These harvested leaves of common garden vegetables will make your own green supplements when dried and powdered. (Mary Lowther photo)

These harvested leaves of common garden vegetables will make your own green supplements when dried and powdered. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Making your own supplements from garden plants

Health food stores offer powdered green supplements to augment deficiencies of commercial vegetables

By Mary Lowther

One problem with writing a gardening column is the seasonal nature of the subject, and the constant danger of repeating myself. In previous columns I have already discussed how hybridization and genetic modification have actually removed much of the nutritional value from commercially available food. Even worse, the soils our food is grown in have been so depleted of minerals and other nutrients that their vitamin content has decreased alarmingly since pioneer days. It doesn’t matter how much compost and manure farmers ply their land with, if they aren’t replacing minerals that don’t come back to the farm, their land becomes more barren each year and even organically grown crops cannot produce a completely healthy diet.

Our awareness of this has led to a new industry. Health food stores now offer powdered green supplements to augment the deficiencies of commercially available vegetables, but if the soil in which the source plants are grown is also depleted how good can the product be? Why buy expensive supplements from unknown sources when we are able to make our own from leaves of our own vegetables grown in properly mineralized soil? No green supplement is going to equal the nutrient dense vegetables we can grow ourselves in our own carefully maintained dirt.

Kelp meal, fish fertilizers and marine plants like seaweed and milfoil contain abundant minerals and are great additions to the soil, but they only provide minerals from the rocky substrate upon which they dwell. I add trace minerals to my fertilizer mix to make up for those removed by my previous harvest to ensure an equally nutritious future. Then I tend to eat the traditional parts of the vegetables and toss the rest into the compost heap, but lately I am wondering if this might not be wasteful. If the rest of the plant is nutritious can it not be used as well? Why not make a powdered green supplement with it to augment my trace element requirements and not waste good food?

David says that sometimes I think too much, but I think this is what winter is for. Perhaps hockey was invented to give us more to think about during those long December nights. But I digress. I already knew that pea, bean, carrot and all the cruciferous vegetable leaves are edible, but didn’t learn until recently that radish and squash leaves and stems are as well. Why not harvest them, dry them out and make my own supplement to add to soups, stews and smoothies?

Some plants like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers are off the list though, because the jury’s still out on whether or not the leaves and stems are good to eat. I decided to take no chances and just stick with crops that have been declared totally safe.

To make my own green powder I dried the leaves in my dehydrator then reduced them to a powder in the blender. A teaspoon or two each day ought to boost my mineral needs over the winter, and as this powder gets used up, I’ll just go out and pick some more leaves and use the stems for broth. I wonder if hockey fans will taste the difference?

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The finished green powder supplement made from veggie leaves from the garden. (Mary Lowther photo)

The finished green powder supplement made from veggie leaves from the garden. (Mary Lowther photo)

Just Posted

North Cowichan to add three more off-leash dog areas in the new year. (File photo)
North Cowichan adds three new off-leash areas

Trial program runs through 2021, but not the summer months

Principal Marie-Claude Carrier has overseen the opening of the Cowichan Valley’s first francophone school. (Citizen file)
Registration now open for Duncan Francophone school

École francophone de Duncan opened last fall with six students

Reggie went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park on Jan. 3 and owner Brittny Bukva is hoping for his safe return. (Submitted)
Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Workers prepare to take down 28 large trees on private property on Mill Bay Road this week after they were intentionally poisoned almost two years ago. (Submitted photo)
Still no charges over poisoning of trees in Mill Bay

It’s been almost two years since incident involving 28 large trees

Cory Harrington has been found. (Submitted photo)
Missing Lake Cowichan man located

Cory Harrington was last seen on Dec. 11

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read