In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
March, 2013
Regional Report

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High in Vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin K, broccoli provides unequaled nutritional benefits.

Planting Great Nutrition

Grow for Good Health
Mother told you to eat your vegetables, but she may not have known that some are more nutritious than others. Vitamin C and fiber content top the list of vegetable benefits, but there are many healthy components you should know about as you plan the edible garden.

  • Carrots bring high levels of vitamins A and C to the spring garden. To get their beta carotene for your eyes, skin and hair, choose shorter varieties if you grow in heavy soils.
  • Brussels sprouts may look like little cabbages, but their dark green color bursts with omega 3 fatty acids for heart health and folic acid, important in pregnancy. With a long growing season from fall to winter, you can harvest these sprouts for a month or more.
  • Squash provides magnesium and potassium, essential nutrients for cognitive function. Yellow and orange squashes are high in beta carotene and can be grown several times each year.
  • Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and iron, good for digestion and circulation. Enjoy their high levels of manganese and vitamins A and C from plants started from slips in warm weather.
  • The Solanaceae family, which includes tomato, pepper, and eggplant, delivers more nutrients than a shelf of supplements. Plant all three in spring and fall for their lycopene, folic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Make Room for Broccoli
The best thing in the garden now must be broccoli, planted from August to February for nearly nonstop harvests through March at least. Lauded by nutritionists for its potential to boost immunity, this crucifer offers the highest antioxidant levels, as well as generous amounts of Vitamin C, beta carotene, and fiber. My big pots of broccoli planted last fall have been making delicious side shoots since the big picking in December. Now the focus shifts to plants in the raised bed that will mature just as the late spring heat tries to bolt them into flower. My family eats most of what we grow fresh, but any extra broccoli freezes very well. Most people eat little of the stem. Instead of composting it, try keeping a bag of stems in the freezer for a great addition to soups and broths.

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