Now that the warmer weather is here, many people have started planting their own vegetable gardens. Home gardening has become a more popular and healthier alternative for getting fruits and vegetables. Not only is it more cost effective, but growing your own organic, chemical-free produce is healthier and tastier.
If you have decided to create your own vegetable bed, there are an abundance of different crops that you can plant. With so many delicious fruits and vegetable options available, it might be difficult to choose the best seeds to buy.
Part of your decision will be climate. Depending on where you live, some crops are great for the environment while others are not. Other considerations are personal taste, space available, time commitment (some plants take more work than others), and health benefits. For the do-it-yourself gardener, here are eight great crops to add to your plot:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are not only loaded with nutrients, but they also taste great. Leafy greens are versatile crops that can be added to many different dishes. Veggies such as kale, lettuce, collard greens, cabbage, chard, and spinach are relatively easy to cultivate and, depending on the plant, sprout quickly. These crops do not like extreme heat or cold so they should be planted after the last frost when the temperatures and soil are warm.
Carrots are a tasty, root vegetable that is high in potassium, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin E, B6, magnesium, and thiamine. They are generally sweet, brightly colored, and can be included in many hot or cold meals. Because the edible part grows in the ground, they need deep cultivated, nutritious soil that is free of rocks and other barriers. Carrots should be planted in early spring, at least 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost.
Tomato plants can be started as seedlings or purchased a pre-grown plant. Watering the soil around the plant liberally once a week will help produce large, rich tasting tomatoes. High in magnesium, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, tomatoes can be eaten raw, cooked, stewed, or made into a delicious sauce.
Beans are rich in fiber, iron, and many vitamins such as A, C, and D. With all the different bean varieties available, the recipe options are endless. Beans are best planted in later spring after the last frost. Bean seeds should be planted after the last frost. They should never be started indoors because the plant often will not survive replanting.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a summer crop that is very sensitive to cold. They should be planted after the last frost when the soil and outdoor temperatures have warmed enough. This tuberous root vegetable has become is very popular because it is sweet tasting, high in fiber, and nutritious.
Broccoli can be planted in early spring or mid-summer. It’s a delicious, dark green vegetable and one of the green super foods. It is high in many vitamins and minerals that help the body fight disease. It tastes great eaten cooked or raw and can be added to many salads or prepared dishes.
Blueberries are a perennial crop that should be planted in the early spring. Blueberries are a tasty fruit that is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. They taste great eaten raw and are a great addition to fruit salads, recipes, and jams.
Strawberries are another delicious fruit that is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They taste great with blueberries and other fruits. Strawberries are a hardy, perennial that grow best in warm soil.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting agents that your body needs. At Stephen Nutt Chiropractic, we promote natural, healthy, proactive choices to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating natural, nutritious foods is one of the best ways to maintain long-term fitness while reducing your risk of disease.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a healthy, inexpensive way to include nutrition rich, organic produce to your diet. It is also a wonderful activity that reduces stress and provides many opportunities to enjoy the warmer season outside.