By the time this post reaches your eyes, many of us will be at the onset of our growing season, which is such an exciting time for those with green thumbs! Of course, not all of us are savvy when it comes to growing our own food, so this list is designed to help pick out some of the most nutritious foods that you can plant in your garden. As always, do seek the advice of your local garden center if you have questions or concerns about what is right for your area; these professionals can have the best advice on what will thrive in your climate!
- Legumes – Legumes are an awesome source of plant-based protein, and lima beans are one great example of what is easy to grow. In addition to protein, they boast B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Another bonus, the fiber and protein are a recipe for success at promoting satiety, meaning they’re a great option for weight loss and maintenance.
- Kale – Dark leafy greens can’t be underrated in their nutrition, and kale is king! These cool-season veggies are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and more. The bonus is that since they like cooler weather, you can plant them early in the spring and late in the fall to extend your growing season.
- Spinach – Another cool-season veggie loaded with potassium, iron, and more. Pair spinach with kale and you have a combination that is sure to boost your health! One advantage of growing spinach is the small amount of space they need. Try a patio planter to enjoy your greens at the ready!
- Blueberries – As mentioned in a previous post, blueberries are a great “plant it and forget it” shrub. Assure that you have enough space as most shrubs will get 6-8’ tall and wide. You’ll be enjoying loads of one of the highest antioxidant foods around for years to come!
- Raspberries – Another antioxidant powerhouse, be sure to look out for thornless varieties on this one. Other nutritional boasts of the raspberry are manganese, vitamin E, copper, potassium, and much more. Be sure to get these in the ground so that you have an abundance of berries for the summer!
- Sunflower Seeds – This one might seem too good to be true, but you CAN grow sunflowers just for their seeds! Just look for a package labeled a “snacking mix,” and you’ll be roasting your own sunflower seeds in no time, reaping the benefits of protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Similar to sunflower seeds, look for an option that is intended for seed production. Enjoy the benefits of magnesium and fiber. But of course, growing a cooking pumpkin is a good option too, taking advantage of their vitamin A and various phytochemicals. Pumpkin also extends the growing season, trailing away well into the fall!
- Garlic – While this might not be top of the list when you’re planning out a garden, this is a fun one, as you can reuse that garlic from the grocery store that you totally forgot about after using just one clove! Divide and plant cloves root side down, preferably in a raised bed that promotes good drainage. The properties of garlic can help support skin and gut health, inflammation, immunity, and more. So be sure to give it a try!
- Sweet Potato – Help support brain function and vision with beta-carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes might be easier to grow than you might think. This will require some digging, but it’s well worth the return. Prepare a good bed of amended soil, plant your “slips” after the last spring frost, and you’re off!
- Shiitake Mushrooms – While this might seem an unusual option to grow in your garden, mushroom logs are actually quite popular, and they’re easy too! For this, you will just need a single log or more, and plugs with which to inoculate the logs. Get in some rain and nature takes over! These prolific mushrooms will offer up B vitamins, fiber, and polysaccharides that help to boost our immune systems.
There you have it, ten plants that you can start to nurture in your landscape right now!
Leave a comment below and let us know what you’re most excited about growing this season!
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Jennifer has always had a love of being active in nature and has brought that together by studying English and Horticulture at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina and by later obtaining an AFAA Personal Training Certification.