“Good For You” Veggies You Can Plant Right Now
By, Ann Meisoll
Who knew so many green plants were actually good for you?
Did you know you can grow a lot of those leafy superfoods during the late summer/fall season? Greens like kale, lettuce, collards, spinach and mustard all grow well here in Richmond. So do crops like cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, Brussels sprouts, and Swiss chard. There are other veggies you can grow, but these seem to be some of the most popular ones. Fall crops can be grown from seed or from small starter plants.
Spinach: Spinach is by far one of the most popular greens. It’s easy and fast to grow, and tastes great in so many different recipes. Fun fact—March 26 is National Spinach Day.
Lettuce: There are so many kinds of lettuce, it’s impossible to list them all. If you’ve only ever had iceberg lettuce, be brave and try a leaf lettuce or butterhead. They taste SO much better! Fun fact–Lettuce is the 2nd most popular fresh vegetable in the US.
Kale: Kale is a well-known superfood. Step away from the grocery store kind and grow your own—try Portuguese kale or dinosaur kale for a different taste and look. Fun fact– After a frost, kale becomes sweeter.
Collards: Collards are an old South food favorite. They are related to the cabbage family, and grown for their leaves. Fun fact—Collards have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years.
Mustard: Mustard is a lesser known superfood. It has a peppery flavor when added to dishes. Fun fact—Mustard is native to India.
Swiss chard: Swiss chard is almost always served cooked, not raw. It makes a stand-out plant in the garden with thick stems that are white, pink, yellow or red. Fun fact—The botanist that discovered and named Swiss chard was Swiss, and it is grown throughout Switzerland.
Cabbage: There are so many kinds of cabbages and so many ways to use them, it’s a shame not to grow them. Step away from the round basketballs you usually find in the produce section, and grow a Napa cabbage or a Savoy. Both are beautiful to look at and they taste good too! Fun fact—Cabbage is a weight loss food. One cup contains about 15 calories.
Cauliflower: A love it or hate it plant, cauliflower is now available in colors. You can find it in white, orange and purple. Fun fact—Orange cauliflower is sweeter than white cauliflower.
Brussels sprouts: These are often called mini-cabbages, although they look more like aliens! Brussels sprouts are THE new trendy food. Saute them, boil them or cook them on a grill. Fun fact—They are the most hated vegetable in America.
Radishes: Radishes are so easy to grow, you can have a crop in just over 30 days! They can have a little heat to them, but the crunch and flavor is well worth it. Fun fact—Radishes are related to wasabi (Japanese horseradish).
Broccoli: Another love it or hate it plant, broccoli is just plain good for you. Boiled, steamed or raw, it adds a tasty crunch to your favorite meal. Fun fact—Former President George HW Bush hated broccoli so much, he banned it from both Air Force 1 and the White House.