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4 Go-To Garden Picks for Iowa

TomatoesSpring is here! It’s time to prepare for your garden. Having your own garden is an inexpensive way to provide nutritious options for you and your family. Although Iowa has a relatively short growing season, there are several fruits and vegetables that can thrive here.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a very popular choice for home gardens. This perennial contains fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium and Vitamins A, B6 and C. They’re also a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which blocks free radicals. And you can use them in a variety of ways. Use them to top salads and sandwiches.  They also can be canned for salsa, pasta sauce or soup. Tomatoes need plenty of sun and should be planted in a different spot each year.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain an excellent amount of vitamin C, which is great for your immune system as well as your skin. They are also a great source of potassium and riboflavin. The soil should be a steady 60 degrees or warmer for planting. Sautee or grill peppers for a tasty side dish, or dip peppers in hummus for a low-calorie snack.

Peas

The many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in peas support healthy blood vessels. Garden, snow and snap peas are cool season vegetables that should be planted in April. They store well frozen, canned or dehydrated.

Green Beans

Fresh green beans are low in calories and contain no saturated fats. They are full of healthy amounts of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Use string-less green beans and plant them in late May or early June. Harvest often for optimal taste. Beans can be used in stir-fry, stews and salads. They can also be tasty on their own by steaming or boiling them.

Maintaining your own garden is great for your health and your wallet, plus it can be fun for the whole family. Contact your family doctor to discuss integrating healthy foods into your diet. Find a provider now or call the MercyCare Find-a-Doc line at (319) 369-4444.

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