Just like our bodies get the vitamins and minerals they need from the food we eat, our fruits and vegetables get their vitamins and minerals from the soil and water we feed them. If you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables from your own garden but not benefiting quite as much as you thought you would health-wise, it may simply be a case of remineralising your soil before you next plant, and ensuring your plants stay well fed.
There are plenty of commercial products which can help you do this. Blood and bone is a favorite of chef Annabel Langbein, whose terraced garden in Wanaka is always flourishing. “Soil solver” is another great option.
Compost is a great place to start if you don’t want to fork out for a commercial product – while you’re getting your garden beds ready, it’s as simple as taking your organic matter and burying it, then digging that soil back up once everything’s broken down. Fair warning: if you bury any pumpkin leftovers that have seeds included, you’re likely to end up with a pumpkin patch, and potato peelings may sprout leaves (though surprise veggies are rarely a bad thing!). Planting peas and beans is a great way to get more nitrogen back into your soil.
If you’re not a gardener, support your local farmer’s market or roadside stalls: most commercially grown vegetables and fruits in Australia are, sadly, grown in mineral deficient soil (due to the high turnover).