Growing your own superfoods is healthy, eco-friendly, and can provide you with lots of delicious ingredients for vegan recipes — what's not to like? Here, Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, offers his advice on which superfoods to grow in your garden.
Superfoods are nutrient-dense and are usually rich in beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, and other antioxidants. They're essentially some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables you can get and many of them are perfectly suitable to grow at home.
Growing your own superfoods means less trips to the supermarket, less packaging and plastics, and more of that sense of achievement you get when you serve up something you've grown yourself. So, below are some of my top picks to get you started on your own vegan superfood garden.
Dark green, leafy, and packed with powerful antioxidants, kale is one of the most nutritious superfoods you could hope to grow. It's also one of the easiest to look after, as it doesn't mind the cold or shade. If you plant it between March and June, you can harvest it as early as October — just make sure you pick young, tender leaves to eat. Kale is delicious in stews, soups, and sauces, but it's just as nice roasted, stir fried, or made into crisps.
Almost anyone can grow beetroot — it can even be grown in a window box, if you use one deep enough! Sow beetroot seeds between February and July, just as you would carrots and other root vegetables, but be aware that beetroot tends to grow quite quickly in comparison. You can bake or boil beetroot to add a wonderful purple colour to dishes, but did you know it can also be served raw? Grate, shave, or thinly slice raw beetroot to add a bit of snap and crunch to your meal.
Pumpkins are easy to grow but they like a lot of light and wet soil, so it's important to plant them in a sunny part of your garden and water them regularly if you want to grow big fruits. They can be prone to rot so, once a pumpkin starts to appear, I would recommend popping a piece of carboard underneath to stop it going soggy. If you plant between April and early June, before winter you will be able harvest plump pumpkins that are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fibre — great for soups and other hearty recipes.
Blueberries are small but powerful little superfoods, and probably the most popular item on this list. Not only are they delicious, packed with antioxidants, and a great source of vitamin C, but they're also quite easy to grow. Blueberry bushes aren't too fussy about temperatures, even winter chills, but they do prefer it if you water them with rainwater as tap water can alter the pH of the soil, which should be quite acidic.
These are just some of the easiest and healthiest superfoods you can grow at home. Not only are they good for you, but they can be used in all sorts of tasty recipes. So, give growing some a go!
About the Author
Nicky Roeber is the Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, where he has worked for the last seven years. He has over 20 years of horticultural experience and helped develop one of the industry's first online garden centres in 2000, allowing users to order plants over the web.
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