There is nothing more delicious than a juicy tomato picked from a homegrown tomato vine. I can remember plucking and eating fresh tomatoes, warm from the summer sun, from my grandparents garden. My grandparents ran a little country market in Iowa and grew some of the biggest and tastiest tomatoes ever. How did they do it? Here are a few of their time-tested tips that they happily shared with anyone who visited their market.
Beans are a staple crop in home gardens around the world. They are robust, easy to start, and a delicious garden vegetable that can be canned and preserved for later enjoyment. But have you ever wondered if there was anything that you could do to maximize your bean plant’s performance and increase your yield? In fact, there are some really easy, time-tested tricks that can help you have a huge harvest of your favorite beans.
Perhaps you have grown theme gardens before like butterfly, tea, salsa, or salad gardens. But have you ever considered growing your very own energy garden? An energy garden is packed with homegrown goodness that can give you just the right amount of energy before a hard workout.
I love sweet potatoes; they are a highly nutritious and delicious root vegetable. Known as Ipomoea batatas, sweet potatoes are not only one of the best vitamin A sources, but they are also packed with vitamin B5 niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids. Research has also uncovered a host of therapeutic benefits in sweet potatoes. They contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties. Sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to any meal and can even help keep your skin healthy.
How do you like your coffee? Maybe a little cream, a little cinnamon, honey, or perhaps a few mushrooms? Maybe I had you at cream, cinnamon, and honey…but lost you at the mushrooms. Believe it or not, fans of mushroom coffee rave about benefits like increased energy, stress reduction, better sleep, and clear thinking. But does it work?
Mushrooms and herbs are known as adaptogens that help the body recover from short and long-term physical and mental stress. Research shows that adaptogens can boost immunity, combat fatigue, improve mental acuity, and reduce anxiety and depression.
What are super mushrooms?
Super mushrooms, or “magic,” non-trippy mushrooms, have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to tackle many ailments and support the immune system. Today, mushrooms are one of the most scientifically studied superfoods. Researchers are finding out mushrooms have incredible health benefits for the brain, immune system, hormones, energy levels, mood, and cognitive function.
These powerful mushrooms are ground up and added to many things such as coffee and tea. Let’s take a closer look at the top adaptogenic mushrooms often included in coffee blends, along with their health benefits.
Reishi is known as the drug-free option for Xanax. Also known as lingzhi, reishi mushrooms are known as the “mushroom of immortality” and have powerful adaptogenic impacts on the body and mind. Reishi is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. People have been drinking reishi tea for thousands of years to boost immunity and longevity. These immune-boosting fungi contain compounds that promote cells involved in immune system function. Because they have analgesic properties, reishi mushrooms help the body relax and wind down. Research also shows that reishi mushrooms can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better by promoting high-quality, deep, slow-wave sleep. Studies also show that reishi mushrooms can reduce blood sugar in persons with diabetes and reduce excess fat storage.
Chaga mushrooms are best known for their inflammation-busting properties. Packed with antioxidants, these fungi go right to work, fighting inflammation and gobbling up free radicals. Like reishi, Chaga mushrooms help to fuel the immune system. Research shows that these mushrooms can be used to prevent aging of the heart, fight viral infections, and can even possibly be used to treat cancer.
For brainpower, including memory, creativity, clarity, and concentration, lion’s mane mushrooms are a great choice. This fungus stimulates the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a vital bioprotein in the maintenance, health, and regeneration of brain neurons. Research shows the power of these mushrooms in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Do you currently fuel up on pre-workout stimulants to help you get through your workout? Cordyceps is a natural pre-workout fuel that is not a stimulant but rather an adaptogen that supports the adrenal glass and helps your body stay energized all day long. Also, cordyceps increase cellular oxygen absorption, boost strength and stamina, improve performance during exercise, and hasten recovery from a hard workout. Like other mushrooms, cordyceps is rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties.
Make mushroom powder
The good news is that you can make nutritious mushroom powder. After dehydrating mushrooms, place them in a food processor or blender. Process into fine powder and store in a clean jar with a lid. If you want extra fine powder, use a mesh strainer to separate any larger mushroom pieces. Place the larger pieces back into the blender or food processor. Add mushroom powder to your favorite soups, smoothies, broth, sauces, gravy, yogurt, and more for a nutritional boost.
Eat mushrooms whole
Adding more whole mushrooms to your diet is an excellent way to reap all of their tremendous benefits. Just be sure always to choose organic. Toss mushrooms into salads, pasta dishes or grill them with other veggies for a delicious summer side dish.
So, whether you enjoy them in a coffee or tea blend, superfood powder, or whole, mushrooms are a spectacular superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals and adaptogenic properties you don’t want to miss.
Here’s to eating more mushrooms,
-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of eating fungus. However, mushrooms’ nutritional value is second to none, and researchers are learning more each day about their many benefits.
If you love cucumbers as much as I do, you will be thrilled to know that doing a few simple things results in twice the amount of cucumbers and an extended fruiting season. I know this sounds almost too good to be true, but trust me, these little tweaks do work, and I would love for you to give them a try and let me know all about your harvest.
Did you know that cultivating the right combination of plants close to each other can make your garden blossom from mediocre to outstanding? Companion planting is an ancient gardening practice that has been making a comeback for one simple reason… it works. Planting a diverse mixture of plants, including annuals, perennials, flowers, and veggies, makes for a much healthier garden and, often, a tastier harvest. On the flip side, planting the wrong combination of plants can result in an unhealthy garden and a mediocre or even poor harvest.
Are you dreaming of bigger, tastier tomatoes? I often find myself thinking about ways to have a massive harvest of gorgeous and juicy fruit. Because of this, I have spent the better part of the last ten years studying how to have the best tomatoes ever. Much of what I have learned has come from trial and error. From this, I have a newfound understanding and appreciation of just what tomatoes need to thrive. If you ready for the best tomatoes ever, read on.
They may be tiny, but they are also insanely damaging. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on garden plants in temperate growing zones. They cling to plants and suck sap, which weakens the plant and makes it susceptible to a host of viruses. They also leave ugly honeydew deposits (a sugary, rich liquid) on leaves, closely followed by sooty mold growth.