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What's in Season Right Now? (Winter 2018)

Seasonality of what you eat is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants embracing the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are now doing the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Winter 2018. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Winter 2018)” »

The Perfect Indoor Plants For Your Home

Indoor plants are all the rage, but it can be hard to get started on finding the perfect one for your space. We at Urban Cultivator are big fans of growing plants in the comfort at your own home, which is why we've gathered some info on our favorite indoor plants to help you turn your home into a beautiful greenhouse.

Here are some perfect indoor plants for your home.

Snake Plant
The snake plant is also hilariously known as mother-in-law's tongue because of its sharp leaves, and it's a great, low-maintenance plant for gardening beginners. Thought it's able to handle low light, these plants really thrive in spaces with lots of light. Be careful not to overwater, though, as they're prone to root rot.

Preferred light: Bright spaces, but will be fine in low light as well

Pothos
Pothos come in a number of leaf patterns and colors, making them a fun variety to have in your home. They are easy to care for, and manage in low light.

Preferred light: Medium light

Spider Plant
The spider plant has become one of the most popular houseplants, since they're easy to grow and suffer from very few problems. Spider plants are named as such because new growths dangle from the mother plant, much like spiders from their web.

Preferred light: Medium light, though are capable of surviving in low light conditions, including artificial light

Philodendron
Philodendrons are hard to kill! They are very common and can be found at your local gardening center, and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Preferred light: Best in medium or bright light, but can tolerate low light

Peace Lily
Peace lilies are some of the easiest plants to care for and blossom beautifully. The more light you provide for your peace lily, the more flowers will grow. Less light will result in plant more akin to a traditional foliage plant.

Preferred light: Medium to low light

Succulents
Succulents are adorable and near impossible to kill. Be sure not to overwater them, though, because they don't need a whole lot to survive!

Preferred light: Bright light

Rubber Plant
Rubber plants are show-stopping plants, and will grow to quite a large size while developing hardier leaves with age. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight, and let the soil dry out before you water your rubber plant.

Preferred light: Medium to bright indirect light

Dracaena
Dracaena plants are popular due to the fact that they look highly exotic. Like the rubber plant, be sure to allow the soil to dry between waterings, and make sure your pets don't get a bite of them as they can be very poisonous.

Preferred light: Medium to bright light

Yucca
Yucca plants do great in a partially shaded area of bright and indirect light, which will yield vibrant leaf colors. They're also great for those who forget to water their plants, as they have low water requirements.

Preferred light: Indirect bright light

You know what's even better than indoor plants? Growing plants that you can eat! With an Urban Cultivator, you can grow a wide variety of microgreens and herbs, indoor and all year-round. Learn more about the Urban Cultivator Residential here.

What's your favorite indoor plant? Let us know in the comments section!

Perfectly Spooky Recipes to Share on Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and everyone is busy putting together last minute Halloween costumes. Instead of simply serving buckets of candy this year at your Halloween gathering, why not make some deliciously ghoulish dishes instead?

Here are some spooky but fresh recipes perfect for Halloween, featuring herbs, microgreens, and vegetables. Continue reading “Perfectly Spooky Recipes to Share on Halloween” »

What's in Season Right Now? (Fall 2018)

Seasonality of what you consume is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants adopting the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are also beginning to do the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Fall 2018. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Fall 2018)” »

The Connection Between Growing Plants and Mental Health

Gardening has proven to be beneficial for one's mood. Beyond seeing your hard work pay off, studies have shown that horticulture can actually assist with mental health. In fact, gardening has even be prescribed in some situations where patients experience such things as anxiety and depression. Here's how it works.

1. Soil can act as an antidepressant—really!

It may seem dirty and the smell may not be the bet, but soil has shown to create similar effects on one's brain as antidepressants. This is due to the fact that soil contains "good" bacteria that's often found in soil, and this can alter parts of your brain, promoting positive moods.

In particular, the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae has shown that it can activate neurons that promote the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. So, the more you inhale and have physical contact with this bacteria, the more positive effects you'll experience.

2. Gardening gives individuals a strong sense of responsibility

Naturally, caring for a living thing will encourage a relationship between you and your plant. It can help you learn to look after and respect other livings, while helping you create a stronger bond with nature.

3. It helps us keep connected with living things

Similar to the previous point, gardening helps you focus your attention on something else other than yourself. Since being too insular can send some people depressive states, gardening can help alleviate that. Being outdoors helps, too. Group gardening is also another option that you can partake in, which will encourage you to meet new people—another factor that can help you feel connected and less alone.

4. Horticulture helps us to be more mindful

Mindfulness is the idea of being present, and focusing one's attention to experiences that are occurring in this very moment. It's something that's kind of lost in this day and age, but research has proven that it can heavily impact your stress levels. Having mindfulness can help prevent anxiety, depression risk, help with insomnia, and boost productivity. Gardening can promote this as it forces you to focus on your senses as you repot plants or tend to one of your favorite succulent; it can be a very restorative experience.

5. It promotes brain health

Gardening has shown to keep our minds active, challenging us with specific brain functions that include problem solving, sensory awareness, and learning. Studies reflect gardening's many benefits, especially in dementia and Alzheimer's patients. These benefits include improvement in attention, lowered stress levels, and reduction of pain. Horticulture can also help those with a range of mental health problems, including individuals suffering from PTSD, improving mood and sociability.

Evidently, gardening is a great thing to get into, improving both mind and spirit. The seasons, however, can limit what you can grow, which is where the Urban Cultivator can come in handy.

Not only do you get to experience horticulture all year 'round, but you get to grow your own food, which can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Featuring a wide variety of seeds for you to grow, it's a great alternative to outdoor gardening.

Do you like to garden? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section!

The Most Used Herbs Across the Globe

Indian food

Food is nothing without spices, and every country has its own preferred ones. It's these unique combinations that give different cuisines their uniqueness.

Ever wonder what spices and herbs are popular and most used in which countries? Data Dial and Kit Stone did some research on 36 world cuisines to see what were the most popular spices and herbs, and whether or not there were any common ingredients.

This was determined by studying the ingredients of the national dishes of said countries, and with that data, they created a fascinating infographic. Continue reading “The Most Used Herbs Across the Globe” »

8 Irresistible Recipes Featuring Basil

There is something fundamentally "summer" about basil. Brightly flavored and wonderfully herbaceous, it's one of our favorite herbs to grow in an Urban Cultivator. Its versatility is also unmatched, perfect in everything from sauces, to cocktails, to desserts.

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring the herb of summertime, basil.
Continue reading “8 Irresistible Recipes Featuring Basil” »

Magic Mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, and Lion's Mane

Fungi get a bad rap. Many people are off-put by the idea of yeasts and mold, but most plants in existence require some sort of fungal symbiosis to flourish. Fungi are also hugely important in creating the oxygen that we breathe, as well as their part in breaking up organic debris and recycling them back into soil. Needless to say, they are much more important than they are given credit for.

More recent uses include taking advantage of fungi's medicinal properties, though certain Asian cultures have been incorporating specific strains into their daily lives for centuries now. Specifically, reishi, lion's mane, and chaga have become more and more popular over the years.
Continue reading “Magic Mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, and Lion's Mane” »

5 Impressive Herbaceous Cocktails Perfect for Summer

Summertime is here, which means it's time to mix up a cocktail, kick back, and relax. If you're tired of the same old, same old, we've got some exciting herbaceous cocktails for you to try. Featuring some delectable herbs, these will really leave an impression while tantalizing your tastebuds.

Here are five impressive herbaceous cocktails that are perfect for summer.
Continue reading “5 Impressive Herbaceous Cocktails Perfect for Summer” »

Learn About... Kelp

Kelp makes the ocean look beautiful, creating underwater forests, but they're so much more than just plants that exist in the sea. Kelp, also known as seaweed, is brown algae seaweed. There are 30 different types in existence, and is believed to have existed anywhere from five to 23 million years ago.
Continue reading “Learn About... Kelp” »

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