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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SHTF: Garden, Urban, Inflation

Sunday round up of miscellaneous stuff.. Here goes.

Gardening this weekend.

I setup a new raised bed in the backyard. This was pretty simple.

Cleared a 4 x 6 area of grass and weeds. Turned the soil.

Built out of left over bricks a 12" wall, (no cement) around the area.

Filled with 6 bags of soil from garden store.

Layered newspaper in the bottom to kill off any additional weeds.

Ready to plant with 3 tomato plants or bell pepper.

I won't put any down right now until the weather warms up. It's in the 50s today and set for the 70's this week, but who could have predicted the cold snap we had this past week?

Time: 1 hour.

Went to the garden store that same afternoon. Dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes are available. The prices were low and now is the time to stock up on these as online retailers are out of most fruit and berry plants.

Consider fruit tree availability like ammunition sales are now. They won't be available at all soon when people start getting wise to growing their own food. Sure, may will imagine that fruit tree producing 'store ready' produce in a few months, but realistically, if the tree is well taken care of, could produce some nice fruit next year or the year after.

By the way, the seed section was pretty well picked over too. More and more people are putting in food gardens this year what with the economy doing so well and prices going up.

Which brings up the next observation: Inflation.

With FedGov printing and pushing so much imaginary cash, it is having less value. Prices at Costco early yesterday morning were higher than I had seen before. Everything as two dollars more expensive than it was last October.

As debt-backed money increases, tangible goods cost more. Further, suppliers in other country, seeing our dollar decrease in value, demand more money for same goods. For instance, jasmine rice, produced in Thailand, was four dollars more expensive than the last time I shopped.

There were also several products understocked or low at Costco. This could be the beginning of shortages in the near future. Stock up now on staples like flour, honey, sugar, oil and so on.

Urban survival?

There has been a rash of stories sympathetic to this cause lately.

Urban survival means making do in the city during hard times or after the SHTF. There are a bunch of survival minded folks who believe that "peak oil", shortages, and other problems will force most of us back into cities.

The concept is that cities will become urban oasis' of like minded individual, families and quasi communes cooperating as they eek out an existence.

Homes, (buildings) will have roof top solar and rain collectors. Vacant lots will feature community gardens. Citizens will walk to work, shop and drop their kids off at nearby schools.

The problem with this scenario is lack of space.

If peek oil forces all of us into urban centers, the vacant lot will be razed for a new high rise condo to squeeze all the new citizens in.

Many jobs, such as manufacturing or retail, require more space and will compete for homes and schools for the room.

Even roof tops will be squeezed and hard pressed to provide enough power or water for all the citizens.

Further, money and power talk. That quaint neighborhood with its community gardens and proximity to shopping and jobs will be commandeered by the newly returned power elite just back from their far flung suburbs. Old residents will find themselves and their belongings thrown in the back of an open truck destined for the edges of society.

Nope, my theory is based upon the underpopulated suburb. Vast tracts of abaondoned homes and strip malls. One family home occupied out of every five or six houses. Gardens in overgrown backyards. Small scale livestock product such as goats, chickens and rabbits.

Swimming pools converted to cisterns. Solar panels and windmills generating power. Neighborhood groups organized for defense and protection while a few fortunate members work from home on hijacked Internet connections.

The key is space. Lots of room for production and food while still within an organized grid of streets and dwellings.

Now the smart, true rural prepper is laughing at my scenario right now. "The suburbs will fall to the gangbangers and welfare bums as soon as they cities are stripped clean", they say.

And they are probably right, but its my opinion and they have theirs. Regardless, I don't think the Kumbaya urban survivalist option is any better; its far worse.

Before the weekend ends, get to the garden store and do some stocking up. Spring is in the air, let's get those gardens ready!


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