallions and parsley throughout the month. Tomatoes harvested until mid month then cleanup of tomato fields began. Tea was harvested successfully and included Hyssop, Comfrey and Nettle. On 10/12, 220 pounds of winter squash was harvested: Butternut, Acorn, Delicate and Kabotcha from one fifth acre. The assessment is this would mean a price of $18 per pound to meet $20,000 per acre requirement. Farm manager is reluctant to sell the squash and would prefer to utilize it on the farm. Recognized a need for a solid assignment of the true value in order to determine if it can be considered a “cash crop”

Handling 96 hrs:

Normal handling of salad mix, kale, chard and carrots took place. The crew came up with the “swirling bucket” technique for washing carrots, presumably to make cold weather washing more bearable.

Marketing 207 hrs:

West Windsor: 10/1- $1,588,  10/8 – $1,247,  10/15 – $1,429,  10/22 – $1,226, 10/29 – $724.25 Average sales for month=$1,243

Summit: 10/2 – $3,370,  10/9 – $2,500,  10/16 – $2,865, 10/23 – $2,780, 10/30 – $565  Average sales for month= $2,416

Hopewell: 10/5 – $616.50, 10/12 – $393, 10/19 – $240, 10/26 – $476.50 Average sales for month= $431.50

Total October 2011 Market Income: $20,020.25

NOFA NJ requested veggies for their winter conference, no word on whether any were delivered.

There was some discussion of viability of Hopewell market through November considering low customer base and high rent.

Special Projects 58 hrs:

Cutting Hay in Veg D led to getting stuck as soil was too wet to pull implement. On 10/10 39 hay bales were harvested. Lots of wood splitting for the farmhouse, and a new loft was built in the seed shed. Total cost was $560 and completed with 10 worker hours.


Week 1: lots of rain, saturated conditions.

Week 2: Heavy rain

Week 3: Dropping temperatures but clear skies.

Week 4: First frost and a Halloween blizzard to end the month.

Monthly Summary September 2011

September 4th, 2012 | Posted by toddh in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary September 2011)

Monthly Summary – September 2011

Prepared by TH September 4, 2012

General Observations: Late in August hurricane Irene left conditions saturated. September brought additional rainy weather and flood watches. Days of heavy rain forced work inside, extended a crew lunch noted in the log, and cut some days short. However, work pressed on with regular harvesting, crop care, some final planting, and other weather permitting tasks. Green house production continued, and the 6th Annual Tomato Fight was held on the 4th of the month!
Storm water

Administration 61 hrs: Regular payroll, money handling, and bill paying. Organic inspection on the 7th followed by detailed notes in the log of clarifications, questions and things to specify. Email reply to trainee applicants on the 27th.  Kyle took a test drive with Mike to Solebury Orchards to pick up fruit as training to operate the box truck.

Infrastructure 50 hrs: All diversions and water ways were mowed at the beginning of the month, as well as on going mowing of the fence lines and field perimeters.  Chicken coops were moved in rotation of fallow field locations.

Equipment 11 hrs: Kubota blades were sharpened for use. A pin broke on the fly wheel of the hay baler due to too much hay at too fast a rate. The repair was easy and all materials were on hand, resulting in a fun experience.

Greenhouse 6 hrs: Green houses were cleaned and planted and seedlings were thinned.

Composting 8 hrs: No specific notes.

Planting 18 hrs: Big garden beds were composted, broad forked, tilled, and seeded with salad. Rain on the 21st changed plan for direct seeding Swiss chard and scallions to transplanting. Ralphs House green house was direct seeded with beans, radish, kale, and chard. Radishes were seeded next to the existing tomatoes in the Farm House Gothic green house.

Crop Care 119 hrs: Plenty of hoeing and hand weeding in the big garden beds and field crops. Poor germination and growth was noted in the big garden beds for spinach. The two southern strawberry beds were weeded and heavily mulched. On the 28th the green house tomatoes and the yard long bean trellis were cleaned out for replanting. Beans were set to soak over night and be inoculated just before putting in the ground.

Harvesting 238 hrs: Weekly harvests of hardy greens, salad mix, and tomatoes are noted through the month for market; in addition summer squash, scallions, peppers, green beans, egg plant, beets, tat soi, flowers, herbs and garlic were also available. On the 21st arugula was uncovered from Remay for its first harvest and noted as looking nice with no damage from flea beetles. Butternut squash was harvested and placed in the green house to cure, and acorn squash was placed in storage in the seed shed. Unfortunately on the 24th lemon balm harvested for tea went bad during drying. Low yields noted on Green house tomatoes and at the end of the month the yield was low on chard and kale due to fungus. Hay was cut raked and bailed during the first week of September with a decent yield.

Handling 84 hrs: hardy greens washed and salad washed and bagged for market Scallions and beets get sprayed off.

Market 117 hrs:

HopewellWeek 1 $490, Week 2 $500, Week 3 $511, Week 4 $403

WWCFM- Week 1 $2010, Week 2 $1200, Week 3 $1900, Week 4 $1650

Summit- Week 1 $3146, Week 2 $2600, Week 3 $3047, Week 4 $3050   

Total September 2011 Market Income:

Special Projects 16 hrs: Sun hemp was tried as a cover crop with three visits from Dave Smalley from NOFA during the month noted in the log to check the crop. Coleen harvested herbs to dry for tea, and Kyle built some shelving in the Shoop for storing tools. The planting in Ralphs house is noted as a special project

Weather: Record rainfalls due to hurricane Irene

Week 1: Rainy

Week 2: Heavy showers, saturated conditions, Delaware flooding

Week 3: Some sun, followed by rain

Week 4: Sunnier, rain off and on, flood watch warnings

Monthly Summary – August 2011

August 1st, 2012 | Posted by miker in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – August 2011)

Monthly Summary– August 2011

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by MR, August 1, 2012
Striped german
General Observations:  Reading the log I am struck by the words, Tomatoes, Rain and harvesting.  They seemed to dominate the record, like the rest of life and activity was not noteworthy.  Total rainfall exceeded 20 inches, including 7 inches during Hurricane Irene on 8/27.  So August is nose to the grindstone month, picking tomatoes, harvesting the regular mix and going to market, and weeding and mowing.  There was also a ‘Mid Season Crew Check-in’ where the staff shared their perspective and task lists.  Cash Flow doesn’t seem to be what was hoped, so manager is focused on identifying what crops can be increased without exceeding demand or losing time on something that hasn’t proven to be profitable.

Equipment 30 hrs: 11 hours of the Kabota mower on diversions and mowing the market garden lanes and field borders.  The Ford 4600 also had high hours; 13.  The JD was only in use for 5 hours.

Administration 65 hrs:  As ever, accounting and payroll.  Payroll for the month was $9,658 for 7 workers.  Cash coming in is regularly deposited and quarters and ones retrieved for the cashbox.

Infrastructure 108 hrs: Equipment repairs- JD loader, cylinder repaired, but MR struggled for a day to replace missing fitting.  Casey helped MR remove, replace and remount tires on Ford, ATV and Hay Rake.  Mowing seems to be the prime activity, including weedwacking the grass away from irrigation submains and valves and maintaining the fences.  It was not clear in the log what these hours were for.  Due to many rainy days there may have been many odd job hours assigned to Infra.

Greenhouse 20 hrs: Greenhouse actually cleared out this month with the next seedlings placed on tables outside.  Last seeding of vegetable transplants, Succession #5, was done on 8/25 of Kale, Chard and Fennel.  This was probably too late as these crops never really got established (partly due to wet conditions).  Also, on 8/16 the “Winter Succession” of veggies was started, to be planted into Ralphs House and harvested in the deep, dark of Winter.

Composting 23 hrs: No log entries for compost use but I assume there was composting done pre seeding the BGBs, just not recorded.

Planting 29 hrs:  8/25 “big push” to get BGB’s ready for fall crops.  Seeded salad, Tatsoi, Spinach, arugula and carrots.

Crop Care 235 hrs:  8 entries for irrigation, mostly the Greenhouse Tomatoes.  Bought Hay from neighboring farm for mulching Winter Squash.  Heavy hand weeding in BGB’s to confront quackgrass invasion.  Lost sections of rows of Tomatoes to Hurricane and all the flowers were blown over.  Note in log; Always Stake and String Flowers!

Harvesting 580 hrs: 8/2 excited entry in Log about “major tomato harvest”!  At beginning of month extra tomatoes being held in Walkin Cooler to build up supply for Processing.  By end of the month the log notes with dismay the severe decline in yield in tomatoes.  Otherwise good yields of beans, beets and summer squash to keep the tomatoes company.  Interesting data from greenhouse tomatoes that 320 row feet in the greenhouse had yielded almost as many pounds as 1,320 row feet in the field so far, 1420# and 1527#’s respectively.  The greenhouse tomatoes had two weeks earlier production as well.

Handling 112 hrs:  Field salad was down by a third from last month so too is there a decrease in handling hours.  Chard too was way down.  Flowers, scallions and washing beets were the bulk of time.

Marketing 197 hrs: Selling out of many core crops.  Peaches from Solebury Orchards boosting income. Hopewell– $784, $965, $712, $788, $836; Total: $4,058

WWCFM–  $2,464, $2355, $2,059, $1,830; Total: $8.708

Summit $3,469, $2,050, $3,230, $0 – Rained out by Hurricane Irene; Total: $8,749

Total August 2011 Market Income: $21,515

Special Projects 29 hrs:  SunHemp trial visited regularly by NOFA staff, recording growth over time.  Germination was decent but the wet weather put a damper on the SunHemps vigor.  It was also clear that when cultivating the seed in, the two center shanks must have thrown the seed to the center and wheel tracks, yielding poor coverage over 2/3’s of the bed surface.  Also, Tomato Processing; 600#’s taken to Bauman Family Fruit Butters, inPennsylvania on 8/15.  The yield was approximately 150 quarts, or 4-6 #’s per quart.  At $3.70 cost per quart + $3-$6 in Tomatoes and the time involved managing it all, we came up with our cost at $7-$10 Quart, so we plan to retail at a minimum of $15/quart of ‘Heirloom Goodness’.  BlackBird Meadows also reported an estimation that ‘start up of a small vegetable operation’ (1/2 acre) should expect at least $5,000 in costs.

Weather:  Heavy Rain Storms and wet soil.

Week 1:Temperature mild, due to overcast days and rain.

Week 2: “Clear and Drying out”

Week 3: Rain, Rain and more Rain

Week 4: Regular Rain Showers, topped by 7 inches, by Hurricane Irene 8/27

Monthly Summary July 2011

July 10th, 2012 | Posted by miker in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary July 2011)

Monthly Summary– July 2011

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by MR, July 10, 2012

General Observations:  Just over an inch of rain is recorded for this month, with a Heat Wave noted by mid month.  Lightening storms chased the crew from the fields at least twice but the brief showers simply increased the humidity.  Early in the month we were appreciative of the mild heat and weather as tales of Woe registered from the South and West – both Drought and severe Flooding.  During the heatwave hours were adjusted to harvest earlier and break early, though Infrastructure and Handling continued on until their responsibilities were completed.  It is a busy month, catching up with large weeds, trying to get final planting for fall production in and harvesting the newly yielding crops of Tomatoes.

Equipment 40 hrs:  Mostly the Kabota, mowing, also Ford 4600 rototilling and mowing, JD2240 Chisel and Moldboard Plowing, and the IH140 bedforming.  3 hours of the Walk Behind tiller and 1 hour of weedwacking noted.  Sad signs of aging equipment reared their head, the JD Loader blew its seals on one of the Cylinders which had to be rebuilt by Everitts Equipment in Ringoes.  The Kabota also lost its muffler but a replacement was quickly retrieved from the Kabota Dealer in Titusville; Mid-State Equipment Co.

Administration 43 hrs:  This months expense for payroll was $6,000, for 7 employees, (2 part-time).  2nd Quarter Employee wages (April-June) was $20,386 compared to Market earnings by Mid July of $39,541.  So this is the time period where financially the farm starts to tread water.  To get to this point the farm has “borrowed” $30,000 from Savings, which it pays back slowly over the course of the season.  Training time focused on BD and Primary Tillage, as well as discussions of the responsibilities of a third year Trainee.  Each Trainee must post summaries of their intended focus and a summary at the end of the Season.  Notes and photos taken during the season are critical to a meaningful summary, as well as beneficial to all, in understanding the activity of others.  Also of note, Black Bird Meadows (@ NSF) began harvesting crops that were sold to North Slope and resold at our Markets, initiating the practice of providing market outlet for individual “Agricultural Ventures” on the farm, undertaken by Trainees and Contract Farmers.  The Farm Manager is responsible for maintaining cooperation and synergy with these ventures and it was great to have ST take on the opportunity.  ST (Black Bird Meadows) also hosted the Chef/Owner of Sprig and Vine,New Hope,PA, for a farm visit as they discussed the coming harvest and delivery schedule.

Infrastructure 98 hrs: KG and RR were given review training of the finer details of moving the Chicken coops – Please see – “Pastured Poultry -Factors to consider”.  Primary Tillage was a significant focus, providing trainees (mostly BD, but also CH and ST) with multiple opportunities to Chisel Plow, Rototill, Moldboard Plow and Disc as well as bedforming with the smaller tractor.  Fields Veg C south and Mid were plowed and disced and Veg B mid and north were plowed and rototilled.  CH noted that her first round using the ‘Cut Harrow’ (disc) she did not allow it to go deep enough and might not have been nearly as effective in churning under weeds as it should have been.  A second round of Harrowing at a deeper depth was required.  Veg B south had been previously plowed and this month was bedformed 4 times, over the course of the month,  to maintain “stale seedbeds” with the last pass to incorporate the summer cover crop seed of SunHemp and Oats.  McGearys Organic Fertilizer was also purchased from Rosedale Mills,Pennington,NJ.  It was stored in the Barn, elevated on pallets, with a plastic vapor barrier below and plastic sheeting to cover.  (*by next season, the unused fertilizer became a major food source for rodents – requiring alternative storage, alternative fertilizer or immediate spreading).

Greenhouse 14 hrs:  The last of the greenhouse seedlings were planted out by the end of the month.  Activity in this Element was weeding and mulching Yardlong Beans and Cucumbers in Ralphs House and Much trellising of Greenhouse Tomatoes in the Farmhouse Gothic.  Trellising and Pruning of the Greenhouse Tomatoes was a weekly task at minimum.  Irrigation was also critical.  ST was monitoring the Farmhouse Gothic, using the soil moisture sensors.  ST noted the reading from 34 (“Irrigate”), then 1.5 hrs of irrigation to a reading of 4 (“saturated”).  Missing from the notes was how long from a reading of Saturated back to “good”?  We have a history of letting the Greenhouse crops get too dry, then flooding them.  About an hour every two days would probably be best, but hard to sustain with lots of other water use to coordinate.
Greenhouse Tomatoes
Composting 16 hrs: 26 cubic yards of Compost spread on 12 Field Beds and 9 cyds on 6 BGB’s.

Planting 59 hrs:  7/2 seeded Flowers (10 beds), 7/6 seeded 4 varieties of Winter Squash using Minimum Tillage and Mulching Strategy, 7/20 Seeded Lettuce into Big Garden Beds (BGB), 7/27 Transplanted last of the Greenhouse Seedlings to MulchField SEsouth (beets, scallions, chard and kale), 7/28 direct seeded summer Squash and beans in Mulch SEs, 7/28 seeded Bolero Carrots in BGBs.  Also seeded Sun Hemp and Oats into fallow field VegBs and lightly cultivated then rolled with ATV and Roller.  A crop Failure of the Hakurai Turnips was noted due to Overseeding.  The pinpoint seeder that we use was set to allow multiple seeds per divot on the axle, it was determined the appropriate setting is to singulate the seeds, ie one seed per divot on the seeder axle.

Crop Care 188 hrs:  Irrigation was the watch word for the month with 34 specific entries in the Log, or more than one zone being irrigated every day.  On average we can irrigate 15: 100’ drip tubes, or 16: 200’ drip tapes, for up to 4 hours, in the BGB/Field Zones or 1.5 hours per zone in the Greenhouses.  Weeding of BGBs and care and cleanup of the Kale/Chard/Beet beds.  Cleanup of spring beds- hoops and bags from remay tunnels long overdue.  And of course; Trellising of Tomatoes!  Additional attention to Tomatoes included Trampling and Rolling the vegetative growth between the Tomato beds.  It was noted that a roller/Crimper that could be pulled by the ATV would be a nice, low tech method of managing fallow beds without the use of a mower or the requirement of bare soil tillage.  However it is done, controlling the growth between the Tomato Beds requires a solid strategy – enough space for mower or alternative control!  Hardcore cleanup of BGB edges and pathways also noted.  Machetes or serrated long knives are nice for cleaning edges of crops on top of the BGBs pre harvesting/weeding (field salad, carrots).

Harvesting 417 hrs:  Basil 101 bn, Beans 156 lbs, Beets 400 lbs, Carrots 525 lbs, Chard 375 bn, Eggs 75 doz, Field Salad 335 lbs, Flowers 134 bn, Garlic 72 lbs, Kale 135 bn, Parsley 115 bn, Radishes 33 lbs, Scallions 245 bn, Strawberries 12 pints, Squash 640 lbs, Tomatoes 1,520 lbs.  The first tomatoes were 7/7 – 3 pints cherry tomatoes and 1/5 tray of Greenhouse Tomatoes.  Bulk of the yield was at the end of the month.  We moved the old box truck to its place by the Tomatoes, to be used as a shady harvest/sorting area.  Green Bean harvest was assessed as approximately 100 #’s main picking per bed or 50#/100’ (half of what Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver, p18, estimates) – Assumming 50 of our beds per acre – 5,000 #’s per acre, if we want to gross $20,000/acre, our bean crop value should be a minimum of $4/# wholesale, or $6-$8/# retail!  Increasing the yield must be accomplished to reduce unit cost.  Carrots were also noted as yielding  135-160# per BGB.  Assumming 40 BGB’s per acre; 6,000#; (1/4 the estimated yield of Rodale); Wholesale value should be $3/#.  Ideally we should work towards an increased yield up to 300 #/ BGB to get our cost value more in line with market value – currently at $2.50/# retail (1.25# wholesale value).

Handling 136 hrs:  The Crew rotating thru the washing station, no one expressing particular interest.  Scallions has become a major ‘to do’, usually leading to a shady spot designated for stripping and bunching.  One day the notes express some pleasure at “cleaning scallions poolside”!  Quote from Farm Manager, “As tomatoes come on, with Flowers and Fruit, the cooler and AirConditioned Office are FULL.  Our time is Fully Required, how these elements are managed can ‘make’ or ‘break’ the operation.  There can be little or no waste, Freshness and Quality Must be maintained and old produce Cleared Out!”  Discussion focused on maintaining a system of what produce is just harvested vs ripe and ready for market.  In particular, the Tomatoes are harvested with two levels of ripeness and they must be kept separate in storage to ensure the ripe ones go to market and ripening ones move forward for next market, without extra handling (confusion).

Marketing 161 hrs:  First week markets were noted as being “off” from last year $500 down at WWCFM and $1,140 down at Summit.  By mid month we are making runs to Solebury Orchards for their Peaches, then nectarines and apricots, to add to the blueberries.  We also purchase weekly deliveries of Organic Blueberries via Zone 7 – produce distributor.  By the end of the month Cherry Grove Organic Farm decided the Hopewell Market did not yield enough sales to continue, which helped increase our sales just in time for Tomato season.  The Hopewell Market was always marginally viable for multiple growers, a basic problem for small town Farmers Markets – how to bring in a diversity of producers when the demand is low.  RCM noted a check of Bio-Bag inventory and confirmed that our usual supplier, still appears to be the best – Copy of invoice filed in Marketing Element Folder.  Biodegradable Produce bags cost .10 each, and bags with handles cost .14 each, plus shipping!  Non Biodegradable produce bags cost about .01 per bag. North Slope takes a major financial hit to provide our customers with Ecologically Responsible packaging; no doubt we will be rewarded in heaven.

Hopewell– $442, $575, $886, $933; Total: $2,836

WWCFM–  $875, $1,100, $1,920. $1,920, $2,485; Total: $8,300

Summit $1,361, $2,088, $2,935, 3,000, $3,360; Total: $12,744

Total July 2011 Market Income: $23,880

Special Projects 24 hrs:  In cooperation with NOFA-NJ, we planted SunHemp, a trial species introduced by the NRCS for a potentially high Biomass, nitrogen fixing, summer cover crop.  We seeded a field section with Sun Hemp and oats, intending late summer nitrogen fixing and weed suppression, followed by “Winter Kill” then Spring Planting next season.  Also of note, Black Bird Meadows began to harvest more Napa Cabbage than the Sprig and Vine needed andNorth Slope was able to provide an additional market outlet.  The discussion focused on pricing – to encourage the farmer (ST) to set their wholesale value, whichNorth Slope pays then marks up for resale at our markets.  ST started with market research and established a wholesale market rate of .85/#.  His cabbages averaged 1.5# or $1.28/Cabbage.  NSF estimated a good Retail Rate of $3/Cabbage and offered to pay $1.5/Cabbage wholesale.  This process builds on our Marketing assumption that the wholesale rate ought to allow as much as a doubling in price from Farmer’s price to retail sale.  ST also noted in log, “Started Kabota [to mow special project field] and muffler fell off.”  Ah, the trials and tribulations of shared equipment, it was noisy but at least it cut the grass!

Weather:  Hot and Dry with T-storms threatening towards end of Month.

Week 1: mildly hot and dry.

Week 2: 90*F, hot then .8” long drizzly rain (very much needed).  Then another .3”.

Week 3: Heat Wave – 105*F.

Week 4: High temps, some showers and increased Humidity to finish the month.

Monthly Summary June 2011

June 5th, 2012 | Posted by Robin in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary June 2011)

Monthly Summary– June 2011

General Observations: Ahhh it’s June!  This seems to be the thought of every farmer I’ve ever met come June.  We all wonder what exactly happened to May and even April for that matter.  The weeds are going crazy, some sneaky trickster must have fed all the worst of the weeds some sort of plant steroid…or perhaps it’s just because our days are at their longest and evolution has created a mighty plant foe in the field for us to either battle relentlessly or come to a sort of equilibrium with the deemed opponent.

No matter the cause or the farmers stance on weeds, every farmer begins to look at the To-Do list grow while the Done list seems to pale in comparison.  Ah well, I suppose it’s summer…oh wait, that’s right Summer Solstice!  In the middle of the crazy heat and insanity that is June, North Slope Farm always tries to appreciate and honor the Summer Solstice.  What better excuse for a celebration than the changing of the light levels and the passing from Spring to Summer.

Equipment 88 hrs: Trackers are used for plowing, ripping, bed forming, cultivating and general use.  Also equipment, like the Kubota and weed whacker, were used for mowing down weeds and cutting hay/straw for use on North Slope Farm.  The Volvo needed work done, got a new starter motor…a lot of work has gone into the Volvo over the years which may indicate it’s on it’s way out.  General maintenance was also needed on the IH140 which needed the battery connection cleaned.

Administration 58 hrs: Pay roll, balancing check book, deposits, consolidation of invoices and general accounting management, what fun!  Organic Certification Forms had to be filled out and turned in, don’t want to lapse on your organic certification or your asking for trouble.  MR had a phone interview during the month of June.  Seed orders for seeds we ended up lacking in had to be made to complete the year and irrigation rough drafts were made. Monthly summary, as always, were written and posted and photos were updated.

Infrastructure 82 hrs: Continual mowing and weed whacking…lots of mowing and weedwhacking- perimeters of farm and fields, around buildings, greenhouses, etc. in a continual fight against the ever growing weeds (Darn those “plant steroids”).  Fields were also continually mowed down for cut straw for mulching our field beds and using in our chicken coops.  The chicken chores continued, moving coops weekly and general cleaning of coops and feeding, watering and collecting eggs always have to be done.

Greenhouse 55 hrs: Stringing tomatoes in the greenhouse; continual/constant pruning of greenhouse tomatoes became a weekly chore.  We also had to continue to seed the next succession of seedlings for the field.  There was also trellising peas in Ralph’s House greenhouse.

Composting 50 hrs: Many beds needed to be composted including beds in the 579 field for flowers, tea garden beds in the corner garden, BGBs for direct seeding salad mix and out in Veg B Mid for the next succession of transplants. Compost sifting for the greenhouse was also a continual chore.

Planting 73 hrs: Lots of planting needed to be done in June, including direct seeding flowers in the 579 field.  Also, soyo long cucumbers (yum) and yard long beans (yum yum) were direct seeded in the greenhouse.  Additionally, 1st years were given training on direct seeding salad mix in the BGBs, including training on proper mapping and recording of work done.  Also, lots of transplanting was done in Veg B Mid, scallions, red beets, gold beets, chard, touscano kale, red Russian kale, basil and summer squash while green beans, turnips and radishes were directly seeded there.  The last of the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers were also transplanted out in the tomato field.  We cleared out space in the greenhouse of all these transplants just in time for us to fill it again with the newest seedlings for the next veggie succession in the field.

Crop Care 184 hrs: Weeding, weeding and more weeding.  There was also staking and stringing of tomatoes and mulching their beds and lots of pruning of tomatoes in the greenhouse.  The 1st years got an introduction to the irrigation systems for directly seeding in the BGBs and how to use the moisture system to check levels in the Farmhouse Gothic for proper irrigation.  Irrigation had to be continually kept track of because the rain during the month was variable and often came all at once, quickly followed by long hot days that rapidly dried field beds.  All of which was followed up with more weeding…of peas, carrots, salad beds, strawberries, and every other field bed.  There was also cutting of hay from fields for hay/mulch.

Harvesting 170 hrs: Lettuce, spinach, turnips, chard, kale, strawberries, peas, squash, garlic scapes, parsley, beets, radishes, garlic and flowers were all being harvested in June. A hot and humid heat wave spurred longer lunches and extended work days into later evening hours when it was hopefully mildly cooler.  One afternoon/evening the crew struggled to keep going to gather and store bales of hay that had been cut.  Everyone was loosing incredible amounts of water due to sweat in heat and high humidity but finally finished a long day, getting all the hay stored safely and dryly in the seed shed only to have a storm blow in 15 minutes later, redeeming all the work done to save the hay from being soaked.  The thunderstorm also brought a more than welcome break in the heat and a needed shower for all crew members who had bits of hay sticking to every inch of skin.  Additionally, there was also a one time picking of mulberries from single mulberry tree-yielding 5 pints in one hour of picking.  But the tree also was hours of entertainment for not only children of workers of the farm but workers themselves-nothing quite like a mulberry break in the mists of a hot day.

Handling 47 hrs: As always, washing of greens and roots.  For the first time we broke up Friday washing with Thursday, hoping to reduce the pressure on Friday and maybe break up the day into doing different work in the afternoons.  An overview on washing was given by MR and washing eggs was a continual chore.  Seedlings for orders from the Whole Earth Center also had to be collected and delivered.

Marketing 149 hrs: In the middle of a month where fair or foul weather can make or break a market, Wednesday Hopewell Farmers Market experienced quite a number of rainy days or days suffocated by heat and humidity, which majorly impacted the number of customers who came out.  Also, Cherry Grove Organic started at the Hopewell farmers market in the month of June.  MR began to coordinate mushrooms and Solebury Orchard orders for market, in mid-June there were the first apricots and sour cherries.  Also, the special order with Kitchen Garden seedlings was delivered, total came to $487.  6/16 the farm stand opened for first time at NSF.

Hopewell6/1: $575, 6/8: $430, 6/15: $451, 6/22: $403, 6/29: $391 = $2,250

WWCFM6/4: $1074, 6/11: $977, 6/18: $1317, 6/25: $1301 = $4,603

Summit6/5: $1920, 6/12: $1950, 6/19: $1950, 6/26: $2250 = $8,070

Total June 2011 Market Income: $14,923

Special Projects 22 hrs: ST’s Black Bird Meadows continues, tracking becomes of greater importance as bed forming, staking, mulching, planting continues.  ST also experiences having to get rid of seedlings which became root bound after they did not make it into the field.  NOFA NJ came to observe sun hemp as a cover crop at NSF, taking measurements to see how sun hemp fairs under certain treatments. MD and ST take measurements of the newest field, mulch field south east, to lay out the field perimeter and began to chisel plow.  MD introduced workers to the log splitter and crew started work on clearing a stack of logs from the forest and stacking for firewood for winter use at the farmhouse.  Also, RC lead up crew lunches in the afternoon.

Weather: Week 1: Hot and Humid a heat wave sets in early but strong winds from a front gave a break for some relief before the heat returned

Week 2: The week started hot and dry, optimal time for hay cutting but by the end of the week relief from the weather came in a front bringing cooler temps and rain showers- .9” rain

Week 3: Slightly cooler week with rain storms in the forecast all week – 1.25” rain

Week 4: Humidity and heat still beats down on the crew but the promise of thunderstorms is ever looming- .5” rain but ending the month dry without any rain in the forecast for the start of July

Monthly Summary May 2011

May 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Kyle in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary May 2011)

Monthly Summary – May 2011

Prepared by KG May 3, 2012

crops hardening off

crops hardening off in the hoop house

General Observations: This May, like 2010, was the second highest in terms of worker hours. That means a busy month. Added to the planting of BGBs and field succession plantings in May are the planting of our field tomatoes and flower successions. On top of all this the warm and wet weather is causing and explosion of growth both of crops and weeds, meaning more time must be spend on crop care and infrastructure keeping the crops ahead of the weeds and maintaining mowed pathways and access to crops. On 5/2 the groundhog who had been eating the seedlings on tables by the farmstand was finally captured! It was dispatched and making an effort to not waste the groundhog, stew was made. The stew was delicious, but the groundhog meat was less than enjoyable… Casey added his thoughts on the season so far to the log on 5/9. There was a power outage in the area on 5/26 that prevented some irrigation.

Administration 51 hrs: On 5/16 KG completed the May 2010 monthly summary. A rainy day on 5/17 was a good time for a staff meeting. A task list was generated; the greenhouse would need compost sifted and planned to start seeding the 4th succession, under the planting element the need to trelise grafted tomatoes in the farmhouse gothic was highlighted and 6/15 was planned for as the 3rd succession planting date. Preparation of the next successions field was also discussed. Various tasks related to cropcare were also outlined, including storing remay for the season and trellising of peas and tomatoes. On 5/24 there is a note in the log about sorting through email and creating a system of folders to keep the email better organized. There was also a note about calculating income/expenses to date. Also the regular admin duties of payroll and bill payment were performed throughout the month.

Infrastructure 68 hrs: Some of the various infrastructure work this month included a mowing of pathways and access lanes on 5/9, setting up a submain and drip-tape for the 579 Flower Field on 5/13, an intro to the weedwacker on 5/17 for first year trainees JR, RR, and KG followed by RR weedwacking around the electric fence line and posts, and the final cleaning of the farmhouse pool by RCM on 5/24. Also on 5/9 a note in the log about irrigation observes that 20 BGB drip tubes (4 beds) on full yields the ideal pressure of 12-14 PSI on average.

Equipment 57 hrs:

JD– 10     Ford– 9     IH140– 2     Kabuta– 17     Walkin Mower- 2     BCS– 4     Weedwacker– 13

On 5/2 the JD received an oil change and oil filter replacement. On 5/9 a metal plate was fabricated to allow the Walkin mower’s handle bar height to be adjustable, a note in the log reports making the operation of the mower “a little easier…”


planting grafted tomatoes

Planting grafted tomatoes in cleared and composed circles cut in the salad mix in the Farmhouse Gothic

Greenhouse 64 hrs:On 5/1 20 flats of basil were seeded for Nomad Pizza, a note in the log declares the greenhouses to be full and tight. On 5/4 tomato grafting was completed. See this link for more information about how our grafted tomatoes did in 2011. Between 5/14 and 5/17 the third vegi succession was seeded. On 5/17, while seeding the forth succession of seedlings for sale, the seeding shed“Quilting Circle” was established and songs were written and sung.

Composting 68 hrs: In addition to compost sifted for the greenhouse, several applications were made to field beds. On 5/10 8 beds in VEG B mid, 5/12 Tomato field beds (Maddona North) were prepared- “rip, compost, rip, till, plant”, and on 5/13 7 beds in the 579 field were composted.

Planting 127 hrs: May is a busy month for planting because in addition to the regular BGBs and a field succession planting, our tomatoes are planted into the field. 5/3 was a full planting day; direct seeding (DS) of 2 beds of salad and 2 beds of carrots into the BGBs in the AM followed by transplanting (TP) of squash, beets, and chard in the PM. On 5/6 kale and scallion TPs made it out into the field. 5/9 saw 8 apple trees added to the fruit cluster. 5/12 and 5/13 saw the grafted tomato TPs planted in the farmhouse gothic as well as 1 row of sungold tomatos planted in the field. Also on 5/13 4 beds worth of Zinnea TPs were planted in the 579 field. On 5/15 CH and MR finished replacement planting in the fruit cluster, replacing trees that had been lost over the winter. 5/26 was tomato planting day, our field tomatoes were TPed out into the field! On 5/27 some direct seeding of beans, turnips, and beets brought the 2nd vegi succession planting to completion.

Crop Care 351 hrs: Many worker hours went into crop care last May as the warm and wet weather brought with it vigorous weed growth. On 5/5 the BGBs were mowed and maintained. 5/10 saw the peas trellised. On 5/11 and 5/12 a straw mulch was laid around the strawberry plants in anticipation of fruiting, the straw acts as a weed suppressant as well as a barrier keeping the fruit out of the dirt, cleaner and easier to spot when harvesting. On 5/18 grass was cut away from the garlic to keep it from becoming overwhelmed and on 5/19 hand weeding of the BGBs took place, a note in the log calculated 5 worker hours per bed. 5/23 and 5/24 saw the asparagus beds weeded and on 5/25 BGBs and 3 field beds were scuffle hoed. Finally on 5/31 trellising of the grafted greenhouse tomatoes began.

Harvesting 214 hrs: In May last year NSF had the following crops available: Field salad, arugula, tatsoi, spinach, swiss chard, kale, fennel, radishes, peas, spring garlic from the 579 field, and for the first time available at market, our very own strawberries!

On 5/24 in the log there are extensive notes on strawberry harvesting, establishing a protocol for harvesting every 4 days ripe and 3/4ths ripe strawberries, sorting into pint and quart containers on tomato trays and topping these containers off once at market to ensure full containers overflowing with unblemished fruit for our customers to enjoy. The notes also include some detailed information comparing variety yields and fruit size.

Handling 69 hrs: On 5/5 the walk-in cooler was turned back on in preparation for the start of the WWCFM, the previous harvest having been frozen by a malfunction. Throughout the month washing took place, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon of our crops harvested for our Hopewell and WWCFM markets.

Market 127 hrs: Our first Saturday market of the season began this month, NSF’s 8th season at WWCFM. A note on the weather says it was a “beautiful day for first market” A 5/21 note relating to marketing said we had sold out of everything, and maxed out our weekly harvest for everything except for salad.

Hopewell5/4 $338.50, 5/11 $499.25, 5/18 $394.50, 5/25 $504.00

WWCFM- 5/7 $915, 5/14 $929, 5/21 $1025, 5/26 $1040

Total May 2011 Market Income: $5645.25

Special Projects 38 hrs: On 5/2 Veg C north was plowed by ST for his special project “Blackbird Meadows” the goal of which was to supply a variety of fresh produce on a weekly basis tailored to meet the needs of the local New Hope restaurant “Sprig and Vine”. The end of May saw hay baling, collection and storage of hay bales in the seed shed for later use.

Weather:  No mention of any frost at night in the log.

Week 1: Sunny and beautiful weather, transitioning to storms and then back to sun by week’s end.

Week 2: Sunny, getting dry. Irrigation needed by the end of the week.

Week 3: “Rainy weather settling in” followed by “SATURATED” later in the week. Sunny day on the 21st.

Week 4: Rain returns after a break on the 21st. 40% chance all week delays hay cutting, but finally sunny and hot weather arriving on the 27th allows for haying before going to seed.

Monthly Summary April 2011

April 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Beau Young in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary April 2011)

Monthly Summary – April, 2011

Beau: Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 4/3/2012

BGBs May 2011

General Observations: 

April of 2011 saw snow showers on April fools day and progressed to rain showers which created very wet conditions through most of the month, ending in a beautiful sunny day on the 30th. Notable issues were the water system leak, which delayed the use of the well irrigation. The rat traps were unsuccessful, instead only catching ants with the peanut butter bait, and subsequently some seedlings were lost to an opportunistic groundhog. Market sales included Hopewell market on Wednesdays beginning the second week of April, as well as sales to Kindle Café, Nomad and seedling sales to Whole Earth.

Equipment 8 hrs:

There were few equipment issues other than vehicle repairs for Isuzu, Prius and Volvo.

Administration 47 hrs:

Tasks performed included finalizing the flowers and supplies order, ordering of fruit and nut trees. Preparing 1st quarter payroll reports for state of NJ, and finalizing the crop plan.

Infrastructure 96 hrs:

The beginning of month saw a leak in the water system so the crew had to resort back to the farmhouse water supply. Later in the month, the crew dug up the pipe between the office and the farmhouse. Turns out the leak was coming from about 8 feet down from the nozzle, not at the elbow as was originally believed.  The fence surrounding the Madonna needed repairing due to a problem with the posts not staying in the ground.  Later in the month, irrigation of Ralphs house led to over watering and a trench had to be dug on the east side to drain it. Other duties included mowing of the market garden and Veg C, as well as the fence line and compost filtration strip.

Greenhouse 122 hrs:

Greenhouse work consisted of an introduction to daily management including venting systems, seeding and watering. Cleaning /mulching of pathways and edges of interior, reorganizing and moving the seedlings to farm stand area to harden off and moved some to the hoop house. Potting of orange blossom, Rosa Bianca and orient charm for seedling sales.  Grafting of tomatoes toward the end of the month.

Composting 66 hrs:

Composting consisted of Strawberry and Pea beds early in the month, then moved to Asparagus beds, Apple trees and other fruit trees and of course, lots of compost sifting.

Planting 83 hrs:

Potting of second succession seeding. Seeding of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, arugula, tatsoi and flowers. Very wet conditions but nevertheless planting commenced following lots of rototilling and raking. Direct seeding of lettuce on the 14th, planting of kale and chard on the shoulder of two beds, with turnips and radishes planted in the center of the beds. Planting of spinach (half bed) and swiss chard  with beets down the center. “New Girl” tomatoes planted in farmhouse gothic and Tunnel tomatoes in greenhouse.

CropCare 166 hrs:

Weeding party on Saturday the 2nd resulted in completion of 2/3rds of the strawberry beds and beer and shrimp were the much-deserved reward that evening. Blackberries started peeking out on the 4th, Peas were planted on the 6th. Mulching of strawberry beds completed on the 8th. Uncovering of strawberries on the 14th. The 21st saw almost freezing temps so the crew covered the beds to protect them from frost. Beds were renovating in the tea/corner garden. Woodchip/cardboard mulch was used on the blackberries. Weeding of four garlic beds in the Madonna field finished off the month.

Harvesting 64 hrs:

Harvested Arugula, Spinach, Tatsoi, Salad Mix, Swiss Chard and Kale for Hopewell market. Harvested stinging nettle for flush tea, took 4 days to dry in solar dryer.  Harvesting of house lettuce, arugula and six nice stalks of asparagus by the 23rd.

Handling 42 hrs:

All of the above were washed and bagged for Hopewell market and sales to Kindle Café.

Marketing 57 hrs:

Participated in Hopewell market on Wednesdays, yielding $1,192.31. Delivered spinach, salad mix and kale to Kindle Café. The first seedling order of 120 plants to Whole Earth was on the 20th.

Special Projects 13 hrs:

Chickens were moved during a fierce and windy rainstorm. Firewood was cut and a dog pen was sited and constructed. Hired a mason to build a better walkway and steps to access the main drain valve and wetlands by greenhouse. And ultimately egg washing and packing for Hopewell market.


Monthly Summary – March 2011

March 13th, 2012 | Posted by toddh in Monthly Summary - (Comments Off on Monthly Summary – March 2011)

Monthly Summary – March 2011

Prepared 3/13/12 TNH

General Observations: From the log the weather appeared to be what one would expect, remaining cold with some rain and snow at times. Despite that it seems to have been a busy and productive start to the season.

Administration 204 hours: Lots of meeting and discussion of the season to come, establishing plans, tasks and goals. In addition there a good deal of introduction and demonstration of different farming elements for interns. Efforts to find a consistent measure for recording crop data. 

Infrastructure 112 hours: General winter repair, clean up, and organization was begun. Chicken chores were done regularly in addition to some work done on their coops. Casey’s Sandbox was shored up. Electric fence was repaired. Cut rebar for hoops to cover strawberries. Fence was extended to included market garden. Gate was built for Madonna Field, fence was tightened, and a failed post was replaced. The Hens were collected after a fence post had fallen.

Greenhouse 125 hours: Introduction and review of green house systems. Seed inventory, seeding and planting to field dates were all discussed. A few rat holes needed to be filled on either side of green house. Heat mats were turned on (3/10) for herbs and flowers. Small beds were moved out and replaced with larger ones. Attention was given to weeding, preparation, and watering of green house beds.  First group planting on the 3rd. Parsley, chard, kale, scallions, and squash were seeded. Tomatoes for greenhouse and tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant for seedling sale were all seeded. Squash was eaten and measures were taken to prevent recurrence. Tomatoes were potted for green house and for sale.

Composting 6 hours: Sifted as needed.   

Planting 2 hours: Peas were inoculated and planted in Ralph’s House. An attempt was made to “frost seed” clover.

Crop Care 259 hours: Lots of weeding and preparation of beds in Farmhouse Gothic, Ralph’s house, tea garden and strawberries. Remay was cleared from fields and rated on reusability. Field tunnels were tightened, strawberries were covered with Remay and trenches were dug to help drain fields.  Asparagus was cut back. Demonstration and Pruning of fruit trees. Attempts to “rat proof” Ralphs house with small chicken wire tunnels and the heated green house by fixing flashing around cinderblock bed supports.
flashing on table legs

Harvesting 33 hours: Week 1:

Week 2: Lettuce, spinach, tat soi, turnips

Week 3: Salad mix, kale, tat soi, turnips           

Week4: Arugula, spinach, kale, turnips

In addition to limited harvesting we had Tomato sauce and eggs available at market. 

Handling 18 hours: Products were cleaned and preparation forHopewell market.

Market 45 hours:Hopewell 3/9 $257.25, 3/16 $248, 3/23 $210.50, 3/29 $255.50

Special Projects 30 hours: Agricultural venture called Blackbird Meadows headed by third year intern. Primary special project efforts remained focused on the chickens.

Weather: Week 1: Cold, sunny, mostly clear skies. End of the week = heavy rain / flooding 

Week 2: Freezing nights. Sunny and clear to cold and cloudy with rain

Week 3:  Overcast and cold, some rain.

Week 4: Wind, rain, cold and snow.

Monthly Summary November 2010

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

 Monthly Summary – November 2010

Prepared by KG November 3, 2011

2010 Winter Production

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

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

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

Equipment 11.5 hrs:

JD- 2

IH140- 5

Walkin Mower- 2

BCS Rototiller- 2.5

Kabuta, Ford, Weedwacker- 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market 103 hrs:

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

WWCFM Thanksgiving Market- 11/20 $532         

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

            Total September Market Income: $10,356.60

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


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

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

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

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

Monthly Summary October 2010

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Marketing 109.5 hrs:

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

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

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

Total October Market Income: $13,797.50

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


Week 1 – Storms, cold, rainy and wet

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

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

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

Total rainfall for the month 6.25 inches