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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Grow Your Own Veggies This Spring

It’s easy to start your own garden and enjoy the delicious (and healthy) results. Here are five veggies to grow.

Many Americans have started vegetable gardens -- to save money and enjoy homegrown veggies. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, consider giving it a try this spring. Start with these five healthy, easy-to-grow veggies recommended by Amanda Archibald, a registered dietitian

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are versatile and delicious, turning up in everything from salads and sandwiches to soups and pasta. These lush red orbs are chock-full of vitamins A and C, as well as phytonutrients like lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

How to grow your own: Tomatoes grow best in a sunny location in soil that has a pH of 5.5-6.8, is rich in organic matter and is well-drained. For more tips, visit WeekendGardener.com.

Basil
Once this tasty green herb sprouts, it can grow leaves for months. "As a member of the mint family, it offers similar benefits: It calms and settles the digestive system," says Archibald. "Basil may also have some antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and is used topically and as a tonic in cultures around the world."

How to grow your own: Plant outdoors after the last frost and keep the soil moist and free of weeds. For more tips, visit Growing-Basil.org

Swiss Chard
This delicious leafy green is rich in nutrients and produces a delicious leafy green that’s loaded with bone-building nutrients like vitamin K and magnesium. Its rich antioxidants make it an immune-booster.

How to grow your own: The hardy chard fares well in hot temperatures and has a long growing season. Be vigilant about watering, and pick the outer leaves first so the inner ones will grow more. For more tips, visit GardenersNet.com.

Summer Squash
The mild taste of summer squash makes it a versatile veggie. Toss it into soups and stews, grate it for salads, or chop it into chunks for tasty kebabs. Summer squash is rich in phytonutrients and grows well.

How to grow your own
: Check on your growing squash regularly and pluck them when they’re small and most flavorful. For more tips, visit: VegetableGardener.com.

Peppers
Peppers come in many varieties and range from mild bell peppers to spicy jalapenos. Whether they’re spicy or mild, peppers are a healthy source of antioxidants, carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Hot ones contain capsaicin, a substance that can help reduce pain and possibly even suppress appetite.

How to grow your own: Peppers do best in heat, so consider warming up the soil by covering it in black plastic. For more tips, visit WVU.edu

About the Author
Winnie Yu
is Completely You's mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.

Also read: "How to Make a Sensational Smoothie" and"5 Eating Habits for Perfect Oral Health"

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