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