I was recently contacted by Richard Clayton at Lawn Mower Tips to do a guest post on My Sweet Mission about the Top 5 Healthy Foods You Can Grow at Home. We loved the topic and thought you would enjoy this beautiful, healthy and interesting post as well!
Are you kind of health conscious and love gardening? If you are, the idea of supplying yourself with healthy food right at home may interest you. Not only could you save a lot from not having to buy vegetables from the grocery store, but you could also be sure that your products are organic and beneficial for your health. Your homegrown fruits and veggies will probably even taste better, because they will be fresh and free of preservatives. If you are interested in this idea, please refer to the following tips to learn how to grow 5 healthy foods at home.
Top 5 Healthy Foods You Can Grow at Home
Everyone is familiar with this red fruit that contains an outstanding amount of antioxidants, such as vitamin A, C, K, potassium and manganese, as well as fiber. Tomatoes help to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They are particularly recommended for the prevention of prostate cancer. A regular intake of this fruit may give you healthier skin and hair as well.
People tend to grow tomatoes at home because this plant is easy to cultivate all year round. Tomatoes love sunlight, so the primary thing you need to consider when growing this fruit is the amount of time the plants will be exposed to the sun each day. If you plan to grow them indoors, where the sunlight can hardly reach, you’ll need to think of using some form of artificial lighting for at least 6 to 8 hours per day so that the plants will be able to grow well. You could start by seeding indoors then transplanting the seedlings into the outdoor garden. The soil should be well-drained, and have a pH level between 6 and 7. You’ll need to implement a regular watering schedule, probably weekly. You’ll also need to fertilize with high phosphorous organic manure. If you follow these basic requirements, your tomatoes should grow up healthily.
You’ll need to place stakes or trellises next to the plants to keep them from lying down and to keep the fruits off the ground. It may take around 60 days after transplanting for the fruits to form. You can harvest them when they are red and ripe. In case any mature fruits fall off the plant before ripening, you can pick them up and store them in a bag with a banana or an apple to help them ripen. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, rather than refrigerated, in order to preserve their flavor.
Potatoes are the main ingredient of popular flavored French fries or potato chips. They’re a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C and dietary fiber, so potatoes help to build healthy cells, lower blood pressure, support cardiovascular protection and improve athletic performance.
Potatoes develop best in cool climates, so in tropical zones winter time is the best time for growing them. You’ll need to start with seed potatoes, which are potatoes with small buds on them. When these are exposed to the sunlight, they begin to sprout. While this is happening, prepare your soil. As a rooting plant, potatoes need lots of soil built up around their roots in order to produce a fruitful crop. It’s advised that you dig 4-inch trenches that are one foot apart in a sunny position. The trenches should be laid with a layer of compost (or grass clippings, which can be collected after mowing with a bagging lawn mower). Well-drained soil with a pH level lower than 5.2 is required.
Using a sharp knife, cut off pieces of the seed potato. Each piece should have a green shoot. Plant the pieces along the trench, leaving the green shoot sticking out of the soil. Water the plants regularly, as consistent moisture is necessary. Once the plants are 6 inches tall, hilling or building up the soil around the plant should be carried out.
This will help to prevent the potatoes from being directly exposed to the sun, as this will make them turn green and taste bitter. Please remember to watch out for weeds or pests. If you find any infected plants, you should remove them immediately to prevent the infection from spreading.
After about 10 weeks of growing, your first potatoes should be ready for harvesting. You can dig them up and pick the mature ones, leaving the smaller tubers to continue to grow. Once the vines begin to fade and wilt, harvest them all. Remember not to wash them under water until you use them. A cool, dark place is best for storage. Don’t store them near apples or bananas, as the ethylene gas from these fruits may cause them to spoil.
If you are looking for a natural vitamin A supply, then carrots should be number one on your list. Carrots are especially rich in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant agent, therefore they are said to help slow down aging, prevent cancer, promote healthier skin, and improve vision.
Growing this root vegetable is not too difficult, and you will easily be able to master it. Spring and fall are the best times for planting, because full sunlight conditions are ideal for carrot growth. You’ll need to till the soil at least as deep as 12 inches, removing any rocks to enable the carrot roots to grow straight down. Once the soil has been prepared, you will be able to start sowing rows of seeds 0.5-inches deep and one foot apart. Carrot germination takes longer than that of other vegetables – usually between 1 and 3 weeks. When the plants are one inch in height, thin them out to 3 inches apart, because overcrowded growing will result in crooked roots.
Please remember to mulch the soil regularly and keep it moist by watering. To prevent carrots from pest attacks, such as carrot flies, you should cover the planting row with clear plastic sheeting or surround the crop with a barrier about 60cm high. Depending on the type of carrots, it may take from 9 to 11 weeks for them to mature for harvesting. Simply pull up the roots and enjoy the freshly harvested carrots. Remove the tops, rub off the dirt and let them dry, then wrap them up in plastic bags before refrigerating them.
Although we think of mushrooms as a type of vegetable, they are actually a kind of fungus. Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, vitamins D and C, and minerals. A regular intake of mushrooms can promote a healthy immune system, decrease the risk of cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. For those who are vegetarians or who are dieting, mushrooms are a good meat replacement, because they contain fairly high amounts of protein.
If you are intending to grow mushrooms at home, it will need to be indoors, where there’s no direct sunlight, because mushrooms thrive in cool, dark places. Buying a kit that provides you with all the essential material for mushroom growing is a good idea to start with. However, in case you want to do it all on your own, you will have to look for a supplier of mushroom spawn. You’ll need sawdust, grain, or straw as a growing medium, and plastic bags to contain those materials. There are various types of mushrooms, and each of them may require different growing techniques.
As a beginner, you could try oyster mushrooms, which are one of the easiest type to grow.
First, you’ll need to pasteurize the sawdust with hot water (70-75 degrees Celsius). Then, let the material cool down, but keep it damp enough when packing it into plastic bags. Make sure you’re clean while carrying out any planting steps, as hygiene is very important. After inoculating the bags of growing material with spawn, close the mouth of the bags with an elastic band, and put them in a cool, dark, well-sterilized room with a temperature ranging between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius. As the spawn begins to colonize the bags, make some holes for the mushrooms to grow out of. Keep them moist by watering with a spray bottle if necessary. You will see the tiny pins develop into mature mushrooms very quickly after 3 to 5 days. Harvest them when the mushroom cap is flat or a bit down-curved. You can expect to have 2 to 3 harvests from each crop. Enjoy having this home-grown nutritious food!
5. Salad greens
Salad is a valuable daily addition to your meals, as it is not only tasty, but also a good source of fiber, vitamins and omega acids. This combination will help to protect your heart, lower your diabetes and cancer risk, and strengthen your eyes. Home grown salad greens are very popular, and they are very easy to plant.
You can either grow salad greens in the garden or in containers. If you plan to grow them indoors, use potting soil, as it is premixed with sufficient nutrients and is not as heavy as garden soil. You can sow the seeds in rows or spread them evenly on the surface. After about 1 week, you may see the first seedlings. It is a good idea to thin them out so that the plants have enough room to develop. Regularly water them, and prevent pests from eating the leaves by using plastic covers. You should be able to harvest some after about 3 weeks when the leaves are a good size.
Overgrown salad leaves may taste bitter, so harvesting them when young is advisable. You can cut the mature outer leaves and leave the rest of the plant to grow more. For a year-round supply of salad, you will need to sow seeds at 1 to 2 week intervals.
Those top 5 healthy foods discussed above are not too difficult to grow, as long as you put a little attention, time and effort into it. Your home-grown vegetables will be very tasty, because they will always be fresh and chemical free. So go ahead and supply yourself and your family with these healthy foods. Good luck!
Hi. My name is Richard Clayton. I’m an owner of a small gardening shop. I love gardening, especially lawn care. I can spend all of my free time taking care of my lawn and discuss about lawn care experiences with my friends, who have the same hobby as me. My website (www.lawnmowertips.com) is a playground of us, where we can discuss everything about lawn care techniques and lawn care tools you should use such as a good self propelled mower, string trimmer..v.v
Have you seen our 1st Cookbook Savory ~ Sweet ~ Repeat? It’s a delicious eCookbook full of tried & true family favorite recipes: 25 savory & 25 sweet. All of them are from this blog and some our family has enjoyed for 50 & even 60 years! There’s also a few newer family favorites as well. Our eCookbook downloads beautifully and is perfect for gift-giving!
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