Victory Seed Company News

What's Happening Around the Farm as well as a Soapbox for Victory Seed Co. founder, Mike Dunton

Let Them Stand . . . Seedheads Feed Birds

This is the time of year that we are all busy cleaning up our yards and gardens and getting them ready for winter.  But if you can tolerate a little disorder in your landscape, I would ask you to consider letting some of your old flower stalks stand.

Beautifful Sunflowers in the Summer

Beautiful Sunflowers in the Summer

Although they may not be very attractive, your flower seed heads will attract and provide an important food source for overwintering and migratory birds.

Not as attractive in October, the seedheads are still beautiful in the function.

Not as attractive in October as they were in the summer, flower seed heads serve an important function of feeding overwintering and migratory birds.

 

A close up showing proof that the seeds are appreciated.

A close up showing proof that the seeds are appreciated.

So even if you look out the window and gaze out on your spent flowers, you probably will get a chance to watch flocks of birds enjoying your generosity.

posted by Mike in Gardening Tips and have No Comments
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Harvest in a Hurry

As nearly everyone around the United States will attest, it has been a very odd year weatherwise.  The week before last I was lamenting the early arrival of cool, wet, Fall weather and then this week we were setting record high temperatures.  But judging from the forecasts, it looks like our hot days are now behind us and wet weather is returning.

This creates many challenges when attempting to harvest the seeds that you all are counting on for your gardens next spring (and that we count on to support our continued seed variety preservation work).  The optimist in me is thankful that we are looking at impending periods of showers and not freezing temps.  We can put on rain and mud gear and continue our work . . . it is just not very fun.

All of this aside, we have all hands busily doing the harvest dance.  John is out in the field picking and documenting, the main part of the crew is squeezing tomatoes into containers to ferment, and I am trying to keep up with the washing, drying, and preparing the seeds for storage in preparation of germination testing and getting them ready for packaging.  And that is jut the tomato seed harvest.  Everything else is being picked and hauled into buildings and put on screens to finish drying.  It is always an exciting time bustling with activity.

A group of my immediate family members and cousins working on harvesting tomato seeds.

A group of my immediate family members and cousins working on harvesting tomato seeds.

I have posted several more harvest related photos on our Facebook page - Click Here. Folks at most other seed companies probably will find it funny how we do everything by hand.  Yes it is expensive and laborious.  But it is the only way that I can come up with to maintain our quality standards and maintain so many diverse varieties.  If folks think it is silly that we toil manually, I look at it this way, I do not have to pay for a health club membership and I think of the product we produce as something akin to a craft beer or a limited edition,, reserve or boutique wine. :)   Small batches, all by hand.

My break is over, the sun is finally breaking through the clouds, and it is time to get back out and wash tomato seeds for several more hours!

~Mike

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News and have No Comments

What Happened to July!

Time is flying around here these days.  And probably where you are too.  But what else is new, right?

The gardens are growing nicely and looking healthy.  The main crops are nearly at their peak and starting to mature.  Our Fall / Winter garden plantings are up and taking off.  With most of the hard work in the gardens all caught up (installing supports and trellises, drip irrigation lines, planting, etc.), we have been able to start working on annual maintenance and construction projects.

If you have been with us for some time, you know that our seedhouse project has been progressing over the years, in stages, as we can afford it.  This past week, another little piece was completed.  We finished work on pouring a concrete slab in front of the receiving doors. This will make unloading trucks so much easier.  Since the job required some excavation, I used that gravel to form up a little, but much needed, parking area.  Little things like this make it more efficient and tidier around here.

The hay crew showed up this morning and started mowing.  With the very odd start to the season this year (wet then hot then wet then hot . . .), this is only the second time in the 25 years that I have been operating the farm that we got a second cutting of hay off of the fields!

This is just a quick update to let you know what has been going on around the farm.  From all of us at the Victory Seed Company, we hope that you are having a great summer.

~Mike

 

 

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News and have No Comments

Summer is Here . . . Time to Plant a Fall Garden!!!

Summer is finally here and you know what that means?  It is now time to plan and start getting our fall and winter gardens planted!

This can be a bit confusing to a new gardener.  After all, don’t you plant a summer garden in the summer?  Well, no.  You did that back in the early spring.  The way to look at it is that your garden is labeled by the season in which you harvest.  So you are now likely enjoying the fruits of your springtime work from your summer garden.

Folks living in very harsh climates (say high in the Rockies, the high desert, or the far North) can’t expect to raise much out in the bare, exposed soil in January.  But with some well made seed choices combined with various combinations of physical protection like cloches, row covers and hoop houses, you may be surprised at what fresh produce you are able to enjoy this winter.  For people in milder climates, the sky is the limit.  Bottom line is, you won’t know what is possible until you start trying.

I am the first to admit that I have been pretty lax about my personal winter gardening efforts over the past few years.  As a seed farm, we end up working really hard to get the harvest done from late summer well into the fall.  This often is happening with the added stress of racing against threatening weather.  It is all we can do to finish, get the gardens cleaned up, compost piles built, all of the posts, trellises and tomato cages put away, the ground tilled, and cover crops planted.  It then takes weeks to months to get all of the seed harvest cleaned, tested and readied for sale.  This not only takes most of our time, it leaves us pretty burnt out.  After a spring and summer of gardening, I am sure that you know what I mean.

However, the reality is that fall gardening requires much less effort than in the early spring.  The ground is already cultivated and usually just waiting for seeds.  The larger areas that we don’t plan on using over the winter are tilled and planted in a green manure cover crop

Like many of you, we are very interested in controlling what we are putting into our bodies.  We enjoy eating fresh produce, but don’t buy the stuff that has been shipped from parts unknown.  The only real answer is to keep our gardens as productive as possible, all year round.

To give folks a starting point, we have been working on improving a newly created educational resource site.  I am organizing the information by region starting with the United States.  You can see what I have assembled so far by visiting www.WebGrower.com.  If you find broken links or have suggestions for your areas, please shoot me an email.

Something else that we decided to do was to resume a practice that many of the 19th and early 20th Century seed houses did . . . publish a Fall Garden Catalog.  You can download a copy of it at http://www.vintageveggies.com/catalog_req.html.  To help select suitable varieties, a new category section can be found at http://www.victoryseeds.com/fall-garden-seeds.html.


 

New Web Site Feature
Victory Points™ ProgramGet Rewarded When You Shop! Click here for more info on how to be rewarded for your support!I am kind of excited about this announcement.  Victory Points™ are a way for us to thank and reward those of you who choose to partner with us by supporting our seed variety preservation work and using our Victory Seeds® in your gardens.  This is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time and finally got it off of my “to do” list!There is nothing special that you need to do to join or enroll or subscribe.  Simply log into your customer account every time you shop and automatically earn Victory Points™.

Shop like you
always do.
Automatically earn
one Victory Point™
for every
$1 you spend.
Redeem your points
for future
purchases.

For all of you who are just getting to know us, and as a reminder to our longtime supporters, if you are interested in keeping closer tabs on what is going on around here at the Victory Seed Company, check out our Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube channel, Pinterest board, and our blog. Please join in the conversations. More information about these opportunities is located on our web site and at the end of this newsletter.

Until next time, gardening success to you,

  

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News and have No Comments

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