Victory Seed Company News

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

Archive for July, 2011

New Growth on Sage

I was just walking past this sage plant and snapped a picture on my phone.

It is a good illustration of how many plants benefit from pruning.  In this case, we snipped off the tips last week for a recipe and as seen in the photo, they not only regrow, they branch out.

So by pruning or pinching off the growing tips of plants, you can encourage plants to grow denser and bushier instead of tall and lanky.

Sage - Pinched Tips

Sage - With Pinched Tips Growing Back

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posted by Mike in Gardening Tips and have No Comments

Socializing

Things have changed a lot since the World Wide Web was young and we created our first company web site.  If you remember, web pages back then were basically nothing but glorified brochures and communication between you an I was limited to the U.S. Mail, telephones and email.  Social media services have changed that.

I have to admit that I was reluctant to embrace social media.  It was not because I didn’t see its potential or value, nor do I have a “tin foil hat” mentality towards them.  My main reason is that I am stretched pretty thin around here with all of my duties and responsibilities and do not have a lot of spare time.  I am the type of person that tries to do things right and I just did not want to quickly set up the service and not use it.

So in my “spare time” over this past week, I got our YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/VictorySeeds) and Facebook Fan Page (www.facebook.com/VictorySeeds) set up and connected to our Twitter account (twitter.com/VictorySeeds).  I also figured out how to stay in contact even when I am out in the field or away from the farm using my smart phone.  The next goal will be to get the blog to send out a post to Twitter and Facebook.

Technology is cool when used for a good purpose.  In this case, these social media tools allow us all to communicate and keep in touch.  Kind of like the 21st Century version of chatting over the garden gate.  I look forward to learning these tools better and hope that you have patience with me as I work through the learning curve.  If you are a Facebook user, please “Like” us and as you are so inclined, please leave a comment from time to time.  If you use Twitter, please “Follow Us” ad if one of our tweets is interesting to you, please retweet it to your followers.  As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

posted by Mike in Company News and have No Comments

July Edition of the Victory Gardener’s Almanack

The Victory Gardener’s
Almanacfor the month of July


Here in the United States, in the whole Northern Hemisphere actually, we have hit the peak gardening month. This is the time of the year when we are reaping the rewards of our Winter and Spring work. Some crops are peaking, some are done and ready to be removed to make room for planting your Fall garden.

In the Vegetable Garden

  • Plan and plant for a Fall harvest:
    • Plant your broccoli ten weeks before your first frost date. Because you are planting the seedlings while the summer days are still hot, mulch them to help retain moisture and to keep the soil cool.
    • Brussels sprouts are great for your Fall garden. The flavors are actually enhanced when harvested in the cooler weather. Start seeds in June and set plants out this month.
    • Start your cabbage and cauliflower plants six to eight weeks before your first frost date and transplant them into the garden after they have a couple sets of leaves. Like broccoli, they will need protection from the heat and sun and they need rich, fertile soil.
    • Sow turnips in the early part of the month to follow an early crop that is done.
    • Rutabagas, or Swedes, need to be sown twelve weeks before your first frost date. Plant in fine, loose soils and keep it moist. This allows the globes to form properly and prevent forking.
    • Mustard, radish, kohlrabi, spinach and lettuce can all be sown as close as four to six weeks before your first frost date. Just pay attention to the particular variety’s requirements.
    • It is not too late in most areas to sow a crop of shorter seasoned beans to be enjoyed as snap or green beans this fall.
  • When planting seeds in the middle of summer, remember that you may need to plant a bit deeper than normal since the surface layer of soil will dry out quickly.
  • Harvesting and processing of beans, carrots and cabbage is done now while a bit on the young side.
  • Side dressing heavy feeding plants like squash can be done by working well composted steer manure or compost.
  • While watering, use the time to inspect plants and remove any unwanted insects or egg clusters.
  • Where tomatoes are subject to sun-scald, pick the fruit as they first start to turn color and let them finish ripening indoors. Click here for more information about tomato problems and disease.

In the Flower Garden

  • Bachelor buttons can be helped to bloom a second time by removing about six inches from the tops of the plants and fed a manure tea. Delphiniums can also be encouraged in a similar way by first removing the old flower stalk.
  • Sowing fresh delphiniums and Hollyhock seeds now will give best germination results and provide nice plants for next year.
  • Planting columbine from seed can be done by pressing into the soil so that they are no more than 1/8″ deep. The seeds often take up to 4 weeks to germinate.
  • Transplant irises now by taking divisions from the newer or outside growth and immediately planting in the new location by covering the rhizomes with 1 to 2 inches of soil.
  • Cuttings of plants that will need to winter over in the house or greenhouse should be done now. Root clippings of geraniums, begonias, coleus, etc. in moist sand.
  • Roses should be thoroughly soaked once a week or as needed in very hot weather. Mulching is very beneficial.
  • Prune roses as soon as they are finished blooming.
  • Many biennial and perennial flower seeds do well if sown in the first part of the month.
  • Rock gardens require about as much watering during this time as any other part of the garden.

Trees & Shrubs

  • Lawns do better if allowed to remain at least 1-1/2″ tall. They will stay greener, resist weeds becoming established, and remain greener.
  • Remove suckers from any grafted shrubs or trees immediately as they appear.
  • Keep an eye out for marauding birds that can strip blueberry bushes, cherry trees and other berry plants. Mesh coverings, noisemakers, and reflective devices have varied levels of success.
  • The developing bunches of grapes can be protected by securing small paper sacks over them.

Note: This almanac page should be used as a general guideline of common garden tasks. You should modify the list based on your specific geographic area. For a very useful tool to aide in planning your garden, click here.

posted by Mike in Garden Almanac and have No Comments

Independance Day, Bean Trellising & YouTube

It has been a flurry of activity around here since my last update.  As you can probably see in our various FieldCams, the hay has been baled and is presently stacked and awaiting pick-up.  Since we did get a good application of chicken manure spread this past fall, we got about a 70% increase in weight of hay produced this season over last.

The Fourth of July weekend was nice.  I hope that you had a good one.  Ours always starts in the morning with heading into Molalla for the annual parade.  It is a family tradition.  It is the typical rural, small town event that you see represented in movies.  Local businesses and organizations enter floats.  Rodeo princesses on horseback.  Clowns on motorcycles.  Marching bands.  A group of bagpipers.  Politicians.  Several firetrucks and police vehicles from local communities.  American flags everywhere and candy thrown to the kids.  Fun :)   And the weather was perfect this year.  Although we took the day off from work, we did do yard work preparing for our evening barbecue.

We have been spending most of the time outside watering, weeding and trellising tomatoes and beans.  In regards to the beans, we made a great discovery over the winter of a new method for stringing up pole beans.  My friend David Pendergrass of New Hope Seed sent me a link to a YouTube video made by a fellow name the “webcajun.”  He showed how he used horticultural netting (aka crop netting) as the support for his beans.  It was a revelation and changed our garden plans.

Post, Wire and Sisal Twine Bean Trellis Method

Post, Wire and Sisal Twine Bean Trellis Method

It is basically the same structure that we have always used (as shown in the old picture above) – poles with supporting horizontal wires – but this promised to be inexpensive and more importantly, significantly less time consuming.  Instead of manually weaving sisal twine up and down to form the vertical supports, horticultural netting to unrolled and fastened to the support structure.  What use to take us hours and even days, took us minutes.  If you are interested, we documented the task and published it as an educational video at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZzMrFjSVkA.

Posts, Rope, Crop Netting Bean Trellis System

Posts, Rope, Crop Netting Bean Trellis System

On the subject of videos and YouTube, we finally got our YouTube Channel set up.  It is located at http://www.youtube.com/VictorySeeds/.

Please let folks know about it, subscribe to get notices of when we post new videos, and click on the like buttons if you find the videos helpful.  When you do these things, you are actively participating in our seed variety preservation work.  We have never had an advertising budget and have always relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and free exposure like YouTube.  Thank you!

posted by Mike in Company News,Farm News,Gardening Tips and have Comment (1)


Click for Heirloom Tomato Seed Selection Save Seeds - Victory Horticultural Library matersearch.com - online tomato resources