Growing Your Own Nutritious Vegetables- Part 1
Growing your own nutritious vegetables, is the very best thing you can do for the health of your family. There is tremendous convenience in having everything you need for a crisp, fresh salad or big chunky veggies for your favorite beef stew, right outside your back door. Growing your own vegetables will save you loads of money while providing you with the best flavor you’ve ever experienced.
Vegetables begin to lose nutrients, and quality begins to diminish, as soon as they’re picked. Vegetables we buy at the supermarket won’t provide the maximum nutrition for your family.
Green beans and wax beans are a great choice to grow in your garden. But be sure to include lots of dried beans, especially navy beans, great northern beans, and kidney beans. They are nutritionally superior to other beans. Dry beans are high in iron, fiber, manganese and phosphorous.
Grow your beans with full sun exposure to achieve maximum harvest. Use loose, organically rich soil. Beans will grow best in temperatures of 15.55° C to 29.44° C. They should be planted after the last frost in spring, and can continue in the garden until the first frost of fall.
Harvest both the beet roots and the greens of the beet. Young beet greens are delicious in a salad, and larger beet greens can be sautéed as a side dish. Beet roots are very high in iron, potassium and vitamin C. Beet greens are even more nutritious, with high levels of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B6 and C.
Beets require especially good nutrition and a high phosphorus levels in the soil to germinate. Mix aged manure into the soil before planting.
Early crops can be planted March to April, and late crops from June to September. Successive plantings are successful if the weather doesn’t exceed 23.88°C. Plantings should be approximately 3 weeks apart.
Broccoli is high in calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C. One cup of raw broccoli florets provides an amazing 130% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Broccoli is one of the first plants that grow in the spring, and can grow in as little as 55 days. Remove the centre crown first and this will make the smaller side shoots grow better. Secondary heads can be harvested for several weeks.
Carrots are at their sweet and crunchy best when fresh from the garden. They are very high in fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C. Note–carrots have a high sugar (carbohydrate) content.
Most varieties of carrots are resistant to pests and diseases. They are a terrific late-season crop that can endure frost. Carrots are grown from seed and take two to four months to mature. Plant seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost. Plant 3 to 4 inches apart, in rows at least a foot apart. Plant additional seeds every 3 weeks for multiple harvests.
Carrots need deep, loose, well tilled and sandy soil to allow them to grow without obstruction. Avoid using manure or too much fertilizer.
Carrots are best grown in full sunlight, but can tolerate a moderate amount of shade.
Leafy green vegetables are all extremely nutritious. Kale, collards, spinach, turnip or dandelion greens etc. Leafy greens contain high amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.
Most greens are tender enough to eat raw when picked at an early stage. They’re called baby greens or microgreens. As they get larger, many greens become tough, but this texture makes them ideal for cooking.
Loose-leafed greens can be picked at any stage, particularly if you’re wanting tender microgreens. Leafy greens can grow in a wide range of temperatures. Lettuce and spinach, grow best in mild temperatures in spring and fall. Hearty greens like kale, collards and spinach, can tolerate temperatures below freezing.
What is more delicious than a fresh, homegrown tomato right out of your garden? Tomatoes are also extremely nutritious, containing dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, C and the antioxidant lycopene.
Start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost date. Two weeks before you plan to transplant the seedlings to the outdoors, dig soil to about 1 foot deep and mix in aged manure. Put the transplants outdoors in the shade for a couple of hours on the first day. Gradually increase the amount of time your plants are outside. Include some direct sunlight for approximately two weeks. Transplant after last spring frost when the soil is warm.
Tomato plants need full sun and well-drained soil. Very important that they get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Growing in B.C.
Due to a moderate climate, fertile soils and good water, farmers in B.C. are able to grow a wide variety of field vegetables.
Crops produced in B.C. include: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Chinese vegetables, sweet corn, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, squash and zucchini.
Growing your own nutritious vegetables isn’t just for spring and summer. You can harvest fresh, nutritious vegetables in all four seasons.
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