Be sure to grow Dirty Dozen

Chelsea van Rijn
Chelsea van Rijn Sarah Harvey
GETTING READY: The ground has been prepared for the planting of winter vegetables.
GETTING READY: The ground has been prepared for the planting of winter vegetables. Contributed

I'M GETTING a little gardening bored. It's still too early to be planting my winter vegetables and my vegetable patch is cleaned, composted, mulched and waiting. My few gardens are fertilised, trimmed and waiting for cooler weather to start planting out more. Lawns are fertilised, soil wetted and weeds killed - just waiting on rain to green them up.

So what does one do when garden bored? Start dreaming big. I think I have about 40 seed packets of the things I'd like to grow this winter. So I may have got a little over-excited. So how do I narrow it down?

Luckily I came across an interesting article on the extremely high concentrations of pesticide residue on frozen berries. The interesting thing was most of the residue was of pesticides banned in Australia. This is because most frozen berry companies get their berries from overseas.

The old mind cogs started turning over and after a bit more research I discovered the 'Dirty Dozen' and the 'Clean Fifteen'.

These are two lists released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) each year.

The Dirty Dozen, a list of the fruits and vegetables likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue. The Clean 15 is a list of fruits and vegetables least likely to contain pesticides.

The EWG takes into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.

The "Dirty Dozen" for 2013 were (number one being the highest in pesticide residue)

1. Apples

2. Strawberries

3. Grapes

4. Celery

5. Peaches

6. Spinach

7. Sweet bell peppers

8. Nectarines

9. Cucumbers

10. Potatoes

11. Cherry tomatoes

12. Hot peppers

The EWG also added kale/collard greens and summer squash as a plus last year as they may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterises as "highly toxic" and of special concern.

Did you know that all of these you can grow at home in pots or gardens?

Armed with this information planning my winter vegetable patch has become a little easier. Apart from cucumbers all of the Dirty Dozen can be grown at home this winter. Cucum- bers prefer warmer weather.

I have also potted a raspberry, a fig and a dwarf peach just for fun too.

I know you are all wondering what the 'Clean fifteen' are. So here it is

1. Asparagus

2. Avocados

3. Cabbage

4. Cantaloupe

5. Sweet corn

6. Eggplant

7. Grapefruit

8. Kiwi

9. Mangoes

10. Mushrooms

11. Onions

12. Papayas

13. Pineapples

14. Sweet peas (frozen)

15. Sweet potatoes

Don't get gardening bored, plan big and include the Dirty Dozen in your list.

Topics:  chelsea van rijn gardening opinion

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