Book Review: Container Gardening for Health, by Barbara Barker

Have you heard of the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean 15’ lists? They highlight the 12 fruits and veggies that are tested, and have the most pesticide residue on them. In contrast, the ‘Clean 15’ have the least amount (which is not to say no residue, necessarily…).

I found the book ‘Container Gardening for Health: the 12 most important Fruits and Vegetables for your Organic Garden’ to naturally segue from my interest in the above lists, and give me a ‘go-to’ guide for how to make it happen – right in my backyard.

As you’ve read, I’m building a garden from the ground up, and early on in my new journey had checked out this short book from the library. It reinstilled in me the idea that container gardening is not ‘giving up’, but instead is a realistic way that I can still have a garden, while I’m taking time to plan my permanent garden. For all those who are well into container gardening and consider the ‘giving up’ comment mean, consider me slapped for my effrontery. I stand corrected, and container-happy.

Thanks, Barbara Barker, for a great book! It combines practical knowledge, varieties for various climates, and cultivation and harvesting tips. Complete yet concise.


Found: A Line

From Monday, where do we draw the line when purchasing food products? I think its lame to go into debt for food. Some may disagree with me, that is fine. I feel like, in the interest of food humility, putting organic food on a credit card makes me someone I’m not. I try to keep the hypocrisy and pretending in my life to a minimum, and while I’m not perfect, spending our daily wages on our daily bread (and keeping it that way) seems to be a good food humility practice.

So, where to find the line?

I look to the Dirty Dozen – the list of the largest pesticide-load foods put out by the environmental working group. You can see the current list of fruits and veggies, and other helpful information, here.

I try to get free-range, no antibiotic meat, fresh-caught rather than farmed (for fish) whenever possible. This means saving up a lump sum for a local animal. Or, getting such an animals as a gift, when its not really in the budget (thank you, again, Mom and Dad – everytime I eat meatloaf I say a prayer for you!!). Ask your local store when the ‘meat markdown’ is, and then race to the store to get it. A friend says she often elbows slow people out of the way – I don’t know if I’d go that far, but just putting it out there. That’s how serious she is about it.

I like to buy local, organic, and fair trade, usually in that order. Local dollars help local people – I like that. A farm or operation might not be organic – yet- but with gentle encouragement and conversation, they just may become such an operation.

I am also a price-conscious person. By eating in season, I can *usually* find all produce, even organic, for around a dollar a pound! Yes, its true! I do participate in the Azure co-op, and will buy in bulk and freeze different produce items at times, especially when the discounts are big. This year, a goal is to ask more of the farmers at the market what kind of deal they could give me if I buy a large quantity for freezing. As much as I L-O-V-E local, I also have a family budget to keep and help to balance. I’m trying to be a good example for the government. Har Har…