Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are an essential part of a healthful diet. Growing your own vegetables has countless benefits. Gardening is one of those activities that help you become healthier, both physically and mentally. When you grow your own vegetables, you are getting the most nutrition possible. Store-bought vegetables start losing their nutrients before they hit the shelves. The produce you buy spend three days to multiple weeks in transit before they hit the shelves.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states your nutritional needs should be met through a healthy diet. Even though vitamin pills were never meant to be a substitute for vital nutrients, many Americans find it easier to pop a vitamin pill than to consume fruits and vegetables.
Before you replace fruits and vegetables with vitamin pills, get the facts on what they won’t do for your body.
Why should you grow your own vitamins?
The fruits and vegetables you grow in your garden have three primary benefits over vitamin pills and dietary supplements:
- Fruits and vegetables, especially homegrown produce, contain higher levels of nutrients. When you harvest your own homegrown vegetables, you can allow them to fully ripen. Thus your fruits and vegetables can develop a full range of natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- The fruits and vegetables you harvest from your garden are good sources of antioxidants. If you consume large amounts of foods with antioxidants, it could help protect your cells against free radicals, which may have a role in cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Supplements might not offer the same benefits as fruits and vegetables. Some supplements have been linked with health risks.
- Most Americans don’t get enough fiber from their diets. Essential fibers are required for a healthy diet. Vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits are critical for keeping the gut healthy.
- Gardening counts as exercise. Growing your own vegetables gives your muscles and heart a good workout.
What are the benefits of each fruit and vegetable?
If you are generally healthy and consume a wide selection of foods, including legumes, vegetables, fruits, and fish, you likely don’t need dietary supplements. Vegetables are cholesterol-free and low in fat and calories. They are a great source of essential nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
The dietary fibers you get from eating vegetables may lower the risk of heart disease and may reduce cholesterol levels. Eating potassium-rich produce may help maintain healthy blood pressure. Vitamin C contributes to faster healing from cuts and wounds, and it aids iron absorption. Vitamin A keeps your skin and eyes healthy and also helps fight infections.
What is the healthiest type of vegetable?
A fruit and vegetable high diet is essential from heart and bone health to weight loss and immunity. Eating vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your health. But, some vegetables are healthier than others.
Here are some of the most nutritious and vitamin-rich vegetables you should grow in your garden:
Full of vitamin A to help with your eyesight.
How to grow carrots?
Carrots required loose soil and a lot of moisture. They do well in cool weather. You can plant carrots in the spring around the time of the last frost. You might have better luck growing carrots in the fall. Carrots can take 70-80 days to mature.
This vegetable is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
How to grow beets?
Beets are one of the easiest root vegetables to grow. Plant your first round of beets in early spring. An excellent choice for northern home gardeners, as beets can survive frost. You can harvest beets once they are about the size of a golf ball.
Green beans are a fantastic source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and dietary fiber.
How to grow green beans?
A low-calorie green vegetable. The asparagus is loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin K, and micronutrients like folate.
How to grow asparagus?
Asparagus does well in soils that warm up quickly in spring. Since it is a perennial, once established, the asparagus provides a crop for decades. Because male asparagus plants grow larger, they are the preferred choice of home gardeners.
One cup of broccoli contains 250 percent of your daily recommended vitamin K. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamins B2, B6, A, and E. Did I say that broccoli is also high in fiber?
How to grow broccoli?
Broccoli does well in containers. One plant per pot. The size of the pots should be between 12 and 16 inches.
Studies have shown that eggplants contain cardioprotective ingredients.
How to grow eggplant?
Eggplants love the sun, so choose a very sunny spot. You can grow eggplant in containers and move them into the sunniest area of your garden. For best results, feed your eggplants every month with compost tea or fish emulsion, and provide a steady supply of moisture.
They are loaded with lycopene. Lycopene helps prevent cardiovascular disease and supports vascular health.
How to grow tomatoes?
Many home gardeners start their vitamin garden careers growing tomatoes. Growing great-tasting tomatoes can be difficult. Tomatoes require direct light and lots of it too. If your greenhouse doesn’t get at least 14-hours of sun, you might need to use artificial plant lighting.
Artichokes have high antioxidant content. They are also high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Artichokes can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
How to grow artichokes?
Artichokes can be grown almost anywhere in the United States. In colder zones, gardeners can grow artichokes as annual vegetables. You can easily start artichokes from seed in a greenhouse.
Kale is an excellent source of calcium, and it is full of vitamin K. One cup of kale provides 880 percent of the recommended daily value.
How to grow kale?
It is best to plant kale three to five weeks before the last frost. Raised beds work well for kale. Improve your soil by mixing rich organic matter. You could also grow kale indoors with a water-based growing system.
Spinach contains more than 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.
How to grow spinach?
Spinach is a cool-weather crop. It does best in mild weather. Common spinach can’t grow in midsummer. In warmer climates, spinach benefits from shading. Gardeners located in temperate winter zones can plant in the fall.
This all-season vegetable is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and fiber. Cabbage can boost your immune system and fight cancer.
How to grow cabbage?
Plant seeds indoors about four weeks before the last frost. In mild winter zones, start seed in late summer for a winter or spring harvest. Cabbages need at least six hours of sun and soil rich in organic matter that is well-drained. In favorable conditions, cabbages take between 70 and 100 days from planting to harvest.
Onions contain quercetin, a type of flavonoid. Quercetin has been shown to improve physical and mental performance.
How to grow onions?
Your geography determines the onion growing season. Onions grow best in plenty of sunshine and well-drained soils. Watering onions once a week is sufficient. It can take 90-day to reach maturity. Because onions are a cool-season crop, they can stand below freezing temperatures.
This edible fungus contains antioxidant agents such as vitamin C, choline, and selenium. According to the National Cancer Institute, mushrooms may help prevent breast, prostate, lung, and other types of cancer.
How to grow mushrooms?
Growing your own mushroom is easier than you think. Once you know the basics growing your own mushrooms is just like growing any other produce. Introducing mushrooms is a great way to diversify your kitchen garden. Mushrooms are versatile, and they can be grown in small areas. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow your own mushrooms.
Growing your own mushrooms starts with obtaining spores or spawn. The following step is inoculation, followed by the incubation phase. After the incubation period follows the fruiting of the mushrooms. The final stage is harvesting. Most mushroom farmers harvest for 35 to 42 days.
It contains high amounts of beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A.
How to grow sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes don’t grow like regular potatoes. Sweet potato is a root, unlike a regular potato, which is a tuber. Sweet potatoes grow from “slips.” Slips are green vines that grow out of sweet potato when it sprouts. Sweet potatoes do best in bright, sunny locations.
You could get up more than 15 slips from one sweet potato. Each slip creates one plant.
Rich in nutrients, loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber. Romaine lettuce can prevent cholesterol from oxidizing, a way to prevent plaque from forming along your artery walls.
How to grow romaine lettuce?
Growing romaine lettuce is easy. In most areas in the U.S, romaine lettuce can be planted in early spring and late summer. Romaine lettuce needs moist and nitrogen-rich soil. The best-tasting romaine is soil-grown, not hydroponically. Romaine lettuce can take up to 75 days to mature. You can harvest romaine by the leaf.
Can you regrow romaine lettuce?
Yes, you can regrow lettuce in water. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to harvest full-size lettuce from regrowing scraps. Water doesn’t have all the required nutrients to make a whole head of romaine lettuce.
Parsley is packed with antioxidants such as vitamins E, A, and C, which can fight inflammation. It also helps make the protein for blood clotting and bones.
How to grow parsley?
Parsley is a biennial herb native to southern Europe. You can plant seeds as early as March, and again in late summer. Parsley is easily grown from seed.
Read our article: White Spots on Parsley Leaves [Why is it Happening?]
Rich in fiber and micronutrients such as phosphorous, potassium, and calcium.
How to grow turnips?
The turnip is a cool weather biennial grown as an annual. If you want the best tasting turnips, you should strive for a cool weather harvest. It is best to sow turnips in late summer for autumn harvest. Turnips are ideal for containers. Try planting in wide containers at least eight inches deep. To get turnips to grow fast, keep the soil moist, and do not let it dry out.
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers have about 11 times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers. The phytonutrients red bell peppers contain powerful antioxidants. Red bell peppers contain 300 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake. They are also an excellent source of vitamin B6 and folate.
How to grow red peppers?
Almost every kind of pepper plant is a red pepper plant. Red bell peppers favor warm soil and warm temperatures. Soil temperature between 65 and 75 Fahrenheit is optimal to plant a red pepper plant. Bell peppers need a lot of sunlight, rich and well-draining soil. Soil that is either too wet or too dry can hurt the plant. Bell peppers produce the most fruit when temperatures are between 70 and 90 Fahrenheit.
With its anti-inflammatory benefits, garlic can lower your blood pressure. Garlic can help your body fight cardiovascular disease by lowering your cholesterol. One study showed that garlic reduced the number of colds.
How to grow garlic?
Avoid planting garlic in an area where water can collect. Garlic needs well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight. You can plant garlic in the fall and in the spring. To plant garlic, separate the cloves, and space them about 5 inches apart. It takes about nine months to mature.
Do you want to sneak some extra potassium or vitamin C into your diet? Cauliflowers add plant-based omega-3’s to your diet. They also provide some potassium, iron, folate, and magnesium.
How to plant cauliflower?
Vitamin gardeners can sow cauliflower as early as March. Cauliflower prefers cool growing conditions and high humidity. They also need rich, moist soil.
Dandelion greens are cholesterol-free, fat-free and contain very few calories per serving. This vegetable is high in vitamins C, K, and A and also contain calcium.
How to grow dandelion greens?
Dandelion greens are extremely simple to grow. If you have been gardening for a while, you might already have a whole yard full of them.
Celery root has several health benefits, such as improving heart health and bone density.
How to grow celery root?
Celery root is a cool-season biennial grown as an annual. It requires a long growing season, up to 120-days. Celery root tastes best when it is harvested in cool weather.
Sprouts pack a serious nutritional punch, are rife with antioxidants. They offer a huge amount of glucoraphanin, which helps strengthen the body’s cancer protection.
How to grow sprouts?
There are two huge advantages to growing sprouts. One advantage is that you can grow sprouts indoors. The other advantage is that they require very little space.
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein. Lentils provide 45 percent of your daily iron and 50 percent of your daily folate recommendations.