Posts Tagged 'vegetable'
Tags: school garden, vegetable
Tags: class, Extension, Fayette County, garden, Gardener's Toolbox, gardening, vegetable
Tags: Bill Clinton, Campbell, coronary disease, diet, Esselstyn, garden, Ornish, plant based diet, vegetable
This week’s feature-frenzy media topic has shaped up to be choosing what to eat for a healthier body, be it finding the perfect weight or eating to avoid heart and cancer problems. New Year, new you, right?
A few months ago, I caught a television interview where CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was talking with former President Bill Clinton. They discussed a plant-based nutrition regimen that Clinton was following, not only to lose some pounds before his daughter Chelsea’s upcoming wedding, but also to promote positive changes in his heart health. I’m an experienced and ever-frustrated dieter, who had pretty much given up hope of losing weight. But the idea that a diet could affect and possibly turn around coronary disease build-ups was something new for me… and obviously, Clinton’s diet was working for him, at least in the weight reduction realm.
I decided to look into just what a plant-based diet was all about. After all, I certainly have been advocating for home vegetable gardening and buying fresh, ripe, local produce for a while, just more with a gardening focus. But, with a mom who died at age 60 of a stroke, I’m in constant fear of repeating her mistakes. So I investigated material on the internet that was written by some of the medical experts Clinton had mentioned: T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish The basic idea: eat vegetables and whole grains, and eliminage meat (i.e. “anything with a face”, dairy, oil. Vegan, with a few twists. I thought I’d give it a try, and took a list of allowed choices to the grocery. At first, I spent an hour or two reading labels in aisles that I’d previously by-passed, and avoiding sections of the store where the employees know me by name. Vegetables, fruit, tofu, oatmeal, 100% whole-grain crackers were a start. I hoped that would be enough to keep me alive for a week.
Well, I’ve lost quite a few pounds even after holiday indulgences, and it was painless. I ate a lot … just changed my choices. For me, this is a miracle. I have a new awarness of the difference between food that is processed beyond recognition or labelled deceptively, and a simple vegetable, like a tomato, in its original, whole state, or a leaf of pungent, fresh basil. And as a new crop of seed catalogues arrive for the 2011 season, I look with fresh enthusiasm for gems to grow and eat in my backyard garden. Yet another good reason to love the garden lifestyle. I am no health or medical expert, but this worked for me.
I’ve also noticed that illustrations on these nutrition gurus’ Web-sites include colorful photos of vegetables and fruits which look a lot like the covers of the garden catalogues arriving in my mailbox just now. Coincidence? I think not!. I’ll be listing some of my favorite garden catalogues in an upcoming Inside/Out & About blog, but for now, you can check out Web-sites for the doctors mentioned above, including a video of the Clinton/Blitzer interview on the Campbell site. Just click the links below:
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Tags: Kentucky Horse Park, native plants, native trees, vegetable, water quality, watershed, WEG
Just after passing through the park’s main gatehouse, you’ll arrive at a dry-laid stone wall and gate, which have been built to welcome visitors in classic Kentucky style as they approach the Visitor Center and playing fields. Located in the middle of a roundabout, the structure was created by a team certified masons from the Dry Stone Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and building dry-laid stone structures, while at the same time training people in the craft. These skilled artisans prepared, dressed and laid stone sourced from the park itself. Completed in August, it is surrounded by beds which park landscape manager Mac Jeffs and his crew have filled with native grasses and wildflowers, including our state flower, the goldenrod. These new limestone walls echo the many miles of rock fences lining pikes and lanes which were built along Central Kentucky’s farmlands over a century ago. Chris Harp, executive director of the Dry Stone Conservancy, explains “The feature is a traditional Kentucky stone entrance that you would have encountered in the early to mid-19th century.” A small pond serves as a backdrop, while the entrance loop is overlooked by a sculpture of the legendary Man o’ War, with nearby remembrances for Kentucky-bred Thoroughbred and 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral and jockey Isaac Murphy, all surrounded by a winner’s circle of roses and fountains.
If you follow along the stream bank of Cane Run Creek further into the park, you’ll see that another uniquely Kentucky project, this time aimed at improving water quality by establishing a riparian buffer zone with native wildflowers, grasses and trees, has taken root. Brochures which list suggested specimens for planting, and discuss best practices for managing water quality around equine pastures, are available at the site. Kentucky Cooperative Extension Water Quality Liaison Amanda Abnee Gumbert, whose mission includes improving riparian buffer zones within the entire Cane Run watershed, says “We hope visitors to the park will see this as a demonstration of what they can do on their own property to protect streams and improve water quality.”
It’s an educational message of world-wide importance. Of special interest to horse owners with land along waterways, this planting demonstrates practical, sustainable and ecologically sound solutions to better shelter wildlife, prevent erosion, and retain storm water where it’s needed while filtering out pollutants. But this presentation is more than simply functional: it’s also a work of ecological art. Instead of an open pasture cut straight to the waterway, a “no mow” zone now holds a charming array of brightly colored native wildflower blossoms: deep pink Echinacea, golden orange coneflower, spikes of great blue lobelia and white Joe Pye weed, all magnets for thousands of butterflies, moths and other insects; shade from trees like white swamp oak and bald cypress will have a cooling effect. The greenery, planted in May of this year, survived a long hot, dry spell and is thriving beautifully. Gumbert says that the project is a partnership supported by the park, the U.K. College of Agriculture’s Cane Run Watershed Project, M2D Designers, and the Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community.
An entirely different sort of plot tucked in behind plank fencing is the Governor’s Garden, which can be found in the yard just next to the park’s historic Farmhouse. One of seven vegetable gardens around the state begun in an initiative by Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear to promote home and community gardens, it calls attention to the benefits of growing and consuming healthy food close to home. Other Governor’s Gardens can be found in Frankfort, Hazard, Florence, Paducah, Bowling Green, and the state fair grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Student volunteers from the Scott County High School FFA chapter are maintaining the Kentucky Horse Park garden; during the equestrian events, chefs participating in celebrity chef dinners will have access to the produce grown there. “To have the opportunity to promote gardening on a world stage like the World Equestrian Games is an ideal way to show that Kentucky is committed to good health and reducing our carbon footprint,” Mrs. Beshear said. “Premiere chefs from all over the United States will be impressed while cooking with vegetables grown right here in the Bluegrass; a secret our local chefs already know.”
These gardens showcase the natural elegance and synchronicity of what we Kentuckians experience every day: a graceful and enriching marriage of the horse and the land that we love.
Some quick, clickable references:
Tags: garden, grow, home garden, raised beds, seeds, tomato, transplants, Valentine's Day, vegetable
Where can you buy tomato seeds? Garden stores locally, as well as mail-order catalogues and also seed exchanges carry an assortment. Last year, I even found a great variety pack of cherry tomato seeds on eBay! I’ve listed a few of my favorite catalogs for you, but would love to hear from you about where you’ve found yours, and what kind you grow. Bill Best, who has long been advocating people grow heirloom tomatoes, offers some expert advice in his article Heirloom Tomatoes. TomatoFest’s list of Top Ten choices for 2009 also offers some background information.
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold, so you’ll need to wait until late May to put out transplants That means that actually planting the seeds in trays indoors should be done about mid-March. If you have beds with row covers, a bit earlier would work for you. I raise my tomatoes in raised beds behind my hone, where they’ll get lots of sun and are easy to weed and water. I learned a method of tying them up to strong stakes from BIll Henkle last year, called the Florida Weave, which weaves support string in and out between plants, with support stakes as anchors. The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and your county extension agent can help you with advice and information. Yes, extension agents are still around, but working with updated information, and new on-line publications as well as on-line advice at GardenData, which is part of the new eXtension information system. Check it out!
But more about this later. For now, start gathering information, because this is the summer to learn how to find the best tomatoes of 2009, right in your own backyard. No matter if you’re young, old or somewhere inbetween, tomatoes can be within your reach. Check back for more information as the season progresses, and let me know what’s growing on.