Healthy eating starts in the garden. Plants, herbs, fruits, and vegetables have incredible healing properties. If you are what you eat, make sure you’re getting enough superfoods!
We all know the importance of a healthy diet. With a bit of love and patience, there is an abundance of healthy vegetables you can easily grow, either in your garden or patio pots. The bonus of growing your own delicious healing plants is that you control the types of fertilizers, soil, and pesticides used.
Benefits: One of the world’s superfoods, tomatoes are high in antioxidants (particularly lycopene) and an incredible source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Plant tomatoes after the risk of frost, in a spot where they’ll get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. There are endless varieties from bushes to vine types, whether growing in pots or the garden. When planting, remove the bottom leaves of the seedling and cover the lower 1/3 of the stem with rich soil.
Time to harvest: Summer through early fall.
Benefits: Known as an antioxidant powerhouse with anti-inflammatory properties, Swiss chard is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K.
Sow Swiss chard seeds directly into the garden two weeks before the last risk of frost. Unlike most other leafy greens, this annual vegetable will produce a second, third, fourth, or even fifth harvest through the growing season.
Time to harvest: Summer through fall
Benefits: One of the most popular superfoods right now, Kale boasts high levels of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K. It is also a great source of ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid healthy for your heart and brain).
From pots to plots, this annual plant is easy to grow. It enjoys rich, well-drained soil, and while it can be grown from seed, I recommend that newbies plant kale transplants, which you can find at your local gardening centre. For best results, plant Kale in direct sun in early spring.
Time to Harvest: Can be harvested within as little as 6-8 weeks.
Benefits: Herbalists have traditionally used rhubarb as a laxative or to treat liver disease. It also contains significant amounts of vitamins C, K, B-complex and the essential minerals calcium, potassium, and manganese. (note *The stalks are tasty, but the leaves are toxic.)
This large leafy perennial isn’t for patios, terraces, or small gardens. It needs lots of space and is fast-growing, so it is best suited for large gardens with well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Purchase rhubarb crowns from garden centres in early spring and plant in full sun.
Time to Harvest: I recommend waiting until the following spring season before harvesting stalks to give ample time for root establishment.
Benefits: Mint leaves help promote digestion and may aid weight loss, improve concentration and help you sleep.
Mint should be sold with a warning! It grows almost too easily and will overtake if given a chance. Instead of planting directly in the garden, grow mint in a pot on your patio. It grows best in the sun but will tolerate partial shade.
Time to Harvest: Summer
Growing healthy food in your garden is a rewarding adventure! The healing power of food is truly an incredible thing. So let’s roll up our sleeves, head outside, and get growing.
To learn more about growing your own food, grab a copy of “Power Plants: Simple Home Remedies You Can Grow.”