For those of you who think the time to plant your garden has come and gone, this is not the case. Mid summer is the time to plant a few of my favorite crop items for a fall harvest. Here in Utah, we have the next couple of weeks to plant a fall harvest (preferably 9 weeks before the first frost of winter). Some plants that you can now plant are spinach, lettuce, broccoli, peas and cauliflower. Plants like tomatoes, peppers, etc. need too much heat and will not produce if you plant them now. But if you are still anxious to plant a few items before summer is over, you are not too late! Visit Emily’s website to find out which plants will work best in your climate and when to plant them.

Today I picked the last of my spinach (it was going to seed) and then dug up the plants. I then planted a new crop of spinach from seed (they take 45 days to produce, so we have plenty of time before fall comes). I have thoroughly LOVED the spinach in my garden. I have added it to nearly every salad we have made in the past month, in pastas, and cooked it up with a little vinegar and butter.

Besides spinach it is a great time to pull out your lettuce and replant your crop. Lettuce will also grow again before fall. I had great success with my lettuce except for we were infested by snails..yuck! We are going to put a thin copper wire around our bed of lettuce because from my research online the copper will zap them before they make it into the bed (yeah!). Can I say my least favorite part of gardening is the creapy crawlies–anything slimy grosses me out. Good think I have a 10 year old boy who loves bugs 😉

Tonight I am also going to pick the last of my broccoli harvest, pull out the plants and replant a new batch of broccoli from seed. I would prefer a small transplant but can not find them anywhere. We will experiment and see how the seeds grow.
Now..onto a fun and extremely healthy recipe. I love smoothies and think they are a great snack for kids. My children run around outside all day and come in mid-afternoon starving. I love to whip up a smoothie and give them some fresh fruits and vegetables to keep them going the rest of the night. Yes..I do make cookies sometimes, but over all, I try and feed them as healthy of a snack as I can. Be creative with your smoothies. Just use whatever fresh fruits and vegetables you have around in your fridge, or from your garden (apples, pears, peaches, carrots, etc.) Do you have a favorite smoothie combo? I would love to hear what combinations you do at home 😉 Here is what my smoothie looked like today:

Berry Beet Spinach Smoothie
Ingredients
  1. 1 c. fresh or frozen spinach
  2. 2 small beets or 1 large beet, boiled and stems/roots removed
  3. 1 c. fresh blueberries
  4. 1 banana
  5. 1 c. fresh or frozen strawberries
  6. 2 (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt
  7. 1/2-1 c. skim milk Crushed or cubed ice (if needed)
  8. Honey (optional--only needed if your smoothie is not sweet enough to your liking)
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Instructions
  1. Add all of the above ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can make your smoothie as thin or as thick as you would like depending on how much milk you add to your smoothie. If you are using mostly fresh produce you may need to add a few cubes of ice to thicken up your shake.
  2. Are you new to beets? I think you either love them or hate them. We grew up with fresh beets and so I am a lover of them. I grew several square feet of beets and have enjoyed eating their greens in salads and am now excited to start harvesting them for smoothies. Beets are chuck full of antioxidants, folic acid, fiber and several other vitamins. They have a very earthy taste and surprisingly in shakes adds a delicious fresh flavor. They also make your shake turn a pretty pink/maroon color. I boil the beets until they are soft, remove the roots and stems, and keep them in a Ziploc bag so I can quickly throw them in smoothies. Mine are small so far from my garden, but in a few weeks they should grow as big as a golf ball.
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(When you cut the beets from your garden leave a 3-4 inch tail of the stem so that your beets don’t bleed in your pot of water. Once the beets are tender you can cut off the stems and eat or freeze them.)

Do you have too much spinach on hand? Rinse and dry your spinach and then place it in a Ziploc bag. Keep these bags of spinach in your freezer so you can also add those to your smoothies. Happy harvesting!