Who doesn’t love a smoothie? You’ve seen salsa gardens, and salad gardens, but have you ever seen a garden grown specifically for making smoothies? Here’s how to grow a smoothie garden!
The kids and I have been making a lot of smoothies since the weather warmed up here and it got me thinking one day as I was tossing a half-ton of super expensive frozen berries into the blender yet again. I realized that it seems so silly to be going through all of this over-packaged store-bought frozen fruit when I have many of the things that we like to use for smoothies planted in the garden right outside the house! One thing led to another and I thought “Hmm, what if someone really loved smoothies and could grow a garden with enough smoothie ingredients to last them all year?” then I thought “They totally could!” A lot of common smoothie ingredients are super easy to grow, so if you love smoothies, now’s a great time to get planting so you can fill your freezer with everything you’ll need! Here’s how I would grow a smoothie garden!
How to Grow a Smoothie Garden: The Setup
For your smoothie garden, you’ll want to select an area in full sun. Divide the area up into two sections: one will be for perennial plants and shrubs, and one will be for annuals and crops that you’ll rotate more frequently.
The great thing about a smoothie garden is that a lot of these plants will do really well even if you neglect them, but it’s still a good idea to work some compost or some rich black earth from the garden centre in to the area where you’ll be planting before you begin.
Plants to Grow in a Smoothie Garden
And now for the fun part: the plants! Of course, you can get just as creative with the plants that you grow for your smoothies as you do with the plants that you put in your smoothies! If you want to try something that sounds a little crazy, I say “Why not?” I’ve included some of my favourites below that I like to include in my smoothies, which tend to be a little more what you would consider to be “classic” smoothie ingredients because that’s what my kids like, but of course feel free to go nuts with whatever you like.
Look for ever-bearing varieties. We started growing these a few years ago and we’ll never go back. We get strawberries out of our patch from the end of June all the way until the beginning of December some years!
Definitely leave a big area for your raspberry patch because it will grow and grow. If you have the space, let it keep growing and multiplying and you’ll have enough raspberries for the year and then some! If you’re working with a small area, just pull up the baby raspberry plants as they pop up to keep the patch more contained.
We all know that blueberries are some of the healthiest fruits that you can eat and they’re just loaded with all kinds of nutrients, but I only recently realized how great they are in smoothies. I’ve always intended to plant blueberries in the berry patch, but for some reason we hadn’t until this year. My realization that we could use them in our morning smoothies was just the motivation we needed, I guess!
I’ve also started using apples (or apple sauce) in our smoothies a lot for a bit of added natural sweetness. You don’t normally think of apples as a smoothie ingredient but they work in just about any recipe and you don’t even taste them. It’s basically the same idea as when you use apple sauce in baking.
Kale has become so popular in the last few years and it’s so easy to grow in the garden. (Related: How to Grow Your Own Kale) I find Kale is tastiest to eat as a leafy salad green when it’s still small, but we grow so much of it that it often gets really big before we can harvest it all. The big kale leaves are perfect for smoothies! You can add a lot to make a green smoothie, or you can hide just a little bit of it in a blueberry smoothie (or other dark-coloured smoothie recipe) and no one will even know it’s there!
Swiss chard is very similar to kale, with a slightly different flavour. Another great, easy-to-grow green that will work well in any smoothie. I love that my Swiss chard lasts well into the colder months, so you can still harvest it in the fall for fresh greens in your smoothies.
In writing this, I’m starting to realize why I have a hard time keeping up with harvesting and eating all of our greens – we obviously grow a lot! You may not think of using some of the more tender lettuces in smoothies, but most of them actually work quite well and add a really nice, fresh flavour to your smoothies.
I like to add a little almond milk into a lot of my smoothies so I started thinking about what kinds of things I could use in smoothies in place of that and I realized that the sunflower seeds we grow every year would be perfect. I actually already toss a few sunflower seeds into our smoothies quite often to make them a little more filling, but did you know that you can actually make sunflower seed milk? If you’re really committed to adding creating a smoothie completely from things you’ve grown yourself, this is one way it can be done!
Mint is a really fun thing to add into a summer smoothie on a really hot day if you’re looking to make something really refreshing. It also makes a great garnish if you’re feeling fancy! 🙂
What else do you grow in your garden that could be used in a smoothie? Have you ever heard of someone trying to grow a smoothie garden?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.