Access to fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables is a growing global luxury. Many countries are now finding themselves unable to produce fresh produce as a result of soil and land degradation. In order to secure fresh produce, consumers are looking to urban farming and urban gardening as accessible solutions to secure fresh produce.
1. Chilli plants
Chilli plants are small perennial shrubs with woody stems. Some plants can grow up to a meter in height; however, it is a common known fact that the smaller the plant, the greater the heat. The heat of a chilli comes from an alkaloid compound called capsaicin, which contains a multitude of health benefits such as vitamin C, B6 and A as well as iron, copper and potassium.
Chillies can be grown from seeds or saplings. The plants thrive best in a full sun position with regular watering. Once grown, the plant produces flowers before the petals fall to form the fruit.
Nasturtium plants are easy to grow and provide a bounty of fresh leafy green leaves. Both the leaves and flowers are edible and can be added to salads to provide a peppery taste similar to that of water cress. The plant is rich in Vitamin C, which provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Nasturtiums can be grown in full or partial sunlight, and even in shade. Seeds and plants require regular water and germinate in 3-4 weeks to produce significant yields. They make an excellent addition to any garden, whether it is a balcony, vertical garden or backyard.
3. Mixed Salad Leaves
Mixed salad leaves can be grown indoors or out depending on your climate. A small pot of leaves can be grown by a kitchen window and cut fresh when needed. The leaves provide a source of fiber which may be beneficial in reducing cholesterol.
Salad leaves can be grown in any well lit and well watered space, even a vertical garden.
Kale needs no introduction: it is a leafy green cruciferous superfood that provides a plethora of health benefits. Packed with amino acids, omega 3 alpha-linoleic acid, vitamins K, A and V, kale is a great go-to-ingredient for juices, salads and smoothies.
Kale can be grown either from seeds or a sapling plant. Kale thrives in cool temperatures, making it a perfect crop to plant in late summer for winter harvests. Ensure that you plant in well drained soil in a partially shaded or full sun position.
Beetroot is rich in antioxidants, iron and folates. This combination of nutrients and minerals enables potential enhanced sports performance by improving your overall oxygen uptake. You can grow the plant from seeds or saplings and plant them in pots or even in vertical systems in a well lit location and water regularly.
Beetroot leaves can be harvested from a growing plant and added to salads. The root itself can also be harvested once fully grown.
Growing plants from seed is a low cost way to access fresh produce. Whether you are sowing seeds into trays or directly into the ground, to grow your own nourishing produce is a very rewarding experience.
Patricia founded AWS in 2008 as a means of sharing and documenting her health journey. Diagnosed with familial hypercholestrolemia as a teenager she has worked with nutritionists and sports professionals to holistically alter the expression of her epigenetic markers. Out of AWS grew the Urban Farmer which showcases her passion for gardening and self sufficient living. When Patricia is not gardening you will find her cooking, rock climbing and hiking.
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