The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread
Here is a National Geographic article about extreme weather. Let’s talk about it and how it affects your food security.
And it’s not just heavy rains that are making headlines. During the past decade we’ve also seen severe droughts in places like Texas, Australia, and Russia, as well as in East Africa, where tens of thousands have taken refuge in camps. Deadly heat waves have hit Europe, and record numbers of tornadoes have ripped across the United States.
The article lays out, briefly, why this is so.
Global climate change. More heat means more moisture in the air, and that moisture comes down in storms. More heat means El Nino and La Nina, wind patterns ebbing and flowing across the Pacific, will move the jet stream around: causing too much rain in one place and drought in another – then reverssing which part of the world gets what bad weather news.
As the warm pool shifts back and forth along the Equator, the wavy paths of the jet streams shift north and south—which changes the tracks that storms follow across the continents. An El Niño tends to push drenching storms over the southern U.S. and Peru while visiting drought and fire on Australia. In a La Niña the rains flood Australia and fail in the American Southwest and Texas—and in even more distant places like East Africa.
This summer in the Carolina Midlands, we had 10 days of over 110 F heat in July. Our 2011-2012 winter was very mild, to the point where it affected certain crops like peaches: they need more cold in the winter to fruit ptoperly. Things like figs, however, loved the heat this year.
Yet in the winter of 2010-2011 we had incredible amounts of snow and cold for this area. The weather bounced between extremes. Welcome to the new normal, climate-style. So what should you, as a gardener, do? Yes, of course stock up on seeds, but also – diversify.
There is a reason I as an American Southerner, am planting drought-resistant crops, and certain things that are right on the edges of my USDA “planting zones.” I have an olive tree and a cold-hardy orange tree. I also have crops and trees that can survive a severe winter (examples, apples and parsnips). I have duplicates of perennials in case of hail damage, planted in different spots with differtn “cover” (examples , grapes and blueberries). And I have seeds immediately to plant if everything gets flooded or ripped out of the ground by high winds or hail.
I have gardener friends in Australia that are responding to excess mud by planting lemongrass. Gardeners in Texas are adding drip irrigation and wicking plant beds.
Think of how your garden might fare with too much rain, too little rain, severe winds, or hail. Diversification of crop type and crop location can help you feel more food-secure, especially when the cost of store-bought fruits and vegetbles soars due to droughts and floods.
Please share strategies for dealing with this in your climate, wherever you are.
of year started. Lambing season began with twins of each gender.
Can I post pictures? Robie
Notes from my local wine merchant regarding his visit to a biodynamic vineyard – see the end;
“Domaine Duseigneur is a terrific biodynamic producer in the Southern Rhone AC of Lirac that I had the pleasure of visiting in April of 2008. Their wines have been hitting new heights in recent vintages and Duseigneur is certain an emerging star in the southern Rhone.
From their biodynamic and/or organic vineyards, they produce three separate cuvees of Lirac. Well-known oenologist Philippe Cambie is the consultant at Domaine Duseigneur.
Here’s what I wrote previously not long after my visit.” – George Feaver – Suburban Wines
Domaine Duseigneur is located on the West bank of the Rhône Valley, near the picturesque village of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, and in view of the slopes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The 70-acre Estate straddles appelations of Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Laudun and Lirac.
The Estate was founded in 1967 by Jean Duseigneur, continuing a family tradition spanning four generations.
At that time there was nothing to see except wilderness colonized by green oaks, but Jean Duseigneur immediately recognized the potential of the hilly terrain with its red clay soil to give rise to an exceptional terroir. He started developing his vineyard the way he had been taught by his ancestors, based on the knowledge that it would be the soil which would secure the long-term future of the vineyard and unique qualities of the grapes grown on that land. The fine balance of the soils unique structure and ecology, which had evolved over time, was to be maintained by only natural means. So to achieve this, Jean Duseigneur made a conscientious decision to use only the best nature had to offer, and to grow his grapes without the use of pesticides or other chemicals. This visionary philosophy, which was contrary to trends at the time, was already close to the modern biodynamic farming concept.
The unique legacy put in place by Jean 40 years ago, was handed to the care of his two sons, Bernard and Frederic in 1992. They share the same passion for the soil as their father and have continued the heritage of high quality wine making using the traditional methods developed by the family over five generations.
Since 1997 the Duseigneur Estate has been meeting the requirements of organic farming. However, wanting to take this concept even further the Duseigneur brothers fully embraced biodynamic farming in 2004.
“I actually visited this beautiful place in April of 2008 and saw Bernard practice a fascinating approach to pest control. He would take all of the briars and nettles and plants that no bugs or animals would eat and boil them in a big cauldron. Bernard would then fill up his backpack pump sprayer with the resulting “tea” and spray his vines down. He has had great success doing this and his wines are all the better for it.”
for the long emergency(i've got everything else covered, yeah right) is a dehuller small enough for a local farmer or coop of small farmers to build/purchase for the dehulling of oats,barley,spelt,rye etc. even rice if so inclined.
Any ideas? my searchs are fruitless. Robie too busy farming to really learn the "E" world
I am totally ignorant about his subject but was able to find this small dehuller online: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/649543920/Small_corn_milling_machine_Small_dehuller.html
Now where are the pictures of the lambs?
is a different process from milling. These folks are sampling some unprocessed grains for me http://www.meadowsmills.com/.to see if a tradional grist mill has a sufficient adj. range to "de"-hull small grains for human consumption. gotta get daughter to post lamb,calf,kid,piglet pics. I gotta christmas present for myself (a cultivating tractor)
Robie , would your local coop grain elevator clean your grain ? We can buy twice cleaned here so it is ready to come home and send through the grinder .
undertaking if the technology were sufficiently small. The dryers and dehullers and cleaners are HUGE and outa the local reach. now storage of ungraded but low moisture grain i already have, and the combine. I need a dehuller for oats and barley to get them to human consumption.
Well I think the trick will be to get neighbors to work together and share the equipment like in the early years . I intend to put up more sorghum this year but Haying 80 acres by horse would be a nightmare to me .
Spring is almost here . Sweet potato slips are going strong and I need to get garden seeds started and fruit trees checked . My bees look Like they over wintered well. Getting a couple dozen eggs a day .
I figure if things get real bad people will give us the equipment out of the museum to try to get people fed .
In town we have a company called Landoll Corp. It makes all kinds of fancy equipment but none will be useable with out gas .
I hope you have a good calving/kidding season .
FM, getting your grain twice-cleaned by the elevator sounds too good to be true. We have to wash our own White Whole Wheat, which is a winter crop here. Damn, that's a lot of work washing that grain.
I was starting from bare sand-and-hard-packed clay 3.5 years ago. In a new climate. While I learned to grow things in zone 8, and I am thrilled at all the long-term things like fruit and nut trees we planted in this climate (olives! figs! mandrin oranges!), I envy you the head start. I suppose I it was necessary to plant the long-lead time items first.
At least we are finally getting our chickens this year. And our next big purchase will be a sunflower oil press (well, parts for one anyway – we will make our own.)