Thursday, June 3, 2010

The "Dirty Dozen": Celery in the lead

Lovage is a good herb to have around. The flavor is very similar to celery and the leaves, stems, and roots can be used in many recipes. It produces a rather large flower and seed head. The dried seeds taste just like celery seed.
Perhaps, it is time to start eating more of this herb, or planting it following the recent release of a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environmental group. According to their list of the top 12 “Dirty Dozens” vegetables which can the most pesticide residue, non-organic celery ranks NUMBER ONE. According to this report, if you eat non-organic celery, you could be consuming 67 different pesticides.
Something to think about when you think your eating healthy eating raw veggies on the vegetable tray.
Washing and peeling doesn't eliminate these harmful substances found in non-organic vegetables and fruits, according to the study based on data from the USDA. So, if your eating fruits and vegetables from non-organic sources every day, you could be slowly poising yourself and family.
The looming question remains the cumulative effect of eating habits, medications, water and other environmentally toxic substances which are deem “healthy” on our health.
Some of the most persuasive arguments, I have heard for raising your own organic crops or buying from organic growers in your local area. Sure pulling weeds, weather, bugs, and other gardening headaches are troublesome, but when compared to the health benefits, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the answer.
The EWG has a download available for shoppers, as well as other recommendations. It is really an eye opener and informative.
The others on the “Dirty Dozen” list on non-organic fruits and vegetables which contain high amounts of pesticide residue ranked in order are: peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes.
For more information on lovage and it's uses, please click this article.

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The Upside Down Jalapeno Hanging Basket -the project

The garden fad is topsy turvy tomatoes this year. One can be made inexpensively at home as well as a upside down jalapeno hanging basket. Memorial Day is generally sort of a kick-off time for vegetable gardens and planting can take place for most of June. Pictured is an attempt at a topsy turvy jalapeno basket, planted on Memorial Day weekend. It's not “hung” yet; I think the plant needs to get a little larger. It was a smaller left over pepper plant from a seed tray.
As usual, the some of the garden is late but it will all get done before Labor Day.


A good vegetable garden plant. They are attractive to look at and good for many beneficial insects. They also can used as a trap crop for aphids. Pictured is a movable garden planted and the nasturtiums are just beginning to germinate. It will be moved around the garden to trap aphids away from veggie they like to eat. Once the plant is full of the tiny insects, the planter will be moved to a different location and sprayed with water. The aphids don't like that, fall off the plant (they don't hurt the narturtium), and break their legs. Read more about aphid control, here.


Normally not considered a common, every year pest for home gardeners, grasshopper could be a problem this year particularly in the mid-west and west. There are some rangelands in the western states which are experiencing quite a cyclic problem this year.
For vegetable gardeners, if the grasshoppers are becoming a problem, there are some natural and organic solutions to manage the insect.

A Bumblebee on Chives in Bloom

Chives are good for kitchen use and a nice plant in the garden. The bees also enjoy the flowers.

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Blogs to Read

On Your Way to the Top

Urban Veggie Garden

Simply Snickers

New York's Southern Tier