For many gardeners in our area, May is the "magic" month when they can plant flowers and vegetables and the risk of frost is much lower. At this time of year, gardeners of every level of enthusiasm buy seed packets and potted varieties of flowers and vegetables. And for those who plant vegetables and herbs, the payoffs are many.
- Heart-smart eating from the beginning. Your fresh food retains its nutrients, since it doesn't lose any due to being transported long distances. It also is more fiber-rich and free of the added sodium found in processed and packaged foods.
- Savings in your overall food budget. One packet of spinach seeds costs a fraction of a bunch of fresh spinach, or even one box of frozen, from the supermarket.
- Heart-healthy food at your fingertips. What you grow you will eat. Involve family members in planting and harvesting, and they will be more likely to try new foods.
Here are some suggestions to get anyone started in the garden.
- Spinach and Swiss chard: Plant in full sun; a little shade is okay. Pick and prepare near serving time.
- Broccoli: Each plant can produce several heads plus individual spears over several months.
- Basil: The more leaves you pick, the more the plant produces. Great in soups, salads, tomato sauces - even on sandwiches.
- Zucchini: Harvest when small. Eat raw with dip, saute with onions and tomatoes. Blossoms are edible, too!
Looking for recipes for eating local this spring and summer? Check out our Pinterest board for garden-fresh recipes to try.
3 Easy Steps to Heart-Healthy Eating