Patio Garden 2017

After experiencing great success with growing tomatoes on his patio in 2016, Benjamin Barrone is seeking out new varieties and methods of growing tomatoes over the summer of 2017.

While, Mr. Barrone’s favorite varieties tend to be larger-fruited heirlooms, he is expanding his garden to include hybrids and various “cherry” tomatoes this year too.  In total, his garden will include 13 different varieties of tomatoes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  When asked about the mix, Benjamin Barrone indicated that he likes to have a wide variety in order to increase the visual appeal on the plate.

In addition to tomatoes, Benjamin will be trying out three new varieties of basil.  After experiencing frustrating results in 2016 with basil plants he is hoping the new varieties take better to the growing conditions on his south-facing patio.

Another first for 2017 for Mr. Barrone will be various lettuces.  He is experimenting with a “salad bowl” containing two types of kale, rainbow chard and red leaf lettuce.  Lastly, some chives and cilantro remain from last year’s plantings and have been re-planted in a large pot together.



Three Ways to Prevent Common Running Injuries

Running Injuries pic

Running Injuries

Benjamin Barrone is an Accounting Manager with Vital Proteins, am ingestible collagen company located in Chicago, Illinois. An avid golfer and runner, Benjamin Barrone has completed two half-marathons with his wife and youngest sister.

When it comes to running, repetition of the same motions for long periods of time exposes runners to a unique set of overuse injuries. Here are three ways to prevent some of the most common running injuries.

1. Take time to stretch. As with any physical activity, flexibility helps reduce abnormal strain on the joints, tendons, and ligaments. Always warm up before you stretch, and be sure to devote at least 30 seconds to each stretch. High knee skips and pigeon pose are especially useful in preventing quad/hamstring and IT band injuries.

2. Incorporate strength training. Strengthening your muscles enables you to reduce strain on tendons and ligaments when you become fatigued. Common strength training exercises for runners include hill running, plyometrics, and lifting weights.

3. Wear proper shoes. Running shoes are the body’s point of contact with the ground, meaning that all force is transferred at the sole of the shoe. Even the slightest misalignment can cause long-term issues with the ankles, knees, or hips. Consider visiting a store that specializes in running apparel, where experts can help you find the shoe that best fits your foot.

Improving Your Golf Handicap


 Golf Handicap pic

Golf Handicap

As a certified public accountant, Benjamin Barrone creates budgets, reports, and forecasts for Vital Proteins in Chicago. Outside of work, Benjamin Barrone is an avid golfer who has been playing since childhood and has a handicap under five.

A common goal of golfers is reducing their handicap. Practice is always the most important thing to do to lower the handicap. Regularly set aside some time to hit at the range, and spend roughly 15 minutes completing putting drills before and after each round you play.

Another way to raise your game is to improve your own physical fitness. Stretching before a golf game is important, but you should spend some time off the course increasing your strength and flexibility. In turn, you will be able to hit the ball farther and more accurately.

Finally, check your golf equipment. Old, worn clubs may be difficult to grip and are less likely to hit the ball in the direction you want. New golf club materials and designs may help you make more accurate shots, so replace your equipment when it starts aging.

Tips for Growing Parsley



Benjamin Barrone has begun a new job at Vital Proteins in Chicago as the company’s Accounting Manager, working alongside senior management on budgeting, product costing, forecasting, and laying the groundwork for the company’s accounting and finance department. In his spare time, Benjamin Barrone enjoys cooking and growing vegetables and herbs such as parsley.

In addition to bringing extra flavor and nutrition to salads, parsley adds to the visual appeal of an herb garden. It can be seeded either in containers or in the soil. Although parsley can be planted directly in the garden in spring in manageable soil, it is best to start seeds indoors about six weeks earlier.

Parsley seeds are small, so you can simply place them on top of the soil, water-misting them as needed. Once they have sprouted, distribute them with one or two seeds per pot.

When moving them to the garden, plant them in well-drained soil rich in organic material, in complete sunlight or partial shade. Aside from weeding and watering, parsley requires little care, although some mulching is beneficial.

You can harvest parsley any time the leaves begin to curl. Picking early in the morning preserves the plant’s flavor. It’s best to use parsley when fresh – however, you can also freeze it for later use. Drying it is not recommended, as when dried it loses much of its flavor.