Sow your own superfoods

Why not strengthen your immune system by growing your own superfood veggies?

There is a lot of talk about superfoods. Basically, these are nutrient-rich foods that are part and parcel of a healthy diet. Many help to boost the immune system, which is hugely important in our Covid-aware times.

Not surprisingly, many superfoods are vegetables, which is good news for home gardeners. Here is a run-down of easy to grow winter veggies that fall into the superfood bracket.


In the veggie world, Kale has assumed superstar status, because of its high levels of vitamins A, C, and K. Just one cup a day of chopped kale (raw or cooked) meets the recommended daily allowance of these vitamins. Even better, its low on calories, fat and cholesterol.

Kale ‘Dinosaur’ from RAW seed is an Italian heirloom vegetable, called Cavolo Nero (black cabbage) in Italy. It has very ruffled long, narrow blue-green leaves that grow from the base. The  earthy, nutty flavour is sweeter and less bitter than other types of kale.

Sow from March to April in seed trays or directly into the ground. Space plants 50cm apart, as plants grow 90 to 100cm high and wide. Germination takes 10 to 20 days, and the leaves can be harvested when they are 30cm long.

The kale leaves can be cooked whole, chopped, or shredded, sautéed in olive oil with garlic and chilli, stewed in a broth, blanched, or used as wrappers with a filling and baked.


This under-rated veggie is also regarded as a superfood because it is loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Here’s something else you may not know. They’re delicious mashed (as a substitute for potatoes) or shredded raw as a coleslaw.

Turnips grow easily from seed and can be sown from February to April. If you don’t have space, grow turnips in a trough container, with potting soil enriched with compost. Adding sieved coffee grounds, that add nitrogen and discourage slugs.

Turnips like moist soil from germination to harvest. Thin out seedlings to 10cm apart and start harvesting from 40 days onwards. The smaller the turnips the sweeter they are, and the leaves can be eaten as greens.

Kirchhoff’s Turnip ‘Early Purple Top Globe’ is an heirloom variety. It has a purple shoulder with white body. The flesh is sweet and tender,  and is good for harvesting young as baby veg.


Microgreens are packed with nutrients. Most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper and are also a great source of plant compounds like antioxidants.

They are any leafy vegetables that are sown from seed and harvested when the first set of edible true leaves appear. They are great as garnishes or for signature salads. Cut off all the leaves or leave some plants to grow baby leaves. The smaller the leaves the greater the flavour.

Grow in seedling trays, window boxes, troughs or directly into the soil. Seed packet mixes include Mesclun mix that is a combo of lettuce and herbs. RAW seed has three micro-greens mixes: Old Mexico ( coriander, red beets, cabbage, radish, pepper cress), Oriental mix (coriander, Asian cabbage, Mizuna and Hon Tsai)  and Rainbow Blend (beetroot, Asian cabbage, kohlrabi, Italian broccoli and radish).

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse — an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron.

A great veggie for beginners, it provides an endless supply of green leaves that can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, boiled, baked and more.

Swiss chard needs fertile soil, sunshine and regular watering. Sow seed from February to April in seed trays or directly into the soil. Keep soil evenly moist with regular watering. The first leaves can be picked within 45 days. A liquid feed after every picking will produce Swiss chard that looks as if it is on steroids. To harvest, cut the outer leaves.

A very attractive variety is Kirchhoff’s Swiss Chard ‘Mixed’ that has brightly coloured stems.

Related Articles

Back to top button