video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
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,...
Friends, sowing well-adapted varieties makes organic gardening SO much easier.
In any size garden, on any scale farm.
Container gardens, especially.
Two main factors:
How much space does this variety take up? Some varieties are more compact than others, making them more optimal for container gardening.
Will this variety thrive with less than optimal nutrients and less even watering? Both are realities of most container gardens, so starting with resilient seeds makes all the difference.
I grew up in my father's garden here in the Finger Lakes, where we planted all kinds of vegetables, flowers, and herbs in old wine barrels that had been cut in half. Our main gardens were in the soil, but I had a particular fondness for our wine barrels lining our walkway, spilling over with parsley and marigolds, lettuce and peppers. Just like our dogs delight when we returned home, so happy to greet us, our...
When Heirloom Gardener asked me to write about the significance of regionally adapted seed for their Winter 2019/2019 issue, the fact that such a story is of value to a nationally-distributed magazine gave me more than a sliver of hope for the world.
As a child in New York, I thought watermelons were an absolute waste of valuable garden space. I was a whimsical child, but still practical. With long, trailing vines yielding a single fruit and sometimes none, my anticipation was almost always unrequited. Every few years we’d give them another try, only to reach the same conclusion by September: We should have sown more tomatoes, more lettuce and more beets. Less watermelon.
I could not have been more wrong.
Like our reticent red peppers, eggplants lacking abundance, late-blooming dahlias and unenthusiastic peanuts, I simply needed different seeds to have different experiences. Sowing seeds adapted to your region makes all the difference.
August Ambrosia is Fruition's...
We learn so much with each day, each season. We've grown immeasurably in 2018, both in the fields and in our visions. Here are three lessons helping us grow the most, both in joy and in trial. I share them, hoping they surround you with beauty and abundance both in and beyond your garden :)
It's true: you can grow gorgeous ginger right in your backyard.
We're constantly experimenting, pushing the envelope of what can be grown in our climate. For years our market gardener friends have grown ginger enthusiastically in their greenhouses and high tunnels, but here's the thing: both Matthew and I grew up gardening and are deeply motivated to share seeds and techniques that every home gardener can enjoy. After much experimentation, we're totally confident you can grow impressive ginger without all the frills. Stay tuned! We'll be sharing organic rhizomes for you to grow your own as well as everything...
Each year we trial new varieties and develop new ones, harvesting their seeds and tucking in packets to share with you!
With each season we learn more about our seeds, ourselves, our soil, our community and our climate. Most seed companies are simply repackaging seed they've bought wholesale on the commodity market, which doesn't eliminate all the variables by any means, but it does greatly reduce their risk of not having seed in their packets.
The seeds in our packets is largely harvested on one of Fruition's four farms; we also collaborate with over a dozen talented organic seed growers to bring you the highest quality seed we can source.
And Friends, we don't always reap what we sow. Though we grew a glorious bed of Lime Queen zinnias this summer, persistent rain brought powdery mildew early to her leaves and filled her seedheads with millions of spores instead of seeds. (Thank goodness our Zinderella Peach zinnias, below, were a...
Friends, I need more than hands and toes to count the number of times people this week have told me their child asked to give or receive sunflower seeds this holiday season.
How can I not have hope for the world?!
What gift would you give the world, if you could give anything?
The gift of a sunflower is the gift of growth, of beauty, of abundance, it's the gift of life itself.
There are dozens of different sunflowers, all native to Central and North America. The only plant with more Monarchs on it in our garden is milkweed.
And did you know?
We toss them in salads and arrange them on cakes all summer long.
So yes, we grow the seeds of many sunflowers, each one with a unique gift and story to share.
We love the bright lemon yellow of Lemon Queen petals, a unique hue among so many golds. She is ohhhhh so tall, easily climbing 12+ feet tall in rich, fertile soil. She is crowned with a massive, single head on top and bursts...
People ask me all winter long if they can save the seeds they scoop out of winter squash to sow next season.
Which gives me such hope for the world!
Humbling yet true: I am gently discouraging you from saving your squash seeds to plant next season, unless you’re growing the squash yourself and paying a great deal of attention. I’ll share why (and how to pay attention!) in a moment.
First, here are the three things I can recommend without reservation:
1. Toast and eat them, see our recipe below!
2. Make squash seed roofs on gingerbread houses.
3. Stick them on peanut-buttered pinecones for the birds.
So yes, it’s true, I don’t really recommend saving your squash seeds to sow next season, unless you know a great deal about its life story. Or are entirely unattached to the fruits looking anything like it’s parents. (Which is one of my favorite games in the world.)
Squash seeds are one of our...
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!
Some years, like this year, I’ve already been skiing for a week, HOORAY! Other years, Thanksgiving arrives and leaves are bright though fading, snow yet to accumulate.
Either way, there are two things to know about how I eat kale.
First: I eat kale twelve months of the year.
This means, among other things, kale leaves are most sweet and tender in the coldest seasons. Which is SO good to know! And the reasons why are equally fascinating.
Across plant and animal kingdoms, sugars are formed in cells as cold approaches. These sugars protect cell walls as freezing water molecules expand. Pure water, H20, becomes jagged and sharp, cutting like sharp swords, as it freezes. With dissolved sugars, water becomes sloshy rather than sharp, maintaining the cell walls even as temperatures...
'Tis the season when leaves are falling and streets are lined with ready-made mulch, compost-to-be, nutrient dense and often already bagged for the intrepid gardener to stock up one of the quickest ways to build top-notch soil.
Here are three keys to maximizing your leaves this fall, to build your soil quickly and mulch most effectively:
Only apply deciduous leaves as mulch in your garden beds. Coniferous pine needles will decompose and acidify your soil, often making the resulting pH less than ideal for growing vegetables, flowers and herbs. If you’re growing blueberries, rhododendrons or want blue hydrangeas, coniferous materials are one of the easiest ways to both mulch and feed them.
Whether you’re building your soil with leaves or spreading them as mulch, send your leaves through a chipper/shredder first. I’ve learned the hard...
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.