video tutorials, tried-and-true tips + our latest learnings to surround you with abundance all season long
I was tempted to share 'seeds to never transplant,' yet never is such strong, dominating language.
There is always more than one way to do things.
In fact, we transplant some of these seeds...
...but only because it keeps our lives more simple ...
...not because the plants prefer it.
So yes, it's true, there are some seeds whose sensitive root systems simply prefer to grow where they're planted. Planting them in soil blocks, cow pots or peat pots is always an option --- just be sure you're transplanting them as soon as seedlings emerge from the soil.
It's counter-intuitive, I know, but directly sowing these seeds in deliciously warm soil after final frost will surround you with earlier and more abundance than their transplanted kin, even in short seasons. Planting them earlier is simply not an equation to get an earlier harvest.
The cucurbit botanical family includes zucchini, summer & winter squash, melon, &...
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...
Many people will proclaim, "Stink Bug!" when they see Gray Squash Bugs ambling about on their zucchini. Indeed, they are 'true' bugs and the stink is real when they're crushed. Gray Squash Bugs are close relatives of the resident 'stink bugs' in your home.
A little knowledge goes a long way, so here is the biology you need to know plus the organic management keys to keep in mind.
First, Gray Squash bug eggs are gorgeously shiny metallic bronze in clusters of about twenty eggs laid underneath squash leaves, often tucked along a vein. Cucumber beetle eggs are astonishingly similar, though there is more space between eggs (see below). Either way, if you see them, squish them!
An adult squash bug laying her eggs. Photo credit to insectimages.org.
Gray Squash beetle eggs are laid a dense cluster (right) compared to Cucumber beetle eggs (left) which have more space between eggs. Both are most often on the underside of cucurbit leaves.
Eggs hatch in late summer...
First, if you want to see me shudder in disgust, don't miss minute 4:05 in the video tutorial :)
And Friends, perhaps you’ve seen these gorgeous moths frolicking in your garden, though I hope you haven't.
The Squash Vine Borer (Melitta curcurbitae) is a great moth to become familiar with because yes, they're beautiful. Also, they're one of the most devastating insects in your garden.
The gorgeous and devastating adult moth of the Squash Vine Borer.
Squash Vine Borers make their home in the base of your squash plants, devouring their soft marrow before killing their host. They're particularly fond of any Cucurbita pepo plant, which includes all manner of zucchini, summer and pattypan squash in addition to pumpkins, acorn, spaghetti, delicata squash and more.
Thankfully they are not attracted to cucumbers and melons, but most squash, winter squash, and pumpkins can be dramatically affected. I’ve heard and seen horror...
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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.