These days it seems like green juice is all the rage, and don’t you just love it when something that’s so healthy falls into fashion? And what does it matter if it’s just a trend? The end result is that people are hooked on something that’s really helping them.
Green juice. I call it plant blood, and I drink it every day. But paying for it when it’s pre-made at those swanky, overpriced “juice boutiques”? Sure, maybe for the celebrities and the socialites. But for us regular folks, purchasing fresh-pressed juice at $7-$10 a pop is almost certainly outside of our budgetary constraints.
But don’t let that be a deterrent! You can make fresh green juice at home, and you don’t even need to own a juicer. That’s right, all you need is a blender or a food processor, and you’re good to go. Fresh juice served up daily in your very own kitchen.
So clearly, homemade juice will save you some serious cash over pre-pressed drinks, but you’ll still have to purchase a lot of vegetables if you’re going to juice with any sort of regularity. And that pricy organic produce can really add up! So here’s a pro tip for aspiring daily juicers: if you really want to maximize your intake while minimizing financial impact, you need to grow your own greens.
Here are my top three tips for securing yourself an endless supply of awesome, homegrown green juice.
1. Grow greens.
Carrots, tomatoes, and even dwarf citrus trees can all be grown indoors with great success. But if you want to get the most from your micro-garden, then green is where it’s at: tender greens like spinach and romaine, hardy greens like kale, collards, and chard, and herbaceous greens like cilantro, parsley, and basil. These plants all pack a mighty punch of vitamins and minerals, plus they grow quickly and use minimal space. Most importantly, they form the nutritional base of any great green juice – and they taste amazing!
2. Feed them well.
Vegetables, like all plants, require the proper conditions in order to thrive. This includes light, temperature, soil, and water. Controlling these four elements is the key to successful micro-gardening.
For those with a patio, growing greens outdoors in pots, buckets, or flower boxes is a perfect choice when the weather permits. However, if you want to juice year-round, you’ll eventually require an indoor set-up.
Purchase a high-quality potting soil, and periodically fortify your plants with compost. Water them regularly (but not too much!), and be mindful of temperature and humidity when choosing their placement in your home or apartment. They like stability.
All that said, leafy greens and herbs are actually very hardy plants. A terra cotta pot and a windowsill, and they should be just fine.
3. Go vertical.
Micro-gardening requires a bit of creativity, and one of the easiest ways to maximize your usable space is by building up. The great thing about homegrown greens is that you can pluck a few stems off each plant, each day, and they’ll continue to replenish themselves. Still, a daily juicer needs a lot of greens, and one window sill probably won’t hold enough.
Open bookshelves, stainless steel kitchen storage, or even milk crates stacked on their sides – all of these make for a multi-level gardening system which you can construct in front of your window. And visually, the image of sunlight streaming through a wall of green can be very calming. Play around with it, and try to remain open minded. Growing your own food can actually enhance the overall aesthetics of your apartment.
With a little planning and a little ingenuity, you’ll be on your way to a steady flow of plant blood before you can even say “urban farmer.” Buy the cheap juicing staples like carrots, apples, celery, and cucumbers, and save the good green stuff – the expensive stuff – to grow at home.