March is here, and with it, the first signs of spring. Whether you discovered your love of gardening during the pandemic or you were born with a green thumb, you’re probably itching to start planning your garden – after all, the sooner you plan, the sooner you plant, the sooner you can feast! While you’re tilling the soil, why not make sure you’re showing some love to your gut at the same time? Here are the best vegetables for gut health to grow in a gut friendly garden.
YOU GUESSED IT….LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MAKE WAY FOR KALE!
At Fody, we’re all about those leafy greens! Some of the absolute best greens you can grow are cruciferous greens. Cruciferous greens are from the family Brassicacea, and are known for the good (being chock-full of nutrients), the bad (some are high-FODMAP) and the ugly (gas, sometimes).
- Cruciferous greens include kale, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, and collard greens, among many others. Kale has enjoyed the most celebrity in the family, and it’s widely recognized as a low-FODMAP superfood and one of the best vegetables for gut health.
- Kale is easy to grow, and can be planted early and grown late into the fall. A hardy and easy-going addition to your garden, kale can thrive with only 3-4 hours of sunlight per day. It can re-grow when properly harvested, and can generally be planted 2-3 times per summer. You can start kale seeds inside before the final thaw, or you can buy seedlings when you’re ready to get them in the ground.
- When it’s ready to pick, there are endless ways you can enjoy kale! You can give a superfood-twist to a classic Caesar salad, or go trendy with a quinoa-sweet potato salad. If you’re not feeling salad, you can throw your kale into plenty of warm dishes like this hearty baked ziti or even pizza.
- Fun fact: Kale grows well next to onions; however, if onions are a no-go for your gut, you can still enjoy their flavor in any dish thanks to Fody’s onion- and garlic-infused olive oils.
DON’T JUST CRUSH YOUR GUT FRIENDLY GARDEN GOALS … SQUASH THEM!
We know, we know…technically, squash is a fruit. However, it’s a garden staple that’s easy to grow and loaded with fiber and potassium, earning it a place in the gut friendly garden pantheon. With its sprawling vines and abundant fruit, squash is a versatile and tummy-friendly staple that comes in a dazzling array of varieties. Most squash are low-FODMAP and can be enjoyed as a side-dish or as the star of the show.
- There's squash for every taste! Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, zucchini and kabocha squash are only a few of them. While zucchini is not as low-FODMAP as its counterparts, it can still be enjoyed in moderation.
- Squash is not shy, and it will take up room. Make sure that you consider this when you plant your squash and give it plenty of room to spread out. Vertical growing is one potential way to save room, as squash vines like to climb. Squash need lots of sun and water, and they will be ready for harvest about two months after planting.
- Squash produces abundant fruit! In "The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible", Edward C. Smith says that “in some towns August is the only time folks lock their car doors…to keep over-blessed gardeners from dumping extra zucchini in them”. Be ready for your big harvest with some great recipes like these fajitas featuring zucchini, or just keep squash in your meal rotation with salads. Let it take center stage, such as in this roasted kabocha squash recipe, or get fancy and stuff it!
- Fun fact: Spaghetti squash is a nutritious, easy-to-prepare substitute for pasta. Delicious with a pat of butter or even olive oil, you can dress up spaghetti squash and recreate your old pasta favorites thanks to gut-friendly sauces like Fody’s Vegan Bolognese Sauce and Spicy Marinara.
GUT FRIENDLY GARDEN HONORABLE MENTION: GREEN BEANS
Green beans are a frozen or canned staple in many households; however, the snap and sweetness of fresh-off-the-vine green beans is incomparable. Low in FODMAPS (in small portions of about 15 beans) and versatile in the kitchen, green beans are a humble sidekick that deserves a shoutout!
- Green beans have many cousins, including haricots verts, long beans, wax beans and purple string beans, all of which are low-FODMAP in small portions.
- Like squash, green beans grow on vines and produce large harvests; unlike squash, they must climb to survive, and they require a trellis to thrive. Green beans love sun and lots of water, so make sure that they can be readily supplied with both when you plant them. Their seeds can be planted directly in the soil, and they should be replanted every two weeks to ensure a steady supply throughout the summer.
- While they’re not a main dish, green beans are a side that boosts the whole meal. Infuse them with delicious flavor in Fody’s Sesame Ginger Green Beans, or use them as an accompaniment to a chicken roast.
- Fun fact: While green beans have a natural sweetness, they’re mild enough to go with the flavor of almost any meal. From nutty and tangy to sweet and smoky, there are a ton of ways to dress up green beans!
What better way to welcome spring than with a gut friendly garden? As the last of the snow melts, we’re all looking forward to the planting–and the eating!