Victory Seed Company News

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

Archive for April, 2012

Trees and Earth Day 2012 Here on the Farm

Happy belated Earth Day!  (I wonder how long until we see greeting cards stating this?)  Although I am a fan of the concept and message behind Earth Day, I do not actively participate in a collective or “sanctioned” event.  I guess I have a different philosophy about this subject.

Q:  What is Earth Day?

A:   Wow, have you lived under a rock since the late 1960s? Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment.

In the hectic, busy schedules that most people in our society live with, I suppose that a lot of folks need special days set aside to remind them of important events.  A day in February to remind us what we love someone.  A day in May to remember our Mother’s and later in the month to remember those that have passed on.  A day in July that reminds us that we are part of a great nation.  A day in November to be thankful and to give to charities that feed a turkey dinner to folks less fortunate than ourselves.  You get the idea.  There are “reminder days” happening all the time.

But I try and “live” with these ideas.  People you love should know it daily.  You should remember your mother and loved ones daily.  Charities need support every day and not just at the end of the year.  And to me, everyday should be Earth Day.  That is, we should live our lives aware of how we are personally affecting the world around us.

One popular Earth Day event is to plant trees.  If you happen to be someone following the goings on around the Victory Seed Company and the farm, you already know that we have been planting trees since we moved here back in 1988.  We started close in to the house with fruit trees, shade and other ornamental plantings.  Then started working on the woodlot on the hillside for erosion control and a visual barrier and finally, some years back, we started working on the hedgerows and barriers around the perimeter of the whole farm.

To modern corporate farmers, planting dense stands of trees is probably counter-intuitive.  It takes up land that can be farmed and creates shade.  To me however, it is a logical decision.  Aside from their biological function of scrubbing the air, trees are aesthetically appealing, provide habitat and for our seed producing activities, create a barrier to potential pollen and chemical drift from neighboring farms.

In the following picture for example, you can see how stark the property line was last year about this time.

Fence line on 4/20/11

This was what the fence line looked like last year - 4/20/11

We found a “deal” with a local nurseryman and had fifty large ‘Austrian Pine’ trees planted.  They were in the eight to ten foot tall range and the visual change was immediate.  We followed that by planting another 100 smaller, two foot tall, ‘Austrian Pines’ that we ordered from a wholesale nursery.  Even though these were all good deals, for fiscal reasons, we cannot do all of the perimeter planting at once.  The work continues to happen in phases as we can afford it.

Last month we started the next phase which was to plant another row of large conifers, staggered on the row planted last spring.  We were able to find very large (12 to 20 foot!) trees.  All are conifers but we got a mix of four kinds of cedars and a cypress.  The thought is that these will be more tolerant of the extremely wet conditions in some of the areas around the perimeter.

And again, the visual change was drastic (in an awesome way :) )  The following photograph was taken from the same angle as the previous picture to show the difference that a year can make.

The change in one year.

The change in one year and two different plantings.

Even though I probably will not see all of these plantings mature in my lifetime, someone will enjoy them and benefit from my efforts.

If there is anything for folks to get out of “reminder days” like Earth Day, it is that although our individual lives on this planet short, our impact continues long after we depart.  And the decisions that we make, the goals that we sets and our accomplishments do not end when we step out of time.

~Mike

posted by Mike in Farm News and have Comments (2)


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