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An easy method to garden without having to break your back digging up or tilling the soil in your garden is the Lasagna gardening method. Also known as layered gardening, sheet composting, sheet mulching, no-dig gardening, the Lasagna gardening method was popularized in the 1990’s through Patricia Lanza’s book ‘Lasagna Gardening’ (What did you think it would be called?)!

Concept of Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening involves building up the soil by adding alternate layers of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich organic layers that over the course of time is broken down by beneficial microbes, insects and earthworms to give rich, fluffy soil that will make your plants thrive! Doesn’t that sound great? You don’t have to double dig or till the soil in your garden.  You don’t have to remove existing weeds and grass. In fact, you don’t really have to bend your back and do anything to the soil!

This is how it could look once you're done. If you're extremely neat, that is!

This is how it could look once you’re done. If you’re extremely neat, that is!

The concept of Lasagna gardening actually mimics nature’s way of enriching the soil! Think of a field where grass and random plants grow. In the course of a season, a time comes when the plants dry out and decay and are covered by falling leaves. Animal manure and fruits lay sprawled over the ground. These can be classified into separate layers on the ground and when rain comes pouring, an ideal environment is achieved and enriched soil is formed.

In Lasagna gardening you get to manipulate the soil you create by choosing to add various combinations of layers. Building a Lasagna garden is very much similar to building a compost pile. Like a good compost pile, your Lasagna bed should contain a healthy mix of various types of organic matter.

Materials

A rule of thumb that every gardener should know while creating the various layers is that the carbon-rich (“browns”) layer be at least twice as deep as the nitrogen-rich (“greens”) layer.

Browns are dry dead stuff including dry leaves, straw, hay, shredded newspaper, peat, pine needles and small twigs and wood chips.

Greens are grass and garden clippings, kitchen compost, leftover fruits and vegetables, egg shells and manure from herbivores. Using animal meats or any type of fats is a strict no. You don’t want maggots in your soil!

When to Build Your Lasagna Garden

Anytime you like really!

Fall is the ideal time though, since the amount of organic material available for free is aplenty! Then as you let it sit through the winter, by the time spring arrives you will have rich and fertile soil waiting to be used.

If you want to start a Lasagna garden during spring or summer, the only tweak you would have to make is adding more “soil-like” layers to the bed like top-soil or peat. This is because there isn’t enough time for the microbes to work on your layers before you can plant!

Building a Lasagna Garden

Plan your crops and select a spot: As with any garden, planning what you want to grow in advance is essential. Do some research and get advice from fellow gardeners to find out what vegetables do well in your area. Take into account amount of sunlight, irrigation, pest problems etc. while deciding the space.

Assemble your Lasagna plot: Creating a Lasagna garden is a lot like dinner-time lasagna! Yup, you get to customize the ingredients to match your taste. Now that you know what you can layer with, here’s how to assemble your plot.

1. Build the foundation: Lay down on your planned area 6 to 10 sheets of newspaper or 1 sheet of corrugated cardboard so that the entire grow area is covered. This thick under-layer should overlap at all the edges. Before proceeding soak this entire area thoroughly. Water helps keep the layer intact and sets the premises for earthworms and their likes. Do not use fully colored or glossy newspapers. This layer essentially blocks weeds and other unwanted plants from growing in the area.

2. Alternate following layers with nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich material: Here’s the best part! You get to fill the layers up just the way you like it! Just keep in mind the rule of twice as much carbon-rich as nitrogen-rich material!

Say you add a nitrogen-rich layer of manure about 2 inches deep. Add then, 4-6 inches of carbon-rich dry leaves etc. Chopping and shredding leaves, twigs and newspapers you add help a great deal cooking them up faster! While adding layers, do not compress them. Aerated layers do better during the decomposition phase.

Pictorial representation of layers involved in a Lasagna garden.

Pictorial representation of layers involved in a Lasagna garden.

Keep adding alternating layers till about 1or 2 feet or as you please! The mound will eventually shrink down over the course of months owing to decomposition of the layers by organisms so don’t worry about the pile being too high.

You can top it off with some top-soil or humus to provide a more soil like amendment. Some gardeners add pure compost and soil on top so that the mixture will have some sand, clay and minerals in addition to organic matter. You can add other minerals and nutrients to the bed at any point. Bone meal or fish bone meal adds phosphorous and calcium. Greensand or kelp meal add potash and trace minerals, rock dust adds trace minerals too.

3. Let it cook: Once you’re done with the layers, keep them moist as organisms thrive in such conditions. Covering the bed with a sheet of plastic weighed down on the sides helps not only in heating up and quickening the process but also in keeping out animals that could burrow through the bed and mess it up.

Each material in the bed has its own decomposition time. Hence the bed is best when all of it is decomposed.

4. Plant away: If you’ve used cardboards at the bottom, use a shovel to cut through it in many places so that roots can go through them. No need of digging. Just pull the soil apart, plant and cover up with soil.

People have put in plants right away in their Lasagna gardens and have been satisfied with the results. Waiting for months though will give you much better crops as the soil will be nice and rich!

Maintaining your Lasagna bed: Maintenance is pretty simple! Just add mulch (grass clippings, bark, and leaves, straw) to the top of the bed every now and then. Weed and water as necessary. That’s it! Enjoy your harvest!

Need seeds or starter plants? Check our online store!

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Turnips are root vegetables that are highly sought after especially in European, Asian and Eastern-American cuisines and for a good reason too! Mature turnips resemble potatoes in appearance and exude a bitter flavor that goes very well with sweet meats like pork. Young turnips are sweeter and are used raw in salads. Turnips are part of the Brassicaceae family and prefer temperate climates. Though most commonly grown for their bulbs, turnip greens and sprouts are edible and are more nutritious than the bulbs itself!

Health Benefits of Turnips and its Greens

Cancer Inhibition: Turnips contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been linked to reduction in cancer risk levels. The high amounts of glucosilonates in turnip greens are an excellent way of helping the liver process toxins and fight the effect of carcinogens, thus preventing the growth of tumors.turnips

Maintain a Healthy Digestive System: Turnip greens contain good amounts of digestive fiber which promotes good functioning of the body’s digestive system. Dietary fiber can help regulate proper bowel movements, lessens risk of digestive problems and help remove excess cholesterol. Lower risk of obesity, strokes, heart diseases and hypertension has all been linked to having fiber-rich diets!

Healthy Heart: The anti-inflammatory properties of turnips are said to be helpful in preventing heart attacks and diseases. Folates and vitamin B are found in good amounts in turnip greens and are critical to maintaining good cardiovascular health.

Bone Health: Calcium and potassium present in turnips are essential minerals for the maintenance of healthy bone growth. Regular turnip consumption inhibits joint damage, lowers risk of osteoporosis and the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the presence of copper in turnips boosts the production of connective tissues in the body.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Turnip greens are a great source of vitamin K and omega 3-fatty acids; both are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. Vitamin K is a known regulator of the inflammatory response system in the body while omega 3-fatty acids are essential building blocks of the inflammatory system, thus helping in the reduction of diseases that result from chronic inflammations.

Anti-oxidative Properties:  A wide array of important anti-oxidants are found in turnips such as vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, beta-carotene, xanthin, lutein all of which help in bringing down the number of free radicals in the body. Thus inculcating turnips in your diet will help your body fight DNA damage and atherosclerosis, a condition that affects blood vessels.

Aid in Weight Loss: Since turnips are a low calorie nutrient rich food they are an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. The high fiber content boosts the metabolism too!

Nutritional Facts of  Turnips (Raw)

Serving size- 100 grams

Calories per serving            28Calories from fat                      1

% Daily Value*

Total Fat                                0 g                                       0%
Saturated Fat                           0 g                                       0%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol                           0 mg                                     0%
Sodium                                 67 mg                                    3%
Total Carbohydrate              6 g                                        2%
Dietary Fiber                           2 g                                        7%
Sugars                                    4 g
Protein                                   1 g

Vitamin A    0%

Calcium       3%

Vitamin C   35%

Iron             2%

*% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

After reading this articles, I’m sure you realize that eating turnips regularly is going to benefit you in several ways! What better than to grow your own? Check our online store for some amazing varieties of turnip seeds!

Tomato hornworms and Tobacco hornworms are often confused for one another but nonetheless are both very destructive pests that are common in North America. They both attack tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper and tobacco plants. Hornworms feed on the leaves, small stems and fruit of the aforementioned plants. They have voracious appetites and despite their large size are difficult to spot as they blend in well with the foliage. They both damage plants in a similar manner and likewise can be controlled and prevented using the same techniques.

Identify Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms

Tomato hornworms are green caterpillars with white v-shaped marks along its body that grow up to 5 inches long and have a black horn projecting from its rear. Tobacco hornworms are also green with white stripes diagonally across its body and have a red horn on its rear. Their horns are fake and incapable of stinging, so no worries there!

The ugly tomato hornworm!

The ugly tomato hornworm!

Tomato hornworms are the larvae of the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth while tobacco hornworms are the larvae of the Sphinx Moth. Both these moths lay their eggs on the underside of leaves of their favorite plants. Eggs hatch in 4-7 days.

Hornworm eggs are round and greenish-white and will mostly be found on the underneath of leaves of the plants they relish!

Signs of an infestation

Dark green/black dropping on leaves or stems of the plant you’re inspecting or on the ground around the plant is a sure shot sign of a hornworm infestation! Stems with missing leaf bits, wilting leaves, small bites in immature fruit are also signs of an infestation.

Controlling and Preventing Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms Organically

Till the soil: Rototilling soil in and around planting area after harvest and before planting the next batch will without doubt get rid of overwintering pupae of the hornworm. Performing this activity can cause greater than 90% mortality of pupae as pupae are quite large and are not buried deep in the soil.

Look out for these incredibly fast Hawk Moths!

Look out for these incredibly fast Hawk Moths!

Handpick the bugs: Hornworms do not like sunlight so they generally are slugging it around in the shade. Put on your gloves and go about scouting your plants for the hornworms. Splashing soapy water on the plant can help knock those unsuspecting caterpillars off their perch or in the least will make them writhe about revealing their position! Look underneath leaves as they generally preside there. Just drop them off into a bucket of soapy water to kill them or squish them if that makes you happy!

Seek and kill hornworm eggs: Late spring is when, hornworm moths tend to mate and lay eggs underneath leaves of aforementioned plants. It would be best though, if you look out for these pests and their eggs all season long!

Use organic pesticides: Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is a natural insecticide that is especially effective on small larvae and works by attacking the stomach of particular insects. It is sold commercially as Dipel and Thuricide and is considered to be safe environmentally and for humans. Some growers use it even before an infestation as a precaution. However, do your research and get advice from a local specialist beforehand.

Beneficial insects: Wasps, in particular barconid wasps are known to prey on hornworms by parasitizing them with eggs of their own. Hence, while removing hornworms if you spot one with white wasp cocoons/white egg sacs in them let them be. The eggs will hatch in time giving rise to more wasps that feed on those dreaded hornworms! Other beneficial insects are lacewings, ladybugs and trichogramma wasps.

Plant trap/ally crops: Hornworms absolutely love dill and more often than not go for them instead of your tomato plants! Once they have infested your dill, you can easily get rid of them. Marigolds and opal basil are known to be beneficial when planted nearby.

Homemade moth deterrent: A mixture of garlic, insecticidal soap and red pepper powder diluted with water sprayed on your plants will keep the sphinx and hawk moth out of your garden as they dislike the smell of this solution, thus preventing them from laying their eggs.

Squash bugs and their nymphs feed on the plant sap of most members of the Cucurbitaceae family, especially the vines of winter squashes, pumpkins, melons, gourds and cucumbers too causing great damage, often wilting of the vines and premature plant death! Among squashes, the winter varieties; hubbards and marrows have been found to be most commonly affected.

Identify Squash Bugs

Squash bugs spend winters under debris and then get active in spring when it’s warm.

Their color makes them easy to spot!

Their color makes them easy to spot!

Like most bugs they lay their eggs in masses on the underside of leaves. Their eggs are quite distinctive actually; shiny, slightly oval and copper colored! Eggs hatch in 7-14 days.

Young nymphs are pale green with crimson heads. Older nymphs have a grainy grayish color with black legs. Adult squash bugs are under an inch long, winged, oval shaped with brownish black or dark gray bodies, sometimes mottled with gray or light-brown on their flat backs!

Squash Bug Control and Prevention

Find and kill eggs before they hatch: Reduce squash bug numbers and the damage they will cause, by killing their eggs before they can hatch. Look underneath the leaves of your plants where squash bugs generally lay their eggs. Eggs are laid in abundance at the start of spring; hence make rounds as often as possible then.

Handpick bugs: This can be a tedious task considering that squash bugs move away quickly at the slightest disturbance. What you do with them after catching them is your choice but most people just drop them into a bucket full of soapy water!

Adult squash bugs!

Adult squash bugs!

Dish Soap Method: Yes, just add some dish soap to plenty of water; shake it up and spray it on squash bug nymphs and adults. This is possibly the easiest way to rid of large numbers of bugs easily without damaging your plants. And please don’t worry about the minimal amount of ‘toxins’ from the soap that would get into your harvest! The soap suffocates the insects by covering the valve-like openings in their exo-skeleton that they breathe through! Want proof that this method works?  Watch this 2 min video: Squash Bug Control using dish soap

Maintain healthy plants: Through proper irrigation, soil preparation, fertilization and planting area selection you can maintain healthy plants that are generally lesser attractive to bugs. Also, healthy plants will be able to tolerate more squash bug feeding without significant loss of yield!

Lay a trap: Laying boards or newspapers under squash bug infected plants will act as a trap for the bugs as they tend to congregate underneath plants overnight. Be sure to be up early before the bugs though!

Plant resistant varieties: ‘Early Prolific Straightneck’, ‘Butternut’, ‘Early Summer Crookneck’, ‘Improved Green Hubbard’, ‘Royal Acorn’, ‘Table Queen’.

Clean up your garden: An important aspect in the control of squash bugs is the interruption of their life cycle as they have only one generation per year. During winter, adult females hibernate in plant debris then emerge in early spring to lay clusters of eggs on the undersides of the aforementioned plants. Each female can lay up to a staggering 250 eggs! By removing vines, leaves and all sorts of other plant debris from your garden before the onset of spring, you can definitely bring down their numbers plentiful. Burn this debris if you have to!

Spray with Neem: Neem oil is a natural pesticide that has been used effectively in the control of squash bugs. You can buy neem oil at any garden center. Follow the instructions on the label but in general people spray it on all parts of the plant including underneath leaves and stem surfaces.

Provide covers over plants: Floating covers over the plants can be effective when used properly. There are several types of covers that can act as barriers while letting in the most sunlight. Find a suitable cover at your local store.

You can buy Neem concentrate from our online store! Also, browse our store for a variety of squash seeds some of which are resistant to pests!

Cabbageworms or cabbage worms or imported cabbage worms are the larvae of the Cabbage white butterfly that feed on cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprout, collards, kohlrabi, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, mustard greens and rutabagas.

Don't get fooled by its beauty! They are weapons of mass destruction!

Don’t get fooled by its beauty! They are weapons of mass destruction!

Identify the pests

The butterflies have off-white wings that span about 2 inches wide with 1 or 2 greyish-black spots per wing. They are too pretty to miss!

The butterflies lay their eggs on the undersides of the leaves of the plants their larvae enjoy feeding on! These eggs are yellowish and oval shaped. Keep a look out!

Once the eggs hatch, there’ll be a swarm of small fuzzy velvety green worms/caterpillars that are about an inch long! They chew on the leaves and vegetables of their favorite food!

Signs of an infestation

If you see holes in the leaves of the aforementioned plants and entry holes through the heads of the vegetable you are inspecting, you have a cabbageworm attack! An infestation may be as few as 2 or 3 worms per plant given that these worms have voracious appetites. Be sure to check the undersides of the plant as they love hanging out down under! Also, dark green droppings are a sure shot sign of cabbageworm infestations.

Slugging it out on a leaf!

Slugging it out on a leaf!

Controlling and Prevention Techniques

Cover plants with a barrier: Prevent butterflies and moths from laying their eggs on your plants by providing a barrier over the plants. The cover should allow sunlight, air and water through but should be fine enough to keep out insects. Light weight nylon nettings, floating row covers and agricultural fleeces are available in the market and will serve the purpose.

Hand picking: The best time to hand pick the worms off is in the morning when they come out for their morning snack! Put on garden gloves and get down to business. The underneath of leaves is their favorite hangout so look there.

The cornmeal method: Dampen the leaves of infected plants. Sprinkle cornmeal, rye flour or a mixture of one part salt to two parts flour on the leaves. The cabbageworms that eat this meal will bloat and die!

Sticky yellow traps: Make your own sticky trap by smearing bright yellow index cards with Vaseline or Honey. Tape the card to a straw or chopstick and stick it into the soil. Voila! It will end up catching beneficial insects too though!

The eggs are tiny so look for them keenly.

The eggs are tiny so look for them keenly.

Organic sprays: For serious infestations, consider using an organic insecticide such as Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) which is a bacterium that is known to kill cabbageworms and many other pests. BT has been used as an insecticide for over 50 years and is considered safe for the environment and humans. Use it as given in the directions.

Discard old crops: Dead and decaying leaves and plants are a breeding ground for insects. It would be best to discard them into your composting pit as soon as you see a wilting leaves or after the end of your growing cycle.

Control by using beneficial insects: Insects such as yellow jackets, ground beetles and barconid wasps will help you in your battle against cabbage worms. The barconid wasp is especially effective as they will feed on these worms all day long! Trichogramma wasps, also called ‘stingless wasps’ parasitize the eggs of cabbageworms, hence are widely used as a means of biological control of pests. You can mail order these beneficial insects but it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a specialist from your area before letting them loose in your garden!

Companion planting: Plant anise, garlic, onions, sage, rosemary and mint near the plants that get affected by cabbage worms. They are said to deter cabbage worms, although I must warn that some research shows that this is not beneficial!

Tomatoes are actually a citrus fruit native to South America but have been in cultivation all over the world for hundreds of years. Recent studies have shown amazing health benefits of this versatile food.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

1. Help lower cholesterol: Tomatoes provide a fair amount of dietary fibers that have been shown to help lower high cholesterol levels. Also, tomatoes are a good source of niacin (vitamin B3) which has been used for ages to lower cholesterol.

Pleasing on the eyes and tongue!

Pleasing on the eyes and tongue!

2. Put off cancers: A number of studies in recent years point to a significant fact that the more tomatoes a person eats the lesser the risk of developing certain cancers, especially lung, colon, breast and prostate cancers.  Lycopene, the substance that gives tomatoes their deep red color is believed to be responsible for their cancer fighting properties! Cooked tomatoes have a higher absorbable content of lycopene and this can be enhanced by the consumption of fats. Quite the unwanted combination!

3. Reduces risk of heart diseases and lowers blood pressure: Potassium rich diets directly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Folates and vitamin B6 found in tomatoes help convert the harmful homocysteine chemical into other non-harmful molecules. High levels of homocysteine damages blood vessels and can be a cause for heart diseases and strokes.

4. Antioxidant properties: Experts all agree on the antioxidant nature of lycopene, which plays a major role in neutralizing dangerous free radicals in the body. High intakes of lycopene have been shown to reduce the severity of atherosclerosis, diabetic problems and asthma among others.

5. Boosts immunity: Lycopene and beta carotenes present coupled with plush amounts of vitamins help build up the body’s immune system. In males, tomatoes greatly reduce the effect of colds and flus.

6. Protect against thrombosis: Tomatoes low in sodium content help reduce platelet aggregation significantly according to a study, thus reducing chances of thrombosis.

7. Anti-inflammatory properties:  A glass of tomato juice a day reduces levels of TNF-alpha, a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and the promotion of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Help maintain an alkaline balance: Tomatoes contain good amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium thus helps the body maintain an alkaline balance naturally!

9. Reduces migraines: Riboflavins found in tomatoes have been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

10. Promote bone health: About 18% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K is provided from a serving of tomato. Vitamin K helps osteocalcin perform its function more effectively, thus hardening calcium and making bones stronger.

11. Acts as a natural sunscreen: The lycopene in tomatoes provide protection from UV rays and studies have shown that people consuming tomatoes regularly absorb 40% lesser UV rays than is normal.

12. Promotes healthy eye sight: Vitamin A found in tomatoes help maintain retina health.

Nutritional Values of Tomatoes

Serving size- 100 grams

Calories per serving           18

Calories from fat                    2

% Daily Value*

Total Fat                              0 g                                       0%
Saturated Fat                         0 g                                        0%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol                           0 mg                                    0%
Sodium                                 5 mg                                     0%
Total Carbohydrate              4 g                                       1%
Dietary Fiber                           1 g                                       5%
Sugars                                    3 g
Protein                                  1 g

Vitamin A    17%

Calcium       1%

Vitamin C   21%

Iron             1%

*% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

Any question on how to grow tomato plants from seed? Feel free to contact us or check out our How to grow tomatoes article.

Need tomato seeds? Buy from our online store. We only supply certified organics and heirlooms!

Learning to cultivate vegetables during the colder seasons can help you save a lot of money on groceries and provide your family with fresh juicy produce straight from your garden! Cool weather vegetables generally grow best at temperatures ranging between 55 deg. F and 70 deg. F.

A realistic time to plant cold weather vegetable seeds in warm regions, would be from late summer to early fall when temperatures are falling for harvest in late fall, winter or early spring.

In areas that experience very cold winters, one must plant cold weather crops as soon as the soil is workable in the early days of spring.

To get amazing results, the crop has to be grown to maturity in the cold weather; otherwise, they could end up becoming bitter tasting, or even worse, bolt to seed rather than producing edible parts.

Here goes the list of cold weather vegetables that you should try out. I have provided known cold tolerant varieties where possible.

–          Asparagus

–          Beets- ‘Detroit Dark Red’, ‘Chioggia’

–          Broccoli-  ‘Waltham’, ‘De Cicco’, ‘Packman’

–          Brussels Sprouts

–          Chard- ‘Ruby Red’

–          Carrots- ‘Romeo’, ‘Paris Market’

–          Cabbage- ‘Rio Verde’, ‘Savoy’, ‘Flat Dutch’

–          Celery

–          Cauliflower

–          Collards- ‘Vates’, ‘Top Bunch’, ‘Georgia’

–          Kale-‘Dwarf Siberian’, ‘Redbor’, ‘Winterbor’

–          Kohlrabi

–          Lettuce- ‘Wine Country Mesclun’, ‘Speckled Trout Black’, ‘Red Leaf’

–          Onion

–          Turnips- ‘Purple Top’, ‘White Globe’, ‘Rapa da Orto’

–          Spinach- ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’, ‘Bordeaux’

–          Radishes- ‘French Blush’, ‘Watermelon’

–          Rhubarb

–          Rutabagas

–          Peas- ‘Alaska’, ‘Super Snappy’, ‘Oregon Giant’

If your area generally averages between 65 and 95 deg. F during the summer, then vegetables from the subtropical area, more commonly the warm weather crops are most suited to you! Summer crops are mostly the fruits borne by the plant as opposed to cool-seasons leafy veggies.

The key to growing vegetables that prefer heat is watering religiously. Water them frequently and adequately and you shall be satisfied with the fruit of your hard work when it’s time to harvest your yield! If you have areas in your garden that receive the full blast of the sun for 6 to 10 hours a day you can consider any of the following warm weather vegetables.

–          Beans- Snake beans, Winged beans

–          Corn

–          Cucumbers

–          Eggplant- ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Epic’, ‘Classic’

–          Lettuce- ‘Black Seeded Simpson’

–          Melons

–          Okra

–          Peppers- ‘Sweet Banana’, ‘Big Bertha’, ‘California Wonder’, ‘Long Red’, ‘Hungarian Wax’

–          Pumpkins

–          Sweet Potatoes

–          Radish

–          Squash- ‘Yellow Crookneck’, ‘Zucchini’, ‘Spaghetti’, ‘Straightneck’, ‘Scallop’

–          Tomatoes- ‘Red Cherry’, ‘Sweet 100’, ‘Patio’, ‘Yellow Pear’, ‘Roma’, ‘Heartland’, ‘Heatwave’

–          Tomatillos

–          Watermelons

Cantaloupe, a type of melon averaging 4 to 7 inches in diameter with a light yellow-orange color or a deeper salmon hue flesh has an amazing sweet, musky aroma that is most prominent when ripe. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and like its other relatives grows on the ground as a trailing vine. Cantaloupes are the most popular melon in the US and are at their most delicious in the summer.

Health Benefits of Cantaloupes

1. High in anti-oxidants: Cantaloupes are a good source of vitamin A and C, both powerful anti-oxidants that fight free radical damage to cells making them effective and essential against cancers. They also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and are thought to slow the process of ageing all over the body!

Don't they look yummy!

Don’t they look yummy!

2. Boosts the immune system: The abundance of vitamins present ensures a healthy immune system especially helping against common cold and other viral infections.

3. Promotes lung health: A recent study found that the vitamin A rich cantaloupe could lower one’s risk of developing a lung disease such as emphysema! It is especially helpful to smokers who have a deficiency of vitamin A due to a substance in smoke.

4. Reduces stress: Cantaloupe is a refreshing food and helps normalize heartbeat and enhances oxygen supply to the brain, thus making one more focused and relaxed. It is an ideal fruit to eat in times of anxiety and stress!

5. Prevents cardiovascular diseases: Cantaloupes contain a blood-thinning compound called adenosine which is generally administered to heart patients to prevent blood clotting in the veins and arteries. Also, the folate present in cantaloupes and other melons help prevent heart attacks.

Nutritional Facts of Raw Cantaloupes

Serving size- 100 grams

Calories per serving            34

Calories from fat                     2

% Daily Value*

Total Fat                              0 g                                       0%
Saturated Fat                         0 g                                        0%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol                           0 mg                                    0%
Sodium                                 16 mg                                  1%
Total Carbohydrate              9 g                                       3%
Dietary Fiber                           1 g                                       4%
Sugars                                    8 g
Protein                                  1 g

Vitamin A    68%

Calcium       1%

Vitamin C   61%

Iron             1%

*% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

Need help on growing cantaloupe? Click here!

We also have quite a few delicious varieties of cantaloupe seeds you might want to see at our Sweet Corn Organic Nursery store!

Brussels sprouts resemble mini cabbages in appearance. Like most vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family, Brussels sprouts contain loads of essential nutrients and provide several benefits to our body. Brussels sprouts are naturally low in fat and calories like most other veggies but are high in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

It's not that bad, is it?

It’s not that bad, is it?

Health benefits of Brussels sprouts

1. Anti-carcinogenic properties:  A wide variety of glucosinolates are found in Brussels sprouts that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of one suffering from breast, bladder, lung, colon, prostrate and ovary cancer.

2. Anti-inflammatory: Brussels sprouts contain a good amount of vitamin K which helps keep chronic inflammation in control. Also some glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts are converted to another anti-inflammatory compound called indole-3-carbinol. Another amazing fact is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary in the production of the messaging molecules that reduce inflammation.

3. Anti-oxidant: A wide range of anti-oxidants are found in Brussels sprouts such as vitamins C, E and A, manganese, and flavonoids such as isorhamnetin, quercitin and kaempferol.

4. Protection of DNA: An unusual health benefit of Brussels sprouts is their capability to enhance DNA stability in white blood cells. This is brought about by blocking the activity of the sulphotransferase enzyme that is detrimental to DNA.

5. Boost cardiovascular health: Regular consumption of Brussels sprouts has shown to have a positive effect on reducing heart attacks, heart diseases and hardening of arteries.

6. Promotes digestive tract health: A cup of Brussels sprouts contains 16% of daily recommended dietary fiber which promotes proper digestion, prevents constipation and maintains low blood sugar. Some studies have shown Brussels sprouts to protect the lining of the stomach by preventing the growth of H. pylori, bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and acid reflux.

7. Builds up the immune system: Brussels sprouts comes equipped with vitamin C which ensures a healthy immune system, fights lead buildup, wards against hyper tension, lowers blood pressure and can also combat the onset of cataract.

8. Cholesterol reduction: Due to its high fiber content, Brussels sprouts help reduce cholesterol levels by coupling with bile acids that the liver produces more of and thus requires more cholesterol to digest fat, eventually leading to the low cholesterol levels!

9. Maintains healthy eye sight: Brussels sprouts have an adequate amount of vitamin A which is known to reduce the risk of losing eye sight. It also significantly reduces the chances of suffering from macular degeneration and glaucoma.

If you need any help growing Brussels sprouts, read our article. You can also find seeds at Sweet Corn Organic Nursery store.