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    • Medication
    • Drug Use

    Use Caution: Mixing Over-the-Counter Medications Can Be Harmful

    With allergy season’s extended stay and cold and flu season having just begun, you may soon find yourself seeking relief through several different kinds of over-the-counter medications. Know what precautions you need to take when fighting multiple symptoms with multiple medications. When you’re too sick to go to work but not sick enough for a doctor’s visit, over-the-counter medicines are a welcome relief to help alleviate that fever, runny nose or allergies. But because those medicines aren’t signed off on or managed by your doctor and pharmacist, it’s crucial that you’re especially mindful of what you put into your body. Whenever you pop a pill, you want to make sure you’re taking the right dosage, waiting the right amount of time before taking another dose and not mixing certain medicines together. Recent stories like this one detail dangerous over-the-counter medicine combinations, and we’re following suit: Here is a quick go-to guide about potentially harmful over-the-counter combinations. Too Much Tylenol/Acetaminophen Tylenol — or acetaminophen — is a popular pain reliever for many, but too much can be bad for your liver. “Our bodies have a finite ability to metabolize Tylenol,” says Andy Wright, clinical pharmacist at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. “When too much builds up in the liver, it becomes toxic. In patients with medical conditions like cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis, this could be disastrous.” Remember, acetaminophen is in more than just Tylenol and generic pain relievers. You may also see acetaminophen in flu, cold and cough medicines, like Nyquil, and some prescription medications including Norco and Percocet. Keep a list of the medications you take, and limit daily acetaminophen use to 3,000 mg per day. When you’re scanning medicine bottle contents, remember acetaminophen is also referred to as APAP, AC, acetam or paracetamol. Mixing Painkillers When you’re dealing with pain and not getting any relief, taking a different medication may seem like the easy solution. Maybe you take some Aleve — a form of naproxen — for a headache, but it isn’t working, so you switch to Motrin, an over-the-counter form of ibuprofen. Not a smart idea. Ibuprofen and naproxen along with aspirin are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Because these medicines work in similar ways, they should never be combined or used in larger doses or more frequently than directed. Otherwise your risk of side effects can increase, which range from mild nausea to severe gastrointestinal bleeding. It’s also important to consider your family history when taking NSAIDs because, “recent studies have shown NSAIDs may have greater cardiovascular risks for people taking blood thinners or those with hypertension,” explains Andy. “A good example is ibuprofen: It has a relatively low gastrointestinal bleed risk while it has a moderate to high cardiovascular risk. The opposite is true for naproxen.” Rather than experimenting with multiple medicines, figure out which drug works best for you. You may find muscle soreness improves with aspirin, whereas when a headache hits, naproxen is best. Keep in mind that these medications aren’t always best for everyone in the family. “Aspirin in children and teens is not recommended unless under the supervision of a doctor,” Andy says. And pregnant and lactating women should generally avoid NSAIDS due to risk of birth defects and bleeding. “In both of these cases, acetaminophen or Tylenol are preferred but only if approved by an OB/GYN.” Fighting Allergies Over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra have made fighting itchy eyes and runny noses a little easier. But these daily medicines — when taken inappropriately or in the wrong combinations — can also have an adverse effect. Similar to acetaminophen, you need to watch for antihistamines in other products. Sleep aids — like Tylenol PM and Unisom — commonly use an antihistamine known as diphenhydramine, which may increase your risk of overdose. “Combining antihistamines, or overdosing, can cause many adverse effects including dry mouth, blurred vision — even arrhythmias,” Andy says. “Only take these medications on their own.” If you’re still struggling with symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about adding an over-the-counter nasal steroid. Andy confirms the importance of closely following the directions listed on antihistamine (and all medicine) bottles. He has seen extended release nasal decongestants cause significant arrhythmias requiring medical care after a patient took the medicine with warm fluids. “The decongestant in question is designed to slowly release, but it can dissolve suddenly in the presence of warm liquids like coffee,” Andy explains. “This can cause the pill to deliver 12 to 24 hours of medication all at once.” Taking an Antidiarrheal with Calcium Calcium supplements and antidiarrheal medicines are another harmful combination. Calcium firms up your stool, but if taken with an antidiarrheal, can cause severe constipation. If you need to take an antidiarrheal, take a break from your calcium for a few days until you’re back to normal. Another consideration when taking calcium supplements or calcium-based antacids is gas. “I’ve had several patients report cases of excessive gas using Tums or calcium carbonate-based supplements.” Andy suggests instead “trying Maalox or Mylanta for indigestion and Citracal as a supplement.” Talk with Your Doctor or Pharmacist About Your Medications If over-the-counter drugs aren’t providing the relief you need, it’s time to see your doctor. And remember, for your safety it is important to keep your doctor and pharmacist up-to-date with any medications — prescribed or over-the-counter — that you are taking.

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    • Bone Health
    • Orthopedics

    Prevent Osteoporosis: Take Control of Your Bone Health Today

    Some risk factors associated with osteoporosis are out of your control. But you’re in luck, because some can be lessened by following simple tips. Below, Orthopedic Nursing Manager Katie McCarthy discusses the signs, symptoms and preventive measures. By Katie McCarthy, BSN, RN, ONC, Orthopedic Nursing Manager, Renown Health Osteoporosis is often called the silent disease, because it develops gradually for years with no clear signs or symptoms. And while some bone loss is expected as we age, osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging. So it’s important to start thinking about your bone health early.  Bone is not just a lifeless scaffold for the body. It is living tissue that regenerates continually. Once we reach peak bone mass around age 25, we begin losing more bone than we produce, increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis — which literally means porous bone and points to a loss in bone density. In severe cases, normal everyday activities or movements, like hugging, can cause a fracture. After the first fracture you’re at higher risk for more, which can lead to a life of chronic pain and immobility. Bone fractures in the spine or hip are the most serious. Hip fractures can result in disability and even death — especially in older adults. Spinal fractures can even occur without falling. The vertebrae weaken to the point that they simply crumple, which can result in back pain, lost height and a hunched-forward posture.   Osteoporosis: Uncontrollable Risk Factors Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men, and white and Asian women are at higher risk than black and Hispanic women. Other uncontrollable risk factors include: age; a family history of osteoporosis; certain genetic conditions; medications and medical treatments; eating disorders; a low body weight and small, thin frame; ethnicity; menopause: In fact, the lack of estrogen produced during menopause is largely responsible for a woman’s increased risk. Poor diet, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and an unhealthy weight also contribute to bone loss. Fortunately, those risk factors are in your control. Without symptoms, you can’t know if you’ve developed osteoporosis unless you get a bone density test or suffer a fracture. If you fall into a high-risk group, are over age 50 or have any concerns about your bone health, consult your doctor and find out if you need to be evaluated. Additionally, if either of your parents sustained hip fractures, you experienced early menopause or took corticosteroids for several months — a steroid often prescribed to relieve inflammation and arthritis — you’ll want to talk to your doctor about your bone health. If you test positive, your doctor will devise a treatment plan to match your needs, which will include lifestyle changes surrounding diet and exercise to build and strengthen weak bones. Medication to slow bone breakdown and build new bone may be prescribed, depending on the severity of your bone loss. If you’ve sustained a spinal fracture that is causing severe pain, deformity or is not responding to non-surgical treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery. Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis You can strengthen your bones now to prevent osteoporosis from starting. Here are some tips: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in caffeine, sodium and protein. Avoid soda, and talk to your doctor to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Don’t smoke — it directly correlates with a decrease in bone mass. Smokers also take longer to heal from a fracture. Limit alcohol to two to three beverages per day. It interferes with the production of vitamins needed to absorb calcium and the hormones that help protect bones. Exercise three to four times each week — it’s key to healthy bones. Weight-bearing exercises like jogging, hiking and especially weight lifting build bone mass and density. There are aspects of the aging process we can’t control, but we can do something about bone loss and osteoporosis. Find out your risk, and show your bones a little TLC — you’re going to need them. This story was also published in the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Health Source on April 24, 2016.

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    • Women's Health
    • Mammogram

    What Every Woman Needs to Know About Dense Breast Tissue

    In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re working to spread the word about taking care of your breast health and encouraging the women in your life to do the same.  Heather Reimer is on a mission — a mission to educate women everywhere about breast tissue type. For women with dense breasts, knowing your breast tissue type is absolutely critical, as cancers embedded in dense breast tissue are not always detectable with a mammogram alone. Dense breast tissue requires a breast ultrasound screening to get a complete breast health picture. Whole Breast Ultrasound for Dense Breast Tissue Heather knows this firsthand. She has dense breasts, and in this video she shares her story about finding breast cancer during a breast ultrasound screening — cancer that went undetected with her mammogram screening alone. As a result of that experience, Heather founded Each One. Tell One. — a movement to encourage women to pass along this information to others and to prompt those with dense breast and implants to consult with their doctor to schedule a whole breast ultrasound screening. To schedule a mammogram or a whole breast ultrasound, call 775-982-8100.

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    • Heart Care
    • Active Living

    How Dorismae Reclaimed Her Life and Walking Shoes with TAVR

    When lifelong trekker and adventurer Dorismae Weber learned her aortic valve was shutting down, she was afraid she was losing something she loved most: her daily walks. But following a trans catheter aortic valve implantation, Weber reclaimed her walking shoes — and her life. This is her story. An avid walker and traveler, Dorismae Weber’s life changed dramatically when she was exploring Mongolia and began having trouble breathing. Weber, 84, learned her aortic valve was shutting down. “It’s scary when you lose what you’ve always done,” Weber says. “I’ve walked all my life, and it’s always been the place I’ve gone to for comfort, for solving problems, for just enjoying. But all of a sudden, I couldn’t do this anymore.” Weber was not a candidate for traditional open heart surgery because she had heart surgery in the past. Then Weber learned about about trans catheter aortic valve implantation, also known as TAVR. She went to see Renown cardiologist Jake Ichino, MD, who put her through a battery of tests before performing the procedure. “Unlike the standard traditional open heart surgery, TAVR is a less invasive approach,” Dr. Ichino says. “We traditionally go up the artery of the leg with a catheter tube device and then we implant a valve without opening the chest.” After the TAVR procedure, Weber was once again able to complete her daily five-mile hikes. “When I woke up, all I can tell you is that I looked around and I thought, ‘I have a whole new life ahead of me — when I was told there was very little left,'” Weber says. She has also planned a trek just below the arctic circle with the environmental group Earthwatch. “I’m here because I had that procedure,” Weber says. “I’m here because they offered that procedure. And I’m very grateful for it, because I wouldn’t be here without it.” To learn more about TAVR, visit Renown’s Institute for Heart and Vascular Health.

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    • Women's Health
    • Mammogram

    The Facts About Menopause and Early Menopause

    Menopause is something that every woman experiences at some point in her lifetime. Learn what to expect and how you can help manage the symptoms and health risks. Most women don’t experience menopause until their 50s, but certain factors such as chromosomal abnormalities, glandular problems and chemotherapy can cause early menopause before the age of 40. No matter what your age, it’s a good idea be aware of the risks and treatments available to maintain a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Health Risks of Menopause Two of the biggest health risks posed to women who have gone through menopause are bone density loss and risk of cardiovascular disease. Bone loss can be treated with bisphosphonate and estrogens. “Calcium with vitamin D and weight bearing exercise will also limit bone loss,” says Vickie Tippett, MD and OB/GYN at Renown Health. For cardiovascular risk, a healthy lifestyle is key. Discontinuing tobacco use, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight and diet all help reduce a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Managing Discomforts of Menopause One of the most common complaints about menopause is the discomfort of hot flashes. “Hot flashes can be treated with systemic estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone or another agent similar to estrogen,” Dr. Tippett says. “Non-hormonal medications such as SSRIs and antidepressants also work.” Vaginal dryness, another common symptom of menopause, can also be treated with estrogen, estrogen-like compounds and personal lubricants. Pills, patches, creams and many other formulations are available to help alleviate discomfort. Knowing when, why and what to expect when it comes to menopause can help make the transition easier. Learn the facts about menopause in the infographic below.

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    • Recipes

    Get Spicy! Try This Easy Heart-Healthy Vegan Paella

    Enjoy the heartiness of traditional paella without any added salt or meat. This recipe is also low in fat, making it a good heart-healthy choice for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Patient Story
    • Physical Therapy

    Perseverance and Physical Therapy Help UNR Student Walk Again

    University of Nevada, Reno student Khoa Le was paralyzed in 2010 after a longboarding accident. Through physical therapy, a positive attitude and sheer will, Le is walking again. This weekend, Le will walk across the commencement stage to accept his college diploma. “Walking around on my own power is just the greatest feeling,” says Khoa Le, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. Just after finishing summer school at the university in July 2010, his whole life changed within seconds after stepping on a longboard skateboard for the first time. He lost control of the board and hit the curb, causing paralysis on the left side of his body. His journey to recovery began at Renown Health Physical Therapy & Rehab. His physical therapist, Dina Barry, says he never complained once in four years. “I started seeing Khoa in April 2011, and we worked for four years together,” says Barry, a lead physical therapist at Renown. “Everything I’ve ever asked him to do, he does. Le is a hard worker, is continuously optimistic and smiling, and I think that is why he’s accomplished what he has.” Le plans to pursue a career as an information systems manager.

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    • Heart Care
    • Fitness
    • Food and Nutrition

    The Not-So-Fab-Five: Foods That Increase Stroke and Heart Disease Risk

    Did you know that 80 percent of all strokes are preventable? Learn which foods should be eaten in moderation to reduce your family's risk of stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the nation and a major cause for disability, killing 130,000 people each year. But did you know that 80 percent of all strokes are preventable, according to the American Stroke Association? Several stroke risk factors -- high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical activity level, obesity, high cholesterol and heart and artery disease -- can be controlled, treated and improved, right down to the foods we choose to consume each day. Diets high in sodium can increase blood pressure, putting you at greater risk for stroke. A high-calorie diet can lead to obesity -- another risk factor. And foods high in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol will raise your blood cholesterol levels causing blood clots, which -- you guessed it -- can lead to a stroke. The “not-so-fab” five foods listed below play a large role in damaging your body and causing vascular disease, stroke and heart disease and should be avoided on a regular basis. However: Moderation is the key to life, in my opinion. Sure, everyone is going to have a soda here and there or a steak off the grill, but keep it off the main menu.  1. Packaged and Fried Food Have you noticed foods like hot dog buns and bottled salad dressings rarely go bad? Ever asked yourself why? This is due to the use of hydrogenated oils, which are trans fats. Hydrogenated oils stay solid at room temperature and do not require refrigeration. Convenient? Yes. Healthy? No. Unfortunately, many frozen foods and meals also fall into this category, except for frozen fruits and veggies. So here’s the lowdown on trans fats: They’re considered by many experts as the worst type of fat you can consume, raising your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowering your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. While some meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat, most dietary sources are formed through an industrial process adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to solidify at room temperature.  The FDA is in the process of restricting or possibly banning trans-fats from food in the U.S. A study published in JAMA Cardiology compared data from counties with and without trans-fat restrictions and the findings were substantial: There was a 6 percent decline in hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke in counties with trans-fat restrictions.  Bottom line: Ideally no processed food should pass your lips, but realistically, aim for less than 2 grams of trans fat per day. Skip the store-bought treats at the office and fries at lunch. Also avoid crackers, regardless of what you are dipping them in. Choose to eat fruits to satisfy your sweet cravings and veggies and hummus to satisfy the savory.  2. Lunch meat Processed meats, including bacon, smoked meats and hot dogs, are all on the DNE (Do Not Eat) list, unless you want to play with fire. Processed meats are a no-go if you want to keep your arteries clear of plaque buildup. So what is the alternative to your salami sandwich?  Try a healthy alternative like a tuna sandwich with avocado (a great alternative to mayo) or a veggie sandwich. 3. Diet soft drinks First of all, when a drink is sweeter than a candy bar but it contains zero sugar and zero calories, buyer beware. Many consumers think because a soda is labeled “diet” it’s a better choice, but studies have linked diet soft drink consumption with an increased risk of stroke and vascular disease. In a nine-year study of more than 2,500 people, those who drank diet soda daily were 48 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die from those events, compared with those who rarely or never drank soda. What else are you supposed to drink? If you must drink soda, break the everyday habit and drink it on special occasions; otherwise water rules. And if you don’t like water, try flavoring your water with fruit slices. 4. Good-old red meat So is there ANY good meat out there you ask? The answer is yes, but it’s not red. In the journal Stroke, an article showed women who consumed large servings of red meat regularly had a 42 percent higher incidence of stroke. Red meat is high in saturated fat, which clogs arteries with plaque. The alternative to red meat is a heart-healthy protein like poultry or fish, or even non-animal products like beans, nuts and tofu.  5. Canned foods Steer clear of factory processed soups, beans and sauces. Canned items all have incredible amounts of sodium or MSG or baking soda/powder to maintain their freshness and shelf life. One study showed if you consume more than 4,000 mg of salt per day, you more than double the risk of stroke compared to diets with less than 2,000 mg. Another tip: When possible, plan and make meals from scratch. Making the wrong meal or snack choices is one of the biggest contributing risk factors for stroke and heart disease. Most people know what good food choices are, but they don’t realize the serious impact the bad choices have on overall health. Learn what is most beneficial to your body to consume. It will be a life changer – literally.

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    • Active Living
    • Fitness

    Get Reel: Top 5 Fishing Spots in the Truckee Meadows

    Fishing can be great for relaxation, and it’s a great family activity. Here are five suggestions for great local fishing spots, plus a recipe for trout if you wind up catching one! There are many ways to unwind in the great outdoors in our beautiful region, and fishing can be easily added to that list. The benefits of casting a line are many. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, fishing was compared to yoga for its links to stress relief. The study notes that fishing brings out the relaxation response that slows down breathing, reduces blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. So, get out there and find some fish. There are many lakes of many styles to practice this ancient art, but here are the five that keep coming up in local conversation, virtual or otherwise. If you want to explore more options, the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s fishing guide can fill you in (and then some!). One thing to note about two of the areas we’ve chosen, Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River. Winter flooding has led regional officials to make necessary repairs to both areas, and there may be restrictions to access, including roads that lead to some of the fishing areas in both of these large bodies of water. Be sure to check first at the sites below before heading out, and you can also go to the flood advisory page for our region on water.weather.gov to check on flooding advisories throughout the summer as snowmelt continues. Five Great Regional Fishing Spots Boca Reservoir Location: Stampede Dam Road, 2 miles north of the Boca exit on Interstate 80 Two types of fish: rainbow trout, kokanee salmon More details: One of the more reliable year-round spots, Boca Reservoir even hosts ice fishing once (or if) the body of water freezes over. It’s located in the beautiful Tahoe National Forest. Donner Lake Location: Take the Donner Pass Road exit from Interstate 80, turn onto South Shore Drive Two types of fish: brown trout, mackinaw trout More details: A great scenic lake at the edge of Donner Memorial State Park, this fishing spot includes a public pier, while its China Cove on its southeast end is also a good place for mackinaw in the fall. Paradise Park Ponds Location: Take US Highway 395 to the Oddie Boulevard exit, follow it about a mile to the corner of Oddie and Silverada boulevards Two types of fish: rainbow trout, channel catfish More details: The Reno-Tahoe area has several urban lakes ripe for fishing, including this longtime spot for anglers. There are two large and two small ponds for a fun experience no matter your skill level. It’s also open year-round. Pyramid Lake Location: Interstate 80 to the Fernley exit, then take the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake ramp to State Highway 447 Two types of fish: cutthroat trout, Sacramento perch More details: This is one place everyone talks about for fall fishing, as the season, which opens on Oct. 1, is very popular. The lake is run by the government of the Paiute Tribes and has distinctive rules for those who choose to fish here. Truckee River Location: Along Highway 89 and Interstate 80, between Tahoe City limits and Reno city limits Two types of fish: rainbow trout, mountain whitefish More details: This portion of the Truckee is where most of the fishing takes place, although the Reno-Sparks Recreation and Visitors Bureau notes that “this is not a river to fish to death in one spot. There is plenty of room and one should keep moving until one finds some agreeable fish.”

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    • Recipes
    • Food and Nutrition

    Make Your Own Trail Mix: 4 Quick and Easy Recipes

    Craving a snack with crunch, sweet flavor and a powerful nutritious punch? These healthy, homemade variants of this make-it-and-take-it super snack are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and your healthy lifestyle. Who says healthy snacks and bland taste go together? We say you can have it all — nutritious and delicious snack foods that taste great and satisfy — and trail mix fits the bill. Your homemade batch can be as healthy as you like. The nuts provide fiber, protein and a whole lot of crunchy goodness; dried fruit and touches of chocolate infuse the mix with just the right amount of sweetness. We’ve compiled some simple-to-make and hard-to-resist recipes so you can easily pick up a few items from the grocery store’s bulk bins, or your kitchen cupboard, and put together a snack for your kiddos lunches or the office. Better yet, grab your mix and head out for a stroll or hike, or take along on your next road trip or adventure in Nevada’s rugged, desert locales.

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    • CEO
    • HealthyNV Project

    CEO Blog: Improving Health Through Genetics and Big Data

    Renown Health President and CEO Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, discusses efforts nationwide to develop a more effective and efficient way to deliver care. explains the benefits of Renown Health’s population health study with the Desert Research Institute and 23andMe.

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    • Active Living
    • Nevada

    How Does Your Garden Grow (In Northern Nevada)?

    Ready to start your garden? Get started with these easy-to-follow tips from local expert, Liza Detomasi, Workman Farms. Gardening is in my family. We started Workman Farms in Fallon in 1964 and I started working here when I was 14. I have always had a love for food and enjoy gardening and cooking. Gardening can be great for your health. It has been known to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, put you in a good mood and you benefit from the flavorful fresh produce. If you are interested in starting a garden here is a short intro into gardening in northern Nevada. Step One: Location, Location, Location For the beginners be sure to choose a location in your yard that receives 10 hours of sunlight, it doesn't have to be continuous but a total of at least 10 hours is best. Prepare the ground before you plant with nutrient soil and compost from your local nursery. Step Two: Choose the right plants Northern Nevada can be a bit tricky to grow a successful garden. With our low yearly rain totals and summer heat there are some plants that just don't like it here. But there are many that thrive. Those that do are grouped into two categories – cool weather and warm weather. Cool Weather Veggies Plant in early spring Carrots Beets Celery Broccoli Cauliflower Lettuce Radishes Onions Potatoes Snow peas Strawberries Kale Cilantro Warm Weather Veggies Plant in early May to late spring Tomatoes Peppers Squash Green beans Cucumbers Pumpkin Tarragon Basil Parsley Rosemary Thyme Oregano   Step Three: Enjoy! Always have fun and get creative! Start with a hamburger garden (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickling cucumbers), Salsa garden (tomatoes, peppers, onion, cilantro, tomatillos) or a stir fry garden (snow peas, carrots, broccoli, scallions). Never be afraid to ask your local nursery questions. Easy Plants for Desert Yards The Spruce provides a comprehensive list of nurseries in the Reno area to get you started. Happy planting!

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Number of results found: 379
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