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Grow your own superfoods

If all that growing on your own becomes a bit overwhelming, or you don’t have the time or resources to grow all the crops your family needs to survive, make the best choices and simply grow your own superfoods!

There are so many fruits and vegetables that we can grow that are full of good things…

Broccoli – It has long been recognized as a ‘superfood’ and is one of those vegetables that you can eat on its own, although it always goes well with a cheese sauce of course. There are dwarf varieties available that you can grow in containers or pots on your balcony or patio. Don’t try to grow huge heads of broccoli the first time you try it. Let the first head grow to a medium size, then cut it off and eat it. The plant should produce more little heads of broccoli and will keep you in bud for longer!

Spinach – Again, since the days of Popeye, spinach has been recognized as a vegetable packed with energy. The amount of iron the body can take in from spinach is another issue, though. However, all green leafy vegetables have valuable amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially during the winter months. Look for varieties that you can grow in a small space. A small garden area or a few pots on the kitchen window sill are easier to maintain and a nice distraction from washing up!

Watercress – if you can find a way to grow watercress, you can almost guarantee an immune system strong enough to help you overcome changes in the environment, weather, and most other adverse conditions. If you have a water source in your garden, perhaps it could be adapted to growing watercress. (Quick note here: If you find watercress growing wild, the water could be contaminated with animal droppings or agricultural chemicals that may or may not affect the plant’s taste, but will affect its properties and cause disease.

But hopefully you don’t have sheep grazing near your water source, so it’s worth a try at home.

Parsley – contains more iron than most vegetables, gram for gram, and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Put some small plants in a fairly large pot (make sure it is well drained) and use a good compost as parsley is a heavy feeder…hence all the plant goodness!

berries – berries and more berries. Where do we start? As soon as I’m up against one type of berry, another appears and it’s much better than the rest. I think the best way to handle this berry dilemma is to grow what you like to eat. Blueberries are hugely popular little powerhouses of goodness. You can grow them in containers and they are available at most large garden centers and online garden stores. (And fruits are usually quite expensive to buy, so it makes sense to grow your own if you like them)

And of course strawberries. It really is worth thinking about investing in a strawberry bed if you don’t have a strawberry orchard available. And you can often eat strawberries for many months, as hybrid plants are available that produce fruit for more than one season. The ‘Albion’ variety, which is always productive/all season, claims to produce fruit from June to October, and another new hybrid to try is ‘Finesse’, which does not produce as many runners and produces more fruit.

There are hundreds of fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be grown in small spaces and require little time to maintain. The simple fact that there are so many options available can be overwhelming. The best policy is to grow what you like to eat, and if you like to eat ‘superfoods’, include some of them in your gardening project!

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