Victory Seed Company News

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

Archive for October, 2011

Harvest Coming to an End

After a very crazy month or so, the weather folks are predicting our first hard freeze, a season ender, overnight tonight.  We have done very well with the harvest this year.  Considering how the weather was all summer, I certainly cannot complain.  But we are still rushing around today.  A couple of our school age cousins are coming after school and we will finish getting in everything that can’t freeze.  Mainly it is just squash and pumpkins that are still out in the field.

This is the time of year when all of the buildings are packed with seed waiting to be cleaned.  Once that is completed, they are germination tested and assuming all is well, packaged.  This is what we are in the midst of right now. We hope to be switched over to “Packed for 2012″ labeling by the middle of next month.

My Dad is spending most of his time these days shelling and cleaning beans.  His time is definitely appreciated as we would not be able to get them ready for sale for months and months without it.  He has done this for us for many years now and I think I about have him overwhelmed.

With the new tractor and tiller and the new trellising system, we planted about four times the row feet that we normally do.  My thought was that if we weren’t able to harvest all of the crop do to rain and temperatures at the end of the season (typical here), we would at least have one or two good pickings resulting in a decent inventory.  Well, with the mild summer, a crew of two people dedicated to weeding and watering all summer, and a hot end of summer in September, we got multiple pickings to the point that we were able to pick the vines and bushes clean!  Excellent :)   But, not for Dad.  He isn’t getting any younger and if I am going to keep increasing the size of our grow outs, I have to mechanize.  Now that I have a shop, I hope to experiment with various leaf shredder to thresher conversion designs.  Hopefully I can come up with one that shells the beans without damaging too many seeds.

Not a lot else new here . . . we are all in the harvest, seed cleaning, testing, packaging and otherwise preparing for the 2012 garden season.  I hope that you all are enjoying fall.  My lunchtime is done and it is back out to the fields for me.

posted by Mike in Farm News and have No Comments

Where Did September Go?!?!?

Is it just me or did September scream by super fast?  As I get older (and busier) time definitely seems to be accelerating.  The elders of my youth warned me of this phenomenon that I am now experiencing, but really?  Losing a month as if it was one long day?  And I am the type of person that does stop to appreciate a beautiful late season flower blooming or take a picture of an awesome cloud formation.   I want to do some study into the subject of the non-linearity of time . . . When I get some free time!  :)

Right now it is harvest time.  And a late one at that.  It seems that nature through all of us some interesting weather patterns this season.  This year there was a lot of rain and flooding in parts of the country, long periods of +100F temperatures and drought in other places, and here in the Pacific Northwest, we had a mild, pleasant summer.  Although it was nice conditions for the plants to thrive in, we didn’t get any temperatures over 90F until the first and second weeks of  September.  This means that our harvest has been shifted out by several weeks.

As of today, the weather patterns have shifted towards one typical for fall here – cool temperatures with precipitation.  Since we knew it was coming, we got our bush and pole beans harvested and safely under cover, same with our corn, and last nigh.  Today, while two crews (Denise, Melanie, Brittany and Hannah) are working on tomato seeds while John is picking for them, I am getting the ‘Envy’ soybeans harvested.

The soybeans are about 90% ready which means extra work.   Instead of just stripping pods off of plants, I am having to hand cut the plants off at the ground, strip any remaining leaves, load them onto tarps, haul them into buildings wherever I can find space, and get fans on them to finish the drying process.  Good news is that the milder summer was great for the legume crops.

In regards to tomatoes, it was great weather to grow large healthy plants.  Fruit production is also awesome.  Since temperatures never made it into the 90s during the growing part of the season, there was no blossom drop.  That said, we have only gotten ripe fruit and subsequently seed saved, from the early and mid-season varieties.  And those are being worked on now, October 1!  I am afraid that we will run out of season, that the rains will split and rot fruits before maturity or a frost will end the season.  But the optimist in me keeps planning for harvesting tomatoes in November :)

Well . . . lunchtime is over and I don’t hear rain on the roof anymore so it is back out to picking soybeans.  I hope that you all had a bountiful harvest!

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

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