Consuming certified organic food from sites like http://myorganicfoods.net ensures you are not ingesting pesticides, which cause a range of health problems like allergies, headaches, cancer, and birth defects. Organic farmers do not use toxic chemical pesticides to control weeds, insects, or to improve product size and appearance. If you are committed to eating only organic fruits and vegetables and you like to garden, consider growing some your own produce organically. Because you have control over your own growing methods, you can be certain your food is truly organic if you are unable to purchase organic foods.
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, recently released its 2014 Dirty Dozen list of produce most heavily contaminated by pesticides. Be planning your garden to include some of these offenders, you can enjoy eating them without introducing pesticide residue into your body.
Rated #2 on the Dirty Dozen list, strawberries still contain small amounts of pesticide even after washing them under cold water. Instead, buy them organically or grow them in your garden. Strawberries are the easiest berry to grow because they are cold hardy and quite adaptable. Plant young plants in a raised bed for easy picking, or in containers if you do not have a plot of earth.
The taste of fresh, homegrown strawberries is very different from the cold, unscented berries from a store. The aroma and sweetness is unforgettable. All they require is a sunny spot and some organic compost. Because these berries love acidic soil, use pine needles to mulch around the plants to prevent weeds and keep the soil moist.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Sweet bell peppers are ranked number 7 on the list. Some gardeners avoid planting these lovely globes because they are susceptible to a few diseases like verticillium wilt and mosaic. To get around this, choose cultivars that are resistant to such diseases and rotate your garden crops each year. Plant young pepper plants near taller plants like tomatoes or corn to provide some shade for tender blossoms; temperatures above 90 degrees cause them to wilt and fall.
Sweet bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors. Pick clean, fresh peppers to chop and use in salads, sauté with onions for fajitas, or just dip raw strips into your favorite dip.
This salad favorite is #6, and growing your own spinach ensures a crisp green crop free from pesticides. Prepare a plot of freshly dug earth rich in nitrogen by adding organic compost. Spinach loves cool weather, so consider preparing the soil the previous fall so you can plant seeds very early the following spring.
Sow spinach seeds about every ten days for a continuous supply until the heat of summer arrives and spinach plants bolt, or go to seed. As summer draws to an end, resume planting seeds once more for autumn harvests. These vitamin rich leaves are delicious in salads and boost your levels of Vitamin A and K.
Ranked #12, potatoes may seem safely buried in the dark soil, but this is not true. One potato contains more pesticides by weight than any other food. As a root vegetable, potatoes absorb whatever is in the soil, including chemicals. After harvest, potatoes are sprayed with more chemicals to kill any remaining vines and prevent sprouting.
The good news is that growing potatoes is simple and fun. Plant only organic seed potatoes, which are free from chemicals. If you are concerned about potatoes taking up extra space, try doubling up on your crops by planting other perennials above them, like peppers. By the time peppers have finished producing, the potatoes will be ready to dig. And digging for potatoes is like digging for treasure if you have children. Try planting red, yellows, and even blues.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed spending the night at hotels. I particularly like to stay at posh resorts that provide indoor swimming pools, onsite spas, and oceanfront dining options. Whenever I stay at a luxurious hotel, I always look to see if there are gourmet chocolates on the pillow waiting for me to savor at bedtime. For some reason, this small amenity really appeals to me. If you own a hotel, consider treating your guests with chocolates at the end of their busy days. This added touch is also perfect for Valentine’s Day. On this blog, you will discover how to shop for the best gourmet chocolates for your hotel. Enjoy!