Growing your own food is easier than you might think. It is also more rewarding and nutritious than you can ever imagine.
It’s fun to participate in such a natural and beautiful co-creative process with Nature. It is also empowering because you are the one in charge of the quality of your own soil, and freshness of your own produce.
On a nutrition level, the sooner you eat your food once collected from the earth, the higher and more potent the nutrition content. It is best to eat your fresh produce within three days of harvesting, and best of all to pick and eat immediately whenever possible.
Here is a list of foods that I found super easy to grow, and that helped build my confidence in the garden, alongside our abundance of fresh food in the kitchen. These foods are also wonderfully delicious and ideal to include in daily salads, smoothies and other raw food recipes.
Easy to grow and super quick too. I’ve planted radish now in both summer and autumn months and they are ready for eating in just 4-6 weeks. I also use the green leaves in my salads. They are abundant, taste great, have a very high antioxidant content, with even more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
2. Green Kale
Best grown when temperatures are not too high, this dark green chlorophyll rich plant grows a robust stem. You can pick off the leaves as you need them and watch them grow back! I planted about 6 seed-sprouted pots once, and we enjoyed plenty of raw vegan cheesy kale salads and green smoothies, for many months to follow.
3. Green Spinach Leaves
Brazilian spinach is gorgeous. As is English spinach, Sambung (the longevity herb), Tahitian spinach and Tatsoi (Asian greens). All super easy and fast to grow and provide you with rich vitamins, minerals and enzymes. I just mix them all together to make one big delicious bowl of green salad.
4. Sweet Potatoes
This cruciferous underground vegetable takes a little longer than some of the others listed, but once they start producing they just don’t stop! A perennial-plant. That will transform your garden and provide you with a never-ending food supply. I eat mine raw, grated in my delicious Ginger Miso – Rainbow Salad Bowl or as a sweet potato pasta dish. This orange gem has high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin c, magnesium (especially form your own mineral rich organic soil), and is known to help reduce inflammation. And yes it is delicious to eat raw, and not too starchy!
Oh and the leaves deserve a special mention, you can eat the green leaves too. Toss them into salads, the leaves are an excellent source of antioxidants and contain high levels of vitamin A and C, as well as riboflavin, thiamin, folic acid and niacin. Sweet potato vine leaves also provide impressive amounts of fibre, along with calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium and iron.
Surprise! Sweet potato is also nice to add to fresh juices.
With plenty of watering parsley can be your forever companion either in the ground, or in a lovely pot for herbs in your kitchen. There is no excuse to not start growing parsley today! When feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ or some sluggish digestion, just pull off a few sprigs and start chewing. Also, good for cleansing garlic and onion breathe. Parsley is so rich in vitamins, it is likened to a one stop multi-vitamin pill, but so much better coz its natural!
This delicious fresh herb will just grow wild wherever you throw some seeds. Yes it’s that easy! I’ve stumbled across wild mint quite often. I’ve also planted my own with great success in both pots and in the land. When grown in the land it continues to multiply quickly. Mint is calming and soothing, and helps ease digestion. Throw a few leaves into a pot of water for a refreshing mint tea.
7. Bok Choy
Although this could also fit above in the Asian greens spinach, I thought it deserved a special mention of its own. I was surprised at how quickly these uniquely shaped leaves took form once planted in the ground. So surprised we had to rush to eat them so they didn’t turn bad.
8. Chinese Cabbage
Incredibly easy and abundant! Like green kale it grows quite robust and you can just pick off the leaves as needed. We had so much cabbage to eat I started using the leaves (instead of Cos lettuce) as my taco shell in my favourite raw tacos recipe. Chinese cabbage is a much softer leaf than our usual cabbage and also makes a great main ingredient in this cabbage slaw with garlic vegan mayo.
This delicious herb grows like a tree, and provides its tasty nutritious sprigs all year round. I started adding it to my herb tea-leaves and it ads a surprisingly nice flavour.
Easy to grow, just make sure they get plenty of sun and fresh water, and these red beauties will be ready to harvest in just 6-8 weeks. The leaves as well as the red juicy gems are a wonderful addition to both juices and salads.
Look out for any or all of the above seedlings, or baby pots at your local organic garden centre and start planting today!