Saturday, February 8, 2020


I'm being corrupted by the longer days and if I don't discipline myself I will be in big trouble.  It is plain and simple--I want to plant,  I have been thinking of starting a limited amount of salad greens in my unheated greenhouse.

An extensive article in the March issue of Consumer Reports on the safety of purchased salad greens with reference to E.coli outbreaks convinced me I should be growing my own.  Personally, I should do it for two reasons: quality (controlled growing conditions) and quantity.  More often than not, half or less of the boxed greens end up in the compost.

Many years ago a friend became very ill from what she said was from eating romaine lettuce.  The ever-knowing circle of friends laughed at her and commented how could that be, you probably just had a bad glass of wine.  Now, of course, we realize it was probably E.coli.  Unfortunately it is too late to apologize.

Until I read the article I didn't know how extensive damage from E.coli could be.  The article cited the case of a 72 year old woman who had been in excellent health, had developed a form of kidney failure as a result of eating a healthy salad instead of pizza and contracting E.coli.  After three days of extreme illness she was admitted to the hospital.  During her 14 day hospital recovery she was in and out of consciousness, and had to relearn how to talk and to walk.  After two months she was back to normal.

Am I being an alarmist?  No, my intention is that with the next salad greens recall you pay attention.  The article brought forth the fact that "triple washed" may sound safer but water cannot remove the bacteria.

E.coli bacteria can infect the lettuce food supply through irrigation.  Toxic  E.coli is found in farm animals and in many cases the contamination was related to nearby cattle feed lots. The bacteria was taken up by the plant growth either through irrigation or carried by the wind.

The article is an in-depth exploration of the complete process of farm to table production.  It is interesting that the favored romaine variety for many years has been replaced by the old favored iceberg head lettuce.

We are fortunate that salad greens are now being grown and packaged by small farms in Central Oregon and available in local markets.  Yes, we will pay a little more but putting our minds to ease is priceless.

I have solved my concerns about quality by growing my own.  Now I have to control the seeding to be able to control the quantity.  If you are like me and need a garden fix start thinking how you can start growing your own greens.

Check out Gardening:Get Good at It "Growing Veggie in C.O." segment  Tuesday February 18 on KPOV 88.9 FM between 9-9:30 am

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