National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month: What to Eat Right Now

berriesWe’re just a few days away from June and with all the sunshine bringing life to our gardens and lawns, that means there’s an abundance of farm fresh produce to add to our daily menus. June has been appropriately designated as National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month and to help you figure out what you want to put in your farmer’s market basket, here’s what to eat right now.

Blackberries/Blueberries/Boysenberries Jellies, jams, pies and muffins — dessert is in the garden! Berries have a relatively short growing season, but fresh berries have a flavor you’ll be thinking about all year long. Sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar and whipped cream, and you have a refreshing dessert, but make them part of your pastries and you’ll get a little taste of heaven.

Apricots We’re just about half-way through the apricot growing season, so if you want to try a recipe using apricots, now’s the time to do it. An upside down cake, a tart, a cobbler– put them on your list for your next summer picnic.

Rhubarb June and July are your last months to try something fabulous with rhubarb. Most people are familiar with strawberry-rhubarb pie — it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart (and goes really well with vanilla ice cream!) but rhubarb can be transformed into a sauce for chicken or pork chops — you just have to make sure to add a sweet seasonal fruit — like cherries — to it to temper the tartness.   asparagus

Asparagus Get your asparagus while you can! We’re winding down the growing season for these green spears. They’re perfect for grilling so you don’t have to heat up the house roasting them or sauteing them on your stove top. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt before putting them on the hot grill. Leave them on just long enough to make grill marks and they’re ready to serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Corn We’re just starting the sweet corn season — start pinning your favorite corn recipes because for the next months, you’ll have corn coming out your ears! That’s not a bad thing — who doesn’t love a good roasted corn salad or eating it straight off the cob slathered in butter?

tomatoesTomatoes There’s no other time of year that you can find such red, plump and juicy tomatoes. Whether you’re slicing them up for a caprese salad or skewering them for a veggie kebab, you’ll have plenty of delightful dishes that can be brightened with a few tomatoes. And if you don’t get to them all, you can always can them for sauce in the winter.

Summer sunshine gives us so much more than just outdoor fun to take advantage of — make sure to take advantage of all of nature’s bounty and make fresh fruits and veggies part of your summer cookouts, entertaining or just dinner at home with the family.

6 Container Garden Ideas

So you’re late to the party this summer with gardening. That’s OK. A container garden can be an anytime garden. Here are 6 container garden ideas to try:

wooden-pallet-herb-garden

Image source: curbly.com

Effortless Herbs

Herbs are relatively easy to grow in containers – whether you want to go small with a window box or you want a big display with a wood pallet herb garden. Herbs are great for small containers because their roots aren’t extensive – which also makes them great for creating big, full containers. They do require a lot of watering. The soil should always be moist, but not wet – drainage holes in the container help with this. If you love having fresh herbs in the kitchen and lovely plants on the patio, a cute herb container garden will satisfy both of those needs.

Image source: myhanginggarden.com

Image source: myhanginggarden.com

Tomato Temptation

Tomatoes are excellent for container gardens. They’re beautiful in a hanging planter or they can dress up an old bucket. Large containers are best for tomatoes – they need lots of food from nutrient-rich soil (fertilized soil is best), so if you can fit a lot of soil in a container, your tomatoes will grow to be plump and juicy. Tomatoes need about eight hours of sunlight per day for a great harvest – so making a mobile tomato container garden allows you to move your plant to where the sun is shining.

Image Source: casasugar.com

Image Source: casasugar.com

Sucker for Succulents

Succulents are great for people who love plants but aren’t good gardeners – they don’t require watering more than about once a week. They’re usually found in arid climates and do well in the desert because they retain a lot of water (think: cactus). They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, so finding a container a cute succulent will work well in shouldn’t be a problem – even a wine bottle cork would do.

Image source: pinterest.com

Image source: pinterest.com

Flowing Flowers

A well curated garden can make any container look beautiful – even an old suitcase. Marigolds, violas and pansies are all colorful and work well in container gardens. Petunia and its miniature cousin, Calibrachoa, are also great for creating container gardens with character. The calibrachoa tend to sprawl with its tiny flowers and make overgrowth elegant.

Hanging Happiness

Like paintings on an interior wall, hanging container gardens raise your outdoor décor to eye level. A hanging plant adds color, texture and personality to any porch, deck or window. The cascading geranium is a classic choice for hanging plants. The delicate blossoms of lobelia and the droopy but dainty fuchsia add color while draping from high up. However, hanging container gardens require a bit more maintenance – they lose more water to air and gravity than a container on solid ground so hanging containers need vigilant watering.

Image source: http://namujaukumas.lt

Image source: http://namujaukumas.lt

Terrarium for the Timid

If you’re not ready to commit to a full container garden, a terrarium in a jar is a great introduction to the world of

gardening. They can be big or small, indoor or outdoor, winter or summer. They’re easy to build – it’s just a matter of layering charcoal and potting soil – and upkeep is minimal. Regular watering and trimming maintain their contained charm.

Getting a container garden together doesn’t require too much thought or work; if motivation is keeping you from gathering the supplies, think of the delight a new garden will bring you and you’ll be building your gardening this afternoon.

Happy gardening!