How to grow a green thumb and cultivate fresh food.
The weather is warming up, and gardening season is about to begin. Growing your own produce comes with the benefits of lowering your grocery bill and avoiding unwanted preservatives, not to mention providing fresh ingredients and the pride of growing your own food. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you may already have a game plan. If you’re a novice (or just trying to work around inflation), it can seem intimidating, but like with anything new, you won’t know until you try. So whether it’s for your apartment balcony or your Gaillardia-sized yard, here are a few easy-to-grow plants with major health benefits.
Flavorwise, fresh herbs are undoubtedly superior to the dried variety. You can use them to transform the simplest dishes: saute some sage with your butter pasta or pop a few basil leaves in your otherwise uneventful sandwich. Incredibly easy to grow, they don’t take up much space either. Most herbs need a sunny location (with at least five hours of sun a day) and well-drained soil. They also do well in containers, making them ideal for apartments. Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage are all ideal candidates for Oklahoma gardening. If you’ve never planted anything in your life, mint is the easiest herb to grow. It only requires regular watering and can adapt to most soil. Mint also tends to take over a garden, so you may want to use a container.
No more half-wilted boxes of spring mix in the back of your fridge. Keep salads fresh with leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and swiss chard. These nutrient-dense plants can also be grown indoors in containers. It’s best to plant them in early mid-February to mid-March. Greens grow best in moderately deep, friable (easily crumbled), highly fertile soils.
Although it doesn’t do anything for your breath, garlic may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and support your immune function, as well as reduce inflammation and blood clotting. It also has strong antioxidant properties, and it makes everything taste good. Around mid-September, take your cloves apart and plant the toes about 4” deep. Or if you have a soil thermometer, plant it when the soil temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yellow varieties of squash, also known as summer squash, provide numerous health benefits. The vegetable is high in vitamins A, B6 and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. This power-packed plant should be seeded in April about 4 feet apart and 3/4” to 1” in depth. Ensure the soil is rich and has plenty of nutrient content, and keep it well-watered. You’ll get your harvest in about 60 days.