Growing in Franklin

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Growing in Franklin News Articles

tomatoes in bowl, a squash, pepper, tomato and acucumber on table

June – Summer Squash

Welcome to summer finally. Each month we will be sharing an article about things you can grow in Franklin County. We also plan to share articles about how to prepare some of the vegetables and fruits that we write about. These monthly articles will provide you with more information about growing in Franklin County.

Summer Squash article

Squash and Zucchini grow in abundance this season of the year. It seems like the more you pick, the more it grows and grows and grows. Having an abundance of squash and zucchini can come with great benefits and there are lots of nutrition benefits and recipes that you can use these vegetables with. Zucchini and squash are often thought of and used as a vegetable; however, both are technically a fruit.

Nutritional Value of Squash and Zucchini

July – Eggplant

In this month’s article we are going to look at a member of the nightshade family (the eggplant) that many people may not eat regularly and most do not grow. The plant is kin to such crops as the Irish potato, tomato, tomatillo and pepper. The eggplant is thought to have originated in Asia, and the first record of the vegetable was from the 5th century.

Eggplant article

Eggplants, also known as aubergines, belong to the nightshade family of plants and are used in many different dishes around the world. There are many varieties that range in size and color. And while eggplants with a deep purple skin are most common, they can be red, green, or even black.

Nutritional Value of Eggplant

August – Okra

In this month’s article we are going to share information about a warm season vegetable crop that is currently in season. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a warm season crop that is a tall upright plant with a hibiscus type flower that originated in Africa. The immature seed pods are the edible part of this plant.

Okra article

Okra is the edible pod of the okra plant. You probably know it best for its soluble fiber content, which creates what is sometimes described as a slimy goo. The gooeyness can be minimized by stir-frying at high heat or cooking in a soup or stew such as gumbo, where the fiber disperses and provides a thickening agent. If you cook okra with an acidic food, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or even tomatoes, it helps to cut down on the slime factor.

Nutritional value of Okra

September – Collard Greens

In this month’s article we are going to share information about a cool season vegetable crop that is currently being planted. Collard Greens are a cool season crop that grow as a loose bouquet rather than a tight “head” like a cabbage. Collard greens are one of the most popular grown vegetables in the South.

Collards are grown during early Spring and Fall because the plant can withstand frosts and light freezes. Set transplants out in early Spring or late Summer. Many people will seed the plants and pull their own bare root transplants or seed them directly in a tray for plug transplants. Place seed in moist soil usually ½ to ¾ inch deep.

Collard Greens article

Collard greens are typically a holiday staple, especially New Year’s Day, but collard greens are a high nutrient vegetable that you can enjoy any time of year. Collard greens are a cruciferous versatile vegetable that is rich in many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Despite their low calorie count, collard greens contain many important nutrients.

Nutritional Value of Collard Greens


Tomato planting season is upon us, leaving gardeners with a pretty big decision to make. The tomato variety you select now will have a huge impact on your future success, but hundreds of different varieties are available. Will you go with hybrids or heirlooms? Determinate or indeterminate? Large or small fruits? Sorting through this confusing array will help you choose the right varieties for your garden.

Choosing Tomato Varieties article

Tomatoes contain vitamins A, C, and K. Tomatoes are also a good source of niacin, chromium, and potassium. Vitamin C protects the body from free radicals which destroy the healthy cells in the body. Niacin helps to lower triglyceride, a fat present in our blood. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, a compound that gives tomatoes their color. Processed tomato products have higher concentrations of lycopene. Studies show that tomato and tomato product consumption is associated with a reduced risk of:

  • Ovarian cancer, especially in premenopausal women
  • Digestive tract cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, colon, and rectum)
  • Cardiovascular disease

Nutritional Value of Tomatoes

May – Blackberries

Blackberries are just one of many fruits that can be easily produced in the home garden or landscape. One blackberry plant can easily supply 10-15 pounds of fruit over a 3-4 week period. Studies have shown that blackberries can help fight cancer, decrease cardiovascular disease and slow down brain aging.

There are three types of blackberry varieties: erect, semi-trailing and trailing. There are also thorny and thornless blackberry plants. Each type of these varieties perform well in all regions of North Carolina except where temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blackberries in the Home Garden

Blackberries are considered a superfood that packs a major nutritional punch along with bright flavor and intense color. Blackberries contain beneficial compounds that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Blackberries are a source of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which can protect cells from free radicals. Their deep purple hue increases their antioxidant power. Blackberries are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.

Nutritional Value of Blackberries

June – Blueberries

Blueberries are a wonderful addition to landscapes and gardens. They have delicate white or pink flowers in the spring, the summer fruit has an attractive sky blue color, and the fall foliage adds great red and yellow colors to the landscape. With the right species and proper soil modifications, blueberries can be grown anywhere in North  Carolina.

Blueberries in the Home Garden

When it comes to focus and memory, there is no denying the importance of brain health. While several factors influence cognitive function, the foods we eat on a daily basis are a crucial part of keeping our mind sharp. There are many nutrients that can help support brain health-one that is found in fruits and vegetables is anthocyanins. Compared to other commonly consumed fruits, berries are uniquely high in anthocyanins, plant compounds that are responsible for their vibrant blue, red, and purple color. In fact, research shows that anthocyanins present in blueberries (163.3 mg/100 g) may help to improve mild cognitive performance in older adults.

Blueberries: A Boost of Blue