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Portrait of a Pepper

Stuffed, pickled, jelled, roasted, hot, mild, sweet, bell, ornamental, mini, long, red, green, yellow and orange - Peter Piper sure had his work cut out for him! Peppers come in a beautiful array of colors, shapes, sizes and tastes. This fruit is an excellent way to add flavor, color, and crunch to an otherwise bland dish. But peppers can also add a unique range of nutritional benefits to their expansive resume.

Whether mild or spicy, peppers are nutrient packed and are one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C. Just a cup a day can provide more than 100% of your daily requirements. Select from a variety or pepper colors to get the biggest bang for your buck. All peppers, red, green or yellow, are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A - two antioxidants that work together to neutralize free radicals. And, recent research indicates that both hot and sweet peppers contain substances that have been shown to increase the body's heat production and oxygen consumption for about 20 minutes after eating, which means your body is burning extra calories! So, whether you like the sweet or the heat, there’s a peppery for every pallet.

One of our favorite peppers is Red Beauty. Try this variety for a juicy, sweet 3 to 4-inch pepper with extra thick walls and glossy green fruit that turns to vivid red when mature. A great addition to a summer cookout or add to any salad or dish for pop of color and flavor. These enjoy sunny, warm days, and well-drained, fertile soil.

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The Fall Veggie Garden

Did you know fall is the perfect time get a delicious veggie garden going? In fact, cooler temperatures make this a great time to plant these crops -- many are even tastier and sweeter harvested after a light frost. If you've never grown fall veggies before, we recommend a crop of leaf lettuce, kale, swiss chard and spinach. These easy to grow plants are great for small spaces like a pallet garden and can often be harvested over many weeks.

The secret to having a great fall veggie garden is getting the timing right and that means thinking a little differently because you have to plan backward if starting with seed. To do this, start with your area's average first fall frost date, which for Hampton Roads is October 15. Then look at the number of days to harvest for each vegetable you wish to plant. You should be able to find that number on the seed packet. Use that number to count back from the first frost date. Then add two weeks; many plants grow more slowly as days shorten in fall.

If you want to start with established plants rather than seeds, we also offer many fall veggies in packs. These plants are ready to plant now for a delicious fall harvest with very little effort. Here’s a few of our favorite veggies to plant now:


Learn more about what to plant now by checking out our planting guide. PLANTING GUIDE >>

Join us tomorrow, September 21st and learn how to transform an ordinary wooden pallet into a garden full of fall veggies! FALL VEGGIE PALLET WORKSHOP >>

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Veg Out!

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of vegetable gardening. Cooler weather makes gardening more enjoyable and there are less insects to bug you. Actually, frost tends to improve the flavor of many cool weather crops. And, an added benefit is that many of these plants are visually pleasing in your yard, giving your landscape a boost in appearance.

To get started, we’ve compiled a few easy steps for fall veggie garden success.

  1. Prepare the Soil.
    Start from the bottom up to really have success. We suggest turning over the soil as one of the most important steps. This process aerates and mixes soil components.
  2. Fertilize with Compost.
    When fertilizing a vegetable garden, organic fertilizers are recommended. They consist of natural, organic material such as forest products, vegetable waste and animal manure. It can be purchased in bags, bulk, or made at home. McDonald Compost (sold in bag or bulk) will do the trick!
  3. Plant Your Garden.
    Dig the hole a bit larger than the plant’s root ball, place the plant in it, and firm the soil around the roots to the level of the surrounding soil. Water to eliminate air pockets and provide moisture to the root system.
  4. Water & Weed Regularly.
    Be sure your veggie garden receives water and you remove the weeds so that the weeds are not competing with the nutrients your plants need to perform their best.
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