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Successive planting results in vegetables high in vitamins and minerals

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By Broccoli Billy

There is no doubt that spring has sprung in Cedar Key. It would surely seem that those cold fronts from the north no longer require winter clothing to stay warm. Spring is springing up here in the gardens as well, with sun flowers, zinnias and cucumbers breaking through the soil. As of this writing, 1,000 feet of row has been planted by hand with five days gone to show for it. With around 750 transplants planted and numerous seeds carefully placed in the rows, I need a few days off to recover.

The recovery period allows me to work in the greenhouse separating more seedlings. One thing I avoid here as much as possible is overplanting. I, by necessity, will plant a 50 foot row of cucumbers then wait about two weeks and plant more cucumbers. By using “successive planting” I avoid a huge glut at harvest and am able to spread out the season to a greater degree. I employ this process with a number of varieties as their growth cycle is shorter than the climate they live in.

There once was a time when I planted the whole garden at one time, feeling once was enough! Many northern gardens are planted once because the growing season is quite short. Our wonderful Florida climate is quite more generous than the northern garden. So, if you are looking to extend the harvest period successive planting is a sure bet.

I have been in Florida just over 20 years where citrus fruit is king and a long with that comes vitamin C. I was almost to the point where the only source of vitamin C was the orange. Just recently, I was questioned about the vitamin content of vegetables. Needless to say, I was at a complete loss for any answers. This sent me on a short research mission to find some amazing results. I also researched the mineral content of vegetables, to be surprised as well. The cook of the house could easily ensure a diversified vitamin and mineral intake by rotating the types of vegetables we consume. Most of us do this anyway so we do not get tired of eating the same thing over and over. One thing I found especially interesting is the function of minerals, and here are some of the results: calcium - helps regulate the passage of nutrients through cell wall; copper - absorption, storage and metabolism of iron; selenium - functions as an antioxidant in conjunction with vitamin E. And this is only three of a number of minerals!

Now with that being said, what about vitamins? The listed vitamins in these charts are vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and folic acid along with vitamin C. Vegetables from artichoke to watermelon listed contain to some degree all listed vitamins. Watch out Mr. Orange - asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are extremely high in vitamin C.

I now have a far better knowledge of vegetables and the vitamins and minerals contained therein. The next time I am asked the vitamin-vegetable relationship I will be able to give a far better answer than, “I don’t know.”

Vary your vegetables,

Broccoli Billy