More ways to increase your food production

Tips to increase your food security

In our last blog, we started with a few tips about creating the best environment for quicker food production. In this issue, we’ll cover watering, air circulation needs, and growing methods that make the most of your space. We plan to follow up soon with a list of quickest growing fruits and vegetables, and recommendations on companion planting for increased yields. Stay tuned to our blog– you won’t want to miss an issue! Helping everyone to have their own food security is at the top of our list during this time of such uncertainty.

Watering for food production

Water is vital for fast plant growth. Water transports vital nutrients from the root system throughout the plant. Different plants and even different varieties of the same species can have different water requirements. When planning your garden, grouping plants with similar watering needs can save time and energy spent tending your crop.

Outdoor conditions sometimes cause root and vine diseases during rainy weather. Containers, raised beds, and prepared soil for planting in rows should have adequate drainage to avoid root rot and other diseases that can damage plants.

In the greenhouse, drip irrigation, misting systems, and even ebb and flow hydroponic benches can boost your growing efforts by bringing water to your plants on a regular schedule. You can also utilize these same systems to deliver nutrients and to control temperature and humidity.

Air Circulation for faster growth

Plants need air for proper photosynthesis. Above soil level, leaves convert carbon dioxide in the air into sugars and starches, which feed the plant. Good air circulation means a well-fed plant. Below the surface, roots gain oxygen from watering, and send nutrients to the main body of the plant.

In a greenhouse, circulation fans for proper airflow are vital to increasing growth and producing healthy plants. Properly placed fans will eliminate hot and cold spots in the greenhouse, keep humidity levels low and even, and keep gasses in the air more homogenized.

During the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is depleted in the air nearest to plant leaves. With proper air flow, new carbon dioxide is moved to each plant with regularity, ensuring continual growth.

Growing methods for increase food production

Typical planting methods are tried and true, but changing the way you grow can have a big impact on your overall production.

Vertical Growing

Vertical growing is a very easy way to make the most of your gardening space, whether you have a greenhouse, a balcony full of containers, a full garden plot, or even a corner of your sunroom to grow in.

There are many benefits to growing food vertically. In addition to increasing your valuable garden space, you’ll reduce common pests and decrease the instance of disease. Harvesting is easier (more veggies at eye level instead of on the ground!), and your plants can thrive closer together, which can significantly increase your yield.

Vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, pole beans, and smaller squashes and melons are wonderful choices for vertical growing. A trellis or a teepee- like supporting structure works well for these. There is even a variety of climbing spinach you can grow this way, called Malabar spinach!

Spreading vine plants like sweet potatoes, grapes, kiwis, larger melons, pumpkins, and other large squashes can be grown in containers or bags, and trained up and out over arbors. This will also help with plants prone to vine rot. You can plant herbs and veggies that prefer less sun underneath these arbor, to receive more filtered sunlight.

Peppers and most cruciferous vegetables do well in vertical garden walls, and fast-growing microgreens are extremely easy to proliferate in vertical shelves. Microgreens, indoors and out, will produce over and over in a matter of weeks with full sunlight or supplemental lights.

Hydroponic and aquaponic growing

Hydroponic and aquaponic growing methods are also excellent choices for rapid fruit and vegetable production. Nutrients are delivered directly to the roots of your growing plants, water is delivered and circulated for immediate use, and pests and disease are rare with these set-ups.

Intensive Planting

With a method called intensive planting, rather than growing in spaced rows with walkways between, the garden is divided into rectangles as wide as your reach is from each side. The plants are sown very close together. Every square inch of growing space is covered by a canopy of plants, with walking space only around the outside edges.

With foliage shading the soil, weed growth and moisture evaporation are slowed. Avoid over-crowding; ideally you want leaves of each plant to just barely touch when they reach harvest size. Be sure each plant gets sufficient sunlight, nutrients, and water. This method is effective both in raised beds and in traditional in-ground gardens.

Feeding Your Family from Garden to Table

Planning food production for your family is a big undertaking, but armed with knowledge and tools for success, growing fruits and vegetables can be a fast and fulfilling endeavor. Stay tuned to our blog series, as we aim to increase your know-how and grower confidence. Happy growing!

Growing Food At Home

Grow Your Own Sense of Food Security

Food Security

Amid the global crisis of staying healthy as a pandemic threatens our daily lives, food security is more on our minds than ever. Having access to your own supply of fresh, nutritious food when stores and supply chains are unreliable can give you peace of mind, as well as a healthy diet.

This year, we began a blog series to promote year-round growing, not knowing what would lie ahead. Many of our recommendations have given advice on how to grow food not just in a large garden or greenhouse, but also utilizing containers indoors, balconies, raised beds– really anywhere you can add a little green to your life. Now, with quarantines and supply chain disruptions, we understand that growing food for yourself may soon be more than a hobby, and might impact your overall food security. With that in mind, please enjoy our top recommendations for quick starting your food production and getting your plants to start producing ASAP.

How to Stimulate Quick Plant Growth

Farmland

Like all living things, plants will thrive in an environment that is suited to their needs. Nourishment, light, water, and optimal temperatures are needed for seedlings to develop into healthy, bountiful crops. The absence of any one of these components can disrupt the plant’s ability to grow. Practicing good gardening methods and creating the healthiest environment for your plants will result in hearty yields and increase your own food production.

Soil for quick plant growth

Soil is the best place to start when planning your planting. Different plants have different soil requirements, so plan your in-ground bed arrangements to be able to separate your soil additives. If you are growing in containers or in a greenhouse, this becomes much easier to plan.

Start with a soil testing kit to determine what your soil is composed of, and what it may lack. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, organic matter, and other soil additives can enrich your plant’s soil and nutrient profile.

Your seedlings may prefer rocky or sandy soil, or richer, more dense soil, so be sure to check a Farmer’s Almanac or other sources for your specific plants’ needs. Your local Ag. Extension Service an excellent resource to assist in your gardening endeavors.

Lighting for quick plant growth

A plant’s primary food source is light. Whether natural or artificial, without adequate light, plant growth can be stunted and slow, due to limited photosynthesis. Plants use all spectrums of light to create sugars for their survival, as well as to trigger growth responses.

A greenhouse is the best way to capture the sun’s power, promoting growth while keeping your plants protected from pests and adverse conditions. Greenhouses can also be outfitted with supplemental grow lights, or with blackout tarps and covers, both of which can be used to affect plants blooming, flowering, and fruiting cycles.

When growing outdoors or inside your home, planting on a south-facing slope, or in a southern exposed window where the sunlight pours in will generally speed up growth and fruiting. In any growing environment, if you can give extended light periods (in your greenhouse or under lamps) that will boost production immensely and reduce both weed and pest invasion.

As with soil, different plants also have different lighting requirements, so check online for the best advice for each crop you are growing. Researcher partners from the John Innes Centre, the University of Queensland, and the University of Sydney found that using lights that are optimized for increased photosynthesis in specific plants increased crop production threefold.

Temperature for quick plant growth

Best Lean-to Greenhouse kits
Greenhouse attached to the building

Maintaining the perfect temperature for your plants can be difficult. Making use of hoop houses, covering when there is a cold snap, and adjusting watering schedules can help, but more perfect control can be obtained within a greenhouse setting. Maintaining the correct temperature for specific plants encourages growth and prevents damage. Know which temperatures your plants thrive in to encourage faster and healthier growth, and plan your planting calendar to take the best advantage of natural weather patterns if you are not growing inside of a greenhouse.

Increasing Food Security in Your Community

An idea that is taking hold in many communities is cooperative growing. Friends and family plan their crops together to take the best advantage of their own resources and can grow a greater variety of foods to share together. If you have a greenhouse full of juicy tomatoes, but your neighbor’s sandy soil is more suited to cilantro and root vegetables, then cooperative growing might be a great solution to increase your food security.

Staggering plantings and harvests with friends and neighbors will also help decrease your labor. If you plant two crops with similar light, soil, nutrient, and watering needs, and your co-op partner plants two different crops, then you can both optimize your feeding and watering efforts yet still have a variety of fresh, healthy food sources.

More Growing Tips for Maximum Food Security

Farmers Market Success

In the coming weeks, our blog will focus on more growing tips, on seed starting, on crops that grow quickly, on different growing methods, and on different types of greenhouses and the best crops for them. We hope you all stay well and continue to support your health with the best from your edible garden.

If you’d like to discuss how a greenhouse can support your food security, our experts would love to speak with you! Call 1-800-531-4769 or send us an email today. Happy Growing!

Careers in Horticulture

Careers in Horticulture

Horticulture has been around since the beginning of mankind. Either as a hobby or as a profession, horticulture spans all aspects of growing, producing, and using plants to their maximum capabilities. Therefore, careers in horticulture will always be a necessary and continuous part of modern society. Whether we are using beautiful ornamental plants as decorations or benefiting from the nutrition that home-grown fruits and vegetables offer, horticulture touches our lives, in some aspect, every single day.

Growth in the Horticulture Industry  

In recent years, the horticulture industry has been in growing in popularity. In fact, a recent report published by the horticulture industry’s leading analysts stated that they forecast the Greenhouse Horticulture market to grow at a rate of 10.79% between 2018 and 2022. This expected growth will likely contribute to more job opportunities all over the world. Since horticulture is always in demand, careers in horticulture will always be available.

So, what jobs does the horticulture industry offer? Whether you love working with your hands, have a love of nature, or even a keen eye for salesmanship, there is probably an employment opportunity waiting for you inside the vast, versatile field of horticulture.

Landscaping Jobs

Production Nursery

Production Nursery workers grow plants from seedlings or cuttings to sell, usually at the wholesale level. Fruit trees, berry plants, deciduous trees, and evergreens are some common types of plants grown in production nurseries. There will always be a high demand for food, therefore,

Landscape Nursery

Landscape Nursery employees help prepare sites for landscape projects. Everything from new neighborhoods, shopping centers, hospitals, and schools require landscaping that not only beautifies, but that also meets the codes and requirements of the area.

Landscape Maintenance

Landscape Maintenance involves the upkeep and wellness of landscaped areas. Whether you are helping your community maintain beautiful lawns, or you work with a large team to maintain the landscape of an industrial complex, this job is always in demand. It is also a great opportunity for starting your own business or creating side jobs as a means for extra income.

Garden Centers

Garden Centers are retail shops and nurseries that sell to the public. These businesses often become a central source for gardening supplies, landscaping materials, tools, and equipment for hobby growers and larger growing operations.

Arboretums & Botanical Gardens

Botanical Garden

Arboretums & Botanical Gardens are popular community attractions in most big cities. Often centered on local flora, guests can learn about what grows in their area while enjoying a self-guided tour throughout the collections of plants. These types of gardens often use conservatories and greenhouses to protect delicate and endangered plant species from the elements. Students, scientists, and growers use these gardens to research plants and the environments.

Each of these landscaping related careers in horticulture can offer a variety of employment opportunities, including:

  • Propagators
  • Inventory and Control Personnel
  • Field Forepersons
  • Field Supervisors
  • Managers and Salespeople
  • Shippers and Traffic Managers
  • Brokers
  • Buyers
  • Landscape Designers
  • Plant Doctors
  • Writers
  • Researchers
  • Educational Directors
  • Librarians
  • Superintendents of Operations
  • Curators
  • Greenhouse Managers

Floriculture Jobs

Plant & Flower Production

Flower Production

Plant & Flower Production is an opportunity for small hobby growers to earn extra income, and an opportunity to expand to or work within a large, wholesale growing operation. Catering to florists, greenhouse managers, grocery stores, garden centers, & many other customers in the horticulture industry means that plant and flower producers will stay in high demand.

Wholesale Florists

Wholesale Florists usually handle the cut plants and flowers that garden centers and grocery stores often rely on to stock their own floral departments. These careers often also handle the distribution of dry goods such as growing containers, and other florist supplies.

Retail Florists

Retail Florists often own, manage, or work in florist shops. These shops are the most common retail outlets for the public purchase of fresh flowers, houseplants, wedding bouquets, bereavement arrangements, and many other every day and special occasion flower needs.

Garden Centers

Garden Centers and other retail stores often have smaller areas within their departments that sell fresh-cut flowers, gardening supplies, houseplants, and other horticulture equipment. Discount stores usually have garden centers that offer competitive pricing on everyday gardening needs.

Employment in the floriculture field can offer a wide variety of career opportunities, including:

  • Growers
  • Production Superintendents
  • Marketing Managers
  • Inventory Controllers
  • Buyers
  • Salespeople
  • Designers
  • Propagators
  • Greenhouse Managers

Working with Fruits and Vegetables

Production of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Production of Fruits and Vegetables can involve working in smaller, independent orchards, and vineyards, or in large commercial operations. These careers are sought out by college-trained horticulturists because of the highly mechanized, technological aspects of producing these plants. Whether you are looking to start a family farm, or work for an established, corporate-owned business, fruit and vegetable production careers will always be available.

Marketing

Marketing careers have become some of the most highly sought after jobs of the modern era. The marketing of fruits and vegetables is no exception. Informing customers of improved growing practices, safe alternatives to pesticides, organic techniques, nutritional values, and sustainability of fruits and vegetables takes considerable effort and finances. These careers attract employees who want to use their creativity and people skills, while also potentially earning a high salary. 

  • Manager
  • Field Workers
  • Sales Agencies
  • Managers
  • Factory & Warehouse Supervisors
  • Salespeople
  • Buyers
  • Brokers
  • Marketing and Promotional Organizers
  • General Managers & Executive Directors

Education & Research

Horticulture Specialists

Horticulture Specialists

Horticulture Specialists work for the government usually or on college campuses. Specialists often work in all aspects of horticulture and agriculture. However, they can also have a more focused specialty wherein they work with a specific plant, habitat, ecosystem, etc.  These jobs involve getting outreach groups, 4-H clubs, student communities, and other youth-driven organizations involved with horticulture training programs.

Consultants

Consultants are self-employed horticulturist who offer help and advise individual growers, federally regulated farms, and anyone else who needs help with their operation. Private consultants apply their knowledge to help educate growers about pest and disease issues, soil nutrition, and economical control methods.

Communicators

Communicators help organize and present seminars, webinars, educational meetings, and other group events wherein the attendees will learn about horticulture. They often also write blogs, articles, and columns for horticulture publications.

Teachers

Teachers of horticulture are working from preschools grades through doctoral programs. Certified teachers can work in private or public schools as either full-time teachers, part-time lab teachers, or adjunct professors. Non-certified teachers can often work in public gardens, early childhood development centers, nature reserves, and community centers.

Research Scientists

Research Scientists are an important part of horticulture. Studying, breeding, and developing new techniques for growing plants helps keep the horticulture industry effective and profitable. These scientists can work as independent consultants in the private sector, or for federally funded schools and programs. Therefore, the knowledge of how to use the latest sophisticated technology usually makes this career a high earning one.

Plant Inspectors

Plant Inspectors work at the federal and state levels, ensuring that facilities are up to code and implementing best practices. Some inspectors from private companies perform independent testing to combat bias.

While the list of career opportunities connected to Education and Research facet of the horticulture industry is vast, some jobs available include:

  • Teacher or Professor
  • Assistant Teacher
  • Lab Technician
  • Lab Assistant
  • Independent Consultant
  • Corporate Consultant
  • Botanist
  • Arborist
  • State or Federal Inspector
  • Researcher
  • Research Assistant
  • Fundraiser
  • Promoter or Presenter

There’s no doubt that horticulture is a huge part of our everyday lives and careers in horticulture are readily available. So, if you are interested in starting a horticulture training program in your area, call us today at 1-800-531-4769 to discuss your goals.

Health Benefits Conservatory Greenhouse

The Many Health Benefits of a Conservatory Greenhouse

Throughout history, people have added conservatories to homes, schools, health facilities, and botanical centers to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces. These beautiful additions are usually buildings or rooms encased in glass walls and roofs. And while the decorative, sometimes ornate, structures add style and value to properties, did you know that there are also health benefits associated with conservatories?

health benefits of a conservatory

Because of the health benefits of sunlight, doctors recommend that we get between 10-15 minutes of sunlight every day. This helps lessen a variety of health risks and helps increase our overall physical and mental health.

Vitamin D Creation

Conservatories are often used as sunrooms, or “solariums.” Latin for “place of sun[light],” these rooms permit abundant amounts of sunshine to enter into the building while also providing shelter from adverse weather. Sunlight is one of the best sources for keeping our Vitamin D levels at a healthy level. When exposed to sunlight, our skin creates Vitamin D. Healthy levels of Vitamin D can help prevent bone density loss, muscle weakness, cancer, and other health risks.

Blood Pressure

We all have something called nitric oxide in our skin and blood. Nitric oxide reacts with sunlight by widening blood vessels. Therefore, regular sun exposure can lower your blood pressure which can help decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes.


Mental Health

Have you ever wondered why you seem happier in the spring and summer than you do in the winter? This is a common mental health issue that many people face called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Doctors believe that sunlight increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is the hormone we associate with feelings of happiness. The shorter days of winter paired with people being indoors because of the cold weather can cause serotonin levels to fall. This often means that you feel less happy. Having a solarium is an ideal way to spend time in the sun year-round.


What about Too Much Sun?

Using a conservatory to reap the many benefits of sunlight is also a way to combat the dangers of overexposure to the sun. We know that too much sun exposure can cause skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer. Because sunrooms are made with glass that prevents harmful UV rays from seeping indoors, the sun’s rays filter through in a less harmful way. You can have a sunny, beautiful area to enjoy all the benefits of sunlight without the fear of overexposure.

For more information on how you can experience the health benefits of a conservatory, visit us at https://www.gothicarchgreenhouses.com/custom-greenhouses.html.

Growing Potatoes in February

Year-Round Growing- Potatoes- February Planting Guide

Year-Round Growing Guide- February

As we leave the January chill behind, the days are starting to lengthen. Moving towards the equinox, many US zones now have enough daily sunlight to start crops without the use of supplemental lighting. February marks the return of roughly 10 hours of daylight, and is a great time to start your year-round growing plan. This month, we start growing potatoes and sage- no seeds involved!

Potatoes can be started outdoors under cover or indoors in containers soon. Potatoes like full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. To prepare for outdoor potato planting, you’ll want to ready your garden plot by digging the site thoroughly and incorporating plenty of well-rotted organic matter and high-potash fertilizer. A slightly acidic soil is best but not essential; potatoes can thrive in a wide range of soils. If your soil is more alkaline, a light application of sulfur will help establish healthy plants.

Growing potatoes in containers

Best varieties of potatoes for container growing

For indoor planting, you’ll want to select and order your containers. Each plant will need 10 liters, or just over 2.5 gallons, to grow into. A standard household garbage can-sized container can hold around four plants, and there are grow bags of various sizes that are handy to use as well. Whatever container you use, be sure there are adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to freely drain away.

As important as the container, choose what type potato to grow. First and second early varieties are best for container growing, and harvest before most diseases can take hold. Salad potatoes, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Lady Christl,’ ‘Rocket,’ and nutty-flavored ‘Anya’ are great selections that do well both in and out of the ground.

How to chit potatoes

For early potato crops, we recommend chitting from seed potatoes. Start with seed potatoes and sprout them for planting to encourage a head start. Place them in a shallow container, such as an egg carton or seed tray, blunt end up, in a cool, bright window. Some growing guides recommend chitting in a dark place at room temperature, but we have found that thicker shoots sprout when there is more light and the temperature isn’t too high.

When the shoots are near a half-inch long, cut your seed potato into chunks containing at least 1 thick, sturdy shoot (preferably two) and lay them on racks to heal and dry. Once a skin has formed over the cut parts, usually in 3 to 4 days, the potatoes are ready to plant.

Growing Potatoes Outdoors

Growing potatoes guide

Early potatoes are easy to start in February

Once your chitting process is complete, you’ll be ready to plant outdoors or in containers. Potatoes prefer fertile, loose, well-drained soil at a soil pH of 5.2-6.0.

For growing potatoes outdoors, dig a 4-inch depth trench and place your seed potatoes with the shoot pointed upwards. Fill the trench, and fertilize as recommended above.

To protect young potatoes from frost, which can blacken tender shoots, recover with soil as soon as stems emerge above ground. When the stems reach a height of approximately 5-inches, mound more dirt over them again to stop tubers near the soil surface from turning green. This is called hilling, and helps to keep sunlight from reaching the tubers. Hilling in the morning, when plants are at their tallest, will help support the plant and keep your growing potatoes from getting sunburned. Sunlight on the tubers causes them to turn green and produce a chemical called solanine, which is bitter and toxic.

Growing Potatoes in Containers

A deep container is ideal for growing potatoes year-round, particularly early potato varieties. Drainage will be helped by adding some material such as a pot, broken brick or ceramic, or even polystyrene to your container then fill with about 4 inches of soil or medium. Standard multipurpose potting soil works well, but can be expensive. A mix of soil from your garden, potting mix, and compost will save money and stretch your resources.

Space your seed potatoes, with sprouts upright, evenly in the container. Cover with 4 inches more if soil mix, and begin to tend as you would outdoor potato plants. As the shoots grow, continue to add layers of potting medium to shield tubers from the sun.

Watering Potato Plants

Container growing potatoes

A healthy harvest of early potatoes

Unless there’s plenty of rain, outdoor potatoes will need to be watered well while tubers are developing. An even amount of moisture is important. Too much water right after planting and not enough as the potatoes begin to form, can result in misshapen tubers. From the time when sprouts appear until several weeks after they blossom, the plants will need approximately 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Irrigate thoroughly when needed, allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again.

Growing potatoes in containers will also require an even watering schedule. While outdoor plants can reach down to chase valuable soil moisture, their container plants are dependent upon your care. See to hand watering the plants as they grow, and particularly once the foliage has filled out. Actively growing plants will also benefit from liquid nutrients during their growing time; we like organic fertilizer such as seaweed extract.

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes are a healthy diet staple, in spite of current trends towards low-carb eating. They contain dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which support immunity, lower inflammation, and help maintain bones.

Potatoes are rich in iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. These aid in building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc also play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen.

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are also found in potatoes. These are key to decreasing blood pressure. Potassium encourages vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels. The potatoes’ significant fiber content helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. Vitamin C and vitamin B6 content also help decrease the risk of heart disease.
Antioxidants, choline, and folate are also present in potatoes, and affect the body’s DNA repairing abilities, muscle movement, mood, learning, memory, and nerve impulse transmission.

How to Grow Sage

Growing Potatoes and Herbs

Fresh herbs year-round

Both of our suggestions for this week’s year-round growing plan are best not grown from seed. Sage can take over a year to establish from seed, so we instead suggest propagation by layering or cutting from a mother plant.

To layer sage, you need mature plant. Bend a side branch down to the soil, then attach with a landscape staple, allowing air to circulate. The branch will soon develop roots, and can be severed from the mother to transplant.

To grow sage from a cutting, use an actively growing branch. Cut a piece 3 to 4 inches from the tip and strip off the leaves. Insert your cutting into a growing medium, and keep the cuttings moist. You’ll have established roots when your cuttings start to develop new leaves.

When rooted, plant sage in full sun outdoors, or in your sunniest container location. Plant in well-draining soil. Sage won’t tolerate sitting in wet soil, so soil type is extremely important. Young plants enjoy frequent watering until they are fully grown. They’ll need a consistent moisture supply until they start growing quickly. Soil temperatures should be between 60º and 70ºF.

Sage companion plants well with rosemary, cabbage, and carrots, but keep sage away from cucumbers.

Health Benefits of Sage

Growing sage in winter

Health benefits of sage

Sage is one of many herbs with extremely high antioxidant capacities and anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects. Recent studies have also shown promise that sage could positively impact cognitive skills, improve memory, and protect against neurological disorders.

Sage may reduce the amount of glucose in the blood. A 3-month study of diabetes patients with high cholesterol had the results of lower fasting glucose, lower average glucose levels, and lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, and levels of harmful cholesterol. However, the participants had increased levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

Researchers also conducted a double-blind clinical trial on 80 individuals with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. This trial found that sage caused a positive effect on blood sugar levels, and suggests sage leaves may have anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-profile-improving effects.

Finally, sage and other flavorful herbs are an easy way to season a healthy meal. By replacing salt with fresh herbs, you can easily make a lifestyle choice that lowers your sodium intake. Growing fresh food year-round will give you access to the freshest herbs and ingredients. This makes healthy life choices easier than ever.

Furthering your growing season

Spring is coming soon! Now’s the time to stock up on supplies for spring and summer. Gothic Arch Greenhouses is ready to help, with ground cover, containers, shade cloth, irrigation, benching, and of course, greenhouses for growers of every sort. Give us a call today if we can help you get ready for this growing season, 1-800-531-4769. Happy growing!

National Carrot Cake Day Recipe!

It’s National Carrot Cake Day! Our favorite recipe is gluten-free and is vegan if you skip the cream cheese frosting!

Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 packed cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
  • 1- 2/3 cups Bob’s Gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions:

Best Carrot Cake recipe

Our best carrot cake recipe is gluten-free and vegan!

Preheat oven to 350 F, and line an 8-inch square or round pan with parchment.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients and let sit at least 10 minutes or fridge overnight.
In a separate bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients.
Pour wet into dry, then stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour into the prepared pan, and smooth down evenly.
Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
When cooled, frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting

Adapted from: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/03/21/healthy-carrot-cake-vegan/

Guide for choosing grow lighting

Shedding “Light” on Grow Lighting

Shedding “Light” on Grow Lighting

Whether you cultivate plant clippings inside a greenhouse, are starting plants from seeds, or are turning an indoor corner into an area to grow herbs, supplemental grow lighting can have enormous affect on your success as a gardener. In this issue, we will shed some “light” on the ins and outs of grow lighting to help you understand the science behind and the benefits of supplementing the sunshine in your garden spot.

What We Know About Plants and Light

Most of us remember learning sunlight is important for plant growth because of photosynthesis. Plants derive energy from sunlight in order to create their own food to survive. And yet, there is much more to this process than we learned in the third grade! Understanding some of the science behind lighting will help you choose the right grow lighting, and create the best lighting conditions for your plants.

Light and Plant Cells

The science of growth and light

Plant leaves contain cells called photons. Photons are important because, using chlorophyll, they create the energy necessary for plants to grow, make food, flower, and produce seed and fruits. The number of photons each plant depends on the amount of light it has been exposed to. Photons rely on light to grow and reproduce. The more light exposure a plant has, the more photons are produced. More photons mean faster photosynthesis, which in turn means more energy for growth functions. Grow lighting can help spur plant growth, even in gloomy winter conditions.

Different plants require a different quantity of photons to perform at optimum levels. Peas, parsnips, and violets love regular shade. Marigolds, lavender, and peppers require full sun. It’s all about the rate at which each plant produces photons, and how many photons the plants need to grow to their fullest potential.

Understanding Spectrums

You may also remember “ROYGBIV” from your third grade science class. It stands for the color spectrums that humans can see- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. This is called the visible spectrum. But, did you know that there are other spectrums that can’t be seen by us?

Grow Lighting growth chart

Changing the amount of red to far red exposure versus blue exposure can affect plant growth factors

Let’s start with the basics. We know that chlorophyll gives plants their green color. We also know that chlorophyll is vital to photons producing energy during photosynthesis. Now we get a bit more technical. Chlorophyll absorbs light that is part of the PAR spectrum. PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation. This spectrum contains light that benefit plants, but can’t be seen by humans.

One common type of grow light produces perceived “white light.” These lights actually cast off the full range of both the visible and PAR spectrums, which looks ” white” to the human eye. These lights can vary from very stark, meaning there are higher percentages of blue frequencies, to very warm, indicating higher levels of red waves. Because these lights contain the full spectrum, they are very useful in promoting plant growth. However, isolating the colors that plants respond to the most, red and blue, can help promote faster, healthier plant growth.

Research shows that blue spectrum lighting, or cool lighting, is beneficial to help leaves and stems grow. Red spectrum lighting has been found to assist in flowering and root growth. Grow lighting that casts a pink or purple glow are giving off a blend of red and blue wave colors. These lights are known as dual band lights. This type of grow lighting is particularly helpful in shaded spaces, light deprivation greenhouses, and in medical growing.

How Much Light?

So, if the human eye can’t see the whole spectrum, how do we know if the lighting we provide our plants is bright enough (or too bright) to be efficient? Simple answer, we don’t. Which means that it is vital to learn about the plants you’re raising.

Grow Lighting Requirments

Knowing about plants’ native conditions can help to know how much light to supplement

 

A great place to start is to ask, “What are the conditions like in their natural habitat?” Cactus prefer dry, very sunny conditions that mimic their desert homes. Tropical plants like warm, humid environments with longer periods of day light. Knowing your plant’s “roots” will point you in the right direction in terms of their lighting requirements, and you can then optimize the growing conditions you are providing.

Large scale and commercial growers use expensive instruments called quantum flux meters. However, these can be expensive for home gardeners. More affordable  (though less elaborate) light meters can help give an idea of how much light is in each area of your garden at a given time. With this information, and a careful eye to plant responses, additional tweaks to your grow lighting plan can usually be easy to discern.

What About Darkness?

Some plants cannot complete their growing cycles unless they spend a substantial amount of time in the dark. Plants like mums, hemp, and zinnias all respond to the lack of light by putting more of their energy into flowering or fruiting. Knowing whether you are growing “short-day” or “long-day” plants will help you create the best lighting conditions, as well as the best periods of darkness, for your plants.

This is why light deprivation greenhouses have become so popular in recent years. Knowing your plant’s growing cycle combined with being able to manipulate lighting to “trick” plants into cycling through their growing processes more quickly, is ideal for producing larger yields, more frequent harvests, or flowering on your schedule (such as poinsettias at the holidays).

Which Grow Lights Are Best?

Grow Lighting

Some of our lighting options

There is no simple answer when it comes to choosing grow lighting. Taking into account the natural lighting available, the orientation of your growing space, the types of plants you are growing, and many other factors. For example, seedlings require a much higher volume of light to thrive. They are trying to develop healthy root systems, stems, and leaves full of those all-important photons. This requires a lot of light energy. Once your plant matures a bit, it probably won’t need as much light to grow. The best way to know exactly what kind of lighting your plants need is through observation, trial and error, and patience. Observing your plants regularly will help you adjust your grow lighting if they are getting too much light (brown, singed leaves) or not enough light (pale leaves and elongated stems).

Though there’s no one answer to the question of which grow lights are best, we do have some guidelines and recommendations for where to start when choosing supplemental lighting and fixtures.

We recommend:

Container plants

Indoor container plants can benefit from even a little extra light

• At least four 54-watt fluorescent tubes for seed starting; full spectrum vs. blue or red spectrum is up to you.

• If you choose full spectrum bulbs, look for “cooler” lighting that has a higher percentage of blue waves. These bulbs will be marked as 6500K (kelvin) and promote better foliage.

• MH, or metal halide, lamps provide more of the blue/green spectrum, are great for growing leafy plants like cabbage or peppers.

• HPS, or high-pressure sodium, lights are recommended to promote flowering in plants because of their higher red wave intensity

• Seek guidance from an experienced greenhouse expert whenever possible

We want you to know:

Herb lighting needs

Indoor herb plants love sunny spots, and benefit from more light after pruning

T5 grow lights are high output lights that are affordable and readily available. They commonly used in both hobby and commercial greenhouses.

LED bulbs are more energy efficient than fluorescent lights.

• Quality is important. Spending a little extra on lighting now, will save you a lot of money (and frustration) in the future. Invest in high-quality grow lighting and fixtures whenever possible.

• Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of lighting and lighting combinations. Just make sure to observe your plant’s reactions to the lighting changes.

• We are available to help you choose the best grow lighting to meet your growing needs.

Now that you know a little bit more about how plants are affected by light and spectrums, you may be ready to add some supplemental grow lights to your growing space. If we can help, give us a call at 1-800-531-4769, or visit our website GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and let our team help you find the right grow lighting to create an ideal environment for your plants.

Grow Carrots in Winter

Grow Carrots in Winter

Grow Carrots in Winter

This week, our year-round growing guide will focus on one superstar superfood: the versatile carrot. To grow carrots in winter, more preparation is needed than for other vegetables, but they adapt easily to rows, containers, under a cloche, or in a hoop house.

Many varieties of carrot do well for cold-weather growing; with the proper planning, these can thrive when temperatures drop. Carrots offer so many nutrients that having a crop ready for harvest year-round will give you a wealth of health benefits. Read on to discover the perfect carrot choices for planting in winter.

Soil Preparation for Carrots

Soil Prep for Carrots

Best Soil for Winter Carrots

If the soil outside if not frozen, or if you are growing in a greenhouse, covered raised beds, or planters, you can start carrots as early as January. Carrots do not like to be transplanted, so they will need to be planted where you will harvest them, but they can do well in 12″ to 18″ depth containers. For growing outdoors without shelter, we recommend waiting to plant until around 5 weeks before your expected last frost.

Carrots are easy to grow year-round, but must have proper soil conditions to thrive. Average soil temperature should be around 40 degrees to start your carrot seeds. They like loose, sandy soil to allow plenty of room for root development. If the soil has stones or clumps, carrots can become stunted or misshapen.

Avoid fertilizing with nitrogen-rich materials, which can cause forking and off-shooting of roots. Old coffee grounds work well for carrots. Sand and peat moss are also good soil additives to encourage the light, airy soil carrots prefer.

Make sure you have proper drainage. Carrots dislike too much moisture, and will generate thin, hairy roots, destroying their texture, if not well-drained. Raised beds and containers  generally drain well but allow for plenty of watering during root development. This makes the deep, loose soil of a raised bed or planter a great choice for growing carrots in winter.

Carrots can tolerate frost and like cool temperatures. Carrot seeds are slow to germinate in the cooler weather, but they need cool temperatures for developing sweet, well-formed roots. A 40-degree average temperature is perfect for carrots! Depending on which variety you are growing and your local growing conditions, carrots may take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to mature.

Best Practices to Grow Carrots in Winter

Carrots for Winter Growing

Best Carrot Varieties for Winter Growing

First, choose your seed variety. Good choices for winter carrots grown in containers or grow bags are Little Finger heirloom, a small carrot only 4 inches long and 1-inch thick, and Thumberline heirloom, a round carrot, good for thicker soil.

If you’re planting in a hoop house or in the ground in a greenhouse, Chantenay carrots develop stocky roots that become sweeter in cool soil. Rondo and Early French Frame are also good choices to sow around the interior edges of your greenhouse.

Sow carrot seeds ¼” deep, and 3” to 4” apart in an area that gets full sun to partial shade, at least six hours of sun per day. Carrots don’t take up much space, averaging six carrots per square ft, and can be sown every three weeks for multiple harvests throughout the winter.

Mulch or cover with vermiculite during the germination period. Carrots take a long time to germinate, and prefer moist soil for the first ten days. To reduce evaporation and warm the soil, try covering your carrot bed with old blankets for the first five to six days.

Water carrots to at least one inch per week to start, and then two inches as roots mature. Make sure that soil remains airy and easy to drain with the added moisture.

Carrots take a long time to grow to maturity, up to four months. The best reason to grow carrots in winter is that carrots taste better after few frosts, due to the accumulation of sugars in the roots. Generally, the smaller the carrot, the better the taste; most carrots are at their best flavor and texture when they reach finger size.

Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have an impressive array of health benefits. They’re very nutritious; one carrot, whether raw or cooked, will provide more than double one day’s worth of Vitamin A. This cell-protective antioxidant supports lung and skin health, and has been shown to protect against cognitive decline. Along with the additional antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, Vitamin A is important to vision and eye health. Compounds found in carrots protect the retina and lens, and deficiencies can lead to visual impairment.

Anti-cancer studies with carrots show promise

Anti-cancer studies with carrots show promise

Carrots contain high levels of several carotenoids, plant compounds that may protect eye and cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research found in 2016 that foods containing carotenoids lower the risk of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers. Additional 2017 studies found that dietary intake of carrots lowers the risk for breast cancer for women of all backgrounds.

This is possibly a result of other bioactive phytonutrients called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the polyacetylenes falcarinol and falcarindiol have shown anti-tumor activity.

Ways to Add Carrots to Your Diet

If you grow carrots in winter, you can add a pop of flavor and nutrition to every meal, snack, and even dessert! Grate carrots into your favorite bran muffin recipe, or puree them with a bit of ginger for a delicious morning oatmeal. Roast them along with eggplant, zucchini, and red onion for a lunchtime pita sandwich with hummus. For dinner, think beyond salads and sides—carrot soup is a warm treat for a cold night, and pairs well with the spices of a carrot cake dessert! Our favorite carrot soup recipe is easy to make into a family favorite!

Mediterranean Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

30 Minute Mediterranean Carrot Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 C finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 Lb large peeled carrots, with 1/2-inch dice (about 2-2/3 C)
  • 2-1/2 C low-salt chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 C plain yogurt, whisked

PREPARATION:

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion; sauté 1 minute.
  • Mix in carrots and lightly sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add broth; bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool.
  • Finely grind cumin in spice mill.
  • Remove soup from heat, then puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.
  • Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

To Further Your Growing Efforts

If sustainable, healthy eating is part of your plan for 2020, a greenhouse can expand your growing options, extend your growing season, and provide you a space to put your hobby into practice. Our experts can guide you towards the perfect growing solution that fits your budget and your space. We hope you’ll look to Gothic Arch Greenhouses for the very best greenhouses for sale anywhere.

Growing Year-Round Resource Guide

Growing Year-Round Resource Guide

Resources for Growing Year-Round

Growing year-round can be as much of a challenge as it is a joy.  We are here to help you make the most of your resources and our week-by-week guides. This blog installment will outline many resources you can use to tweak your planting. With some planning, you can easily achieve great harvests!

Gothic Arch has customers from Key West to Canada and beyond. We know that people with a passion for plants grow indoors, outdoors, on farms, on rooftops, in greenhouses, in raised beds, on balconies, community plots, window sills, school gardens, and anywhere else they can. To grow your best in any climate and conditions, a little knowledge can go a long way.

A key to growing year-round is understanding the plant you are growing, and what it needs to flourish. Important things to consider when growing outside of the usual season are: Can it survive frost? Does it like rich soil or an airier type? How long will it take to germinate? What soil temperature is best as it matures? If you are not growing in a heated greenhouse or indoors, these resources can help you to adjust our planting guide to your zone, local climate, and regional weather patterns.

Best Local and Regional Planting Information

USDA Planting hardiness map:

https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
For outdoor growing, the USDA’s zone map is based off of the average annual minimum winter temperature. This is the standard by which most growers base their yearly planting. Low tunnels, high tunnels, and row covers can all help extend your zone’s season.

When to expect your last spring freeze:

Farmland

Growing Maps

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/when-expect-your-last-spring-freeze     and    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/datatools/normals
The National Centers for Environmental Information have two helpful maps that show historical data and averages for the last spring freeze for your area.

The last spring freeze date gives growers an idea of when they can plan to sow seeds outdoors. It also helps you to choose when it’s best to move seedlings started indoors to beds outside. Transitioning plants outdoors can give you more indoor seed-starting space when growing year-round.

Soil temperature maps:

https://www.weather.gov/ncrfc/LMI_SoilTemperatureDepthMaps

http://news.ncgapremium.com/index.cfm?show=1&mapID=20 Average soil temperature is extremely important to consider when starting plants or when transplanting.

The NRCS has this wonderful interactive map,which gives air temperature, soil temperature, and soil moisture:  https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/scan/

Historic temperature and precipitation maps:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/us-maps/ Rainfall can affect the viability of new plants. When growing year-round, check the local rainfall patterns. You might wait a week or two to sow, in some cases, if heavy rains are a yearly pattern. Check your area’s historic temperature and precipitation at this National Climate Data Center site.

Soil Health Information:

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/health/?cid=stelprdb1143204 The USDA has some helpful soil health infographics, which can help you determine any steps you may need to take to ensure a fertile garden.

Additional Growing Tools

One thing all of us at Gothic Arch Greenhouses enjoy is sharing knowledge. We have compiled a few additional gardening and growing resources below that we thought you may enjoy.

If you’re sharing our growing year-round guide with your students, check out the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services educational growing resources site. You’ll find their evidenced-based curricula for educators to use to integrate garden-based nutrition education lessons into core educational subjects, such as Math, English Language Arts, and Science.
https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-garden-resources

Thinking of starting a community garden? The NRCS has some great advice here:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/mipmcot9407.pdf

And if you’re a city-dweller, the USDA can advise on getting a great start with urban agriculture: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/landuse/urbanagriculture/

Their resource for information on non-traditional growing methods, such as hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, and vertical growing can be found at this link: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/hydroponics

Have you looked for specific advise about growing conditions, pests, or invasive species in your area but haven’t found answers? Your local farm services office may be able to help!
https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

The National Garden Center has many apps, maps, calculators, and advise pages here: https://garden.org/apps/

And finally, our favorite: the National Agricultural Library’s digital exhibit includes many guides and pamphlets created by the USDA over the years. The information on how to start your own backyard Victory Garden (as they were called in the WWII era) is as valid now as it was in the 1940s!
https://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/ipd/small/items/browse/page/2

You will also find this groovy, illustrated Growing Your Own Vegetables, circa 1977 https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/CAT87209981/PDF

Growing Year-Round in 2020

We hope that with these resources, our guide to growing year-round can help you to achieve a healthy and happy year of harvests. Gothic Arch Greenhouses is dedicated to helping our customers grow their dreams; if our team of experts can help you with a greenhouse, equipment, growing supplies, or any horticulture need, we’d love to hear from you. Reach us by phone or email today!

Planting calendar for year-round growing

Year-round Growing Guide, January Week 2

Though many people don’t think of January as a prime time for growing, here at Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we know that planning for a full year of fresh food means making the most of your time. For our third installment in our year-round growing guide, we’ll focus on more herbs, veggies, and fruits you can start growing in January.

For most of us, the harshest weather of the year is just ahead. If you’re growing in a greenhouse, or on an enclosed balcony or window sill, consider adding some insulation. A cheap but effective way to increase your frost protection is to use bubble wrap or plastic sheeting to cover your glass. This will allow sun-loving winter veggies to still get plenty of diffuse light while being protected from cold.

To keep plants at their healthiest during winter when growth is slow, monitor them for signs of disease, and remove to prevent spreading. In winter, water your plants sparingly to avoid possible problems with molds, mildew, and bacterial growth.

Growing Salad Greens Year-Round

Winter salad greens

Grow nutritious greens year-round

Fresh salads are a healthy side to your typical hearty soups during the winter months. Many varieties of lettuce are too sensitive to grow in January, but others are perfect for year-round growing. Look to heartier plants such as ‘Imperial’ lettuce, endive, chicory, and radicchio, which are rugged enough to tolerate an unheated greenhouse in colder weather. Kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and cabbage can also grow quite vigorously in winter as well.

For leafy greens to germinate, they prefer soil temperatures of 50 to 75 degrees, and well-drained soil. Plant at a 1/2” seed depth with 2-3” spacing. Avoid over-watering, and ensure adequate plant spacing to reduce pest and disease issues. Greens can be sensitive. Seedlings typically emerge in 5-20 days. Harvest leaves from the outside, and be careful of damage to the growing point. Harvest greens frequently, when young, and rinse in cold water to preserve flavor and texture.

Some other winter salad options include radishes like ‘French Breakfast’ and ‘Saxa’, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Health Benefits of Winter Greens

Greens are always a solid choice to pack in nutrition when eating from your garden year- round. Fast and easy to grow, all types of greens are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. They are a vital part of a healthy diet, and add nutritious, low-calorie flavor to whether raw, steamed, roasted, or added to soups and stews.

Swiss chard is in the same vegetable family as the beet; however, rather than the root, it is Swiss chard’s flavorful leaves that are eaten. It is second only to spinach as world’s healthiest vegetable. It is full of anthocyanins which can lower blood pressure, improve vision, inhibit tumor growth, and lower risk of developing diabetes. Swiss chard is also fiber-dense and has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.

Medicinal Plants

Fresh-grown Health Benefits

You’ve probably heard kale called a superfood Rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, these powerful antioxidants protect cells from free radicals and have shown promise in fighting the formation of cancerous cells. One cup of kale has just 36 calories, zero grams of fat, 684% of RDA of K, 206% of A, and 134% of C vitamins.

Growing Thyme Year-Round

There are more than 50 varieties of thyme, however the most commonly grown edible herb types are English, French, lemon, and caraway. Culinary thyme is a hardy perennial evergreen and will thrive in your sunniest indoor window this winter. Outdoors, it will enter a dormant state in winter, with new leaves emerging in spring, similar to rosemary, making it a great herb for year-round growing.

Grow Herbs year-round

Herbs add flavor and beneficial phytochemicals to your diet

Thyme loves full sun, and will benefit from additional compact fluorescent light. We recommend light, fast-draining soil. Seeds can be slow and difficult to start, so you’ll probably prefer to buy a plant from a garden center or to propagate by cuttings. Avoid over-watering; thyme hates “wet feet,” so wait until soil is completely dry.

For the best, most potent flavor, harvest thyme just before the plant flowers. Regular trimming encourages vigorous growth, and a more bushy, rounded shape. Cut early in the day, and leave at least five inches of growth beyond the tough, woody portions. In the spring prune back by one third, cutting above points where you can see new growth, never below into the leafless woody stem.

Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme is loaded with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese. It has long been used in natural remedies, and is helpful with common cold symptoms, coughs, and bronchial infections.

Thyme is a strong antiseptic. Topically, it can treat cuts, scrapes, acne or sore muscles. It contains thymol, carvacrol, borneol, and geraniol, which are a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides. These substances can destroy harmful, infectious bacteria. In fact, one study from 2010 suggests that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs, including penicillin. Another test-tube study found that thymol and carvacrol inactivated 90% of the herpes simplex virus within just one hour.

Healthy Thyme

Thyme is a powerful antibacterial you can grow year-round

Thyme’s many volatile oils have strong antimicrobial properties. A 2011 Polish study reported that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, was effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Pseudomonas bacteria, and deadly Shigella sonnei. These bacteria and fungi cause foodborne illness in humans.

Other benefits of thyme include its ability to significantly increase healthy fats throughout cells, and to increase DHA content in kidney, heart, and brain cell membranes. This omega-3 fatty acid is essential to cellular health. Thyme’s rosmarinic and ursolic acids are powerful terpenoids, which have shown promise as a cancer preventive. Recent Turkish research has found that thyme caused cell death in breast cancer cells. Ursolic acid is being researched due to its potential to reduce the expression of markers of cardiac damage in the heart.

Further Year-Round Growing Options

Your path to a fresh, nourishing new year can be as large or as small of an undertaking as you choose. Whether your growing space, budget, and time allow for a full garden plot to feed your entire family, for a window sill of herbs, or anywhere in between, we hope to show you that there are benefits you can reap at any level.

If you’re making a long-term commitment to more sustainable living, also consider planting citrus for next year. Grown indoors, you can pick your own fresh citrus year-round. January is also a good time to plant peaches. You might consider starting a permanent asparagus bed this year. Asparagus can take a few years to establish, but soon you’ll have a winter vegetable crop every year thereafter.

Whatever your growing plans, Gothic Arch Greenhouses offers the best greenhouses and growing supplies for sale anywhere. We’d love to be part of your journey to a healthy and happy new decade. Happy Growing!