Monthly Summary May 2010May 18th, 2011 | Posted by in Monthly Summary
General Observations: May was a very busy month. In worker hours it was the second highest of the year with a total of 1051 hours. Spring is in full swing, the vegetation around the farm is growing heartily and the weather is getting warm enough for outdoor planting to proceed as the risk of frost diminishes. With increased production comes an increased need for maintenance. Crop care, harvesting, handling and all the other elements are affected as more is being grown. May marks a shift in priority tasks, crop care and keeping on target with succession planting must take precedence while basic operations cannot be neglected. The result of this is a busier time as the farm shakes off the last of winter’s sleep and launches fully into the season’s production.
Administration 59hrs: The regular tasks of accounting and paying bills were attended to, as was payroll. A rainy morning was a good time for a crew meeting to discuss priorities for the month. MR reviewed by-laws and vendor regulations in preparation for a Hopewell Market Meeting. On 5/19 an accident report was made, the Hay Rake was crashed into and severely damaged by a car/truck.
Infrastructure 150 hrs: Lots of infrastructure work this month, by worker hours May was the heaviest of the year for infrastructure. Moving and caring for the poultry was a weekly chore with the chickens out in the field. Having the chickens in the field certainly improves their quality of life, but also exposes them to danger as was seen twice this month in fox attacks. On the 11th 7 of the ’08 chickens were lost, and on the 22nd 9 more were lost.
With everything now green and growing, maintenance of pathways and waterways became a larger task. In addition to maintaining the key arteries of the farm, beds needed to be mowed in preparation for planting.
Also in May, the pool was swept and prepared for use.
On 5/23 a problem with the farm water system was discovered, a burnt wire was found in the well pump control unit. Resetting the system frequently proved ineffective, and on 6/2 a repairman came and repaired the well. In the mean time the farmhouse water system was used to fill in as best as possible, but with some inconvenience.
Equiptment 90hrs: Lots of equipment training this month, second year interns SJ ST and RCM were trained on various equipment/practices including rototilling, tilling, disking and cultivating with a tractor.
The Kubota was serviced on 5/13, problems with the starter were troubleshot. A note in the log suggests the blades be replaced by this time next year.
JD received new application of Teflon tape which leaked at first but then held after tightening.
Greenhouse 69.5 hrs: With so much of the farm activity shifting to planting and crop care there was much less going on the in greenhouses this month compared to the last. By mid-month only one bed of Swiss Chard from last fall remained in Ralph’s house, the rest of the winter production was cleared.
Tomatoes were potted on and more plants seeded for seedling sales. On 5/30 the need to prepare for the seeding the next succession was mentioned in the log.
Composting 43hrs: Plenty of composting as field beds were being prepared for planting. BGBs and field beds being readied for planting received one trailer load per bed. Blackberries received a covering of mulch.
Planting 116 hrs: Lots of planting this month, with a heavy focus in the Big Garden Beds. There were two plantings of salad mix in May, as well as the planting of mixed beds of radishes with carrots and turnips with carrots. On 5/21 tomatoes were planted, in one long day of hard work all the available varieties were planted out in the field. About 100 each of Sungold, Brandywine, and Striped German as well as smaller numbers of Arbason, Crimson Sprinter, Corsalo, Cheroke Purple, and Green Zebra made it out into the field for the first time in their cowpots. On 5/25 some of the second succession was planted; Squash, Chard, and Zinnias in Veg B north.
Crop Care 215 hrs: With spring here and having crops out in the field weeding became a major part of the daily activity at North Slope Farm. Hand-weeding, scuffle hoeing, weed-wacking, mowing and tractor cultivating were all used to clear weeds. Strawberries were weeded and peas were trellised. A note in the log warns that “crop care could consume us all…”
Harvesting 129 hrs: May marked a change in harvesting as the greenhouse production came to an end and was replaced by crops from the field. Salad mix, Arugala, and Chard were harvested from the BGBs at first, with Kale left to grow larger. By the end of the month kale, garlic scapes and turnips were being harvested for market.
Handling 48.5hrs: Regular washing for markets, eggs washed for Bent Spoon. Strawberry plants potted on 3 to a container for sale at market along with other seedlings.
Market 118hrs: May 1st was the first of the Saturday markets at West Windsor, which meant now North Slope Farm was harvesting, preparing, and attending two markets a week. Seedlings helped to bolster market revenue and notes about selling out in the log indicate that overall markets this month went well. CH also set up a farm-stand file and spreadsheet to track deliveries, the farm-stand was cleaned up and display cooler turned on.
Special Projects 29hrs: Hay cutting in 579 field.
Cost calculations for poultry production were made comparing Winter and April feed costs to eggs produced. The cost per dozen eggs of WP was calculated to be $2.39 vs AP costs of $1.57 per dozen eggs.
Week 1: May started off hot, 90* on the first of the month. By the end of the week however the weather had changed and conditions were windy and cold.
Week 2: Much colder, with some rain. Frosts overnight on the 9th and 10th caused some crop damage, loss of 50 pepinos noted in log.
Week 3: Continued cold this week, with some days of heavy rain. By the end of the week conditions were sunny and warm again.
Week 4: Warm and sunny for most of the week, conditions allowing for the tractors to get into the fields. Some heavy rainfall arrived at the end of the month, just in time to prevent the need for irrigation being used.
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