I am taking a different approach to gardening this year. I normally just randomly pick my vegatable garden based on the products I think I will be most likely to eat and are easy to grow. My garden tends to be heavy on peppers and tomatoes and not much else. This year, I am planning my garden based on products that have high levels of pesticides if purchased in the store (non-organic).
Sweet Bell Peppers
Among the fruits and vegetables that have the highest levels of pesticides, bell peppers are third. Only peaches and apples have higher levels of pesticides. I always grow bell peppers in my garden, but did not realize that substituting my home grown for store bought would likely lower my consumption of pesticides. Fresh vegetables and less chemicals...a double bonus. Peppers are generally easy to grow.
Celery is second to Green Peppers on the list of highest pesticide levels. However, I am not certain I will be growing it this year. Celery does not like excessive heat and enjoys soil that retains moisture. If I decide to grow celery this year, it will require quite a bit of soil preparation in advance. If you live in an area conducive to growing celery, this is an excellent choice.
Kale is a hearty green that I like to put into soup (like Zuppa Tuscana). It does not tolerate heat well, but can be grown later in the year. It does not require a long growing period (about two months).
I have never grown lettuce. It appears to do well in warmer climates like mine as long as it is not in full sun. Fresh salads are a great addition to any meal, so I think this one is going into my garden this Spring.
I did not plant my carrots in enough sun last year and my soil was tough enough to keep the carrots from developing properly. It was a disaster my first time out. Carrots are another high pesticice product, so it is worthwhile to give them another try this year. I am goin to rotate them to a different position in my garden and prep the soil better this time around. Plus, I love fresh carrots!
My garden does not have the sandy loam type soil that collard greens enjoy. However, the sandy loam soil is located nearby, so I can still purchase fresh locally grown collard greens at the Farmer's Market and avoid getting the extra pesticides that come with collard greens purchased at the grocery store.
Spinach does well growing later in the year. It also like moisture retentive soil, so I will have to prepare my beds again for this tasty garden green. I love spinach in salads as well as cooking. This one is going into my garden this year.
Potatoes may present a challenge. They like a looser soil, so this is another addition that is going to require some soil preparation. However, potatoes are a staple food, so I am interested in giving them a try this year.
Green beans are a standard addition to my garden. I like fresh beans. My garden did not produce a lot of green beans last year, but that was partly due to some limitations on my ability to water last Summer. This one will go back into my garden and hopefully produce a much better crop this year.
Summer squash likes full sun. I can accomodate that. It also likes well drained soil, which I believe I can also accomodate. I have not grown squash in the past, so this will be an intersting experiment this year. With squash, you begin hitting the mid-range of vegetables pesticide levels. But no pesticides is better than being in the middle range.
Tomatoes are among the safer vegetables that you can purchase at the grocery store. It has a far lower pesticide index than the other vegetables on this list. However, I like to grow them. They are a high-yield plant that does not require excessive attention. So, I will be putting the tomatoes back in my garden for me, the pesticide reduction will simply be a bonus.
If you do not grow a garden, then consider buying local and/or organic. The organic vegetables will reduce the introduction of harmful pesticides into your diet (and the diets of your family members). This list can also serve as a guide for which products (other than the tomatoes) that would be better if purchased as organic.
I hope you enjoy this list. If you have anything to add in terms of other high pesticide products or the advantages of buying organic, please feel free to comment.
Joined:Dec 3, 1999
I love to travel, write and share my experiences on line.
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