Have you heard the term dirty dozen floating around? Have you wondered what it was all about? A group called the Environmental Working Group has set about to test the amounts of pesticide residue on the foods we eat. This project was created to inform the public about pesticides, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fails to. Every year the Environmental Working Group shares the Dirty Dozen (produce which contains the highest amounts of pesticide residues) and the Clean Fifteen (produce which contains the least amounts (or no) pesticide residues).
Why should I care?
As discussed earlier, pesticides have a very negative effect on our native bees and the environment, but that’s not all. Pesticides have been known to harm children’s brain development [EFSA Report]. Pesticides may play a part in ADD and ADHD [Chlorpyrifos Factsheet]. Women exposed to DDT are five times more likely to develop breast cancer [Chemical Trespass]. Seeing a dear friend fighting breast cancer, that just isn’t a risk that is worth it to me.
This Year’s Dirty Dozen
The lower the number, the “dirtier” it is…
Can be grown in gardening zones 3-8. Dwarf varieties can be grown on small properties.
Can be grown in gardening zones 5-8. Dwarf varieties can be grown in containers.
Can be grown in gardening zones 5-9. Dwarf varieties can be grown in containers.
Can be grown in gardening zones 3-10. Considered ornamental and can be used as edible landscaping.
Can be grown in gardening zones 2-10. Plants trained to grow vertically take up very little space. Also considered ornamental.
Can be grown in gardening zones 2-10. Hard to transplant and intolerant of heat, celery may be best to get from a local farmer.
Can be grown in gardening zones 3-9. Its quick rate of growth makes it ideal for succession planting.
#8 Sweet Bell Peppers
Can be hard to grow in cooler climates. Maybe best to get from a local farmer.
Can be grown in gardening zones 4-11. Trellised cucumbers require very little space.
#10 Cherry Tomatoes
Can be grown in gardening zones 2-10. Perfect for container gardens and one plant produces enough tomatoes for at least two people.
#11 Snap Peas (Imported)
Can be grown in gardening zones 3-11. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. Container friendly.
Can be grown in gardening zones 1-7. Although they take a bit of space, the taste and texture are far superior to store bought potatoes.
2015’s Clean Fifteen
* May contain GMOs. Buy organic.
What does this have to do with gardening?
You can grow many of the dirty dozens! Wouldn’t it be fabulous to enjoy these foods you love without the fear of pesticide residues? Many are easy to grow. Some can even be grown in containers.
Pull out your containers, make some space in the garden. These are the things you should be growing.