video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
My childhood experience of growing peanuts once --- and harvesting seven peanuts --- convinced me for two decades that growing peanuts in short seasons was extravagantly futile.
Yet seeds, again and again, show me that our imagination is the limit, that regional adaptation is the language of resilience, that we can grow so much more than we think possible.
When we started Fruition Seeds, Matthew and I were gifted a small bag of 'Northern Hardy Valencia' peanuts from a family on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan who had selected them for over two decades.
Skeptical as I was, they thrived against many odds, including cold, close spacing and a family of groundhogs.
If you garden in short seasons, as we do, regional adaptation makes a difference with any seed. This is especially true crops that need more heat, like watermelon, peppers, peanuts. We are delighted to share such seeds, and such joy, with you.
If you can grow bush beans, you can grow peanuts....
Last week, sharing Fruition's Secrets to Storing Seeds, I mentioned the desiccant packets we love. Lots of people asked where to find them, so we were inspired to share them with you! You'll now find desiccant packets on our website.
If you're hardy, you can still sow your spinach this season! You likely won't harvest it til spring, but it will overwinter without flinching and grow the sweetest, most tender leaves with the snowmelt.
We sow spinach in early September to harvest in fall, winter and spring. Spinach can also be sown later, before the soil freezes, for spring harvest.
Growing up in my father's garden, we always saved the tiny silica gel desiccant packets we found in shoes, vitamins and packages of nori. We'd toss them into an old animal crackers tin that held our beloved seed collection and there they would collect for years, as the seed packets themselves came and went.
Whether you have a handful of your family's heirloom beans or you simply wish to keep your germination rates high for next season, storing your seeds well puts your mind at ease and will surround you with abundance for years to come.
First, I made this handy infographic for you, check it out
Below, we'll get into the nitty-gritty details.
Many seeds will maintain great germination for three years even in your kitchen cupboard, though there are exceptions. Stored well, some seeds can last centuries.
Beans, like the Chocolate Runners, are among the longest storing seeds, often sprouting after a century in ideal storage conditions.
What conditions are needed for seeds to germinate? If you want seeds to store, give them the opposite conditions. Here are the four keys to keep your germination rates high for years to come:
~ join us for Fruition's first annual ~
Come taste Fruition's organic ginger and turmeric, freshly dug from our gardens!
Did you know?! We can easily grow ginger here in the Northeast, even without greenhouses or high tunnels, right in our backyards.
If you've never tasted fresh ginger before, it's unlike anything you've ever tasted before --- sweet and gingery, without any of the heat, melting in your mouth in a most remarkable way.
In addition to tastings, we'll have it for sale so you can stock up for winter, and stay tuned: We'll be sharing it for you to plant next season, YAY!
Throughout the afternoon, I'll be teaching how to grow your own ginger, so come with your curiosity, ask a lot of questions and know you're going to make my day :)
It's free, open to the public and we're SO excited to share the bounty of our fields with you, so...
Here in the Northeast, finding easy ways to extend our season is essential to eating well as the days grow short.
After years of working on farms and experimenting at Fruition, here are the four keys of season extension:
- sowing the right seeds
- using the right tools
- at just the right time
- and harvesting in just the right way
Let's dive in.
In any season, the right seeds make all the difference. September in Zone 5 is no match for seeds selected to thrive in California, where most seed is grown, which is perhaps why so many gardeners don't grow into the fall. Oh yes, and we've all been working hard all summer, so we're ready to slow down, too! But I know my own childhood-self was deterred by lettuce that wasn't up for the cause.
Now, I am so grateful to know which ones are.
'Winter Green' mesclun mix has been selected by Dan Brisebois, in Montreal, to re-grow quickly in cold temperatures. We are grateful to...
I love eating garlic.
All season long.
I've let untold bulbs of garlic sprout, shrivel and mold over the years.
My hope for the Fruition Garden Journal is to save you time, money and heartache, so here is how to store garlic well, for seasons to come.
The short story:
- 56 to 58 F
- 45 to 50% relative humidity
- Plastic mesh bags are ideal
Bottom line: Fairly cool, relatively dry & well-ventilated areas store garlic best
Clean bulbs in mesh bags with good airflow, cool temps and moderate relative humidity have the greatest longevity.
Like anything, there is so much more to consider.
Here's the full story:
The storage life of your garlic is a complex equation, with three main variables:
- Growing Conditions
- Storage Conditions
Let's dig a little deeper.
Beyond softneck and hardneck, there are many different DNA types of garlic with thousands of...
This day always comes: It's early September and green tomatoes abound.
So much green fruit, heavy on the vines.
This fruit would most likely not ripen before frost.
With a little foresight and a bit of effort, you'll ripen more tomatoes than you otherwise might. Photo credit: Markus Spiske.
I'm honored to share our strategies to encourage our tomatoes to ripen at the end of the season, how to enjoy your green tomatoes in the kitchen as well as set you up for success for next season.
Give them a trim!
With scissors, garden shears or large pruners, trim your vines all the way back to the green fruit. Six weeks before first frost is your optimum window to maximize your harvest. Suddenly, your plants will:
focus their energy on ripening fruit rather than continuing to blossom
invite more light into depths of the plant helping fruit ripen, as well as
experience greater airflow, which discourages the spread...
It's almost September and true confessions: I'm exhausted.
I know I'm not alone.
We've been cultivating beauty and abundance for months, with so much on our minds and hearts, amid the bustle of our everyday lives and cultural chaos. Behind each of those gorgeous photos on social media we know there is a weary gardener, often wishing someone would make her dinner from all the glorious food she's surrounded by.
Last year, Dandy saved us: Last September, while we were busy harvesting seed and picking up irrigation, she sowed seeds. Greens and herbs that fed our bodies and souls until snowfall and many that even survived the winter, re-growing the most tender and sweet leaves of the season as spring arrived. Taking that extra moment to sow a few seeds this September may be one of the best decisions you make this season. Certainly, one of the most delicious :)
Interplanting maximizes every inch of your garden space; especially when you plan to put hoops with row cover over your greens...
Is a deceptively obvious question.
No matter our preconceived notions of color & shape, a tomato is ripe when its soft to the touch.
The best way to judge if a tomato is ripe is not by the color, but it's softness.
Touch your arm, squeeze it gently: Both firm and supple, your arm as well as your ripe tomato can be plied and is ready to bounce back instantly.
And yes, I am totally encouraging you to squeeze your tomatoes...!
Do your otherwise ripe tomatoes still have green or orange shoulders? Let’s talk.
First, know this: tomatoes photosynthesize sugars from the sun not only in their green leaves, but directly in their green fruit, as well. About 80% of the flavor in a tomato comes from the energy harnessed in leaves, the balance from the fruit itself.
Second: There are different levels of photosynthetic molecules and not all are equally powerful.
Third: The most powerful ones take the longest to ‘break...
If you're growing tomatoes in the Northeast, you're likely growing tomato diseases, as well.
Here is how to identify the four most common tomato diseases here in the Northeast and what to do next.
Blossom-End Rot is an abysmal disappointment that is both manageable and preventable. Affecting paste and roma types more than other tomatoes, blossom-end rot is mostly an issue with the first set of fruit, quickly disappearing once conditions shift for the better.
Remove fruits affected by blossom-end rot as early as possible (like the fruit on the right), since the next flush will likely not be affected.
Symptoms: black, leathery lesion at the blossom-end of the fruit, often visible when fruit is still green and quite small, becoming larger as the fruit matures.
Cause: Calcium deficiency. More accurately, it's a water deficiency. Here is how I visualize it: Calcium is a huge ion while others are small, so calcium needs more water to be absorbed...
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.