Dealing with summer heat - Darren Wogman Gets Gardening

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  While spring has been a very wet one this year, already plants are suffering from the summer heat, which leads to them not having enough water at their root systems. Water companies are maybe thinking about hosepipe bans and so how to use water efficiently and to benefit your garden is highly important.      Established large plants such as trees and shrubs are mostly ok. They have a greater spread of roots underground than there are branches, twigs and leaves about ground. There is a balance between the plant’s ability to draw water from the ground and the amount of growth attained above ground, and in a dry year, the growth rings of trees will be closer together than in wet years. Dendrochronology is the science of mapping tree rings from this data and tells us how the moisture has affected tree growth, enabling trees to be dated accurately. Plants can absorb nutrients only in soluble form, and in dry conditions the growth will slow down tremendously. A really good wat

Darren Wogman Gets Gardening - 7 Super Foods You Can Grow in Your Garden

 

Superfoods are nutritionally dense plant-based foods containing high levels of vitamins and minerals — and they’re a great source of antioxidants and provide your body with protection against cell damage, disease and ageing. 

While most of these foods can be purchased at farmers' markets, health food shops and the supermarket, you can also grow many of them in your own garden.

 


Blueberries

Blueberries are among the most popular superfoods. They’re packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids (which help protect from oxidative stress). In fact, the anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries can help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. They’re also a great source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C.

Research shows blueberries can also improve cognitive function. A study from the University of Cincinnati found these superfoods enhance memory and learning function in older adults. The research showed that a high intake of flavonoids from blueberries can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.


You can plant blueberries in the early spring. You just need to pick the right variety for your climate and make sure your soil will provide the right growing conditions. 

For blueberries to thrive, the soil must be moist, high in organic matter, very acidic, and well-aerated. It’s best to do a soil test before you start planting.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a super grain that’s high in fibre, protein and essential amino acids. In fact, it has the highest protein content of any grain and is also high in iron and potassium. Truly, a superfood! Just half a cup of this wonder grain contains 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibre.


It may look like other grains, but quinoa tastes a little different. It has a mild, nutty flavour and has a fluffy but al dente consistency. It can be cooked like rice and incorporated into tons of recipes. 

You can use quinoa for making pancakes, salads, burgers, and even muffins.
Quinoa grows best in an environment where the temperature doesn’t get above 90 degrees. In many northern regions, the best time to plant quinoa is from late April to May. 

The soil should be most and seeds shouldn’t be sown more than one quarter-inch deep.

It can be tricky to grow grains at home, but with quinoa, its well worth the effort.

Kale

We often hear that greens are good for our health, and when it comes to plant-based food, kale is a real powerhouse. 

A cup of kale contains 14 percent of your recommended daily calcium, over 600 percent of your daily vitamin A, and more than 900 percent of your daily vitamin K. 

This superfood is also a very good source of iron. A serving of kale is packed with more iron than an ounce of beef.

One of the best things about using kale is that it’s so versatile. You can braise it, turn it into chips, add it to a morning smoothie, or incorporate it in your favourite dishes like mac & cheese.

Growing kale on your own isn’t hard. All you need is a sunny area where you can sow the seeds during early summer or spring. 

Although this vegetable grows best in sunny spots, it can also stand shade better than many vegetables. You can start harvesting the leaves between three and four months after sowing the seeds. These easy to grow, often hardy leafy friends are a Darren Wogman favourite.

Chia Seeds

“Chia” is a Mayan word meaning “strength,” and chia seeds were a source of energy for the Mayans. Chia seeds contain more protein than many other grains. 

They’re also rich in calcium (in fact they have five times more calcium than milk), they’re packed with omega 3 and six fatty acids, and are believed to have more antioxidants than blueberries. Research shows that aside from boosting energy, chia seeds also promote digestive function.

When planting chia seeds, it’s important to spread the seeds carefully; give them plenty of space to grow, then cover them gently with soil. 

The seeds should be watered daily. You can expect chia sprouts just a week after planting them.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are part of the yam family. These tuberous roots were a major source of nourishment for soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. 

They’re considered one of the most nutritious foods in the vegetable kingdom as they’re packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium.

These potatoes are naturally sweet and can be prepared in a variety of ways - mashed, baked, or incorporated into your favourite dishes. They make great substitutes for products like white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes grow well in loamy soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.2. These plants need proper aeration and should be planted between 12 and 18 inches apart. Although sweet potatoes can grow in relatively poor soil, they grow better with a little fertilizer. 

These vegetables are ready to harvest when the ends of their vines begin to turn yellow.

Beets

A native plant of North Africa, Asia, and Europe, beets are among the vegetables with high sugar content, and if eaten in moderation, they can provide many health benefits. 

They can help lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, prevent cancer, and boost immune system function. They’re rich in vitamin C, fibre, and essential minerals like manganese and potassium.

The leafy green tops of the beets can also be eaten. Beet greens are rich in protein, fibre, zinc, magnesium, copper, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Research shows that beet greens help fight off osteoporosis, boost immune system function, and provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

Beets grow well in a cooler environment. They thrive best in soil with temperature between 60 and 65 degrees. This makes them a Darren Wogman favourite!

When planting beets, remember to sow the seeds a half-inch deep in an area where they’re protected from heavy winds. 

These plants should be placed at least 2 to 3 inches apart as overcrowding will lead to poor development of the roots. This won’t be a problem though if you’re only after the leafy tops.

Goji Berries

Goji berries, sometimes called wolfberries, have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. They contain vitamins C, A, B2, iron, and selenium, plus antioxidants that help boost immune system function, reduce risk of heart disease and cancer, and improve overall health. 

These berries are also great sources of antioxidants and other phytonutrients, which contribute to eye and skin health.

Goji berries are perennial plants, and are very adaptable and can grow in containers.

These are just some of the superfoods you can grow on your own. It may take patience, but the payoff is you can have all the superfoods you need right inside your yard — plus even before you eat them, you get the benefits of growing them, including being outside, being active, witnessing the miracle of nature, and reducing your stress.
 
Posted by Darren Wogman

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