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10 Easy-to-Grow Herbs and Vegetables & Refreshing Recipe

May 16, 2013

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There’s nothing better than biting into a juicy tomato ripe off the vine or adding fresh herbs to a summertime meal. But the reality is that if we want to enjoy fresh seasonal produce, our local grocery store isn’t always the best option.  So what do we do if we want to add fresh foods to our diet without stretching our budget with frequent trips to the farmer’s market?

Growing your own herbs and veggies is a fantastic way to help save money, reduce your environmental impact, and eat fresh, healthy foods all season long. The best part is that you don’t need a ton of space to grow your own organic produce. There are lots of herbs and vegetables that you can grow right in your backyard or even your kitchen!

A surprising number of herbs thrive as in indoor plants.  If you’re looking to add a flavorful punch to your food, why not grow your own fresh seasonings this summer? To get started, all you need is a bright space and the appropriate containers and soil.

Here are 5 easy-to-grow herbs:

  1. Basil: there are variety of basil plants that can grow in your outdoor garden or easily be transplanted indoors. Basil complements any salad, tomato dish, soup, or stew.
  2. Chives: This grass-like herb has a delicate onion flavor and can grow well right right on your windowsill. 
  3. Dill: This annual plant is aromatic and best grown indoors. It will liven up any dish.
  4. Mint: This plant is easy to grow, and does not need direct sunlight to thrive. Try adding it to lemonade or salads for a fresh twist.
  5. Parsley: Both Italian flat-leaf and curly-leaf parley make excellent indoor plants. Parsley is a great addition to salads, soups and chicken dishes.

Store-bought vegetables are no match for homegrown. Good thing you can easily grow your own fresh vegetables—even if you’ve never gardened before!  Just make sure to follow the directions for the specific plant you are harvesting.

Here are 5 vegetables you can grow at home:

  1. Tomatoes: Pick a spot in your yard that receives a lot of sunlight, add the appropriate soil, and plant your seeds. Fresh tomatoes are delicious in a variety of dishes including, salads, sandwiches, and pasta.
  2. Cucumbers: This vegetable makes for a cooling summertime snack. Cucumbers grow best in warmer temperatures, so wait to plant your cucumbers until the soil is at least in the 70 degree F range.
  3. Radishes: A great source of potassium, folic acid, and magnesium, radishes are a healthy addition to salads and dressings and can be easily grown by planting seeds directly into a sunny patch of soil.
  4. Spinach: There is a variety of spinach you can grow yourself. Tip: You can pick spinach leaves continuously once they are of size to encourage new growth.
  5. Peppers: Peppers contain a lot of nutrients like folate and manganese and are a zesty addition to meals. Tip: Till the soil with both compost and Epsom salts to enrich the peppers with magnesium.

Try using your homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and parsley to make this delicious and refreshing chopped salad recipe from 2011 grad Melanie Banayat!

Want some more tasty and healthy ways to freshen up your diet? Check out our new Summer Wellness Tune-Up guide for tips, recipes, and natural remedies to jumpstart a healthy, happy summer. Download your Summer Wellness Tune-Up guide now!

About the author

Alexis D’Alba is as a contributing writer to Wellness Today and a 2012 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She enjoys spinning and kick-boxing classes, and loves experimenting with different smoothie recipes in her Vitamix blender.