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What To Plant In October

September 27th, 2013

garden images

Unless you’re living in California and Florida and are essentially free of frost, it’s important to be mindful of your first frost date when it comes to October sowing. Typically, the first frost in most regions will begin at the end of October. This means that it’s a wise idea to start preparing your garden…right now!

If each season you’re feeling stumped on what to plant and when, run (don’t walk!) and check out our Humble Seed Garden Planner. This clever slide chart has a variety of features; including the critical frost dates in your specific region. To make your garden even further fail-proof, the planner also shows planting depth, distance between rows, and the distance between plants after thinning for 22 different popular vegetable varieties.

What To Plant Right Now

Asparagus – These vegetables thrive in areas with winter ground freezes and dry seasons. Essentially if you’re living in anywhere other than Florida and the Gulf Coast, go ahead and plant in October. While it takes some time until harvest, crisp asparagus stems smothered in butter is well worth the wait.

Beets, Turnips and Radishes – Root crops can take a little frost, but be sure to continue protecting them from the extreme cold to extend the season if you plant in October.

Broccoli – This versatile vegetable not only likes cool weather, it tends to taste better when grown in down right chilly weather. Cloth cover these guys on the coldest nights, but don’t fret too much if your region has moderately cold winter weather.

Brussels Sprouts – While  slow growing, Brussels sprouts truly prefer cooler weather and will not give you trouble if you plant in October AND live in the Pacific Northwest (“the fog belt”) where they tend to grow best.

Onions, Scallions, Shallots  – Depending on the variety of Allium, there are quite a few to choose from that will hold up well during frost and can be planted safely in areas with moderate winter climates.

Peas – These little veggies prefer October sowing in cool soil that is not overly fertilized (they tend to reject too much nitrogen). Go ahead and sow in October, and enjoy a variety of winter soups all season.

Winter Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Cabbage, Kale and Spinach – Hardy leafy greens are the soul of winter! Sow a really hardy variety and be mindful to not overwater. Protecting these leafy greens from the cold is essential, so try using fleece covers or winter lights to help provide additional warmth if you plant in October.

Readers, we’d love to ask you: What are you planting in October? 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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How To Grow and Use Beets For Beginners

April 29th, 2013

Researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine have discovered that drinking just 500 ml of beet juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure. Those that suffer from cardiovascular disease, or would like to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease are advised to include beet juice in their diet (see our juice recipe below).

Yet, even if you’re not so interested in the health benefits, and more interested in how to make a delicious meal with beets (like this vibrant beet ravioli)- it might prove useful if you know how to effectively grow them in your garden. Our dual purpose beets produce striking dark red leaves that can enhance salads or a sautéed greens dish. When sliced, roots offer an attractive candy-striped color to pasta, salads, soups, or mixed roasted vegetables.

Spring is the perfect time to begin growing beets. Our heirloom and organic Bull’s Blood Beet can be found in the Veggin’ Out and Producer seed kits. If you’re new at this, check out our beet growing tips below.

Growing details:

*Soil temperature: 70-85 degrees F.

*Days to maturity: 45-60 days

*Sun and water: full sun/partial shade with moderate watering.

Starting inside: Sow seeds 3-4 inches in flats, a cold frame, an indoor seed bed, or in 1-1 ½” plug trays 4-6 weeks before transplanting outside. Transplant outdoors 12-18” apart in rows 18-34” apart.

Starting outside: Sow 3-4 seeds 12” apart, ½” deep, and in rows 24-36” apart. Thinning is necessary, as there is a chance you will get more than one seedling out of each seed. Thin when they are about 2 inches high by pinching them off. Be cautious not to pull them out of the ground, as this may disturb the roots growing nearby.

Seed maintenance: Adding mulch or organic compost will only help these plants to thrive. Providing moderate water (and being careful not to overwater), and offering opportunities for full sun and partial shade will also make beets an excellent long-season crop.

Harvest tips: When 2” or greater, dig or pull roots. Attractive roots are best harvested when young, and the greens can be harvested at any time. Leave fall crop in ground until needed or when soil begins to freeze.

Seed saving: Beets are biennials that must be dug, stored, and then replanted in order to produce seed crops in climates with freezing weather temperatures.

How to make beet juice?
Never drink beet juice by itself. Beet juice should always be mixed with apple juice
and/or other vegetables.

Beet Juice
1/3 bowl beet juice
1/3 bowl carrot juice
¼ bowl cucumber juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together then serve with 1 tablespoon of yogurt, as a topping.
Note: Never drink pure beet juice by itself. Drinking pure beet juice can temporarily
paralyze your vocal chords, cause hives, increase your heart rate, and/or cause chills
or a fever.

***Friends – are you starting beets in your garden this season? What other root vegetables are you growing?

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The Top 10 Health Benefits Of Beets

August 24th, 2012

Beets are easy to love. They are gorgeous in color, and offer a rich, earthy flavor that can’t be replicated. Once you get cooking, one slice down the center allows a beet’s red juices to trickle free, making you wonder if you got lost in some teenage vampire movie. But don’t let that deter you from roasting or juicing them, grating and then throwing them in salad, or even baking them into a gratin.

While at one time beets made “The 11 Best Foods You Are Not Eating List” we’re hoping that beets are making a comeback! There are just too many health benefits one should take advantage of. Read on for 10 reasons beets should make a comeback on your plate.

1. Beets contain a unique combination of antioxidants. They contain essential phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains contain a variety of antioxidants, and give beets their famous red and yellow hue.  These phytonutrients, along with vitamin C and manganese, help to protect against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, as well as age-related macular degeneration.

2. Beets can lower blood pressure. Research at the American Heart Association found that beets can lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease. An article published by Hypertension (June 30, 2010) suggests that 8.5 ounces of beet juice can greatly lower systolic blood pressure.

3. Beets keep athletes hydrated. Beet juice contains high levels of potassium, which help to balance electrolytes and regulates the body’s fluids.

4. Beets are a natural anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, certain cancers, and other health problems. Fortunately, beets contain high levels of carotenoid phytonutrients and betain (a B-complex vitamin), that help to regulate inflammation. Furthermore, beets also contain choline, an important vitamin in controlling inflammation.

5. Beets detoxify the body. Betalain pigments not only give beets their rich color, but are also important contributors to the body’s detoxification process. Pigments help to neutralize unwanted toxins and make them easier to eliminate in urine. Those that live in big cities or feel they are exposed to above average toxin levels could benefit from adding beets to their diet.

6. Beets contain healthy nitrates. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that there is an important nitrate in beets that helps increase stamina, and reduces the need for oxygen intake.  This combination makes exercise less tiring, and those who took part in the study felt more energized.

7. Beets can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Many prefer beets that are lightly steamed, boiled, baked or roasted. But just remember that high heat reduces the antioxidant and nutrient content (don’t you hate that?). Fear not – raw beets are also exceptionally flavorful. To attain the most benefits, throw ½ beet down a juicer along with your favorite fruits and vegetables, or grate/slice thinly in a salad.

8. Beets are essential for eye health. They can improve overall eye health, and have even been studied to reduce rates of macular degeneration, which affects a growing number of seniors.

9. Beets can prevent cardiovascular disease. Amrita Ahluwalia, Professor of Vascular Biology at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute said, “Our research suggests that drinking beet juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and might also be an additional approach that one could take in the modern day battle against rising blood pressure.”

10. Beets can help those with anemia and low-blood hemoglobin. The high iron content in beet juice is easily absorbed in the blood stream, and can also increase blood count and improve circulation.

***Are you growing beets this fall? What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

http://www.prohealth.com//library/showArticle.cfm?libid=7575

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/the-11-best-foods-you-arent-eating/

http://www.naturalnews.com/029227_beet_juice_blood_pressure.html#ixzz24DsBa5yc

http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-beetroot-juice.htm

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