8. Salad Greens
As with microgreens, salad greens like iceberg, spinach, romaine, red leaf, and arugula are jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and also folate and iron.
To grow salad greens, start with seeds or starter plants from a local nursery. Choose a well-draining planter box and fill it with potting soil. Then poke holes into the soil with your finger approximately 4 inches apart.
If using seeds: Sprinkle a few seeds into each hole, then pat the soil to cover them.
If using starter plants: Use your hands to loosen the roots of each plant before placing in a hole then fill in around them with potting soil.
After planting: Water the soil. If growing from seed, pull all but the largest and healthiest shoots. Keep the soil moist to the touch.
Salad greens will produce multiple crops, so to harvest, pull only the outer leaves and try not to harm the roots or interfere with the plant’s ability to keep growing.
As with garlic, scallions are part of the allium family, associated with cancer prevention and protecting against cellular damage.
To grow at home, simply buy a bunch of scallions, and with a rubber band, wrap the bulbs together and place the bundle in a glass with about an inch of water in the bottom. When new green shoots appear and the roots have grown to about double their length, plant the scallions in a shallow pot and keep in full sun. Keep soil from drying excessively between watering.
To harvest scallions, snip the greens off, leaving about an inch or two of the plant in the dirt. To utilize the bulbs of the scallion, harvest the clump when the greens are about six inches tall. Properly cleaned and trimmed, scallions can last in the fridge for a week, particularly if wrapped in a moist paper towel before bagging.
Tomatoes are a natural source of lycopene, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may also help prevent coronary heart disease.
For a single plant, start with a six-inch pot or use a larger pot if you’d like to grow two plants. For a continuous supply of fresh tomatoes, start one or two new plants from seed approximately every two weeks. Fill your selected pot with starter potting mix and plant seeds about a quarter of an inch deep. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and be sure to place in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. Rotating plants will insure that all sides grow evenly. Seeds sprout in 5-10 days and need to be transplanted to potting soil once the seedlings are about three inches tall. About two weeks after transplanting, add some organic fertilizer to the mix and keep watered so the soil is moist but not soggy. As the plants grow, they may need to be staked to minimize breakage of the stems. Once the plants bloom, it’s advisable to tap the main stem and larger branches gently with your finger to promote pollination.
Indoor tomatoes will not likely grow as large as their outdoor counterparts, but they will still have plenty of great tomato taste. When the fruits are red and firm with a slight give, they are ready for use. Either clip or gently twist and pull the fruits from their stems.
Not only is basil flavorful, it is also believed to have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
To grow, start with seeds or a starter plant available at a nursery, grocery store, or online. Choose a container at least four inches wide. Basil requires warm temperatures and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It’s recommended to fertilize the soil in your basil pot about once a month with organic or slow-release fertilizer. Plants should be watered about once a day in hot conditions, or every other day otherwise. Pruning your plants will help you maximize your yield. When the top leaves of your plant reach about 6 inches tall, prune the plant to encourage it to fill out and be sure to remove any blossoms that appear.
To harvest simply snip a few leaves from each plant making sure to leave plenty of the plant to continue growing.
An excellent source of antioxidants, chives also store vitamins A & C.
To grow chives, fill a 6-8 inch pot nearly to the top with potting mix. Plant the seeds and cover them with a light layer of soil. Keep the container in an area that’s partially shaded and water regularly to make sure the soil never dries out.
To harvest your chives, again gently snip a few leaves from each plant, allowing the plants to continue growing.
Cilantro contains high concentrations of carotenoids, a good source of vitamin A which may help protect against heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
In seed form, cilantro is better known as coriander, and it can also be purchased in starter plant form. Plant in a container that is at least 8 inches deep and fill the container to within 1-2 inches of the top with soil. Press the seeds down into the soil and water until moist. For best results, cover the seed pot with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band until seedlings have germinated and grown to the level of the plastic. Keep the seedlings well-watered and make sure they receive plenty of light.
To harvest your fresh cilantro, gently remove a few leaves from each plant, and be sure not to remove all the leaves from any single plant.
Known for its ability to ease nausea and motion sickness, there is also evidence that raw ginger can reduce inflammation of sore muscles, arthritis, and possibly even slow the growth of cancer cells.
Ginger is very easy to plant at home. Simply buy a chunk of ginger from your local grocer and cover it with soil in a pot, keeping the freshest-looking buds near the top. Keep the soil moist and provide indirect sunlight and then just wait for new growth to come up from the soil.
To harvest your ginger, pull the plant completely out of the soil, cut off the portion desired, and replant the ginger as above.
More than just a flavorful herb, fresh mint is known to ease digestion and, in tea form, soothe hangovers.
A sprawling plant, mint seeds or starter plants need a large deep pot about 10 inches in diameter. Fill the container with soil and plant the seeds or plants. Keep the soil moist and the planter in an area that gets plenty of sunlight.
To harvest fresh mint, snip a few leaves off of plants as needed but make sure not to take all the leaves off of any single plant.
Fragrant and herbaceous, fresh rosemary is a powerful antioxidant that may help control weight and cholesterol levels.
To grow rosemary, you can start from seeds or cuttings. The recommended soil is a mix of two parts potting soil to one part sand. To make the soil more basic, add a teaspoon of agricultural lime per five inches of pot diameter. Keep the container in a sunny area with at least six hours of sun per day and only water when the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
To harvest, snip a few sprigs from each plant but again, keep the plants producing fresh herbs for months to come!
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