video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
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...
It's finally Memorial Day!
Here in Zone 5, we're so ready to transplant tomatoes!
And Friends, transplanting is deceptively simple. Doing it well is the difference between harvesting a bit and harvesting abundance.
Here is exactly how we transplant tomatoes, after years of trial and error, and I hope these keys surround you with great abundance!
First things first:
Friends, resist planting too early.
It's counter-intuitive in our short seasons to not plant warm-season plants like tomatoes as early as possible, but here's the thing: Young, healthy transplants yield greater abundance compared to older, stressed transplants. Every time.
Also, think of tomatoes, basil, peppers and other warm season crops as ‘cold-sensitive’ rather than ‘frost-sensitive.’
A pepper, for example, experiencing temps less than 55 F will cross her proverbial arms and pout for a few weeks (if not months) in protest of her apparent lack of...
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...
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.
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.
Is a deceptively obvious question.
No matter our preconceived notions of color & shape, a tomato is ripe when its soft to the touch.
The best way to judge if a tomato is ripe is not by the color, but it's softness.
Touch your arm, squeeze it gently: Both firm and supple, your arm as well as your ripe tomato can be plied and is ready to bounce back instantly.
And yes, I am totally encouraging you to squeeze your tomatoes...!
Do your otherwise ripe tomatoes still have green or orange shoulders? Let’s talk.
First, know this: tomatoes photosynthesize sugars from the sun not only in their green leaves, but directly in their green fruit, as well. About 80% of the flavor in a tomato comes from the energy harnessed in leaves, the balance from the fruit itself.
Second: There are different levels of photosynthetic molecules and not all are equally powerful.
Third: The most powerful ones take the longest to ‘break...
If you're growing tomatoes in the Northeast, you're likely growing tomato diseases, as well.
Here is how to identify the four most common tomato diseases here in the Northeast and what to do next.
Blossom-End Rot is an abysmal disappointment that is both manageable and preventable. Affecting paste and roma types more than other tomatoes, blossom-end rot is mostly an issue with the first set of fruit, quickly disappearing once conditions shift for the better.
Remove fruits affected by blossom-end rot as early as possible (like the fruit on the right), since the next flush will likely not be affected.
Symptoms: black, leathery lesion at the blossom-end of the fruit, often visible when fruit is still green and quite small, becoming larger as the fruit matures.
Cause: Calcium deficiency. More accurately, it's a water deficiency. Here is how I visualize it: Calcium is a huge ion while others are small, so calcium needs more water to be absorbed...
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.
With Memorial Day just around the corner, it's finally time to tuck your transplants in the ground. Whether you're planting them in raised beds, a large garden or in a container on your deck, here are five tips to boost their health and, as a result, the beauty and abundance surrounding you this season.
We grow thousands of certified organic transplants for our farm store each spring.
First, know this: Healthy, unstressed transplants grow the greatest abundance. Healthy transplants are short and stout, deep green and not root bound. See the gallery at the bottom for pictures worth a thousand words.
Without further ado:
Transplants, whether you grow them or buy them, are rather sensitive little beings.
Grown indoors with seed-starting soil mix and a roof over their heads, your transplants have lived their lives in conditions very different from those in your garden. They've never experienced gusting winds, falling rain, fluctuating...
Daffodils bloom, wood frogs sing! As robins pull worms from the warming soil, here are ten easy seeds to sow in May.
The classic harbinger of spring, peas are sown as soon as your soil can be worked. (What does that mean? Check out this video.) Some years we sow peas in March. Other years, it's May. All seasons have their advantages and disadvantages. Everything's grand or everything's not grand: you choose. I digress.
Peas tolerate cool seasons better than most plants in your garden. To some extent, the earlier you plant your peas the earlier you'll harvest peas. Keep in mind: peas developing in cooler temperatures will be sweeter and more tender than those developing in the heat of summer. So tuck them in quick! And whatever you do, please resist starting them indoors; peas absolutely despise having their sensitive root systems uprooted. Most of us can relate.
To extend your pea harvest this season, sow both dwarf and full-size...
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...
⭐️ love what you sow ⭐️
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