video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
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...
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.
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....
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.
Over the years we've become enamored with growing shallots as well, which are grown in exactly the same way.
As we all know (and mostly have learned the hard way), what you reap is what you sow. Considering how long your garlic and shallots are in the ground and how much time you'll invest in weeding and feeding them, it's worth the extra dollars sowing the best stock possible. You'll reap that much more when you harvest.
Biggest Mistake: Planting anything but the biggest and healthiest organic garlic and shallot bulbs you can find.
Why? There is a direct relationship between the size of bulbs and cloves you plant the size of the bulbs and cloves you'll harvest. It's not often true, but in the...
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:
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.