Growing some of our own food is a fantastic new hobby to adopt. It’s proven to provide stress relief. It puts us more in tune with what’s on our dinner plates. It brightens our gardens, our patios, and windowsills. It gives us use for the compost we are making from kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. It can possibly save us money, if we manage to do it well. And, there are so many more reasons.
Similarly, regularly eating fresh, organic greens is a habit worthy of adopting. We know the names: spinach, kale, chard, arugula, mustard. There are so many, and believe it or not, with plenty of different ways to prepare them all, it’s hard to go wrong,
Well, for gardeners and cooks alike, there is good news: Dark, leafy greens, in addition to being delicious and nutritious, are incredibly easy to grow. It’s so easy, in fact, and so healthy, to boot, that we should probably all being doing it.
Growing Fresh Organic Greens
Greens are really easy to grow. They work quite well in pots on the windowsill or out in garden beds (some varieties could easily pass as ornamental). They can be planted along the sidewalk or green up patio spaces or live right inside the house. Some could do quite well has hanging plants, and others will grow into large bushes if they are allowed to. The beauty of greens is that they can be picked as soon as the leaves are there and harvested throughout the season, providing a steady supply of food for quite some time.
There are greens for just about every climate. Most greens are happier in the cooler temperatures of spring and autumn. Some heat-tolerant choices like certain varieties of chard or amaranth greens are equipped to handle sweltering summers without getting bitter. Other greens, like kale and spinach, can survive a frost or two. They can all get by with only partial sunlight, and most of them are quite thirsty, which means we should put them along drainage spaces, in low spots, or around pavement edges, where water tends to congregate.
The other great thing about growing greens is that they are one of the faster crops to get production out of. Arugula, bok choy, broccoli rabe, mustard greens and more will all be on the table within a couple of months of planting. In other words, they are amongst the easiest and fastest ways to get a highly productive garden. All they need is some decent soil, a steady supply of water, and a few weeks. Plus, it is way cheaper to grow them than to buy them.
Eating Fresh, Organic Greens
Surely, there are very few of us out there who don’t know that dark, leafy greens come with insane nutritive powers. Whether it’s from the cartoons, our moms, or Dr. Oz, by now, we’ve likely are heard that greens are more or less the must-have in all healthy diets. Heck, even if a world obsessed with animal protein and cheese puffs, greens get their fair share of good press, though the TV commercials are still few and far between.
But, just to reiterate the reasons — so many ways to count — we should be eating our greens, here we go. They tend to be a great source of iron and calcium, as well as vitamin C and vitamin K, which, respectively, help us absorb iron and calcium. They tend to be good sources of plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. They are also loaded with other trace minerals, like magnesium, manganese, potassium, and folate. Then, there is vitamin A, B-vitamins. and vitamin E, just to round of the vitamin list.
Also, there are the myriad ways that we can have our greens. Raw is good, as it preserves anti-oxidants and nutrients, so that works for salads, green juices, and smoothies. They are also great on pizzas and burgers, in pasta sauces and casseroles, or on the side sautéed with a little garlic or cooked down southern-style or made into chips. Greens can blend into dishes, accent them, or they can simply steal the show if called upon.
Whether it’s because they are easy to grow, or they produce so quickly, or they provide so much nutrition, or they are so versatile in the kitchen, or likely all of these reasons – growing your own organic greens just makes a lot of economic and health sense. It’s time to get started.
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