Saturday, September 14, 2019

guest article-1 of 2 articles today

GUEST ARTICLE ( first of two articles today )
In Defense of Growing Things

James is opposed to agriculture in general, gardening in particular and if any permaculturists show up he'll use a precious .303 round on them ( and not even a brass cased round, only a round from the lesser steel cased stockpile).

From a macro, long term view of various civilizational collapses, agriculture usually expands population beyond carrying capacity, depletes soils, literally "salts the earth" from irrigation, causes a degeneration in physique over successive generations compared to hunter gatherers, etc., etc.

Hell, I get it. Instead of digging around in the dirt, I'd rather hunt down a buffalo or mastadon using a sweet ass obsidian Clovis-15 assault spear, drag it back to camp and knock mocassins with a tribe hottie or two.

But that ship has sailed. The megafauna aren't coming back, and billions of ravaging humans have had their way with Mother Earth for quite a while. It must take quite a number of square miles now to support a 20 person hunter gatherer tribe. 

For most of us, growing something is necessary for ( or would benefit) our future food plans. Yes, stockpile as much as possible while still living in the cheap oil cornucopia. But it is valuable  being able to supplement that stockpile with fresh food grown in soil built using what most Americans set on their curb to be trucked away. Some soil building ideas: road kill, biochar soaked in manure or compost teas, mulching with pine needles or forest duff, bags of coffee grounds Starbucks gives away, have nearby family or neighbors save food waste in 5 gallon buckets you supply, make some bokashi bran for them to add to it for a fermented, enhanced end product, collect bags of leaves set out curbside and compost using saved urine if lacking a nitrogen source. The point is to channel waste already existing around you into building a fertile patch of ground where you can grow nutritious food for close to free.

Growing a percentage of daily food now builds skill and long term health. Not needing prescription drugs after eating multiple servings of leafy greens daily (that only traveled 10 yards to your plate, grew in great soil, and don't have residue of Round Up or  fecal coliform) makes a garden seem like a genius idea. The physical exercise and mental benefit of garden work help also. 

Check out David Kennedy's book 21st Century Greens. Good read critiquing the modern food system. It also describes nutritional benefits of many leaf crops. For example, sweet potato leaves are the richest known source of lutein, the antioxidant that protects our eyes and skin from UV radiation damage. Think staving off macular degeneration and skin cancers. Plenty of ideas for both perennial crops and annuals for a range of climates.

Another good book with ideas for perrinnial crops is Eric Toensmeier's Perrinnial Vegetables.

Perrinneals are valuable because you plant it once and they continue to grow and produce food for many years unlike annuals. Traditional annual garden crops usually have a narrow time window for planting and harvesting. If you're busy doing other essential things during these times, that years crop will not happen. Also many perrinneals, when compared to common annuals such as corn or tomatoes, may not be as readily identified as food by human pests and mooches.

Gardening is not just for low calorie vitamin production, calories can be produced:
- I convert leaf crops (and weeds) into high quality protein, fats and calories by feeding to chickens and rabbits. 
- In my area, root crops such as sweet potatoes and cassava can be grown year round.
- Beans such as yard long beans and winged beans grow throughout the long, very hot monsoon summers. Traditional bean varieties grow better in the winter.
- As far as grain, I have grown small patches of rice, sorghum, and buckwheat ( not a true grain). These trials make me wholeheartedly agree with James: currently grain is a complete bargain. Growing, harvesting, winnowing and cleaning your own grain by hand is lots of work for not much return. So purchased wheat, even ready packed in buckets, is way worth it. Stack it deep.

Thanks for reading. 
S in Fla.


  1. I am now looking for the web site that sells "sweet ass obsidian Clovis-15 assault spear".

    I MUST have one!!! 😀

    I'll barter/trade 2 FLIR scopes, A bucket of wheat, and a whole case of freeze dried yak testicles.

    Too freaking funny.
    That's why I'm here.
    Y'all put the smile on my face each day. 😄

    1. I saw this in my e-mail first thing, started reading it and burst out laughing! Yep, sounds about like me. We do need to work on laughing everyday as we hurl towards doom in ever greater accelerated speed. It is that, or cry. This guest article author has my gratitude for the smile today.

  2. A couple points.

    Lutein protects the back of the eye-ball, the maculae.

    My mother had macular degeneration disease for thirty years, losing the image at the center of her vision first. The disease progression left her blind for her last couple decades.

    Macular degeneration disease is accelerated by blue light, the emissions from LED bulbs in flat-screen televisions, tablets, and smart-telephones. Energy-savings LED bulbs contribute to the blue light swamp.

    To slow macular degeneration disease, avoid blue light. Use incandescent bulbs. If you use televisionprogramming, a cathode ray television set is better.

    Cassava is a wonder food!
    The starches are 'resistant' to digestion, so they feed the healthy bacteria in the gut.

    Research shows over 90-percent of our immune system is in our gut.

    The vagus nerve directly connects our brain to our gut. How much does a SAD (Standard American Diet) contribute to mental illness? How much do pesticides such as RoundUp destroy the gut biome?

    How much does healthy a healthy diet == avoiding the plague of grains, dairy, pesticides, hydrogenated oils, SOY SOY SOY == help maintain mental acuity and physical agility long past the time our Twinky®-eating neighbors are doddering in the 'rust' home?

    1. Hey Large Marge. In a world of screens and LED lighting everywhere, collectively our eyeballs are in deep trouble. An upcoming epidemic of early onset macular degeneration?

      Thanks for the cassava info, something I never heard. I was not overly enthusiastic about the nutrition profile of the roots. The benefit you mention has raised their status for me and I'm going to read more about cassava.
      I grow two varieties: Togo and CMC 40.

      Hope your dogs are gettimg enough porch rest and tennis balls,
      S in Fla.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Yeah , I stack the grains deep too here on the space coast.
    The compost piles keep building up too.
    Nothing like homegrown pineapples, avocados and raspberries.
    Every year the food forest gets better. Smylax vines abound with lemon grass all round. Chickens free to cultivate , fertilize and grab bugs n wrigglers too. All that protein free and easy...

    1. Hey Spud, I knew you were on the other side of the state from me.

      That's cool you're building on the food forest and compost piles. I had to look up the smylax vine.
      We have citronella grass that looks just like the lemon grass. They both smell great.
      Thanks, S in Fla.

    2. Ahh, you're over there on the side where sinkholes swallow a fellow up in the middle of the night. Over here it's just coqina for rock but mostly pure white sugar sand for a long way down. Trick to growing things in it is compost and pH. So much edible stuff grows native in the wild here too. Fellow by the name of Green Dean turned me on to Smylax. He holds foraging classes every weekend all over the state. Your area too I'm sure. Eat the weeds .com

  4. Obsidian! Don't get me started on obsidian! (That stuff is expensive for a reason! You ever try sharpening that stuff?;;) It's worth that gold nugget or a whole deer!

    I love me some permaculture 'mi! Plant it once and your good - if it lives. And that's the chore. Picking stuff that will survive your area. It took me years to get dandelions to grow! (Clay "soil")

    I have jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) and walking onions and elephant garlic, chocolate mint, oregano, horseradish, and comphrey... Mostly "invasive stuff! I figure it's got to be tough to fight it out and survive. Just got some gingko trees! My plan is to fermint the artichokes with salt.

    I mostly use buckets for growing stuff! They use the humidity drip from my roof to survive. I also have some dwarf orange trees & a lemon tree. To store that stuff I'll dry it and/or fermint it in qt jars with salt! Just like limey sailors did when they invented marmalade! Oui oui! Plus I figure since citrus requires extra care - inside in winter, special fert, etc.. And since people are stupid, and oranges are very rare here, they won't kill me as fast because, ORANGE MAN GOOD! LOL!

    The hardest part is choosing plants that will survive your area WITH NO ADDED work or WATER! Which is why I try to concentrate on "edible wild plants" instead of domestic ones. It's just easier.

    So find out what already grows there then add it to your yard! Most of the wild stuff is weird tasting but if it's what you got...

    One thing I have in my yard is "invasive" Japanese honeysuckle. A valuable antivirus herb! (Make tea from the twigs lol!) Requires solid identification!!!!

    For example. Mr. Dakin can grow Mormon Tea in his yard! It looks like twigs! Makes a great tea for folks that need to stay up late (for many days;;( and defend against them horrible -ists!

    Permaculture is like food forests and wild plants but you choose them instead of them choosing you! It's worth you time to research t!


    1. Hey Stevelo. Sounds like you have an interesting assortment. I think I'm out of horseradish and compfrey range, I'm jealous.

      The Moringa tree (also called Horseradish tree) grows well here. Leaves have a hint of horseradish taste, and supposedly the peeled root can be used as a horseradish substitute. Haven't tried it yet.
      I always heard compfrey make a good fertilizer tea. Thanks, S in Fla.

  5. Wild grapes are an excellent choice for permaculture. Also, greens can be made into smoothies to help get 'em down the hatch more easily. I've even seen a blender powered from a stationary bicycle. Perfect for the off-grid apocalypse!

    1. 2:18, We have a tiny wild grape (muscadine I guess) commonly called fox grape. More north, the muscadines are bigger and I could see they would really be worth it.
      The smoothie idea is a good one for upping greens consumption.
      I want a bike like that where I could switch out the blender for the grain mill when needed. Thanks, S in Fla.

    2. No sourdough yeast starter?
      Set your wheat-water dough under a grape vine.
      This worked for Greeks for thousands of years.

      Sourdough fermentation helps digestion if your body tolerates gluten.
      If your body doesn't tolerate gluten, you are doomed to an excruciating agonizing slow death from cranium parasites gnawing your skull from the inside and drop-weasels crunching your wrinkled dried eyeballs after you go blind from eating gender-less gingerbread human-shaped cookies.

  6. Hmmm, can I get that in freeze dried from Amazon?