Let’s talk about some of the most nutritious vegetables you can grow to improve your health.
Backyard gardening allows you to make many decisions when you grow your own vegetables. It allows you to grow the right amount you want to use, it allows you to determine at what stage of ripening you want to pick them and it allows you to use a natural type of pesticide in case you need it.
Here I have listed 5 very nutritious vegetables, in no specific order, you can grow in your backyard.[
Broccoli prefers cooler temperatures as it grows so depending on where you live you can plant it in the spring or the fall. It also likes full sun while it is growing and a soil that is slightly acidic. They take about 60 days to reach full maturity which works great in the spring before the hot summer or in the fall before the first freeze.
It can be either steamed, stir-fried, cooked in a stew or even eaten raw.
As with all vegetables you will get you daily dose of fiber but with broccoli you also get calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin E, panothenic acid, manganese, phosphorus, choline, potassium and copper. So you can see how broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrition.
Another very nutritious vegetable, asparagus offers many nutrients for the human body to help fight off many types of diseases. It contains chromium which is a good mineral that helps the insulin in your body transport glucose through you bloodstream to you cells. It contains a detoxifying compound called glutathione which helps to fight free radicals and harmful carcinogens. Hence it may help to fight certain forms of cancer.
As far as nutrients go it contains an abundance of vitamin K, folate, copper, vitamin B1, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin C and E. It also contains fiber, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B3, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron and protein.
The asparagus plant is a perennial, which means it will come back year after year. They are a bulb and stem type plant and may take 2 to 3 years to produce a mature harvest. It is best to plant them in a part of the garden that is dedicated only to the asparagus and can be left alone. They prefer rich, well draining soil and a lot of sunlight. They should be planted in the early spring, after the first frost, 6 to 8 inches deep roughly 12 to 18 inches apart.
Asparagus can be eaten in many ways. Raw, sauteed, grilled, and in stews or salads.
Popeye was right. This fantastic vegetable, that is very good for you health, is spinach. This dark leafy vegetable is good for a number of things for the human body. It contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E and vitamin C. It also contains manganese, folate, magnesium, iron copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and choline.
Spinach can improve blood glucose, lower the risk of cancer, reduce blood pressure and improve your bone health.
Spinach grows from seeds that take about 6 weeks to fully mature. They prefer partial sun with well draining soil. You can sow them about an inch apart and about inch deep.
Spinach can be eaten raw or put into a soup, stew or salad. One of my favorite ways to eat it is creamed spinach.
Another leafy vegetable that is very good for you is kale. This vegetable contains an abundance of nutrients including protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium and copper.
Both kale and broccoli are members of the cabbage family.
Kale is a very versatile plant that prefers cool temperatures. It can be planted in early spring after the last freeze or in early fall because it can tolerate a fall frost. In fact kale will continue to grow with temperatures below freezing and will even taste sweeter with colder temperatures. Seeds should be placed 8 to 12 inches apart at about 1/2 inch deep in well draining soil. They take about 70 to 90 day to mature.
Kale can be mixed into a salad, sauteed with garlic or it works great in soup or you can just eat it raw.
Last on this list is bell peppers. The four main colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. The difference being the length of time you allow them to ripen before harvest. The longer you let them grow the sweeter they become. With the green being more bitter and the red being sweeter and containing the most amount of nutrients. You’ll notice in grocery stores the price is reflected by the color.
Bell peppers have an abundance of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids which is what gives color to the plant), vitamin C and vitamin B6. They also contain folate, molybdenum, vitamin E, vitamin B2, panothenic acid, niacin and potassium.
As opposed to the other plant I’ve mentioned bell peppers prefer a warm climate since any type of frost will kill them. Again they prefer a fertilized, well drained soil and planted 18 to 24 inches apart. Bell peppers take about 70 to 90 days to mature depending on how ripe or sweet you want them.
Bell peppers can be put into stews or salads or sauteed.[
You might have noticed a reoccurring theme throughout these 5 vegetables. Number one is that they all have an abundance of nutrients the human body needs. These are the components that make up the human body and need to be replenished on a regular basis.
Number two is the fact that they all like well draining soil. Water your garden very thorough but not as often because instead of letting your roots set in water it makes them work harder to grow deeper to reach the water. As a result you will get a deeper more plentiful root system.
Another thing is the darker the color on your vegetables is the more nutrients it has in it. That is one reason why romaine lettuce is better than iceberg lettuce, which is a man made product.
If you have any questions about growing these vegetables please leave a comment below.
There are several other highly nutritious vegetables to consider, like carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic and beets which we will go over in future articles.
As with any other subject there many different book to read on the topic. The two I recommend are
The Backyard Gardener: Simple, easy and beautiful gardening with vegetables, herbs and flowers. Amazon.com <click here
Backyard Harvest: A year-round guide to growing fruits and vegetables. Amazon.com <click here