Gail of Green Living


The Dirty Dozen: Pesticides on the Menu

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen refers to fruits and vegetables we buy fresh at the supermarket, and how loaded they are with pesticides.

Here’s the list:

1.  Apples

2.  Celery

3.  Strawberries

4.  Peaches

5.  Spinach

6.  Nectarines, especially imported

7.  Imported grapes (Hold the wine!)

8.  Sweet bell peppers

9.  Potatoes

10.  Blueberries

11.  Lettuce

12.  Kale & Collards (Tie)

I have been doing all right except for peaches and potatoes.  I think last summer I was equating “local” with organic”, which is stupid of me, but I get so hungry for fresh peaches in the summer, I guess I wasn’t careful enough.  Potatoes???  I thought since they were below ground, they would not be so susceptible to pesticides, but if the farmer uses systemic pesticides, it makes sense that they are full of them.  I don’t recall seeing organic potatoes, but I’m going to look closely tonight when I do my weekend shopping.

Everyone, be aware and more careful when you feed your family and friends…and yourself!



Organic Container Gardening: Class Notes #1

Last week I took an Organic Container Gardening Class from Urban Harvest.  The teacher, Diane Norman was so full of information and didn’t hesitate to answer any and all questions.  She knows her stuff!  The first bit of information was about the various container choices we have.

Clay Pots

I think the most popular and most common container is clay pots.  Clay breathes and dries quickly to keep the plant’s roots from sitting in water.  The bad news is that they are heavy and difficult to move and they break easily.  But because they are heavy, they are less likely to blow over on a windy day.

Plastic Container

Most plastic containers you purchase will look just like the clay pots.  But this clever person has used a former City of Houston recycling bin for starting plants and this could hold a large plant or several small ones.  Plastic is cheaper and lighter weight, so they are easy to move.  Over time, they deteriorate from UV sunlight, but mine have lasted a long time.  They do blow over easily when we have a windy day!

Wooden Container

Wooden containers can rot, but they last a long time.  Redwood and Cedar are the best woods to use.  Avoid using any wood that has been treated with creosote or other toxic compounds, since they can affect the plants.  We once used railroad ties to build our garden, but now, I know better.

Wooden Raised Table

This is a great way to use wooden containers.  No more back-breaking gardening, unless you leave it on the ground.

Ceramic Containers

To make your garden area even more interesting, ceramic containers can match a color scheme or provide a stark contrast, for attention.  Ceramic pots require several drainage holes.

Metal Container

This is my new favorite!  I bought a large galvanized tub, my husband drilled lots of holes in the bottom, and I planted pumpkin seeds in it.  I am going to place it in an area where tree roots keep grass from growing well, and lift it up for drainage, and let the pumpkin vines grow over the edges and spread over the ground area.  The area is not very shady, so the pumpkins should get plenty of sun.  I’ll keep you posted on how that works.

What kind of unusual containers have you used for gardening?