Summer is slowly fading into cooler temperatures, which means it’s time to start that beautiful fall garden. We love the arrival of fall because it brings with it the excitement of change and a fresh start. This year, enjoy the transition into fall with a new perspective on the veggies you eat, and how you engage with your garden.
This week, we are excited to share some exclusive insight from Aaron Pinkus, of Blue Label Farms; he shares with us the truth behind “organic” farming, how to see your garden differently, and his favorite part of his fall garden.
Blue Label’s Family Roots
Blue Label received its namesake in 2004, after beginning its now renowned vegetable and herb sales. This is when Aaron Pinkus began his imperative role in the family business. Before making the jump to growing herbs in 1996, the business started as a small garden center, run by Aaron’s grandfather starting in 1951.
Now that Blue Label has been in the big gardening business for almost 20 years, they are breaking boundaries; their ability to produce mass amounts of vegetables and herbs with sustainable growing methods is extraordinary.
Aaron shares with us that he loves to use his fresh herbs and veggies to get creative in the kitchen. “Personally, I’m a home cook”, he says, “I love using the freshest herbs you can get.”
“When you’re making fresh salads, you want the freshest herbs possible. Rather than getting herbs that were cut about a week ago at the grocery store, you can grow your own right in your garden.”Aaron Pinkus – Blue Label Farms
The Truth Behind The Label
When it comes to buying fresh vegetables and herbs at the grocery store, buying the healthiest option is the goal. Oftentimes, produce with an organic label on it is more desirable because it feels healthier. You will be surprised to learn that organic does not necessarily mean healthy!
“There are a lot of pesticides that are used in organic growing,” Pinkus states. “It’s actually really interesting; organic does not mean healthy. It’s a huge misconception.”
Pinkus shares with us that many commercial growers are labeling their produce as organic, even when large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used in the growing process. There is a loophole in the system which allows this to occur if a certain amount of organic materials are used in the growing process.
Is Your Produce Grown Locally?
Keep an eye out for labels that claim their produce is grown locally. Pinkus informs that produce that is labeled with local labels is often grown out of the country, and only packaged at a local company.
The best way to stay certain of where your produce is grown is to grow your own! “You can’t get any more local than your backyard”, Pinkus states. “We love how Gardenuity is making gardening so accessible to everyone, seeing our herbs in gardens across the country is exciting.”
If you are in need of fresh herbs or veggies that aren’t growing in your garden, go to a local farmer’s market; here you can support your community and try to avoid questionable produce.
Blue Label is a leader in sustainable growing, as the company has devoted their growing practice to remain entirely environmentally friendly. On top of this, Blue Label makes all of their own soil and fertilizers, which contain zero harmful pesticides, or ingredients that are poor for human consumption.
“It’s a huge challenge figuring out the best way to grow sustainably, and the best way to grow great products, because they don’t always go hand in hand”, Pinkus shares.
Another incredible aspect of Blue Label’s growing practice is that all of their products are grown on their property only; everything that is sold originates from a cutting from a plant that was already in their gardens. This is a practice that you can participate in at home, too! To learn more about growing vegetables from cuttings, take a look at this article from Urban Cultivator.
You can also do your part in gardening sustainably by making your own fertilizer at home. This process is called composting, and can be done by using your own waste products to create food for your plants.. Find out everything you need to know to make your own fertilizer at home with our Complete Guide to Composting.
Aaron’s Favorite Fall Plants
When asked about his favorite plants in the fall, Aaron was quick to return back to the topic of cooking. “Texas has a shortfall season, but I do love fall season cooking.”
Pinkus shared that his favorite fall plants can all be found in the herb garden! He listed Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme as his favorite fall season crops. “I love thyme, it is definitely one of my favorite things to cook with,” says Pinkus.
Thyme is a fantastic herb to plant in the fall because it is hardy, prefers cooler temperatures, and grows in a short period of time. Better yet, plant your herbs in a container garden so that you can bring them indoors once the frost settles.
Take a look at our Fall Vegetable Garden Growing Guide for more information on how to prep the perfect fall garden.
Finally, Aaron’s most important advice is to be sure that your plants are being fed properly. “One of the biggest pieces of advice that goes completely unlistened to,” he says, “is that all plants have to be fed. A lot of people complain about their plants not doing well, and the number one reason is that they’re not feeding them.”
The next time you find yourself wondering why your garden isn’t looking so hot, give your plants a snack. They will thank you later.