Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies and common uses of leisure time in the U. S. and through-out the world. Anyone who wants to garden should be able to do so, regardless of their physical or mental ability. The Holistic Garden is designed so that anyone can participate in the act of gardening and be in contact with nature. Contact with nature reduces mental stress and fatigue. The gardening practices used here work together with the natural ecosystem of which the garden is a part. The Holistic Garden at the School of Public Health teaches students and community members how to use the garden as a tool to improve physical and mental health through better nutrition, regular exercise and contemplation in a natural setting.
improve physical and mental health through better nutrition, regular exercise and contemplation in a natural setting. The Holistic Garden offers hands-on experiential learning that will augment our nutrition education and public health curricula. Our students and community members will learn how the garden and the act of gardening can be tools to improve nutrition and physical activity, while preventing or reducing the severity of various chronic conditions that are plaguing our modern society, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart and circulatory problems, depression, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many others.
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A sweet root vegetable available year-round and can be prepared a variety of ways. They come in five different varieties ranging from dark red to white to golden yellow in color. Gardening history mentions root crops being grown by the early civilizations of Mediterranean Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Beet greens were originally the only part of the vegetable consumed. Northeast Europe was the first area in the 1500's to consume the root as a dietary staple because it grew well through the cold Winter. Pair well with citrus flavors, salty cheeses, rich nuts, and vinaigrettes.
Beet root has a high inorganic nitrate content which is helpful for reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow.
- Fiber important for digestive health and keeps you feeling full
- Vitamin C important for immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Vitamin K important for blood clotting
- Biotin promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails
- Folate important for preventing neural tube defects and may help prevent cancer
- Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
- Iron & Copper important in red blood cell formation
- Manganese contributes to healthy bones
- Vitamin A important for vision, bone development, and immune function
- Calcium important for strong bones
How to Shop
Choose beets that are heavy for their size and firm and smooth without any nicks or cuts. If the greens are still attached, they should be brightly colored and fresh. Beets are available year-round, but winter is the prime time for baby beets, which are sweeter and more tender.
How to Grow
Beets like cool weather. It is best to plant them during cool weather when the soil reaches 50 degrees F. Beets do best in deep, well drained soil such as sandy soil. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart. Harvest about 50-70 days for most varieties from sowing.
How to Store
- Remove beet greens from the roots before storing, leaving about one inch of stem attached. Store beets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three weeks; beet greens should be used within a few days.