Organic vegetables are those that comply with specific federal requirements. Organic produce is more difficult and expensive to produce, but the final results are unmatched in both flavor and nutrients. Certification can be obtained from the Federal Department of Agriculture.
According to the Department of Agriculture, in order for plants to be considered certified organic, the soil cannot be treated with any prohibited substances for three years prior to the first harvest. Prohibited materials include synthetic or chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge. Instead, plants must be grown with natural fertilizers such as ground fish, kelp, coffee, molasses, natural bone meal, and organic composts.
Organic plants cannot be genetically engineered organisms (GMO's). This restriction is placed due to GMO's inability to reproduce, thus rendering itself an unsustainable resource. Instead, organic seeds must be naturally produced from organic plants through pollination. Farmers desiring to create a self-sustaining farm can rent bees during the flower season to optimize natural pollination.
Pesticide residues exceeding 5 percent of the EPA's tolerance are prohibited on certified organic vegetables. Instead, natural pest control methods must be utilized. Natural pesticides such as certain soaps and herbal extracts can be applied directly to plants. In addition, pest repelling plants such as certain herbs can be planted alongside crops to naturally keep the bugs at bay.