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Sunday, March 1, 2009

SHTF: Gardening

Nightline had a story Thursday night about the return of the Victory Garden. As usual, they blabbed about the "sustainable, eco-friendly" reasons for growing at least some of your own food.

Despite the fact that the story was taped in the trendy, high dollar suburb of Venice, CA and most of those interviewed were well-heeled and single, just having this sort of story must be significant.

Victory Gardens hail from World War Two (they had a version in WWI as well), when the government encouraged Americans to start gardens in their backyards allowing farm produce to be sent to the troops and starving allies like England. Amazingly, at its height, 40% of the produce consumed by Americans came from backyard and community Victory gardens.

Remember, in the 1940's, most Americans either lived in rural areas or urban. There was little if any suburban dwellers. So these Victory Gardens were producing food from postage stamp sized lawns, window boxes, roof top planters and vacant lots.

Imagine what today's suburban farmer could do with their 100 x 200 lot in a modern subdivision.

Asides on the Nightline story..

There were three interviewed in the story.. a single guy, a garden consultant and a odd ball film maker who had a few raised beds in front of his ocean front home. Wow - what diversity.

They should have included a Midwestern (or anywhere in the U.S.) family with kids working a backyard garden complete with a few yard walkers who were trying to shave their grocery bills.. (and prepare for the coming food shortages.. )..

They should have included an urban dweller with a mini farm in an adjoining vacant lot..

They should have included one of those supersized community lots seen in many large urban areas..

But they didn't. Oh well.

Next up Compost.

Do you compost? I do. Everything from the kitchen in the form of vegetable and fruit waste, tea bags and coffee grinds goes into the compost heap. With spring approaching, I have my own way of expediting the compost process.

I take my large planting pots from last year and add..

- A layer of leaves.
- A layer of dirt.
- A big old pile of rotting vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, etc.
- Anther layer of dirt.
- Another layer of leaves on top.

Mash the whole thing down underneath another empty pot and leave it alone for a couple of weeks. After that time, I dump the full pot into the top pot, turn over and leave it alone for a couple of weeks. Repeat until planting time.

It works for me.

Watch out for vermin in the compost heap. Rats and mice love digging for those kitchen scraps and once you have those guys, they aren't leaving anytime soon.

I go out in the evening with a flashlight and my little Robin Hood (a kids wooden bow and arrow with the rubber tip removed and the end sharpened with a pencil sharpener). Scares the devil out of those pests.

Time to get to the hardware store and check out the seed selection. In my area, the seeds come out now and disappear at Easter (must be a Lent thing). After April, you can't find any vegetable seeds at the store.

Remember, you can produce your own food at home and it is mandatory that you start this year. There is no reason to expect our economy to support Washington's madness much longer.

Good luck!


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