We all know superfoods can be game changers when it comes to our diet, but can we grow them in our own home? Here, we explore the benefits for body and…
It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of witnessing a seed’s journey from soil to plate – from the taste of a tomato straight from the vine to the joy of a sun-warmed strawberry, these are delights known only to gardeners. If you’ve ever wished you could grow some of your own food or are perhaps worried about the nutritional quality and the environmental impact of some of the fruit and veg you find in supermarkets, listen up: imagine you could have a supply of delicious, nutritious produce right on your doorstep. Well, the good news is that growing your own greens (and reds and oranges and purples) is much easier than you might expect. Whether you have a few pots or a windowsill that gets a bit of sun, we can all grow something to eat and in some cases, you can even grow superfoods.
The term superfood is usually associated with a league of trendy, exotic and often rather expensive products, revered for their healthboosting properties, such as kefir, coconut water, matcha and the like. Of course, such products can contribute to a balanced diet, but it’s easy to overlook many of the less glamorous, but highly nutritious foods that we can grow ourselves. From nutrient-packed sprouting seeds and watercress, to kale, beetroot, blueberries and raspberries – all these and more are easy to grow at home, regardless of your time, space or experience. And, when it comes to health, the smaller the gap between picking and eating, the less time there is for nutrients to seep away – making homegrown foods the real superfoods.
It’s not just about picking fruit and veg at the top of its game. When you’ve grown that tomato or strawberry yourself, you know exactly what has or more importantly hasn’t, gone into it. As well as helping to protect bees and bugs, organically produced food has been found to contain more antioxidants than non-organic equivalents. Scientists at Newcastle University found higher levels of key substances such as polyphenolics in organic food, which have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as some types of cancer. In short, the best way to be sure you’re getting more of the good stuff and no nasty extras with your five-or-ten-aday, is to stick to organic or grow it yourself.
While there’s not much you can sow outdoors at this time of year, early winter is the perfect time to prepare the ground, ready for spring. The foundation of healthy, successful gardening is the soil, so by showing it some love now, you’ll help your crops to thrive next year. Here are some steps to get you started:
Ultimately, growing your own food won’t just improve your diet, it will nourish your spirit and feed your soul. Connecting with nature helps us to feel happier and calmer – and what better way to connect than by feeling the soil between your fingers and rejoicing in the green shoots poking through the dirt. Amidst all the fear and uncertainty in the world, nature reminds us that seeds still germinate, flowers still open, seasons change. This too will pass. And in the meantime, gardening will continue to sustain us in all sorts of ways.
Spruce up your plot by adding these ecofriendly must-haves to your gardening toolkit.
Give your local bees a place to stay with this sturdy bee house – made with strong pinewood and bamboo honeycombs inside. Wooden Bee House, £12.99, ethicalsuperstore.com
Made for both the professional and hobbyist gardener, these bamboo gardening gloves will keep your hands safe from any thistle foes. Parton Natural Bamboo Gardening Gloves - Sage Green, £9.99, gardenfootwear.co.uk
Putting up a nest box in winter helps birds shelter from the harsh weather and also encourages them to select the box as a nesting site. Eco-Plate 32mm Nest Box, £22.99, birdfood.co.uk
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