Gardening season is upon us & we are gathering & starting seeds. Each start gives us hope of an abundance of veggies, herbs & flowers; that we can grow, cook, eat & preserve. So much joy is drawn from each seed that sprouts in hopes of having a stellar gardening year.
I grew up understanding the importance of eating fresh veggies. However, when I planted my first garden, I realized the investment of time and; energy it took to cultivate a garden. It makes sense to grow foods that deliver the greatest health benefits, because time is valuable. Here’s a list of veggies to grow in your Rocky Mountain garden:
- ARUGULA: This easy to grow, bright green, peppery flavored green, is touted by chefs for its versatility. It is rich in cancer fighting glucosinolates and higher in antioxidants than most lettuces. It is easy to germinate, thrives in lightly shaded areas & requires consistent watering. Arugala greens are great in salads, on pizzas, in stuffed mushrooms or tossed on warm pasta.
- GARLIC: Garlic is famous for the way it makes everything taste better. Oven roasted, sautéed or eaten raw; the pungent bulb brings high levels of potassium, sulfur, zinc, phosphorous and moderate levels of vitamin A, C & selenium. Raw garlic has natural antibiotic properties. The list of benefits of this easy to grow, in any soil type bulb, is extensive and a staple in every chef’s kitchen. Garlic bulbs are typically planted in autumn and harvested in spring or summer. Use garlic to flavor just about everything-veggies, soups, sauces & salad dressings.
- CARROTS: Carrots come in a variety of colors, love sandy soil, can be eaten raw, sautéed or oven roasted. Studies show that eating carrots more than twice a week can reduce the risk of glaucoma. These versatile beauties provide cardiovascular benefits, inhibit the growth of some cancers and are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin. They are an easy snack for kids lunches and the baby carrots are perfect for crudité trays.
- GREEN ONIONS
- KALE is another cruciferous veggie that has endless benefits and uses. It is easily grown from seed, is a prolific plant which lasts through a season. Staggered plantings are suggested. It thrives even in frost. Cut the smaller leaves to mix into fresh green salads & the larger darker leaves for stir-fries, pizza topping or kale chips. This superfood boasts high antioxidant activity. It is a “go-to” food for iron, protein & calcium. Enjoy!