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Fruition Garden Journal

video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long

Fruition's Guide to Companion Planting

Apr 26, 2018

Companion Planting

Tomatoes love basil.

Kale loves dill.

Is it really that simple?

Yes and no.

Companion planting is the art of planting your garden so everything will thrive in their neighbor's company.

Here is the bottom line: diversity is essential for a healthy, gorgeous garden.

And the more the merrier: more species, more varieties, more flowers, more insects, more joy.

Our insectary mix, full of diversity delicious for countless species.

What makes a good companion plant? Here are the three characteristics I consider when pairing companion plants, followed by my four go-to companion plants for any garden.

Three Kinds of Companions

1. Height + Light

Tall plants can act as a living trellis for climbing crops. For example, pole beans grow marvelously up sunflowers and corn.

Lettuce and other leaf crops thrive in the shade of taller plants in summer.

Tall crops often create shade in your garden, as well. Limit the shade they make by planting tall crops north/south...

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Mmmmmm! 5 Keys to Eating Greens Before Memorial Day

Apr 20, 2018

Mmmmmmm!

5 Keys to Eating Greens Before Memorial Day

Traditional wisdom sends us to our garden Memorial Day weekend.  And for good reason: the soil is finally warm, it is marvelous to not wear socks and all the quintessential summer crops (tomatoes, basil, beans) can be planted with confidence knowing there will (likely) not be another frost 'til fall. 

Certainly, Memorial Day is a great time to start your garden but friends, there’s no need to wait. Especially if you love salad as much as Davi and I do :)

With the right seeds, the right tools and the right timing, you can be eating greens six weeks or more before Memorial Day, even in our short seasons here in the Finger Lakes. 

Yes, even when it's still snowing on April 19th, as it is today :)

Here are my five ways to make sure you're eating salad before Memorial Day. 

1. Sow in fall 

When does nature sow her seeds? 

In the fall!

Much more on this as autumn approaches :)

In the meantime,...

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Fruition's Spring Giveaway!

Apr 14, 2018
 

Fruition's Spring Giveaway!

Want to set yourself up for an abundant season ahead? Join our Giveaway!

We've teamed up with Neptune's Harvest to give you one quart of organic fish and kelp emulsion, four pounds of organic crab & lobster meal, one Neptune's Harvest hat and bumper sticker plus 12 months of Flourish Garden Club.

That's over $150 value! See full details at the bottom of our post.

In the meantime, let's talk soil building :)

3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Garden Fertility This Spring

So much depends on the seeds you sow. And when you sow them. And how. 

If you nail these things but plant into poor soil, you still won't be successful. 

Here are three of the best amendments you can add to build soil fertility in your garden:

Organic Compost is magic. It is the work of untold billions of organisms, mostly microscopic, turning proverbial trash into treasure. How to compost well is a whole other subject, but here is the bottom-line: if your compost...

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6 Seeds to Sow in Early April

Apr 06, 2018
 

Here in the Finger Lakes of New York, Zone 5a, we're filling our greenhouse with the seeds of crops best sown 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. Exploring last frost dates is a blog coming soon! In the meantime, we aim for Memorial Day as our frost-free date. 

What are we sowing this week?

Enjoy the tutorial above, breaking it all down!

Here is the laundry list, with notes:

1) Alliums

Though onions & shallots (like Cuisse du Poulet below) were ideally started 4 to 6 weeks ago, there is no time like the present and last call! Leeks and scallions are not day-length sensitive, so sow them anytime now through mid-July. We'll be planting them out early/mid May.

2) Solanids

Now is the perfect time to start pepperseggplant and tomatoes (like Brandywise below). Other varieties in the solanid family to start indoors include ground cherries and tomatillos, but hold off on them til mid-April: they are a lot more vigorous and will easily...

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My Favorite Tomatoes & Starting from Seed

Apr 02, 2018

My Favorite Tomatoes & Starting from Seed

Tomatoes are quintessential summer. Whether it's fresh salsa from the garden, a satisfying slice on a sandwich or dropping wedges onto the top of a frittata just as it enters the oven, tomatoes are one of the simplest ways to make me smile in any season.

Here are a few of my favorites: 

Chiapas is always the first and last tomato we harvest. Super early, super productive and super disease resistant, it's also super delicious.

Honey Drop ripens right after Chiapas & is lusciously sweet, similar to Sungold in both flavor and size. The biggest difference? Sungold is an F1 Hybrid owned by a multinational corporation while Honey Drop is open-pollinated (so its saved seed will grow true to type) and is owned by no one, so we all have access and will for generations. 

Gold Medal has remained one my favorite tomatoes for decades. It's massive! With flavor rich and fruity, it's cross-section is marbled red, orange and yellow....

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Come to Fruition! On-Farm Classes In April

Mar 30, 2018

Come to Fruition!

Organic Seeds & Gardening Classes this Spring

Come celebrate spring at Fruition Seeds’ farm store! You’ll find hundreds of varieties of organic seeds, each one selected to thrive in our short seasons. Find everything you need to start them and expect our organic transplants in May.  We share our passion and knowledge always, so bring all your garden quandaries, conundrums and dreams! We’re open each Saturday from 10 to 2 through June 5th at 7921 Hickory Bottom Road in Naples.

For years we’ve been asked for more personal and more seasonal garden insight from Fruition Seeds and friends, the answer is finally YES! Each Saturday in April & May I’ll share my passion and expertise with you with hands-on classes at Fruition Seeds. Each 90 minute class costs $20 and includes a PDF of Petra’s eBook, Rise & Shine: Starting Seeds with Ease plus a packet or transplant of your choice as well as a complimentary month of...

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Want Fewer Mosquitoes in Your Garden?

Mar 21, 2018
 

Want Less Mosquitoes in Your Garden?

Growing up in my father's garden, I learned to love bats as much as grow lettuce, sing songs and save seeds. 

Bats play an astonishing role in our world. We would not enjoy mango, banana, chocolate or tequila (from agave) were it not for millions of bats pollinating them each night. Keystone species in nearly every ecosystem, the 1,200+ species of bat account for nearly 20% of mammals on earth. Even if you aren't cultivating guavas in your garden, there are so many reasons to welcome them.

 

Why Bats in Your Garden?

-Bats eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes per hour, often consuming their weight in insects overnight

-Bats also eat Cucumber Beetles, the primary vectors of bacterial wilt.

-Bat guano (dung) is rich, well-balanced fertilizer for your garden. Did you know guano was Texas's largest mineral export before oil? 

-Watching bats fly above the garden at twilight always takes my breath away. They are incredible acrobats (teehee),...

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When to Plant What? Timing is Everything.

Mar 15, 2018
 

Hooray!

We've officially made it through to the other side of the Persephone Period!

Enjoy my video for the full story :)

Beyond Greek goddesses rejoicing, this means it's almost time to start sowing seeds beyond onion, shallot & leek...

...but if you're with us here in the Northeast, still hold back.

When you're planting seeds, timing is everything.

So What's Next?

Here is one chart from my ebook, Rise & Shine: Starting Seeds with Ease, that will help plan when to sow seeds direct in your garden this season:

Here is another chart from Rise & Shine: Starting Seeds with Ease, that will help plan when to start and tranplant your seedlings this season:

Last week at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Stephanie asked if I would sign a printed copy of Rise & Shine.

My jaw fell quite wide.

Friends, I sometimes forget that more than offering seeds, and deeper than building skills, I am sharing inspiration. Confidence. Transformation. Gratitude. Abundance, in...

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Why I Love Sunflowers & Slowing Down

Mar 09, 2018

Evening Colors sunflower is a heavenly mix of autumnal hues with long, strong stems perfect for cutting.

My favorite moment of Evening Colors last summer was watching a family of song sparrows navigate their branches, foraging and feasting on the soft, invertebrate bodies of caterpillars also having lunch among the blossoms. The mother (I confess a presumption) was only slightly larger than her children by July but her calm, exacting movements clearly demonstrated her honed skills, deftly capturing and whacking one insect after another as her protégés fumbled along after her. She would patiently offer her quarry to them, letting them squirm as their caterpillars squirmed, letting them learn, slowly, the quick grace of slipping an insect straight down a throat.

I’m sure I did very important things that day.

Critical things, even.

That dance of life and death, of learning and becoming, those breathless moments among the blossoms: that is all I remember, all...

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How Long Do Seeds Last? Best Practices & A Story

Mar 02, 2018
 

The red-winged blackbirds have returned and we just got eighteen inches of snow!  

Before I sat down with a cup of chaga tea to write you this morning, here is what we did at dawn:

 

How Long Do Seeds Last?

Friends, I've been asked a lot recently:

"Is it worth planting these seeds I didn't sow last season?"

The answer is yes. Mostly.

Here's the thing: most seeds will last three to five years kept dry and stable, relatively low temperatures. A kitchen cupboard or desk drawer are perfect places for seeds. So planting seed from the year or two prior is perfect. 

The only exception: anything in the allium family (onion, leek, scallion, chive, shallot) and parsnip. Their seed coat is thin and fragile, so they readily oxidize and lose their germination. These are the only seeds to purchase each year. If you do have extra from years past, sow them more densely than you would if their germination was optimal. 

Many seeds are delicious as seedlings...

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