Friday, January 18, 2013

Preparing for the post-peak future.

Practical skills, such as cultivation of food crops, may well come in handy in a post-peak-oil world. Last summer I joined my sister's family on their 3-acre place in central California. They'd planted a moderately sized garden, including several raised beds, and were having mixed results. The extreme heat kept much of the potential produce of the garden in check; when the heat began to let up late in the season, though, the larger tomato varieties began to shake off their heat-induced torpor and rather suddenly we had late tomatoes (the cherry varieties didn't seem to be affected by the heat).

Being a latecomer, I wasn't involved in spring planting, but I did enjoy lots of tomatoes, a wee bit of broccoli (didn't do well in the heat), a few bell peppers and hot peppers, and a surprising harvest of carrots—given that they had not been thinned, and the soil (they were not planted in the raised beds) has a lot of clay and is quite hard. I did, however, take advantage of the mild weather (I assumed) to put in a late planting of kale and spinach, from seed. My bro-in-law put in broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower seeds. I confess to being quite lazy, and could have had it in much earlier than I did. I planted the first seeds in mid-November, and followed up with 2nd and 3rd plantings in the following few weeks. The result has been the cold-stunted plants you see in this photo. Lacinato, Russian Red, and the typical super-curly varieties (I call that last one "fractal kale"). We've had quite a run of sub-freezing nights, down into the low 20s once or twice. We've taken to covering the beds at night. Now we're in a warmer spell; nights will hover just above or about freezing, and days have been sunny and in the 60s.

All this is, for me, an effort to become more aware of what I can do, and how I can do it, as we move inexorably into increasingly uncertain times. By most accounts, the actual moment of Peak Oil has passed us, but the event's most important consequences are ahead of us. Is there any connection between the worldwide financial meltdown and Peak Oil? I've heard some affirmative response to this question, but nothing definitive (not that I've been searching for it). Would evidence of such a connection make the mainstream media headlines? or even below-the-fold news? Probably not, is my guess. So what are we to do? Go all doomsday-prepper and stockpile Spam and ammo? God, no. Well, stockpile seeds, sure. Heirloom varieties. Maximum genetic diversity as a hedge against the coming social, financial, and climatic uncertainties. Yes. Yes, indeed.


Post a Comment

<< Home