Dunton Family Farm News

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

Quick Update . . . And Big News

Just a quick farm update . . . We went from freezing weather to summer temps in three days.  It has been a nice week.  Plants in the greenhouses are a little on the small side but getting close to being ready to set out.  Ground is tilled.  May start planting by the weekend.

This year planting will be without the help of our son John – the first time since he was a young boy.  He is off at college finishing up his senior year, preparing to graduate in a few weeks, and getting married towards the end of summer.  He is planning on coming back to work here with new knowledge, some different work experiences, and (hopefully :) ) enthusiasm.

Today, after wrapping up office and order fulfillment related tasks, I got outside and worked on brush mowing around the trees along the perimeter.  With that accomplished, I turned my focus towards putting the finishing touches on the drip irrigation system.  Last year, we recruited the help of a young cousin to basically work all summer hand watering the recently planted trees to keep them alive.  This summer she wants to start helping with the seed crop work.  Hence the irrigation system.  Hopefully I have it figured correctly and the survival rate of this year’s planting will be high.

Visit us at booth 908

If you are an longtime supporter and have followed along with what goes on around here, you know that we have basically relied on your word-of-mouth recommendations as our primary form of  “advertising.”  With little in the budget for outreach, you telling your friends and neighbors about us, mentioning us in your blog or Facebook posts, or even writing the gardening editors of your local newspaper is still very important to us – and we greatly appreciate your efforts at promoting us.

But we are going to try something new (for us anyway) . . . this is the “big news” mentioned in the header above (yes, John graduating, getting married, and coming to work full-time here is pretty big too :) ).  We have decided to exhibit at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington on June 2-3.   This event is just too close to home to not be a part of it.

The Fair is not a garden show.  Like Mother Earth News magazine’s content, this is shaping up to be a very cool mix of sustainable lifestyle related information.  There are tons of workshops, lectures and exhibitors.  I am getting excited (and a bit anxious) thinking about it.

You can learn more about what is being offered by clicking on the picture or by visiting the main web site at www.motherearthnewsfair.com.  If you are planning on attending, do stop by booth 908 and say hello.  If you have not already purchased your tickets, I have a small supply of $10-off coupons.  Email me if you are interested in a coupon . . . I will be sending them out on a first come, first served basis until the supply is exhausted.

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

Spring Has Sprung?

The calendar tells us that spring started about two weeks ago.  I wish someone would tell that to the guy in charge of the weather!  It is just so wet here that is the continual rain stopped here, it would take a few weeks to dry out enough to work the soil.  I take daily walks out to our growing are and there is really no point.  The ground is so wet that there is standing water all over.  Not just in our bottom fields.  And looking at the extended forecast, it appears that we have another very wet week in front of us.

In spite of the weather, we have to move along and keep preparing for the inevitable season change.  As mentioned in a post last week, we got the majority of our tomato seeds sown last weekend when John was on Spring Break from college.  They are doing well which means that later this week, I need to clean out a year’s worth of “stuff” that has accumulated in the potting shed, get the greenhouse all set up and order potting material.  I expect that I will need to start potting up plants early next week.

The other night I blogged about our old hens.  Although we have never been big meat eaters, more than a decade ago when we stopped eating meat, we still kept our flock.  We have never raised them as meat birds since they pretty much become pets.  (We do eat chicken but not ones we raise – goofy, I know.) Our hens are kept for their eggs and for the enjoyment they bring just watching them.  I personally find them fascinating to watch.  I just cannot imagine a farm without chickens.

Anyway, another spring related event took place yesterday.  We got the poultry accoutrements dug out from the shed and got them setup.  Denise went and picked up a batch of chicks and they are peeping and cheaping, contently snuggling under the heat lamp and doing what chickens all do best . . .

New Chicks - Spring 2011

New Chicks - Spring 2011

posted by Mike in Farm News and have No Comments

Spring Tomato Sowing Begins

I am just trying to get a feel for how much (or how little) to blog about.   I don’t want to be underwhelming or the opposite.  With many decades of experience under my belt, I know that I cannot make everyone happy all of the time, but it is am my nature to try.  I am continually looking for balance in all things.

I suppose I will just write this as if it were a personal journal of the events and occurrences happening here on the farm and at the Victory Seed Company.  I suppose a little personal life is bound to creep in . . . since our seed preservation, historical research, farming and family are all completely intertwined and inseparable, it is unavoidable.  So, if the post happens to hit some chord within you, keep reading.  If it seems boring or irrelevant to your interests, hit the back button on your browser. No harm, no foul.


John has been home from college this week for Spring Break.  It has been nice to see him and to get his help on various little projects around the place.  Today he and little sis worked on getting our tomato seeds sown.  This is about two weeks earlier than I like to get started but it is the only chance I will have the help.

Earlier this week, he and I decided that we (well I will since he will be back at school) would open up about 1/3 as much land, converting it from hay production to growing space.  This will allow us space to increase both the quantity and number of varieties we can grow this year.  Like ever decision we make in life, there are consequences.  In this particular case, it means that I am over capacity in our current greenhouse and need a bigger space.

Last night I was chatting with a buddy of mine, David Pendergrass (owner of New Hope Seed), describing the situation, and he sent me a link to a greenhouse company in my backyard.  So I will contact them next week and see if there is a chance of getting a new structure installed here in the next couple of weeks.  If it works out, this may be the stepping stone necessary to fulfill we are always getting from our local customers – a place to come and purchase tomato and other plant starts.  Don’t get too excited, this won’t happen in time for this spring’s planting, but perhaps we will be ready for next year.

posted by Mike in Farm News and have No Comments

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