Crisp, sweet carrots, snapping peas out of their shells, pulling firm, dark red beets out of the garden…growing your own veggies is not only fun and relaxing, but it’s also an amazing way to diversify and supercharge your diet with wholesome nutrition, stay active and get some vitamin D. No wonder why gardening is considered a natural stress reliever!
Although the thought of growing your own veggies can be overwhelming, there are some veggies that are super easy to grow, as well as being productive as crops, versatile to use, healthy to eat and great tasting! Plus, you’re more likely to eat more vegetables if they are easily accessible to you, and it’s really fun to share and cook with healthy food that has been nurtured by your own efforts!
Here are 5 top picks for the best veggies to grow at home:
1. LETTUCE – Lettuce is super easy to grow (and actually quite hard to get rid of!), high in nutrients, low in calories and really hydrating, due to its high water content. Lettuce is one of those foods that you don’t notice in a dish until it’s not there, like in an egg and lettuce sandwich, or shredded lettuce in tacos. Lettuce seems to just make a dish 10 times better.
2. CARROTS – Carrots have a huge temperature growing range which means they can be grown in many climates all year round. They’re also really productive and can be producing for months after you plant them. Being quite a dense vegetable, even just a few standard size ones or small varieties are enough to feed the whole family for dinner. There’s a reason why people promote carrots for better eye sight – carrots contain the antioxidants lutein and beta carotene which are known for their eye health benefits!
3. CABBAGE – Cabbages are such a diverse veggie, they can be preserved and pickled to have in salads or sandwiches, made into slaw, or added into stir-fries for a crunchy element. They’re also really good for you. A study conducted in Western Australia with 900 women over the age of 70 found that eating three or more portions of veggies per day (a combination of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) lowered the participants risk of heart disease and stroke. Mini cabbages are quick to grow from seed and harvest and can go a long way in a delicious preserve such as sauerkraut.
4. BEETS – A known “superfood”, beets are packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, low in fat and low in calories. They’re also super easy to grow and you can even eat the tops of the beets – the beet leaves, which are just a regular leafy vegetable. This makes them a really versatile and productive option to grow in your home garden.
5. ONIONS – There have been heaps of scientific studies looking into the health benefits of onions, with findings showing benefits with regulating blood sugar, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, boosting the immune system and the list goes on! Onions are a pretty hearty crop to grow, with varieties to suit all climates. If you’re short on space, try growing some spring onions, which can grow just about anywhere.
TOP TIP: No space for a home garden? Regrow the spring onions you buy from the supermarket by placing the white stems in a glass of water. Place the glass near a sunny window and wait for the magic to happen!