Victory Seed Company News

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

First Spring-like Day on the Farm

It was a gorgeous day here on the farm.  I got as much office work as needed to be done and got outside. Yesterday I had started working on cleaning up our blackberry patch so I set out to finishing that job.

Starting the Job

Starting the Job

It can be an overwhelming task by oneself.  When neglected for several months, the vines become entangled, overgrown, extremely long and generally unwieldy.  Ideally, this task is done in the fall after fruiting is done.  When you are finished harvesting, the old (two year old) canes should be then cut out and the new growth trained up on your trellis.  It is much easier when done at this correct time.  However, for me, I am busy with seed harvest.

A Tangled Mess

Others have helped me with this task over the years but the only one that I could really work well with is my son.  He understands what needs to be done and so his help is actually help.  The task becomes a team effort.  Others cause me frustration and so, since John is off at college, I did it alone.

Old Vines Gone - New Strung Up

Old Vines Gone - New Strung Up

That is o.k.  It was beautiful outside and I was happy to be at work on a task that will provide me gallons and gallons of awesomely good berries.  Along with getting the old vines cleaned out and the new ones trained up, I got the Troybilt fired up, tilled, gave them all a shot of fish fertilizer, fired up the tractor and hauled and spread mulch.  I am hoping that the mulch will help keep the weeds controlled better or at least make them easier to pull.

All Done

Got It Done In Time for Supper

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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

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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.

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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.

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