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Archive | Bloomin’ Summer

Fresh Market—the Potato

BLOOM-potatoesThe Muscogee (Creek) consider the potato as a gift from the Creator, given to provide sustenance and to define the new breed of mixed bloods born after the advent of the “others” (white men). The clan of the Muscogee is passed through the mother’s family but, because the “others” belonged to no Muscogee clan, the children born of these mixed marriages had no clan. After much prayer and hardship, the Creator was induced to provide the potato, a food that though underground, could see in every direction—the eyes, when planted, would provide them with food forever—and the White Potato Clan came into being.

Yet potatoes, which originated in the Andean mountain region of South America, are believed by experts to have been cultivated by the Indians for 4000 to 7000 years. This durable vegetable was able to be grown at high altitudes and became a staple of these peoples. They were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century and used on Spanish ships to prevent scurvy. European governments promoted this nutritious inexpensive foodstuff but much of the public was suspicious of a product that was not mentioned in the Bible and considered it poisonous because it was a member of the Nightshade family. Indeed its poor reputation in Europe led to the belief by many that eating them would cause leprosy.

There is little doubt that this lowly crop had a big role in demographics and population of the United States as well as other countries. During the early 1800s Irish farmers depended almost exclusively on the potato as it was inexpensive to produce and the economy was poor. But this strategy failed when a potato blight (1845-1846) wiped out most of the crop—the Irish Potato Famine was responsible for nearly three quarters of a million deaths and hundreds of thousands fled their country in search of sustenance. Many (including my ancestors) landed in the United States.

The potato, in its natural state, has many healthy qualities. It is a good source of vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese and dietary fiber. The potato is an important source of B6 vitamins, containing over 20% of our daily value in one cup of baked potato. Vitamin B6 is essential to the production of new cells as well as aiding in neurological activity, our body’s messaging system—specifically cell to cell. Some of these neurotransmitters are; serotonin–lack of serotonin is linked to depression, melatonin, which is needed for a good night’s sleep, epinephrine and norepinephrine—hormones that help us respond to stress, and GABA which is needed for normal brain function. It is best to leave the skin on, as much of its nutritional value is concentrated just under the skin.

Considered by many to be a comfort food, potatoes now enjoy the distinction of being one of the most widely used natural food products throughout the world and Americans love their potatoes! Unfortunately, we tend to negate the food value by adding unhealthy choices or cooking in oils.

Some healthy choices for serving potatoes include baked (without all the cheese, butter and sour cream—try vinegar), lightly fried with a touch of olive oil and steamed or boiled in clear soups. For heart health, keep the salt down to a minimum or use light salt, a more healthy alternative.

The potato is a member of the nightshade family and as such, all green parts of the plant are inedible, including the green parts of the tuber itself. Potatoes should be stored away from sunlight, to prevent the development of toxic compounds such as solanine and chaconine. This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion. These compounds protect the plant from predators and are mostly concentrated in the leaves, stems and fruits.

Potato skins, along with honey have been used as a remedy for burns in India. Burn centers there have experimented with the use of thin outer layers of the skin to protect the burns while healing.

Baked Potato Wedges 

4 baking potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled

4 T. olive oil

½ to 1 tsp light salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fresh  chopped rosemary

¼ tsp. pepper (optional)

Cut baking potatoes into wedges (about 6 per potato)  Place in a covered bowl or zippered bag.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Bake on cookie sheet in pre-heated 400◦ oven for about 30 minutes, turning half-way through.   Lightly sprinkle with salt if desired.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Fresh Market—Broccoli

BLOOM-broccoli‘’I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it.  And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!’’ George Bush Sr., defending his edict to ban broccoli from the White House and Air Force One.

Within a week, broccoli growers in California, outraged by the comment, shipped ten tons of the vegetable to Washington D.C. where it was donated to local homeless shelters  to feed the hungry.

Bush may have done broccoli a favor in the long run as the ensuing firestorm brought broccoli into the public eye as never before! This manmade member of the cabbage family has had a love-hate relationship with humankind since its conception as early as the first century BCE.  The Romans were enamored with the crop and served it with herbs and wine as well as in cream sauces. Drusius, the son of Roman Emperor Tiberius, loved broccoli so much that he gorged on it (excluding all other foods) for an entire month.  It was only after his father chided him for “living precariously,” that he was induced to give it up.  It was during the Roman Empire that broccoli became a staple of their warriors who believed that it enabled them to gain strength for battles.

Despite its early success, its introduction into England and France in the early 18th century did not fare well.  And although broccoli received its debut in the United States over 200 years ago, it did not obtain favor with the general public until the D’Arrigo brothers, Stephano and Andrea, immigrants from Italy, established The D’Arrigo Brothers Company and created “the brand name Andy Boy, named after Stephano’s two-year-old son, Andrew. They advertised by sponsoring a radio program and featured ads for broccoli on the station. By the 1930s the country was having a love affair with broccoli. People were convinced that broccoli was a newly developed plant”(Wikipedia).

Broccoli is another powerhouse vegetable, rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant which has been found to help protect against cancer and aging.  Because beta-carotene is a fat-soluble vitamin, pairing foods rich in it with fats such as nuts or olive oil can help the body absorb it more readily. A cup of cooked broccoli provides as much calcium as 4 oz. of milk and as much Vitamin C as an orange while weighing in at only 44 calories. Eaten raw, one cup chopped comes in at only 24 calories! Looking to boost your potassium? Need iron? Adding fiber to your diet? All are reasons to put broccoli on the table.

 

Ham and Broccoli Roll-ups

1 Bunch fresh broccoli or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained

5 thin slices cooked Ham

½ cup Mayonnaise

3 T. Flour

½ tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Pepper

1 ½ cups Milk

1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese

Fine dry Bread Crumbs

Wrap ham around broccoli spears.  Place rolls in shallow casserole.  In small saucepan, stir together mayonnaise, flour, salt and pepper.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add cheese, stirring until blended.  Pour sauce over rolls.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Broil 4 or 5 inches from source of heat 2 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves  5.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Prep your home and lawn checklist for fall

BLOOM-Prep-lawn(NewsUSA) – As autumn colors set in this season, make sure your all-important home and garden upkeep checklist is ready.

Although the lawn is often overlooked during the fall, it’s actually the perfect time to make sure everything is organized before the harsher winter elements take hold. Paul James, host of HGTV’s Gardening by the Yard, advises homeowners to start early—approximately six weeks before the first good freeze.

Here is a list of some of the tasks and items you should add to your fall checklist this year:

*Maintain the landscape. Tidy up the lawn, flowerbeds, bushes, gardens, etc. Remove unsightly foliage, dead stems, piles of leaves and other debris. Fluff your mulch with a rake so water can seep into the subsoil.

*Plant fall vegetables. Cool-season vegetable gardens can flourish with the right plants—lettuce, greens, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, potatoes and loads more. Imagine all the hearty stews and delicious soups you could make from scratch.

*Keep muscles relaxed, and stay hydrated. Don’t underestimate the fall sun. Summer may be over, but hours of gardening in the sun can still leave you exhausted, strained and parched. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, take breaks and stretch your muscles. If you suffer from backaches and muscle strains, keep some relief like Absorbine Jr. (www.absorbinejr.com) on hand. The natural menthol in Absorbine Jr. helps relieve muscle and back pain to make it a must-have for yardwork. Its herbal ingredients also help provide relief from sunburn and gnat and other insect bites.

*Make room for indoor plants. Your potted or container plants won’t survive the winter outside, so it’s time to make room indoors for tropical plants, herbs and succulents. Potted perennials can be transplanted into a garden after trimming the roots and some top growth.

*Clean garage, shed or outbuildings. Once you organize your storage space, you can neatly put away all of your summer tools or patio furniture. Plus, your newly emptied planters will have a home next to all the other stuff families accumulate.

 

 

 

 

 

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Top tips for avoiding injury and strain while gardening

BLOOM-Tips-to-avoid-injury-while-gardening

(BPT) – There are so many reasons it’s rewarding to tend a garden throughout an entire season. Every month offers new plant growth and well into autumn you get to enjoy nature’s bounty as well as mental and physical health benefits. And enthusiasm for gardening is high: Nearly half (49 percent) of American homeowners have gardened in the last 12 months, or 164 million people, as stated in a 2012 report on GreenhouseManagement.com. But one unwelcome part of taking up gardening as a hobby is the potential for strain and injury.

To get the most out of your time gardening, consider these tips for avoiding physical discomfort:

1. Start with a few stretches

You wouldn’t go for a jog or attend a workout class without warming up, so why would you garden without taking a few moments to stretch first? Before grabbing your tools and heading to your yard, spend five or 10 minutes doing stretches focusing on your arms, legs, back and neck. You’ll be moving and turning a lot, so be sure to stretch and loosen muscles to avoid strain when you’re out tending your garden.

2. Avoid bending and lifting the wrong way

Chronic back pain is an issue for many Americans both young and old. Just because you have back issues doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening. Consider installing raised garden beds, which allow you to garden without having to bend over. Additionally, container gardens can be placed on tables or deck railings for easy access. If you don’t suffer from back pain, avoid back injury by bending and lifting the right way. Remember to maintain good posture, minimize quick twisting motions, bend at the hips and knees only, lift items in a slow and controlled manner, and enlist help if necessary.

3. Protect hands and wrists

Gardening can be physically demanding, and the repetitive motions of weeding, hoeing, raking or shoveling can be problematic for the hands and wrists, particularly if you suffer from arthritis. Minimize irritation by wearing a supportive glove, like Imak arthritis gloves, commended by the Arthritis Foundation for Ease-of-Use. These specially designed gloves provide mild compression that helps increase circulation, which ultimately reduces pain and promotes healing. Washable and made from breathable cotton, the gloves are great for the garden enthusiast. Plus the extra protection helps gardeners avoid painful blisters.

4. Protect the skin from the sun

One of the best parts of gardening is you get to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, but that can mean extended time in the sun so it’s important to protect your skin. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and light cotton clothing that covers exposed skin are good first steps. Always apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum lotion that is SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes prior to going outside, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.

These simple tips will help position you for a full season of gardening delights. Without injury or other physical irritations, you’ll be able to savor the fruits of your labor in the beauty of Mother Nature.

 

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How to save money on lawn care

With a few eco-friendly tweaks to the way you care for your lawn, you can save some green from your wallet and some time.

With a few eco-friendly tweaks to the way you care for your lawn, you can save some green from your wallet and some time.

(StatePoint) There’s no doubt that Americans spend a fortune on lawn care annually. But you can trim your costs without sacrificing your beautiful yard.

And if you need more motivation than saving money, remember that many of the lawn care practices that are good for your pocketbook are great for the planet.

Why Green Matters

Sure, green lawns are a pleasure to look at…but there’s much more to it than that! Consider this:

• Environmental Benefits: Trees, shrubs and grass remove smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air.

• Lifestyle Benefits: Well-placed plantings offer privacy and tranquility by screening out busy street noises.  Do you have children or pets? Turf is necessary for play space.

• Economic Benefits: A green lawn can improve property value.

Efficient Irrigation

When you’re standing out there with a hose, it can be hard to gauge when to stop. Without efficient water distribution, you’re liable to waste water and harm your lawn and plants. However, an irrigation system can help remove that guesswork.

And opt for a licensed contractor with an established reputation for your installation. They can help avoid common do-it-yourself pitfalls, such as uneven sprinkler coverage and poor water pressure.

Smart Technology

Consider investing in a smart system that uses sensors to measure moisture levels in soil. Professionally installed, properly maintained sensors can potentially save a household more than 11,000 gallons of irrigation water annually, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

A good soil sensor will also have extra capabilities, such as the ability to detect soil type and adjust calculations accordingly. For example the Toro Precision Soil Sensor, which is installed without digging, is the only such sensor to offer freeze detection that prevents irrigation when temperatures approach freezing.

Don’t let the initial installation costs of an irrigation system dissuade you. Not only will you recoup the cost over time, but many municipalities and water districts nationwide offer homeowner rebates for installing water conserving irrigation products. Check with your local water district or municipality for rebates in your area.

Optimize

Don’t be afraid to upgrade your motorized lawn care equipment or parts when necessary. From lawn mowers and electric hedge trimmers to the controller, valves and sprinklers of your irrigation system, efficient alternatives may entail upfront costs, but will optimize savings over time.

For example, leaking valves are a major source of water loss, so check them annually for issues. Also, a simple immediate upgrade you may want to consider is replacing your spray nozzles with more efficient ones designed to eliminate runoff and reduce water bills. To calculate how much money you can save with a model like the Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzle, visit www.toro.com/irrigation/psn_calculator.htm.

 

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Top tasks for your fall home maintenance checklist

Gutter cleaning should be part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Courtesy: HomeAdvisor

Gutter cleaning should be part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Courtesy: HomeAdvisor

(StatePoint)  Keeping your home in shape may not top your daily to-do list, but completing certain small seasonal tasks can save you money, time and the need to complete larger, more expensive projects in the future.

“Investing a small amount for preventative fall home maintenance can save thousands in the long run,” Leah Ingram, personal finance expert, says.

Don’t know where to start? The following checklist from HomeAdvisor can help homeowners prepare their homes for the cooler months:

• Clean gutters: During the year, debris such as leaves and twigs can pile in your gutter. Cleaning them once a year prevents problems such as water damage, roof damage and flooding.

•Service your furnace: A well-maintained furnace can help save on heating costs and prevent the need for repairs. Before temperatures drop, schedule your furnace to be serviced.

• Install weather stripping: As fuel and electricity costs continue to rise, keeping your home warm without wasting money and energy is important. Weather stripping your doors and windows can make a big impact.

• Winterize sprinklers: Removing all the water that’s in the lines, pipes, fittings, valves, sprinklers and pumps will prevent your equipment from freezing, expanding and potentially breaking. Hire a professional to attach an air compressor to the system to blow out the water from the lines, pipes and other parts. The service is inexpensive and a professional will know the proper amount of volume and pressure to use to ensure no water is left in the system.

• Clean your chimney: Chimney maintenance is not optional. Deadly fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and expensive chimney repairs are serious consequences associated with neglected chimney maintenance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends all fireplaces, chimneys, flues and venting systems be inspected at least once a year by a pro.

• Flush your water heater: Generally speaking, water heaters are fairly reliable, so they usually aren’t top of mind. But flushing your water heater periodically can prevent leaks and promote efficiency.

“Hiring a professional for fall maintenance tasks like these is a great idea,” Ingram says. “Use a resource such as Cost Guide to research the average price of a project in your zip code before hiring a pro.”

To use Cost Guide and find a professional, visit www.HomeAdvisor.com.

 

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Fresh Market

BLOOM-cucumbersBy Vicky Babcock

 

The Cucumber

The cucumber has been cultivated for over 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest known fruits to be raised for consumption by man.  It has its origins in Nepal and was likely introduced to the rest of Europe by the Greeks or the Romans.  Columbus introduced this member of the squash family to the New World where it thrived.  Indeed, it—along with other squash and root vegetables—was described by William Wood as often being bigger and better than  those grown in his native England.

According to Pliny, the Emperor Tiberius had mobile gardens, which were used as a type of greenhouse to keep him supplied with cucumbers throughout the year. Romans reportedly used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites, bad eyesight and to scare away mice. Wives wishing to have children wore cucumbers around their waists (Wikipedia).

The cucumber fell out of favor along with other uncooked fruits and vegetables in the late 17th century. It was thought that uncooked plants brought on summer diseases and were “fit only for consumption by cows,” a statement that may have led to the appellation of “cowcumber.”

Forget caffeinated beverages, cukes are a good source of B vitamins, providing a boost in energy levels. Often referred to as a superfood, they are known to be one of the best foods for your body’s overall health. Cucumbers are 95 percent water, aiding to keep the body hydrated as well as helping to rid the body of toxins. Much of the vitamins are contained in the skin of the cuke so be sure to consume these natural powerhouses with the skin intact. As with any vegetables consumed raw, be sure to scrub them well before eating.

Cool as a cucumber? Cukes are often about 20 degrees cooler than their surrounding temps. They have been used to treat sunburn and swelling around the eyes and can be pureed to create a lotion for moisturizing and smoothing skin. A slice of cucumber, pressed to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds will kill bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. Eating cucumber before bed can aid in preventing hangovers and headaches. All in all, a hearty powerhouse to aid in your body’s health. Try our salad for a tasty nutritious treat.

 

Cucumber Salad

1 3-oz. pkg. lime Jello

1 cup boiling water

½ tsp. salt

1 cup salad dressing

½ cup sour cream

1 cup chopped cucumbers

1 T. chopped onions

Stir together first three ingredients; let cool. Mix salad dressing and sour cream. Add cucumbers and onion. Fold into Jello mix. Refrigerate until set.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Easy season: Fall gardening spells success

_BLOOM-Easy-season1(BPT) – Scrumptious, healthy veggies, hefty harvests and a break on your grocery bill – many appealing advantages draw people to growing their own vegetables. If you’ve never gardened before or you’re a green thumbed, garden-guru, you’ll soon figure out that fall’s a great time to get growing your own produce. Cooler temperatures and milder sun can spell success for any gardener who takes up the trowel as autumn approaches.

_BLOOM-Easy-SeasonFavorable fall conditions mean growing cool weather crops is comparatively easy, with less watering and care needed for a successful garden. Cool crops will start out strong, growing quickly and then slow their growth as days become shorter and cooler. You’ll also need to work less to protect your garden from pests, as both insects and animal populations will taper off in fall. And since weeds will germinate less frequently and grow slower, weeding won’t be a time-consuming task. Finally, more rain and less sun and heat mean you’ll need to water less.

If you’re ready for gardening success, now is the time to grab that hoe, break some ground and get growing. Tips to get you started:

Pick your plants

Start with transplants, rather than seed. A shorter, gentler growing season means you need to get started right away. Many local garden centers will have a selection of transplants from producers like Bonnie Plants that will grow well in your geographic region. Transplants will be six weeks old and give you a jump start. You’ll be able to harvest sooner than if you start from seed and skip the volatile, sometimes unsuccessful, seed-starting process. Bonnie’s transplants come in earth-friendly biodegradable pots, making planting easy, preventing transplant shock and sparing the use of much plastic. As the pot biodegrades, it’ll add nutrients to your soil, too.

Choose cool crops that your family likes to eat. -Popular fall favorites include:

* Lacinato kale -A cold-hardy vegetable, kale leaves sweeten after frost. Kale is a super food, and Lacinato leaves extend excellent health benefits, lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer and decreasing inflammation.

* Early dividend broccoli – Many greens love the fall, and broccoli is no exception. Plant stalks 18 inches apart and get ready for an easy, hearty harvest. Broccoli is high in fiber and calcium.

* Cabbage – The quintessential fall vegetable, Bonnie’s hybrid cabbage grows large, round blue-green heads. From salads to stews, cabbage adds a punch of flavor and nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and plenty of fiber.

* Romaine lettuce – Romaine packs a big punch with more vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients than other popular types of lettuce. Rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, romaine is especially good for heart health. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

Once you know what you’ll be planting, it’s time to get the ground ready. Remove any garden debris from the past season’s garden and remove weeds before they go to seed.

Size up your soil. Loosen compacted soil, fluffing it up with a garden fork. Soil test and amend if necessary. Adding a 2-inch layer of bagged compost is always good practice. You can also spread a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, according to labeled instructions, for added nutrients.

Plants will need an inch of moisture per week, either through rain or supplemental watering. You might want to consider raised bed planting; beds are easy to build or buy and allow you to start out with good quality soil. Plus, you’ll bend less come harvest time.

Position your plot and let the sunshine in. Most vegetables need full sun – at least six hours per day. Finally, don’t fear frost. When frost threatens, cover plants with floating row cover, cold frame or a cloche. Or, you can grow fall veggies in a container and move pots to a protected location on frosty nights.

Whether you’re working in the backyard, a raised bed or in containers on a deck, you’ll see how easy and successful fall planting can be. Start now to ensure you enjoy a healthy, plentiful and fulfilling fall harvest. For more tips on fall gardening visit www.bonnieplants.com.

 

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Fresh Market

BLOOM-jalapenoBy Vicky Babcock

 

The jalapeño, a medium sized chili pepper, is a cultivar of the species capsicum annuum which originated in Mexico. It is probably the most well-known of the chilies, often considered one of the hottest. However, the jalapeno’s heat level varies from mild to hot, depending on the soil and cultivation.  The heat is mostly concentrated in the membrane surrounding the seeds and in the seeds itself, which is why whole chilies are much hotter than chilies that have been seeded.  Always use caution when handling chilies and keep hands away from the face and eyes as it can be extremely painful if brought into contact with the eyes. It is traditionally picked unripe as a green fruit but it can also be eaten as a mature red chili.

One cup, chopped (90 grams) contains only 27 calories and provides 10 percent of your dietary fiber and 66 percent of vitamin C.  It is low in Cholesterol and Saturated Fat, low in Sodium and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Copper, Potassium and Manganese.

Fresh out of garlic? Around here the best deterrents against vampires and werewolves are chilies. It’s also very effective in warding off the evil eye.  According to the web site, Fiery-Foods, East Indians in Trinidad have been known to wrap “seven red pepper pods with salt, onion skins, and garlic skins in paper” and pass it around a baby to “remove najar, the evil eye, which is believed to cause unnecessary crying.”  Another African-American legend holds that in order for peppers to be hot, you must be angry when you plant them.  We assume that means, if you want medium hot peppers you would only need to be mildly annoyed.

 

Jalapeño Poppers

1 lb Italian Sweet Sausage

1 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese

4 T. Parmesan Cheese

3 tsp.  Italian Seasoning

A produce bag full of big Jalapeño Peppers.

Note:  If you get the smaller ones they will be really hot. The bigger peppers are mild.

Crumble and cook sausage.  Remove from heat and drain grease.

In bowl mix cooked sausage, cream cheese,  parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.

Prepare peppers by cutting in half and removing seeds.  Fill each pepper and place on cookie sheet.  Broil for about 4-6 minutes. Be sure to wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face as these peppers  can be extremely painful to the eyes.

Serve warm.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

BLOOM-Autumn-edibles1

(BPT) – People choose to garden for many reasons: Food is fresher and tastes better. It’s a healthy hobby that exercises the body. It saves money. Numerous reports show an increasing number of homeowners are growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

As summer’s end nears, you may think gardening season is over. The good news is with a few strategic tips, you can keep your green thumb going and enjoy a plethora of autumn edibles for months to come. -

Step 1: Select second plantings

Second plantings are the plants you use for the latter part of the gardening season. Late summer is typically the best time to plant these varieties. Call your local extension offices or access information online to find regionalized planting schedules and recommended plant varieties.

The length of the fall season and when the first frost will likely hit are important considerations when selecting second plantings. Keep in mind that fast-maturing vegetables are ideal for fall gardening and they should be planted early enough to reach maturity before the first frost arrives.

Popular second plantings that yield a delicious late fall/early winter harvest include broccoli, lettuce, turnips, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks and beets. Some people even claim root vegetables and cole crops like kale and turnips taste better after the first frost.

Step 2: Prepare your garden space

If you plan to use your current garden space for second plantings, remove the early-season plants that are done producing. Add those plants to your current compost bin or create a new compost pile with easy-to-use, stylish options from Outdoor Essentials. Wood-slate bins blend well with the outdoor aesthetic and the design allows oxygen to circulate and facilitate the composting process.

Next, prepare your garden space. Elevated garden beds are growing in popularity because they look great anywhere in your yard or on your patio, and are easy to move if necessary. Raised garden beds from Outdoor Essentials elevate the plants so gardeners don’t have to bend over and risk injury. They are ideal for fall because gardeners can regulate the temperature of raised beds with ease. On hot days, move or add a shade netting to protect plants from the heat; when frost is a threat, cover the entire bed for protection.

While you’re getting your hands dirty, fall is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little outdoor work now and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers when spring arrives next year.

BLOOM-Autumn-edibles2Step 3: Enjoy the harvest

Tend your garden daily for the best results – it may just need a quick check for pests and proper soil moisture. Typical benefits of late-season gardening include fewer bothersome bugs and the soil has better water retention.

As plants grow, pick the fruits and vegetables and enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty. If your plants become crowded, pluck a few out to help remaining plants grow roots and increase the harvest yield. You may be surprised just how many cool months your plants provide you with fresh, delicious produce.

Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening momentum alive. So get started and decide what second plantings are best for your space. In as little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you’ve ever had, all while under the gorgeous autumn sun.

 

 

 

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