As we approach the end of another summer in Sydney there are certain plants and herbs that are perfect for getting into your garden before the end of February. If you’re a lover of healthy foods and like to get out in the garden, why not consider planting some more unique vegetables in your garden? They are all extremely healthy with vast and varied health benefits, as well as being useful as attractive landscaping plants to help transform your garden in 2014.
1. Amaranth. You may never have heard of it, but Amaranth is an ancient vegetable and grain that can be consumed both as a leafy vegetable in salads, soups or stir fry’s, or as a Quinoa-like grain for topping your yoghurt or cereal. It’s colourful, rhubarb-like like leaves have vast health benefits include being a fantastic source of protein, fibre and iron and full of great vitamins and minerals. Amaranth helps boost your immune system and also aids in keeping those pesky grey hairs at bay!
2. Burdock. Another largely unknown and underutilised vegetable whose leaves, stems and root can all be consumed in an array of ways. Burdock has been a cornerstone of both Eastern and Western medicine due to its fantastic detoxifying properties and its ability to boost the function of many vital organs, namely the liver and kidney. Drinking Burdock leaf tea can prevent indigestion and Burdock root is used to treat a range of infections including throat infections as well as clearing up skin infections and other rashes. It also produces beautiful purple flowers and will create interest in your garden with its unusual appearance.
3. Fennel. Fennel is slowly becoming a more popular salad ingredient, but for those who are still in the dark about its benefits, it’s worth giving it a go. Fennel is a wonderful source of antioxidants, making it great for your skin and is loaded with important vitamins and minerals. It also looks attractive with its feathery leaves and white bulbs.
4. Silverbeet (or Swiss Chard). Available in both white, red and multi-coloured stalk varieties, this attractive plant is extremely low in calories and is one of the greatest known sources of vitamins C and A. It’s also a wonderful source of vitamin K, which is known to assist in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and aid bone health. Highly recommended for those who are dieting or wanting to eat more healthily. Silverbeet will look lovely growing in the vegie patch of even the most discerning gardener!
5. Beetroot. A long time Aussie favourite, beetroot is extremely good for your health with several diverse health benefits that you may not have known about. It’s fantastic for reducing blood pressure and is full of iron, vitamins and folic acid. Make a salad or pop it in a healthy burger!
Other more common vegies due to be planted by the end of summer include beans, carrot, lettuce, turnip and cucumbers, all of which can go straight into the ground in your backyard. Broccoli, cauliflower, leeks and onions are also due, but must be planted in a seed tray and kept undercover for 4-6 weeks then transplanted into your vegie patch. February is also the time to plant chives, oregano, parsley and coriander if you are a fan of herbs. Happy planting Sydneysiders!