Showing posts with label Nina Regevik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nina Regevik. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Learning Garden

By Nina K. Regevik, M.D., FACP, ABIHM

Co-Director, Division of Integrative Health
Medical Director, Division of HIV Services

Gardening is a passion of mine. I like to think of the garden as our “farmacy” because there are so many nutrients in the veggies and herbs we grow. We started The Learning Garden, an on-site vegetable garden at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center - Perth Amboy, to educate children and adults about container gardening and growing vegetables and herbs. It gives us a way to encourage healthy eating for our team members, patients and the community. The Learning Garden is overseen by the Integrative Health Services team and a Master Gardener. We are serious about gardening, but we have a lot of serious fun!

This is our hospital garden’s third season and it’s off to a great start. Before we even began planting this spring, we noticed a bunch of red and purple-fleshed potatoes sprouting from spuds we must have missed harvesting last year. If this happens to you, no need to worry because the potatoes will probably re-seed over the winter and grow into a whole new plant the next year. Our mixed lettuces did the same thing. They went to seed and re-sprouted early this spring, just as our Master Gardener, Connie Elek, predicted they would.

Besides a variety of vegetables and herbs, we planted Nasturtiums with edible flowers and leaves to add a bright orange color to our garden and a peppery taste to salads. They are also high in Vitamins A, C, and D. Sunflowers line the perimeter of the garden. Those large edible heads are filled with super nutritious seeds rich in bone-healthy minerals magnesium and copper and cancer fighting selenium.

You may have pulled this “weed” in your garden (see photo) from between your patio stones. Well pull no more! It’s a mega-nutrient. Purslane is its name and huge doses of omega 3’s is its game! My sources say there is not another plant that has more of these healthy heart oils than purslane. It also has six-times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. Toss it in your salads for a crunchy nutrient boost.

Unfortunately, most of our commercially available fatty fish have a lot of toxins. If you are going to eat them, do some damage control. We planted cilantro, a flavorful herb which is used in many cuisines. Try it in your fish dishes. It helps to prevent the absorption of heavy metals, especially when eating large fatty fish such as commercially available canned tuna.

How you water your garden is just as important as the amount of sunlight and the soil you use (by the way, we like organic mushroom mix soil). We chose an under-soil soaker system to save the planet’s water as well as to get the water directly to the roots where it is needed. And remember to water even if it rains. Rainwater slides off the leaves and misses the roots.

Stop by any Thursday from noon – 1:00 p.m. with your gardening questions and to learn from our Master Gardener. Registration is required by calling 732-324-5257.