We all understand vegetables are important in our diet. Vegetables provide essential nutrients for health and maintenance of your body. Eating vegetables provides health benefits – more vegetable consumption likely to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Have you ever thought to keep some easy to grow vegetables in your backyard? The fresh vegetables in your backyard will make your dishes more personal and tasty. When you run out of green leaves, the vegetables in your backyard will save your trip to the supermarket. In addition, working in the garden is also a shared experience for the family, and helps your little one to understand the natural cycles of growth, that provides lifelong value.
Following are three vegetables that require minimum care and are with high-level nutrients.
Sweet potato and leaves
Why do you want to eat sweet potato and its leaves?
Potato roots, vine and leaves are packed with nutrients. According to USDA database, the whole plant is an excellent source of antioxidants, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. The entire plant (from roots to leaves) contains a good amount of minerals, such as calcium magnesium manganese zinc, copper, potassium, and iron. The vine and leaves contain a high level of folic acid which is necessary for natural conception and healthy pregnancy. Sweet potato roots, vine, and leaves also provide impressive amounts of fiber.
How to cook sweet potato leaves?
Sweet potato leaves can be eaten raw in salad, boiled in soup or sautéed. The leaves are great alternative greens that bring high nutrient levels when cooked in any way.
How to grow sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are easiest grow potatoes. They will grow in poor soil, but roots may be deformed in heavy clay or long and stringy in sandy soil. They prefer heat but couldn’t tolerate chilly weather. In San Francisco bay area, we can harvest the leaves from March to Nov.
You may plant root sprouts, which are available from nurseries. Or you can grow your own: purchase sweet potatoes from the grocery store and storing them at warm temperature until they sprout; cut the whole pieces into small pieces to plant. Just remember to make sure each piece has a spout growing out. The sprouts may be planted in ground, planter or in raised bed garden with loose compost. Water the soil every 2-3 days to keep moisture. You can start to harvest the leaves within 1 month and roots after 3-4 months.
Pumpkin, vine and leaves
The whole pumpkin plant is good for you
From the vines, leaves to the fruit, the whole pumpkin plant is edible. According to USDA database, raw pumpkin leaves contain 92% water, 3% of protein, 2.3% carbohydrates (mostly are dietary fiber). The fruit, vine and leaves are rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, Vitamin B-6, Riboflavin, Folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and Manganese. All of which are necessary for human reproductive health.
How to cook sweet potatoes?
Vine and leaves can be boiled, sautéed. The pumpkin fruits are not only fun fall decorations but can be added to entrees and desserts as well.
How to plant pumpkin?
Pumpkin is among the easiest grow vegetables. You may plant pumpkin by purchasing the sprout or seeding yourself. We usually start with a seed as the pumpkin seeds are very strong and very easy to sprout. You don’t have to buy the seeds. The seeds from your grocery pumpkin are usually healthy enough to be planted. You may plant the pumpkin seed outside or inside to start. How and when to plant depends on the weather condition in your area.
In San Francisco Bay area, we plant the seed outside directly in soil in early April. Pumpkin prefers slightly acidic soil condition. Using proper fertilizer will promote stronger plant and higher yield. We are using this Holly-tone organic acidic fertilizer, which turns great result.
Garlic and leaves
The benefits of garlic and the leaves
Garlic and its leaves contain many bioactive substances, mainly organo sulfur derivatives, but also Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Iron). Several studies showed that garlic and its bioactive compounds may be used to prevent many diseases, such as the cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis, heart attack, blood pressure control), cancer, bacterial, viral and fungal infections. In areas where garlic is consumed regularly, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases is lower. A double-blind study on male infertility treatment found that the supplement with garlic as the main ingredient improved sperm count and sperm total motility at 90 days when compared with placebo.
How to cook garlic?
Garlic and the leaves may be eaten raw and cooked. The bulb can also be pickled to reduce the odor and to be served as an appetizer. The bulb and leaves may be added to the salad to enhance flavor; boil or pan-fried with meat and eggs.
How to plant garlic?
Garlic can be planted all year round, inside or outside. A small container or a small area in your backyard is big enough to serve your need in planting the garlic.
Separate the garlic bulb into cloves, put them in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil, water every 3-5 days. You can start to harvest the leaves within 1 to 2 weeks. When you plant one clove, it will develop into a whole bulb. Harvest the bulb when the tops begin to yellow and fall over before they are completely dry.