With the growing season well and truly on the way, we’ve put together a list of immunity boosting veg you can get growing now.
Rich in glutamine, fibre, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C; Beetroot is particularly good for your gut health. If you want an unusual way of getting more beetroot into your diet then try this smoothie recipe.
These are best started in seed trays filled with multi-purpose compost. Beetroot seeds are fairly large and need to be spaced around 10cm (4 inches) apart if sowing into a tray. You can sow closer together and then thin out as you go. To get a constant supply you can try staggering your sowing so you always have fresh beetroots! Dampen your compost before you sow your seeds so you don’t dislodge them. Sow your seeds and cover thinly with more compost – don’t forget to label and date. Keep your beetroots well-watered and weed free.
They are ready to harvest when the roots are about golf ball sized. The smaller variety will be ready at around 10 weeks, so are ideal for beginners who want to reap their rewards quickly.
Technically a fruit (as they have seeds) peppers are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Their immunity boosting properties makes them a great addition to your diet.
You can sow pepper seeds anytime from February to April if you have a greenhouse or enough room on your window sill as they are heat lovers. Simply sow into trays on multipurpose compost and keep in the humidity with a lid.
As they are frost sensitive, only plant out in June in a sunny spot if not growing in your greenhouse.
Technically, there aren’t any green peppers, just unripe red, orange and yellow varieties. You can wait until your peppers are very ripe but note that if you leave them attached to the plant too long your plant might not produce too many more.
Purple sprouting Broccoli
Thought to be anti-cancerous, purple spouting broccoli is high in vitamin C.
If you’re planning on starting your purple sprouting now then ensure that you have a warm enough environment, either a greenhouse or a kitchen window sill. Start by using seed cell trays filled with multi-purpose compost. When you have enough seedlings, you can then thin them out by pinching out the smaller seedlings to ensure you don’t disturb the roots.
Purple sprouting broccoli does need some patience as it takes around 5 months from sowing to harvest. Unlike your traditional broccoli which produces one large head, purple spouting broccoli has smaller heads across the plant which are very sweet and delicious. Have a look at this easy pasta dish to incorporate purple sprouting broccoli into your diet.