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Archive for June, 2015

Healthy Produce: Purchase vs. Grow Your Own

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Are you concerned with the quality of your organic food?

I know I sure am.

It’s not bad enough that the quality of organic food is declining and the organic standards are being weakened. Now Whole Foods Market is implementing a new rating system that can give non-organic, pesticide-laden produce a higher rating than USDA certified organic produce.

This is maddening.

What can you do about it?

Grow your own food.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb or don’t have a lot of time.

I have failed at gardening year after year after year. This year was my last ditch effort. After attending an event where there were numerous organic gardeners giving free advice and selling the best organic plants and amendments, I decided to give it another shot. I bought one zucchini plant, then went out on a limb and bought a cucumber plant a couple weeks later.

The zucchini started dying first. I struggled to figure out why. I adjusted the watering, worm castings and organic fertilizer that was highly recommended by the organic gardeners who gave me what seemed like no-fail advice. It just kept getting worse and worse. Then the cucumber plant also started dying. I was at wits end. I didn’t know what to do. I just knew I wanted to grow my own food from now on and I was going to figure out how.

I saw an ad online for an Aerogarden, a hydroponic growing system compact enough to keep on your counter indoors … and they guaranteed their seeds would grow or they would replace them. I thought it was worth a try, so I bought one. To make a long story short, it did grow, but it was such a cramped space that the lettuce and herbs did not produce as bountifully as if they had more space. I expected to be able to stop buying lettuce and herbs and make my salads exclusively from my Aerogarden. That was not the case. While I was getting small amounts every day, I still had to supplement my salad greens and herbs with those I bought.

I was again frustrated. Even though I was growing my own food, it did not measure up to my expectations of how much I would be harvesting daily.

One day while walking through the farmer’s market, I came across a vertical, aeroponic growing system that uses no soil, waters itself automatically, uses 90% less water than conventional gardens and you can grow year round.

I was interested.

I bought a Tower Garden and have not only put plants started from scratch into my new garden, I took the lettuce and herbs that didn’t have enough room in the Aerogarden, that had just about outlived their useful life, and put those in my Tower Garden. They have continued to grow much taller than would have been possible in the Aerogarden and have even started sprouting new growth at the bottom of the stalk of one of the lettuces.

I was going to take my dying zucchini and cucumber and put them in the Tower Garden too. Unfortunately, the zucchini was too far gone. It was dead. However, the cucumber seemed like it might have some life left in it. So, that went in the Tower Garden. It’s been about three weeks and it has very slowly shown new growth at the end of the plant. I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it. Then just yesterday, at three places along the stem where all the leaves and flowers had dried up and fallen off, I noticed new leaves sprouting … on a part of the plant that I had thought was dead. My cucumber plant is coming back to life.

Just a week ago I went to a presentation where I was able to pick up some seedlings for my TG. It’s been amazing and very fulfilling to watch these plants grow.

Anyone can be a successful gardener. If I, an infamous plant-killer for many years, can grow a healthy, nutrient-dense garden, anyone can.

If you are local to San Diego County, you’re invited to come to an event at my office in Escondido on Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m.

Get more info and directions here.

If you’re just too far away to come, check out my website and contact me if you have any questions.

It is more important now than ever to have safe and healthy food and now you can grow your own whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a plant-killer like me.

Click here for info on the Tower Garden event at my office.

Click here to learn more on my website.