Organic Eating

I love to cook. I have been cooking for a long time, and recently the new wave of interest in organic food has been an exciting development for me. Organic foods are not only better for one’s body and the environment, I believe they also taste better. I decided to grow a garden in my backyard recently. My garden is grown without the use of any synthetic pesticides or industrial fertilizers. Instead, I choose to grow my vegetables the all-natural way- using ladybugs against mites and aphids, and worms to essentially “till” the soil, aerating it and allowing water drainage. I only use pesticides when absolutely necessary.

Home grown organic produce is a great way to be environmentally friendly. My limited use of synthetic pesticides do little damage to the soil, and there is no harmful runoff to any streams or other water sources. I am very careful as to how much water I feed the plants, trying to avoid the hottest times of the day. The tomatoes and lettuce I grow may be smaller than the ones sold at the local supermarket, but they are a noticeably brighter color, and since they are picked when ripe, have a fuller taste.

I love using home-grown produce. I also use the hydroponics growing method for other vegetables and fruits. I have been trying to grow peppers as well. Since peppers require nutrient-rich soil that is well-draining, I purchased a grow tent and all the necessary equipment, and set the tent up in my garage. The grow tent I chose is of average size- I didn’t want one that was too large, and I wanted to grow a variety of peppers, so it couldn’t be too small, either.

So far, with a lot of tender loving care, the lettuce and tomatoes in my garden are growing beautifully. The peppers in my grow tent are also growing, but the red bells seem to need a little more attention. They take a lot more of certain nutrients, and I need to water them regularly and consistently. Fortunately, the grow tent provides the right amount of heat and light, and since I’m home most of the time, I can water them fairly consistently.

After spending all the time and effort on growing and harvesting the home-grown produce, it’s very exciting to be able to use them in my recipes. After almost three and half months of being inside a grow tent, the peppers emit a sweet odor, and are smooth and a bright red in color. I like to make different kinds of salads and appetizers. My friends and family do notice the difference in taste. They admit that the peppers I grow are much sweeter than the average peppers from the supermarket. It’s very rewarding to see my loved ones enjoy, literally, the fruits of my labor.

The rise in popularity of organic foods also makes it easier for me to purchase organic foods. Since there is a market for them, a lot more markets do seem to carry organic produce, and there are more Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods around these days than there were ten years ago.

Though I do understand the need for conventional farming methods, since cost and production is always a cause for concern, as a cook and as a person who cares deeply about the environment, I would love to see more demand for sustainable farming methods, and more widespread consumption of organic foods. I believe that families with children should consider the impact of consuming foods with chemical residue in them, especially when the health and safety of children are involved.

I have found that growing my own produce- both by outdoor gardening and indoor using the hydroponics method- I have been able to harvest and enjoy healthy, chemical-free fruits and vegetables. And as someone who really loves cooking- I enjoy the fresh taste, and seeing the beautiful color of a fully ripe tomato and pepper.

The author invites you to visit for more information on hydroponics and indoor gardening.

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