By Eliza Short, Communications Coordinator for Jackson in Action
Physical activity is an important component of everyday life to stay healthy and strong. Activities in the summer can include walking, running, paddle board yoga, kayaking, and even gardening! Gardening incorporates the three types of physical activity, including strength, endurance, and flexibility. Carrying bags of mulch and soil, digging and making rows for planting, and weeding all provide at least one type of physical activity, and can help meet the goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
One common vegetable grown in the Midwest region is the cucumber. Cucumbers prefer to grow in a warm summer climate, and can add a cool, crisp component to your favorite recipes. For the month of July, the Jackson in Action Community Coalition is highlighting cucumbers for the Harvest of the Month. Join Registered Dietitian Ruth Lahmayer Chipps on Tuesday, July 19th from 11:30am-12:30pm, for an opportunity to taste a fresh cucumber recipe! Below, you can find a cucumber salad recipe and read about how to improve your garden utilizing organic gardening methods.
Featured Recipe: Marinated Cucumber Tomato Salad
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 4 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- ½ cup red onion, sliced thinly
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 T sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 T slivered fresh basil strips
- 1 T chopped parsley
Directions: Arrange cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, in a shallow serving dish. Mix oil, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl and pour over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with herbs just before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.
Organic Gardening Tips
Pest control: Plant onions in between plants such as broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, and cauliflower. Many insects do not like onions, and will stay away from the crops you wish to grow well. To get rid of slugs, fill an empty tuna can with beer and place at the bottom of the plants to draw slugs away.
Weed control: Break up weeds and lay cardboard on top. Put hay or mulch on top of the cardboard to hold it down, which will prevent weeds from receiving sunlight and continuing to grow.
Fertilizer: To stimulate growth of plants, water with “compost tea” once per week. This is made by soaking bags filled with compost in dechlorinated water for a few days with molasses added as a sugar for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria produce nitrogen in the compost tea, which gives plants a natural nitrogen source to flourish.