How Vegetables Can Help You Maintain a Healthy pH Balance

How Vegetables Can Help You Maintain a Healthy pH Balance

We all know the benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet and consuming more fruit and vegetables, but what many people don’t know is that vegetable juice helps to maintain the critical pH balance of the body.
But what’s so important about maintaining the body’s pH balance?

The Body’s pH

For the body to function properly and survive, it should be slightly alkaline (between 7 and 7.5) and have a balanced pH value. A balanced pH:

•Protects the body against damage from free radicals and prevents premature aging
•Helps the body maintain healthy cholesterol levels
•Keeps blood pressure at a healthy level
•Keeps insulin levels normal and prevents unhealthy weight gain
•Allows the heart to function properly
•Promotes energy production
•Keeps our immune system, digestive system, organs and bones healthy

As we get older, our bodies are affected by our busy and stressful lives, exposure to environmental toxins and the food we eat, all of which cause our bodies to become more acidic. Gradually, our bodies become less able to deal with this acidity and are no longer able to neutralize it properly. Suddenly, our bodies change from a childhood state of alkalinity to being excessively acidic.
An imbalanced and acidic pH level affects everything in the body because it affects cellular activity and can cause acidosis (toxic acid waste), which, in turn, can lead to health problems and disease.

Having an imbalanced, acidic body can cause:

•Low energy levels and fatigue
•Weight gain
•Premature and accelerated aging
•Heart disease – due to cardiovascular damage.
•Diabetes and insulin disorders
•Hormonal problems and imbalances
•Kidney, bladder and liver problems
•Digestive problems
•High blood pressure
•Immune problems
•Neurological diseases
•Problems sleeping

How to Combat Excess Acidity

One easy way to combat this excess acidity and to restore a healthy, balanced pH level is to consume more alkaline foods, like vegetable juices.

As a guide, 75-80% of our diet should be made up of alkaline foods such as vegetables, fruit, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, almonds, soybeans, yogurt and whey. The average western diet of meat, pasta, rice, junk food, coffee, candies and cakes, is highly acidic and does not tend to be rich in alkaline foods, but you can change this dramatically by adding just a few glasses of vegetable juice to your daily diet. Vegetable juicing will allow you to make your diet, and your body, more alkaline and so protect you from the health problems associated with high acidity.

Vegetable Juicing Benefits

Not only will drinking raw vegetable juices reduce your body’s acidity and restore a healthy pH balance, you will also reap many other health benefits:

•A more nutritious diet – Raw vegetables are higher in nutrients than cooked vegetables and vegetable juice is a concentrated source of essential nutrients. These nutrients boost the immune system and help the body to function properly and stay healthy.

•Detoxification – Vegetable juice will help to detoxify your body, allowing the body to get rid of harmful waste products and toxins.

•Better digestion – The enzymes found in vegetable juices will aid digestion, by replenishing enzyme levels.

•A more varied diet – Juicing vegetables allows you to combine many different types of vegetables and to consume them in one drink.

•Quick use of nutrients – Vegetable juices are easy to digest and the nutrients from the vegetables can be used by the body’s cells within 10 minutes of drinking.

•A healthy digestive system – Research has shown that consuming up to one liter of vegetable juice per day can treat all manner of digestive problems.

To be able to juice a wide range of vegetables, you will need a top-quality, professional juicer such as the Omega 8005. A juicer like this will enable you to experiment with different vegetable combinations, enjoy delicious vegetable and fruit juices, and lead a healthy life.

Author: J. White – For more information on juicing or to purchase an Omega 8005 juicer visit: Raw Juicers Or call: 1-800-746-1191

Companion Planting Vegetables For Increased Crops

Companion Planting Vegetables For Increased Crops

Companion planting in your vegetable garden is a great way to increase the size of the crop you will have when it comes time to harvest. The right combination of vegetables planted together improves growth, reduces disease, encourages beneficial insects to thrive in the garden, and discourages pests.

But companion planting vegetables does have it’s drawbacks, as some vegetables are much more fussy than others about who they are planted next to. This simple guide will help you with a few of the more common combinations you should keep in mind when companion planting vegetables.

Asparagus get on well with most vegetables, but their ideal companions are tomato, parsley and basil.

Bush beans like potatoes, cucumber, corn, strawberries and celery, but hate onions. On the other hand, pole beans are a little more selective – they only like corn and radishes, and hate beets as well as onions.

The cabbage family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale to name a few) like many companions – beet, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onion, potatoes and spinach. But they have a few hates as well – dill, strawberries, pole beans and tomatoes.

Carrots get on well with a wide variety of vegetables – peas, lettuce, rosemary, onions, sage and tomatoes. Just keep them away from dill.

Celery is also a very accepting vegetable, liking onions, the cabbage family, tomatoes and bush beans. Like asparagus, they don’t hate any vegetables.

Keep your corn away from tomatoes, but to keep it happy plant it near potatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, cucumber and squash.

Cucumber doesn’t like being near aromatic herbs or potatoes, but plant it near beans, corn or peas and it will be happy.

Lettuce is an accepting plant, not hating any vegetables but appreciating being planted next to carrots, strawberries and cucumbers.

Onions generally like being planted next to beets, carrots, lettuce and the cabbage family, but keep them away from beans and peas if you want good results.

Peas like being planted next to carrots, turnips, cucumbers, corn and beans, but be sure to not plant them near onions or potatoes.

Speaking of potatoes, you should plant them near beans, corn and members of the cabbage family for best results, and make sure they are away from pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Finally the humble tomato – one of the more popular summer vegetables for the gardener to grow. For the best results plant them near onions, asparagus, carrots, parsley or cucumbers, but keep them well away from potatoes or members of the cabbage family.

This isn’t a fully comprehensive list – obviously there are many more types of vegetables available for you to plant in your vegetable garden, and this article could easily double or triple in size if we tried to include everything. But this list of the more common vegetables should be a good start in helping you plan the layout of your vegetable garden for the next year.

So give companion planting in your vegetable garden a try. You’ll find you’ll have happier, healthier plants in your vegetable garden, which in turn will give you tastier vegetables to feed you and your family.

Find out more about companion planting and many other gardening topics at – learn how you can make your garden grow faster, healthier and produce larger crops than you ever thought possible.

Anti-inflammatory Properties of Sea Vegetables

Anti-inflammatory Properties of Sea Vegetables

Our bodies undergo an interesting transformation when we have a part of our body experiencing disease or infection. That area of our body usually becomes inflamed (it swells). On our skin, we notice an infection as a red spot around the area and that it hurts to touch it or the surrounding area. Similarly, an internal organ or a bone joint experiences the same inflammation. This is your body telling your mind that there is a serious problem that demands attention.

The inflammation is caused by an increase in blood to the affected area. But the increase is not always good for you. When an athlete is hurt or bruised, one of the first treatments is ice. The ice reduces the inflammation and allows the healing process to begin and complete more quickly.

We can examine a simple case of heartburn. People who suffer from chronic heartburn are often diagnosed with have acid reflux disease and prescribed the little purple pill. Acid reflux inflames your inner organs and causes a burning or nauseous sensation that can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Interestingly, sea vegetation has been proven to control and even stop inflammation from occurring. While some people may see this as turning off a defense mechanism, it is not. When we experience disease, sickness or injury, there is usually some level of inflammation with it and the inflammation typically hurts and can spread. There is a natural occurring chemical in sea vegetation that can stop or reduce inflammation from occurring in our bodies.

The use of sea vegetation to stop or reduce inflammation from occurring in our bodies has been used for many years and by people from cultures from all over the world. Eastern cultures such as those in Japan and China and those in India have very successfully used sea vegetation for heartburn and other inflammatory problems. The use of sea vegetables to stop or reduce inflammation is growing in popularity in Western cultures with the introduction of liquid supplements that contain sea vegetables as one of their main ingredients.

There are a number of varieties of sea vegetation and each is a different color. Scientists and naturalists use colors to categorize the different varieties. The brown sea vegetable used to fight inflammation, acid reflux disease, and other problems is called Fucus Vesiculosus. That

Eat Your Greens: How to Handle Tricky Vegetables – From Bbc Green

Eat Your Greens: How to Handle Tricky Vegetables – From Bbc Green

Some vegetables can be tough customers, admits Caspar van Vark. But with a little imagination, you can turn a hard tuber into a fabulous seasonal dish

Not all seasons are equal. The autumn months, for example, are a happy time for the cook. There are still some late raspberries and soft purple figs to eat with goat’s cheese or cured ham. Pumpkins appear in every size and shape, and there are crisp apples bursting with juice.

There’s a certain satisfaction to eating with the rhythm of the planet and catching things at their best. But the romance of seasonal eating starts to wane a bit once autumn has turned to winter. Sit at mother nature’s table and you have to eat what she serves.

Out go the vine-ripened tomatoes and golden ears of corn – instead, we are faced with muddy celeriacs, swedes and turnips. Even the most determined seasonal eaters will feel their heart sink when they open their food box and find yet another spooky, alien-looking root vegetable.

Eat ugly food

The easiest solution is to put the kohl rabi in the bottom of the fridge, wait for it go off and then throw it away. We’ve all done it, but there’s no need – all of these winter vegetables will reward you if you make a tiny bit of effort.

Take the Jerusalem artichoke – it sounds so exotic, but it looks like ginger and is the thing you usually find rattling around in your organic box after you’ve taken everything else out. Not only is this one ugly tuber, it also has a reputation for giving people flatulence!

But give it a chance – the Jerusalem artichoke has a good nutty flavour and really comes into its own if you peel it, slice it thinly and bake it with cream, like you would potato dauphinoise. It’s also a great source of iron, vitamin C, phosphorous and potassium.

To cut down on the windy effects, parboil the peeled artichoke and throw away the water. Callers to BBC Radio 4’s Veg Talk  programme have also recommended a cup of fennel tea afterwards or, more bracingly, a shot of cider vinegar.

Root down

Our other staple winter vegetables, such as turnips, swedes and celeriac, have much in common – they’re starchy, need peeling and they’re a bit intimidating. Traditionally, these vegetables have been boiled and mashed. And they are very good like that – just add a good knob of butter, maybe some cream, and plenty of salt and pepper.

Still, it can all feel a bit too beige and bland. Fortunately, these vegetables respond well to a kick up the bum. Try cutting them into wedges, brushing with oil and roasting (like potato wedges) Add some fire chilli or other spices, such as cumin or hot paprika.

Top tastes

Similarly, you can cut them into chip-shapes and roast them like oven chips. Blanch them in boiling water first, then let them cool off and dry. Next toss them in some oil and then put them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. If you have several of these vegetables knocking about, you can mix them all up.

You can also get more creative. There’s a lot to be said for grating winter vegetables because it brings out their sweetness and a new texture. Try grating celeriac and mixing it with sour cream or mayonnaise for a winter salad – think Waldorf and add some walnuts and celery if you want.

A cure for sprout phobia

Some more familiar winter vegetables include Brussels sprouts and pumpkin. While not as scary as swedes and celeriac, people harbour prejudices about these foods. The sprout, in particular, has an image problem.

If you just boil your sprouts, it’s no wonder if you get bored – try steaming them for a couple of minutes and then stir-frying them in a smoking hot wok. Add what you like – onion and garlic, bacon, chopped chestnuts – and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The stir-frying gives a sweeter edge to the sprouts and makes them less cabbage-like.

World inspiration

It’s also helpful to look around the world for inspiration. Pumpkins can seem bland, but in Argentina it’s traditional to hollow them out and cook meat in them for a thick, hearty stew. The pumpkin is then baked in the oven for an hour or so and the stew is ladled out of it.

Pumpkins are also popular in some Asian cuisines – Nigella Lawson has a recipe for a yellow pumpkin and seafood Thai curry – and it appears in South Indian recipes too. In the Caribbean, pumpkins turns up in braises and in the Middle East they are often stuffed with meat, rice and spices.

The comfort zone

And finally, think of the carrot cake and extrapolate from there. There’s almost no end of possibilities for creating savoury – or indeed sweet – muffins and cakes using winter vegetables. It’s precisely their sweet, starchy nature that makes them get on well with butter and flour.

A basic muffin recipe can be adapted by leaving out the sugar and adding a few cups of grated vegetables – carrot, parsnip, potato – and some cheese to make a savoury batch. If you have kids, this is a sneaky way of getting some extra vegetables into their diet. Apple and carrot work well together in a muffin recipe.

Winter always feels like ages, but it will seem like an eternity if you eat boiled turnips. Open your mind, be creative and you might even find yourself looking forward to the swede season next year. 

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Planning on Growing Your Own Vegetables – Where to Start?

Planning on Growing Your Own Vegetables – Where to Start?

These days with large sites hard to come by and allotments much in demand, old gardeners or gardening junkies are no longer the sole exponents of GIY. No, many new entrants are young professionals, nature enthusiasts, people who are genuinely interested in getting closer to nature or reducing their dependency on mass market produce. Whilst others are experimenting by growing their own vegetables, almost like self sufficent micro farmers or even environmentalists, taking positive steps to reduce carbon footprint or better still growing for their own organic consumption and self satisfaction. Not surprising therefore to read in Press reports that the sale of vegetable seed has overtaken the sale of flower seed.

So if you are a potential GIYer and do intend starting a programme or project of growing your own vegetables, you might be interested in the following advice . So whether your motivation is to reduce air miles or taste organic food, there are some important points to consider when planning to start a vegetable garden.

Does size matter? No – not really, whether you have a pot, an old kitchen sink, a window sill or a sprawling site, growing your own vegetables is not only easy and exciting, it is also very rewarding.

Location – unless of course you enjoy longer walks through your garden, for practical reasons, the vegetable plot or kitchen garden should ideally be positioned nearer the house.
More importantly best to choose a position which permits the vegetable plot to enjoy a sunny aspect for much of the day. Although some vegetable produce will tolerate some shade (for example lettuce, runner beans etc), most won’t, so pick the site very carefully, pick a sunny and a sheltered position, avoid exposed windy sites. Other site aspects worth considering include picking a site where the prevailing ground conditions are level and free draining. Finally do bear in mind that good soil conditions will also be required, whether you prepare the ground by digging or mix in new soil or soil conditioners, most vegetables will require a growing depth of at least 300mm.

What to grow? Some might have favourites, some might stick with old reliable:
Potatoes are good, and probably one of the easiest to grow, they are also great at breaking down heavy soils. But do remember to give them plenty of water.
Leeks – easy to grow from seed and young leek tastes wonderful
Broad beans – very tasty when young but are very easy to grow
Sweetcorn – harvest when tassels are brown and boil in salted water
Radishes – many different varieties to choose from, but an ideal and fast growing crop from which to teach the children GIY
Runner Beans – quick growing, plentiful and pick and with lots of pick’n’grow fun

Deciding on the Layout – is important especially where space might be limited. For example you can grow some varieties at ground level whilst others such as French and Runner Beans can be trained to grow very effectively up trellising or bamboo canes. In larger sites, plan a series of long narrow beds which are easily accessible from both sides, but do remember to leave plenty of space between the growing beds, for example you should be able to move along pathways between beds with a wheelbarrow or more importantly if you like to get down on your hand and knees and get dirty, you’ll need at least 900mm – 1200mm spacing between the beds. Growing beds can be ground level on larger sites or raised on smaller sites or where soil conditions are poor. Raised beds can be developed using soil from other sites and mixing with compost, manures, soil conditioners etc. Also because they are raised you can ensure that drainage is good. As stated earlier, most vegetables prefer to grow in sunny areas, therefore it make sense to orientate beds on a north south axis, this ensures that all vegetable get sun each day. Be generous on spacing between beds, and consider a surface material so that all weather access is possible.

Ground Preparation – the better the soil, the better the performance, it is not impossible to provide good growing conditions. Vegetables require nutrients, water and oxygen. Soil plays a vital role in providing nutrients to plants. So it is important to prepare ground by digging to improve plants take up of nutrients. Alternatively if ground conditions are poor, you can use raised beds to provide better growing conditions for plants. In contrast to the ‘dig system’ the concept of using Raised Beds is sometimes referred to as the ‘No dig system’. Raised beds can be constructed from a variety of boards/timbers, recycled pallet boards, railway sleepers, pressure treated new sleepers, builder’s scaffolding boards all being popular choices.

Using crop rotation wisely – rotating the planting and growing of vegetables yields many benefits in terms of efficiency, bounty and disease/pest control. For example, Broccoli grows well in soils containing good levels of nitrogen, on the other hand, beans put nitrogen into the soil. Potatoes with the large canopy of foliage are very effective at suppressing weeds, whereas onions grow particularly very well in weed free soils. So from a crop rotational perspective, one would plant beans before of broccoli and potatoes before of onions.

Starting a rotation cycle – you should plan for at least three years, meaning the same vegetable will grow in the same spot every third year. However if you wish to also grow potatoes, better to use a four year rotation. The RHS has a very simple way to remember where each vegetable comes within the cycle: British Rail Late, where:

B = brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, turnips etc) was
R = roots (beetroot, parsnips, carrots)
L = legumes (peas, Broad bean, French bean, Runner bean, onions, garlic, chives)

How it works in practice is in area 1, you plant brassicas first year, roots in second year and legumes in third year. In area 2, you plant roots first year, legumes second year and brassicas third year. In area 3, you plant legumes first followed by brassicas and roots.

Maintenance – providing you have done good ground preparation, maintenance of the area shouldn’t be much more than adding a good fertiliser (Fish Bone & Blood) before planting or manure in Autumn. Watering is important especially during the early vulnerable stage, again bets done early in morning or late in evening and always check to make sure water is getting down to plant roots. Weed regularly to avoid unwanted competition for nutrients and water.

If at first you don’t succeed – try again. Sometimes it is only as a result of trial and error that you will discover what grows best for you in your area and conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask other local gardeners for tips or advice with particular problems, most of all, have fun in growing your own vegetables and join the burgeoning legion of GIY enthusiasts..

For more information, visit:

Professional garden designer and owner/manager of Dublin based landscaping company: ‘Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes Limited’.

Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes is an established and award winning garden landscaping company offering clients a complete landscaping service including Garden Design, Construction and Planting.

Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes Limited is a Full Member of the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland (ALCI), the only professional body for landscape contractors. We are proud winners in 2005 and 2006 of the prestigious ALCI Awards for BEST PRIVATE GARDEN Design and Construction.

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Nutrient Stripped Vegetables: The Downside of Modern Agriculture

Nutrient Stripped Vegetables: The Downside of Modern Agriculture

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The average modern day vegetable producer has done a wonderful job of feeding massive amounts of people on a large scale. The trade off, however, seems to be at the expense of optimal taste and nutrition. During tough economic times, it can be a rather daunting task to find the best nutritional value for your family’s budget, when it comes to fresh vegetables, in super-sized grocery stores.

According to Donald R. Davis, a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin claims, “there is definitely a correlation between the high and low yield varieties, and in the varying amount of nutrients they contain.”

What is commonly known, today, as the ‘genetic dilution effect’, was first discovered and published in a 1981 study conducted by W.M. Jarrell and R.B. Beverly in the “Advances In Agronomy”. What has been less studied, are the nutritional effects of selective genetic breeding of plant foods chosen specifically for higher yields.

In 1996 and ’97′, a study was performed in South Carolina using a variety of broccoli chosen for its high yields. It was shown that selective genetic breeding lead to a loss of protein, amino acids, and as many as six different minerals. Davis says, “jumbo sizing the end product is no assurance of increased nutrition and is, in effect, winding up with more dry matter that dilutes mineral concentrations, making for a nutritionally emptier food source.”

Loss of important nutrients can also be attributed to the industrialization of agriculture that relies, heavily, on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and rushed harvesting techniques. When plant foods are harvested earlier, the plant has had less time to take up minerals from the soil it needs to go through its natural synthesis process.

Farming practices such as those mentioned above, along with lack of crop rotations, has led to over using soils to the point of mineral depletion. Not only do plants need a wide variety of nutrients to grow healthy, we need them to be in the plant food source, in abundance, so they are naturally healthy for us to eat.

It is estimated that there is somewhere between 5 to 40 percent less protein and minerals in commercially grown vegetables, when compared to organic or locally grown produce. Fifty years ago, this was less of a problem than it has become today, and it is uncertain how much fruits are effected when compared to vegetables.

As intimidating as this information like this may sound to you, don’t let it shake you up so much. This may be one reason why nutritional health experts have recently started recommending 7 to 9 servings a day (or more) of this important food group. The old recommended 5 a day guideline has suddenly become outdated.

Realistically, what can we do to increase our benefits of adding more fruit and vegetable nutrition to our daily diets? Well, you can try growing a small vegetable garden. If you don’t have the green thumb know how, then the simplest alternative is to shop as organically and locally as you possibly can.

Focus on getting more whole foods that are grown and raised as nature intended with sustainable growing practices. Most people will agree food raised this way not only tastes better, it is often of better quality and is much fresher.

When it comes to buying organic, buyer beware of the shady business tactics of ‘Big Agri’ that has tainted the organic food label. Just because the label says it is organic, does not mean it actually is. Many smaller, local farmers raise organic quality food, but are unable to afford the expensive certification process required to legally label them as such.

If you frequently shop local farmers markets, and organic is important to you, just talk with the people who raise the food you are buying. Striking up a conversation is the easiest way to find out what you are wanting to know. Organically grown produce definitely bumps up your nutritional intake of this food group, so much so, that eating 5 a day may be a sufficient amount to keep you relatively healthy.

Depending on your regional climate and soil conditions, a lack of locally grown fruits and vegetables may leave you very few options other than to eat commercially grown produce. If this is the case, don’t worry so much about it. Certainly, it is far better to eat them, no matter how they are grown, than not at all.

It is possible to take advantage of what few nutrients may be available in them, making them work more effectively for you, by drinking more water. I am not kidding you on this, nothing more than pure water will do a better job of carrying nutrients to cell membranes, aids in nutrient absorption by keeping cells well hydrated, plus it washes away oxidative waste residues and toxins.

Water does not count as pure water if it is in the form of sodas, teas, and coffee, or juices. Water needs to be the dominate beverage that gets you through each and every day, saving those other drinks for occasional use, and in mindful moderation.

Brenda Skidmore can attest to the many positive results natural health cures bring to human health. Along with the many medical professionals, whose published works she has studied, it is her sincere desire to empower others by sharing this important information. To improve your health today visit:

Grow Your Own Organic Vegetables – Veggie Patch After 2 Mons

See how my Grow Your Own Organic Vegetables patch is getting on with a tour and tips on growing your own organic vegetables, this volume includes the herb pots, strawberries, corn etc.

How To Grow Vegetables From Seed

How To Grow Vegetables From Seed

Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, need a long, warm growing season to produce a harvest.

If you plan to grow your own seedlings, start such crops indoors in late winter in order to have plants ready to set out in the garden when the weather has warmed up. If you want to plant tomato seedlings in May, for instance, you’ll need to start those seeds by early March.

Veggie 101: How to start your garden
You can use a variety of containers, including flats or trays (with or without dividers), small individual pots, and cell-packs. If you’re reusing old containers, scrub them out, and soak them for half an
hour in a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts hot water to destroy any disease organisms.

Seeds to seedlings
Fill 4-inch pots to just below the rim with a light, porous seed-starting or potting mix Moisten the mix, and let it drain.

Scatter seeds thinly over the surface. Check the seed packet for the recommended planting depth, and cover the seeds with the proper amount of mix. (As a rule of thumb, cover seeds to a depth equal to twice their diameter.) Label each container with the plant’s name and the date. Moisten the soil lightly.

If you are starting heat-loving plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peppers, squashes, or melons), set the containers on a water heater or use a heating mat to keep the soil between 75°F/24°C and 90°F/32°C. (Most cool-season vegetables will germinate at room temperature.)

When the seeds germinate, move the pots into an area with bright light and temperatures between 60°F/16°C and 75°F/24°C.

When the seedlings develop their second set of true leaves, it’s time to transplant them to individual pots, such as 3- or 4-inch plastic pots. Fill the new containers with potting mix, moisten the mix, and let it drain.

To remove the seedlings from their original pots, squeeze each pot’s sides, and turn it upside down, keeping one hand around the soil ball. With both hands, carefully pull the soil ball apart, and set it down on a flat surface.

Separate the fragile rootballs of the seedlings from one another with a toothpick or skewer, or tease them apart with your fingers.

Poke a hole in the new container’s potting mix. Carefully lift each seedling and its rootball, keeping your fingers under it for support. Place the seedling in its new container, and firm the mix around it. Water immediately, and then set the pots in bright light.

Seedlings of edible crops need bright light to develop properly; when grown in conditions that are too dark, the seedlings are spindly and weak. If you don’t have a suitable place for your seedlings, try growing them under fluorescent lights. As soon as the seeds sprout, give them 12 to 14 hours of light each day, setting the light fixture 6 to 8 inches above the tops of the plants.

Seeds of heat-loving summer crops need warm soil to germinate quickly and strongly. Thin waterproof heating mats placed under the containers keep the soil 15 to 20°F/8 to 11°C above room temperature.

Nurseries and mail-order catalogs offer both fluorescent light kits and heating mats. 

Avoid “damping off” trouble

If your seedlings suddenly collapse and die, one of the fungal diseases called “damping off” or “seed and seedling rot” may be to blame. In one type of damping off, the seedling’s stem collapses at or near the soil surface; in another type, the seedling rots before it emerges from the soil, or the seed decays before it even sprouts.

To prevent these problems, use pasteurized potting mix and new or thoroughly washed and disinfected containers.

Take care not to overwater seedlings; be sure to provide good air circulation and ventilation, so tops of seedlings stay dry and standing moisture is kept to a minimum. Thinning seedlings to eliminate crowding is also helpful.

Steve McShane is Founder, Owner and General Manager of McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply. Steve is a Soil Science graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has his MBA from Santa Clara University.

Email Steve:

Frozen Vegetables Vs Fresh

Frozen Vegetables Vs Fresh

A question that is often asked is that whether Frozen or Fresh vegetables are a better choice when it comes to clean living. The natural seemingly common sense answer is that fresh vegetables are obviously better than the frozen variety, but this may not be the truth when examining the facts.

To start off it is first important to assess the nature of the term fresh vegetables. To most people this means items that they have purchased at their nearest supermarket or grocery store. What most people don’t realize however is that these aren’t really that fresh at all and have in fact spent a considerable amount of time in transit as well as time on the supermarket shelf as well.

What this means is that by the time you bring these vegetables home they have already lost a good deal of the vitamins that they once had. In reality true fresh vegetables would be those that you plant in your own garden or buy direct from a farmer. If you prepare these on the same day that you buy them then you would receive the maximum nutritional value.

Frozen vegetables on the other hand can actually be significantly better in terms of nutrition because they have been frozen at the point when they possess the most nutrients. They are preserved in this state until you are ready to cook them. One other additional benefit is the fact the freezing process can sometimes break the outer cellulose lay making the nutrients easier to absorb by the body.

However there are some caveats when it comes to frozen vegetables in that they must be carefully prepared in order to preserve the precious nutrients contained within. Over boiling is one of the most common mistakes that can take place which is a rule that applies when dealing with vegetables in general. One other factor is that when choosing frozen vegetables take care to ensure that the ingredients lists only the vegetable itself.

Poulos Bros is an Australian based wholesaler of seafood items including frozen vegetables that are carefully preserved and delivered in a well equipped frozen van.  Whether it’s providing frozen wholesale vegetables or fish, Poulos Bros will deliver to the location of your choice.

Charuka is the owner of his own web design firm that is based in both Australia and Sri Lanka. He has extensive industry experience both in other firms and in running his own. Charuka also holds a Master of Computing from the University of Western Sydney and is a Bachelor of Information Technology from Charles Stuart University.

Enjoy nature’s goods – grow your own vegetables!

Enjoy nature’s goods – grow your own vegetables!

An entire world opens in front of you, a universe where garden seeds represent the most important purchase you could ever make. Whether you are looking for cucumber, onion, parsnip or pumpkin seeds, the truth is that these online stores have it all. They offer one the opportunity to buy seeds at discounted prices, making sure that the customer receives planting instructions with the seed pack as well. Given such offers, it’s practically impossible not to be satisfied.

Once you have decided where you are going to set up your garden, the next step is to go online and analyze the varieties offered. That means that you will have to spend some time looking at the garden catalog seed, discovering vegetable, plant and herb seeds. You do not have to worry about not knowing how to grow your own garden properly. As you might be aware, most of these seeds come with sowing instructions. You will be rightfully guided on how much water the plant should receive, whether it should be kept away from sunshine or not, plus the amount of fertilizer it should be given. It is recommended that you buy seeds that are perfect for the year in question, making sure that your garden grows accordingly.

Each plant has a number of varieties, whether we are talking about tomatoes, cucumbers or lettuce. Go online and buy vegetable seeds wholesale, taking advantage of the reduced prices, but make sure that you analyze the different varieties as well. The seeds have to be sown at a proper time of the year and planted later on, so you will have to be careful whereas such matters are concerned as well. Keep in mind that vegetable seeds are always affected by the climatic environment, one of the general recommendations being to sow them accordingly to the climatic requirements. If you decide otherwise, you should expect for the plants seeds to grow and develop into actual plants.

There is nothing more rewarding than growing your own vegetable garden, enjoying a wide range of vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and celery. One can also plant herb seeds, using them for their beneficial properties (naturopathy) but also for their flavor. Speaking about herbs seeds, you can find angelica, lavender, mint, lemon grass and coriander just to give out a few examples. These also come with planting instructions, so you won’t have anything to worry about, provided you follow them precisely.

Assume your role as a prospective gardener and start looking for vegetable seeds as soon as possible. Trust the Internet to provide you access to premium quality seeds, not just for vegetables but also for different plants and herbs. You can find organic gardening seeds in the greatest variety and be thankful for having the Internet available at any given moment! is an online retailer of vegetable seeds witha range of over 300 varieties – all seeds at 95p per pack. We also offer free samples of selected varieties: buy vegetable seeds, garden vegetable seeds.

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