There are specific regulations governing organic vegetables, spelled out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The word "natural" is not interchangeable with "organic." The USDA Organic Program issues a "100% Organic" label when the farmer does not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers and also practices farm ecology that promotes the cycling of resources and biological diversity. Vegetables sold at local farmer's markets are often grown on farms that have the USDA certified organic designation. It is also easy to grow many types of organic vegetables at home.
Tomatoes are the most popular organic vegetable to grow at home. Heirloom varieties such as "Brandywine," "Stupice" and "German Green Tomato" grow well in sunny garden spots with a nearby water source. Their vines can reach 10 feet in height and need to be caged or staked. Urban gardeners can grow "Patio Princess" or "Cherry Belle" tomatoes in containers on a porch or balcony.
Squash varieties such as "Round French Zucchini," "Yellow Crookneck" and "Golden Scallopini Bush Summer Squash" can be grown from 100 percent Certified Organic seeds. Squash grown in soil using homemade or commercial compost contains many healthy nutrients. Most garden centers have organic vegetable seeds and organic compost products for sale.
The Environmental Protection Agency's study on pesticides in food reported that there are significant risks to children from exposure to the chemicals used in growing non-organic vegetables. Organic salad greens such as "New Red Fire," "Red Oak Leaf" and "Green Deer Tongue" lettuce are often found at local farmer's markets and can be grown organically at home. Salad greens grow very well in container gardens, window boxes and rain gutter gardens.
Pole beans, runner beans, bush beans and soybeans have more intense flavor and higher nutrient content when they're organic. A study at the University of California at Davis recently reported that there is a yearly accumulative increase in the nutrient content of soil managed organically. Choose bean varieties such as "Aztec Half Runner" if you are planting in partial shade. It produces a plump white bean that is good in soups and cold salads. "Provider Bush Bean" is a compact 15 inch bush that needs only moderate water to grow well.
"Early Russian" cucumbers can be grown organically by using a non-chemical fertilizer such as compost. Beneficial insects such as ladybugs help keep disease and harmful insects under control. "Early Russian" cucumber is an heirloom variety that was first introduced in 1888. Grow the "Northern Pickling Cucumber" if you are planning to make pickles.