|Posted by Diana Hartman on August 3, 2015 at 1:00 PM|
After my last post regarding "rest and play", my daughter mentioned her desire for a garden bed of her own. Inside my head, I loudly screamed "yes!", while I calmly replied, "Of course." She had already chosen one...the neglected bed out front amidst the edible veggie beds. She had been attracted to the one wild, overgrown garden area..."perfect for a secret fairy garden," she said and she was perfectly correct! There were many secret "rooms" amidst the overgrown trees, flowers and bushes! How ideal for private, tiny hide outs, playgrounds and flowers galore! How fun! We will begin new construction immediately!
As for my beds, which I have devoted to edible gardening...it seems I have had little time this summer, yet they flourish! We are receiving a bountiful supply of kale, basil, lettuce, swiss chard, sugar snap peas and zucchini currently. Soon, we will see plenty of beets, green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, red and blue potatoes, and much more! I boast a little only to persuade you to attempt your own edible beds as they really consume less time and effort than a lawn. I've spent time initially planting the seeds and starts and 1 - 2 hours weeding this summer total and will be rewarded with homegrown, pesticide-free fruits and veggies!
Speaking of pesticide-free fruits and veggies...I recently browsed an article providing the EWG's (Environmental Working Group's) 2015 list of "The Dirty Dozen." These are the 12 fruits and vegetables commonly available in grocery stores which carry the most pesticide residue. Eating pesticide-free produce is more important than ever, as a new report from the World Health Organization has determined that the most-used herbicide in the world, Roundup, is a probable carcinogen and traces of it are found in almost 100% of produce!
So, do you want to know the identity of The Dirty Dozen? Which are the fruits and veggies that if I am unable to grow personally, pesticide-free, I should insure I purchase organically and preferably locally grown?
1. Apples - growing in my backyard, but we purchase bags of organic apples to supplement the few we will actually receive from our tree.
2. Peaches - haven't attempted in our climate zone.
3. Nectarines - haven't attempted in our climate zone.
4. Strawberries - growing in containers throughout our yard. There are several varieties that do well in our climate if you can fend off our feathered friends! We do supplement our crop with purchased organic strawberries.
5. Grapes - difficult to grow in our climate.
6. Celery - I've never attempted to grow celery. It requires a long growing season, but may be possible. Let me know if you've had success!
7. Spinach - I've heard that Spinach does very well here. Not sure where I've gone wrong, because I can't seem to grow Spinach for anything. Maybe I need to try a different location within my garden beds. I purchase this fave leafy green organic at my local grocery store.
8. Sweet Bell Peppers / Hot Peppers - I love my beautiful pepper plants! Fresh peppers from the garden are delicious. I've successfully grown jalapenos, sweet bells and garden salsa peppers.
9. Cucumbers - These are usually easy-peasy to grow and we harvest more crisp cucumbers than I can use. They look beautiful climbing a trellis and this will save space in your garden as well!
10. Cherry Tomatoes - I've heard from other locals that tomatoes can be difficult, but I have always had amazing luck! Fresh tomatoes from the vine, which grow well next to basil, are not even comparable to store-purchased. They are a delight as they pop in your mouth! They make super salsas and will add flavor to any salad, roasted dish or pizza!
11. Sugar Snap Peas - These are one of my family's faves! They grow easily and beautifully up a trellis in our front yard and rarely make it into the kitchen as they are devoured straight from the vine!
12. Potatoes - This is the first year we've planted a "french fry" garden and it has been so much fun! I chose local, organic new and blue varieties and they have gone wild! We're so excited! These were simple and are so fun for kiddos to dig up. Digging for hidden treasures! We're making blue french fries...seriously!
13. Kale - I had one spot in my garden beds where nothing seemed to grow...I tried kale and we're eating sour cream and onion kale chips (one of my son's favorites!) and Super Summer Kale Salad (You have to look this recipe up on allrecipes.com. It will change your mind about kale!) regularly!
Over half of the dozen on this list reside in my front yard! These are simple and inexpensive to grow. I buy all seeds and starts local, organic and non-GMO. This may cost a couple of dollars extra initially, but is not in any way comparable to purchasing the bounty you will harvest at organic grocery store prices! It's worth it! Feed your bodies clean, pesticide-free fruits and veggies! You are what you eat, eat clean!