Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary – October 2009

January 8th, 2011 | Posted by steven in Monthly Summary

Monthly Summary – October 2009
Steven Tomlinson; Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 12/10

General Observations: October started off with a cool 55 degree day.  The crew was productive with their time which reflects in the myriad of tasks completed. Fires were lit in the bunkhouse to warm the hands of the harvesters.  Kale, fennel, Swiss chard, and scallions filled the table at the markets. Many of the markets went well, with a few being slow due to weather. That always seems the case with farming in general. There were new trainee interviews and preparations to shut down the farm. Winter production was becoming a reality and talks of raised beds built with cinderblocks and lined with plastic became the objective.  The outdoor washing area was built up with plastic walls to keep the wind down.  Processing herbs for tea, from drying to bagging, became a focus for the crew.  A touch of frost came in mid October. The beginning signs of winter were showing. The momentum of the season was still in full swing which was reflected in the hours worked.
Administration 39 hrs: A Trainee Applicant visited the farm which began with an Intro to the website. The training program page was reviewed about wage rates and the value of the three year training program. Anticipated crops were discussed along with a walk through the greenhouses, market garden, office, cooler, and washing station. Bills were paid and a season summary was posted.
Infrastructure 113 hrs: The amount of time spent on infrastructure is the same amount spent at the beginning of the season. A new battery was put in the Ford tractor, the walk behind mower got a belt adjustment, and a hitch was worked on for the movable chicken house. The ATV showed signs of old age because it started having trouble starting (wait until next years post to get the full story). A new trailer was ordered and delivered.
Greenhouse 14 hrs: Weeding in the greenhouse took up the most time for the greenhouse tasks. This gave the plants the needed attention as winter approached.
Planting 35.5 hrs: Oyster mushrooms were inoculated on the eastern side of Ralph’s House. Perennials were planted in the Tea Garden.
Crop Care 44.5 hrs: The crew weeded the south edge beds of the farmhouse gothic and planted comfrey. They mulched with woodchips to be inoculated with mushrooms.
Harvesting 213 hrs: Chard, kale, scallions, salad mix, and tat soi were growing well. Flowers were harvested for bunching and the first of winter squash made it out of the garden. Hay was cut and bailed for chicken bedding and general mulching. From Veg C and D, 142 bales of hay were collected. Nomad Pizza was getting their fare share of salad and the markets yielded positive results. Herbs were harvested for tea and there was some talk about selling Echinacea roots to an herbalist.
Handling 94.5 hrs: SJ was trained the proper procedure on how to wash salad mix and all other vegetables. He washed every Friday for the entire month! BD also received training and helped out with washing scallions.
Marketing 128hrs: Selling at farmers markets in NJ and to Nomad Pizza made for a good month in sales for North Slope Farm.
Special Projects 56 hrs: Firewood was chopped to prepare for the winter. It is great to be able to use the farm’s woodlot for fuel. Mycelium Remediation “Mycoremediation” involved spreading sawdust and straw pellets on top of oily ground where the tractors are parked. Then it was watered. 2 gallons of oyster spawn was placed on sawdust and also covered with more sawdust. Moistened cardboard with more oyster spores were placed on top and then covered with mycelium slurry. More moist cardboard was placed on top. The hope for this project was to use mycelium to clean up the oil.

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