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massive floods in the US, deaths of livestock, farmers going bankrupt--what to do? Grow more food

 
James Landreth
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I hear that a great deal of acreage in Iowa was wiped out because of a recent storm (10 million acres, according to a friend in the Midwest). My aunt was there and saw the devastation. I suppose that would also lead to the US importing more soybeans from Brazil
 
Nicole Alderman
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Paul made a thread all about this movie, but I think it needs to be featured here, too. Especially as we live these events.



The man you see pictured in the preview of the movie, is an 82 year old mountain tour guide. He's been leading tours up to the glacier since 1956. When he started, you could step right out on to the glacier. Now you have to climb down 150 meters (~450 feet) of ladders to get down to it. It's melted that much.
 
Purity Lopez
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James Landreth wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

I have! My husband planted a black walnut seed a few years back and last year I planted 3 chestnuts and 3 hazelnuts, and I planted another chestnut this year. With my 5 acres being north-facing, it's hard to plant a lot of canopy trees, because they mean no sun in the winter, as they shade everything down hill. But, I planted the chestnuts along the forest edge, and the hazelnuts should do well any where. I was hesitant about investing in nut trees because the squirrels ate every single hazelnut from my mom's three trees, but I don't have nearly as many squirrels, so hopefully we'll get some nuts eventually! Nest year I hope to get some more hazelnuts and plant them in my hedges. The more diversity, the better!

As for other trees, I've got 8 apple, 2 peach, 2 pear, 3 cherry, 3 pawpaw, 1 cultivated plum and at least 5 that suckered of of my mom's tree, and 1 persimmon (pretty sure it died) tree.



That's a great start! I worry about squirrels down the line, but I figure that it's good to have the nut trees in place so that if things ever fall apart, we can just get serious about squirrel hunting and have those nut trees in place

I wonder how commercial agriculture in California is faring. I haven't read much in this regard. I imagine that the fires and drought have to have had some sort of negative effect, though this winter has seen more rain. That might lead to new growth and renewed fire tornadoes this summer. We've already had brush fires this month in the Pacific Northwest, which is unusual. The snow pack is good I hear, but we haven't had as much rain as usual I feel



I live in the desert....rats, mice, squirrels abound.  In times of drought, they will eat the tree itself.  I was spending a lot of money and time trying to combat the problem.  I tried humane traps, essential oils, netting.  Nothing worked 100% and trees are starting to become really expensive.  About 4 years ago I just said to heck with it and I dug up what I could out of the ground and cut the main leader back to 18".  I then espaliered them and put them in a greenhouse structure that is 1/4" hardware cloth.  With them being small and espaliered, I can get a lot of trees in there.  This is the first year now, that I am getting nuts.  I also have nut bushes that are native to the desert.  I am glad I did this....I don't have to spend all this time wondering if I will get a harvest, or even have a tree left.  It also cut my water bill in half.  I have them all in self-made air prune pots so with proper fertilization, and keeping them small, will not have to transplant them to bigger pots.  
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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In agriculture news...

Just this week, CF Industries said soaring natural gas prices is causing a shortage of nitrogen fertilizer. With nitrogen fertilizer prices already racing higher, as well as the possibility of a shortage around the globe, CF Industries says the world could see a reduction in global crop yields next year.  


And

Stone X Group says according to their data, the Midwest wholesale anhydrous ammonia nitrogen prices have risen approximately $434 since Sept. 10. That marks a 65% increase in just over a month, or $72 a week.  


And

“If you look at the outlook for fertilizer, the World Bank says that 2022, we won't see price increases, but price will be steady at where they are,” he says. “So, that's the outlook from the World Bank on fertilizer prices. That's not the great news, but it doesn’t say prices are increasing. But the problems won't be resolved instantly.” Three excepts from here.



Another article on the same subject...

Meat and dairy products are also affected, as prices for animal feed have risen markedly during the year and have accelerated more rapidly in recent times. Valentino Miotto from the trade association Aires Association, which represents the grain sector, describes the increasingly difficult situation of Italian farmers with the words: “From October onwards, we have started to suffer an enormous amount,” Miotto told the AP news agency.


And

On Wednesday, October 20, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, warned that factories in the EU may be forced to close due to high energy prices. “We are seeing a rise in prices that makes it difficult for many families to get their finances together, and we also see that there is a risk that companies will have to close down,” said von der Leyen.


And

In Louisiana, is CF Industries’ largest ammonia factory in the world, but it was closed down for safety reasons the day before Ida struck, but could not resume production after it had passed due to the power outage.

When the news reached the market, the already sky-high prices of fertilizer skyrocketed. In many respects, the event triggered a negative spiral of rampant prices – which in turn created panic purchases and exacerbated the shortages. Three excerpts from here.



I know a regenerative farmer who still has a hand in row crops. Despite The World Bank's take on the issue, farmers have to place their order for fertilizers, and the cost is unknown until the store receives the product. Hmmm... What are the chances the price stays the same?

Grow more food! Can you increase the size of your gardens? Grow more food!

 
Pearl Sutton
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I add to Joylynn's comment "Grow more food!" that leaves are falling right now in my area. That's the best free fertilizer out there. Get all the leaves you can, pile them where you want to grow next year. It can only help.
I cringe when I see people burn leaves or branch piles.
 
Tereza Okava
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Here in Brazil it's spring and there has been talk about fertilizer shortages for a few months now. I noticed when I went to the garden place I go to, the prices of fertilizer were nuts. Never been happier to have The Poopers (my rabbits) to eat my "trash" and give me fertilizer in return!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've been hearing about the fertilizer shortages for a while, too, and they've got me worried about food prices, too!

Every time my kitchen scrap bucket is full, I go out to my garden, pick a spot in it and dig down about a foot, dump in the scraps, put duck bedding (pine shavings+poop) and then covering with soil, and then a scattering of the bedding to reduce erosion. I'm hoping those buried scraps & bedding will act kind of like a strawbale garden and slowly release nutrients (and feed beneficial soil organisms) all through the growing season.

I'm hoping I have enough scraps to do all my gardens this way. I got inspired to do this because my "keyhole" garden (a hardware cloth cylander with kitchen scraps) has stayed fertile, even with other gardens have reduced productivity.

Keyhole compost cylinder is over on the left


And also by how productive the garden beds were that I created by smothering grass with paper sacks, kitchen scraps & duck bedding, with a thin layer of soil on top.

happy squash growing in the garden I made with kitchen scraps & bedding


I thought to myself, why not try doing this in my EXISTING garden beds? I'm all for experimenting with new things, so I'm hoping this works!
 
Tereza Okava
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Nicole Alderman wrote:why not try doing this in my EXISTING garden beds?


Ruth Stout talked specifically about doing just that, tucking it under the straw. I don't have ducks to eat my slugs so it turns into a slugfest, but you've got that part covered!!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I add to Joylynn's comment "Grow more food!" that leaves are falling right now in my area. That's the best free fertilizer out there. Get all the leaves you can, pile them where you want to grow next year. It can only help.
I cringe when I see people burn leaves or branch piles.



And grass clippings, too! Not to mention coffee grounds from stores, wood chips, kitchen scraps and any other (non-contaminated) organic material one can find!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:why not try doing this in my EXISTING garden beds?


Ruth Stout talked specifically about doing just that, tucking it under the straw. I don't have ducks to eat my slugs so it turns into a slugfest, but you've got that part covered!!



Ducks are an invaluable part of my garden's survival! They give me the duck bedding, and they eat the slugs. I just need to find a way for them to forage it safely without the bobcat eating them or me having to follow them around the whole time they are foraging!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Bumping this thread, as I feel the world is not getting easier to deal with.
I'm planting all I can.
I mentioned in an earlier post the neighbor who keeps a meticulous yard, he objected to something i was doing, I told him how it kept his place from flooding (mwahhahah, waters MY plants!!) and how I was trying to grow more food for ALL of us. He decided it was worth putting up with what I'm doing.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Bumping this thread, as I feel the world is not getting easier to deal with.
I'm planting all I can.
I mentioned in an earlier post the neighbor who keeps a meticulous yard, he objected to something i was doing, I told him how it kept his place from flooding (mwahhahah, waters MY plants!!) and how I was trying to grow more food for ALL of us. He decided it was worth putting up with what I'm doing.



I planted potatoes the past few days. They're a low-maintenance, high calorie crop. I throw them on the ground and then put mulch over them (duck bedding and wood chips work the best. Grass clippings tend to lead to more pests and lower yields, especially if fresh grass. But, other than that it's an easy way to grow food and make new garden beds in my climate).

Every year, when I plant them, I'm reminded of the story of Edna Register Boone. She was a survivor of the 1918 "Spanish" Flu, and she recounts how her father turned their backyard into sweet potatoes, and that those sweet potatoes fed probably half the town, because they were easy to cook.



Edna Register Boone wrote:One thing I remember that my father did. There was an open space on one side of our house. I would say the west side of it. Papa plowed up totally (I don't know what the measurement was, but I'd say 1/4th of an acre) and planted sweet potatoes. And I would say that the half of the community lived off that potato patch because no one was able to go shopping. No one was able to cook.  They could bake a few potatoes even if it was in the fireplace.



Sweet potatoes aren't quite as easy to grow here as normal potatoes. So we grow regular potatoes. There's probably a pretty easy to grow and harvest staple crop that grows in most permies climates. (Some good threads for high-calorie "staple crops" are What staple crops are you growing?, Staple Crops (Poll) , The Annual Staple Crop Calculator).

I need to get out there today and plant some greens and more peas. I'm running behind this year because it's been such a crazy year with my husband's health issues. But, that's why we have permaculture and easy crops like potatoes: so we can grow when we have time, and not have to worry about it the rest of the time.

Thank you for the reminder, Pearl!
 
Carla Burke
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Thanks for the reminders!! I bought a bag of sweet potatoes, last week, specifically to start slips - and forgot them, in the trunk of the car! Those will go in water, today. And, it's finally past my birthday - which was my self- imposed 'earliest acceptable date' to start my seeds. Tonight, I sort, reorganize(I accidentally dumped my whole basket of seeds - ugh), and decide what I'll start, when. Tomorrow, I'll prep the starting flats. Monday I'll start plunking in seeds, and all the while, I'll have to pray I've enough soil to support it all! In a couple months, if I've too many seedlings, maybe I'll rent a booth at one of the local fleas, and see if I can sell some.
 
Jay Angler
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Thank you for the reminder, ladies! A friend brought me 3 sprouting potatoes just *after* I'd cleared a patch large enough for the sprouting potatoes I had on hand. I need to go right outside and clear another foot to the north of the planted area and give those potatoes a nice home!
I have planted some peas, although the first lot were too early and have been pretty much eaten by bugs. I'm OK with that, as I mostly wanted them to put roots out to hold the soil in that spot. Yesterday I got some hardy lettuce (Oak Leaf does well in the potentially frosty weather here at this time of year) and a bit of French Sorrel. I have 3 more paper pots with Fr. sorrel in them, but I don't know how much the bunnies will bother it, which affects where I plant them. And it's not just bunnies I need to worry about, so I'd better get up deer protection too!
 
Jay Angler
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Soooo... the spot the 3rd potato needed to go had a 10"x7"x3" rock under it. This is not an uncommon situation when I'm just trying to do a task so many others seem to do so easily! Rock as been moved to surface mulch my young Seaberry I planted last week, with the help of Wheel-barrow.
I planted my 3 pots of baby sorrel in 3 different areas, all of which are theoretically bunny-proof. My "impossible to bunny-proof" garden had a huge one in it the other day. If I spot the Owls, I will discuss bunny-control methods with them.
I improved deer protection around the 2 apple trees I planted this winter. That still leaves the new Seaberry bed, and the area where the potatoes are planted (yes, deer are perfectly happy to eat potato leaves, so "poisonous" is obviously a relative matter.) The challenge is to to keep the deer out, while allowing me in, without it being too onerous to build, maintain or manage. Since the garden keeps expanding, much of my fencing is temporary. I'm beginning to love rebar - easy to bang in, and much easier than T-bars to get back out.
Friday, I mixed up a bin of what I loosely refer to as "seed starting soil". I emailed the two people I normally start tomatoes for and they replied with more or less clear requests. However, that has me thinking. I think I may try starting extras this year and give them to some of Hubby's egg customers. Not that much work and maybe it will encourage more people to grow something they can eat?
 
Mike Barkley
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Another thanks for the potato reminder! A large batch of red potatoes were planted about 2 weeks ago & are already appearing. Totally forgot about some sweet potatoes though. They've been sitting on the kitchen counter for too long. Time to get them started. Didn't buy any slips this year because the soil just isn't ready for a truly good crop of them yet. I live very close to a major sweet potato production area so I intend to just buy them this year. IF that is possible with all the wackiness going on. I intend to grow just a few in containers for the tasty tasty leaves & to have something to work with next year for the million calorie BB.

With all the shortages & supply chain issues & everything else going on in the world these past few years I'm so glad to have started getting serious about gardening many years ago. Someone once said "The best time to plant an oak was 100 years ago. The second best is today." Or something like that.

This past fall I planted the garden with too many winter vegetables & smothered the rest of the area with cover crops. Mostly edible cover crops. I used to say less lawn, more food. Last year I moved & took over a nice fenced in garden. A big one. It's a work in progress but the soil has improved a lot. Manure & leaves & compost & cover crops will do that. Now I say less weeds, more food. Today it really paid off. A neighbor who is in a serious financial bind mentioned their family might not be able to eat very well for a while. So I gave them enough vegetables to get them through a couple of weeks. Told them to let me know when it starts running out. I'll bait the pig trap tomorrow so they can have fresh meat along with their veggies. Nobody should go hungry. Ever. None of us can feed the entire world but please do what you can when you can. Get 'er done folks!

Here's a similar thread about Victory gardens for those who might have forgot about it or not seen it yet.

a-few-rowdy-plants.jpg
[Thumbnail for a-few-rowdy-plants.jpg]
 
Stacy Witscher
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Seed potatoes are available here yet. I did plant 7 more asparagus crowns and two rhubarb crowns. A couple weeks ago I received my bare root tree order, 2 European pears, 1 quince, 1 apricot, 1 fuyu persimmon, 3 red currants and a maypop passionflower. Happy days.
 
Nicole Alderman
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The kids got in on the act today! The chickens had tilled this garden, and the kids had a blast planting peas, radishes, beats, lettuce, kale, and carrots in it! (it's probably a bit early in the year, so we used up some of last year's seeds. We'll see how they do!)
20220307_115200.jpg
I love that the chickens and kids did like 90% of the work. I helped level it out before planting (the chickens had made some potholes), and handed out seeds. But the kids did the rest!
I love that the chickens and kids did like 90% of the work. I helped level it out before planting (the chickens had made some potholes), and handed out seeds. But the kids did the rest!
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Union Pacific is reducing how much nitrogen they will allow CF Industries to ship by 20%. What!? At planting time?

CF Industries: Union Pacific Curtails Fertilizer Shipments, Delaying Deliveries and Preventing New Rail Orders from Being Taken  



Grow more food! And while you're at it, drink more water. Make some liquid gold!
 
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