Victory Seed Company News

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

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

This is just a quick blog entry to answer a very common question that we are asked . . . How do I save tomato seeds?   This really is a two part question that I answer with a qualifying Q & A followed by a description of the process that I use.

Firstly you need to decide if the tomato that you have in hand is actually worth saving.  If is it just some anonymous, generic tomato from the supermarket, it is likely a hybrid and unless it was super spectacular and you have about a decade of growing seasons to stabilize its genetics, it is probably a smarter use of your time to pass on saving its seeds.  Spend two bucks for a pack of seeds for next season.

If, on the other hand, the tomato is an older variety, an open-pollinated family heirloom-type and grown in relative isolation, then definitely go for it.  Saving seeds is what we are all about and I highly encourage folks to make the practice a routine to their gardening cycle.  Remember, saving seeds = freedom!

Hopefully you noticed that I included a reference to isolation in the previous paragraph.  Although there are folks out there that will tell you that since tomatoes have “perfect flowers” and that they don’t cross, as someone with experience in this area, I can assure you that they do.

There are many reasons tomatoes can cross, and yes I will agree that the instance is relatively low, but they still cross.  It is my opinion that if you are going to save seeds, you should strive for accuracy and therefore, do all that you can to replicate varieties true-to-type.   In the case of tomatoes, try and isolate varieties from each other by 15 to 20 feet with tall and / or flowering plants in between them.

O.k. – We got all of that out of the way and you have in your possession some tomatoes that you really like and that you want to grow in a future garden.  Saving tomato seed is not super difficult, and some folks simply squeeze some seeds out onto a paper towel, dry them down, and plant seeds with bits of paper and all.  But if you want the highest quality, professional grade seed for your personal seed bank, I would recommend making the effort to perform the fermentation process that I describe in detail on our informational website at http://www.vintageveggies.com/information/seedsave_tomato.html.  I just updated it today, cleaned up some of the wording and added large photos to make the process clearer.  Good luck!

Saving Tomato Seeds

Saving Tomato Seeds

posted by Mike in Gardening Tips and have No Comments

Middle of August? Already?

Hello everyone.  Thank you for all of you who have recently “Liked” us on Facebook and are following us on Twitter.  Things are busy around here so I apologize for not staying in touch with updates.  I will try and do better.  This will  be just a quick update.

Where is the time going?  Summer is winding down fast!  It really hit home when we started talking about schedules here on the farm yesterday.  Some of our summer helpers are preparing to head off on family vacations and shortly after that heading back to school.  I am starting to stress a bit thinking about all of the harvest work that lies ahead plus I still have a pile of unfinished projects that need to be finished (or started).  It will all work out :)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are having one of the mildest summers that I can remember.  Whereas many folks in the country are suffering 100F+ temperatures, we have had cool nights and pleasant days.  This weekend the highs are forecast to reach the high-80s or possibly even hit the first 90 degree day of the year.  Not only has this weather meant that we have had great working conditions outside, the garden is growing great.

Stupice tomaotes on the Vine

Stupice tomatoes on the Vine

We have even gotten enough ripe fruit on one variety of tomato, ‘Stupice‘, to start harvesting seed.  Stupice, pronounced “stu-peek-a,” is always a good and early producer here on the farm.

That is the latest from the farm.  I hope that all is well in your garden.

Mike

 

posted by Mike in Farm News and have No Comments

Independance Day, Bean Trellising & YouTube

It has been a flurry of activity around here since my last update.  As you can probably see in our various FieldCams, the hay has been baled and is presently stacked and awaiting pick-up.  Since we did get a good application of chicken manure spread this past fall, we got about a 70% increase in weight of hay produced this season over last.

The Fourth of July weekend was nice.  I hope that you had a good one.  Ours always starts in the morning with heading into Molalla for the annual parade.  It is a family tradition.  It is the typical rural, small town event that you see represented in movies.  Local businesses and organizations enter floats.  Rodeo princesses on horseback.  Clowns on motorcycles.  Marching bands.  A group of bagpipers.  Politicians.  Several firetrucks and police vehicles from local communities.  American flags everywhere and candy thrown to the kids.  Fun :)   And the weather was perfect this year.  Although we took the day off from work, we did do yard work preparing for our evening barbecue.

We have been spending most of the time outside watering, weeding and trellising tomatoes and beans.  In regards to the beans, we made a great discovery over the winter of a new method for stringing up pole beans.  My friend David Pendergrass of New Hope Seed sent me a link to a YouTube video made by a fellow name the “webcajun.”  He showed how he used horticultural netting (aka crop netting) as the support for his beans.  It was a revelation and changed our garden plans.

Post, Wire and Sisal Twine Bean Trellis Method

Post, Wire and Sisal Twine Bean Trellis Method

It is basically the same structure that we have always used (as shown in the old picture above) – poles with supporting horizontal wires – but this promised to be inexpensive and more importantly, significantly less time consuming.  Instead of manually weaving sisal twine up and down to form the vertical supports, horticultural netting to unrolled and fastened to the support structure.  What use to take us hours and even days, took us minutes.  If you are interested, we documented the task and published it as an educational video at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZzMrFjSVkA.

Posts, Rope, Crop Netting Bean Trellis System

Posts, Rope, Crop Netting Bean Trellis System

On the subject of videos and YouTube, we finally got our YouTube Channel set up.  It is located at http://www.youtube.com/VictorySeeds/.

Please let folks know about it, subscribe to get notices of when we post new videos, and click on the like buttons if you find the videos helpful.  When you do these things, you are actively participating in our seed variety preservation work.  We have never had an advertising budget and have always relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and free exposure like YouTube.  Thank you!

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

Weekend Update

Just another quick update.  Last week the emphasis was on planting, watering and maintenance tasks.  Most things are in and we are late this year.  We had to adjust some planting schedules but we should be o.k. unless Mother Nature throws an early freeze this fall.

John spent Wednesday and Thursday setting posts for various trellis systems.  The majority of the posts are to accommodate the tomatoes.  The taller posts are for the pole beans and pea varieties.

Posts Set - 06/26/11

Posts Set - 06/26/11

This coming week, we will be working on the actual trellis installs.  We primarily use the “Florida Weave” method for tomatoes and are experimenting with a new method for pole beans.  More on that in a future blog post.

As we are approaching the month of July, make sure that you are signed up for our newsletter.  It will be sent out late this week.  If you are not yet signed up, click here to join our list.

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Part of the reason we do what we do is to encourage and promote healthy living.  I ran across the following article that I thought was interesting.  Proof that gardening not only provides us with healthy food, but also is an activity that provides healthy exercise.

Reap the Benefits of Gardening:  Burn Serious Calories and Prevent Cancer” by The American Institute of Cancer Research:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=453

By the way, if you have never heard of SparkPeople.com, check it out.  It is an awesome (and free) community for helping people learn about, monitor, and maintain health.  There are some really cool tools on there.

I have no connection with them other than I found them in January while looking for a tool to keep track of my caloric intake.  Their food tracker is accessible from both the web site as well as an app loaded on my smartphone.

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


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