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How to grow lettuce in small spaces

Growing plants in a container is an awesome way for many people living in apartments or who have limited gradening spaces. It is also a good way to grow vegetation, as the containers can be brought indoors during the colder weather and left outdoors during spring.

Lettuce, a cool-season crop, develops best in cool but not chilling temperatures. Growing plants in containers also allows you to control weeds and pests more easily than in large gardening spaces. Not to mention, it affords you quick access to leaves for your salads.

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Choose the right container

Lettuce requires the right type of containers to plant them in. They need ample room for roots, but you can also grow several varieties in six to 12-inch pots. Lettuce can be grown in plastic or terra cotta planter pots, but you have plenty of other choices because they don’t require more than four inches of soil to anchor and thrive.

You can even grow lettuce in plastic gallon bottles that have openings on the sides. Buckets, large coffee cans without their lids, hanging baskets, boxes or even large plastic cups are all on the table. A four- to six-inch container can hold up to three lettuce plants.

Lettuce needs a consistent supply of moisture due to their water content, but it is important to note that they cannot tolerate wet roots, either.

Clay pots provide a permeable surface that allows excess water to evaporate. It also prevents soggy roots. Just make sure that there are adequate drainage holes in the type of container that you choose.

Use professional soil mix

Use professional soil mix for planting lettuce in containers. This mix is formulated to hold water and provide more nutrients for your vegetation. This mix is usually peat or compost soil, and has either vermiculite or perlite to help with water retention.

Depending on the size of your container, choose a lettuce mix labeled “cut and come again.” These offer repeat harvests. Other varieties that are good for small spaces include Black Seeded Simpson and the red or green oak leaf types. Moreover, loose-leaf lettuces are better suited for pots than head lettuce.

Growing lettuce in a container also needs attention and management. Planting lettuce in garden containers can be done by direct sowing or transplants. Once you have your soil ready, fill up your container almost to the top, leaving at least an inch of space for watering. Leave more at the top if you plan to mulch.

Transplanting lettuce heads

Before transplanting your lettuce heads, add half a tablespoon of time-release fertilizer per gallon of soil. Transplants should be buried a quarter of an inch deeper than they would be in garden soil and set six to 12 inches apart. Seeds can be sown when soils are not frozen at half an inch deep and four to 12 inches apart.

When growing lettuce in containers, always remember to water them. Lettuce has shallow roots and responds best to consistent shallow watering. Plants that are grown in the garden need at least an inch of water per week, but lettuce in pots needs a bit more.

Use a hydroponic system

You can also plant your lettuce using a hydroponic system. Start by using a storage bin that is at least 18 by 24 inches in size and holds up to 10 gallons of water or more. Mark eight evenly-spaced drill points on the lid and use a two-inch hole saw to drill holes in them. Add water until it is just one inch below the lid.

Mix the lettuce formula with two warm cups of water. Use a Masterblend Lettuce formula and Magnesium sulfate in the first cup and add calcium nitrate in the second cup. Follow the instructions on the packets for the best ratio. Stir until the chemicals fully dissolve. Add the mixes into the bin and stir.

Plant your seeds in a coco coir and place them over the holes of the container. Place outside or under grow lights. You should have lettuce in four to five weeks.

When harvesting, cut the outside leaves of loose lettuce when they are young. The leaves will then grow back and you can cut away the entire plant. Remember to cut them when they are tender as they are quick to “mature” and tend to become bitter.

Check out Gardening for more tips on planting in small spaces.

Triple fruit berry smoothie

Berry Smoothie

This is one of my favorite summer drinks but you can have it on any day! A super smoothie full of nutrients and antioxidants.

Freeze a banana and any red fruit: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and prepare this smoothie for breakfast, snack or after training to recover energy.


If you serve it in a bowl, you can eat it with toppings like fruits, seeds, Yum!

Ingredients:

– 1/2 frozen Banana

– 1 handful of blueberries or frozen red fruits

– 1 Tbsp. chia or hemp seeds

– 1 cup of water


*Optional:

– 1 handful of spinach

– 1 fist of nuts or 1 Tbsp. of natural cream without sugar (nut butter)


Preparation:


– Blend all the ingredients. Add more water if you wish.

– Serve and enjoy 🙂

If you tried this recipe let me know!

Maria J 💜 – The Naturally Blooming

If you’d like more homemade Ideas check out my other recipes and be sure to subscribe to my free newsletter for latest recipes sent straight to your inbox 📨

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Further Reading

Benefits of red cabbage, a versatile veggie (recipes included)

Red cabbage is an eye-catching and nutritious vegetable. You might have already tried it if you’ve eaten coleslaw or borscht before.

If you want to boost your heart or gut health, try adding red cabbage to your regular diet.

The nutritional profile of red cabbage

Red cabbage, sometimes called purple cabbage, belongs to the Brassica oleracea plant species and is related to other superfoods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.

Unlike other vegetables in the Brassica family, red cabbage is purple. Its unique color is responsible for its many unique benefits. Anthocyanins provide red cabbage with its unique color, and these compounds are powerful antioxidants that offer several benefits.

When eaten raw, red cabbage is crunchy with a slightly peppery taste. Cooked red cabbage is softer and has a sweeter flavor.

Red cabbage is a nutrient-dense superfood. A serving of red cabbage (89 grams) contains the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates – 2 percent of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Fiber – 7 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin C – 85 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin K – 42 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin A – 20 percent of the DV
  • Manganese – 11 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B6 – 9 percent of the DV
  • Potassium – 6 percent of the DV

Red cabbage: A superfood for your heart and digestive health

Red cabbage contains anthocyanin antioxidants that may help reduce levels of systemic inflammation and protect against some chronic diseases.

Cruciferous vegetables are also rich in compounds called indoles which are linked to improved liver health and detoxification.

Here are six of the amazing benefits of eating red cabbage:

They are full of beneficial plant compounds: 

Data suggests that antioxidants and other phytochemicals offer several benefits and can help prevent disease. Red cabbage may also help prevent cell damage and promote overall health.

Compared to green cabbage, red cabbage contains more of the following antioxidants with different benefits:

  • Anthocyanins and flavonoids, which help lower blood pressure.
  • Carotenoids, which converts to vitamin A, helps boost your eye health.
  • Kaempferol, which helps reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol) accumulation in the arteries.
  • Vitamin C, which is essential for a stronger immune system.
  • Vitamin K, which is crucial for stronger bones.

Data has also found that sulforaphane, another plant compound found in red cabbage, is associated with heart-health benefits and an ability to prevent certain cancers.

Some studies have shown that red cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables are some of the best dietary sources of indole, which can help improve gut health and detoxify the liver.

Red cabbage can help reduce inflammation

Low-grade chronic inflammation is linked to several health problems such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.

Experts note that red cabbage can help fight inflammation because of its incredible nutritional profile. According to a test-tube study using an artificial human gut model, red cabbage helped lower markers of gut inflammation by as much as 40 percent.

Red cabbage can help boost heart health

Red cabbage can help improve heart health in several ways:

Red cabbage contains over 36 types of anthocyanins. These compounds can help reduce blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk factors. According to data from observational studies, diets high in anthocyanins may help lower the risk of heart attacks by at least 32 percent.

Kaempferol, another plant compound in red cabbage, can help oxidize bad LDL cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis.

Red cabbage can boost your gut health

Red cabbage can improve your gut health because it is a good source of dietary fiber that is needed for digestion. Fiber also feeds “good” gut bacteria and promotes regular bowel movements.

Studies also suggest that red cabbage can potentially help lower gut inflammation through its ability to promote the growth of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Higher levels of SCFAs are linked to better liver health.

Red cabbage can boost your liver health

Red cabbage is a great source of dietary indole, and the superfood may have a role in improving your liver health. Studies show that having higher levels of indole is linked to a reduced risk of liver disease.

Findings also suggest that indole can help treat and repair liver damage by lowering the level of toxins in the liver and limiting their effects. Experts believe that this benefit is linked to indole and its role in promoting beneficial SCFAs)in the intestine.

Red cabbage can boost bone health and reduce osteoporosis risk

Nutrients like vitamin C and K, calcium and manganese are all essential for your bone health. They are important for bone growth and they help protect your bone cells from damage.

Nutritious and tasty red cabbage recipes

Red cabbage is a versatile veggie. You can eat it raw in refreshing salads, make dumplings with it or ferment it. Red cabbage can be used to make coleslaw or soups. You can also try these tasty recipes that use nutritious red cabbage.

Red cabbage with pears and mulled port

This recipe pairs red cabbage with a mulled port that gives your dish a beautiful red hue.

Prepare the cabbage ahead and have it chilled or frozen. When you’re ready to cook, reheat the red cabbage in the pan.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 Large red cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Large onion, sliced
  • 4 Pears, diced
  • 200 ml Port
  • 2 Tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Star anise
  • 1 Large cinnamon stick
  • 1 Pinch ground cloves

Preparation:

  1. Set the pears aside and place the rest of the ingredients in a large pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the ingredients on low heat for one hour.
  2. Stir in the pears, then cover and cook for another hour until the cabbage is tender. Add water if the cabbage seems dry.
  3. If there is still liquid left in the pan after one hour of cooking, turn the heat up until it evaporates.
  4. Season the cabbage with a little salt before serving.

Red cabbage winter veggie soup

Looking for a warming winter soup? Try making a batch of red cabbage veggie soup. This nutritious chunky soup is made with tasty winter vegetables and fresh herbs.

When preparing the red cabbage, remove the tough middle part. Chop the cabbage into 5 mm thick strips or thinner.

To make the soup vegan, replace regular butter with vegan butter or margarine. Add the spinach along with the herbs, crushed garlic and butter towards the end of cooking. Any leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for three months.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1.5 l Vegetable stock
  • 300 g Red cabbage chopped into 5 mm thick strips, without the tough middle part
  • 250 g Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 50 g Spinach, finely chopped
  • 40 g Celeriac, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons each of chives, dill and parsley, all finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Leek, cut lengthwise and finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic, finely grated
  • 2 Allspice berries
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a pot, heat up the olive oil then add the bay leaf, allspice, onion, leek and red cabbage. Stir and cook the mixture over medium heat for five minutes. Stir often.
  2. Add the carrot, celeriac, potato, vegetable stock and balsamic vinegar. Stir the mixture, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add the spinach, herbs, garlic and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add some water or stock to the pot if needed. Cook the soup for two more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat before serving.

Add red cabbage to your regular diet and try these recipes to boost your immunity and gut health.

Blessings to all. Maria🌿` The Naturally Blooming

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The digestive benefits of celery (quick salad recipe included)

 A popular low-calorie food, celery is a crunchy vegetable with many nutritional benefits. For one, celery helps boost digestive health. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

The nutritional profile of celery

A single celery stalk only has 1o calories, but the vegetable is full of important antioxidants.

Antioxidants protect your blood vessels, cells, and organs from oxidative damage.

Celery is low in sodium and it’s also a good source of beta carotene, flavonoids, and immunity-boosting vitamin C. Additionally, celery contains phytonutrients that help minimize inflammation in your blood vessels, cells, digestive tract, and organs.

Celery has a low glycemic index, which means it has a slow, steady effect on your blood sugar, making it a great snack if you have diabetes. Celery also contains vitamins A and K, along with folate and potassium.

The health benefits of celery


It reduces inflammation. Studies suggest that chronic inflammation is associated with various health problems like arthritis and osteoporosis. Celery and celery seeds contain at least 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that help prevent these conditions.

It can boost your digestive health. Celery contains pectin-based polysaccharides.

The vegetable also has a high water content. Made up of at least 95 percent water, celery is also full of insoluble and soluble fiber.

Water and fiber are essential for a healthy digestive tract and regular bowel movements. A cup of celery sticks contains at least five grams of dietary fiber that boosts digestion.

It helps increase your stomach acid, which promotes smooth digestion and breaks down the food that you eat. Consuming celery helps relieve bloating and indigestion. (Related: Is celery the powerful anti-cancer weapon we have all been waiting for?)

How to cook and store celery


Healthy celery leaves are crisp and fresh. Look for celery with pale to bright green leaves and don’t buy celery with yellow or brown patches.

When buying celery, look for sturdy, upright stalks. The stalks should snap easily, not bend, when you pull them.

Chop celery before cooking or serving. This helps maintain the vegetable’s essential nutrients.

It is best to consume steamed celery, which retains flavor and almost all of its nutrients.

Celery leaves have the most calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. The leaves don’t store well, so consume celery leaves after a day or two of purchase.

Celery is a versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw as a snack, baked or steamed, or added to green smoothies, juices, salads, or soups.

Recipe for celery stalk salad with apples, goat cheese, grapes, and pecans


The celery salad recipe below is from “Ruffage,” a cookbook written by chef Abra Berens.

This yummy salad combines refreshing ingredients like apples, celery, and grapes. The recipe also includes crunchy toasted pecans and smooth, creamy goat cheese.

Serve this celery salad as a main or as a side to a meat-based dish.

Ingredients:

1 head (4 cups) of celery, remove the root end and stalk tips, cut the stalks in diagonal slices and set the leaves aside
1 pound of grapes, halved
1 tart apple, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 cup pecans, toasted
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 ounces organic, fresh goat cheese

Steps:

Combine the chopped celery, celery leaves, grapes, apple, pecans, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Taste the salad, and add seasoning as desired.
Transfer the salad to a serving platter, then add the goat cheese before serving.

Including nutritious vegetables like celery and follow a balanced diet to boost your digestive health.

In-season fruit & vegetable winners

In-season fruit & vegetable winners


These fruits and veggies that show up for the season are winners.

Here’s why…and how to enjoy them. Each recipe serves 4.



Sweet potatoes



It’s hard to find a food with more beta-carotene (which our bodies convert to vitamin A) and potassium.

Tip: In the mood for a potato? Think orange. Even without the skin, sweets have twice the fiber of white potatoes.



Simple Mashed Sweets


Using a fork, pierce the skin of 2 or 3 sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 lbs.) in a few places. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45–60 minutes) Or cook at stovetop until very tender. Scoop out and mash with a potato masher or purée in a food processor. Season with up to ¼ tsp. salt. Or pre cut and serve. Top with favorite seasoning.



Brussels sprouts



Hello, vitamins C and K, fiber, lutein, potassium, folate, and magnesium! Brussels are hardworking little cabbage lookalikes.

Tip: Shred the Brussels sprouts for this recipe in a food processor—use the grating or shredding disk—or grab a bag of pre-shredded (aka “shaved”) sprouts.

Lemon Parmesan Brussels


Stir-fry 10 oz. (4 cups) shredded Brussels sprouts in 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil until crisp-tender and browned in places, 2−3 minutes. Season with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and ¼ cup shaved parmesan.

Persimmons

Their vibrant orange hue is a clue: There’s that vitamin A again…plus C and fiber.

Tip: Acorn-shaped Hachiya persimmons (front) taste astringent until they’re very ripe—that is, until they feel super soft to the touch. Save ’em for snacking. Use firmer, rounder Fuyus (back) for slicing into salads.

Persimmon & Pecan Salad


Whisk together 1 Tbs. white balsamic or wine vinegar, ½ tsp. honey, ¼ tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil. Toss with 5 oz. baby arugula or kale and 1 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmon, cut into thin wedges. Top with ¼ cup toasted pecans or walnuts and (optional) ¼ cup feta or goat cheese.


Pomegranates

They’re fiber-rich sparkling gems. Toss the ruby seeds with yogurt, salads, cereal, or overnight oats. The folate and vitamins C and K are a bonus.

Tip: Pluck the seeds from your pomegranate in a bowlful of water (google it) to stop them from flying or spraying juice.

Sparkling Quinoa Salad
Whisk together 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, and ¼ tsp. salt. Toss with 2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa, ¼ cup chopped mint and/or parsley leaves, 2 peeled and sliced clementines, and ½ cup pomegranate seeds.


Pumpkins

Forget sugary pumpkin spice lattes. Eat the real thing…and pile on the nutrients (see sweet potatoes).

Tip: Smaller, more flavorful sugar or pie pumpkins are best for roasting. (No pumpkins around? Try butternut squash.) Use canned pumpkin purée in sauces and soups.

Roasted Spiced Pumpkin
Halve 1 small pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut into wedges. Toss with 2 Tbs. safflower or sunflower oil, 2 tsp. curry powder, and ¼ tsp. salt. Roast in a 400°F oven until tender, 20−30 minutes. Add any leftovers to salads or grains.


Rutabagas & turnips

Their nutrients don’t measure up to, say, kale, but when you want a root veg on the lighter side, try these guys. They’ve got less than half the calories of white potatoes and a distinctive tang (turnips) or a touch of sweet (rutabagas).

Tip: Try using a serrated vegetable peeler on their thick skin.

Roasted Roots & Fruits
Peel and chop into chunks 1 lb. rutabagas and/or turnips and 2 apples. Toss with 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil and ¼ tsp. salt. Roast in a 425°F oven until lightly browned and tender, 20−30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

With this homemade blue cheese dressing recipe, feel free to add as much or as little blue cheese crumbles as you like. I say, go ahead and load it up!

Homemade dressing is just so much better than store-bought dressing, you can still find good ones out there but it is definitely worth trying out to make it homemade sometime!

If you haven’t tried making your own dressing yet, please give it a try. It’s really very easy and it’s better for you (no additives!), more economical, and way fresher tasting.

Ingredients Needed:

This easy blue cheese dressing recipe has just 6 simple ingredients (plus salt & pepper), but is packed with so much delicious flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Greek yogurt & mayonnaise – These two ingredients provide the creamy texture of this dressing. For a low-calorie version, use nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • Blue cheese crumbles – The star of the dressing! Crumble your own or buy pre-crumbled and feel free to add as much or as little as you like.
  • Garlic – Adds fresh flavor to the dressing.
  • White wine vinegar – The vinegar adds a little tang. You could also use red wine vinegar or another favorite vinegar.
  • Milk – Adding a small amount of milk gives the dressing the right consistency. I typically use 2%, but you can really use any variety of milk you prefer.
  • Salt & Pepper – To bring out all of the delicious flavor.

How to Make Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing


This blue cheese dressing could not be easier to make at home. There’s simply no need for store-bought salad dressings when you have one as tasty as this! In my opinion, homemade dressings are the way to go because they always taste so much fresher, plus you get complete control over the ingredients. Just follow a few simple steps to make this homemade blue cheese dressing recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe.

Mix together ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, blue cheese, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix together, mashing the blue cheese into the mixture as you go. Slowly stir in the milk. Mix well.
Taste. Taste and add any additional ingredients, like more salt and pepper, as needed.
Store. All done! The flavors will develop the longer it sits. Store the dressing in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for one to two weeks.

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Customize This Recipe


Like any salad dressing recipe, you can experiment with the ingredients and make the dressing to your taste. That’s one of the advantages to making salad dressing from scratch. You can add as much blue cheese as you like. Omit the garlic, or use shallot instead, or another fresh herb of your choice. Swap out the yogurt and use sour cream. You could also try adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and/or a different type of vinegar. The options are pretty much endless!



Serving Suggestions


This creamy, flavorful salad dressing is great on most any green salad, from a simple romaine salad to a chopped BBQ salad. And if you’re serving buffalo wings, buffalo cauliflower bites or buffalo chicken lettuce cups, you definitely need this blue cheese dressing! I also love to drizzle it on sandwiches, wraps and burgers, vegetables.



Homemade blue cheese dressing can last up to about one to two weeks in the refrigerator. You can use a leftover salad dressing bottle or mason jar for storage. Before each use, give the dressing a good shake to blend the ingredients. Be sure not to leave the dressing out longer than 2 hours at room temperature. It contains a few dairy products that are perishable and can spoil quickly.

Thanks so much for reading! If you make this recipe I would love for you to let me know below,  And be sure to subscribe to my free newsletters for more healthy food inspiration. Cheers!

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