Question: As my food-growing abilities have grown, I find I’m curious about growing those that are richest in protein and calories to maximize my gardening efforts. Can you steer me toward the vegetables that give me the best return for those two values?
Answer: A lot of research has been done, and though the numbers vary widely, the rankings stay pretty much static.
So here goes. Be aware that much of a vegetable’s nutritional value has to do with the specific variety and the way in which it is grown. This list was compiled at the University of California, Davis.
▪ Potato (7 oz.): 220 calories; 4.7 grams protein
▪ Parsnip ( 1/2 cup): 63 calories; 1.0 gram protein
▪ Winter squash ( 1/2 cup): 57 calories, 1.1 grams protein
▪ Onion ( 1/2 cup): 47 calories, 1.4 grams protein
▪ Carrot (2.5 oz.): 31 calories, 1.2 grams protein
▪ Tomato (4 oz.): 26 calories, 1.0 gram protein
▪ Broccoli and kale are highest in protein.
You will, of course, need to add other green vegetables to your diet to ensure you get enough antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc.
I was surprised to see how much protein potatoes have. And it’s a starch you can grow here, unlike rice and some of the other grains. Lose the butter and sour cream, and you’re set!
Kathleen Bander of Bellingham is a lifelong gardener. Her column will appear in The Bellingham Herald weekly through the summer growing season. If you have a gardening question you’d like answered in the column, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more gardening information online, go to whatcom.wsu.edu/ch/mg.html.
Recycling pots and containers
Good news, all you gardeners. Lowe’s, the home improvement store off Sunset in Bellingham, is accepting plastic plant pots and containers for recycling. In fact, they’re doing this in all their stores across the country. Kudos to them. And finally, several shelves in my shed can be cleared out!