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Markets are a welcome supplement to yield from organic garden

"If organically grown vegetables can be purchased locally, why should I plant a garden and spend time on it when I'd rather be fishing or playing golf?" he asked. The caller's question can have several answers. Growing your own or purchasing is a matter of personal preference. Choice depends upon available time and priorities given to its use.

Some prefer to grow their own and have more variety while others may want to purchase available organically grown produce.

Either method provides poison-free vegetables, a plus for health-minded individuals and their loved ones.

No one is likely to pooh-pooh the value of organically grown produce either from a garden or purchased in the market place.

Synthetic poison pesticide residues are not some passing fancy or scare tactic. Even the Environmental Protection Agency, a government bureau designed to protect the nation's food supply, acknowledges some residues may remain on chemically grown food.

At least it sets tolerances, the amount the human body can ingest safely.

The present question seems to hinge on whether it is better to grow your own organically or purchase poison-free produce available in markets.

Price might be a deterrent to some but few health-minded individuals are likely to object, especially when they can purchase vegetables certified poison-free.

It has been my contention for many years that organically grown produce not only is better for health but also has improved taste.

Variety, presently available in markets, may prompt gardeners to steer a middle course, growing as much as possible on a backyard plot and supplementing their products with purchases.

It pleased me to find organically grown vegetables available, especially broccoli. I do not have sufficient space for continued production and often it's available.

We like especially the unsprayed broccoli, a product difficult, if not impossible, to wash free of pesticide residues. Poisons sometimes taken up systematically by chemically grown plants cannot be eliminated. It's throughout the entire plant.

Price, to me, would not be a deciding factor. I'd continue to garden even though price might be the same. I find gardening an enjoyable pastime. Bending and stretching during planting and caring for maturing vegetables helps to keep me feeling fit, an outdoor exercise no gym can duplicate. Now heading for my 90s, I need all the help available.

To me and my family it's amazing how much produce can be grown in a small garden plot. Our unsprayed and compost-fed citrus trees provide fruit that is pesticide-free.

Now we have a supplemental source for organically grown produce, something I've hoped to see for years.

Leo Van Meer, author of the book Natural Gardening, has gardened without pesticides for 60 years. He lives in Clearwater.