There are a lot of benefits to growing your food in your own backyard – for one thing, you’ll have peace of mind about the environment and conditions in which your food is grown. There are also studies that suggest that gardening is a great stress-relieving activity. Plus, you may save a little money on groceries when your plants are ready for harvest. Here are some nutrient-rich foods you can grow in your own backyard.
- Blueberries. These anti-inflammatory superfoods contain a lot of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids and are among some of the favourite fruits to indulge in according to doctors as they lower the risk of both heart disease and cancer. ‘Sunshine blue’ blueberries are an easy type of blueberry to grow in your own backyard. Ensure that the soil is highly acidic as well.
- Quinoa. Another superfood, quinoa is packed with both fiber and protein. A variety called “Brightest Brilliant Rainbow” is a good pick. It is a warm season crop that requires full sun to grow.
- Kale. This is a powerhouse vegetable, rated as one of the best vegetables for destroying free radicals in the body, which are linked to cancer and diabetes. Kale is great for adding into both soups and smoothies. Ensure that you keep the soil moist so that leaves stay both sweet and crisp.
- Garlic. Garlic is a powerful cancer fighter and something you can easily plant in your own backyard. A teaspoon or two of a high-nitrogen fertilizer will serve your garlic well.
- Chia Seeds. These superfoods have become quite popular lately. They are known for their omega-3 fatty acids that stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and boost energy. They are great for adding into smoothies.
- Strawberries. Here is another superfood to grow in your backyard. To extend your harvest, try ‘ever-bearing’ varieties. Consider building a one inch poultry net around your strawberry plants to protect them from predators.
- Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. The ‘Bonita’ is a good variety to try – it is both sweet and nutty.
- Goji Berries. Another superfood that is making its way over from China is the goji berry, a fruit that is consumed dried, like a raisin. They pack a lot of punch – they are full of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene. They can easily be grown in a container.
- Beets. This vegetable has been dubbed as “nature’s multivitamin’–they are known to fight against everything from the common cold to cancer. Don’t forget to also eat the roots, as they are edible, too, and just as healthy. Beets are low in calories but high in fiber, calcium and potassium. Golden beets are a popular alternative to the red beet, Chioggia beets are an heirloom variety coloured white and red in concentric circles, and Bull’s Blood beets are deep red with tasty leaves that make a great addition to salads.
Growing food in your own backyard is a fun way to stay engaged with and have awareness of your food source. Having an edible garden is a project that pays off in a very tangible way — you literally get to reap, and eat, what you sow!