Many people use herbs when they are cooking to add flavour and colour to their dishes but in doing so don’t stop to consider just how much pesticide and other chemicals are used in their growing.
Herbs that are sold in supermarkets are normally grown to such proportions that pesticides and chemicals are used along with irradiation methods to ensure bumper crops and also to speed up the growing process.
Organic vs. Chemically Aided Growth
Growing herbs, vegetables or crops organically is much healthier than the methods many large companies and farmers use which include the use of pesticides, chemical feeds and irradiation techniques. However it is important to look at the cost of such products both in terms of production and also consumer buying.
You will find that buying organic produce in your local supermarket may cost that little bit extra but for those of us concerned with the levels of chemicals used and the effects these chemicals can have on our systems, this small amount more is worth paying.
Chemically-aided products, especially those grown outside can through time absorb quantities of the chemicals and pesticides that have been used to help grow and protect them and this can (a) reduce the flavour and (b) increase your chances of ingesting quantities of a substance that you would not normally come into contact with.
Supermarkets vs. Home Grown
There is a shift of emphasis taking place at the moment and this shift is taking consumers away from the products found on supermarket shelves and towards smaller market garden producers.
Many supermarkets carry a range of organic products on their shelves but not to the quantities that we are consumers would want. There is still much emphasis placed on mass produced products that can be bought by the supermarkets in bulk at greatly reduced prices and passed on to the consumer at cheaper – but still high enough prices – to ensure the supermarkets make a healthy profit.
There has been in the last few months of 2007 and the first few months of 2008 a push towards healthier eating which includes reducing the amount of mass produced foods we eat and increasing the amount of home grown and organically farmed products we eat. These campaigns have taken in poultry, meat, vegetables, herbs and breads.
Growing Organic Herbs
Anyone can grow organic herbs and you do not need to have acres of land to do so. You can grow herbs in any spare plot of soil you have in your garden, in trays in your greenhouse, on your allotment or even in window boxes.
Herbs do however require space to grow so it is a wise idea not to try and grow anything alongside them as they tend to sprawl out and can starve other growing plants or vegetables of much needed oxygen and nutrients in the soil.
You can buy the seeds for herbs from most garden centres and indeed even in supermarkets. Plant them in the desired location and keep them watered and fed using organic compost and feed and they will provide you with a plentiful and flavoursome supply for many months.
In addition growing your own herbs means that you can be sure that whatever you add to your dishes will provide one hundred per cent genuine flavour with no need to worry about chemicals or pesticide tainting.
If you want to grow herbs but have never done so you can ask your local garden centre representative for details as to how to go about it. They will be more than happy to help and may also be able to recommend a selection of herbs that will grow in your particular soil.