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Tag Archive | "produce"

Homegrown flavor from an indoor garden


Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company Energy efficient and long lasting high intensity grow lights will provide the greatest yields when growing tomatoes and other fruiting plants indoors.

Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company
Energy efficient and long lasting high intensity grow lights will provide the greatest yields when growing tomatoes and other fruiting plants indoors.

By Melinda Myers

Add some homegrown flavor to your winter meals. From microgreens to tomatoes, it is possible to grow produce indoors.

Microgreens are a quick and easy way to add some flavor and crunch to your plate. Just plant seeds labeled for sprouting or microgreens in a shallow container filled with a sterile potting or seed starting mix. Within two weeks you will be harvesting nutritious mini vegetable and herb leaves for salads, sandwiches or snacking.

Take it one step further and grow a few of your favorite herbs on a warm sunny windowsill. Select a container with drainage holes and set on the appropriate size saucer to protect your woodwork. Fill the container with well-drained potting mix and plant seeds or transplants.  Purchase basil, chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary plants from your local garden center or the produce department.

Greens, like lettuce and spinach, will also grow in a sunny window or better yet under artificial lights. Grow them in a container filled with a well-drained potting mix similar to your windowsill herb garden.  Plant seeds according to the seed packet. Continually harvest the outer leaves when they are four to six inches tall.

Those that like a bit of a challenge may want to try growing a compact tomato, pepper or eggplant. You’ll get the best production with a combination of natural and artificial light or full spectrum lights.

Natural sunlight and full spectrum lights contain the variety of light plants need to grow, flower and fruit. Blue light promotes leaf and stem growth, while red combined with blue promotes flowering. Consider investing in energy efficient and long lasting high intensity grow lights for the greatest yields when growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other fruiting plants indoors.

Leave lights on for 14, but no more than 16 hours each day. Plants need a dark period as well as bright light each day to grow and thrive. Use a timer to ensure the plants receive the right duration of light.

Most flowering and fruiting plants need a high intensity of light, so keep the lights six to twelve inches above your plants. Use reflective surfaces under and around the plants to bounce light back into larger plants.

Increase your indoor growing space by going vertical. Shelf units with built-in light fixtures like the Stack-n-Grow Light System  (gardeners.com) provide multiple layers of growing space.

And once your tomatoes, peppers and eggplants start flowering, you will need to shake things up a bit.  Gently shake the plants several times a week, better yet daily, to move the pollen from the female to the male parts of the flower so fruit will develop. A gentle breeze from a fan or vibrations from a battery-operated toothbrush work well.

Indoor gardening won’t yield the same results as a sunny outdoor garden, but the flavor can’t be beat when gardening outdoors is not an option.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

 

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Opening Day at Solon Market June 7


School’s out and Mom’s already frazzled. The kids have already started their, “I’m bored!” blues.  What to do?  Head on over to Solon Market for a fun-filled summer! The Market kicks off Opening Day Saturday, June 7, with give-aways and a petting zoo, free samples and plenty of seasonal produce as well as crafts, baked goods and flea market items.  Browse the open-air market and visit with your friends, neighbors and family.

Solon Market is bringing back many favorites such as Christmas (in July this year), Fire Fighter Days and the popular Dog Daze Pet Expo. For a complete calendar of events, check out their facebook page at Solon Market or call 696-4227.

Solon Market is a free market charging nothing to vendors for set-up. Located at 15185 Algoma Ave. behind Solon Township Offices in and near the picturesque barn once owned by the Stout Family. It is family-oriented and kid friendly.  Market hours are every Saturday through October from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  Come and join the fun!

 

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What you should know after two produce recalls


From the Kent County Health Department

The Cilantro was sold to distributors in Michigan on August 3, 2013. The product was also shipped to retail stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Cilantro, which was distributed through Meijer and Ben B Schwartz and Sons in Michigan the week of August 5-9, could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  The Cilantro has a Buurma Farms twist-tie on it.

The Cilantro was sold to distributors in Michigan on August 3, 2013. The product was also shipped to retail stores in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The Cilantro, which was distributed through Meijer and Ben B Schwartz and Sons in Michigan the week of August 5-9, could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The Cilantro has a Buurma Farms twist-tie on it.

The Kent County Health Department wants consumers to know the symptoms of illness from the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This comes after a second recall in West Michigan from potentially contaminated produce. This week, Buurma Farms, Inc., recalled fresh cilantro, sold in Meijer Stores in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Heeren Brothers Produce recalled cantaloupe sold in small, independent stores, due to possible listeria contamination.

The health department recommends those who may have eaten either of the recalled items to contact a health care provider if they notice symptoms of illness in the coming weeks, especially those who may already be at high risk for illness. The Listeria bacteria can cause the infection Listeriosis in some people, and can be fatal in high-risk populations. Listeriosis infection has an incubation period that ranges from three days to ten weeks.

Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, stomach cramping or vomiting. If you start to notice these symptoms and believe you may have eaten any potentially contaminated produce in these recalls, contact your health care provider immediately. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can cause a variety of health complications for the fetus, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Even though Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics, it has a high death rate among the food-borne infections.

“There have been no complaints of illness received from either the cantaloupe or cilantro recalls this summer,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of Kent County. “Still, it is a concern, as the incubation period is so lengthy. We are especially concerned about people who are vulnerable to illness: newborns, older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant.”

If you believe you have the produce that has been recalled, you should throw it away immediately.

Here is a link to the FDA recall, which includes a list of stores (mainly Meijer Stores) that have recalled cilantro: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm365422.htm.

More information on Listeriosis can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/.

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