10 of the healthiest fruits and vegetables to grow

Ned Birkey

EAST LANSING, MI. — Eric Snodgrass, Senior Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist of Nutrien Ag Solutions is calling for warmer and wetter weather for the next couple of weeks. Detroit weather reported January as being the seventh warmest on record and prior to the past week, as the cloudiest winter of the past 20 years. Some good news of that is all the precipitation was rain and most of it soaked into the soil to replenish the groundwater, helping against the drought. Ohio State’s Aaron Wilson is echoing the same news for January and Climate Prediction Center’s forecast for most of February.For the 21st year, Chris DiFonzo of MSU has released the Bt trait table for both field corn and sweet corn. The two-page document for field corn lists the types of Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) present in all commercialized corn in the U.S. in a concise format. This trait table is handy because few sources compare all the Bt trait packages offered by seedcorn companies in one handy, summary document.Bt is a soil dwelling bacterium and the most commonly used biological (organic) pesticide worldwide. Bt corn first came on the market in 1996, with Monroe County having a trial of Bt and no-Bt corn on the Melvin Dailey farm just north of Dundee and across the road from where Cabela’s is today.Most commercial corn hybrids in the U.S. have transgenic traits for insect management with the original trait targeting the lepidoptera insect, European corn borer. Left unchecked, this insect causes millions of dollars of damage to corn and previous to Bt corn so farmers across the Midwest applied millions of pounds of synthetic insecticides to control it. Since the original release of Bt corn, other Bt proteins in corn have targeted black cutworm, corn earworm, corn rootworm, fall armyworm, stalk borer, true armyworm and western bean cutworm for our area of the U.S. cornbelt. Interested persons can access the latest version of this document, which is posted at many farmers may have locked in their crop rotation plans for 2023, the margin between expected prices and costs are projected to be much tighter this year. Purdue’s budgets are forecasting 6% lower average market prices for corn and 8% lower for soybeans. Their per acre earnings for corn rotations are estimated about $64 per acre for corn and $82 acres for soybeans. However, revenue and cost projections can vary greatly, especially as input and financing costs continue to rise. Ohio State also has projected 2023 corn, soybean and wheat budgets and 2022 organic corn and hay production budgets. Visit to get their enterprise budget page listing.Food prices are not likely to drop in 2023. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) is forecasting food prices to grow, but more slowly in 2023 than in 2022, but still at above historical average rates. ERS is predicting all food prices to increase by 7.1% as compared to 9.9% last year. Food at home prices increased by 11.4% last year, while food away from home prices increased by 7.7% overall. Food categories monitored included fats and oils, poultry, other meats, cereals and bakery products, dairy products, eggs, processed fruits and vegetables, nonalcoholic beverages, sugar and sweets, and other foods.For a home garden, some vegetables are more nutrient dense than others and some don’t require a lot of space. Arguably, this list includes (not in any particular order) broccoli, kale, garlic, onions, spinach, bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries. Other healthy crops include carrots, winter squash, watermelon and legumes such as peas, edamame, white beans, chickpeas or cowpeas. This list does not consider personal taste and many other factors but may be a helpful guide to home gardeners otherwise undecided about what to grow. It may also be easier to go to the local farmers market to get sweet corn, potatoes, melons and other fruits and vegetables that take up more space.