It is that time of year again where many people will start up gardening. Gardening is a great way to save money on your favorite vegetables and get a great deal of exercise in as well. Additionally, did you know that gardening actually helps the environment? Growing your own vegetables helps reduce carbon emissions. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get growing!
Tips & Tricks on Gardening Favorites
We picked out three commonly grown vegetables and provided some tips and tricks on how to succeed this gardening season. Find out how below!
- Tomatoes, like people, love the sunshine! Make sure that your tomatoes are in a position where they will get ample sunshine to grow strong.
- Tomato plants can be planted a lot deeper than other vegetables. A full two-thirds of the plant should be underground. Seeds should be planted one-eighth of an inch underground. By planting tomatoes deeper in the soil, you are allowing for stronger, more resilient roots.
- Tomato plants need 1-2 inches of water in total per week. Remember not to do this all at once.
- Unlike tomatoes, peppers must be in a shaded area, as they are very sensitive to heat.
- Peppers require 1-2 inches of water per week, but make sure to space out your waterings. Peppers need days in between for dryness. Slow dousings of water are beneficial for peppers.
- Plant peppers 18-24 inches apart.
- Carrots require a lot of sunshine – about 6-10 hours a day.
- Carrots are slow to germinate. They typically require 2-3 weeks to emerge, so don’t give up on these guys!
- Water carrots frequently, but do not douse them as you would with peppers. A shallow watering will do.
As you start harvesting your crops, you will want to make some homemade meals out of them. Check out some of our recipes below!
Grilled Veggie & Quinoa Bowl: This fresh blend of vegetables includes tomatoes, corn, green onions, and avocado, however, add in more of your garden vegetables for even more color!
Zucchini-Vegetable Rolls: With only 5 ingredients, this is a great appetizer to put out for your Mother’s Day or Memorial Day celebration. The only ingredient you would have to purchase is the PICS cream cheese!
Vegetable Storage Hacks!
If you are someone that enjoys growing a garden in the summer and is dedicated to taking care of it, you may be experiencing an overflowing volume of vegetables. While having a surplus is a good thing, you might be running out of people to share your vegetables with! We have some tips and tricks on how to store your vegetables to extend their lifespan, as well as delicious recipes that can be made. After all, summer is winding down and we would hate to have you lose all your hard work.
When storing your produce, you first need to consider what types of vegetables you have and whether it should be stored in a room-temperature area or in a refrigerator. For example, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, garlic, tomatoes, and onions should be stored at room temperature, like a counter or kitchen table. Additionally, these types of produce should not be covered by a bag to allow them to breathe.
On the contrary, vegetables that should be refrigerated and stored in a sealed container or Ziploc bag include leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and carrots. By refrigerating produce in a sealed Ziploc bag, the cool moisture is held in. Additionally, ensure that the green tops of the radishes and carrots are removed prior to storage.
When storing your produce, be wary of what items you store next to each other. Apples should not be refrigerated directly next to leafy greens, broccoli, or cabbage due to ethylene gas that apples produce. This type of gas begins the ripening process and as apples begin to ripen, more ethylene gas is produced. Leafy greens are sensitive to ethylene gas, and by placing these next to produce like apples, you may lose your lettuce sooner than expected!
It is important to note that regardless of how well you store your produce, they will only last approximately one to three weeks depending on what type of vegetable it is. That is why you should always use your instinct to judge whether or not your vegetables should be consumed or thrown out.
Another great option is to try a new recipe using your fresh produce. Check out the recipes we have created below!
Spinach & Apple Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette : This combination of fresh apples, tomatoes, and spinach mixed with pecans and Gorgonzola cheese is the perfect side salad at dinner!
Instant Pot® Tortellini & Vegetable Soup: While this recipe calls for frozen vegetables, replace it with vegetables of your choice from the garden!
Air Fryer Loaded-Taco Baked Potatoes with Guacamole: This baked potato is filling, healthy, and delicious for even the pickiest of eaters! Be sure to stop by your local Price Chopper or Market 32 for PICS cheese and sour cream.
Open-Faced Butternut Squash and Kale Omelet: This hearty and healthy breakfast is delicious and easy to make! All you need are PICS eggs and bacon, your garden vegetables, and spices of your choice.
home.grown. Prolong Your Garden with Pickling!
Summer is the best time of year for fresh produce. At Price Chopper and Market 32, we partner with a wide variety of local farmers in the region, but we know that many Northeasterners enjoy growing their own produce. If you fall into this category, your garden may just be overflowing, and you can only give away so many tomatoes! Pickling could be a good alternative for you and your veggies. We have exactly what you need from mason jars and lids and other canning and pickling essentials like large-size vinegar. Read below on how to pickle if this is new to you, and then stop in your local Price Chopper or Market 32 to get the supplies you need!
What exactly is pickling, and is it just for cucumbers?
Pickling is the process of preserving food in a brine solution in order to extend its shelf life. By brining certain foods, bacteria are not allowed to grow. There are so many food products that can be pickled, and just a few are listed below. Some may even surprise you!
Cucumbers, garlic, pork, beets, carrots, eggs, strawberries, blueberries, radishes, shrimp. onions, squash, peppers, beef, and mangoes.
History of Pickling:
Pickling foods is nowhere near a new concept. According to archeologists and anthropologists, they believe that ancient Mesopotamians pickled. Later, pickling was a necessity for families to have food throughout the winter months and was crucial for sailors on long voyages.
How to Pickle Your Garden Veggies:
Fresh vegetables without bruises from your garden are ideal to pickle. The shape you choose to cut your produce is up to you, but cherry tomatoes are best when left as a whole and carrots work well when cut into spears.
- Prepare your mason jar by washing it with warm, soapy water and then rinsing out completely. Dry thoroughly with a towel.
- Cut your vegetables into the shape of your choice and trim the ends. Add in any spices if you choose or garlic.
- Pack your vegetables tightly in the mason jars. Ensure that there is some room from the top of the vegetables to the rim of the jar.
- Prepare your brine by following the steps below:
- Combine: 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar of choice, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Poor into a small pan over high heat and bring to a boil
- Continue stirring to ensure the salt and sugar dissolve
- Pour brine into mason jars
- Let vegetables cool for at least one hour before enjoying. The longer they sit in the brine, the better.