video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
Edible flowers are the best of all worlds, feeding us in so many ways beyond beauty, beyond calories, growing our ability to see beyond what we've known before.
As we seed our vegetables for the season ahead, now more than ever we sow the seeds of these edible flowers with a vast appreciation for their power to transform, with love, the world around them.
We are what we eat, so let's make it beautiful!
Easy to grow in any soil, any container and even limited sun, calendula is beautiful, edible and medicinal. Pluck the petals from the center calyx to toss in salad and strew across cakes! They have a mild marigold scent and flavor, which is heavenly :)
Just over one foot wide and tall with a rainbow of colors, calendula is also a favorite of pollinators and is easy to save the seed of, in fact re-seeding herself if you don't harvest all her flowers and seeds, first.
The more you harvest your calendula, the more she'll blossom....
Each year we grow acres of organic gardens, saving hundreds of thousands (if not millions...) of seeds of tried-and-true varieties we love as we continue to adapt them to our short seasons, year after year. Each year we also grow dozens upon dozens of new varieties, exploring and experimenting, discovering new joys and learning ever, always.
This season we're delighted to share seed with you of some gems we've found and here is a tiny taste of them all :)
Where do we begin? The flavor, the story, the abundance, the near spinelessness? If you don't have time for it all, know this: Haifa's Finest is a Fruition-bred variety, the most flavorful zucchini you'll likely ever eat. Imagine exceptional nuttiness with a creamy density that melts in your mouth --- you won't be tossing these in neighbor's mailboxes, I suspect :)
After six years of selections, we're so excited to finally share our lusciously nutty, super creamy and nearly...
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...
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...
'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...
Friends, I garden not only for the beauty and abundance, not just for the smell of fresh lavender or the satisfaction of good, hard work.
I garden to be in awe of the world.
Today, lacewings are the embodiment of such awe for me.
What is a lacewing?
Chrysopa carnea (there's a clue!) is one of our finest beneficial insects native to the Northeast, very likely the most voracious insect in your garden. For breakfast, lunch and dinner they dine on your aphids, thrips and cabbage looper caterpillars.
Here are four reasons you want lacewings in your garden:
Adult lacewings are darling with their sweet lime green bodies, sparkling gold compound eyes and dramatic, sweeping wings like exquisite, translucent stained glass. Adult lacewings feed on nectar, pollen and the honeydew of aphids, like ants.
Lacewing adults are gorgeous as well as nocturnal, so they're rare to see. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Growing up in the Finger Lakes of New York, high elevation Zone 5, I have the mantra of "Memorial Day is Final Frost" deeply embedded in my brain. I am constantly questioning my assumptions about myself and the world around me; this year I was inspired to dig a little deeper into this maxim.
Are historic frost dates still relevant?
potatoes are ideally planted three weeks before final frost
Pouring over decades of temperature records in our county from the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Association (which is totally free and fascinating, I highly recommend it!) from 1930 to present, here are my observations:
a) Our final frost dates have (surprisingly) remained fairly consistent, often occurring just before Memorial Day.
b) Even on years when final frost is weeks earlier than Memorial Day (like May 1st, 1970, which happens 2-3 times each decade), the night temps generally aren't out of the 40s consistently until around Memorial Day.
Here in the Finger Lakes of New York, Zone 5a, we're filling our greenhouse with the seeds of crops best sown 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. Exploring last frost dates is a blog coming soon! In the meantime, we aim for Memorial Day as our frost-free date.
Here is the laundry list, with notes:
Though onions & shallots (like Cuisse du Poulet below) were ideally started 4 to 6 weeks ago, there is no time like the present and last call! Other alliums like Leeks and scallions are not day-length sensitive, so sow them anytime now through mid-July. We'll be planting them out early/mid-May.
Now is the perfect time to start peppers, eggplant and tomatoes (like Brandywise below). Other varieties in the solanid family to start indoors include ground cherries and tomatillos, but hold off on them til mid-April: they are a lot more vigorous and will easily become stressed started this...
Evening Colors sunflower is a heavenly mix of autumnal hues with long, strong stems perfect for cutting.
My favorite moment of Evening Colors last summer was watching a family of song sparrows navigate their branches, foraging and feasting on the soft, invertebrate bodies of caterpillars also having lunch among the blossoms. The mother (I confess a presumption) was only slightly larger than her children by July but her calm, exacting movements clearly demonstrated her honed skills, deftly capturing and whacking one insect after another as her protégés fumbled along after her. She would patiently offer her quarry to them, letting them squirm as their caterpillars squirmed, letting them learn, slowly, the quick grace of slipping an insect straight down a throat.
I’m sure I did very important things that day.
Critical things, even.
That dance of life and death, of learning and becoming, those breathless moments among the blossoms: that is all I remember, all...
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.