July is a hot, sticky time in Florida. You have probably noticed that the wildlife is moving a bit slower, the rains have increased and the grass is growing faster.
It is also a perfect time to harvest your plants, especially the ones that are about to reach their seasonal expiration. Most plants like banana peppers, green peppers, summer squash and okra are ready to be harvested and nearly out of season. Before you rotate your crop – which is ideal and healthy for the soil and plants – be sure to try one of the following recipes to gain the most from your harvest.
Squash was not ever my favorite growing up, but in my adult years I have learned to love it. I enjoy the texture and the rich array of nutrients, some of which can help fight prostate cancer in men while serving as an anti-inflammatory and easing age-related pains. It is packed full of vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6 and C, plus manganese, potassium, fiber, omega-3 oils and beta carotene.
This recipe is delicious and perfect for making the most out of your summer harvest.
Roast squash with cheese and walnuts
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 summer or 2 butternut squash, halved and seeded
- 1 ½ cups cubed cheese
- 1 cup walnut halves
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the garlic and olive oil in the center of the halved squash. Roast the squash for an hour.
When the squash is finished roasting, scoop out most of the flesh, leaving enough to preserve the squash's shape. Mix the flesh with the cheese and walnuts. Place the mixture back into the skins and cook it for a few minutes until the cheese is soft.
If you have not yet begun your garden, no worries; the next planting season is just around the corner in August. If you begin to plan your garden now and prepare your soil, you will be right on time for planting.
Local farmers markets are your next best alternative resource if you don’t have your own garden. Farmers markets not only support the local community, but they are also friendly to the environment because their crops are not mass produced. Here are some local markets:
- Downtown Clearwater Farmer's Market (reopens Oct. 20)
- , Dunedin
- Harvest Market Place, Largo
- Market in the Park, Largo
- , Gulfport
- , St. Petersburg
- Sweetwater Organic Farm, Tampa
Stay tuned next week for information on preparing your fall crops. Until then, enjoy the fruits of your labor and the occasional raindrops!