Grow Your Own Pharmacy:
There are a number of vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis to keep us healthy. Strictly speaking we should be able to get all we need from nature, but when you see those irresistible bottles and jars of ‘extra vitamin’ supplements, it’s almost criminal not to give them a try. However, it seems that a) most of them get left in the back of a cupboard or b) we didn’t actually need them in the first place. Sometimes both ‘a’ and ‘b’ apply!
There are nine main vitamins we can find in everyday food crops and all of them can be grown at home. Vitamins D and B12 are absorbed through sunlight, and in meat and dairy products, so unless you are keeping your own hens, some vitamins will have to be ‘bought’ in – although that still doesn’t mean hitting the pill bottles… buy organic fresh produce as far as possible and grow the rest of the vitamins you and your family need:
Grow Your Own Pharmacy by vitamins……
Probably the most talked about vitamin, but we often cook out a lot of the goodness from vegetables, apart from tomatoes. They are one of the rare foods that hold their vitamin C during cooking, so grow lots! Other garden produce high in vitamin C includes blackcurrants, peppers and strawberries. Peppers need to be planted every year, but strawberries and blackcurrants need a permanent patch and will produce fruit for a number of years with just a little TLC. Find out more about growing peppers, hot or sweet on this page: Growing Peppers And did you know rosehips have more vitamin C (gram for gram) than oranges? These Rose Recipes use rose hips, and rose petals.
Well, yes apparently carrots really do help you see in the dark! One medium carrot can provide all the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which helps vision, and also acts as an antioxidant in the body to help fight off free radicals. Pumpkin is another good source of vitamin A, as well as winter kale, so remember to plant some before the summer’s out. Fresh green veg in the winter will help ward off colds and flu as well. More about carrots in all colours here:Growing Carrots
Vitamin B1 converts carbs and fats into energy so for a boost of daily energy, keep up with the B1. Foods rich in this vitamin are broad beans ( which can be grown twice a year ), sweet corn, hazelnuts and garlic. Garlic is easy to grow in a small space and will add that touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your cooking! Sweetcorn and hazelnuts need a bit more space, but are simple to grow and are popular and nutritious family foods. Find out more about growing nuts at home here: Growing Nuts
Although vitamin B2 can be found in spinach and is easy to grow in the home garden, we could diversify a little here and go for different tastes. Mushrooms are a good source of B2 and can be grown in kit form indoors. Salsify is a vegetable that many of us have forgotten about. It used to be called the oyster vegetable and is a great root crop as long as you have a good depth of soil in the veggie patch. ( You can have fun with food while you grow your own pharmacy! ) There are some amazing varieties of mushrooms you can grow at home. More fungi info here: Growing Mushrooms
This is where we can hit the good old fashioned staples. Potatoes and onions are a good source of vitamin B6. If you worry about potatoes being a weight gaining food, a fresh potato straight from the ground doesn’t need any additional butter, cheese or other toppings to make it tasty! (Oh, and And onions, if stored well, will last for months.) Buy a specially designed potato barrel to save space – and digging!