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Fruition Garden Journal

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

8 Seeds to Direct Sow in the Cold

Apr 18, 2019
 

As robins flock, days warm and daffodils rise, our psyches itch 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:

Before You Sow Seeds in the Soil This Spring...

...let's talk texture

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...

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Timing Is Everything: Fruition's Seed Starting Calendar

Mar 14, 2019

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...

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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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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 

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 Green' mesclun mix has been selected by Dan Brisebois, in Montreal, to re-grow quickly in cold temperatures. We are grateful to...

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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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Sowing Autumn Abundance in August

Jul 27, 2018
 

As I look around the farm this final week of July, I see red tomatoes on the vine, seven-foot pole beans reaching for the sky and thousands of dahlias in full bloom. Abundance and beauty abound!

Amid the extraordinary bounty of summer, I'm sowing the abundance of autumn. This week, we're prepping beds and sowing carrots, beets, watermelon radish, more cilantro, the start of cool-season lettuces and (my favorite) dwarf peas. These are the seeds that will feed us in the cool months to come. 

The right tool for every job: The tine-side of a rake picks out rocks while the flat edge levels the soil.

 

Here is the full list of seeds we're planting now, from the final week of July til the second week in August. They break down nicely into four categories:

Dwarf Peas

Fall peas are the best peas, which you know as soon as you take your first bite. As cold turns starch to sugar, fall peas are the sweetest and easily the most tender. And, because the days are getting...

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Successful Succession Sowing in July

Jul 06, 2018
 

Our gardens are a lush jungle in the hot, hot sun as baby birds learn to fly across the fields and our dogs find respite under zucchini leaf umbrellas. 

As we harvest heads of lettuce, rows of beets, pull out peas and feed bolting cilantro to the chickens, we're sowing seeds so the abundance doesn't stop. Our season is short, so we've got to make the most of it! Succession sowing is the genius, seamless transition of one crop to the next, amplifying your abundance all season long.

In July, following our harvest of peas, carrots, beets, garlic and lettuce, here is what we are succession sowing, between dips in the pond:

1. Greens

You have so many options!

The good news: Greens don't require tons of fertility, so don't hesitate to plant lettuce where you just harvested lettuce.

The bad news: not all greens thrive in the heat, so be sure you're planting those that will. Nonetheless, options abound:

And here are our go-to July varieties, including our most...
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5 Tips for Growing Great Beans

Jun 15, 2018
 

In my father's garden, beans were one of the first seeds I sowed on my own. Large and undaunted by imperfect planting depth, beans are also more tolerant than most of the imprecise spacing of tiny, eager fingers, as were mine. I'll always be grateful for my father, his garden, the bold ownership he gave me and those seeds that grew my love of seeds, food and community.

Haricot vert or French filet-style beans like 'Tavera' are my favorite. 

Mid-June is the perfect time to sow beans if you have not; if you have, its the perfect time to sow your next succession, to surround yourself with abundant harvests all season long. 

 

You'll find dozens of organic beans for short seasons here

As you plant beans this season, here are five tips to help you reap what you sow:

1. Direct Sow Only

Beans absolutely despise being transplanted. Quickly stunted roots will resist rapid, healthy growth for the rest of their lives, significantly reducing your harvest....

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6 Easy Seeds to Direct Sow in June (& How to Transplant, If You Must)

May 31, 2018
 

Once final frost has come and gone and the nights are consistently above 50 F, the soil is finally warm enough for the crops that thrive in the heat of summer. 

Some of them, like tomatoes and ground cherries, absolutely must be started 6 to 8 weeks prior to final frost to have any chance of surrounding you with abundance in short seasons.

Others, like basil and cosmos, will surround you with abundance whether you transplant or direct sow them.

Here, friends, are the crops whose fragile, sensitive root systems despise being transplanted. When direct-sown, they'll grow faster and fruit earlier, increasing your harvests significantly. (If you must transplant them, be sure to follow the tips on peat/cow pots and soil blocks at the bottom of the list.)

 

1. Cucurbits

A brush up on botanical Latin! The Cucurbit family classically sprawls and is slightly spiny, including everything from summer squash to winter squash, cantaloupe to cucumber. 

As you're...

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