Pepper – Q&A

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1. Q. Why do my pepper plants often bloom but fail to set fruit?

A. Peppers, like tomatoes, are sensitive to temperature. Most peppers will drop their blooms when daytime temperatures get much above 90 degrees F. in combination with night temperatures above 75 degrees F. They will also drop their blooms in the early spring if temperatures remain cool for extended periods. Hot peppers, such as jalapenos, withstand hot weather fairly well and can often produce fruit through the summer in most areas. Optimum temperatures fall between 70 degrees and 80 degrees F. for bell-type peppers and between 70 degrees and 85 degrees F. for hot varieties.

2. Q. If I remove the first few blooms on a pepper plant, will my overall production be increased?

A. Maybe. Occasionally, if a bell pepper plant sets the first bloom that flowers, the plant will be stunted as it matures that fruit. This is likely to happen if the plant is growing under marginal conditions which might include low fertility or perhaps low moisture. With the first bloom removed, the plant will grow larger before setting fruit which often does result in higher total yields. However, if the plant is grown under satisfactory cultural conditions removing the first bloom should not affect subsequent yield.

3. Q. If you plant hot peppers beside sweet peppers, will the sweet pepper plant produce hot fruit?

A. Absolutely not. Pepper flowers are self-pollinated, although occasionally cross-pollinate. However, the result of this crossing will appear only if seed is saved from this year’s crop and planted next year. It will not result in off-flavor or differences in fruit characteristics of this year’s crop.

4. Q. Can I cut back my spring planted pepper plants in late summer or early fall for increased production later?

A. Yes, although this is not a recommended practice. In the northern parts of the state spring-planted pepper plants can often be carried through to first killing frost without pruning. However, in southern parts, judiciously pruning the pepper plants and applying additional fertilizer as a sidedress application can prolong pepper production until the first killing frost. Pruning should not be severe in southern parts of the state as excess foliage removal can often result in burn, stunting or death of the plants.

5. Q. Is there any difference in taste or nutritive value between green peppers and those that mature and turn red?

A. Peppers that are allowed to mature and ripen entirely, from green to yellow to red, are higher in vitamin content, especially vitamin A. There is little difference in taste although there is a considerable difference in texture caused by the ripening process.

6. Q. How can you tell when jalapeno peppers are mature?

A. Jalapeno peppers are edible and flavorful at all stages of their growth. However, a connoisseur of jalapeno peppers can distinguish a definite flavor difference between a fully mature jalapeno and one harvested early. A fully mature jalapeno pepper, regardless of size, generally exhibits small cracks around the shoulders of the fruit. Often a darkened area on the fruit indicates maturity and the initial stages of a color change in the fruit.

7. Q. Can I save seed from this year’s pepper crop for planting in my next garden?

A. Yes. Peppers are self-pollinated seed saved from this year’s garden for planting in next year’s garden is an excellent choice. Although an occasional cross-pollination will occur, this is generally not a problem. Do not save seed from hybrid pepper plants as these will not breed true and will result in plants exhibiting characteristics different than the desired hybrid.

8. Q. The foliage on my pepper plants developed spots or lesions and the leaves have dropped off.

A. This could be a combination of three foliage diseases: Alternaria leaf spot, Cercospora leaf spot and bacterial leaf spot. In most cases, two or more of these occur simultaneously on the foliage. They can be controlled with foliar sprays using a combination of chlorothalanoil and Kocide or any other copper fungicide. Begin at the first sign of the disease and continue at 1- to 2- week intervals during the critical disease periods.

9. Q. The foliage and fruit of my pepper plants are distorted and small. The leaves have a mosaic pattern.

A. This could be one of five viruses that attack peppers in Texas. The best control is to buy healthy plants and to follow approved cultural practices and a good insecticide program. The viruses are transmitted by aphids. For this reason, it is important to control insects. Also, when a plant becomes infected with one of the viruses, remove the plant.

10. Q. After the recent rainfall, my plants wilted and died soon. The inner stems of the plants were dark.

A. This is Phytophthora stem rot. It is a soilborne fungus that attacks peppers. It is particularly severe in areas where water stands around the plant. Plant on a raised bed for optimal drainage.

11. Q. After a summer rain, my pepper plants died rapidly. I found a white growth at the base of the plant. Intermingled with this growth were small, round, bead-like structures the size of a pinhead.

A. This is southern blight, caused by a soilborne fungus. Crop rotation and deep burial of organic material will help control it. Do not allow leaves to collect around the base of the plant because the fungus will feed on them and later develop on the peppers.

12. Q. There are small wiggly trails all over the leaves of my pepper plants. What are these?

A. These trails are caused by leaf miners. Heavy infestations can defoliate plants and reduce yields. Control this pest by treating with diazinon or a recommended insecticide. Two or three applications at 5-7 day intervals may be necessary to achieve control. Use as directed on the label.

13. Q. We have just moved to this area and enjoy the Mexican food. What makes Mexican food so hot? Is it the pepper they add?

A. The cooks add pepper alright but not the black stuff you shake from a can – they add green peppers, Capsicum annum. These peppers contain a chemical named capsaicin. When you eat these “green bullets from hell” there’s a cellular response that releases neurotransmitters. These are proteins that mimic chemically the sensation of burning or pain. They go to the end plate of our sensory nerves and create the sensation of pain. The body’s response is to remove the chemical irritant by increasing heart rate to increase metabolism, by increasing salivation and increasing sweating. Your nose runs and the gastrointestinal tract goes to work in high gear to remove the irritant. You sweat to cool yourself.

The body’s strong reaction to capsaicin is why many people claim chili has medicinal properties. A paper by a New Mexico biologist noted that the death rate from heart disease in the state was about half the national rate. She also said the rate of heart disease among Hispanics and Indians was low. Presumed reason? They all eat lots of chile pepper and that reduces blood fat levels. Hot peppers are said to protect against blood clots that could cause thromboembolism.

So why do folks eat this hot food? When people eat hot chili the brain secretes endorphins, the opiate-like substances that block pain. Endorphins are produced when runners “hit the wall” and get their second wind. Who needs to jog and watch their diet? Just eat peppers and keep on burning!

14. Q. Can good pickled jalapenos be made from garden grown jalapeno peppers?

A. Yes, if you have a good recipe. Here is THE BEST:

Using fresh TAM Mild Jalapeno peppers, blanch peppers for 3 minutes in boiling water. To prevent collapsing, puncture each pepper. Add the following ingredients to a pint jar packed with the blanched peppers before cooling occurs.

1/4 medium-sized garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon of onion flakes
1 small or medium bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon of ground oregano
1/8 teaspoon of thyme leaf (not seed)
1/8 teaspoon of marjoram
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (olive, refined sesame, corn)

Cover with boiling brine solution prepared as follows:
Mix together:

3 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons salt
2 pints water
2 pints vinegar (5 percent)

Close the containers and process 10 minutes in boiling water, then cool.

Note: Jalapenos must be hot when brine solution is added. The addition of carrot slices adds color to the product.

15 Q: We have 2 bell pepper plants, in containers, that have until recently been very healthy and produced several beautiful peppers. Within the last week or two the peppers have developed small round tannish spots on the some of the fruit. The fruit were not fully developed, but we harvested then in order to save the fruit, if possible. In cleaning the fruit, the only damage is the small spot or two on the bottom of the peppers. I thought perhaps it was sunscald, but these plants have plenty of leaves. Could they be getting too much sun and would moving them to a shadier location help?

A: Tan or translucent spots on developing pepper fruit is DEFINITELY sunscald. All the young pepper has to be exposed to is a few minutes of direct sun during the hottest part of the day and that does it. Remember the last time you burned your body parts the first sun exposure of the spring?! The same situation! If you can see the pepper on the plant SO CAN THE SUN and it is not protected. A bacterial spot would be black so you can rule that out. You did right by removing the fruit; such removal may stimulate more foliage growth and subsequently more fruit protection.

16. Q. Do you have any information on the hot pepper used in Mexican dishes?

A. Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear eat in the woods? OF COURSE, I have information on the pepper which made Mexican food famous! Peppers are hot, trendy items. Look at a recent crop of mail-order gift catalogs. Inside you can order pure silk chili pepper ties, sterling silver red or green chili pepper tie tacks; t-shirts, shorts, cotton caps blazing with red peppers or the red chili pepper string of Christmas lights. These gifts indicate the popularity of peppers. If you can’t grow peppers, the least you can do is wear one to show your support. The National Garden Bureau declares 1993, ‘The Year of the Pepper’ to encourage more folks to grow this New World native. With basic information, anyone in North America should be able to successfully grow pepper plants in pots or in the garden. Grow a hot or a sweet pepper for the flavor and satisfaction of saying “I grew it myself.”

SWEET PEPPERS
Bell–This pepper is mostly blocky in shape with three or four lobes on the bottom of the pepper. For years, gardeners could choose only one color of bell, a green that matured to red, Through modern breeding efforts e can now grow bell peppers that mature to an artist’s palette of colors including red, yellow, orange, lavender, purple and chocolate. The bell peppers have a crisp, thick flesh and are suitable for eating fresh, or stuffing and baking.

Paprika–When dried and ground, this thin-walled pepper becomes the flavorful condiment paprika.

Pimiento–This heart-shaped pepper measures 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches. Fruits have very thick flesh. Strips of this fully mature, bright red, mild tasting pepper are found in stuffed greenolives.

Sweet Banana, Sweet Hungarian, Cubanelle–All of these are also referred to as sweet frying or pickling peppers. The shape is long, narrow tapering down to one, two or three lobes. These are thinner-walled than bells and Cubanelle has the thinnest walls of the three. They are usually picked when immature as a light yellow or green. Because they have less water content than bells, they are excellent choices for frying. ‘Sweet Banana’ is a variety that has withstood the test of time–it was a 1941 All- America Selections Winner. ‘Gypsy,’ a 1981 AAS Winner is early to mature–only 62 days and performs very well in cotainers as well as in regular gardens.

Sweet Cherry–Here is a pepper that looks like its name in that it is globe or cherry-shaped and about 1 1/2 inches across. This pepper is harvested when mature green to deep red and is generally used in processing as pickled.

HOT PEPPERS
Cayenne–This pepper is slim and tapered, ranging in length from 3 1/2 to 8 inches. Cayennes are often dried. The hybrid ‘Super Cayenee’ is a 1990 All American Selections Winner. It is very productive, early to mature and hot, hot, hot.

Red Chili–The small cone-shape peppers of this type are 1 to 3 inches long and have medium thick flesh. They are often used dried and ground in chili powder. ‘Super Chili,’ a 1988 AAS Winner is the first hybrid chili. The compact plants were bred for increased yields.

Green Chili–These are the long (7 to 8 inch) green, two celled mildly pungent Anaheim type peppers that are so flavorful in chile rellenos. They turn red at maturity but are nearly always harvested, green, roasted and peeled. They’re the kind you’ll find in the canned goods section of supermarkets labeled “Green Chile Peppers.”

Hungarian Yellow Wax (also called Hot Banana)–This pepper is pungent but still one of the more mild “hots.” It is 5 to 6 inches long and picked when an immature greenish yellow color but matures to orangish red. This type is good for pickling or canning.

Jalapeno–Jalapenos are the popular peppers used in many Mexican entrees. They are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long and have a thick-walled pungent flesh. They may be harvested when immatue green or mature red and are good for pickling or canning. There are many varieties of jalapeno peppers with varying degrees of pungency. It has been said that more than 200,000 pounds of jalapeno seed is planted in Mexico annually.

Red Cherry–This hot pepper is only 1 1/2 inches across and ahped like a cherry. It may be used fresh or pickled, primarily pickled.

Red Hot Peppers–There are other Capsicum annuum in the Longum Group that add distinct flavor to their native regional cuisines. These vary in plant and fruit size and shape. Smaller plants are attractive in patio containers and hanging baskets. These scorchers such as Chili Tepine, Chile Peguin, Tabasco, and Thai, mature red and zest-up foods. Many additional kinds are available. Small hot yellow peppers like Cascabella and Santa Fe Grande are used primarily for canning and pickling. There is the hot Serrano type that is popular in the Southwest. There is Habanero, said to be 50 times hotter than Jalapeno peppers.

HARVEST
Peppers may be harvested and enjoyed when immature or mature. There is not a “best” time to harvest, let personal taste preference be the guide. Remember that sweet peppers become sweeter as they mature and hot peppers come hotter.

To harvest, do not pull or tear a pepper from a plant. Peppers have shallow root systems and it doesn’t take too forceful a pull to dislodge the etire plant from the ground. Fruits of many varieties will easily snap off at the tem. With some varieties you will need to use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the fruit stem from the plant. Harvesting regularly will encourage the plant to keep blossoming and setting fruit, especially early in the growing season. If the temperature just drops belwo 32 degrees F. for a short time, covering the pepper plants will protec them from damaGe. At the end of the growing season such as September in Minneapolis, if there is a threat of killing frost, pick all fruit regardless of the size. This is the last harvest for the plants.

NUTRITION
Peppers are the right food for people seeking a healthy, nutritious diet. Low in calories, high in Vitamins A and C, peppers are also high in a very important mineral–potassium. One cup of raw sweet green peppers contains 22 calories. For comparison a cup of cucumber is 16, cottage cheese is 223 and whole orange is about 41 calories.

A red sweet or hot pepper contains about ten times more vitamin A and double the amount of Vitamin C than an immature green pepper. A 100 gram serving of red hot peppers eaten raw contains 369 milligrams of Vitamin C. The same serving size of sweet raw green pepper contains 128 milligrams, about one third less.

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Jump start your 2017 garden plan

A month into winter – it’s time to start planning and making preparations for spring planting.

Tomato and pepper seed or seedlings, a few things you need to know.

Hybrid or Heirloom seed? Which is best for you?
Hybrid seed is not the same as GMO/GEO seed. In agriculture and gardening Hybrid seed is produced by artificially cross-pollinated plants. Hybrids are bred to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, disease resistance, and so forth. Today, hybrid seed is predominant in agriculture and home gardening, and is one of the main contributing factors to the dramatic rise in agricultural output during the last half of the 20th century.
In the US, the commercial market was launched in the 1920s, with the first hybrid maize. Hybrid seed from the first generation of hybrid plants does not reliably produce true copies, therefore, new seed is usually purchased for each planting.

Heirloom plant variety is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination. The trend of growing heirloom plants in gardens has been growing in popularity in the United States and Europe over the last decade.

Heirloom growers have different motivations. Some people grow heirlooms for historical interest, while others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Some select heirloom plants due to an interest in traditional organic gardening. Many simply want to taste the different varieties of vegetables, or see whether they can grow a rare variety of plant. Heirlooms, by definition, must be open-pollinated.

Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), and then die. They may require a limited amount of caging and/or staking for support, should NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces the crop, and will perform relatively well in a container, minimum size of 5 or 6 gallon.

Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vining” tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all the time throughout the growing season. They require substantial caging and/or staking for support and pruning and the removal of suckers is practiced by many but is not mandatory. The need for it and advisability of doing it varies from region to region. Experiment and see which works best for you. Because of the need for substantial support and the size of the plants, indeterminate varieties are not usually recommended as container plants.

I will not attempt to list or recommend any one variety to you. I am including a link to a seed supplier that I have used with good success.

Tomato, Pepper Seed website list over 200 different tomato varieties. About 60 sweet and mild pepper and around 75 hot pepper varieties as well as about 15 eggplant varieties that you may want to consider as well.

Tomato Growers Seed Company has a website that I often use as a reference when looking for seedlings and seed at my local nursery. Along with a good quality picture they also give a short description of it’s mature appearance, days to maturity and a bit of other useful information on each variety offered.

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Blogoutist – that’s a real word ?

Looking back to June 2009, my first wordpress blog post(see archives) it seems that at one time or another I have touched on subjects ranging from growing Asparagus to Zucchini. Raising assorted poultry, building coops as well as a few post about Rabbits and building hutches. I have managed to touch on growing and planting berries, fruit and nut trees (search blog to see post that may be of interest to you).

As of late what with all the presidential election stuff, I have fallen far behind my mental plan for 2017 gardening season.

That poor little miniature Apple tree that was to be transplanted into it’s garden spot, November 2016 was the target date, is still setting in it’s large patio pot.

My planned concrete floor for the chicken house has not gone beyond the vision in my mind, target date 15 September 2016.

The large pile of chipped trees to be used as mulch around the grape vines, target date 24 November 2016, is still waiting to be spread.

Chicken update. The Good: Early September 2016 I purchased 11 chicks. The Bad: Well… one died in a wind blown coop door accident, 4 roosters leaving 6 pullets. The Good: The pullets have started to lay and I’m getting 5 some days 6 eggs a day. The Bad: Mmmm … just how many eggs can one old guy and 2 old dogs eat?

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Perennial Vegetables: Plant Once, Harvest for Many Seasons. ©

Cuccuzi, Edible gourd, aka yard long bean Spring is on its way and my thoughts have turned toward my garden.  This post is not meant to be all-encompassing regarding perennial vegetables as so much…

Source: Perennial Vegetables: Plant Once, Harvest for Many Seasons. ©

Antioxidants – Multivitamins May Be Killing You

Disclaimer: I must note that we all see contradicting reports and studies on health issues. It seems that health scientist can not agree on many of our health problems or even what constitutes a healthy diet or life style.

We dose up on antioxidants as if they are the elixir of life. At best, they are probably ineffective. At worse, they may just send you to an early grave.

Our quest for better health may be killing us. Research is indicating that adding antioxidants and multivitamins to our daily diets may in fact be harmful to our bodies.

BBC report – why vitamin supplements could kill you Is a little long, but, still worth reading.

Antioxidants have a dark side. With increasing evidence that free radicals themselves are essential for our health, even their good side isn’t always helpful.

From start to finish, a healthy immune response depends on free radicals being there for us, within us. As geneticists Joao Pedro Magalhaes and George Church wrote in 2006: “In the same way that fire is dangerous and nonetheless humans learned how to use it, it now appears that cells evolved mechanisms to control and use free radicals.”

A study published in 2007 from the US National Cancer Institute, for instance, found that men that took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to those who didn’t. And in 2011, a similar study on 35,533 healthy men found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation increased prostate cancer by 17%.

The best option is to get antioxidants from food because it contains a mixture of antioxidants that work together.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown generally to be good for you. Not invariably, but generally that’s agreed to be the case. Although often attributed to antioxidants, the benefits of such a diet might hail from a healthy balance of pro-oxidants and other compounds whose roles aren’t yet fully understood.

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Want To Breathe Better? You Must Eat Better!

Foods That May Help You Breathe Better
Kids wheezing? Give them a glass of apple juice. A British study found that children who drank apple juice once a day cut their likelihood of developing a wheezing problem in half compared to kids who drank it less often.
Another study found that women who ate apples regularly during their pregnancy were less likely to have children who suffer from asthma or wheezing. Apples are packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids that are known for reducing inflammation in the air passageways, a common feature of both asthma and wheezing. ‘Asthma has increased in prevalence,’ says Alan Mensch, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs at Plainview and Syosset hospitals in Long Island, New York. ‘Some people speculate it’s because our diets have gone from a healthy diet to a less healthy diet over the past couple of decades.’ Try some apple cider vinegar for additional health boosts.

Olive oil The mono and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are great for more than just your skin, hair, and heart; they also play a role in lung health. In fact, olive oil may help fight the health risks associated with air pollution like increased blood pressure and impaired blood vessels factors that can reduce your oxygen supply, make your heart pump faster and make breathing more difficult. An Environmental Protection Agency study administered fish oil, olive oil, and no oil to three groups of adults; after one month, participants breathed in filtered air and polluted air for several hours. The olive oil trumped all by boosting the blood vessel’s response to pollutant stress and increased levels of tPA, a blood protein that dissolves clots, which can give you shortness of breath.

Coffee a cup of Joe does more than give your brain a jolt—it could also alleviate asthma symptoms. Caffeine may act as a bronchodilator, which opens up those tight airways in asthmatics and reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. A review of several small studies concluded that caffeine could improve your lung functions for up to four hours.

Green tea A hot mug of green tea is loaded with antioxidants that calm the body, decrease inflammation, and promote better healing. But the star of the bunch is quercetin, an antioxidant that acts as a natural antihistamine. This means it slows the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in the body that can cause allergy symptoms. The hot water is also great for soothing your throat and protects your lungs from irritation by flushing out mucous membranes.

Pumpkin, sunflower, and flaxseed provide your body with a bountiful helping of magnesium, a critical mineral for people with asthma. Magnesium helps the muscles in your airways relax and reduces inflammation, so you can breathe nice and easy.

Garlic This potent aromatic also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces damage caused by free radicals. One study discovered that people who consumed three cloves of raw garlic twice a week were 44 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. Even smokers reduced their risk by 30 percent.

Beans can do it all. What’s good for your heart is often good for your lungs, and beans are the perfect example. Patients with lung disease spent less time on a ventilator after receiving an antioxidant-rich cocktail made of zinc, selenium, and manganese all found in beans, according to a study. Another study showed that zinc increased the levels of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most powerful protectors from free radicals, harmful molecules that can cause inflammation and make it harder to breathe.

Nuts give your body a dose of vitamin E, which helps reduce inflammation, boosts your immune system, and creates red blood cells, which deliver more oxygen to your body. A stable supply of oxygen prevents the blood vessels in your lungs from constricting and helps you breathe better.

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Fermented Food. Your Body Will Love You

Not all fermented foods are pickled, and not all pickled foods are fermented. If you like the sour stuff, make sure you’re buying a product that also gives you the benefit of bacteria. How can you tell? Pickled items are usually “pickled” in vinegar, whereas fermented pickles would be made with just water and spices, which turn acidic during the preservation process.
Look specifically for the words, “fermented,” “cultured,” or “probiotics.”

Sourdough Bread Did you know sourdough gets its sour taste from fermentation?

Greek Yogurt Even for those who are lactose intolerant, eating fermented dairy-based foods like this Greek yogurt can be beneficial.

Apple Cider Vinegar Vinegar in general is a product of fermentation, but it’s only the unpasteurized stuff that brings you the benefits of good bacteria. These drinks made with apple cider vinegar will deliver all the goodness without having to actually take a shot of the bitter stuff.

Cheese can be good for you if you know which kind to buy. Raw cheese is your best bet for healthy bacteria because it hasn’t been pasteurized.

‘Skyr’ Yogurt This newcomer is less tangy than Greek yogurt but just as thick. Made with different bacteria cultures but with the same benefits, you might want to add eating some to your morning routine.

Kimchi This wouldn’t be a fermentation roundup without kimchi, a food that has been around in Korea since the 7th century.

Raw Kraut Not just for bratwursts, these different flavored sauerkrauts are the perfect addition to any salad, side, or sausage.

Soy Tempeh Made with fermented soy beans and brown rice, tempeh is a great meat alternative and a great source of good bacteria.

Miso Soup Did you know miso paste is made from fermented soybeans? The next time you’re out for sushi, don’t skip the soup.

Cultured Sour Relish This is what happens when a pickle and sweet relish have a baby. It’s crunchy, tangy, perfect on top of a hamburger, and has all the bacteria your belly needs to stay happy.

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Better Health Through Better Eating

40 Reasons to Eat More Beans
Beans are tasty as well as good for your overall health.
Reduced Colon Cancer Risk
Lower Heart Disease Risk
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Excellent Meat Alternative
Reduced Water Retention
Low Calories
Low Sugar
Weight Loss
Increased Antioxidant Levels
Reduced Lymphoma Risk
Reduced Parkinson’s Risk
Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk
Improved HDL Cholesterol
Increased Omega-3 Intake
Reduced Anemia Symptoms
Reduced Obesity Risk
Lower Blood Pressure
Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
Gluten-Free

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Gardening In January

decrotive-cabbage It’s January, holiday season is over, everyone has gone home. What do I do now?

One of the best gardening months of the entire year is January. This is an ideal month to plant fruit, flowering and shade trees, dormant spray, prune and eliminate weeds. This is also a great time to sharpen and repair mowers, trimmers, shredders, chain saws and other garden implements.

WINTER PLANT PROTECTION – If you still have your cut Christmas tree
around, don’t throw it away. You can cut off the branches and use them
to cover tender or early flowering plants. Cut boughs from evergreens, like
the cut Christmas tree, are natural coverings for plants during cold weather.
Then when you are all through with the evergreen boughs they can be recycled
through the compost pile or shredded and used for mulching.

PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS – If you are thinking of adding any fruit,
flowering or shade trees to the garden, this would be a good time to select and plant them. Most garden outlets get their new selection of these trees during the winter, so you get the pick of the crop. Plus, because the trees are dormant, they transplant with a minimum amount of set-back. Incidentally, if you are selecting fruit trees be sure to ask the Certified Nursery person or Master Gardener on duty, which of the varieties are recommended for your
area, so you get varieties that will produce the very best, quality fruit.

January is also a great month to select and plant Roses. Likewise, evergreens
and deciduous shrubs can easily be planted anytime the temperatures are above
freezing.

DORMANT SPRAYING – Early winter is a good time to make an application
of Dormant spray to help control over wintering insect and disease problems. A combination Lime Sulfur and Oil spray or Copper spray are the ones most often used for winter dormant spraying. Do not spray when the temperatures are below freezing or when it is raining or at a time when the wind is blowing. Of course, apply the spray according to label directions.

PRUNING – Do you have any pruning to do? January is a great month
to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs. Fruit, flowering and shade trees
can be pruned at this time. Do not prune spring flowering plants, like quince,
forsythia or Spirea, etc. as you would be removing their spring flowers.
If needed, these plants can be pruned when the plants have finished flowering.

WEEDS – Have you checked the garden recently? You’ll be amazed
at how many weeds have already flowered and are now going to seed. Get rid
of those weeds before the seeds have scattered over the garden. Many weeds
are capable of producing thousands of seeds, and left unchecked, you’ll be
fighting those weeds for years to come.

EQUIPMENT REPAIR – Does your mower need sharpening; the oil need
changing, what about the filters, is the engine running properly? If you
need to have any parts of your power garden implements repaired, this is
the time to do it. I can tell you from personal experience if you
wait until mid-February or later it will probably be two or three weeks,
to get this same type of work done.

SLUG CONTROL – Have you seen any slugs lately? This is
a good time to eliminate them too, Every slug left to roam the garden will
reproduce two hundred off spring this spring, summer and fall. In addition,
the offspring will also reproduce young. So you can make a major reduction
in the slug population in your garden by eliminating them now.

BULBS – Did you forget to plant your bulbs? Although it’s getting
late, if you haven’t planted your Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths or Crocus,
take time and get them into the soil right away.

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Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?
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Sea Food?

13 biggest nutrition discoveries of 2016.
The food you sea see is the food you eat, according to recent research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. The 2016 study found that women who kept packaged foods and sugary drinks on their kitchen counters weighed up to 26 pounds more than those who didn’t. What’s more, women who had a bowl of fruit out were shown to weigh almost 13 pounds fewer than those who didn’t. Expert tip: Keep health food within reach and stash splurges far out of sight. Fruit on the counter, chips and soda safely out of sight in a closed cabinet.

An analysis of 29 studies about nut-eaters and their health outcomes found that the benefits of eating the good fat-packed snack are abundant. That is, people who ate a handful of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts—you name it) every day had a 30% lower likelihood of having heart disease than their peers whose diets were nut-free. And that’s not all. Those who regularly noshed on nuts had a 15% lower risk of cancer, as well as a 22% lower risk of premature death. Does that mean we can feel less bad about spooning PB straight from the jar now?

I think I will wait a while before adopting a bug diet.
Forget green juice; bugs may be the new “it” food. Why? When researchers in the UK and China teamed up to study the nutritional content of insects, they found that creepy crawlers actually offered more nutrients than steak. In particular, grasshopper, cricket, mealworm, and buffalo worm samples were all shown to have a higher concentration of calcium, copper, zinc, and magnesium than a sample of sirloin. Plus, all of the insects had higher iron solubility than steak, meaning the body was better able to absorb and use the critical mineral when it consumed it from bugs rather than beef. Burger, meet bug-sandwich.
Grin … Grasshoppers and meal worms will never replace Turkey and ham for Christmas days big family meal.