The John Barrett Real Estate Team

Posted by The John Barrett Real Estate Team on 5/7/2017

Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful thing. You get to choose which seeds to sow, spend time outside, put in some hard work and then reap the rewards all summer and fall. In spite of this, many new gardeners find themselves planting too much or too little of different vegetables. There's much appeal to going to the store to pick out seeds. It almost seems like magic: these little seed packets will turn into baskets full of food, all for just a few dollars. Follow these tips to learn how to grow what you want the first time around so you won't find yourself begging neighbors to take all those extra zucchinis off your hands. What do you like to eat? Experimenting with new recipes is great. And so is the temptation when you see seed packets for an exotic vegetable you've never tried before. But before you dedicate a whole row of your garden to hybrid turnips, think about whether or not you'll really eat all of that. Instead, plant the veggies you and your family love to eat consistently. Before you start planting, think carefully about the amount of space you have in your garden (I usually draw a diagram and label the rows). This is going to involve some necessary research on your part. If you love summer squash, you may think you need a whole row. Squash plants, however, tend to creep outwards vigorously, producing a ton of fruit and also encroaching on other rows if you're not careful. Similarly, you may find that you simply don't have enough room for some vegetables. We all love the first sweet corn of the season, but most of us don't have enough room in our backyard gardens to feasibly grow corn. Plan for next year Once you've tilled the soil, planted the seeds, and taken care of your plants all spring, you may think the only thing left to do is harvest the vegetables. This is a crucial time, however, to think about next year. What did you have too much of? Too little? Did you find that some vegetables simply wouldn't grow in your garden? (I tried twice, with little luck, to plant pole beans but found that they just didn't like my soil.) Take note of these findings for next year. If one part of your garden receives more sunlight, try rotating crops to see if you get different results. Don't worry if your garden isn't perfect the first time around. In fact, it's best to just let go of that image of the perfect garden. Tending a garden isn't another chore to cause stress in your life, it's a simple and relaxing way to get outside more.  

Posted by The John Barrett Real Estate Team on 5/22/2016

Cold and flu season are here, there are some ways to prevent getting sick and they can come from simply changing your diet. It may not be an apple a day keeps the doctor away but there are some foods you can add to your diet to keep the cold bugs at bay.

Acai Berry

Acai berry's dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Antioxidants help your body fight aging and disease. Acai berries are usually found in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.


Just 1/4 cup of Almonds has almost 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps boost the immune system. Almonds also contain riboflavin and niacin; B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.


If you are looking to boost your vitamin C intake, grapefruits are a great way to fights off colds and flu. Grapefruit is also packed with flavonoids. Flavonoids are natural chemical compounds that have been shown to increase immune system activation.

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ contains zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ has fiber, protein, and good fat. You can substitute wheat germ for some part of regular flour in baked goods and other recipes. You can also mix it in with breadcrumbs in meatballs or meatloaf.


When you hear oyster you think aphrodisiac but oysters are also known as immune boosters. Oysters contain the mineral zinc. Zinc has an antiviral effect, which aids in healing wounds.


Cabbage is a fantastic source of immune-strengthening glutamine.  It is easy to add cabbage to soups and stews to boost nutritional value.


Also containing the powerful antioxidant glutathione is watermelon. Glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.


Rich in antioxidants, elderberry is thought to fight inflammation. The extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies.

Button Mushrooms

Mushrooms boast the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Boosting selenium levels help to fight off severe flu symptoms. The B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, also found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system.