Welcome 2013: planting remedies to TEOTWAWKI

My kind of  centerfold: part of  2011′s seed order

Two good dumps of deep snow in Ottawa should make skiing a top priority. But I’ve been laid up with a persistant cold and need to lull the pesky germs into remission. Looking for a low-energy pick-me-up, out came the seed catalogs. An earthy version of soft-core pornography - all that looking and imagining the possibilities!

Running an Internet search (on ways to use worm compost no less) I ran into to an unfamiliar acronym: TEOTWAWKI. For those who do not already know the term, any guesses?

REM or Great Big Sea fans can hum a few bars. It’s The End Of The World, As We Know It.

So many ways to worry.

Is the U.S. political system still functional? Unresolved European debt crisis = another global recession? Multiple, massive weather events that hit whole regions. World population never bigger and still growing. Oh, and who can forget the elephant in the room: is global warming happening? If so, are we already living TEOTWAWKI?

I’ve just always liked the goal of greater self-sufficiency. Not because I’m sure the grid is going down soon with mayhem to follow. I just think the lifestyle brings its own rewards.

Others have got this disaster stuff down to a science. It might look like a science of galloping paranoia. Or a reasonable response to increasing signs of instability. Go ahead, chart yourself on one of many survivalist websites. (This mind-set is pretty well linked into gun culture too, but let’s just set that aside for the moment.)

The thing is, the subject does bear some thought.

After all, perfectly conventional experts highly recommend that every household be prepared for at least a few days of  relative self-sufficiency. Why? Because stuff happens: big weather, power outages or just your run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse.

My thoughts are also more focused on these issues because of some recent sick-bed reading. Joe Salatin’s “Folks, this ain’t normal” and “The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost GrovesChampion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet“, by Jim Robbins. (Read more about the effort to clone “champion trees” here.)

Of course reading about the current state of the environment or our food production woes can be pretty gloomy. (Really, home gardening starts to seem like one of the smallest reasonable responses!)

Assuming life on this planet muddles along, this garden year, I’ll be trying to hedge some bets, weather wise. I’ll order the usual items, and add some extra packets of “insurance”: drought tolerant varieties and more open-pollenated standards. (I already save my own seed for a number of crops, but one can always do better and further the ever-practical seed saving movement.)

BTW, according to a December news release from my local watershed authority my region has slipped back into what’s called a level 1 low water advisory. After a bad summer, it was also a bad fall, rain-wise. According to the RVCA, “The November rainfall was close to half the previous low for the month in the last 40 years and about 20 percent of normal.” Let’s hope all the recent snow will help alleviate that.

Gardeners, how do you plan to be ready for what 2013 brings, weather wise?

Non-gardeners, are you still content to let the market supply your needs?

Everyone, are you thinking about self-sufficiency and preparedness issues any more than you once did?

NCPR has always made a point of reporting on farming and food – because eating is fun and how food is produced really matters. But – to paraphrase Ellen Rocco’s end-of-year message – there’s no resting on the laurels.

David Sommerstein and Julie Grant are kicking off a central site with lots more of that good stuff, called “The Dirt”.  The two bring some impressive expertise to the topic. I hope you’ll check it out and help keep that conversation vibrant.

Long term – no matter what does (or doesn’t) fall over some proverbial cliff – gardening is a marvelous source of pleasure, health and security.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year, with more great growing and food reporting ahead.

 

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1 Comment on “Welcome 2013: planting remedies to TEOTWAWKI”

  1. Michael Greer says:

    The end of the world isn’t going to be like in the movies…..everyone gone one day except some scary types and one pretty girl…it will sneak up on us, one disaster at a time. Ask the folks who lost everything in New Orleans a few years ago. Or the folks just south of our border with Mexico, who look out each morning to see who’s dead. Ask the farmer in Kansas who has nothing growing this year, or the farmer in Sudan who has nothing growing this decade. The end is here…or there at least, and we’re all wearing blinders. The Super Bowl is coming up, the car companies are cranking again, and everything’s great right?
    My garden got a little bigger last year, and it got bigger this year. We bring in a LOT of food, we have a longer growing season, so we’re able to grow more types of veggies every year. Truly, we eat like kings. This sounds good, but we’ve got three new bugs and two blights that we never had to think about before. Last year we had to water, and it’s an expensive proposition in the Village of Potsdam. The numerous rain barrels couldn’t keep up with the need. Then we had to water again…and again…….and again.
    This year I’m pondering what a home gardener might do to address the coming grain shortage. Can we grow enough wheat, or oats, or barley, or SOMETHING to offset the huge price jumps that will be here next fall. Corn grows pretty nicely here, but we’d have to eat all the squirrels first. Dry beans are good food, but you can’t make muffins out of them. Potatoes are good food, but then there’s that late blight thing. Best not to put all your eggs in one basket.
    We’ll grow about thirty things…some of them will be magnificent, and something will fail. We’ll have to rely on the other twenty nine. We’ll have to rely on the rest of the community too. Somebody will grow the thing that we don’t have, be it eggs or chickens, tempeh or tofu, burgers or bacon, and hopefully grain.

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