Growing your own food is a rewarding experience that allows you to spend more time outdoors, save money on your grocery bill, and know exactly where your food is coming from. It is also a great way to have fresh, organic produce conveniently available right in your backyard and a fun activity you can do with your family.
Eating healthy is more important than ever and limiting trips to the grocery store is not a bad idea right now. So, if we can grow some of our own food at home and use these ingredients to make healthy juices filled with antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients, that sounds like a pretty good quarantine project to me.
To help inspire you, here are eight of my favorite juicing ingredients I grow in my vegetable garden and that will be super easy for you to grow in yours.
This dark, leafy green provides magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and more, which makes this easy-to-grow vegetable a good choice for your juicing garden. Spinach thrives in containers or in the ground, is easy to grow from seed, and allows you to harvest on demand as it continues to produce leaves. To make sure you have a steady supply, plant your crop in two-week intervals.
Generally considered a superfood, kale is a nutrient-dense, leafy green providing an array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and calcium. You can grow kale in containers or in the ground and can start from seeds or seedlings. If you juice often, you will likely go through a lot of kale, so, if possible, dedicate a good amount of space for your kale plants and plant in three-week intervals.
Cucumber juice is a refreshing treat on a hot day and provides potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and B vitamins. You can grow your plants in containers or in the ground, but keep in mind that you will need to support your cucumbers with a large tomato cage or a trellis. Consider growing more than one variety for different purposes. For example, this year, I’m growing Persian cucumbers for juicing and snacking and Nationals for pickling.
Add tomatoes to your garden for juicing, salsas, soups, stews, and sauces. Tomatoes are incredibly easy to grow in this area and can be grown in the ground or in containers. They provide lutein, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. If you are planning on using them for different purposes, consider growing different varieties. For example, San Marzanos are higher in pectin, which makes them better for stews and sauces; whereas, Better Boys or Celebrities have a higher juice content, which makes them better for juicing.
While they don’t actually make you see better at night, carrots are high in beta carotene, which is essential to eye health, as well as your overall wellness. They are incredibly easy to grow and can be grown in the ground or in containers – as long as the containers are deep enough to accommodate their growth. Carrots are a popular juicing ingredient, so they are a great addition to your juicing garden. However, if you are short on space, skip the carrots. Organic carrots are readily available and less expensive than other organic produce options, so keep buying these at the store or farmers market, and save your garden space for other veggies.
Parsley takes patience. You may not see any signs of life for up to three weeks after planting your seeds, but once it finally gets going, just one or two plants will probably provide as much as you need for juicing. Often used for detoxing the liver, parsley is not going to add a lot of flavor to your juices, but it does add iron, folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
If you find green juices bland, basil may be just the herb you need to up your juicing game. Providing magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, this easy-to-grow herb is packed with nutrition, as well as flavor. Basil grows well in the ground or in containers, and you can dry it or freeze it for later use if you harvest more than you need.
Adding celery to your juices provides potassium, folate, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, and polyphenols. It grows well in containers or in the ground and is so easy to grow. Whenever you buy a bunch of organic celery, cut off the root end and place it in a small bowl of water. You will start seeing growth almost immediately. Once you have significant growth and it has sprouted new roots, transfer it to your garden or to a container with soil. Before you know it, you will have your very own celery patch.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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