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Fruition Garden Journal

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

Six Mistakes to Avoid When Planting Garlic

Nov 01, 2018
 

Garlic is one of the easiest and most rewarding crops to grow, though it's not a cakewalk. I've grown garlic here in the Finger Lakes for over nearly three decades and here are the keys to surrounding yourself with abundance.

We've recently become enamored with growing shallots as well, which are grown in exactly the same way. 

When to Plant Garlic

Garlic is planted in fall, allowing the cold to divide each clove into the bulb to come. Plant between Halloween and Thanksgiving for the healthiest garlic growth. Your goal is for each clove to establish its root system while growing as little shoot as possible. 

Biggest Mistake: Planting too early.

Why? Garlic establishes it's root system before sending up a green shoot. Planted too early, the green shoot can rise several inches, acting as a straw over the winter to draw water from the clove, effectively desiccating the clove and potentially killing it.

Easy Solution: Plant between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

It's...

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Harvesting Peanuts

Oct 25, 2018
 

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. 

Growing Peanuts

If you can grow bush beans, you can grow peanuts....

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Desiccant Packets To Store Your Seeds Better

Oct 18, 2018
 

Our Favorite Desiccant Packets for You!

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. 

As a Child

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. 

Looking back,...

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How Long Do Seeds Last? Fruition's Secrets to Storing Seeds

Oct 11, 2018
 

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.

How Long Will Seeds Last?

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.

Conditions for Optimal Seed Storage

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:

- Dry

- Cool 

- Rodent-Proof

- Dark 

Keep Seeds Dry 

Reducing...

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Fruition's Fresh Ginger Harvest & Tasting Party

Sep 27, 2018
 

Save the date!

~ join us for Fruition's first annual ~

Fresh Ginger Harvest & Tastings!

Saturday, October 13th

1 to 4 pm

at 7921 Hickory Bottom Road in Naples, New York

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...

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4 Easy Ways to Harvest More This Fall

Sep 20, 2018
 

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

For 

free shipping

on any order of row cover + spring steel hoops, use promo code

delicious

through Tuesday, September 25th 

Let's dive in.

Cold-Hardy Seeds for Season Extention

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...

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Secrets to Storing Garlic

Sep 12, 2018
 

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:

Optimum Conditions for Storing Garlic

- 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:

Growing Great Garlic to Store in All Seasons

The storage life of your garlic is a complex equation, with three main variables:

- Cultivar

- Growing Conditions 

- Storage Conditions

Let's dig a little deeper.

Cultivar

Beyond softneck and hardneck, there are many different DNA types of garlic with thousands of...

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How to Ripen Green Tomatoes at the Season's End

Sep 07, 2018
 

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. 

Ripening Tomatoes on the Vine 

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 last 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 air flow, which discourages the spread...

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Seeds to Sow in September

Aug 30, 2018
 

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...

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Secret (& Unexpected) Signs of a Ripe Tomato

Aug 22, 2018
 

When is a tomato ripe?

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...!

Green Shoulders on 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...

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