Category Archives: Fruit

WHO KNEW? GARDENING IS A HEALTHY HABIT!

Weed, Baby, Weed! (Or Plant, for That Matter)

Gardening is a healthy habit! It burns calories, it works your muscles, and it increases your harvest. And while it’s good to dig in the dirt, the aftereffects can be a pain. That’s why it’s important to condition your core, and position yourself correctly so the right muscles are used:

  1. When planting or weeding keep your back straight (not hunched) to minimize back strain, and take breaks every so often to protect your knees and back.
  2. When picking up heavy bags of soil (or anything else) bend at the knees-not your waist- to engage your leg muscles. This decreases stress on your neck, shoulders, and most importantly your back.
  3. When pruning, pull branches to your level. Avoid twisting or reaching too far overhead.

Families who garden are more likely to get their 5-plus a day of fruits and vegetables.

  • Kids who garden tend to eat more veggies (even when they go off to college). And everyone knows that eating veggies is a healthy habit!
  • 6 easy vegetables anyone can grow: green beans, cukes, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini.
  • The number one vegetable people grow in their gardens is tomatoes, with 86% of American households planting them.

Other Healthy Outcomes

  • Gardening is a proven tension tamer. In one study, people who took a frustrating test then gardened for 30 minutes showed an uptick in their mood and a lowering of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Stronger immunity? Yes. Research shows that children who garden (and play in dirt) develop healthier immune systems.
  • Finally, garden helps society. OK, that sounds rather grand, doesn’t it? But think about it: 72% of plastic wrap and materials used to package produce ends up as litter on land or in water. And if you grow it, you will eat it (freeze it, can it, give it to lucky friends) before it spoils. Supermarkets, on the other hand, often end up with piles of unsold produce, costing an estimated $15 billion every year.

So, eat well, feel great, and garden for good health. Get digging.

WHAT THE HECK IS A BUG HOTEL? (A Tutorial)

Nature does a lot to help our fruits and vegetables along, especially by providing a bunch of beneficial insects to pollinate our crops and prey on pests. It’s impossible to say just how valuable these creepy crawlies are in keeping the cycle of garden life going, but we are very indebted to them!

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WHO KNEW? EPSOM SALTS FOR YOUR GARDEN?

epsom salts

Most people have heard of Epsom salts and they typically associate it with baths, as this natural salt from Epsom, England is probably best known as a way to help relieve your body’s aches and pains. Or perhaps you’ve even been one of the unfortunate ones who’ve had to use Epsom salts as a laxative. But did you know that Epsom salt can also be an effective gardening tool? Really?

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Grow a Healthy and Beautiful Garden

Which Growing Zone? zone-map-3

Growing a garden in Zone 7a (this is the zone we live in on Long Island) means we have the best of both warm and cool climates. Summer temperatures are warm enough to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and many other subtropical plants. Winter temperatures can be cool enough to freeze the soil several inches deep for brief periods, but moderate enough that a little insulation will protect plants from damage.

Spring planting of vegetable crops should be guided by the last average frost date. In our zone it could be after April 15, or as late as the first week in May. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and if you are unsure, ask the local County Cooperative Extension office, listed in the phone book. Seed packet instructions often contain statements such as “Plant seeds indoors six weeks before the last average frost,” or “Sow seeds in the garden two weeks after the last average frost date.”

Microclimates

It also is important to know how many hours of direct sunlight your plants can receive and where the shadows fall in the afternoon. You may have at least 4 different microclimates around your home:

  1. A hot side facing south
  2. A shadowed, cool side on the north
  3. A warm western side with afternoon sun
  4. An ever-changing eastern side that may be warm or cool depending on trees, fencing, or time of year.

Carefully observe heat and light to know where to create your garden. Watch where your snow melts first. This is the warmest and sunniest microclimate you have. Plants that produce fruits require plenty of sun. Allow at least 6 hours daily for tomatoes, zucchini and cabbage. In general, the bigger the fruit the more sunlight it must have.

On the other hand, many veggies and herbs can do well in only about 4 hours of sun a day, such as carrots, beets, chard, chives, lettuce, basil, mint, parsley, or spinach. For leafy green vegetable, less sunlight is fine.

The Key to Success

The key to a healthy garden lies in the soil.  The more you can do to keep your soil healthy, the more productive your garden will be and the higher the quality of your crops. Giordanos carries premium soil and boosters to enhance your output and the excellence of your plants.

Giordano’s wants you to succeed, so we offer plants that will thrive for our customers. Your success is our success, so come in for advice about what will work best for you.

If you are starting or maintaining a home vegetable garden, this website from Cornell University will prove to be extremely helpful:

https://gardening.cce.cornell.edu/

Variety = Resilience! Permaculture Tips & Techniques

Ever heard the phrase, “diversity makes us stronger”?

Well as it turns out, that is true in your garden too! Permaculture is an agricultural philosophy that subscribes to the notion that diversity of plant-life = resilience in your garden/landscape. Or in other words the wider variety of plants you have growing close to eachother, the less likely it is that your “ecosystem” will succumb to disease & pests. Sounds good? We thought so too!
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7 Tips for Amazing Tomatoes!

1. Choose a bright, airy spot.

Plant tomatoes where they will get at least 10 hours of light in summer. And leave room between plants for air to circulate.

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2. Crop Rotation

Alternate your tomato bed between even just two spots and you diminish the risk of soilborne diseases such as bacterial spot and early blight.

 
 
 


3. When buying Tomato Starts BEWARE!

When buying tomato seedlings, beware of lush green starts with poor root systems. They will languish for weeks before growing.

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4. Plant ‘Em Deep!

Plant your tomato seedlings up to the first true leaves. New roots will quickly sprout on the stems. More roots means more fruits.


5. Water Thoroughly, But Not Everyday!

Tomatoes do best when watered every 5-6 days. Soak them THOROUGHLY by watering at the base (try not to pour water on the leaves, especially on hot days!)

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6. Compost!

Tomatoes LOVE compost and Bumper Crop NEVER hurts! In fact mixing equal parts Long Island Compost and Bumper Crop is the IDEAL food for your tomatoes! We carry both at Giordano’s!


7. Stagger Planting

Plant in stages. Plant half of your allotted garden area, wait 3 weeks and then plant the other half. This will ensure that all your tomatoes don’t come in at once. You can also do it in thirds (only wait 2 weeks between sets).

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