Dunton Family Farm News

What's Happening Around the Farm as well as a Soapbox for head farmer, Mike Dunton

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

May Edition of the Victory Gardener’s Almanack

The Victory Gardener’s
for the month of May

May is the month when most of us all head into our main gardening season.  It is during this month that most vegetables can be planted.

In the Vegetable Garden

  • Set out tomato plants when evening temperatures stay above 50 degrees F.
  • Melons should be planted as soon as all danger of frost is past.  Plant extra seeds in the hill and cull as necessary.
  • Sow tender plants like lima beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, and squash after all danger of frost is past.
  • Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts can also be planted now.
  • Succession crops of radishes, lettuce and other greens can be planted for longer harvest times.
  • Every couple of days, loosen up the crust on  cucumber squash, and  melons to help the seedlings to emerge and to help prevent dampening off.
  • Rhubarb plants can use a heavy dose of composted manure.  spread around the plants and dig in well.
  • Eggplants and peppers can be set out later in the month in the North and earlier in the South.
  • Consider New Zealand Spinach as an alternative or adjunct to standard spinach.  It  does great in warmer climates and is a perennial in climates with milder winters.
  • If you are a beginning gardener, don’t just plant bush beans.  It is not much more difficult to cultivate pole-type or climbers and you will be rewarded with longer harvest periods and greater amounts for the same garden space.  Check out our trellising ideas on our Bean Page.
  • Witloof chicory can be planted early this month.  They will provide roots that can be used in the cellar for forcing in the Winter as a crop of ‘Belgium’ or ‘White’ Endive.
  • If frost threatens, cover tender plants with straw, buckets, or old blankets.  Make sure not to crush the plants.
  • Don’t forget to include kitchen herbs like thyme, parsley, sage, and mints.

In the Flower Garden

  • Nearly all varieties of flower seeds may be sown in the garden at this time.
  • Plants received by mail should be allowed to soak in water for several minutes and planted as soon as possible.
  • Shasta Daisies, Forget-Me-Nots and other “clumping” plants can be divided.
  • Dahlias should be divided and planted now.
  • Plant annuals in between your waning tulip and daffodil bulbs.
  • Do not remove daffodil foliage until after it yellows and begins to brown.
  • Before your sweet peas fall over, make sure that you have provide some form of support.

Trees & Shrubs

  • Now is the time to train evergreen shrubs like arbor viatae, hemlock, spruce and yew into shapes.
  • Mulch blueberry plants heavily with sawdust.  Douglas fir works excellent.
  • Mulching newly planted shrubs and trees with grass clippings, leaves, or peat to conserve moisture.  Newly planted roses, perennials, and fruit trees will also benefit from this practice.

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

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