Early spring can come soon after the new year when resolutions of healthy eating are also starting. These healthy greens can help you kick start that resolution and take it a step further by growing your own. These ten greens are cold hardy which means they can handle a few cold snaps more than other edible plants. Handling cold spells better allows some of us to start growing as early as January for some depending on the USDA cold plant hardiness zones. Get your salad bowls ready for this list and we’ll let you know how to start growing, the health benefits to these healthy greens, and some recipes to top off your green eating with yummy flavor.
Top 10 Healthy Greens
How to grow these greens in the early spring
Growing these early spring greens are surprisingly easy! The only way to grow these as early as possible since they are cold hardy is to start them from seed. Even if you have tried growing from seed before and failed, have no fear. The New Health Cycle is here to guide you in the garden.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.
Direct sew into the soil either in the ground or containers.
Till up the ground or get your soil ready in containers or raised beds. In the early spring and in humid areas, these healthy green seeds sprout in about a week. The best seeds I’ve used that sprout every time no problem is here at True Leaf Market. They have all of these greens to choose from organic and many other fruits and vegetables to grow.
If you’re growing in containers and you live in a less humid area, you can simply put saran rap over the top and poke a couple holes. This will help hold in the humidity after you water in the seeds.
Note: Plant seeds on top of the soil and lightly sprinkle a layer of soil on top of the seeds. Smaller seeds need to be closer to the surface.
Or start seeds indoors in seed pods under grow lights.
Some winters can be too cloudy for seeds to sprout so growing them indoors can be beneficial to use grow lights. True Leaf Market has all your successful seed starting supplies including the best grow lights. The only worry usually with growing indoors is mold. Make sure the seeds are watered then let them air out with a fan in the room at night to reduce the chance of mold growing. This is the same concept if you have issues with mold in your houseplants.
Modify soil for optimal growth.
If your seeds have sprouted indoors it’s time to get modify your soil where the plants permanent home will be. You can modify the soil when direct sewing in containers or grow beds as well. This article will guide you through the exact soil modification steps for these plants with an added trick to help them grow quickly and healthy.
Water with fluoride and chlorine free water.
The amount of water is very important to keep these plants evenly moist, but, beginner gardeners don’t realize the fluoride and chlorine in city water is toxic to these plants. These chemicals won’t kill the plants but they will reduce nutrient absorption, reduce growth, and cause lesions on the leafs that you don’t want to eat in your salad. They also can kill beneficial bacteria plants use to increase nitrogen absorption. If you’re growing in containers, here’s how I recommend you water your edible plants. If you’re growing outdoors and using a water hose. This is an inline hose water filter that removes fluoride and chlorine and much more. It can also be used for RVs so you drink and shower in cleaner water.
Health benefits of these healthy greens
One of the biggest benefits is that leafy greens are low in calories but high in essential dietary nutrients. So those healthy new years resolution dieters love to eat leafy greens.
Harvard provides good nutritional info on these greens. Romaine and Spinach are the highest in Vitamin A, Folate, Potassium and Fiber. These vitamins help keep your organs working properly and give your red blood cells a boost in energy. Women especially need nutrients during their cycle and can get more from eating this soup I recommend.
Kale and Spinach provide the most vitamin K, Calcium and Magnesium. Vitamin K is needed to heal quickly from cuts and bruises. It also helps keep your bones strong assisted by calcium and magnesium. Most people don’t realize you can get calcium from leafy greens or that about 68% of Americans experience a magnesium deficiency. Remember, everything in moderation. So make sure you learn about calcium oxalate coming from spinach and consider adding a splash of lemon juice to your salads.
Cilantro is one of my most favorite herbs. It’s packed full of nutrients as well, but has the power to detox the body of heavy metals that other herbs do not possess. Herbs are antibacterial with antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. For those watching their cholesterol and heart disease, these herbs help increase HDL and help lower LDL. Impressive! Herbs also bring tons of flavor that can be mixed with many different types of meals and salads.
The surprising health benefit of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower is the Vitamin C content. While oranges contain more, these veggies can still provide your daily needed amount ensuring your immune system is supported to help battle illness.
Recipes to improve your green eating
The raw diet is the best way to get the most nutrients from these foods. So I will recommend some yummy homemade salad dressing recipes and my favorite way to heat up carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower if you want to soften them up.
- ½ Cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ Cup Sour Cream, or Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons Dried Chives
- ½ teaspoon Dried Dill
- ½ teaspoon Dried Parsley
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ Cup Buttermilk
Mix all the ingredients and serve right away. Refrigerate. The recipe lasts as long as the dairy products normally would by themselves in the refrigerator. Making homemade ranch tastes WAY better than the store bought brands. You can also play with the ingredients with less or more depending on creaminess you desire and flavor. I personally like more dill flavor.
Homemade lemon olive oil dressing
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
How to roast veggies
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Lay parchment paper on a flat pan
- Cut veggies into bite size pieces and spread out in one layer on the parchment paper
- Drizzle olive oil to lightly coat all the veggies.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
- Cook for 20-25 minutes depending on oven.
Now you can eat your healthiest early spring greens and feel good about growing them on your own chemical free with organic gardening techniques. Show us your garden on instagram by tagging #thenewhealthcycle