By Rica Anne D. Victoriano

Because of rising food costs, as well as health risks associated with consuming fast food, more and more people are looking to switch to a healthier lifestyle. One of the means to do this is by growing an edible garden. Whether you’re thinking of starting one or just revamping what you have, here are some of the plants that you can grow at home.

Alugbati (Basella alba). Gracing this list is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in Asia for its nutrient content and easiness to grow. This leafy green is a climbing vine typically grown anywhere where it is humid and sunny. It is a good source of essential nutrients like iron and calcium which makes it good for treating anemia and osteoporosis. It is usually eaten sautéed or steamed and can be used as a garnish for salads, smoothies, and stews.

Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei). It’s name is coined name from the Japanese terms “ashita” and “ba” which means tomorrow’s leaf. This large velvety herb has the ability to regenerate new sprouts overnight. It can grow to a height of 50 to 120 centimeters given that it is in a damp and partially shady area. It goes well with soups, salads, and teas and is commonly used as a home remedy for digestive issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease and stomach ulcer.

Blue Ternate (Clitoria ternatea). This plant is a fast growing perennial vine that can grow from seed to a full bloom in a span of a month. Its leaves are usually used for juices while its luminous flower can be used when cooking rice for the aromatic smell and taste. It has also been utilized for centuries because of its neurological benefits as a memory enhancer, antidepressant, antistress, and tranquilizer.

Mustasa (Brassica juncea). This tiny plant is easy to grow; you can just scatter its seeds on
healthy soil and it will thrive. Mustasa has a lot of uses; it is the source condiment mustard and
its leaves are often used as a substitute for microgreens and ingredient for local dishes. It also
contains antioxidants and is a great source of fiber.

Oxalis (Oxalidaceae). This purple perennial plant can be easily grown in a sandy soil in a warm
and dry area. This plant’s leaf has a distinct sour taste thus, perfect to be sparingly used for
dishes like sinigang.

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana). This intensely sweet-tasting plant works well with loose and loamy
soil and has the ability to stand 1-3 feet. It makes a good substitute for sugar because of its
natural sweet taste. The intensity of its sweetness is said to be 200 times more than sugar.

Takip-kuhol or Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica). This herb belonging to the parsley family is good for teas and salads. It is also commonly used in preventing alzheimers and has potential in the field of dermatology, like preventing skin-aging.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) This perennial plant prefers warm and sheltered areas to be able to produce abundant leaves. It is usually used for adding savory flavor to dishes because of its aromatic and peppery taste. It can also be used to treat pain associated conditions like osteoarthritis.

These plants are just some of the edible greens that you can grow and harvest from your
gardens to ensure quality and healthy meals end up on your table.

From Amena Anantishi Bal and Karla Delgado’s Permaculture and Higher Consciousness talk
at the “Grow Your Own Food” workshop held at the TGD.In hub in Taguig City.