John Klein, the webmaster for Organic Authority, wanted to know more about my humble little backyard garden. Here is a photo…
There’s not much to it. I planted what I knew would grow well in my zone, with little fuss. Only some compost, some sphagnum moss and a little vermiculite for added measure. No chemical fertilizers, no pesticides; I suppose there’s plenty on the vine (or bush) for us and the critters. The most important thing is using a little common sense.
I know there’s no way I can grow lettuce here in the summer (it will bolt almost as soon as the first tender leaves emerge from the ground). But I do know that tomatoes, peppers, okra, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash and sweet potatoes grow quite well around these parts. I have little room for sweet potatoes and corn (although I did grow some tubers in a 4 foot-by-4 foot container garden last year), and I don’t care much for okra. I’ll grow all the others in the hopes that I’ll feed my family of three until they’re tired of tomato sandwiches and fried squash. Then I’ll freeze the rest of give it to the neighbors. Those tomato plants promise to give me around 20-25 lbs of fruit apiece. Everything else will give me a fair share of its bounty and leave some behind for the woodland critters that make their way into my back yard from time to time (rabbits, squirrels, etc.)
Listen, folks…I can’t stress this enough. If you are worried about where your veggies come from, don’t buy stuff when you know good and well it’s out of season in your area. Better yet, grow your own! Otherwise, buy locally, from farmers you can trust. Look behind the stands at your local farmers market. If you see a bunch of boxes with far away addresses on the labels, then most likely they shipped in what they don’t grow themselves. They will invariably stock these items right along with their personally grown stock. Ask them…which of their fare do they grow themselves? What kind of farming practices do they incorporate? A local farmer may not have the USDA Organic label only because they haven’t gone through the entire three year process yet. Don’t let that stop you from buying their stuff.
So let’s recap. Read up on your planting zone, grow what does well in your zone and plant at the right times. Use common sense (not chemicals) to make your stuff bigger better and bug-free, and if you just don’t like the prospect of doing all that, don’t buy what doesn’t grow naturally in your area. And get to know your local organic farmers! They will forget more about fruits and veggies than any of us will ever know.