​The Healthiest Herbs and Veggies to Plant in a Spring Garden ​The Healthiest Herbs and Veggies to Plant in a Spring Garden

Mar 8th 2023

​The Healthiest Herbs and Veggies to Plant in a Spring Garden

Written by Karen Roth, MSNC

Karen is a Certified Nutrition Consultant with a Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition. She enjoys sharing her knowledge to empower her clients to take control of their health with food and lifestyle choices.

Spring will be here before we know it and what better time to grow a garden with some of the easiest and healthiest herbs and vegetables.

Easy Herbs to Grow at Home

Basil is not only fragrant but very healthy. It's an excellent source of vitamin K, an essential vitamin needed by the body for blood clotting and building strong bones. It also has powerful antioxidants that promote immune and overall health. Basil can also be beneficial for healthy digestion. We can incorporate basil into our diet by making fresh pesto or chopping it and adding it to salad dressings or guacamole.

Oregano contains thymol and carvacrol, important for gut health. It also has potent antioxidants that can inhibit oxidative stress to our cells. Fresh oregano goes well in any bean dish. Try incorporating it into salad dressings or use it to top off soups and stews at the end of cooking.

Rosemary, with it’s pine-like fragrance, is one of the healthiest herbs we can eat. It's a concentrated source of flavonoids carnosol, rosmanol, and rosmarinic, all of which fight free radicals. Dating far back in time, rosemary was used to stimulate memory and increase alertness. The phytonutrients in rosemary activate liver enzymes, which aid in the detoxification process. Fresh rosemary is an excellent ingredient in tomato-based sauces such as those used on pizza and spaghetti. Also, don’t forget to season chicken with fresh rosemary before baking. It creates the most delicious flavor.

Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin C. Thymol is the primary volatile oil in thyme and it is responsible for protecting the fats that surround every cell in our bodies. Furthermore, it is critical for hormone signaling. Fresh thyme pairs well with turkey and chicken and, like rosemary, fresh thyme can be used top off hot soup, creating a wonderful flavor.

Easy Vegetables to Grow at Home

In addition to herbs, some of the healthiest spring vegetables can also be some of the easiest to grow.

Green peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are ready to harvest in approximately 60 days. They contain a healthy dose of fiber, which can keep us regular and support healthy blood sugar levels. Peas provide concentrated amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and folate which can help keep homocysteine levels in a healthy range. Peas can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw green peas are great in salads, and they can bring a nice color to soups and stews. Sugar snap peas are a great addition to veggie and dip platters. And snow peas go well in a stir fry.

Spinach, a leading superfood, is fast-growing and can be harvested in about 30 days once seeds are planted. It grows best in the spring and the fall. Many people know from childhood that spinach is one of the healthiest foods to eat and here’s why. Spinach is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are predominant antioxidants supporting the retina and macula. It is also one of the best foods for supporting bone health. In just 1 cup of fresh spinach we consume 200% of our daily value (DV) of vitamin K and in 1 cup of cooked spinach, which has five times the volume, we consume 1,000% of the DV. Spinach is also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium, both critical for healthy bones.

Green beans are another fast-growing vegetable and can produce an abundant crop in 50-55 days. Green beans are chocked full of antioxidants that have a direct impact on heart and bone health. Green beans can be eaten raw as part of a salad or vegetable/dip platter, or lightly steamed as a side dish. Keep in mind that boiling will dilute the flavor and leach the nutrients out of the beans.