Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

It seems every season, there are more people, especially younger people, that are interested in growing some type of fruits or vegetables. Whether growing in traditional in-ground gardens, on apartment balconies, indoor window sills, raised beds or containers, people are utilizing their specific situations to have fresh, healthy food. They want the control of knowing where their food is coming from, what’s in their soil, how pests are handled and what their plants are fed.

One other very important thing to consider is how the plants are harvested. Extra care should be taken when harvesting plants to preserve all the vitamins and minerals each plant has. Harvesting your plants should be done in the afternoon rather than in the morning. The more sunlight the plant receives that day, the better quality of vitamin C that plant will produce.

Use a sharp pair of garden clippers or scissors to harvest all crops. Be gentle when taking from a plant, it’s best not to tear or pull on the plant. Place harvested greens directly into a bowl of cool water as you harvest.

The outer leaves or skins of vegetables and fruits are many times very high in vitamins. Use the nutrient-rich, dark outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage, no need to toss them in the compost pile. When harvesting homegrown carrots or red potatoes just rinse them in cool water and forget about peeling them for the most nutritional plants.

Only dice or chop vegetables when you are ready to cook them. This helps plants to better retain their vitamins. Eat plants raw as soon as possible after harvesting to obtain the most nutritional benefits.

When cooking it’s best to steam or stir-fry. Water can leach out nutrients, and heat can destroy many other nutrients. Try to use the least amount of water as possible and cook for as short of a time as possible when cooking your vegetables. Always wait until the cooking water is boiling before adding the vegetables.

Knowing that you are providing your family with healthy foods is a very rewarding feeling.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature’ not against it’ and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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