“This is the time of the year that I find I crave these quick and easy to grow little beauties,” says Margaret.
There is something quite enchanting sitting in the winter sunshine and eating a freshly pulled radish, washed under the garden tap.
It is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of delicious homemade vegetable soup, and the crispness of those tasty radishes, some almost golf ball size, gives you that lift in the heart that spring is almost able to be tasted.
I steam whole radishes, leaves intact, for dinner and whizz them through the juicer, leaves and all, for health boosting carrot, apple, wheatgrass, celery and beetroot juices midday for energy and vitality, and relish every sip.
Radishes are full of marvellous micro nutrients that boost the immune system, act as a tonic for the liver, expectorant, diuretic, and improve the digestion, flushing out toxins. We now understand why it has been so popular a vegetable through the centuries!
2. Rocket – Eruca sativa
Another easy to grow little beauty is rocket, specially for salads in the spring, as it clears toxins like the radish does. Crushed flowers and leaves are still used today to clear skin blemishes, and included in the daily salad are excellent for clearing oily skin and giving a glow to the face.
The green rocket pods can be pounded with honey and lemon juice to make a good cough treatment in a little hot water, and don’t forget rocket can be used in soups and stir fries as well as in salads, and the leaves are rich in Vitamins A & C, folic acid, calcium and iron.
Try rubbing a rocket leaf well crushed onto an itchy insect bite the way the ancient field workers did under the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Try rocket leaves with tomato salad, lemon juice and salt and taste Italy. I am planting rocket next to tomatoes this summer.
Now is the time for the precious Borage. Once you have it you will always find seedlings coming up, and fresh borage leaves dipped in pancake batter are absolutely delicious served with salads for lunch, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
This is another soup ingredient I cannot be without, and the beautiful blue flowers are exquisite floated in spring drinks. Use the tiny borage seedlings that come up all over the garden for stir fries and replant some, spaced almost a metre apart, for luscious borage rows to draw the bees. Borage is a bee plant and the flowers are edible.
Borage stimulates the adrenal gland to produce its own cortisone. Put fresh leaves and flowers into white grape vinegar to use as a poultice treatment for sprains and bruises. Add fresh leaves to the bath, tied in a facecloth, for aching feet and legs, and use it as a wash. And remember, old borage plants in the compost heap are perfect for adding mineral salts to the soil.
Warmed leaves and flowers in boiling water are beautiful to add to the bath for skin problems – there is no end to the wonders of Borage.
These three are the most rewarding of the super foods and marvellous medicinal herbs. Get planting – Spring is almost here!
For more info
Note: Margaret Roberts has a fine selection of plants and seeds available from her nursery. Her shop stocks a wide variety of their health products that can be posted to you.