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Fruition Garden Journal

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

Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO: Fruition's Glossary of Essential Vocab Demystified + a Story

Jan 18, 2019
 

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,...

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Ideal Varieties for Container Gardening & Raised Beds

Jan 10, 2019
 

First, a soon-to-be not-so-secret for you!

I'm in the marvelous midst of creating Fruition's first online courses, YAY!!! This post is just a fraction of what I'll be sharing to set you up for success in our Container Gardening Mini-Course. If you'd like to be first in line when our courses open in February, let me know and when they're ready I'll send you an invitation with a special thank you :) 

Without further ado!

Friends, sowing well-adapted varieties makes organic gardening SO much easier.

In any size garden, on any scale farm.

Container gardens, especially. 

What makes a variety well-suited for container gardening?

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...

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Regionally Adapted Seed: The Secret of Great Gardening

Jan 04, 2019
 

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...

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3 Lessons We Learned in 2018

Dec 28, 2018
 

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 :)

1. You can grow glorious ginger in the Northeast without a high tunnel.

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...

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Sneak Peek: New Varieties for 2019!

Dec 20, 2018
 

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...

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Sunflowers (& Why I Have Hope for the World)

Dec 14, 2018
 

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?

Sunflower petals are EDIBLE!

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. 

Lemon Queen

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...

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3 Things to do with your Winter Squash Seeds

Nov 29, 2018
 

People ask me all winter long if they can save the seeds they scoop out of winter squash to sow next season.

First, the fact that people ask me this gives me such hope for the world! 

Humbling yet true: I am gently discouraging you from saving your squash seeds to plant next season.

Here's what we do with our squash seeds all winter:

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.

Ironically, I really don't recommend saving your squash seeds to sow next season, unless you know a great deal about its life story. 

 Here's why.

Squash seeds are one of our favorite snacks. Check out our recipe inspirations below!

Why Squash Seed Usually Doesn't Grow True to Type

Many varieties are F1 Hybrids, which won't grow true to type when saved. If you've bought your squash from a grocer or even a farmer's market, chances are good it's an F1 Hybrid. So...

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Why Thanksgiving Kale is My Favorite

Nov 20, 2018
 

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.

Second:

I eat 98% of that kale between November and March.

Here’s why:

Sugar is nature’s antifreeze. 

Literally.

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.

How Sugars Prevent Freezing

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...

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3 Keys to Maximizing Your Leaves This Fall

Nov 15, 2018
 

'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.

So true!

Here are three keys to maximizing your leaves this fall, to build your soil quickly and mulch most effectively:

1. Deciduous Leaves are the Best for Mulch and Building Soil

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.

2. Chipping/Shredding Your Leaves has the Greatest Impact

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...

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8 Easy Steps to Lifting & Storing Dahlia Tubers

Nov 07, 2018
 

Everyone loves dahlias.

Who loves to dig them?

And I agree, it's not as glamorous as harvesting lush blooms as the August dew rises.

But with a little planning and a bit of experience, you'll save many times the tubers you planted, surrounding yourself with breathtaking abundance for the coming season. Plus a few extra for your best flower friends :)

Storing your own dahlia tubers is a labor of love but so, so worth it and not too challenging, with the right tips and tools.

Why Dig Dahlia Tubers?

There are many reasons and this is my favorite: You'll have so many more dahlias for next season (not totally but essentially) for free

Tuber productivity varies between varieties, but you'll harvest 6 to 25 tubers for each tuber you plant. Not all will have full eyes allowing them to grow a stem next spring, but you'll easily harvest more than you planted, and likely a lot more. Last week, dividing our dahlias, I had 18 perfect tubers to save from one single plant....

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