Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
Gardening is one of my hobbies. As a child I sat by my mother's side as she poured over seed and bulb catalogs looking for new varieties of flowers that could be planted in our sunny back yard. When they arrived we shared powerful bonding experiences as we lovingly sowed seeds and planted bulbs then later cut and arranged the flowers they produced. My love of planting and sowing was heightened on weekends at a multi-family 20 acres that was farmed by the caretaker. It was there I nurtured the dream of living an adult life on a large parcel of land where I could grow flowers and vegetables to share with friends and neighbors.
As an adult that dream has been tempered by life. My wonderful home is on a small lot that supports a respectable flower garden but is shaded much of the day by large maple and fir trees. So, my penchant for growing and gifting flowers is fulfilled at a plot I rent at a community garden where I trade seeds and bulbs with other plot owners.
This weekend one of my fellow gardeners and I were commiserating about our plans for the coming year. My friend commented that last year she planted snapdragons in the center of her patch but this year she was planting beans--part of her plan to rotate her crops. It reminded me of a comment I heard recently from a very respected physician who was lamenting (to her large audience) the poor quality of our food chain because fruits and vegetables are grown in depleted soil. (She was also endorsing a vitamin/mineral supplement designed to overcome the poor quality of our food.)
I don't think the physician knew what she was talking about. This refrain that "depleted soils yield less nutritious fruits and vegetables" refuses to go away even though there is minimal evidence for it. Admittedly there are parts of the world where climactic conditions and long use have eroded soil and leached out nutrients, but that isn't the case in North America where we have vitamin and mineral rich foods available at local supermarkets year round.
Vitamins are not sitting loose in the soil just waiting for plants to suck them up through their roots. The plants do the work by synthesizing their vitamins from a variety of building blocks in the soil in much the same way your body makes skin and other tissues from the building blocks available in the food you eat. Minerals come from rain soaked rocks, boulders and mountains that find their way into the soil.
The point is that if soil is depleted of nutrients (vitamins or minerals) the plants simply won't grow. When they do they look unattractive. Since most people don't eat wilted or malformed vegetables (they usually don't make it to the store) there's little possibility that depleted soil is an issue for any of us. People who sell supplements may tell you differently but there's no legitimate proof to back up the depleted soil argument. When Americans are deficient in vitamins and/or minerals the phenomenon that precipitates it is dietary skimping and splurging.
I take a high quality multivitamin/mineral supplement every day. Note the word is supplement. That means it augments my preferred route for nutrients-SMART EATING.
Incidentally, after the lecture I mentioned above, I saw the physician outside the auditorium smoking a cigarette. Talk about depleting your body of vitamins and minerals.
Don't get me started (again).
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