fresh fruit en-US Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tangerines" title="tangerines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't have an outdoor green space where you can grow fresh food? Don&rsquo;t fret. There are plenty of foods that you can grow indoors &mdash; right inside your home, in fact &mdash; that will have you eating healthier and cheaper in no time. Get that green thumb in action and start planting the seeds to produce-stand independence today. (See also: <a href="">10 Unique Garden Containers and Techniques</a>)</p> <h2>Tangerines</h2> <p>I know what you&rsquo;re thinking &mdash; I can't fit an orange tree in my house. You&rsquo;re right, you can&rsquo;t. But thanks to technology, you <em>can</em> fit a dwarf citrus tree in your home and grow your own juicy, refreshing tangerines. In a garden these dwarf trees can grow up to 12 feet tall, but when planted in a container, their stature stays decidedly more diminutive. It&rsquo;ll take almost a year for your tree to bear fruit, but you can get the process started by following these instructions on <a href="">how to grow citrus in containers</a>.</p> <h2>Lemons</h2> <p>These instructions for <a href="">how to grow a Meyer lemon tree indoors</a> detail how to care for the tree during the summer and winter months (just because you&rsquo;re growing it inside doesn&rsquo;t mean it should stay inside all the time) and also suggest that you can own your own lemon tree for less than $20. At that price, the tree will than pay for itself over its lifetime if you <a href="">use a lot of lemons</a>.</p> <h2>Limes</h2> <p>If you want to grow a lime tree, consult the instructions for lemons above and consider these tips on how to successfully grow indoor fruit trees:</p> <ul> <li>Choose a pot big enough to handle the tree, and make sure it has adequate drainage holes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When choosing the type of soil, read the packaging to make sure it&rsquo;s conducive to what you&rsquo;re planting. In this case, you want a mix that's lightweight and drains well.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water the tree on a regular basis so the soil stays slightly moist but not saturated.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Provide six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. If direct sunlight isn&rsquo;t available, use an artificial grow light.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When planting, leave the root collar above the soil line and the top of the root crown barely below the soil. Do not cover the trunk with soil.</li> </ul> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p>Pineapple seems like the kind of fruit that requires a tropical outdoor climate, but it&rsquo;s surprisingly versatile and well suited for growing in pots. The pros of growing fresh pineapples at home are that they don&rsquo;t require much water or soil (they use the moisture stored in their leaves), and while they prefer full sun, they can grow in dappled shade. To get started, all you need is the top of a pineapple you just ate. That&rsquo;s right &mdash; very easy. When you&rsquo;ve got that, follow these <a href="">easy steps to planting and growing pineapples at home</a>.</p> <h2>Bananas</h2> <p>Dwarf bananas do well indoors because they&rsquo;re self-sufficient &mdash; they don&rsquo;t need a pollinator. Unlike pineapples, however, bananas do require regular watering because of the plant&rsquo;s massive leaves. Other factors to ensure a healthy dwarf banana plant include lots of bright, indirect light, humidity, and adding fertilizer at least once a month. <a href="">Learn how to grow bananas indoors</a> with these tips.</p> <h2>Strawberries</h2> <p>To <a href="">grow strawberries at home</a> you&rsquo;ll need a terra-cotta pot, PVC pipe or a cardboard tube (a toilet paper roll will work fine), and soil high in organic matter. The strawberry plant will also need at least six hours of sun per day.</p> <h2>Quinoa</h2> <p>Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods you can eat &mdash; and it&rsquo;s one of the easiest to grow. Unlike most of the other foods on this list, quinoa doesn&rsquo;t need soil at all. It&rsquo;s perfectly happy growing in water, which cuts down on the mess and leaves you with more space. This <a href="">how-to on growing quinoa</a> suggests using <a href="">empty juice containers</a>, but you can use whatever you&rsquo;d like.</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>Red, ripe, juicy tomatoes scream summer, but there&rsquo;s no reason why you can&rsquo;t have fresh tomatoes all year round. According to these <a href="">instructions on how to grow your own tomatoes</a>, &ldquo;windowsill&rdquo; tomatoes do well in small pots filled with quality soil and given adequate attention.</p> <h2>Hot Peppers</h2> <p>Spice things up this winter with <a href="">fresh hot peppers</a> at your fingertips. Fill a peat pot with potting soil and seeds, and set in a warm area &mdash; preferably about 80 degrees. Keep the soil moist and provide adequate light (about 16 hours a day), and you should see seedlings in two to five weeks.</p> <h2>Cucumbers</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll need ample space to grow cucumbers indoors. They&rsquo;re vine plants that grow along the ground outside, but indoors you may want to grow them vertically to maximize your space. Something else to consider when <a href="">growing cucumbers indoors</a> is the right time to harvest. eHow says that you should pick the produce when it&rsquo;s palm size to avoid an overbearing plant.</p> <h2>Mesclun Greens</h2> <p>Keep the weight off this winter by <a href="">growing mesclun greens</a> in the convenience of your own home. Start with a window box and organic fertilizer, and place the box in a well-lit area for at least six hours a day. Water regularly so the soil is moist but not saturated. It&rsquo;ll take about a month for the plants to reach harvest height, which will be 3&rdquo; to 4&rdquo; tall.</p> <h2>Spinach</h2> <p>Avoid all that E. coli nonsense by <a href="">growing fresh, clean spinach indoors</a> in small pots packed with high-quality soil and time-released fertilizer. After planting the seeds, keep the soil moist until seedlings emerge in about 10 days. Ideal temperatures for growing spinach indoors are between 60 and 85 degrees. Lots of bright sunlight is required.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p>When planted in an outdoor garden, carrots are vulnerable to rodents, but they&rsquo;re perfectly safe from hungry vermin indoors &mdash; and <a href="">surprisingly easy to grow</a>. You&rsquo;ll need a large container &mdash; at least a foot deep &mdash; with drainage holes. Place a tray under the container to catch the water. After planting the seeds, place the container in an area that receives full sunlight. Carrots will be ready to harvest in 65 to 75 days.</p> <h2>Mushrooms</h2> <p><a href="">Mushrooms</a> are one of the <a href="">easiest foods to grow indoors</a> because they require a cool, dark, damp environment &mdash; and most of our basements offer these conditions. Whether you want to grow shiitake, oyster, or white button mushrooms, the first thing you&rsquo;ll need to do is buy the spawns (easier to manage than spores) from a reputable establishment. When you&rsquo;re ready to plant, place the growing medium in a pan and raise the temperature to about 70 degrees using a heating pad and add the spawn. Once the spawn has rooted &mdash; about three weeks later &mdash; cover with an inch of soil and a damp cloth. You&rsquo;ll see the mushrooms appear in about 3 to 4 weeks.</p> <p><em>Do you grown your own food indoors? Something that&rsquo;s not on this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink container gardening fresh fruit vegetables Wed, 05 Sep 2012 10:36:43 +0000 Mikey Rox 954296 at What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Testing the goods" title="Testing the goods" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love farmers markets. I do suffer from &quot;can't get out of bed early enough&quot; syndrome and usually miss the good stuff. But even when I do drag myself out of bed, I find some amazing produce that is tastier and healthier than anything found in the supermarket. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, farmers markets are tough to beat.</p> <p>Now, having said that, I talked to some farmers market regulars who gave me advice on things you shouldn't buy. It's not a long list, and it's by no means a huge expose on shoddy produce or overpriced garbage. No, this is more of a guide to stop you spending a little more than you should on a few items that should, ideally, be bought elsewhere. (See also: <a title="Are Farmers Markets Frugal or a Luxury?" href="">Are Farmers Markets Frugal or a Luxury?</a>)</p> <p>I should also add that every farmers market is different, so while these guidelines are generally worth following, some may not apply to the markets in your area. I know I'll get a lot of comments pertaining to that, so I thought it best to disclose it first. So here is my list of what NOT to buy at your farmers market.</p> <h3>1. The First Items You See!</h3> <p>I know, bit of a broad one to start the list, but it is applicable to everything at the market. You will be greeted with a plethora of great fruits, veggies, and other items that are both good-looking and nutritious. But don't start loading up your eco-friendly shopping bag right from the get-go. Walk the stalls, note the prices, and come back when you can make a more informed decision. Cherries that are just as succulent but twice the price will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, and these places don't issue refunds.</p> <h3>2. Pristine Fruit and Veggies</h3> <p>We're a strange bunch. We buy based on looks, but eat for the flavor. As such, farmers and other vendors will knock-down the price of fruits and veggies that are odd-shaped, have peck-marks, or are generally just not as good-looking as the cream of the crop. Don't let that put you off. Avoid the perfect-looking stuff and ask for the discounted produce, but do so with one caveat &mdash; make sure you're not buying old, bruised, and rotten merchandise. It's not unknown for some stalls to pass this off as &quot;misshapen&quot; when in actuality they're spoiled and almost inedible. (See also: <a title="7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce" href="">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a>)</p> <h3>3. Anything That's Out of Season</h3> <p>This shouldn't be available anyway, as farmers markets pride themselves on fresh, <a title="Fresh Fruits and Vegetables By the Month" href="">seasonal produce</a>. But if you know your calendars, you know what to avoid. If someone is selling asparagus in September, you may be buying something that was previously frozen or bought cheap from a supermarket.</p> <h3>4. Honey</h3> <p>What could be wrong with honey? Well, nothing. The honey sold at these markets is good honey, better than the stuff found in chain supermarkets. However, a lot of the honey being sold at the market is being done through a third party. If you want to save some money, look at the label, find the beekeeper who produced the honey, and buy it direct from the source. Of course, if that beekeeper is miles and miles away, rethink your strategy.</p> <p><img width="500" height="459" alt="" src="" /></p> <h3>5. Clothing</h3> <p>You go to a farmers market to buy produce fresh from the farm. At least, that's the goal. But over time, farmers markets have evolved to offer a little something for everyone. The strategy behind it is simple enough&hellip;people come for the fruits and veggies but invariably bring a family member or friend. And if they don't buy the produce, they may walk away with a nice pair of socks or a woolly hat. Well, it goes without saying that most of the time, these are not good quality items, and they have been marked up as well. Save your money for the incredible produce and leave the clothes shopping for another time.</p> <h3>6. Baked Goods</h3> <p>There's nothing like a home-cooked apple pie or raspberry turnover, but usually the people selling these have a local store somewhere in town. And they not only have to cover the costs of running a store, but renting a booth at the farmers market as well. In turn, that means these items are often marked up from the prices they would usually charge in their local store. It's also a good place to sell produce that is not quite as fresh as the pies that come fresh out of the oven and onto a shelf in their store. Saying that, I do know some bakers who prepare the pies fresh that morning just for the farmers market. It's a good idea to grab their information and pop by their store later in the week. You'll get the same fresh product at a lower price. If you have to drive hours to get there, well, then you may just want to pay extra and save gas money.</p> <h3>7. Chocolate</h3> <p>Chocolatiers would starve if they only sold their wares at the local market, once a week. It's a high-cost item to make, and they need a good return, so they almost always have a store somewhere in town where the chocolate is a little cheaper. Hunt it down and get yourself the same chocolate without paying the middleman. Freshness is not as much of a worry here though; chocolate does not spoil anywhere near as quickly as a baked apple pie or a slab of meat. Which brings us to&hellip;</p> <h3>8. Meat and Seafood</h3> <p>Although it's tempting to buy <a title="Organic Groceries on a Budget" href="">organic</a>, grass-fed beef, wild boar sausages, or fresh salmon, it's difficult to judge how long these items have been sitting in the sun on a bed of melting ice. You probably won't have any sanitation or health issues, but it's better to get the phone number and address of the seller and pick it up direct from them. And if it's frozen, well, you've just eliminated one reason to buy fresh from the farmer's market. Of course, eggs are perfectly fine to buy as they don't need refrigeration (although you will lengthen their life by popping them in the fridge when you get home). And they're usually really tasty when they're fresh from the farm.</p> <h3>9. Gift Baskets</h3> <p>Another way to mark up produce, canned goods, and other fineries is to assemble them in a <a href="" title="36 Green Gift Wrapping Ideas">gift basket</a>, tie a ribbon around the top and sell them for a nice fat profit. Unless you're heading off to a birthday party the second you leave, and have no time to go shopping, this is not a good way to spend your money. As with most gifts that offer convenience, you pay for it. The items in the basket can be bought separately for much less, and you don't have to get any unwanted items in the process.</p> <h3>10. Meals from Food Carts</h3> <p>This last one is a sticking point within my circle of friends. I equate ready-to-eat food available at farmers markets with concession stands at fairgrounds and county fairs. A recent one in my area was charging $5 for a small cup of chili. And that could be washed down with a small $3 cup of iced tea. No refills. I think there are better food deals to be had elsewhere.</p> <p><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>However, a counter argument is that it's all part of the experience, and that you get to taste some great home-cooked food that you know has been made with fresh ingredients. For me, I'll usually pass unless the price is right.</p> <p><em>What would you avoid at farmers markets? And to add a little meat to the discussion, what should you ONLY buy at farmers markets? Share your ideas.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living Shopping farmers market fresh fruit organic groceries vegetables Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:24:20 +0000 Paul Michael 712768 at