The benefits of antioxidants are endless, and the great news is that you can grow your own antioxidant rich fruits and veggies in your garden. Follow these top tips so you can have control over what you grow, when, and the varieties that suit you.
Antioxidants claim to help prevent diseases and make you look and feel younger by slowing down the ageing process. Instead of relying on supplements, you can grow your own real, whole foods full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Belinda Thackeray, Horticulturalist Expert from Eden Gardens shares her tips for growing antioxidants in the backyard.
To get started with warm seasonal veggies, choose a full sun position, enrich garden soil with organic matter like compost or manure, and select premium potting mix for pots.
• Carrots are root vegetables that are high in carotenes and can grow in both gardens and large pots. Try growing Rainbow Carrots which come in yellows, reds and purples for something fun.
• Kale is a vigorous grower, with leaves that can be continuously harvested as needed. Keep an eye out for caterpillars that often also enjoy the highly nutritious foliage, and control as needed.
• Tomatoes are a staple in any summer veggie garden, with fruit high in beta carotene, lycopene and a host of vitamins. For large robust fruit try growing the reliable Grosse Lisse or the old favourite Ox heart; for medium size fruit try Patio Prize or Pink Pearl; for small cherry tomatoes try Sweet Bite or Grape; or for something different plant stripy Tigerella or new release cascading tomato Cherry Fountain, which grows well in pots and hanging baskets.
Antioxidant filled fruit can also be easily grown at home.
• Evergreen blueberry hybrids are grown in pots and gardens, reaching 1m high. They prefer full sun, slightly acidic soil and fruit from late spring to summer. Once established, each bush will produce up to an amazing 4 kilograms of berries each season.
• Strawberries are perennial trailing plants that thrive in sunny spots, in hanging baskets or planted on soil mounds in gardens. Start with reliable varieties like Sweetheart and Torrey.
COFFEE & TEA
Why not try growing your own coffee or tea?
• Coffee is an evergreen tree that grows to 5m tall in a sunny position. The green berries turn red when ripe, and after a fermenting, drying and roasting process produce antioxidant rich coffee beans ready for drinking.
• Tea is harvested from young leaf tips of established Camellia sinensis and can be used fresh as green tea or dried and treated as black tea.
Growing your own fresh produce allows you to harvest at the peak ripeness. Fruit and veggies can be enjoyed straight from the garden without transport, storage or retailing delays, when nutritional values can start to decrease. Get outdoors and improve your health while connecting with the living green world.