USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
I was in Philly before the FNCE frenzy - for a 2 1/2 day Weight Management training certification course, which no doubt benefited my nutrition counseling skills. I was sorry to miss the FNCE food photography class and the excursion to Hershey PA though. Proud to be a qualifying participant in a Hershey cocoa focus group, I look forward to going back to Philly this week.
Philadelphia is in our backyard so to speak; it's not a far drive away. But, what's really in our back yard? A fabulous garden. Backyard gardens provide food, physical activity and fun for the whole family. I highly encourage you and your family to try growing your own vegetables and herbs. And, even if you don't have a backyard - plants can be grown in a neighborhood community garden or grown in pots and put out on a balcony or porch. Here is today's spotlight of a few of our select October blooms and foliage.
Photo clockwise from top left to right:
- Chiltepin Peppers (Capsicum annuum var. aviculare) - one potted plant produces literally hundreds of tiny round hot peppers; also known as bird peppers. We just took our plant indoors last night. Peppers grow best in warm climates. Chiltepin peppers require a longer growing season than sweet banana peppers or more commonly grown bell peppers. From a culinary perspective, they are well worth the wait. Once red, they can be pulled off the plant and allowed to dry on plates. When dry, the hot peppers can be stored in a spice jar and used as needed in cooking.
- Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) - what more can I say about Chard? I've blogged often about Chard's healthy nutrition profile and how easy it is to grow. Chard comes in many vibrant colors and varieties. The Chard in our garden (Northern Lights Mix) has been amazing - producing greens for our family all Summer long and even now into the Fall.
- Tomatoes are running out of ripening time! Still, so many new flowers with hopes of growing more tomatoes. Knowing how tomatoes dislike cool temperatures - at this time of year, we start picking them green and allowing them to ripen inside on a sunny windowsill.
- Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) - are now black in color and will be picked and saved as seed or used as beads - a fascinating plant.
- Garden Mums are ablaze in Fall colors!
- Purple Beauty Berry (Callicarpa dichotoma) - these berries feed the birds.
- Inky Fingers Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - my absolute favorite Soleno. I took cuttings last night and have about a dozen plants started under grow lights indoors for new plants that will be for outdoor garden planters next year. If you find your local garden centers do not offer some of your favorite coleus, this is something you can do to propagate hard-to-find cultivars.
And, have fun at FNCE if you're an RD headed to, or in, Philadelphia
Backyard Gardening: Grow your own food, Improve your Health
Related Articles by Diana Wind, RD
Ayurvedic Herb: Coleus forskeolii
Homemade Ground Pepper Spices
Job's Tears - A Fascinating Plant
Chiltepin Peppers Garden Spotlight
Photo collage Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.