The best organic vegetable plants to eat and grow are those that are local to your area. You can always check with your county extension agent for suggestions on the plants that do the best in your area. Even with his advice there are still a few rules of thumb when it comes to purchasing organic produce.
Best Organic Vegetable Plants to Buy
People choose to buy organic vegetables for a variety of reasons.
- They want to do their part to contribute to a cleaner planet.
- They want to help their families be healthier by purchasing foods with less exposure to chemicals, processing, and pesticides.
- They enjoy the taste of fresh organic produce.
Whatever the reason you purchase certified organic foods, it's important to know a few basic things.
The Dirty Dozen
There are a few vegetables and fruits that have been deemed "The Dirty Dozen" for their likelihood to have and retain pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Many people recommend that these foods be purchased organic or grown in your own organic garden.
The following are the vegetables commonly listed on "Dirty Dozen" lists.
These foods are some of the best organic vegetable plants to purchase. In case you are also concerned about fruits, the fruits on this list include foods like strawberries, peaches, cherries, apples, and more.
Additional Information About Vegetables
In addition to "The Dirty Dozen" lists, there are also a number of vegetables associated with high pesticides and chemicals risks.
- Collard Greens
To avoid high levels of pesticides and other chemical residues, purchase all of these above vegetables at an organic market, in the organic section of your grocery store, or buy seeds and plants to grow yourself.
For many people, navigating the world of organic labeling can be very confusing. There's "organic," "certified organic," "natural," and a whole host of other terms that are used to describe and sometimes mislead buyers. Here's a basic breakdown of these terms.
Produce and other goods with "certified organic" labels must meet certain requirements laid out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, even within this label, there can be some discrepancy. Generally, vegetables with the certified organic seal will have been grown on a farm satisfying 100 percent certified organic criteria. Other foods or household goods, however, may only contain organic ingredients which meet the criteria but are not entirely organic in nature. These items will usually have stickers with the words "Made with Organic Ingredients."
When buying plants and seeds for growing in your garden you will want to look for information that lets you know that the seeds came from organic plant and that the plants were grown according to organic standards. Non-organic seeds can be products of genetically modified plants or they may have been dusted with chemical pesticides.
The term organic is generally used to describe the process by which a food or product was grown or manufactured. Organic foods and other products are generally produced without chemicals or other harmful materials. Do keep in mind that just because a product says it is organic does not mean it meets the criteria for a certified or 100 percent organic product.
The terms natural and organic are not interchangeable. While organic refers to the process through which an item was processed, natural refers to the materials or ingredients in the product. Basically, all natural products are those made from plant sources without the use of additives.
Though the certified organic seal is regulated by a governmental agencies, the use of descriptive words like organic and natural are not. Many people have expressed concern over the overuse or misuse of these words when it comes to product and food labeling. Your best bet is to look for the certified organic seal on the foods and products you purchase.
Growing Organic Vegetables
Organic gardening can be challenging, but it's certainly not impossible. If you're just starting out, consider planting some of these easier to grow organic vegetables. They tend to produce quite well and require less maintenance than other vegetables.
- Lettuce - Growing your own organic lettuce is a great way to eliminate the pesticides that comes from this vegetable otherwise.
- Tomatoes - If you want something to add to your salad, tomatoes are it. By using organic pesticides and fertilizers, you can nourish your crop and turn out some great, delicious organic produce.
- Greens - Another high-pesticide food, greens can make another additional to your salad or stand alone as a fantastic steamed side dish. Consider planting your favorite green, such as mustard greens, turnip greens, or spinach.
- Peppers - Peppers of all kinds are subject to higher amounts of chemicals due to their relatively thin skins. Growing your own can eliminate this issue.
The best organic vegetable plants to eat and grow are generally going to be those you love. If cost is a concern, try to purchase organic produce considered the most likely to contain these chemicals. Joining a local CSA (community supported agriculture) or visiting farmers markets can also help you purchase fresh, local foods without the high grocery store markups.