video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
Garlic scapes rise just before summer solstice here in Zone 5, the harbinger of high summer and abundance yet to come, and one of our favorite delicacies of all time.
Scapes only form on hardneck varieties. In fact, the scape is the extention of the 'hard neck' at the center of each bulb. Softneck varieties lack such a hard 'scape,' making them ideal for braiding. If you want scapes on your table, plant hardneck varieties, Friends! We grow about 8,000 heads of garlic each season, both hardneck and softneck, so we revel in the ocean of scapes we harvest each June.
Garlic scapes emerge one month before bulbs mature, so once they emerge we make sure we're ready for harvest. We clean out the barn where we cure our bulbs, make sure our fans are working and get enough twine and tags so we can hang them immediately. Once one-third to one-half of a garlic's leaves are brown and drying down, it's bulb is ready to lift gently with a digging fork to eat fresh or cure for the...
It's almost Memorial Day!
Here in Zone 5, we're so ready to transplant tomatoes :)
And Friends, transplanting is deceptively simple. Doing it well is the difference between harvesting a bit and harvesting abundance.
Here is exactly how we transplant tomatoes, after years of trial and error, and I hope these keys surround you with great abundance!
First things first:
Friends, resist planting too early.
It's counter-intuitive in our short seasons to not plant warm-season plants like tomatoes as early as possible, but here's the thing: Young, healthy transplants yield greater abundance compared to older, stressed transplants. Every time.
Also, think of tomatoes, basil, peppers and other warm season crops as ‘cold-sensitive’ rather than ‘frost-sensitive.’
A pepper, for example, experiencing temps less than 55 F will cross her proverbial arms and pout for a few weeks (if not months) in protest of her apparent lack of...
In celebration of spring and Mother's Day just around the corner, we've made some fresh collection to share with the people who love us best and grow us most :)
Each of our collections includes six easy-to-grow packets, plus growing instructions.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Our easiest flowers to grow, becoming a glorious spectrum of color for garnishing salads and cakes as well as bouquets, our edible flower collection includes annuals as well as perennials for you and your pollinators!
Here are the herbs growing just outside our door, easy to grow and abundant all season long. Our culinary herb collection thrives in both gardens and containers.
Our pollinator collection is easy to grow and full of pollen, nectar and habitat for your pollinators of all kinds, all season long.
The warblers are returning and peepers peeping, daffodils bright gold and Friends, we're getting closer every day to SUMMER! In the meantime, a glorious spring is unfurling around us. Here are the easiest seeds we're sowing now to surround us with abundant blooms this season, plus a few keys to keep in mind.
As you start seeds this season:
~ sow only seeds 2 to 3 times their depth (ie, not very much) and read the packet instructions, since some flowers actually need light to germinate.
~ sow only 2 to 3 seeds per cell and thin to the strongest single one as quick as you can.
~ bottom-water whenever possible and allow the soil surface to dry, ever so slightly, between overhead waterings.
If you haven't already seen it, we made a seed starting infographic for you here! And for detailed step-by-step instructions for starting seeds, check out Rise & Shine: Starting Seeds with Ease, my ebook. Also, Fruition's Seed Starting Academy has hours of...
As robins flock, days warm and daffodils rise, our psyches itch sow seeds. That first delicious day in the 60s sends the shoes off my feet as I scramble to plant peas, spinach cilantro and those first, sweet radishes of the season. Truly, there are few finer feelings.
So Friends, I'm excited to share what I'm sowing directly in the ground ~6 weeks before final frost here in the Finger Lakes, Zone 5!
But first, two things about soil temperature and texture, everyone's favorite subject:
If your soil is soupy, even a little, your seeds will likely rot. We typically direct sow and transplant into our raised beds and containers, which warm up and drain much more quickly than the garden soil, between two or three weeks before we plant into our gardens. Even light tillage of wet soils will compact and destroy your soil texture, sometimes taking years to recover.
How do you know if your soil is...
In our gardens and in our lives, timing is everything.
And Friends, it is so easy to start seeds way too early.
My dear friend Sal and I created a planting calendar for you to help nail your timing this season!
It's counter-intuitive, but plants started too early often get stressed (too little light, too few nutrients) and thus produce later and less abundantly than younger plants that are less stressed.
So hold your horses, dear Friends!
And here is our calendar for Zones 4 through 6 to keep you on track:
Each online order this season will receive one of our planting calendars, as well :)
You'll find a ton of information on this chart and each of our packets are mini-encyclopedias of information, as well. In addition to longer growing instructions, there is a quick reference tab with some pretty handy advice to have at arm's length. You'll find plant spacing after thinning, whether to direct sow or transplant (or both), days to germination, when to sow and seeding...
Friends, we're constantly experimenting, pushing the envelope of what can be grown here in our short seasons. Peanuts? With the right seeds, easy. Sesame. Super easy. Chia? A remarkable plant, though (sigh) she will never flower for us here, our days are too long.
Fresh, baby ginger is sweet yet savory, lusciously melting in your mouth and nearly fiber-free, entirely unlike the mature ginger shipped thousands of miles, what most of us have known as ginger our whole lives. Which it certainly is ginger, and so divine! But trust me: Freshly dug baby ginger is an altogether different experience. I'm so grateful share the opportunity to cultivate and savor it with you. Even the leaves smell of ginger, full of fragrant volatile oils, which we dry and...
Friends! Country Gardens featured Fruition in their latest issue and it is gorgeous!
What I really want to share, though, is something my Mother taught me: You never know who you’re talking to, so be nice and be generous. Enjoy our video for the full story :)
And Friends, please do read the article, and the photographs are stunning, but my deepest wish is that we all might be a little more kind and a little more generous with our brief time together...
...and that we all might know that planting seeds is the most radical act of kindness and generosity there is.
Here are some photos of the full article:
And Friends, did you know we donate thousands of packets each year to civic-minded organizations we love? We love to send you seed! Here's how it works: We send 50 packets of assorted packets to extraordinary organizations; simply send us $10 to cover our shipping and handling and we'll tuck them in the mail. Once it's...
Happy Coming to Fruition Day, Friends!
It was this day, in 2013, that Fruition truly came to Fruition. One month earlier, Matthew and I had signed our LLC papers, but this was the moment. It's a pretty funny story, with the gentle resilience of retrospect, though I definitely cried and woah was it existential at the time.
For seven years before Matthew and I signed LLC papers, as I worked and played in the world of organic seed world, I dreamed of starting a seed company dedicated to sharing its own saved seed, well adapted to its bioregion. Which sounds nice and all, and let me tell you: That is a radical notion. There is only one seed company in Oregon we know of, Wild Garden Seed, that actually does this. Well, I was obsessed with doing this in the Northeast. The transparency, the integrity, being the change we want to see in the world. I was obsessed.
Beginning to design our first crop plan in January 2013!
So we sign Fruition Seeds' LLC papers in December and one afternoon in...
I fondly recall long winter evenings by the fireside, pouring tea and steeping with seed catalogs, dreaming about the season ahead. I wish I could go back to the couch and snuggle up with my seven-year-old self and ask her some questions. I'm especially curious what that little girl thought an "F1 tomato" was or how she would describe the significance of an 'heirloom' variety. How would my seven-year-old self define 'organic?'
Fast-forward: Here is how I describe both terms things now, plus a few others, like the 'GMOs,' that were just being invented when I was born in 1983. So put on the kettle, snuggle up (with your seven-year-old, if you've got one) and let's dream about the abundance ahead for this and for all generations to come.
First, I'll define some key terms for you, with succinct sweetness as my goal, adding their advantages and disadvantages, each from my perspective as a small-scale, organic seed grower.
Then I'll share my story of the history, both ancient,...
For years we’ve been asked to demystify seed starting and here it is: Rise & Shine shares everything you need to start seeds successfully at home in 40 beautiful pages with easy-to-follow instructions and insightful tips for the novice and experienced grower alike.