Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Vegetables to Plant in Your Summer Garden

There is nothing quite like serving your family and friends a side of fresh green beans or sautéed zucchini recently harvested from your backyard garden. Although summer is in full swing, there is still time to plant vegetables plants for a late-summer or early fall harvest. Keep reading to find out which vegetables to plant in your summer garden and how to care for them to achieve an optimal harvest.

Know Before You Grow
Backyard gardens work best when you understand which zone you live in and what the growing conditions are like in your chose patch of earth (i.e.: soil quality, shade vs. sun, animal invaders). The more you know before you plant, the happier and more successful you will be tending and picking vegetables from your own summer garden.

7 Veggies for Your Summer Garden

Freshly sliced, garden tomatoes are a heavenly experience, especially when compared with the mealy, pale variety available in the winter months. Your local nursery likely has hundreds of varieties to choose from, including classic beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes. Be sure to water the plants regularly and place stakes and cages around your tomatoes for support.

Both hot and bell peppers grow well in the warm summer months. Although as the temperature climbs, you may want to focus specifically on small, hot peppers as they weather heat better than large, sweet bell peppers.

Green Beans
A summer garden classic, green beans are easy to grow and a staple warm-weather side dish. When grown in optimal conditions, you’ll find yourself harvesting more green beans than you can eat, in which case you can easily blanch and freeze them for use when the weather turns chilly.

Summer Squashes
Garden zucchini and its yellow-squash cousin are prolific garden staples, in fact when planted optimally, you’ll have a harvest you can hardly keep up with. All summer squash varieties are best harvested when young and tender, before they get large and tough. However, if you miss one and it gets massive, you can always shred summer squash for use in healthy, nutrient-packed breads and muffins.

Nothing says a southern summer like a plate of fried okra. This summer veggie is one of the easiest to grow in hot, dry climates, making it an easy choice for many southern farmers and gardeners. You’ll want to harvest okra every other day to ensure both optimal harvests and growing conditions.

Whether sweet or spicy, few people can turn down homemade pickles or freshly sliced cucumbers with a side of ranch. To grow cucumbers in your summer garden, be sure to give them plenty of space to spread out and harvest frequently to make room for new growth.

A member of the tomato family, eggplant thrives in warm-weather gardens. This nightshade is best with in well-drained soil and watered often, especially when the days get hottest.

As you can see, there is no need to rely on the grocery store for seasonal produce. With a bit of work and planning, you can grow everything you need in your own summer garden!

Do you have any tips or tricks for growing veggies in the summer months? Share them with us in the comments section below!


Photo by Lou Liebau on Unsplash

Friday, July 6, 2018

Natural Ways to Support Healthy Skin

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and believe it or not, most adults have roughly 8 lbs of skin stretched across their outer layer. Your skin is your first and most important line of defense against cancer, disease, and infection. This means that supporting healthy skin should top your list of important beauty and self-care items. The best way to support your skin’s health is by regularly using natural lotions and SPF products to keep it hydrated and free from sun damage. Additionally, mind what you put in your body as your skin will reflect the water and nutrients you consume.

Keep reading for 6 natural ways to support healthy skin and by doing so protect your entire body from whatever the world throws at you.

Keep It Clean
It’s hard to overstress the importance of washing your face every night. As you move throughout your day, your face comes in contact with dirt, germs, and pollutants – many of which contain damaging free radicals. By washing your face you rinse away the sweat and grime of the day, giving the delicate skin on your face an opportunity to repair itself as you sleep. Additionally, washing your pillow cases regularly can help keep your skin clean and minimize facial breakouts.

Use All Natural Moisturizers
Know what you’re putting on your face and keep it natural. Many skin creams and lotions, even pricey ones, contain parabens and other harmful chemicals that may irritate your skin and cause breakouts. While hydration is essential to healthy skin, you want to get it without harmful additives and unwanted ingredients. Brands like Naked Bee believe that fabulous skin care should contain “all of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff.”

Prioritize Chemical-Free Sunscreens
Any time you plan to spend extended time outdoors, you should apply a natural sunscreen to protect your skin from cancer causing sun damage and free radicals. In fact, in the warm summer months, start your day with a natural, all-over body lotion and tinted facial moisturizer that contain SPF.

Nourish Your Skin From Within
Drinking enough water and eating daily doses of a rainbow of fruits and veggies is one of the best ways to care for your skin. The nutrients in fresh produce can be used to brighten and nourish your skin, while adequate hydration can keep your skin supple and healthy.

Understand Your Skin Type
The best skin care in the world is a natural produce that you understand and that matches your unique needs. Do you have oily skin around your nose? Do you hands get chapped in the winter? Understanding your skin and how to care for it is one of the most important steps you can take to support healthy skin.

Make Time for SkinCare
Do you rush out of the shower or jump into bed without making time to apply natural lotion or wash your face? Over time, this in attention to skin care can lead to easily avoidable wrinkles and damage. The more work you put into your skin care, the more beautiful and better equipped your outer layer is to protect you from the grime and sun damage of your everyday life.

What are your favorite natural ways to support healthy skin? Share them with us in the comments section below.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Thursday, June 28, 2018

8 Ways to Live a Green Lifestyle

We all care about our planet and are willing to make the changes needed to preserve the globe for future generations. But let’s be honest, sometimes it can seem overwhelming and even impossible to make a dent in the problem. The good news is; if we all work together to make a change, it adds up to big benefits for planet Earth. To get you started, here are 8 ways you can begin living a green lifestyle today.

Your Green Lifestyle Starts Here

Flip Those Switches
This one seems basic, but it’s sad how many of us neglect to turn off lights and appliances when we’re not using them. Experts estimate that Americans could slash their energy use by at least 30% by switching off what they don’t need. Additionally, you might want to consider air drying your laundry or investing in solar energy for your home.

Switch to Green Cleaning Products
Although companies like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day and Method make fantastic natural cleaning products, you can easily keep your household clean and fresh using inexpensive items like baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar is extremely versatile throughout the home, cleaning glass and disinfecting toilets for pennies per use. 

Start a Backyard Garden
One way to reduce the global impact of your household is by growing produce in your backyard and preserving it for the colder, winter months. The average grocery item consumed by Americans has travelled more than 1,000 miles to reach their tables. By growing your own food, you can reduce that distance to 0.

Stop Buying Bottled Water
One easy way to live a green lifestyle is to bring your own, reusable bottle of water. Last year Americans used more than 50 billion plastic bottles, many of which wound up in landfills never to decompose. You can help stop both the production and pollution of plastic bottles by always bringing your own, refillable water both with you to work or wherever you may go.

Bring Your Own Bag
Through simply remembering to bring your reusable bags to the grocery story, you could play a part in it reducing massive amounts of plastic waste annually. Need a case in point? When the city of San Jose, California, outlawed plastic bags, the water systems and sewer systems saw an 89% reduction in plastic bag pollution.

Start Composting
Did you know that you can live a green lifestyle and cut the waste in your bin by 30% through composting at home? Not only does composting lessen what you’re sending to the landfills, it gives you rich fertilizer to encourage your garden and landscaping to grow and flourish.

Take A Walk
If you can walk or bike to your destination, do it! Not only will you be doing something good for your planet but your body will thank you for it as well. If you can’t walk, consider carpooling, anything to get less cars on the road emitting fossil fuel pollution.

Use Less Water
If you leave the water running while you brush your teeth or if you take long showers, then you have an easy way to live a greener lifestyle – use less water! By using less water throughout your home and choosing water efficient shower heads and toilets, you can conserve water and do your part to save the planet.

How you do live a green lifestyle? Tell us about it in the comments section below!


Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash