June 23, 2016
5 Delicious Superfoods You Thought You Couldn’t Grow
Many of us have house plants, potted flowers, and even lush indoor herb gardens. What some folks might not know is that many food-bearing plants commonly thought of as “imported” or “too large” can be grown right in your own home. We’ve selected 5 surprising options that are both phenomenally healthy and usually omitted from the average home garden. I’m especially excited about #4.
Potted lemon trees in cooler climes? You bet.
The nutrient, domestic, and cosmetic applications of lemons are too many to list here. In brief, they have an abundance of vitamins (A, C, B6, and E) and are a useful household cleaning agent. Applied to the skin and scalp, lemon juice can also treat dandruff and ease skin pain like sunburns and bug bites. However, my favorite application of lemons is in the kitchen, where they act as a flavor-force-multiplier. The acid in lemon juice, when added to virtually any dish, will accentuate every other flavor and make your cooking sing.
Fortunately for all of us not living in balmy climes, there are varieties of lemon trees that can be grown in containers, indoors. Perhaps the most notable of these species is the Meyer lemon tree, which has a reputation for being hardy and generous with its fruit. These will probably grow best in our Opus Grows All Purposeful mix, and should be planted in a container of at least five gallons (half a bag of Opus Grows Mixes 1, 2 and 3) for the first two to three years. They need plenty of light so try to find them a sunny southern exposure or supplement using daylight spectrum light bulbs.
Pro-tip #1: To ensure production indoors, you can manually pollinate your lemon tree’s flowers with a paintbrush or cotton swab.
Pro-tip #2: You can turbo-boost your tree’s soil by adding our Biotope soil amendment every 3 to 4 months.
Grow multiple kale plants indoors for year-round nutrition.
Kale is probably one of the first vegetables most people associate with healthy eating, and for good reason. It has a high fiber content, is stuffed with nutrients, contains Omega-3 fatty acids, and helps facilitate detoxification by virtue of its high sulfur content. I like to prepare mine with coconut oil and a little lemon juice.
In the right conditions, one kale plant can continue to produce nutritious leaves for months, but I like to keep several plants as I eat the stuff daily. You’ll want to choose a planting pot with good drainage and at least 9 inches deep. Our Opus Grows All Purposeful Mix #1 will serve your kale plants beautifully by providing proper nutrients and drainage.
Grow your own avocado tree in your home, no matter where you live.
Avocados are one of those fortuitous fruits that are mouth-wateringly delicious and phenomenally healthy at the same time. They are chock-full of proteins, fibers, and healthy fats which facilitate the metabolization of calories from other foods. Additionally, they contain large dose of potassium, which helps maintain your body’s cellular integrity and fight off leg cramps.
Most of us have tried growing an avocado plant from their large, walnut-sized pit. You might be able to grow a tree in this manner, but you will encounter some difficulties. First off, the resulting plant will most likely not bear any fruit and even if it does the resulting fruit won’t resemble the avocado it came from. Additionally, these plants can grow over 40 feet tall, precluding their residence in any but the most exceptional homes.
Fortunately, dwarf varieties of avocado tree have been bred to stay small and still produce ample fruit. You will need a large container at least 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep, and will be best served by using our Opus Grows Lush Hydroponics Mix #3 which allows for maximum drainage and prevents root-rot for happening. It might take up to 3-4 years for your avocado tree to start fruiting, but when it does you can get fruits of up to 2 pounds!
Pro-tip: Pruning the topmost growth from these trees will encourage them to grow outwards instead of upwards, rendering them easier to maintain and harvest.
Save money and always have fresh ginger at hand by growing it yourself.
Ginger is delicious in almost everything, and I always use it up quickly. Growing this expensive, nutritious powerhouse of a root is a great way to save money and always have ample fresh supply at hand.
The health benefits and uses of ginger have been recognized for centuries. Ginger can help prevent nausea and sea-sickness (I always ginger-up before any extensive maritime journey, see Lady Washington for details), serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and overall treatment for digestion-related ailments.
It is important to acquire ginger rhizomes (the knobby root sections) from an organic source because commercial ginger is often sprayed with growth inhibitors and pesticides which prevent the root from producing shoots. It is possible to start from seed as well, though this process takes much longer. Once you have acquired a healthy, plump, organic ginger rhizome, you can break it up into its natural segments, bury it under 2 inches of soil, and keep in moist for 3-4 months. Our Opus Grows Nuts for Coco Mix #2 is ideal for the application, as it will retain moisture for longer and help provide an ideally damp environment for the ginger root to thrive. It will do best in a partially sunny to shady areas.
After about 4 months, you can begin to harvest the ginger by removing the entire plant - roots, shoots, and all - from the soil and slicing of fresh ginger as needed! When you have removed the amount you want, you simply replace the plant in the soil and let it continue to grow!
Pro-tip: Keep several containers of live ginger around so you don’t over-harvest from a single plant.
Eating turmeric daily will super-charge your immune system.
Aaand here’s the turmeric! Hailing from the same family as ginger, turmeric has many of the same lauded properties such as being anti-carcinogenic, and a natural antibiotic. However, the bright yellow pigment in turmeric known as curcumin has unique properties warranting turmeric a section of its own. Some studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric has pharmacological effects comparable to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications without the risk of liver toxicity. My preferred preparation method for turmeric is to mince it up and steep it just like you would steep tea leaves, though the resulting yellow concoction will stain anything permeable it touches. Be advised! Do not drink while wearing your invisalign.
Since turmeric is so similar to ginger, we don’t need to go through all the steps for growing turmeric at home. Just remember to keep the soil damp (again, we suggest the Opus Grows Nuts for Coco Mix #2), keep the plants in a shady or semi-day lit area, then kick back and wait for your turmeric to grow!
Good luck and happy container-gardening! We’d love to hear any tips and tricks that you might have already tried and tested.