Monthly Summary – April, 2010
Rita: Logs and records reviewed, and summary prepared 3/25/11
General Observations: As a new trainee at North Slope Farm, I learned that last April was filled with all sorts of excitement. The weather was interesting as the month started with a sunny heat wave followed by a thunderstorm that led to dry, cooler days the rest of the month. So much cooler, in fact, that there was a frost warning on the 23rd. Weather didn’t stop production, however, and among the usual tasks that accompany the start of a growing season were challenges, experiments and special projects. From equipment repair to greenhouse issues, newly planted fruits to chicken coops, the crew was kept on their toes all month.
Equipment 26 hrs: Minor issues with the JD tractor on the 7th resulted in the creation of a sheet of instructions regarding where to grease the zerks. The same tractor had problems toward the end of the month when it started leaking hydraulic fluid.
On the 8th, a tire for the Kabota was repaired and put back on.
An old trailer was resurrected from weeds and given new tires. Its purpose is to carry a water tank to water remote fields.
Finally, the ATV had work done on its ignition system.
Other tractors were used to mow the Market Garden and Grain Field.
Administration 54 hrs: Summaries for April and May of 2009 were started and finished during this month. Other administrative work included correspondence with CowPots early in the month regarding certification potential, and orders of organic corn seed and tomato grafting clips. Also, a cost estimate data for the BGBs and Top Dressing Garlic were created on the 8th.
Infrastructure 78 hrs: The water source and system changed this month, and a fence was taken down around the compost.
Irrigation was created for many areas on the farm including the strawberry, arugula and lettuce beds, as well as the fruit cluster and the Farmhouse Gothic. Later on, the strawberries got a new supply line so it didn’t have to keep switching with that of the Gothic.
Finally, the permaculture field, once overgrown with brambles, saw an amazing transformation after being mowed on the 29th.
Greenhouse 110.5 hrs: It was a rough month for the greenhouses. An aphid infestation overwhelmed the Red Russian Kale in Ralph’s House. Plants and planted tomatoes (Taxi, Paragon, Arbasen and crimson summer) were removed from R.H. on the 14th.
On the 23rd, snails were found to have eaten 65% of the planted tomatoes on the east bed of R.H. and those tomatoes were replaced. A possible solution to the problem would be to feed the snails beer.
Composting 47.5 hrs: The fruit cluster, apple trees, garlic in the 579 Field, the BGBs and Veg B North all received a layer of compost.
Planting 171 hrs: Many crops were seeded, direct seeded, transplanted and potted this month. Most notable plantings were the Chester Blackberries along the north edge of the composting area, 9 more apple trees on the South East edge of the fruit cluster.
Planting of grapes and Hardy Kiwi also garnered excitement from crew members.
April also held the seeding of the 3rd and 4th succession of seedlings for sale at markets, planting of crops for the Kitchen Garden and the 1nd succession of veggies on the 8th.
CropCare 151 hrs: Tea plants were weeded and peas were trellised.
Beds were prepared for arugula and lettuce. This included, mowing, forking, tilling, raking, rolling and finally seeding the field. The 579 field, which had garlic planted, was cultivated, composted and mulched. A threat of frost on the 23rd moved the outside tomatoes and flowers into a truck.
Harvesting 21.5 hrs: Swiss chard and salad mix were harvested for market sales this month.
Handling 2 hrs: Chicken eggs were washed and packed on the 16th.
Marketing 53 hrs: North Slope Farms participated at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Hopewell (?) during this month. Some days were better than others in regards to sales and turn out. Both factors seem to be correlated with the weather… such as less people coming to the market during a thunderstorm.
Produce continued to be delivered to local restaurants this month.
Special Projects 99 hrs: The lucky girls had BD building and improving on their homes (chicken coops/tractors) the entire month. And a routine for chicken chores was either created or reviewed on the 20th.