About Mike Eis

Physician, Author, Marketer, Scientist, Problem Solver, Carpenter and Armchair Philosopher

Organic Vegetable Gardening Builds Soil Nutrients and Human Nutrition

Organic vegetable gardening is all about using natural methods to produce crops. So far , so good. I blogged recently about a Stanford study that showed organic produce to be no better, in terms of nutrient content and pesticide residue, than conventionally grown crops. The soil influences the crops that grow in it. Here, Jim McLain writes a detailed piece for the YakimaHerald.Com describing the ins and outs of just how organic farming methods impact the environment compared with their more conventional petroleum-based brethren.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Builds Soil Nutrients and Human Nutrition

You can bet your back forty that organic farmers and backyard organic gardeners have been quick to challenge the Stanford findings. One challenge was that it did not look at environmental effects of how farming is done. Environmental impacts of farming methods were not within the parameters of the study.

Why bother to garden organically?

Organic vegetable gardening

Organic vegetable gardening avoids pesticides and is far less energy and natural resource dependent than conventional methods. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

Although many pesticides have been banned after having been found to be dangerous to the environment, there are still pesticides in use that organic growers are challenging the EPA to take a closer look at. There is also an ongoing debate about the safety limits of pesticide residue set by the EPA. And misused chemical pesticides and fertilizers continue to contaminate our lakes, rivers and groundwater, although less so than in the past.

Safety measures for farm workers who do the spraying and harvesting have been greatly improved in recent years, but there are still concerns over how current use is affecting farm workers’ health over years of exposure. And there is the same concern about the consumer’s health.

Organic farmers contend that their practices are sustainable, while conventional farms are far from it as they depend heavily on synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Both are made largely from petroleum and natural gas, which are not renewable. Conventional farms produce up to 40 percent more greenhouse gases per acre than organic farms, plus organic farms use 45 percent less energy in producing their crops.

Please read the entire article here at yakimaherald.com:

Organic vegetable gardening encompasses more than just growing your vegetables using manure instead of petroleum-based fertilizers. Every aspect of how the soil is managed and how the crops are nurtured in accordance with how nature already does it is part of the big picture. The differences between conventional and organic are probably not (yet) measurable, but they nonetheless exert a significant influence over one’s health during a lifetime of eating. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know that will do you in, it’s what you don’t know that will get you.

Why not weigh in on the debate and leave a comment below. This is one that is just getting started. Share the discussion with a friend by clicking one of the like buttons below.

 

 

 

Winter In The Vegetable Garden: No Season For Discontent

Now that winter is upon us, there’s still plenty to do in the vegetable garden. Aside form any pruning that didn’t get done earlier in the fall, there’s plenty to do just getting your garden soil prepared for next spring and the new growing season. Here’s an article by L. Woodrow Ross written for the Independent Mail at IndependentMail.Com all about what we should be doing in our gardens and around the yard this winter to get a jump start on spring.

Winter In The Vegetable Garden: No Season For Discontent

vegetable garden

Take the time to prepare your vegetable garden soil this winter to get a jump on next spring. Photo by audaxi c/o Photos.Com.

Humus can be added to improve the texture of the soil. This can be leaf mold or purchased peat moss. Leaf mold is easily created by composting leaves that you rake from your lawn in the fall. By the following fall they will have broken down and created leaf mold that is a wonderful amendment for the soil. Four-foot high fence wire can be staked into a circle and leaves piled inside and allowed to compact and decay for garden use.

In addition, a compost heap is a good investment for gardeners. Vegetable peels, decayed fruit, watermelon and cantaloupe rinds and other kitchen discards may be composted to create rich amendment for gardens and ornamentals. Composting can be done by created wooden bins and tossing vegetable matter inside. A little soil can be thrown in to hold moisture and it can be sprayed with a garden hose. Use a pitchfork to turn the compost occasionally.

Commercial compost bins come in many shapes and sizes. Some are elevated and barrel-shaped. They can be turned with a crank to mix the contents and are among the easiest to use. Others are simple plastic bins that have top-loading features and doors that open at the bottom to remove the composted material.

To maintain the soil in the best condition for spring planting, cover the surface with several inches of straw or leaves to keep it from freezing and to maintain moisture. If the soil is fertile, this covering will even allow earthworms to be active in the soil during the winter months. When the mulch is raked away in the spring, the rows can be laid off and you are ready to plant with a minimum of effort.

Read original article here:

The winter vegetable garden is still a place with plenty of activity if you focus on all the under the scenes action. Go ahead and get your soil and any plants and trees that need tending if you get a nice day. You’ll thank yourself later this year (and so will your vegetables).

Please go ahead and share your thoughts and opinions below by leaving a comment. Click on the like button and share this with a friend. I also have another magazine I’ve started over on ScoopIt! that has more interesting and fun articles for your reading enjoyment!

Is Organic Produce Better For Your Health: Recent Study Implies Not That Much

Organic produce has always been thought of as definitively better for your health than conventionally raised crops because of their lack of exposure to chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Now, there’s been a controversy in “River City” ever since a recent Stanford University study came out a few months ago saying, in effect, it ain’t necessarily so. Now, before I go any further, I want to point out that I’m only the messenger here, and in fact I’ve been leery of wandering too far into this minefield until now. I wrote a piece on this subject a few months ago and tested the waters. No hate mail or death threats so far. I’ll go so far as to even reveal my own bias in favor of organics being better for you. That being said, lots more out there have weighed in on this topic, and I’ve taken the effort of sampling some of what they had to say. First up is Howard Yune who writes in the NapaValleyRegister.Com and gets the locals to weigh in on the topic of pesticide avoidance.

Is Organic Produce Better For Your Health: Recent Study Implies Not That Much

Why buy organic food?organic vegetable gardening

A recent survey by Stanford University researchers of 240 studies of organically raised produce, meat and dairy products has raised eyebrows — and some hackles — by its conclusion that foods produced without synthetic pesticides and fertilizer have little or no nutritional edge over conventionally raised food.

But a week after the report’s release, many vendors and customers at the Napa Farmers Market dismissed that conclusion as beside the point.

Amid a cornucopia of melons, peppers, eggplants and other farm goods outside the Oxbow Public Market, many of those doing their grocery shopping Tuesday morning called their confidence in natural and locally based farming unshaken.

“I definitely think there not may be more nutritional value, but you’re not poisoning yourself,” said Whitney Shaw, a San Francisco resident visiting the Napa market who said about 85 percent of her food purchases are of organic products.

The report, led and co-written by Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler of the Stanford Center for Health Policy and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was not an original study but instead surveyed 240 existing studies on the health benefits of organic foods.

Smith-Spangler reported the studies showed no special benefits in nutrient content for foods raised without man-made fertilizers and pesticides. The study indicated organic produced was 30 percent less likely to contain detectable levels of pesticide residue, but added most conventionally grown fruits and vegetables remained below federal limits for such substances.

But some customers at the Napa market declared the nutritional value of organic produce is the least of its benefits, compared to the avoidance of chemicals — reflecting media criticisms of the report since its release Sept. 4.

“I think we understood that, but the pesticides are the important point,” said Sandra Koo, a recent transplant from Seattle to Napa while perusing the stalls at the farmers market. “An apple’s an apple, true, but how it’s raised is important. I think it tastes better too.”

Original article here at napavalleyregister.com:

Chris Peterson of the Corvallis Gazette-Times weighed in pretty heavily in favor of — wait for it — organic produce. He has his own reasons. Something to do with the dirt and how it’s grown. Why would that matter? Not addressed in the study by Stanford, so probably not important.

You’ve probably heard about the Stanford University study concluding that organically grown food does not appear to be any more nutritious than conventionally grown food.

The study was a four-year meta-analysis of 237 narrower studies, which raised more questions than it answered. It prompted consumers to re-examine their values concerning how their food is grown.

Frankly, after reading the inconclusive preliminaries, I don’t see why it warranted such press. Stanford paid for this study, but who funded the ones this research relied on? Then questions about one researcher’s suspect connections and university funding from nonorganic food and ag companies called it all into question. Big surprise.

As with elections, fact-checking is advised.

This whole dust-up only strengthened my resolve to buy from local farmers. Don’t just “hug your farmer,” as the bumper sticker commands, talk to her. Ask questions. Most who sell directly to consumers are happy to describe their farming practices.

Soil health is the key to nutrients in food. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can’t make up for depleted, lifeless soil. You know that just from repotting houseplants. Healthful food comes from healthy soil.

See Chris’ entire article here at gazettetimes.com:

Now, when you can get someone who works for a major university to say something, well, that’s saying something. Mike Jett wrote this piece for the Courier-Journal.Com and pointed out some inherent bias in the study in terms of who paid for it, what questions got asked and what kinds of answers were sought after. This is a crucial point. The average layperson believes research is funded to find the truth. Wrong! It’s funded to get the answer that the funding agent wants to see. Truth be told, and as a former research scientist myself, everyone doing research has a set notion of what’s going to be found out from any study or experiment. You have to. It’s your thesis. Truth gets discovered when you get an answer you didn’t expect. Taking a bunch of previously completed research studies (as was the case for the study here) and amalgamating them together into what’s called a meta-analysis gives a result, but it’s out of context with what the original studies were designed to show. I left the links in the excerpt so you could these out directly for yourself.

There was much to-do last week over the media headline ‘Stanford Study Finds Little Evidence of Health Benefits of Organic Foods.’ This headline sparked discussion nationwide and speculation that the term ‘organic’ is over-hyped and merely a method of charging more money for basically the same foods. (For a link to a summary of the study, click here. Curiously, I could not find a link to the actual study…..)

As usual, the media report was misguided on many levels. First, with so many media outlets these days, organizations are forced to ‘sensationalize’ headlines to grab attention, often distorting or embellishing the facts to make a splash. A very recent example of this is the headline: ‘No Yolk: eating the whole egg as dangerous as smoking?’ This came out a month or so ago and claimed that eating eggs is equally as damaging to the body as smoking. Seriously? Yes, that is what was reported. For a breakdown of this headline/study, visit Dr. Peter Swanz’s website , where he discusses the flaws in the study.

Second, it is very common for large corporations to fund studies. As a university employee I can tell you that research costs money, and funding has to be secured from an external source. Large corporations are very eager to fund studies that support their own agendas. One can imagine that this particular Stanford study may have been funded by a multi-national conventional produce provider. We cannot know for certain, however, because it was claimed that the funding source for this study is ‘unknown.’ Again, as a university employee, I can share that we document EVERYTHING, and every single thing we do has to be approved by multiple people. So, to state that something is unknown is completely absurd.

Read the complete article here at blogs.courier-journal.com:

The controversy over organic produce versus commercial rages on. I certainly suspect that there are powerful money interests in favor of commercial methods because of the enormous profit potential. The organic produce camp is swayed by the knowledge that local and sustainable and pesticide free is the only way that we as a species can survive in the long run. Unfortunately, no monied benefactors are waiting in the wings to fund a counter study to substantiate their position. On the other hand, there are those who take the viewpoint that the way we grow our food is destined to change out of necessity in order to feed and provide nutrition to everyone on this planet. ElizabethMcVay Greene argues in The Huffington Post that the future of our agricultural practices are going to be unconventional in nature. That the best way to produce vegetable and fruit crops that have the highest nutrient content and are most desirable to consume are at present only grown locally.

This organic nonsense has to stop. I’d like to politely request that those who don’t know agriculture cease writing about it as though they do, stoking an already divisive debate that misses the heart of the problem we face: We’re not sure how we should be growing food, and thus we’re not sure how to eat.

Anyone who suggests that a crop can be raised without the provision of nutrients and pest management should not opine on agriculture. Roger Cohen, I’m talking to you.

Saturday’s opinion piece in the New York Times, “The Organic Fable,” shows me just how far off course the discussion of agricultural production has gotten, because it spreads misinformation and focuses squarely on the wrong problem. If we continue to debate organic versus conventional, continue to view food choices as an emblem of class, and continue to use the nine billion future people of the world as a gauntlet that the human race must run, we are in trouble because the question is not first about production. It’s about distribution.

We produce enough to feed 1.3 billion more people than we actually do. And that’s in American proportions. In 2000, the USDA reported that Americans consumed almost 2,000 pounds of food per person per year. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tons of global food production goes to waste each year. Production by any method, standard or label is not our most pressing problem.

Read the original piece at huffingtonpost.com:

Whether you favor organic produce or conventionally grown, the argument about which is better for you may be increasingly moot in the future with availability for all becoming the new focus for concern. I agree that the highest nutritional value is while it’s still attached to the soil it sprang from. Once harvested, it’s a race to the bottom as far as nutritional content is concerned. An organic apple that traveled 3000 miles and was on the tree 2 weeks ago is never as good as one just picked. True, there are fewer pesticide residues in it versus one from the factory orchard in, say, New Zealand. Is one better nutritionally than another at that point is anyone’s guess. The Stanford study simply measured what it could, but the truly important measurements may not be, in the end, measurable at all. Good nutrition for all without too many harmful extras is best.

What do you think of this? Is it important to you what you eat and where it comes from? Leave a comment below and please share this with those friends and others close to you who care about this subject. Click the share button and spread these ideas to others.

Get The Best Dirt On Vegetable Gardening

There’s a lot of dirt being spread about vegetable gardening these days. No, really. The soil is where it’s at. Plenty of organic material broken down and decomposed from previous tenants of the earth ready to feed your garden for next season. Anything that grows uses nutrients from the soil to build itself into a plant. Only by decomposing and leaving its components behind can something else grow there in its place. Replacing nutrients with things like compost (the ultimate in nutrition for soil I might add) is a natural way of keeping your vegetable garden’s soil well balanced in the building blocks of life that your tender young plants will need to thrive in the spring. UC Master Gardener Nanette Londeree writes in Marinij.com how to amend your soil to get it ready for next year.

Get The Best Dirt On Vegetable Gardening

FALL IS FOR PLANTING. Whether you’re ready to set out cool season vegetables, add a specimen tree or divide your perennials, you can get a jump start on next season’s growing by planting now. It’s also a great time to invigorate beds for spring planting.vegetable gardening

If your garden is blessed with oodles of chocolate-colored, crumbly, vibrant soil just waiting to be used, you needn’t read any further. But if, like many Marin gardeners, you’ve got soil that looks like brick in the summer and glue in the winter, you may want to transform it into plant-friendly soil by amending it — adding materials to improve it.

But what do you add? A visit to your local nursery can put you on overload with the dizzying array of products, so it’s helpful to understand what you want from a material before buying it.

First some terminology: an amendment is any material mixed into the soil that indirectly aids plant growth by improving the condition of the soil, like its structure or texture, water retention or microbial activity.

The terms soil conditioner and amendment are often used interchangeably, both serving to improve the chemical, physical or biological properties of soil. Mulches are organic or inorganic materials placed on the soil surface to help prevent weed growth, conserve moisture and add organic matter to the soil as they break down. A number of materials used as soil amendments can act as a fertilizer by providing nutrients to the soil, or be applied to the soil surface as mulch.

Original article here at marinij.com:

Vegetable gardening teaches us many things, including a very important lesson about the continuity of life. We “get out” what we “put in” to our vegetable gardens. The seed provides the program, the sun and the earth provide the energy, and the nutrients within the soil contribute the building blocks to make a new plant. It’s truly amazing to contemplate the magnitude of such elegant simplicity! Why not try it yourself? Connect yourself to the infinite through your gardening next year.

Please leave a comment and share your experiences with us. You can also like this and share it with those you know and care about.

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?  Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mold myself.    —  Henry David Thoreau

Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

Just when you’ve  gotten this year’s vegetable garden put away for the year, it’s time to start planning for next year’s garden. When you come to realize that the majority of Americans plan to engage in some form of gardening projects next year, it’s truly amazing. Just think about how many are pulled into the vegetable patch each year. MyWestTexas.com put out a recent article that I thought would provoke those of you who were going to hibernate for the winter and get you starting thinking about what you’ll do for next spring’s planting season.

Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

Planning a spring vegetable garden? According to the National Gardening Association, eight out of 10 Americans will engage in some

vegetable garden

Photo by audaxl c/o Photos.Com.

variety of gardening in 2013 whether it’s in the form of planting an extensive vegetable patch, forcing indoor bulbs or planting some color near the front door of your home. Don’t allow the cool temperatures and shorter days of fall to retire your thoughts from chores that can be done now to make a spring vegetable garden more successful.

Decide today which vegetables you want to have on your table next year and plan accordingly. Site selection is the first step in planning your garden. Chose a flat location that receives plenty of sunlight; most vegetables require six to eight hours. If the garden receives too much intense light you can always provide shade, but a site that is too shady can’t be corrected. High winds can really do a number on your vegetables, so chose a site that provides protection from our West Texas gusts.

The best vegetable garden is the one you plan well ahead of time and get everything ready for in advance. Remember to keep your garden plan in line with your ability to manage it. In fact, you could even plan for a denser garden within the same footprint by adopting some square-foot gardening techniques. Try something new you haven’t done before and just see how it goes. Then share it with us here.
Please leave a comment and let everyone know what you’re up to in the garden plot.
A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.   — Gertrude Stein

Tips For Vegetable Gardening In Winter

Just wanted to draw your attention to the benefits of winter vegetable gardening. Have you considered it? You should. There are many places around the globe that have very short growing seasons and must be adapted to produce vegetable garden crops under these circumstances. Nova Scotia is one of those locations. Here, writer and gardener Niki Jabbour shares some tips and tricks for getting your garden to produce even when most gardeners might pack it in for the season. Her article appears in HalifaxNewsNet.

Tips For Vegetable Gardening In Winter

With the arrival of autumn in just a few days, it’s officially time to start thinking about protecting fall, and even winter, vegetables and herbs. In our 2,000 square foot veggie garden, I rely on a handful of sneaky season extenders to stretch our harvest from the traditional May to September garden into a full year-round food factory. Yes, I said year-round! Even in the middle of January and February we can walk up to the garden and harvest about 30 different crops – from salad greens (spinach, Swiss chard, mache,

winter vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening in winter can be done using a few easy techniques such as cold framing or using a cloche. Photo by Jonathan Eastland c/o Photos.Com.

mizuna, mustards, tatsoi, kale) to root crops (carrots, beets, parsnips, celery root) and even several stem crops (scallions, leeks, kohlrabi).

My secret is to grow the right vegetables at the right time and protect them with the right season extender. For example, I wouldn’t choose to grow heat loving vegetables like tomatoes in mid-winter, but rather cold tolerant crops like kale and spinach. Then, I pair them up with a protective device like a cold frame, cloche, mini hoop tunnel or even a thick layer of mulch.

Read Nikki’s other suggestions and tips here at halifaxnewsnet.ca:

Growing your crops by vegetable gardening in winter will greatly extend your garden’s output for the season. It will also enable you to do some valuable crop rotation since the warm weather varieties will necessarily differ in their nutrient requirements from those you plant for the cold. Choosing your crop varieties to be cold tolerant and then making an appropriate micro-climate for them using cold-frames and mulching can provide food throughout the winter months. Why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself.

Please feel free to leave a comment or two below. Share this with a fellow gardener by clicking the like button.

Half the interest of the garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.     — Mrs. C. W. Earle

Power To The People: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening On Your Front Lawn

Now, I didn’t quite know how to approach this post about raised bed vegetable gardening. I was actually thinking of calling this something like ‘Raise your economic awareness with raised bed vegetable gardening‘, or something like that. I happen to very much agree with the writer’s observations regarding the current state of our economy and the intentions of the multinational corporations who have steered us all over a financial cliff. I do believe very strongly that these overly large corporations, both directly and indirectly, have decimated the world economy in their quest for more profits. This is not capitalism at all, but crony corporatism. As a direct result of these sustained practices, there has been a steady and unrelenting dismantling of the middle class in this country, sending many hurtling far down the economic ladder. The writer of the article I’m highlighting here, Nancy Oden, presents some very compelling reasons to become more self sufficient with regard to food production in these challenging economic times. She recommends putting readily available resources to work by turning your front lawn into a source of food for your family. Her article is excerpted from the Bangor Daily News.

Power To The People: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening On Your Front Lawn

All this talk about “economic recovery” is delusional. This economy is not going to “recover.” What we had is gone forever.

Economies around the world are being deliberately crashed by Wall Street, banks such as Goldman-Sachs and owners of large corporations. They’re working hard to destroy the gains workers have made over hundreds of years, so they can return us to near-feudal times when workers were completely at the mercy of owners.

Their object is the Holy Grail of the extremely wealthy and their corporations: cheap labor. Corporations and their bought-government are replacing local workers with cheap foreign labor at an accelerating pace. Even poor-paying jobs are now given to cheap foreign labor.

raised bed vegetable gardening

Raised bed vegetable gardening can be done at low cost almost anywhere. Photo by Kenneth Wiedemann c/o Photos.Com.

One cannot blame the laborers who come here to work, or who take formerly American jobs outsourced to their countries; they’re desperate people, just as the corporations want the rest of to be, so we’ll do anything and work for any pittance to survive.

There’s no morality involved; it’s all about the money and how much more corporations can pocket every quarter.

The market knows no right or wrong, only profits.

The situation is difficult to accept, but accept it we must since neither you, nor I, have the power to stop this downhill slide.

So what can we do instead? What are our resources? We have lots of land and lots of water. This suggests, of course, the growing of food.

We can grow food in our own yards so we’re not dependent on industrial food from far away. Our gardens do not need pesticide poisons, thus saving money and insuring our better health.

While working in our raised-bed garden (raised beds are the most efficient and easiest way to grow food), we are getting healthy exercise, thereby lowering our risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer and other ills associated with a couch-potato lifestyle.

Once we taste our homegrown food, and have saved thousands of dollars by growing even a small garden, then we can grow more next year so there’s enough to share or sell locally. We can expand to become small, organic (no-spray, if you prefer that term) farmers growing diverse crops for local consumption.

Read the original article here at bangordailynews.com:

There are many places you can easily and cheaply implement raised bed vegetable gardening. Look around your yard. If your neighborhood allows, put it on your front lawn. You’ll be growing your own food and making a political statement at the same time. I do believe that there will be fewer well paying jobs in the future, but this isn’t necessarily a cause for dread. It’s an opportunity for all of us to take back our economy from the ground up (sorry). An economy based on individual effort and service to our neighbors and our communities is really what capitalism is all about. Let’s get growing!

Let me know what you think about this by leaving a comment below. Share this with people you know by clicking the like button.

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.     — Elizabeth Berry

Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Well, it’s October now, and before you know it another vegetable gardening season will come to a close as winter sets in. There are some crops that do tolerate a good touch of frost, but generally speaking, vegetables don’t grow in the snow for good reason. That said, many common garden vegetables can still be planted late in the season and harvested. Right now you should be making arrangements for what’s going to be harvested and when, as well as protecting what is still in the ground from sudden drops in temperature. This is especially of concern overnight when the below freezing cold can creep in on little cat feet and steal your hard work. Here is an article by Bunny Guinness in The Telegraph that enumerates some of the preparations she recommends that keep her garden going even into very cold weather.

Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Winter gardens are like chilly swimming pools, refreshing and invigorating once you have taken the plunge. I like to get out in the garden most weekends, relishing the crisper air and more energetic types of winter gardening.

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening in the cold is possible with the right crop selection and planning. Photo by Alain Turgeon c/o Photos.Com.

Keeping your vegetable beds brimful so you have an “outdoor larder” stocked for continual use works in many ways. Making sure the soil is always covered with plants helps stop nutrients being washed through the soil, and keeps the soil structure and organisms in good order.

You can grow edibles you cannot buy and, most important of all, having a wide range of vegetables and herbs means your menus become more diverse and biased in favour of greenery.

The winter vegetable garden needs a little help in the soil department. No green manures for me, though. I would rather have a productive crop and just add compost to top up organic matter. I add this whenever I change a crop and earth up and top-dress with it too.

Check your soil’s pH. The RHS is offering free soil testing of four samples (to everyone, not just members) till the end of October (see rhs.org.uk). Even on my alkaline (pH8) soil, the continual addition of compost increases the acidity, so adding lime (usually in winter) is necessary.

When your vegetable gardening season starts coming to a close, realize that there is still plenty of life left in your garden. With the proper planning, plant selection and timing, you can still get another round of produce out of it. Why not try some of Bunny’s suggestions for your own garden and see what you can harvest. You might surprise yourself.
Please leave a comment below. If you’re one of those late season vegetable gardeners like Bunny, share your experiences with us. You can also click the like button and share this idea with a fellow gardener.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.  —  Tom Robbins

Vegetable Gardening For Better Health

When it comes to vegetable gardening in general, I doubt that anyone would debate that growing your own vegetables isn’t good for your health. After all, the assumption is that you eat what you grow. That’s a given. Not many of us (well,not me anyway) would actually consider that simply by participating in the activity of growing your own food in your garden you are promoting your better health. That’s right! Yet, it’s so obvious nobody discusses it. Simply by going through all of the routine gardening activities like digging and moving soil, weeding, watering, planting and harvesting, you’re more or less doing the equivalent of going to the gym on a regular basis. Here is a short article outlining four health benefits derived from vegetable gardening written by Emily Main of Rodale News reprinted on the Mother Nature Network.

Vegetable Gardening For Better Health

If the idea of digging in the dirt has never much appealed to you, consider this: A growing number of studies are finding improved mental and physical health benefits of gardening that extend far beyond the obvious rewards of exercise and fresh air. And in this economy, the free food certainly doesn’t hurt. There’s no need to dig up your entire back yard, either.
You need only a window box or a few houseplants to see these improvements in your health:

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening promotes good health through regular physical activity. Photo by Comstock c/o Photos.Com.

1. Improve your satisfaction with life.
It’s hard not to enjoy life when you’re surrounded by flowers, vegetables and all the wildlife they attract — and now there’s science to back that up. Professors from the University of Texas and Texas A&M asked 298 older adults how they would rate their “zest for life,” levels of optimism, and overall resolution and fortitude and found that gardeners had significantly higher scores in all those areas than non-gardeners.
Whether you’re vegetable gardening as a hobby or you’re doing it on a larger scale for profit, there are significant health benefits to doing so. Eating what you grow is beneficial to your health in more ways as well. Just think, by tending your vegetable garden regularly, you’re saving yourself the cost of a gym membership too. What a bargain!
Participating in moderately intense, regular but sustained physical activity helps to maintain good health and can be done at almost any age. As we boomers get older, we’d be wise to consider activities such as gardening, walking, or even yoga as ways to keep ourselves fit and out of the doctor’s office.
Why not leave a comment below and share this post with a friend. You could also click the like button and share this with a gardening buddy and share the good news about how hard they’re really working on their health!
Red beans and ricely yours.  — Louis Armstrong

Organic Vegetable Gardening: The Dirty Dozen And The Clean Fifteen

Many of us practice organic vegetable gardening to improve the nutrition value of what we feed our families, while at the same time eliminating unwanted pesticides from our diets. A recent study indicated that organic and commercially grown produce were, for all intents and purposes, identical. So, they concluded, why spend the extra money for organic produce? Here Bobby Shuttleworth writing for the WAFF.Com provides some insights into the study’s conclusions that there were no real differences between organic and commercially grown produce. Now, we all know better, don’t we.

Organic Vegetable Gardening: The Dirty Dozen And The Clean Fifteen

A recent report by Stanford University looked at more than 200 previous studies comparing organic and non organic produce. Parkway Campus Registered Dietician Kim Donohue deciphered the study.

“Statistically, there was no significant difference in the vitamins. Now there was a difference in the pesticide levels,” said Donohue.

And that can make a healthy difference for the careful shopper.organic vegetable gardening

“Of course organic foods do have lower pesticide levels, although fruits and vegetables do make natural pesticides to protect themselves,” Donohue said.

She said produce also absorbs pesticides differently.

Donohue said it goes back to what’s known as the “dirty dozen” or the “clean 15.”

“Fruits and vegetables with thinner skins tend to hold more pesticides. Fruits with thicker skin tend to hold less pesticides. Apples, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers – they have more pesticides.”

She said produce grown in the U.S. also contains fewer pesticides.

See the list of the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen here at waff.com:

Organic vegetable gardening produces pesticide free and nutrient rich produce. You know it and so do I. I’ll be discussing this in an upcoming post in more detail and putting this into better perspective for you. Stay tuned.

Go ahead and leave a comment and share your opinion on this. Have you seen the study? What do you think? Please share this with someone and click the like button to do so.

I have always thought a kitchen garden a more pleasant sight than the finest orangery. I lovee to see everything in perfection, and am more pleased to survey my rows of coleworts and cabbages, with a thousand nameless pot herbs springing up in their full fragrancy and verdure, than to see the tender plants of foreign countries.                                           —  Joseph Addison