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Imagine millions of monarchs migrating south, hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet above the trees, flashing black and bright copper as they make their way from the Northeast to Mexico.
Monarch butterflies have made an incredible comeback in the last five years, in no small part thanks to gardeners saving, spreading and sharing seeds widely across our continent. If you've been growing milkweed --- or at least not pulling it as weeds --- I love you and thank you! Never doubt that your actions, like seeds, are deceptively small :)
Though adult monarch butterflies feed on many other flowers, like our Queen Sophia marigolds, the monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed.
Harvesting milkweed seeds brings memories of my childhood, leaves crunching underfoot and thick wool sweaters with hundreds of burrs as polka dots. The leaves are crimson, gold and umber. Grapes are ripe on the vine, but barely.
I remember reaching my hand carefully into each pod, each of us about to...
One of the most challenging aspects of saving sunflower seed is this: You must not harvest the most spectacular heads for bouquets! Expect seed about 6 weeks after flower. This is our Lemon Queen, by the way :)
First, wait for the birds to confirm the seed is fully ripe.
Though many flower seeds are released with ease once ripe, sunflowers tend to hold them in their heads, making it more challenging to know exactly when they're ripe. Many flower heads also indicate their seeds are ripe once the stalk beneath is brown and dry, though with sunflowers, that is generally way too late and you'll rarely find a single seed left.
So yes --- this is playing with fire --- but if you...
Saving tomato seed is deceptively simple, Friends.
Yes, you can simply separate each seed from the fruit, rinsing and drying them before tucking them in an envelope to sow next season.
But here's the thing: That clear membrane surrounding each seed is full of anti-germination compounds. Unless that membrane is removed, only about 30% or so of your seeds will germinate. Which isn't the worst, but it's far from the best.
For thousands of years our ancestors have fermented tomato seeds, effectively neutralizing those anti-germination compounds as well as removing some seed-borne diseases. It's a gloriously simple process.
Once tomatoes are fully ripe, the seeds inside are fully mature.
Saving fruit from your best plants is essential. The healthiest plant, the most productive, most disease-resistant, most delicious: This is the plant you want to feed --- and by fed by --- for generations to come. You're selecting seed as well as saving...
Don't judge a book by its cover...
...or a carrot, either :)
Friends, Fruition has just released a new carrot variety, Dulcinea, though I must warn you: She is orange, long and tapered. At first glance, she is simply a carrot. But she's so much more. And if we've done our work well, Dulcinea will outlast us by countless generations.
Some fruits and vegetables we know by name: Granny Smith apple, Sugar Snap pea, Sungold Tomato, Cafe au Lait dahlia.
But most varieties are anonymous in our gardens and at the grocery store, the nameless commodity that fits our quintessential assumption of what is romaine lettuce, what is an onion. This is basil, this is butternut squash. There are hundreds of varieties any carrot could be, but many of us simply recognize it as a carrot. Nonetheless, every carrot has a name.
You may not have heard of 'Bolero' carrot before, but you've most likely eaten it many times. Bolero is classic...
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.
First, the fact that people ask me this gives me such hope for the world!
Humbling yet true: I am gently discouraging you from saving your squash seeds to plant next season.
Here's what we do with our squash seeds all winter:
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.
Ironically, I really don't recommend saving your squash seeds to sow next season, unless you know a great deal about its life story.
Squash seeds are one of our favorite snacks. Check out our recipe inspirations below!
Many varieties are F1 Hybrids, which won't grow true to type when saved. If you've bought your squash from a grocer or even a farmer's market, chances are good it's an F1 Hybrid. So...
⭐️ love what you sow ⭐️
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