Are you growing vegetables and fruits this summer? Whether you use organic methods or conventional methods, attention to food safety from the garden to your table is important. Here are several ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness:
First, know your water source if you irrigate. Use water approved for drinking. If you use well water, test at least once a year and meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. Drip irrigation reduces crop wetting and minimizes food safety risks. If you use sprinkling systems, water early in the day so leaves dry quickly.
Next, keep family pets and wild animals out of your garden as they may carry harmful bacteria. Avoid feeding birds near your garden as well.
To learn more about gardening, call the Master Gardeners at your local Extension office. They provide research-based, environmentally friendly advice about gardening practices.