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Gardening, Health & Longevity

Are you among those looking to test out your green thumb this season? Consider going online to growhoss.com located in Georgia for online free resources, tools, seeds and other supplies for growing your own garden and food source. Also, check out the “Hoss University” tab to watch their YouTube videos and more. So, if you’re jumping into gardening for the first time, here’s a few veggies to try. These have high yield for your effort!


Potatoes – are easy to grow in the early spring and take about 85 to 100 days to mature, depending on environmental conditions. Nutritionally, potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins B and C and minerals like potassium. They can be stored for up to 6 months in a dark, cool environment. Don’t refrigerate, they’ll get damaged by refrigeration. Plant potatoes two to three weeks before the last frost, in rows spaced 36 inches apart. Incorporate compost into the soil before planting. “Hill” your potatoes, meaning add additional soil to the bed and mold it around the plant’s base. Do this two or three times during the growing season bc potatoes are a part of the plant’s stem, not the root. The more “stem” you keep underground, the more potatoes will grow, producing a better harvest.


Green beans – offer a rich source of vitamins A, C and K and manganese, fiber and folate, are another excellent, productive storage crop. They can be canned and fermented, or blanched and then frozen for up to a year. The recommended “bush” bean variety is the most productive variety out there, with high yields, concentrated harvests and high tolerance to stress. Plant beans in the spring after the last frost has occurred. To ensure beans the entire growing season, plant every couple of weeks in the spring and early summer. To maximize on planting space, make two rows of beans spaced 6 inches apart, with the double rows spaced 3 feet apart, use drip irrigation or a soaker hose, to both rows of beans at once.


Heirloom onions – are a truly sustainable food source which are rich in vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. Onions store really well, keeping for two months or more after harvest. And, depending on variety, there is a continual seed stock that can be reused over time and shared with friends. Carrots are another useful vegetable which are rich in valuable beta carotene. They can be refrigerated for two to three weeks, or blanched and frozen for even longer storage. To grow carrots, use double rows with irrigation in between. Plant rows 6 inches apart, skip 3 feet, then plant two more rows 6 inches apart. It’s recommended that seeding carrots in a thick band creates a dense forest of carrots. This will allow a lot of production out of a little bit of space. Carrots do their best when planted in cooler temperatures during the early spring or fall.


Winter squash – with its thick skin, is another excellent food and great for storage purposes not requiring refrigeration. It’s a good source of vitamins K1, A, C and E, as well as B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. Be aware, winter squash produce only one harvest at the end of the growing season.


Okra – is a warm-weather crop. It’s high in fiber, offers vitamin K, manganese, folate and vitamin C, as well as plentiful amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants. It’s a high-producing crop with long-term production. The plants may start producing pods when they’re 1 to 2 feet tall and will continue producing, as the plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall. However, you can cut the tops off when it gets about 4 feet tall, and plant three succession plants per year, especially the most productive jambalaya variety. In the spring and again in midsummer and early fall, as it will grow up until the first frost date. Yum!


In addition to the vegetables mentioned above, other ideal, high productivity vegetables are tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, spinach, lettuce and chard. All of which are easy to grow during the right season due our zones, growhoss.com has this info. Also, to secure success, don’t forget the #1 rule for growing nutrient-dense food is healthy soil. They’re a variety of ways to create this by adding nutrition, worms, compost etc. Evaluate what works for you and your conditions. Then, consider starting with one or two vegetables this season. This will provide you with a food source and giving you a pastime you can be proud of.


At the very minimum, gardening is great for your mental well being. A recent study in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports concluded, “A regular dose of gardening can improve public health,” noting that gardening is associated with reductions in depression and anxiety, increases in life satisfaction, quality of life and a sense of community. Also, gardening by older adults is linked to feelings of accomplishment, peace, and it has a protective effect on cognitive functions as well as the development of social links with other gardeners. So, give it a try and enjoy the veggies of your labor! - Dr. Irma Leon Palmer




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