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

Hong Kong Elevates Organic Vegetable Gardening To New Heights

When it comes to organic vegetable gardening, maintaining higher standards is everything. In Hong Kong they appear to have a distrust for the produce coming from mainland China. With all of the scandals that have been reported concerning what is getting sprayed on ghe produce coming out of China that is for sale in Hong Kong, many locals are going out of their way to avoid this produce and growing their own vegetables by organic methods. Writer Mary Hui presented a piece in the New York Times, reprinted here in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s online edition, describing the lengths to which Hong Kong residents have been going to in order to ensure their food’s wholesomeness.

Hong Kong Elevates Organic Vegetable Gardening To New Heights

HONG KONG — Kimbo Chan knows all about the food scandals in China: the formaldehyde that is sometimes sprayed on Chinese cabbages, the melamine in the milk and the imitation soy sauce made from hair clippings. That is why he is growing vegetables on a rooftop high above the crowded streets of Hong Kong.

“Some mainland Chinese farms even buy industrial chemicals to use on their crops,” Mr. Chan said. “Chemicals not meant for agricultural uses at all.”

As millions of Hong Kong consumers grow increasingly worried about the purity and safety of the fruits, vegetables, meats and processed foods coming in from mainland China, more of them are striking out on their own by tending tiny plots on rooftops, on balconies and in far-flung, untouched corners of highly urbanized Hong Kong.

“Consumers are asking, will the food poison them?” said Jonathan Wong, a professor of biology and the director of the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center. “They worry about the quality of the food. There is a lack of confidence in the food supply in China.”

Organic food stores are opening across the city, and there is growing demand in the markets for organic produce despite its higher prices. There are about 100 certified organic farms in Hong Kong. Seven years ago, there were none.organic vegetable gardening

There is no official count of rooftop farms in Hong Kong, but they are clearly part of an international trend. New York has many commercialized rooftop farms established by companies like Gotham Greens, Bright Farms and Brooklyn Grange. In Berlin, an industrial-size rooftop vegetable and fish farm is in the pipeline. In Tokyo, a farm called Pasona O2 takes urban farming a step further: Vegetables are grown not only on roofs, but also in what was an underground bank vault.

With 7.1 million people in one of the most densely populated cities on earth, Hong Kong has little farmland and almost no agricultural sector. The territory imports more than 90 percent of its food. Hong Kong is hooked on vegetables, and 92 percent of its supply comes from mainland China.

On a recent morning at one of Hong Kong’s bustling and chaotic fresh produce markets, known here as “wet markets,” a woman bought three Chinese squashes for a good price. “Vegetables are expensive nowadays,” she said wearily. “Even if I cared enough about organic food and worried about chemicals, there’s nothing I can really do about it.”

Organic vegetable gardening produces nutritious and chemical free produce. Growing cam be done almost anywhere using square foot gardening techniques and raised bed gardens. When your food supply is questionable, do it yourself and make sure it’s safe to eat.
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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

Organic Vegetable Gardening: Cheap And Delicious

When you think of organic vegetable gardening, do you think healthy, inexpensive or just plain tasty? Well, you can certainly think of all three and be correct. Raising vegetable crops organically means using the energy of the soil and the sun efficiently, which is simply what nature already does. Nutrients are recycled and move through the system while maintaining an equilibrium, never needing to be replenished from any external sources. This is also the least expensive method of raising vegetable plants for the long run. Many restaurants prefer organically grown produce and work their menus around what’s available locally. This is because it’s freshest and has the highest nutrient content when it’s just harvested and hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to get to the end user. Here’s a short article from WRAL.Com that highlights some of the major benefits of organic produce that local markets and restaurants prefer over non-locally sourced vegetables.

Organic Vegetable Gardening: Cheap And Delicious

Two reasons many people don’t eat enough vegetables are cost and flavor. Many turn to cheaper processed foods packed with

organic vegetable gardening

Organic vegetable gardening produces crops with more flavor and nutrients than commercially grown. Photo by Paul Grecaud c/o Photos.Com.

sodium.

But one easy alternative is to grown your own.

Organic culinary farmer Maggie Lawrence is getting the most out of her summer produce before time runs out.

“One more good month of warm weather before we get a frost,” she said.

Everything she grows in a garden on the campus of SAS Institute in Cary ends up in Chef Scott Crawford’s kitchen at Heron’s restaurant.

“The key here is that it’s harvested today, cooked today and consumed today,” Crawford said.

As picked produce sits day after day, it loses flavor. So the restaurant menu is built around what’s available and ready for harvest.

Read the entire article here at wral.com:

When you factor in all of the costs, including transportation, organic vegetable gardening techniques are far more economical if you source the produce locally. Using natural fertilizers instead of petroleum based enhancers also does not deplete the soil of trace elements. Organically grown vegetables are available from local producers, and buying from them supports the local economy as well. So why not support your local growers and go organic?

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Never eat broccoli when there are cameras around.                                  —  Michael Stipe

Square Foot Container Vegetable Gardening: Just Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

With backyard space at a premium for many of you, square foot container vegetable gardening may be just the ticket. It’s actually quite amazing just how much produce you can produce from what seems like a very tiny area of soil. Yet, it’s the most efficient way of achieving the highest yields out of a limited space. This article about a family’s experiences with square foot gardening illustrates the many edible and inedible benefits they were able to achieve with their efforts. This article written by Krys Stefansky for HamptonRoads.com is both instructive and enlightening.

Square Foot Container Vegetable Gardening: Just Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

If Will and Katie Wyndham want additional privacy in the backyard, they can take seats behind their tomatoes.

square foot container vegetable gardening

Square foot container vegetable gardening provides the most produce for the least amount of garden space. Photo by Bonnie Ingersoll c/o Photos.Com.

The four plants Will put in this spring have grown to a hedge-like 10 feet high, lush with branches, leaves and fruit.

“I’ve never seen tomatoes this tall,” Will Wyndham said, still amazed at his success.

Nor has the Norfolk man seen strawberries with a yield as high, nor scarlet runner beans as prolific.

His secret? Following the instructions for an organic technique known as square-foot gardening in a book his wife spotted at the hardware store.

It’s Wyndham’s second summer as a square-foot gardener – and he’s a believer.

He started with a compost tumbler from Costco Wholesale.

“We put in eggshells, stuff from the kitchen: coffee grounds, tea, all that good stuff. I turn it about once a week. Then I follow the soil recipe in the book and mix the compost with peat and vermiculite,” Wyndham said.

He shoveled the soil into raised beds he constructed, also according to the instructions in the book, at his home off Azalea Garden Road. The method relies on 4-by-4-foot raised beds that Wyndham crafted of 8-inch-wide cedar boards. For the tomatoes’ extensive root system, he added a second tier to one bin to create a 16-inch-high soil bed.

The three raised beds are laid out in an L-shape in the center of his backyard in the middle of his lawn, just to the right of his daughter’s playhouse, out of the way of the grass that Brandy, the chocolate Lab, uses to stretch her legs. The vegetables receive optimum sunlight, about 8 to 10 hours each day.

Original article here at hamptonroads.com:

It’s truly amazing how much you can grow in a small area by practicing square foot container vegetable gardening techniques. Why not give it a go in a small section of your garden or even your patio? Try it and see how it works for you. You just might be surprised.

Please leave a comment below and if you’ve tried these techniques, share your experiences and anything you have learned along the way.

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.  — Laurie Colwin

Best Tip To Grow Vegetables In Containers: Throw In The Kitchen Sink

When it comes time for you to grow vegetables in containers, gardener and author Michael Kelly has some advice for us all: Throw in the kitchen sink. That’s right. Sounds strange at first, but he’s talking about using unconventional yet still everyday items that will function perfectly well as vegetable gardening containers. Here Michael Kelly writes for the Independent.ie and has some sound, if not unconventional advice for would be container vegetable gardeners.

Best Tip To Grow Vegetables In Containers: Throw In The Kitchen Sink

I HAVE been pleasantly surprised with the success that I have had growing aubergines and peppers in containers and grow bags

grow vegetables in containers

Grow vegetables in containers that are unconventional. Photo by Hemera Technologies c/o Photos.Com.

this year. I have about 15-20 pepper plants in pots in the potting shed that are very productive — churning out bell and chilli peppers over the last two to three weeks.

For the first time ever for me, I’ve also had good aubergines — thanks to container growing. For the last few years, I’ve grown them in the ground in the polytunnel and I’ve never been rewarded with even a single aubergine (though the plant is attractive and produced lots of pretty flowers).

This year, however, I grew the aubergines in a grow bag in the potting shed and we’ve been enjoying beautiful sleek, black aubergines for a month now.

I’m blessed with plenty of space to grow here on the Home Farm, so I generally only grow in containers when I end up sowing far too many seeds in the spring. Rather than throw the excess plants out, it makes sense to make use of them by either (a) giving them away to fellow GIYers or (b) pot them up into containers.

They can then be moved to anywhere you have a bit of space.

If you are short on space, however, container growing can be a lifesaver — even a balcony or windowsill can become a productive GIY HQ. The good news is that with a little care most vegetables will grow well in containers.

In addition to the space-saving positives, there are a number of additional benefits to growing your food this way. For starters, they make an attractive addition to any garden. It’s also generally easier to get plants going in pots because they are not as vulnerable to pests and the elements as they are in the open ground. The great bane of the Irish grower — the slug (boo! hiss!) — is not as big a problem when growing in containers as it is in the soil.

Weeding is generally not a problem either, particularly when using bought compost. A container is, quite simply, a more controlled environment for a plant to grow in.

Read all of Michael’s tips and tricks here at independent.ie:

You can certainly grow vegetables in containers of almost any sort. You’re only limited by your own imagination and what you have available. See what you have lying about your yard or what’s available this weekend at your local garage sale. You’d probably surprise yourself at what you might think to bring home for that next new planting bed in the garden.

Please go ahead and share your inspirations by leaving a comment or two below. Click the like button to share your inspiration with a friend.

The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.   —  Torquato Tasso

First Hospital-Based Greenhouse To Grow Organic Vegetables Year Round

Wouldn’t it be terrific to be able to grow organic vegetables year round? Having the benefit of all of that nutrient-dense and pesticide-free produce at your fingertips would be a windfall to your continued good health. Well, who better to to implement this idea than a hospital? After all, you have a population of patients who are trying to recover from their illnesses, as well as hospital staff who have to be at their physical best all of the time. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital located in West Bloomfield, Michigan (coincidentally where I grew up) has become the first hospital in the nation to build and start a hospital-based greenhouse. I mean, such a great idea! Feed people nutritious organic vegetables and fruits so they can recover more quickly and to enhance the dining experience which provides positive psychological benefits that will also improve the overall experience for patients. A recent article by Sylvia Rector written for the Detroit Free Press highlights this concept.

First Hospital-Based Greenhouse To Grow Organic Vegetables Year Round

Perched on a 8-foot ladder, Michelle Lutz reaches into the leafy tops of the pole-bean vines growing toward the glass roof of Henry

grow organic vegetables

Grow organic vegetables year round in a greenhouse.

Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s new $1-million hydroponic greenhouse.

“The first ones!” the resident farmer declares, holding up several young pods.

Already that morning she had picked red and green lettuces, heirloom cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, edible nasturtiums and bunches of herbs for the hospital’s kitchen, which uses the produce in patients’ meals and its cafe.

Dozens of kinds of vegetables and herbs — five types of kale, 23 kinds of tomatoes, five varieties of basil, eggplants, squash, hot and sweet peppers, fresh herbs, microgreens and even strawberry plants — have been thriving since mid-summer in what Henry Ford officials say is the first hospital-based greenhouse in the nation.

It is surprisingly prolific. Hospital chefs no longer have to buy microgreens or basil, their most-used herb, because the greenhouse produces all they need. “If I manage this properly,” Lutz says, indicating her 12-by-20-foot hydroponic table, “this will produce 15,000 heads of lettuce in a year. For 240 square feet, that’s pretty incredible.”

But growing organic vegetables year-round for the hospital’s kitchens isn’t the only purpose of the gleaming, 1,500-square-foot glass structure and its adjoining educational center, both entirely funded by an anonymous donor.

The buildings, which will be unveiled Saturday, are designed to educate and inspire everyone from patients to the public to make healthier food choices — in keeping with the hospital’s mission of promoting wellness as well as treating illness.

And because of Michigan’s high childhood obesity rates, many of its educational center exhibits and programs are geared toward kids.

“We want to make sure that every single day we have yellow school buses coming here from all over southeast Michigan,” says hospital CEO Gerard van Grinsven. “We want to influence our young ones to start thinking differently about food and what they put in their bodies.”

His vision for the project doesn’t stop at the West Bloomfield campus. “Ultimately, we can take this to downtown Detroit and start producing food for the entire (Henry Ford) system — not have it just here,” van Grinsven says.

“This is not just about a little greenhouse. It’s about planting seeds,” he says.

Read the entire article here at freep.com:

To grow organic vegetables in a greenhouse attached to a major hospital is very leading-edge. Given recent and some would say drastic changes coming soon to a health care system near you, being able to improve nutrition as part of health care delivery is a natural step forward. We should all try to grow something in our own gardens and improve our health over the long run in order to decrease the risk of having to be in the hospital in the first place. Try your own hand at growing something in your backyard. If you happen to be in a position to have access to a greenhouse, it expands your growing season and your options as a gardener.

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Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.   —  Doug Larson

More Container Vegetable Gardening Tips And Tricks

When it comes to container vegetable gardening one of the best reasons to try it is to extend your growing season. If you get your late crops in on time but don’t want to worry about whether or not the first frost will wipe out your best efforts, you can always move the show indoors. That’s right! You can thumb your nose at Jack Frost and just move all of your plants indoors to finish up their growing. I mean, why should all of your efforts go to waste? It’s the best thing since climate control. This short article in MyWestTexas.Com provides some ideas for longer growing.

More Container Vegetable Gardening Tips And Tricks

An early frost can spell disaster for some plants in the fall vegetable garden. Fortunately, we can expect some advance notice of the

container vegetable gardening

Container vegetable gardening prevents frost damage late in the season by allowing plants to be moved indoors.Photo by FreezeFrameStudio c/o Photos.Com.

first frost. One way to be prepared to deal with an early frost is to grow your vegetables in containers. Containers can be relocated to a warm spot until the threat of frost has passed. Gardening in containers is more complicated than traditional gardening, but with careful attention to detail, you’ll be successful.

Let’s use tomatoes as our example. Very often, warm days follow the first frost of the season. This can help extend your growing season for a few more days; perhaps just long enough to allow your tomatoes to ripen on the plant and avoid searching out recipes for green tomatoes.

 By this time, you should be considering using transplants to achieve the greatest success before the first frost. Purchase young, vigorous tomato transplants from your nursery. Avoid tomatoes that have been too long in the nursery which you’ll recognize by their large and leggy appearance relative to their container. Also, steer away from tomatoes that appear wilted or diseased.
When it comes to some of the best ideas for container vegetable gardening, moving the show indoors has got to be at the top of the list. Why not try to plant some of your favorite vegetables in the late summer or early fall this year and get the best that nature has to offer when it turns cold outside (but where it’s still nice and warm inside).
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A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.  —  Laurie Colwin

Best Tips For Late Season Container Vegetable Gardening

I must admit that I truly enjoy container vegetable gardening. On the one hand, it does present a few potential challenges, what with the pots drying out faster than planting in the ground, or even in a raised bed setup. But I think some of those (minor) points are more than offset by the fact that you can bring your vegetable garden in much closer to the house, or even inside it for that matter. Since we’re getting into late summer and, dare I say it, early fall, I thought this article would be instructive. Writing for MySA in San Antonio, Texas, Calvin R. Finch gives us some tips and tricks about what we can plant and when we can plant it using containers during this time of the growing season.

Best Tips For Late Season Container Vegetable Gardening

Do you like gardening but don’t have the time or space for a full-sized raised-bed vegetable garden? Consider raising your favorite vegetables in containers.

container vegetable gardening

Best tips for fall container vegetable gardening. Photo by Kbirsa c/o Photos.Com.

Tomatoes, herbs, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, lettuce and greens can all be grown in containers as small as five gallons.

Plant your tomatoes in August. There are “Patio” tomatoes marketed specifically for containers but I don’t recommend them. The plants are very attractive, but the fruit is low quality.

Select a regular recommended variety such as Surefire, Solar Fire, 602, Tycoon, Celebrity or Dwarf Cherry Surprise (BHN 968).

Tomatoes require a container that is at least five gallons in capacity. Half of a whiskey barrel is ideal. The larger the container, the more room available for roots, moisture and nutrients.

Container vegetable gardening started in late summer provides an opportunity to significantly extend your growing season well into late fall. One of its most significant advantages is that if you do have colder weather earlier than anticipated, you can drag the whole show inside your house and not lose all of your hard work. How about that! So this season, why not try some container vegetable crops and see how it goes? You might be pleasantly surprised and well fed this fall.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your experiences with us. Click on the like button to share this with a friend.

To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.                                                                      —  Marina Schinz