Victory Seed Company News

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

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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

Quick Springtime Update

Although it is still cold and gray right now in these parts, the rain to sunshine balance is starting to tip in favor of sunshine.  Thus marks Spring in Oregon.

This also means that my personal office time to outdoors time balance is starting to shift.  We have already started mowing, getting equipment ready for tilling, and am watching the soil moisture for that first opportunity to start working it. Hopefully later this week. We started potting up tomato seedlings on Monday and then got a weather alert about the potential for temps down to 32F overnight.  These kind of events cause plans to be more dynamic that set in stone.  I got my old kerosene heater cleaned up, serviced and fueled up and before heading into the house for bed, lit it in the greenhouse.  The next morning, all of the transplants looked happy and enjoying the root space their new pots were providing.

Along with the typical spring tasks pertaining to actual farming activity, this time of year also marks the point on the calendar when major projects begin on the farm.  There is always some improvement or maintenance task that needs to be done around here.  This year I have an ambitious schedule planned.

As promised, this was just a quick update . . . more to follow . . .

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

The Last Post of 2012 (Probably)

2012 is winding down and I wanted to get one last blog post up here to prove that I haven’t forgotten how.  I have no way of filling in all that has been going on around here since my last update.  The summary is that we have been busy getting ready for the upcoming gardening season and all of the little details that it entails.  I have been working on finishing up getting the “New for 2013” varieties listed on the site.  We still have odds and ends to finish cleaning, testing and getting them ready.

Boston Marrow seeds drying.

Boston Marrow seeds drying.

Here is a snapshot of my day . . . I got to bed at 3:00 a.m., up at 8:00 and out to the office by 8:30.  John got here at 9:00 and worked on finishing up getting seeds collected out of our ‘Boston Marrow‘ squash harvest.  They look good so assuming that once they are dried, cleaned and test good, they will be another new variety for this season.

In between the normal daily tasks that interrupt a good workflow, I worked on cleaning up our mailing list.  Man, I had forgotten how tedious that job is. :)   It has been a couple of years since we mailed out a catalog so it took much of the day to finish a first pass.

Other little odds and ends that I got crammed into the day . . . . read through four “new” seed catalogs from 1929 that came in the mail today.  They included a Berry Seed, Maule’s, Earl May, and a Gurney.  I also received a 1944 “Vaughan’s Gardening Illustrated” which was an interesting edition for a couple of reasons.  Firstly it is a WWII Victory Gardening edition and secondly it contains a full page company history / biography / obituary / for Leonard Holden Vaughan.  For a seed geek like me, great information.  I will eventually get the information shared at SaveSeeds.org.

Old seed catalogs are not simply a diversion.  They are serious tools for researching the histories and pedigrees of the old varieties that we work to preserve and as a byproduct, I get to learn about the histories of the old seed companies as well.  Now for a plug – If you ever run across old seed catalogs while cleaning, please don’t throw them out.  Keep us in mind.

Let’s see . . . what else happened?!?!  While working on book keeping tasks, I like to multitask.  Today I listened to a documentary called “Farmageddon.”  If you are interested in the survival of the “real food,” organic, local food movement, I would recommend taking the time to watch it.

After everyone left for the day, I went out to lock up the gate and noticed that some fence wires were down.  Thankfully it wasn’t raining so I went for a walk up the property line.  As Murphy’s law would have it, I had to walk nearly to the far end of the farm before I found the break.  Got it patched up, headed in for supper with the family, visited for a while and on the way back out to the office, stoked up the furnace and then stopped at the cabin to water everything in germ test.  It is now midnight and I still have to get my part of the order fulfillment process done so the crew won’t be held up in the morning.  If I have time, I have a bunch of donations to get ready to send out.  I am going to try and get to bed before 3:00.  A day in the life :)

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


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