The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Gardening for Maximum Nutrition

Gardening for Maximum NutritionIf you were looking for a hearty dose of vitamin C in plant form, what would you eat?  If you answered "an orange", you're way off track --- you'd actually get more of the immune-system-boosting vitamin from a serving of broccoli, leaf amaranth, sweet peppers, or brussels sprouts.  In Gardening for Maximum Nutrition, Jerry Minnich exposes nutritional myths and drops hints for getting the most nutrition out of your garden.

Minnich notes that between 1925 and 1971, the American diet saw a 42% decrease in fresh fruits and vegetables, with the slack taken up by a lot more processed food.  Perhaps as a result of the focus on processed food, the nutritional value of those fruits and vegetables declined by 10 to 20% during the same period.  However, processing wasn't the only reason for the nutritional downturn --- growing methods and vegetable varieties also led to the watering down of our nutrition.

Gardening for Maximum Nutrition was published in 1983, so it has a seventies perspective on which food groups are bad for you (meats and fats are bad, the potato is swell.)  If you ignore that part, though, the book is easy to read, full of fun line drawings, and very informative.  And the author boldly states that following the tips in his book will allow you to double the nutritional output of your garden without spending any more time or expanding your growing area.  With a claim like that, how could you stop reading?

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This post is part of our Gardening for Maximum Nutrition lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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