Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food Prices Rising: Time to Garden

According to Natural News, America's aquifer is running dry. The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest underground fresh water supply in the world stretching from Texas to South Dakota. The Aquifer is drying up due to lack of rainwater. No water means no irrigation for crops including alfalfa, corn, wheat, cotton, and other crops. See the picture of Ogallala Aquifer below:


The USDA reports that in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the three leading grain-producing states, the underground water table has dropped by more than 30 meters (100 feet) drying wells on thousands of farms in the southern Great Plains (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Aquifer_depletion).  We could experience another Dust Bowl like during the Great Depression. This means less food for livestock and people. We not only need to be concerned about an inevitable increase in food prices but also a shortage of food. This is not just a U.S. problem but a global problem as many nations depend on us for grains and cattle. We've already seen what is happening in the Egypt mostly due to food shortages. The UN warned of food shortages in 2010 (http://www.theage.com.au/world/un-warns-of-food-shortage-20101026-172ap.html)

So what can we do? Be prepared. I believe the most important thing we can all do for our wallet, security, and health is to grow a garden. Don't wait until food prices have doubled and a gallon of gas is $5. Start a garden today. Buy heirloom seeds. Basically with heirloom seeds, you can harvest the seeds and use in subsequent years. I've described why we should buy heirloom seeds in a prior posting Food Prices to Skyrocket, Riots Could Follow  and listed some good companies that sell heirloom seeds at Heirloom Seed Companies. Even if you live in an apartment, you can start a garden on your patio and grow herbs on your window sill. I like the square foot gardening method because you don't have to mess with the soil in your yard. Sometimes it takes years to get the soil right. In addition, you don't need to keep replacing the soil in your square foot gardening once is is established. You can use your own compost or buy compost to mix in every year.


This is my plan for this year. I have already seeded lettuce, brocolli, tomatoes, parsley, cabbage, basil, rosemary, and marigold (keeps aphids away). Every couple of weeks I will seed some more plants until I can seed directly outside. I have a 3 ft. by 3 ft. garden. I plan to convert or add a 4 ft by 4 ft. garden. You'd be amazed at how much you can grow in one square foot. In my square foot garden, I plan to grow vegetables such as beets (2-18), yellow onions (2-32), green onions (1-16), carrots (2-32), chives (1-16), and greens such as lettuce (4-16), spinach (1-9), broccolli (1-1), and cabbage (2-2). The first number after the plant name is for squares used and the second is total plants. The basil will stay in the house on a window sill.  Some of the tomatoes will be in pots and some in the ground.  Last year I grew all the tomatoes in pots a friend told me she grew hers grew better in the ground.  The marigold will be in pots near the garden. The rosemary will be planted as a shrub since it is a perennial (returns every year).

I will only plant the greens (lettuce, spinach, brocolli, and cabbage in the square foot garden in the spring. It gets too hot here in the summer to grow. I will then grow the greens in a small green house that is partly shaded on shelves along with peppers all summer and into the fall. In place of the greens in the garden, I will grow, bush beans (3-27), snap peas (1-8), and squash (3-3).

I may also buy a couple of blueberry and raspberry plants and plant them directly into the ground as they are perennials like the rosemary. I didn't say strawberries because I've tried for 2 years now with no luck. If anyone can help me, please do. I bought the roots the first year and plants the second year and planted them in the garden. No luck. Any ideas?

Another way to prepare for the coming increase in food prices is to plant your own wheat and oats. You do need more land for this crops. You can also raise chickens for eggs. I don't do this. I think my dogs would eat the chickens for breakfast. I would also suggest stocking up on canned food and grains before the prices increase significantly. Check for sales and stock up on those items. Add an extra $20 per week for stocking up. You'll be grateful later.

I will add a few of pages to my Health and Fitness Cafe Store for gardening supplies, heirloom seeds, and books that I've used. If it is not there when you click on the store please come back in a couple of days. :o)

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