I’m sure you’ve heard of superfoods, but what exactly are they? And why would they matter to the home gardener?
In this episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast, my friend Stacey Murphy joined me to talk about 5 superfoods we can grow in our gardens. Listen along to our conversation or continue reading.
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What is a Superfood?
Superfoods are foods that have an abundant amount of nutrients. While you may think of exotic “superfoods” that never appear in your home grocery store, the truth is, most “superfoods” are vegetables, herbs, and fruit most people can grow at home. Let’s look at 5 of these “superfoods” you can grow yourself.
Sweet potatoes are always on the top 10 superfoods list because they have a wide range of nutrients. They contain almost every nutrient that you would need to survive!
There are so many ways to grow sweet potatoes. Though their vines can take over a garden space quickly, you can opt to grow them in containers. In some cases, it’s easier than growing them in the soil because they’re simpler to harvest and don’t take over your garden. But if you do grow them in your garden, you can even save space and give them a vertical trellis to climb.
Ginger has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and give us protection against bacteria and diseases. This superfood gives us the feeling of being awake and energetic.
If you can find organic ginger in your store, you can start a new plant from it. Start indoors in January. When it warms up after the danger of frost has passed, transfer it outside to a shady location — the heat will kick start its growth.
Most people know elderberries from the syrup that is so popular through cold and flu season, but the entire plant has so much more to offer.
Elderberry bushes grow best in Zones 3-7; if you live outside of those zones, check with your local nursery to see if there are cultivars that are better adapted to your zone.
To get started growing, purchase a plant from a reputable nursery. I purchased my elderberry bushes here.
Then, find a reputable resource for understanding how to grow elderberries, such as John Moody’s The Elderberry Book.
Lemon Balm may just be my favorite herb. Known to bring calm and a feeling of being refreshed, it is wonderful to flavor ice water in the summer or to make tea anytime. It is also a common ingredient in homemade skincare.
Lemon balm will survive winters in zones 4-9, although the colder climates in those zones may require a heavier mulch. The leaves die back in the winter but will re-grow in the spring. Because lemon balm is in the same family as mint, it can spread, so be careful where you plant it. Containers are great places to grow this fragrant, delicious herb.
Fennel is common in Italian cuisine and is well-loved in many cultures. Wild fennel grows like a weed and can be used in many ways. Fennel seeds are easy to sprout and easy to grow. You can harvest them as small plants or let them grow — in some places they can get to be 8 feet tall!
Superfoods don’t have to be scary! Have you tried growing any of these Superfoods?
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