A Gardener's Guide to Pesticide-Free Produce

comments (4) April 29th, 2013

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Organic kale is easy to grow from seed in a large patio container.
Mariachi hot peppers are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Cherry tomatoes grow well in a container if they have a trellis to climb on.
Organic kale is easy to grow from seed in a large patio container.Click To Enlarge

Organic kale is easy to grow from seed in a large patio container.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Every year the The Environmental Working Group (EWG) issues an alert to grocery shoppers called the "Dirty Dozen." This is a list of the 12 conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables that are shown to have the most pesticide residues. The intent is to help shoppers make informed decisions about when buy organic. 

This year the EWG placed two borderline crops on the list: kale and summer squash. These two didn't meet the pesticide limits to be included on the main list, but they still had high levels of pesticide residue.

In the case of the 14 foods mentioned, the EWG advises shoppers to buy organic whenever they can. For vegetable gardeners, the choice becomes a little easier, because we can choose to plant these fruits and vegetables and grow them organically and avoid pesticides altogether.

Now I know everyone isn't lucky enough to have vines of grapes growing in the yard or a mature apple, peach or nectarine tree, but there are eight other easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables you can plant this season.

You don't need a lot of vegetable garden space to grow the foods on this list. I've successfully grown these eight fruits and vegetables organically in my patio container garden, so you can, too. Just select a 5-gallon container, with a 12-inch opening, fill with good potting soil and add an organic fertilizer when planting. Keep the soil moist and fertilize every few weeks through the growing season.

Each of these eight is linked to more simple steps and tips for planting and growing organically:

1.Cherry tomatoes


3.Hot Peppers



6.Sweet bell peppers


8.Summer squash

posted in: organic

Comments (4)

Irishbeauty68 writes: my OBGYN told my hubby,and I that during my pregnancy it was not safe to eat organic,because of insect poop,and with what farmer spray their crop's with would not harm me,or the fetus,so do I listen to my OBGYN?or eat organic?I am in my first trimester,and go see my OBGYN friday to have a ultra sound,my first picture's of my gift from God.
Posted: 12:21 pm on April 14th
msvicky writes: i joined with high hopes of finding out how to kill slugs an snails please help vhwings05
Posted: 8:39 am on July 6th
WesternGardener writes: Thanks for letting me know about the link--I've corrected the problem and the link should take you to the http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ page.

Posted: 5:20 pm on April 29th
veggiegirlks writes: The link goes to a 404 error on EWG's site.
Posted: 2:27 pm on April 29th
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