Does homegrown always mean healthy? Not so fast–it’s not as simple as you might think. Take a look at some factors that can compromise your homegrown produce.
Anyone who grows their own vegetables tends to do so for one of two reasons. Most pressingly, we choose to go down this path to save money. How much cheaper would your life be if you could cut all the fresh produce from your shopping bill? Instead, you could enjoy the high-life of unlimited fresh items for nothing more than a small initial outlay.
Cost aside, though, many of us also get growing for the sake of our good health. We’re all becoming more conscious than ever of the damage that shop-bought veg can cause. After all, we have no way of monitoring the conditions in which they’re grown, or the chemicals they’re exposed to. While there are organic options available, these are pricey and also an unknown risk.
It’s no wonder, then, that home-grown usually looks like the best option by far. And, with endless tutorials out there waiting to tell you how to get started, there’s no reason that you can’t make this work.
Even if you don’t think you’ve got the space for a kitchen garden as it stands, you may well be surprised. People are managing to grow their own on little more than kitchen shelves and balconies. Even a small garden could produce a whole load of healthy stuff if you make some raised vegetable beds.
It is worth noting, though, that growing your own isn’t an automatically safer option. While you’re always going to see less chemical exposure to stuff you grow, there is still some risk of contaminants. To prove the, we’re going to look at a few mistakes you might be making which could currently be contaminating even your home-grown efforts.
Using an unregulated water source
For the most part, our home water supplies are pretty safe things. We drink from them, wash in them, and even clean our food using the water from our taps. As such, you probably don’t think twice before plugging the hose onto that outside tap to water your vegetable patch. The trouble is that this could lead to unexpected exposure.
Outdoor faucets aren’t always from the same water sources as our home supply. Hence why most companies would advise you against drinking from taps like these. That’s because outside water regulations aren’t half as strict as those inside our homes. That isn’t usually a problem, but it could be with your vegetables. After all, they’ll be absorbing and growing with that water. You’ll also have no way of regulating what exactly it contains.
As simple as that, you could introduce contaminants into your food supply. Don’t let it happen by considering alternative water sources. Something like the rainwater tanks offered by National Poly Industries could work well here, as they ensure a natural supply of water from a source that you have full control over. You may even find that just plugging a sprinkler system into your main house supply is all it takes here.
Either way, make sure no nasty contaminants are making their way into your soil without your knowledge. Over time, an issue like that could do real damage to the health of the whole family.
Planting too close to roads
It’s also crucial that you consider the impact any nearby busy roads could have on your attempts here. Excessive car exhausts could go a long way towards contaminating your veggies. That’s because they release chemicals into the environment such as sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons. These become especially problematic if you live near a road with stalled traffic. All that nasty stuff goes out into the air, and could well end up right in your vegetable supply. To some extent, this is untested territory.
After all, farmers and wholesalers usually grow in pretty isolated areas to avoid just this. But, what studies have been carried out in this area found a presence of heavy metals in options grown too close to traffic. This is pretty worrying when you consider that contamination like this has been linked to issues such as respiratory problems and heart disease. As simple as that, your efforts to get even healthier with your healthy eating could backfire.
That’s why you need to think about where you plant before you go ahead here. Anywhere in direct relation to busy roads is best avoided. If possible, find out of the way areas which receive low levels of contaminants.
If that isn’t possible, it may well be worth considering options like container gardening. This provides a level of protection from those nasty contaminants. You may even want to think about either investing in a growing house or settling for a few essentials on your kitchen windowsill. Anything which stops you from eating the contents of those car exhausts.
Using shop-bought growing products
Many of us don’t even think twice before buying things like pesticides and fertilizer. You’re doing the actual growing, right, so what’s wrong with getting help from certified products? Surely they need to be safe, or they wouldn’t be fit for purpose? Perhaps not.
Remember that contaminants like those found in these exact products are why you’re growing in the first place. By investing in shop-bought options here, you’re opening the doors to let contamination back in. At the very least, that will ensure your veg are no healthier than those which you would get in a shop. And, there isn’t even any need for it. It’s possible to grow these things at home with little effort on your part.
For fertilizer, composting things like eggshells, banana skins, and food scraps could do the trick. Not only would this not cost you, but it would also ensure a 100% organic product at the end of your efforts. It’s even possible to make your own pesticides using household ingredients like garlic or chili. You may find that even a bottle of vegetable oil could take you far here. This way, you can keep pests at bay without once using heavy chemicals.
It doesn’t get much healthier than that.