5 Fun and Nutritious Foods to Start Now for Your Summer Garden

Prepare your summer garden

As the days grow longer and the frost of winter fades, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your summer garden.

Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a novice gardener excited to cultivate your first plot, planning is key. Now is the opportune moment to start seeds indoors or plan for seedlings that will be transplanted into your garden come spring.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is not only a rewarding endeavor but also an excellent way to ensure you have fresh, nutritious produce throughout the summer.

By starting your seeds now, you’re setting the stage for a bountiful harvest of vibrant, tasty produce that will grace your table and enrich your meals.

Start Now for Your Summer Garden

The summer season offers excellent growing conditions for many delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables. While cool temperature crops such as greens, peas, and broccoli wrap up, the warm weather plants come into their prime. Summer produce tends to be cooling and hydrating, which is perfect for supporting our bodies during hot summer days.

Here are my five favorite foods to grow in the garden over the summer season, and some of their fantastic health benefits.

Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are such a delicious summer treat. There are so many varieties to try, with various shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes.

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants, which are incredibly beneficial for many aspects of our health. Tomatoes are an especially rich source of the antioxidant lycopene, which helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

They also contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted into Vitamin A, which supports the skin, eyes, and immune system. 

Zucchini

Zucchini is a tasty and hydrating low carbohydrate option. It’s rich in fiber which supports digestive health, blood sugar balance, and healthy cholesterol levels. It’s also an excellent source of a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health. 

Try the Romanesco variety for their delicious flavor and tenderness (even if they stay on the plant a little longer than you intended…). 

Their gorgeous yellow zucchini flowers are an additional edible bonus!

Eggplant

Eggplants have a soft creamy texture and mild flavor. They are another high fiber and low carbohydrate option, making them a great medicinal food for gut health, blood sugar regulation, and heart health.

Eggplants are rich in anthocyanins which give them their purple color. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative damage, support brain function, and prevent chronic disease.  The long slim Japanese eggplant are especially delicious sliced and grilled or layered into lasagna.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are over 95% water and are extremely hydrating. Their high water content combined with their source of fiber makes them fabulous for supporting digestion. They contain several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health.

Cucumbers make the perfect cooling crunchy snack on hot summer days. 

Peppers

Peppers are one of the best food sources of Vitamin C, which supports the immune system, skin, blood vessels and cartilage. Peppers are rich in many other antioxidants, such as quercetin, which is beneficial for allergies and reducing inflammation.

There are many different pepper varieties that can be grown over the summer. Jimmy Nardellos are my personal favorite, with their charming red curly appearance and delicious sweet flavor. 

Ready to get started with your summer garden? 

Here are a couple of our favorite resources for seeds and seedlings!

  • Love Apple Farms in Scott’s Valley.  This local treasure is worth the drive for heirloom tomato and vegetable starts!  Their seedling presale is on now with pick up towards the end of March! 
  • Baker Creek Rare Seed Company has a wide variety of heritage vegetable, fruit and flower seeds!  Next time you find yourself in Petaluma, visit their seed bank on Petaluma Blvd!  You can also check out their online catalog here:  https://www.rareseeds.com/

Schedule a 10 minute consultation at https://naturopathicfamilyhealth.com/consultation

Dr. Caitlan Gignac
Naturopathic Doctor San Jose
408-356-1364

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