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Garden

USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative has some great gardening tips to help you get started. Learn how you can make having a garden a fun and positive family activity.

Visit their website http://go.osu.edu/PeoplesGarden for recipes, tips and ideas for starting a garden.

• Make It A Family Affair.
Enlist your family as you select seeds and plants. It is a fun way to spend time together. You’ll be physically active as you plant, weed and harvest your garden.
• Gardening To Fit Your Space.
A good gardening space receives at least six hours of sunlight every day. Consider container gardening on your porch or balcony if you’re low on outdoor space.
• Sowing Into Good Ground.
Mulch the soil around your plants to improve your soil quality, lock in moisture, and keep out weeds.
• Map it Out.
Start small when deciding what you would like to grow. Consider foods your family enjoys and the space you have available. If you buy starter plants (ready to put in the ground) and don’t need all of them, share with a friend. For example, you may not need six zucchini plants. Go together and buy the packets and split the costs.
• Plant Your Favorites.
Your local Cooperative Extension office is a great resource for finding out which crops are specific to your local growing region. Here are some easy-growing crops for your kitchen garden:

• Lettuce
• Onions
• Radishes
• Peppers
• Tomatoes
• Collards
• Peas
• Herbs
Herb Garden

Think Spring and Start a Garden!

Source: USDA, The People’s Garden Initiative retrieved from http://usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/?navid=PEOPLES_GARDEN
Top Photo from USDA The People’s Garden Initiative website

Additional Gardening Resources:
Ohio State University Ohio Line http://ohioline.osu.edu/ Use the search option to find helpful information.

Container Vegetable Gardening Fact Sheet http://go.osu.edu/containergarden

Growing Cucumbers, Peppers, Squash and Tomatoes in Containers http://go.osu.edu/cucumberstomatoes

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Start Your GardenAre you interested in maintaining your weight or even losing a few pounds this spring? Could you use some encouragement and guidance but don’t have time to attend classes? Want tips to help you grow herbs, start a garden or eat more local foods? Does this sound interesting to you?

If so, give our Spring Live Healthy Live Well Email wellness challenge a try.

“Spring Live Healthy Live Well Challenge” is an on-line challenge designed to help adult participants get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, nutrition, and wellness activities. Participants will receive e-communications twice each week, containing nutrition, health and fitness tips. Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. They will also have access to supplemental information available on Blogs and Facebook.

Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/SpringPick

If you’ve joined us on other challenges, you’ll see new themes during this spring challenge. We will learn about these topics and be encouraged to participate in wellness behaviors.

• Vegetables and Fruits – adding more of these foods to your diet.
• Fitness Focus Tips – finding ways to move more.
• Root Vegetables – trying new recipes for veggies and fruits.
• Local Foods – visiting a Farmers’ Market or the local foods section of your store.
• Gardening – planting an herb, vegetable or fruit in a container or plot garden.
• Seasoning with Herbs – using herbs instead of salt to season foods.
• Sunscreen – wearing sun protection or sunscreen every day.

Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of April 7, 2014. While Facebook™ will be utilized; participants only need to have an email address.

The program is funded by Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners Cooperating.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

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HerbsHerbs have been around since the dawn of civilization. Ancient people gathered herbs to flavor foods, which were often spoiled, and to use as natural health remedies. Today, we still use herbs to enhance the flavor of our foods.

Herbs can also be thought of as health promoting. Replacing salt with herbs has been used by many cultures in the Mediterranean, South America, Asia and Europe. Although sodium plays an important role in the body too much salt is can cause hypertension and fluid retention. Experts recommend that we not consume more 2400 mg (teaspoon) to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We are not born with a taste for salt but we develop it with our diet. A preference for salt can be unlearned by gradually lowering it in our diets. Fortunately, herbs are fat-free and often sodium free so that you can spice up your dishes with sacrificing flavor and nutrition.

In addition to being low-sodium, research suggests that culinary herbs are health promoting in other ways. A diet in which culinary herbs are used to flavor food provides a variety of active phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases.

Herbs should used sparingly so as to not overwhelm the flavor and fragrance. Herbs can be used as fresh or dried. To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the general rule is to use 1/3 teaspoon of ground or 1 teaspoon of crumbled dried herbs for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs can easily be grown in containers with lots of sunshine and water. When harvested, bunches of fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator with their stems in water. To dry fresh herbs, tie stalks into small bunches with a string and hang upside down in a paper bag punched with holes. Store the bag in a warm, well ventilated place. Once the herbs are dried they should be stored in tightly closed glass jars and kept in a cool dry place.

Here are some ways to use the following herbs:

 Allspice: Use in pickling, baked apples, puddings, cakes, cookies, meat and fish.

 Basil: Use in soups, stews, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, sauces, egg dishes, stuffing, tossed salads and potatoes.

 Bay leaves: Provides a pungent aroma and flavor. Use in stews, sauces, and salad dressings.

 Cayenne: Use in stews, sauces and salad dressings.

 Chili Powder: Provides a hot flavor. Use in stews, boiled eggs, chili, and other Mexican dishes.

 Thyme: Add carefully; very penetrating. Use in soups, stews, meat loaf, onions, carrots, beets, stuffing and sauces.

 Oregano: Use in tomato sauce dishes, egg dishes and salads.

 Paprika: Use in potato dishes, shellfish, and salad dressings.

 Parsley: Is mild and versatile. Use with meat, vegetables, soups, eggs, and potatoes.

Growing herbs can be a family affair. Childhood obesity rates are at all time highs and many children will suffer from chronic disease in early adulthood. Many diseases are preventable if lifelong habits of physical activity and healthy eating are adopted. Involving children in the process of growing, harvesting, and using herbs could foster an interest in life-long interest in cooking and healthy living.

Herb garden

Sources: “Spice Up Your Life with Herbs” by Jennifer Even. OSU factsheet SS-208-02.

“Health-Promoting Properties of Common Herbs”, by Winston Craig. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 3, 491S-499S, September 1999.

Writer:  Dan Remley, M.S.P.H., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Family Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, Remley.4@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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