video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
Fertility is the foundation of soil health and plant health, which all very abstract, but it's as simple as this: Abundance begets abundance, so don't skimp and don't be shy!
There are many ways to increase the fertility of your gardens, Friends.
Always, there is compost. Glorious, glorious compost. Soon I'll share more about this, one of my favorite facts of life :)
In the meantime, like two sides of a coin, our fish emulsion and granular fertilizer are easy to use and immensely effective across soil types. Of the many other approaches we use, cover cropping is a passion of ours and I look forward to sharing more with you about its art and science in the coming seasons.
Our granular fertilizer is Matthew's special blend of finely ground vegetables, animals and minerals, building soil as it feeds our crops with over one hundred micro- and macro-nutrients. We apply it in spring when we turn over our soil, allowing its...
Garlic scapes rise just before summer solstice here in Zone 5, the harbinger of high summer and abundance yet to come, and one of our favorite delicacies of all time.
Scapes only form on hardneck varieties. In fact, the scape is the extention of the 'hard neck' at the center of each bulb. Softneck varieties lack such a hard 'scape,' making them ideal for braiding. If you want scapes on your table, plant hardneck varieties, Friends! We grow about 8,000 heads of garlic each season, both hardneck and softneck, so we revel in the ocean of scapes we harvest each June.
Garlic scapes emerge one month before bulbs mature, so once they emerge we make sure we're ready for harvest. We clean out the barn where we cure our bulbs, make sure our fans are working and get enough twine and tags so we can hang them immediately. Once one-third to one-half of a garlic's leaves are brown and drying down, it's bulb is ready to lift gently with a digging fork to eat fresh or cure for the...
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...
'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...
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...
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:
- 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:
The storage life of your garlic is a complex equation, with three main variables:
- Growing Conditions
- Storage Conditions
Let's dig a little deeper.
Beyond softneck and hardneck, there are many different DNA types of garlic with thousands of...
Flavor keeps me coming back to the garden.
Keeps me coming back to myself.
Garlic and shallots, with their exquisite flavor and versatility, accompany me to the kitchen in each season.
For many years, I had no idea different varieties of garlic could taste to different. Several years back, we hosted a gathering of friends, chefs and food writers, garlic lovers and garlic haters alike. We sauteed and roasted 17 varieties of garlic (it's true), each one labeled. A feast we set out, each dish without garlic: roasts and quiches, olive oil and baguette, smashed potatoes and hummus. We then added garlic to each dish, one variety after another, attempting to characterize and articulate what we were tasting.
Italy Hill Porcelain is our favorite variety for making pesto.
The unanimous conclusion: We all know the apple varieties we like best. Surely you know if you prefer an Empire over a Granny Smith, for example. But in our rush to commoditize food, we've largely forgotten the...
We've cultivated garlic as a species for six thousand years...
...so when you find yourself wondering when is the perfect moment to harvest your garlic, know you are not the first person to wonder this.
In truth, the 'perfect moment' is up to a week and sometimes more, depending on the weather.
Here in the Northeast, mid-July, that 'moment' is just about...now :)
Here is the one consideration to look for, demystifying the predicament:
Wait for at least two or three bottom leaves to turn brown before you harvest your garlic.
Each of the leaves above ground have a corresponding 'wrapper' around each bulb, becoming papery when cured. Once one third to one half of the leaves are brown and brittle, you have strong bulb wrappers awaiting you and your garlic is truly ready to harvest.
Nutrient deficiency or nearing maturity? If your leaves are fully brown, from tip to stalk and it's July, your garlic is almost ready to harvest.
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:
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:
Garlic is one of our favorite crops to grow. Delicious in every season and marvelously medicinal, garlic is also easy to grow. If I had to pick only a handful of crops to grow each season, garlic would always be one. Always.
Garlic swells from the size of a dime to a full-size bulb in ~5 short weeks, from early June to mid-July. June is the time to give her all you've got :)
Small bulbs are most commonly the result of nutrient deficiency and weed pressure, so here are easy ways to ensure you have abundant nutrients and manageable weeds to optimize your garlic harvest this season!
Garlic is a heavy feeder, requiring lots of nutrients to grow large and store long.
Here are the best times and ways to ensure your garlic has full access to abundant nutrients:
- Add rich fertility when you prepare your soil to plant in fall. We love to add mature compost as well as our organic granular fertilizer.
- Mulch with deciduous leaves in fall, spring, or both....
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.