Instant Payday Loan Lender Instant Payday Loan Lender

Tips On Growing And Supporting Washington Cherry Tomatoes

March 14th, 2014

Cherry Tomato

Peak into a few backyards in the summertime, and you may find gorgeous, cherry tomato’s, ripe on the vine and ready for harvest. You can also grow these gorgeous tomato plants too! Here are some tips to get you started:

Some background:

Our Washington Cherry Tomato’s are organic, will grow all season long, yielding 1 ¼” meaty and flavorful fruits.  They are perfect for appetizers, salads, and snacking. We love to roast our tomato’s at 325 degrees F (until softened) with fresh thyme, salt pepper and olive oil.  After roasting, we pair them with crackers, mozzarella cheese, and basil – it’s a real treat! You can find these seeds in our Veggin’ Out and Producer seed kits.

Surprising Health Benefits:

One serving of fresh cherry tomato’s  will provide Lycopene, Vitamins A, C, K, Potassium as well as Folate.  These nutrients will contribute to strong bones, better skin and vision, a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, and can even fight cancer. Tomato’s are also low in calories and fat, and are naturally cholesterol and saturated fat free. Even we are amazed that something this tasty can do so much good.

Growing Tips

-You will need a tomato cage or other support system to hold the tomato plants upright – we have a few great ideas below.

-If starting inside, begin 6-9 weeks before the average last spring frost. If sowing outside after the last frost, wait until temps are above 60 degrees. Tomato plants also tend to grow very well in warm summer areas.

-Plant at ¼-1/2” depth and space 1”.

-Washington Cherry Tomato’s require full sun, moderate watering, and perform best when soil is 80-85 degrees F.

-A high yielding plant will produce many 1 ¼” meaty, red cherry tomato’s that can be enjoyed right off the vine!

-Harvest when tomato’s are firm and fully colored.

Two New Ways To Support Tomato’s

Traditionally, gardeners use metal cages or stakes to keep their tomato plants upright. Yet, many are now finding that these methods can be unstable, lead to uneven sunlight exposure, or other nuisances.  Now more than ever, gardeners are trying a new method to grow their tomato plants upright: they are bending and tying the tomato plants’ rubbery stems on a flat plane.  Using a flat plane can offer what stakes and cages cannot: more stability, even sunlight exposure, a decreased likelihood of fungal disease, increased air circulation, less drooping, and an easier time spotting pests.

1. An Arbor or Backyard Archway: a unique and beautiful instrument for growing tomato’s, and can provide plenty of support.

How to:  Much like you would use a trellis, plant the tomato’s at the bottom of the arbor. Gradually train your tomato plant to climb the arbor by weaving the stems in and out of the support bars, and tying and twisting the flexible stems up and over the archway. Be sure to prune or tie loose stems that meander away from the arbor. Trellises and lattices can also make gorgeous arbors during the summer growing season.

2. A Wire Fence: These are already commonly available in many backyards. Using it for a tomato plant is a great way to create a “living wall” for you and your neighbors to admire.

How to:  If you already have a wire fence – you’re set! If you’d like, you can reinforce the fence stability further by attaching “hog wire” or “horse corral panels” commonly found at animal feed stores. To get started, plant the tomato’s at the bottom of the wire fence. As the tomato plant grows, the trick is to weave and tie the branches as wide as possible. This will provide stable support, and even sun exposure. Soft ties, hooks and twine can also help to ensure the tomato plant stays securely on the fence. Feel free to prune or redirect plants up and over the fence if they grow too tall.

Other Flat Plane Ideas:

-Grow tomato’s up a nice lattice or trellis.

-Create a “bridge” by leaning two wire mesh panels against one another (wire the top for stability). Grow tomato’s on the top surface of the “bridge.”

-Weave tomato plants up a gazebo or similar structure for a unique look.

***Friends, will you grow tomatoes this season? What are some tips that have proved successful in your garden?

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. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!

Be Sociable, Share!

The Taste of Summer And How to Preserve It By Canning

September 4th, 2013

Olives

Oh, the taste of summer. Who doesn’t love dipping a crisp tortilla chip into fresh tomato salsa, or enjoying a bite of corn on the cob smothered in butter or sprinkled with lime? With memories like that, canning vegetables and fruit is becoming a popular way to preserve the taste of our favorite seasons all year long.

Interested in preserving the taste of summer, but have never canned before?

Essentially, canning the taste of summer requires placing the sweet taste of seasonal fruits and vegetables into prepared jars and heating them to a temperature that microorganisms are unable to survive in (and it’s easier than you think!).  If done effectively, canning vegetables and fruits can prevent unnecessary waste with tasting results, save money, and provide a summer bounty for your family all year long, as well as in an emergency situation.

There are two main options for home canning the taste of summer: one is water bath canning and the other is pressure cooker canning.  While both effective, this post details water bath canning as it is user-friendlier for first time canners. We’re covering everything you need to know in this post, from what you need to get started, to a step-by-step guide to effective canning.

Water Bath Canning

Selecting The Correct Jars Mason and Bell jars are the two safest and most effective jars to use for canning the taste of summer because they are designed to heat at high temperatures, and come with a two-piece self-sealing lid.  Do no use commercial mayonnaise, baby food or pickle jars, as these are not suitable for high temperatures.

Supplies Needed Much like with any hobby, the start up costs for canning the taste of summer can seem daunting.  Yet as each year passes, count on saving money as you can reuse jars, canning racks, and other food preserving tools through the years. There are also several canning kits that are available on the market, but you can also purchase these items separately:

*A large traditional cooking pot, specialized canning pot, or pressure cooker to place jars in. Whichever you choose, be sure it has a secure lid to prevent spills.  The pot should also be large enough to fit in each jar with room at the top for water to flow. Check that it is no more than 4 inches wider than the burner for an even temperature.

*A jar rack works well to guarantee water flow, and to space the jars properly; which will prevent cracking.  If a jar rack is unavailable, some choose to use sanitized cotton cloths to separate and cushion each jar.

*Jar funnels helps to easily ladle food in, and prevents fingers from touching the jar lid.

*Several Mason or Ball Jars with two-piece self-sealing lids.

*Other Useful Supplies: Mixing bowls, saucepans, clean towels, a timer, measuring cups, tongs, a ladle, and a cutting board will all help ensure a smooth canning process.

Basic Step-By-Step Water Bath Canning This process is ideal for canning the taste of summer: pickled carrots, a cucumber-turned-dill-pickle concept, unwashed berries, jams, preserves, jellies, pickles and tomato sauce, and can offer intense flavor even after many months.

1. Sanitize all jars and lids by dishwashing them first, and then adding them to a large pot of boiling water.  Allow all jars to soak for at least 5 minutes.  Remove each jar with sanitized tongs, and place them on a clean towel.

2. Using sanitized tongs for larger pieces of food, or a jar funnel for sauces and jams, gently ladle or funnel the food into each jar.  Leave approximately ¾ of an inch at the top for the lid. Be sure to use fresh and seasonal produce for optimum taste and expiration life.

3. Seal each jar by placing the small metal disc on the lid of the jar, and twisting the circular piece until securely fastened

4. Place the jar rack inside a large pot of boiling water, allowing the handles to come up from the top.  Carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water, until all jars are set and carefully spaced. Using the jar rack handles, lower in the jars and fold the handles inside the cooking pot.  Allow the jars to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the jars using tongs, and allow them time to cool off.  Jars should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place to preserve the jar’s contents.

Bonus tip: Looking for a great recipe to get your canning off to the right start? Tomato sauces are excellent choices for first time canners.  The Producer includes the Rose Tomato, an heirloom variety with a beautiful, deep rose pink color. Meaty and flavorful, these tomatoes are perfect for tomato sauces.

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.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Crockpot Cooking Tips For Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

February 6th, 2013

Looking for more ways to use your garden fresh vegetables and herbs this winter? The crockpot is one of the greatest time-saving appliances in your kitchen. While one of the best features of a crockpot is its simplicity (just flip a switch!), getting vegetables and herbs perfectly tender and flavorful in a one-pot wonder can be tricky. Read our tips to ensure your next crockpot meal shows off your garden’s bountiful harvest.

Crockpot Tips For Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

*Vegetables do not cook as quickly as meat. Therefore, place all vegetables at the bottom of the crockpot, which is nearest to the heat.

*Fill the crockpot halfway to 2/3 the way full. Overfilling the crockpot will not allow the contents to cook entirely, while not filling the crockpot enough will cook the contents too quickly.

*Adding plenty of liquid to the crockpot (ie: vegetable broth, water, juice) will allow vegetables to become tender and moist.

*Avoid the urge to lift the lid to stir or to “check on” your meal (we know it’s tough!). Lifting the lid, even only for a moment will only force heat to escape, which may affect the cooking time anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

*Add tender vegetables that cook quickly at the end of the cooking period (we suggest the last 45 minutes to an hour). Vegetables that cook very quickly are tomatoes, squash varieties, and mushrooms.

*Try sautéing vegetables in olive oil, salt, and seasonings directly in the crockpot before you add the remaining ingredients. This will add more POW to your meal.

*Many dry herbs can be thrown in at any time, yet many fresh herbs should be added only at the end of the cooking period. Herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley taste their best when stirred in last minute, just before serving. You can also try using half the herbs in the beginning of cooking, and using the remaining herbs at the end of cooking.

Ready to test these crockpot tips out? We offer many of the vegetables and herbs in this recipe in our Veggin’ Out and Uncle Herb’s Favorites seed kits. This slow cooker stew recipe is simply a cinch to make, and has many of the bright flavors associated with Mediterranean cooking.  Feel free to layer it on pasta, ravioli, rice or quinoa – or serve it as a rich stew all on its own. Is it me, or is it hard not to puff up your chest a bit when making a fabulous meal using a slow cooker?

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Stew

Serves 4-5

2 cups eggplant, diced with peel

1 yellow squash, diced with peel

1 small yellow onion, diced

¼  cup black olives, sliced

¼  cup golden raisons

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup vegetable broth

8-ounce can tomato sauce

½ teaspoon chopped cumin

¼  teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon lemon zest

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

olive oil for drizzling

Method: In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients except for the parsley and olive oil and stir until well mixed.  Cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are tender. The last 30 minutes, add chopped parsley. Serve over pasta, ravioli, quinoa or rice.  Drizzle each plate with olive oil before serving.

 

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.

Be Sociable, Share!

Plant the Garden of Your Dreams with a Customized Humble Seed Kit

April 3rd, 2012

Spring is officially in full swing, and many of us are eager to get back into our gardens and harvest the delicious benefits.  Selecting the seed varieties that work best for your own growing conditions, environment and dinner plates is all part of the fun – and can produce very positive results in your garden.  With this in mind, Humble Seed is pleased to offer a popular demanded option to take advantage of: the opportunity to customize your own seed kit! We are thrilled to partner with Very Jane once again to bring gardeners this much requested option for a limited time.  We also look forward to featuring a permanent customized seed kit option in the near future on our own website.  Review the details below so you can begin your seed selecting right away!

How To Customize Your Seed Kit

To get started, simply review the 28 varieties of premium seeds that are offered exclusively for this promotion. Select 10 different seed packs of your choice. Due to inventory demand, we will not be able to fulfill multiple packs of the same seed type within a single order. Each customized seed kit is priced at $32.00, a 20% discount from the retail price ($40.00) and offered exclusively for this promotion! We are offering the following premium seeds for each customized kit:

 

Vegetables:

Scarlet Nantes Carrot

White Bunching Onion Scallion

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Amazing Cauliflower

Tavera Green Bean (organic)

Red Express Cabbage (organic)

Green Romaine (organic)

Rosa Bianca Eggplant (organic / heirloom)

Washington Cherry tomato (organic)

Rose Tomato (heirloom / organic)

Black Seeded Simpson (heirloom)

Marketmore Cucumber (organic)

DeCicco Broccoli (organic /heirloom)

Peppers:

Yankee Bell Pepper

Antohi Romanian Specialty Frying Pepper (organic)

Padron Pepper (heirloom)

Joe’s Long Cayenne (organic)

Conchos Jalapeno

 Herbs:

Superbo Basil

Purly Chives

Banquet Dill

Bronze and Green Fennel (organic)

Greek Oregano

Cumin

German Winter Thyme

Titan Parsley

Common Sage

Santo Cilantro (coriander)

As always, Humble Seed offers non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds with heirloom and certified organic options at an exceptional value. You can also trust that our premium seeds have one of the highest germination rates when compared with other seed companies, and we ship them directly to you in a re-sealable and airtight Mylar® bag; guaranteed for long-term storage and effective seed saving.  At Humble Seed, you can trust that “ex-seeding expectations” is an affirmation we take seriously.

Click here to start building your seed kit!

Be Sociable, Share!

The Nine Easiest Plants to Grow with your Kids

October 17th, 2011

Children are fascinated by plants and animals, especially if the
outcome is edible or impressive. The only problem is that they’re also quite
quick to lose interest when less-than-spectacular results are achieved after a
long wait. Obviously there’s an element of risk to cultivating any plant, but
we felt we should draw up a list of the plants we found the easiest and the
most satisfying to grow. Most of them don’t require too much specialist
knowledge, and nearly all of them can be grown in confined spaces. All of them
will capture the minds of youngsters and adults alike, hopefully inspiring more
people to grow their own vegetables at home.

We’ve decided to split this post into two categories – vegetables,
and everything else. The “everything else” category is an eclectic mix of
this-and-that, but we felt we ought to give precedence to the vegetables
section for two reasons: Most youngsters are interested in food and, boys
especially, will be doubly entertained by the notion of snacks growing in the
garden. Also, healthy eating is one of the most important elements of education
and the knowledge your child needs to nourish itself will last a whole
lifetime.

Vegetables

Lettuce

This might not get your child’s heart racing at dinner time, but
if they’re used to the dingy, dank stuff from supermarkets then they have no
reason to be excited. Home-grown lettuce with vinaigrette will bring your child
‘round to salad being acceptable, even if they’re unconvinced currently.

Carrots

The only thing we should mention with this is that carrots are
liable to bend and be knocked out of shape by rocks in the soil. Your child will have the opportunity to
plant a seed in the ground, and then mysteriously dig up an eight-inch root in
that exact spot a few months later.

Radishes

Your child may or may not like radishes, but they’re among the
easiest plants to grow and will encourage an interest into more diverse tastes.
If your child does not like them, consider “sculpting” them by scoring them
slightly then plunging them into cold water. They’ll look cool, and taste a bit
less tangy.

Bell peppers

Incredibly easy to grow, but even easier to incorporate into
dishes. You can toss them into salads, add them to kebabs, use them to garnish
dishes, put them in your Bolognese… they have a certain sweetness which you’ll
be able to appreciate even more when you eat them straight from the garden.

Tomatoes

Again, so easy to grow and they work in many summer meals. These
are so easy that a lot of people don’t even bother with planting or pots – just
score some holes into a bag of compost and away you go. Watch out for tomato
blight – the same spores which demolish potato harvests - and if you detect signs of blight in your plant, pick all the
fruit at whatever stage and turn it into chutney.

Everything Else

Basil

This will grow indoors quite happily, provided it has the sunlight
it needs to photosynthesise. (Never too young to start
learning about these processes!) The magic of basil lies not in its biology but
in its taste, which brings any Italian dish to life. Try cooking the leaves on
pizza for an aromatic addition.

Rosemary

Alongside its sister Thyme, these two stalwarts of the herb
cupboard are evocative smells for anyone who grew up in a foodie household.
There are different types of thyme for your child to explore (try the
distinctly citrus-scented lemon thyme) and rosemary goes almost too well with
lamb.

Strawberries

Who doesn’t like strawberries? They’re incredibly good for you,
even if served with cream, and they’re fun to grow. Once they’ve established
themselves, they’ll put out “runners” and colonise whole areas of the garden.
After three years, dig them up and start again to maximise fruit production.

Garlic

Plant garlic in Autumn or even Winter, covering them up with hay
and watering them in the Spring (once you remember what all that hay is doing
all over the garden). The flavour of garlic is a brilliant addition to many
dishes and is a key ingredient in a lot of French cuisine.

 

About the Author:

Dee is a freelance writer and a proud mother of two.  She writes for several sites, one of which
deals in truck rental which might be handy if the kids grow too much vegetables!

Be Sociable, Share!

Color Your Plate and Palate with Super Foods

August 2nd, 2011

 

Super foods—some grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and more—offer a great source of antioxidants and essential nutrients. And they’re low in calories, which make them an excellent choice for weight control and weight loss.

Did you know that the colors of fruits and vegetables also put them in their own group of super foods?

Green super foods, such as broccoli, parsley and spinach, contain large amounts of chlorophyll, which is what gives green vegetables their wonderful green coloring. When chlorophyll found in green vegetables is consumed, hemoglobin in blood is increased. Hemoglobin provides more oxygen-rich blood, and oxygen-rich blood helps cells thrive. Green super foods also contain large amounts of easily digestible nutrients, minerals, proteins and vitamins.

Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, mangoes, oranges and pumpkins, are high in beta carotenes. Beta carotenes may help improve immune function and reduce the risk of heart disease. And beta carotenes help strengthen eyesight, the esophagus, the lungs, and the stomach and may help fight cancer in these areas.

Red fruits and vegetables, such as pink grapefruit, red bell peppers, tomatoes and watermelon, offer large amounts of lycopene. Lycopene, a bright red carotenoid pigment and phytochemical, helps protect cells against damaging free radicals. Studies have demonstrated that lycopene may help fight lung and prostate cancers.

In the moments when we’re enjoying a refreshing, tasty slice of watermelon or flavorful, crunchy carrot we don’t always think about the increased health benefits they offer, but they’re there—super benefits from super foods!

Be Sociable, Share!

Spanish Seafood Dish

June 17th, 2011

Our guest chef has done it again! Check out Katheryne’s spanish shellfish recipe. Fresh mussles and clams come together with tomatoes, fresh herbs and white wine to create this great dish.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:
1 lb of cleaned de-bearded mussels
1 1/2 lbs cleaned little neck clams
2 cups white wine (a white table wine will work perfect)
1 cup of organic canned crushed tomatoes
1 small onion finely diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dried oregano leaves
the juice of one large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
handful of roughly chopped or torn cilantro leaves to garnish

Directions:
First heat either the oil or the butter on med-low heat in a big deep soup pot with a lid or dutch oven.  Once the oil/butter is hot add the finely diced onion.  Sweat the onions for about five minutes.  Once the onions have turned translucent, add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another two minutes.  Now add the crushed tomatoes, white wine, smokey paprika, cumin, thyme, and oregano to the pot to make a broth.  Turn the heat up to medium or until the broth begins to simmer. Let the alcohol in the wine cook off for about twelve minutes.  Add the mussels, clams, and the lemon juice and cover the pot with the lid.  Cook covered for about three to four minutes or until all of the shell fish have opened (that’s how you know they are ready).  Serve in a big bowl with crusty bread and garnished with cilantro from the Humble Seed.  The bright cilantro really awakens this hearty seafood dish.

*NOTE always check your shell fish prior to cooking to make sure they are all alive.  To do this look to see if all of the shells are closed.  If the shell is open, tap it on the counter, if it does not close, its dead, throw it away.

 About Katheryne:

Sustainability is very important to me because I believe that we should take care of the planet that gives us so much. Love the earth and it will love you back. Know where your food comes from; be informed about what you are consuming. By choosing to eat organically grown produce the impact that you are making on the environment and your own health is a positive one.  Living sustainably to me, is not about  what you are giving up, it’s about all that you get! You can check out my website and please be sure to “like” my Facebook page!

Be Sociable, Share!

Planning a Spring Vegetable Garden: Things to Consider

February 10th, 2011

 

Cold weather may be upon us yet but it’s never too early to plan a spring garden, because when you plan properly, you’ll find that your garden is more productive and rewarding. And when you plan ahead you will have saved yourself the time and effort it takes to keep your garden growing as best as possible due to important factors.

If you’re ready to grow your own foods for the first time, you will want to keep a couple of things in mind when planning your garden:

1. Location. A garden spot with loose, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight is necessary. You will also want to consider the proximity to your water source.

2. Garden plan. Will you be growing a lot of your family’s favorite herbs and vegetables? If so, you’ll want to make sure your garden is big enough to accommodate your plants according to spacing and size. If you’ll be working with a smaller garden, you’ll want to consider planting vegetables that offer higher yields, such as bell peppers, bush snap beans and tomatoes. If you would like a continuous supply of vegetables, don’t plant too many of one type of vegetable at once. Instead, plant seeds at intervals so that you have a steady supply of herbs and vegetables for harvesting. Draw out your garden plan. Include each of the following on your plan: location in your yard according to sunlight, location of each type of herb and vegetable, length of the rows for each vegetable, spacing between plants in rows and the rows themselves, planting dates, and which plants that will follow harvested vegetables.

3. Not sure what to sow? If you’re a first-time gardener, consider an herb garden. Herbs, such as basil, cilantro, oregano, and more are easy to grow. And there’s nothing better than using fresh herbs straight from the garden for meals of incomparable flavor. There are even some gardeners who grow herbs solely for their aromatic foliage and appearance. A small 4 x 6 foot area is plenty of space to grow all the herbs a small family needs.

This is bare bones glimpse into planning a simple garden, but the idea is that with just a little bit of time and effort you can grow a garden that will supply you and your family with fresh, healthy herbs and vegetables to get you through the growing season. It’s fun; it’s a great activity for the whole family; and it’s a money-saving venture. So get out your paper and colored pencils, plan out your garden then hang it on your bulletin board. You’ll have a great reminder of what’s in store for spring. It’s just around the corner!

Be Sociable, Share!

Starting Garden Seeds Indoors

February 10th, 2011

 

For many gardeners, February is the perfect time to start seeds indoors 2-3 months before your average date of final frost. If your region’s average final frost date is the end of March then February is a great time to get started so your seedlings will have a good 6-8 weeks to prepare for their new home in your garden.

Starting seeds indoors is easy, and you do not need expensive supplies to get a head start on spring gardening. Supplies include: containers that are 2-3 wide and 2-3 inches deep, like a plastic 40 count tray; loose textured potting mix that has soil, vermiculite or perlite and sphagnum peat moss; seeds; popsicle sticks, a waterproof pen; clear plastic bags large enough to go around your container(s); a 15-15-15 soluble fertilizer; and snail bait.

Here’s how to sow spring garden seeds (such as broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, head lettuce, onion, peppers, squash, and tomatoes) indoors:

1. Fill your container with pre-moistened potting mix then level the soil. To moisten soil, simply put potting mix in a large bag and get it wet until it’s just moist.

2. Sow 1-2 seeds in each tray cell. Gently press the seeds into the soil then add a little bit of soil to the top, to cover seeds.

3. Mark your seedling trays by using your waterproof marker on the popsicle sticks, noting the date you planted and variety of seeds.

4. Place the tray inside of a clear plastic bag then tie it shut. If covering the tray with plastic wrap, you will want to make sure that the plastic does not touch the soil surface. Once covered with plastic you will not need to water the soil until your seeds sprout.

5. Set your seed tray in a spot that is evenly warm, such as the top of your refrigerator if you have the room. Do not place your seed tray in an area that is too drafty or too warm.

6. Once the seeds have sprouted remove the plastic and move the seed tray to a sunny south-facing window. If you do not have a window that provides full sun, you may need to purchase lighting equipment. If the region you live in continues to get very cold at night, you will want to move your seed tray away from the window so that the seedlings do not get too cold.

7. Watering your sprouts is easy. You’ll want to check the soil moisture daily by feeling the soil with your finger. If the soil is dry use a spray bottle that contains room temperature water and mist them with a fine spray.

8. 3-4 weeks after seeds are established, add some complete soluble fertilizer to the water. You’ll only need to fertilize once or twice before planting your seedlings into the garden.

9. After 6-8 weeks, you can start hardening off your seedlings by placing the seed tray outside in full sun for 2-3 hours. Bring the seed tray in after the allotted time. As your seedlings start adjusting to the 2-3 hours in full sun start moving them into the shade too for a few hours before bring the seed tray back indoors. You’ll want to follow this process for about two weeks. After the two week hardening process you can leave your seed tray out all day and night, as long as the temperatures are not freezing. This process, of putting your seed tray outdoors then moving them back indoors allows your seedlings to get used to being outdoors and keeps them from going into shock.

10. Once you’re ready to plant the seedlings in your garden you’ll want to: transplant them in the late afternoon when the sun is low; make sure the seedlings are well watered before planting them in the garden; make sure the garden soil is moist; try not to disturb the root ball when transplanting; water the seedlings once planted, to make sure the soil has settled around the root ball; place snail bait around the seedlings; and keep the seedlings moist for the first 4-5 days after transplanting, to make sure they get established. Once established you can water your seedlings when the soil is slightly dry in between watering.

That’s it! Starting seeds indoors gives you a head start on the spring gardening season and is an activity that provides you with great gardening practice (if you’ve never gardened before) and a wonderful sense of accomplishment. We’re excited for the spring garden season, and we hope you are, too. It’s going to be a great year for healthy, homegrown food!

Be Sociable, Share!

Garden Vegetables: A Kaleidoscope of Health

November 20th, 2010

 

Fruits and vegetables come in all shades of vibrant colors—green, orange, red, yellow and more—that will make your plate and palette pop. But did you know that each color offers health benefits as well?

Plants contain phytochemicals which protect them from things like UV rays and garden villains. These same phytochemicals help boost our immune system when consumed and have been shown to act as free radical scavengers. Here is a short list of vegetables with some of their benefits.

- Tomatoes and red bell peppers: their bright red color comes from lycopene, a carotene and caratenoid pigment. Lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.

- Carrots and winter squash: their vibrant orange color comes from beta carotene, which can be converted to active vitamin A. The phytochemicals found in orange and yellow vegetables may help lower the risk of some forms of cancer, as well as help vision and heart and immune systems.

- Broccoli: its green comes from indole-3 carbinol (I3C), a compound that occurs naturally in broccoli and other green vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and more. I3C has been shown to inhibit the development of cancers of the breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach in some animals.

- Eggplant: it’s chock-full of anthocyanins, water-soluble vacuolar pigments that belong to the parent class of molecules called flavonoids. These anthocyanins have been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.

So much potential in small packages! The next time you eat your favorite fruit or vegetable look at its color and think about the health benefits that may come from eating it. There’s so much to appreciate and more there than meets the eye!

Be Sociable, Share!