Bridging the Disconnect – Schoolkids Learn about Growing Food

Editor’s Note:  The following article was published in the March-April 2017 issue of AgMag magazine.

The Science Academy of South Texas has a secret – a garden where students learn about growing food

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley used to mean being surrounded by citrus orchards and farmland. Today, residents are surrounded by strip malls, countless restaurants, pawn shops and automotive repair places, many reminiscent of junk yards.

“There’s a big disconnect between food producers and consumers,” said Brad Cowan, Texas A&M AgLife Extension Service‘s County Extension Agent – Agriculture, Hidalgo County.

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Home Depot – pulling a fast one with neonicotinoids ?

Home Depot logoAs an environmental journalist and an organic home gardener, I’m very aware of how pesticides and neonicotinoids such as Roundup and glyphosate are having a devastating effect on bees and butterflies. I work diligently to not only provide this information to others but also to avoid bringing any of said ingredients into or around my home.

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Edible flowers – a colorful way to expand your healthy diet

Bright colored nasturtiums are great additions to summer salads

Bright colored nasturtiums are great additions to summer salads

If you’re a backyard gardener like I am, you’re always looking for something different to try each year. While I always seek new varieties of organic veggies to plant, flowers are steadily making their way into and around the gardens too. With a rule of only growing what I’ll eat, I discovered an interesting article about edible flowers you can cultivate and ways to enjoy eating them Here are a few ideas to brighten up your garden while adding variety to your diet.

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Are we losing important biodiversity in our food?

Urban garden 1I’ve been a backyard organic gardener for the better part of fifteen years. Each year I learn and grow more while experimenting with a wider variety of types of veggies. It’s a lot of fun and definitely helps keep my food budget down.

I came across an interesting article called 15 Indigenous Vegetables that are Nutritious and Delicious and was surprised at how many of these I’d never heard of before. I’m always looking to find new things to grow in my garden and the idea of trying something both incredibly nutritious and different definitely captures my imagination.

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New map shows growing zones – an easy read

Planting a fall gardenGardeners and growers know that being intimately familiar with your growing zone is a make it or break it deal. One mis-step and it can be goodbye garden.

Just in time for Fall planting, the USDA has published an easy to understand  Plant Hardiness Zone Map that takes the guesswork out of planting for even the novice planter. The map is now available as an interactive GIS-based map for the first time. You’ll need a good broadband connection to use it, but the rest is simple. Just input your zip code and discover the hardiness of your growing area.

And happy winter growing!

Urban Gardening for Dummies – a great resource to grow a green(er) thumb

9781118340356 cover.inddWith escalating food prices and growing concerns about food safety, more consumers are turning to gardening. Whether living in an apartment in a large city or a suburban home, gardening and sustainable living are becoming popular.

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