Superfoods can be delicious, so you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re easy to grow, too. Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his tips for which superfoods to plant in your own back garden.
Superfoods are nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants such as vitamins, selenium, and carotenoids. Because they’re so nutritious, many people believe that including them in your diet can help fight off cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.
A lot of these powerful superfoods can be grown at home, which can help save you money and reduce the need for trips to the supermarket. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than serving up food you’ve grown yourself.
I’ve hand-picked a few of the best superfoods for you to try, so read on to find out more.
Berries, especially goji berries and blueberries, are full of antioxidants like vitamin C so they’re definitely worth including in your garden. It’s better to purchase fully-grown blueberry and goji berry bushes from your garden centre and plant them, as growing them from seed can be quite difficult. When handling goji berry bushes, wear gloves to protect yourself from their thorns.
- Try to pick a sunny area of your garden. Both blueberry and goji berry bushes don’t mind the shade, but they do prefer it when it’s sunny.
- Find some large containers or dig plots for the bushes that are two or three metres apart, as they can grow quite large.
- Plant the bushes in free draining soil packed with compost.
- You don’t need to water them every day, just regularly enough to keep the soil damp. It’s best to water your blueberry bush with rainwater, as they prefer slightly acidic soil and tap water can affect the pH.
Both goji berries and blueberries are naturally sweet and delicious, so keep it simple and serve them up with a blob of dairy-free Creamy Sheese for breakfast.
Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are a great source of iron and calcium, both of which are especially important for vegans. Not only that, but they’re even rumoured to ward off serious cardiovascular illnesses.
Kale and spinach are unfussy crops that can be sown all year round and continuously harvested. They’re good beginner crops for gardeners of all abilities. They also don’t need a lot of space, so they can be grown in containers if you prefer.
- Sow your first kale and spinach seeds in spring when it’s still cool, as kale and spinach grown in warm temperatures can sometimes taste bitter. Try to pick them when it’s cool, too.
- They like moist soil mixed with lots of compost. Sow heavily (use lots of seeds) to increase the chance of them germinating.
- They will take about ten weeks to grow. Note: slugs and snails are big fans of kale and spinach, so spread some coffee grounds around your crops to keep them at bay.
Leafy greens can be prepared a variety of ways: stewed, roasted, or fried into crisps, or you can just keep it simple with a dark leaf salad and Greek Style Sheese blocks.
Some root vegetables, like carrots and beetroot, are full of fibre, potassium, and vitamin C, as well as beta carotene. Carrots and beetroot can be grown from seed easily, but carrots should be sown in loose soil otherwise they can grow into some funny shapes. Beetroot can grow almost anywhere as long as the soil is at least eight inches deep — in your garden, a deep window box, or even a growing bag.
- Sow carrots and beetroot any time between April and July. They can even be grown as early as February if it’s not too cold.
- Sow the seeds on top of moist soil, not under it — the roots will find their own way down and it’s important that the seed receives enough light to grow. Water them well to keep them damp, especially if it’s a particularly dry season.
- Harvest carrots after three to four months. Beetroot grow slightly quicker than carrots so they will be ready after about two and a half months.
Carrots and beetroot can be eaten raw, but they can also make colourful French fries, crisps, and mash. Alternatively, blend them with spices, herbs, and Grated Hard Italian Style Sheese to make a warming and hearty soup.
These are just some of the superfoods that you can grow at home. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to get outdoors, as well as ensure you always have a supply of tasty ingredients for recipes, so why not give it a go?