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Fruition Garden Journal

stories, tutorials, tried-and-true tips and our latest learnings to keep you up-to-date, inspired and surrounded by abundance in each season

4 Reasons You Want Lacewings in Your Garden (#2 May Surprise You!)

 

Friends, I garden not only for the beauty and abundance,  not just for the smell of fresh lavender or the satisfaction of good, hard work.

I garden to be in awe of the world.

Today, lacewings are the embodiment of such awe for me.

What is a lacewing?

Chrysopa carnea is one of our finest beneficial insects native to the Northeast, very likely the most voracious insect in your garden. For breakfast, lunch and dinner they dine on your aphids, thrips and cabbage looper caterpillars. 

Here are four reasons you want lacewings in your garden:

1. An Unmistakable Appetite for Aphids

Adult lacewings are darling with their sweet lime green bodies, sparkling gold compound eyes and dramatic, sweeping wings like exquisite, translucent stained glass. Adult lacewings feed on nectar, pollen and the honeydew of aphids, like ants.  

Lacewing adults are gorgeous as well as nocturnal, so they're rare to see. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Their larvae, by contrast, are...

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When to Harvest Garlic

 

We've cultivated garlic as a species for six thousand years...

...so when you find yourself wondering when is the perfect moment to harvest your garlic, know you are not the first person to wonder this.

In truth, the 'perfect moment' is up to a week and sometimes more, depending on the weather.

Here in the Northeast, mid-July, that 'moment' is just about...now :)

Here is the one consideration to look for, demystifying the predicament:

It's All in the Leaves

Wait for at least two or three bottom leaves to turn brown before you harvest your garlic.

Each of the leaves above ground have a corresponding 'wrapper' around each bulb, becoming papery when cured. Once one third to one half of the leaves are brown and brittle, you have strong bulb wrappers awaiting you and your garlic is truly ready to harvest.

Nutrient deficiency or nearing maturity? If your leaves are fully brown, from tip to stalk and it's July, your garlic is almost ready to harvest.

Yellowing, brown...

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Successful Succession Sowing in July

 

Our gardens are a lush jungle in the hot, hot sun as baby birds learn to fly across the fields and our dogs find respite under zucchini leaf umbrellas. 

As we harvest heads of lettuce, rows of beets, pull out peas and feed bolting cilantro to the chickens, we're sowing seeds so the abundance doesn't stop. Our season is short, so we've got to make the most of it! Succession sowing is the genius, seamless transition of one crop to the next, amplifying your abundance all season long.

In July, following our harvest of peas, carrots, beets, garlic and lettuce, here is what we are succession sowing, between dips in the pond:

1. Greens

You have so many options!

The good news: Greens don't require tons of fertility, so don't hesitate to plant lettuce where you just harvested lettuce.

The bad news: not all greens thrive in the heat, so be sure you're planting those that will. Nonetheless, options abound:

And here are our go-to July varieties, including our most...
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On Life, Death and Colorado Potato Beetles

Colorado Potato Beetles! Arrived on our farm in early June and now are in full swing. Friends, I beg you: Squish them while they’re small.

The adults, outrageously gorgeous (they’re in the scarab family, after all), consume about 10 square centimeters of potato leaf each day; their red-brown, pudgy progeny consume 40 square centimeters daily. Unchecked, Colorado Potato Beetles will defoliate your potatoes in a matter of days. 


And Friends, there is no finer way to control their populations than scouting for nickel-sized collections of bright orange eggs under leaves, their voracious larvae and escape-artist adults, squishing all you find. If you want to learn more and may enjoy seeing me cringe, here is a video tutorial about identifying them and what happens next.


We grow an acre of potatoes. We squish untold oceans of Colorado Potato Beetles. 

And Friends, it turns my stomach to turn my hands orange-brown with so much carnage. 


It turns my stomach so...

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The 2 Easiest Ways to Increase Your Garlic Harvest in June

 

Garlic is one of our favorite crops to grow. Delicious in every season and marvelously medicinal, garlic is also easy to grow. If I had to pick only a handful of crops to grow each season, garlic would always be one. Always.

The two most common reasons we harvest small bulbs are nutrient deficiency and weed pressure.

Here are easy ways to ensure you have abundant nutrients and manageable weeds to optimize your garlic harvest this season.

How to Best Fertilize Your Garlic

Garlic is a heavy feeder, requiring lots of nutrients to grow large and store long.

Here are the best times and ways to ensure your garlic has full access to abundant nutrients:

- Add rich fertility when you prepare your soil to plant in fall. We love to add mature compost, worm castings, Neptune's Harvest crab & lobster crumble.

- Mulch with deciduous leaves in fall, spring, or both. Just make sure you put them through a chipper/shredder first, especially in fall, so you don't inhibit the...

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5 Tips for Growing Great Beans (Plus Free Shipping!)

 

In my father's garden, beans were one of the first seeds I sowed on my own. Large and undaunted by imperfect planting depth, beans are also more tolerant than most of the imprecise spacing of tiny, eager fingers, as were mine. I'll always be grateful for my father, his garden, the bold ownership he gave me and those seeds that grew my love of seeds, food and community.

Haricot vert or French filet-style beans like 'Tavera' are my favorite. 

Mid-June is the perfect time to sow beans if you have not; if you have, its the perfect time to sow your next succession, to surround yourself with abundant harvests all season long. 

And Friends! Enjoy

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on 5 packs or more, including beans, use promo code "perfecttiming" now through Tuesday the 19th!

You'll find dozens of organic beans for short seasons here

As you plant beans this season, here are five tips to help you reap what you sow:

1. Direct Sow Only

Beans absolutely despise being...

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The Truth About Praying Mantis (May Surprise You)

 

As a child and to this day, praying mantis delight me instantly when I find them in the garden. Their unlikely and adept bodies, their incredible adaptations & their uncanny camouflage are absolutely astonishing. I'll stop what I'm doing, every time, to watch them for minutes on end, spellbound by their captivating grace.

Can you find the praying mantis on the sage, beside Queen Sophia marigold, in front of Pancho?

When we rhapsodize poetic about beneficial insects, the charismatic praying mantis is often celebrated alongside ladybugs, bees and butterflies.

Friends, I love praying mantis.

And let's be clear.

Far from a pest insect, praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) is nonetheless at the bottom of the list of 'beneficial insects' in your garden.

Here are the three essential things to know about praying mantis:

1. Praying mantis are generalists.

When it comes time to eat, praying mantis are generalists. They'll voraciously...

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6 Easy Seeds to Direct Sow in June (& How to Transplant, If You Must)

 

Once final frost has come and gone and the nights are consistently above 50 F, the soil is finally warm enough for the crops that thrive in the heat of summer. 

Some of them, like tomatoes and ground cherries, absolutely must be started 6 to 8 weeks prior to final frost to have any chance of surrounding you with abundance in short seasons.

Others, like basil and cosmos, will surround you with abundance whether you transplant or direct sow them.

Here, friends, are the crops whose fragile, sensitive root systems despise being transplanted. When direct-sown, they'll grow faster and fruit earlier, increasing your harvests significantly. (If you must transplant them, be sure to follow the tips on peat/cow pots and soil blocks at the bottom of the list.)

 

1. Cucurbits

A brush up on botanical Latin! The Cucurbit family classically sprawls and is slightly spiny, including everything from summer squash to winter squash, cantaloupe to cucumber. 

As you're...

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What We Just Learned About Final Frost (& Happy Memorial Day)!

 

Growing up in the Finger Lakes of New York, high elevation Zone 5, I have the mantra of "Memorial Day is Final Frost" deeply embedded in my brain. I am constantly questioning my assumptions about myself and the world around me; this year I was inspired to dig a little deeper into this maxim. 

Are historic frost dates still relevant?

potatoes are ideally planted three weeks before final frost

Pouring over decades of temperature records in our county from the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Association (which is totally free and fascinating, I highly recommend it!) from 1930 to present, here are my observations:

a) Our final frost dates have (surprisingly) remained fairly consistent, often occurring just before Memorial Day.

b) Even on years when final frost is weeks earlier than Memorial Day (like May 1st, 1970, which happens 2-3 times each decade), the night temps generally aren't out of the 40s consistently until around Memorial Day.

Which is all to say:

...

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5 Tips for Gorgeous Transplants

 

Happy Spring, Friends!

With Memorial Day just around the corner, it's finally time to tuck your transplants in the ground. Whether you're planting them in raised beds, a large garden or in a container on your deck, here are five tips to boost their health and, as a result, the beauty and abundance surrounding you this season.

We grow thousands of certified organic transplants for our farm store each spring.

First, know this: Healthy, unstressed transplants grow the greatest abundance. Healthy transplants are short and stout, deep green and not root bound. See the gallery at the bottom for pictures worth a thousand words.

Without further ado:

1. Hardening Off

Transplants, whether you grow them or buy them, are rather sensitive little beings.

Grown indoors with seed-starting soil mix and a roof over their heads, your transplants have lived their lives in conditions very different from those in your garden. They've never experienced gusting winds, falling rain, fluctuating...

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