You won't find fresher fruits or vegetables than from your own garden. I thought I would post a picture of my young garden. I did not get it planted as early as I would have liked but in just a few day's time here are the results of tilling, connecting and laying soaker hoses and planting. I think I could just pull up a chair and watch it grow if I did not have so many other things to attend to.
Since we no longer raise quail for commercial hunting preserves, we decided to use the flight pens for gardening. It really makes a great place for this since it is all enclosed and the deer cannot get to it and the soil has been organically fertilized by quail droppings over the years. We attached a total of 8 soaker hoses to pvc pipe connections so that we can water the whole garden with a turn of a valve. This is an improvement over last year's sprinklers.
In the foreground I have cucumbers, zuchini and yellow squash. Midway down are peas and at the end is corn. On the other side, we have a long row of tomatoes and more peas, peppers, okra and green beans. There are a few strawberry plants that you see just on the other side that we planted last year and they are spreading this year. I used organic seeds and plan on raising this garden without herbicides or pesticides so I'm in for a lot of work. The picture reveals a freshly tilled ground and you can see my foot tracks.
Most of our country's produce comes to us from long distances. According to The Packer website on fresh produce, the top supplier of vegetables to the U.S. is Mexico. That means from where I live that produce would have to travel around 1,000 miles from the field to my table and I wonder how many hands had to touch it and how many pesticides and herbicides were used.
LiveStrong.com in their post entitled "how to avoid fruits and vegetables from Mexico sprayed with chemicals states that, "Prolonged exposure to pesticides has been shown to increase your chances of cancer, neurological and developmental problems and a weakened immune system, says Dr. Charles Benbrook in an interview conducted for "Nutrition Action Newsletter." Avoiding foods that have been treated with pesticides in Mexico may take some effort, but doing so protects you and your family's health. Pesticide use in Mexico is not as regulated as it is in the United States, and some farmers don't understand the correct dosage to apply to their crops. Choosing produce from alternative sources may be safer."
The site goes on to list 5 ways to choose produce wisely. 1. Avoid produce from Mexico, 2. Buy organic fruits and vegetables, 3. Buy locally - many local farmers grow their produce without pesticides or herbicides but cannot afford to get the organic status. You would need to inquire about how the vegetables and fruits were raised to be sure, 4. Wash your produce no matter where it comes from and 5. Dine at restaurants willing to tell you where they purchase their produce.
I hope that if you have a garden, it will be very successful. I will keep you posted on what happens with my garden through the summer. I have already seen a couple of things I would correct but since it is up and growing I will leave it as it is and just learn from it for a better next season.
Gardening supplies I use.
Yes, a visit to a little piece of heaven is what it felt like today. Look at what awaited me at the pearly gates. This beautiful countertop is actually set under a hoop house and you can see the reflection on the table from the domed top up above. Under this domed hoop house was a lush organic garden and at the entrance was this table with inviting treats for two. I pulled up a chair and visited with my new friend, Jan. I teach "real food" classes and Jan has attended two of my classes, sourdough and water kefir. She has certainly put in to practice what she has learned. The drink was water kefir flavored with her organic strawberries and her organic mint that was growing under the hoop house. It was so delicious and I couldn't help but have another cup. The bread was the sourdough made with garlic and olive oil rolled into little flat logs that were "out of this world" tasty and I had to have another one as well.
After our "water kefir" party (instead of tea party), Jan gave me a tour of her garden and grounds.
I couldn't keep my eyes off the beautiful strawberries. Not only do they look good but they are organic and organic strawberries are hard to find. Strawberries are on the "dirty dozen" list and anything on the "dirty dozen" list means that you should buy this organic. Basically soft fleshed fruits make this list since pesticides tend to be at a higher level. For a list of what you should strive to buy organic check this link out. Strawberries come in at number 3. Do you know what food is the worst offender and ranked number 1? There is also a "clean fifteen" list and so you can save your money and not purchase organic with these if you don't want to but splurge and buy organic with the others. The exception would be corn. I would always buy it organic since the majority of corn in the U.S. is now Genetically Modified.
Not only organic but Jan's garden was also colorful. I don't know if these carrots or the chard that I saw would take first place with color.
Jan grows most all vegetables and even goes beyond vegetables. Here she is showing me her oats and ..........
Wheat.......Amazing! I do not know how she does all this but would love to see a time lapsed film of all that goes on. I imagine that we would see a blue blur :)
Wait, there's more..... or there will be. Look at the fresh plowed ground just waiting for more seeds and plants. Jan already had two long rows of tomatoes in this field and she was going to get the horses out later in the day to plow some more rows. Isn't the land beaufiful! I was standing near a shade tree and thinking how nice it would be to recline in a hammock just watching God's green earth grow. There's no city noise in this place - trust me - my car almost fell into a hole or two getting there. I thought I lived out in the back side of nowhere but today I met the person who does live there.
And here is why you don't want to come unannounced! There are actually three beautiful German Shepherds but I only got two in this photo.
Lettuce anyone? Lettuce depart from this post for now. Thanks Jan, for a most enjoyable and educational visit, the kefir party and the take home organic strawberries from your Little Piece of Heaven.
Readers: Jan works with Auburn University on Organic Vegetable Production Research. http://www.alabamaorganics.blogspot.com/
Debbie Vail, NC
Greetings from east central Alabama and welcome to my site. I am a graduate of Hawthorn University, a leader in holistic education.
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