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Saturday, December 05, 2015

10 reasons to GROW OR DIE!

All right, that was a little bit much. It's actually 10 reasons to garden at this particular point in the space-time continuum.
Someone commented on one of my videos the other day that she was “a city girl” who didn’t know what she was doing in the garden… and that she was probably just going to give up.

I urged her to keep going. Now is a terrible time to quit gardening!

With the way the world is going, this is the time to garden like you’ve never gardened before. Here are just a few reasons.

1. GMOs
Do you really want to be part of a big science experiment, eating gene-spliced foods without knowing if they’re safe or not? Me either! Grow your own food with heirloom seeds and step away from the lab.

2. Economics
The economy is rotten and is likely to get worse. Runaway immigration, shaky banks, rising food costs, global unrest… all these have an impact on wages, investments and savings. Fortunately, a garden can save you some serious money.

3. Eating Local
Why count on food coming in from 1,000 miles away? Eating locally is a big deal right now – and you can’t get any more local than your own yard. Put in a garden and cut out the shipping!
Read the rest of David the Good's article there.

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68 Comments:

Blogger Groot December 05, 2015 2:11 AM  

I garden because my dumb dog eats everything but poison plants, making her not-so-dumb. She eats trees, tree stumps, ivy, plastic bags and wall plaster. I finally figured that oleander divides work, along with wax-leave plants surrounded by little fences that trap her collar and make-her-afraid are the ticket, baby! My Mexican gardeners would have figured it out by 2115. My back yard, with multiple levels of lawn and a spectacular view of the hills, is awesome.

Blogger Rambam December 05, 2015 2:33 AM  

Oh, please. Gardening is work. Plus their are a lot of bugs involved. Society is not going to revert to an agriculture
economy.

Anonymous Juan December 05, 2015 2:39 AM  

Those Mexican gardeners if it was up to them would take 5 minutes and just get rid of the dog

Anonymous Rambam thank you ma'am December 05, 2015 2:50 AM  

Handfuls of people have gardens in their little patches of dirt and you're equating it to an agricultural economy. Wow, just wow. I can't even.

Anonymous Homesteader December 05, 2015 2:55 AM  

Yes, farming is work.

So's starving.

Blogger Doom December 05, 2015 3:09 AM  

Unless you buy organic, or live in a major metro or other place where food is on the fringe of prices, I don't think you should count on a price difference. There are many problems with growing your own food. If time is money, and purely on economic principles, gardening is very expensive. Though most people don't have more time to sell, give or take, so they really aren't wasting time.

I am not knocking the idea. Not completely. I would do it if I could. I just don't want people to get the crazy notion that they are going to buy seeds, toss them in the dirt, then have free food for the rest of their lives. Beyond growing the food, you have to learn to save and store seeds, harvest, and store the foods. You also have to get used to lower quality in some areas. I have never tasted stored potatoes that were good, for example. As well, you will learn some hard realities. You do need to use salts and other "evil" things in order to store food reliably. And, stored food has... limits. If you learn to mix and match (cook), fine. But that is another thing. And there are limits with even that.

No, I do want fold to begin gardening, at least a bit. Learn, practice. But understand, unless you want to be a slave to your garden from mid-spring to late fall, and even so some years get nothing (for no good reason), and that you really won't save more so if time is money is an option for you (meaning you can work overtime at your rate profession)... it just isn't practical to grow your own food. Though, if you do, you might consider small and medium livestock... chickens, goats of a cow for milk and meat, and such. Or, at least, after you master your garden. Often the two will mix well... fertilizer, cross feed, etc.

I have a perfect place for it, but not the health. Otherwise I would be raising some to all of my own food. It is not easy. Oh, well, and there might be limits. Zoning problems, legal issues otherwise, and lots of expense and time just setting things up. Not including the ball-breaking tasks like weeding, animal husbandry, bugs, disease, etc. It's not a fun little game. Most people should just read about it, raise a chia-pet plant, and call it a day.

Anonymous Doom and Gloom December 05, 2015 3:26 AM  

Though most people don't have more time to sell, give or take, so they really aren't wasting time.

Wut?!?

The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day. MUST...SEE...TV...

Blogger guest December 05, 2015 3:38 AM  

These dang suburbs and bed-room communities these days! They act like a vegetable garden is a pestilence. Where do these laws come from? I don't remember anyone asking me what I thought about either clothes lines or vegetable gardens. But suddenly these things violate city ordinances.

Blogger guest December 05, 2015 3:40 AM  

These dang suburbs and bed-room communities these days! They act like a vegetable garden is a pestilence. Where do these laws come from? I don't remember anyone asking me what I thought about either clothes lines or vegetable gardens. But suddenly these things violate city ordinances.

Blogger SQT December 05, 2015 3:55 AM  

I have been thinking about a garden... I'm very lucky in that I live I the suburbs and have a yard that can support a garden. I just need to talk my husband into it.

Anonymous Epimandes December 05, 2015 3:58 AM  

Vox is dreaming of taking America back to Jefferson's idea of a nationalist agrarian society.

Blogger rumpole5 December 05, 2015 4:56 AM  

We certainly don't live off of our produce, but we do have a steady light flow of home grown pineapples, cassava roots, moringa tree leaves and strings, tomatoes, sweet peppers, bananas, grapefruit, and green beans that we incorporate into our domestic diet. These are all easy to grow, and save us buying them when available.

Blogger Phillip George December 05, 2015 6:18 AM  

Society is not going to revert to an agriculture Rambam, are you quoting Maimonides ? Society never ceased being agricultural. Last time I checked 100 percent of food was organic. It's one of the most perfect proofs of God there is.

Take your best laboratories and synthesize one single wrapped protein. After you've spent a billion dollars you still haven't made a sandwich. I love spectacular arrogance. It reminds me of "how great the fall can be". How great the delusions of man. How great the wipe out clean slate flood was. How great thou art God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob whose natural offspring grasp so little even now.

Blogger Stingray December 05, 2015 7:56 AM  

Will Grow or Die be available in paper back before Christmas?

Anonymous Rosalys December 05, 2015 8:16 AM  

I've been pretending to be a farmer, with my two small plots of dirt, for about seven years now, with varying degrees of success. I'm not going to be able to keep myself from starvation in the event of a real crisis, yet, by I learn a little more every year. It started with a compost pile a few years ago. I was raking leaves and bagging them, when it occurred to me that I was throwing away potential, nutrient rich dirt. My composting has been a challenge, too. And the deer are a big problem and a source of major discouragement (the cat it very good at keeping the small rodents at bay!)

I've been mulling over getting a kindle for several years. What has finally made me decide to take the plunge was Vox's review of "Compost Everything" which it seems is not available in hard copy. I want that book! My husband is getting me a Kindle Paper White for Christmas.

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 05, 2015 8:30 AM  

"deer are a big problem and a source of major discouragement"

A source of protein. Learn about snares and/or get a bow. And compost everything.

Anonymous hardscrabble farmer December 05, 2015 8:43 AM  

A person who cannot feed himself is, in many ways, a child. This means producing what you eat as well as consuming it with your own hands. Pretend that others will always be willing to do it for you at a pittance, too much work, dirty or in other ways beneath you is the kind of hubris from which holodomors are made.

Ignore agriculture at your own peril.

Blogger Dave December 05, 2015 8:48 AM  

Deer problems?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=S_ySzNEuuKc

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 8:53 AM  

Using scare tactics about all GMOs is frankly "unscientific":

The methods are infinitely more precise that the old ones which, for example, generated the Green Revolution by using mutagenic chemicals or ionizing radiation to create dwarf varieties of wheat and rice (short stems so more of the plant's energy goes into seed production, they don't need tall ones to out-compete weeds since we take care of that).

"Roundup Ready" GMO strikes me as one of the safest and ecologically best of all of them. Glyphosate is a nice, precise herbicide that attacks a unique to plants and microbes metabolic pathway that produces the "essential" aromatic amino acids (the ones with a benzine ring, we animals can't synthesize them); glyphosate itself is harmless enough to drink (but not Roundup and its generic varieties, which include adjuvants like soaps to get past various barriers plants have like surface waxes). It allows short but intense applications of glyphosate while the desired plants are growing, reducing the overall use of it. It's win-win-win as far as I can tell.

Others are indeed more "experimental", it all depends on what's been done to the plant or animal. One example with real harm, maybe from the generic engineering, is when one of the 5-6 Japanese companies that produce L-tryptophan modified the microbe they were using to produce it to enhance the expression of 3 genes in the metabolic pathway that produced it. We're not sure this is why their product started poisoning people because they at the same time they decreased the amount of activated carbon used to adsorb impurities, and claimed they destroyed all copies of the microbe when we asked for a sample to try to figure out what went wrong (which should have resulted in a US "death penalty" for that company). (Note that the Japanese have some severe safety culture problems, it's for example very clear they are entirely incapable of safely doing nuclear stuff (and that's something I and many others determined before the tsunami made it clear to all), and I recommend against flying on one of their airlines.)

So I wouldn't be the first to eat plants that have had one or more specific genes inserted to express Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins that zap insects, that requires more care. But by now it seems to be safe enough, and of course note that much more than 90% of the insecticides you consume are "natural" plant defenses against those little critters that plants don't want eating them.

Compare to some GMOs I've heard of that knock out one gene in a plant or animal, that's likely to be safe. Ditto expressing or feeding an animal a "growth hormone" they normally produce in part of their life-cycle, not that this is without potential issues, you just need to use some intelligence about viewing this approach.

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 8:57 AM  

"But suddenly these things violate city ordinances."

When I bought my house with a large yard, in the city, not the suburbs, it was zoned industrial/agriculural; then the zoning changed. Fuck me sideways with a zucchini.

"A source of protein."

As I said under the last article: one of the better uses you can put a vegetable patch to is as - bait.

Let the rabbits, marmots and deer convert your kale into something actually edible - then eat them.

Blogger Dave December 05, 2015 9:17 AM  

then eat them

That's great if it's hunting or trapping season. However most cities frown on discharging weapons within city limits. Your neighbors might not care for it either.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 9:18 AM  

Another approach to this is to work with one or more neighbors who are less well off than you and need to garden. My parents grew up on farms and have little desire to return to that, but did when things were tighter (and therefore we children learned a lot at the time). Nowadays they're way too old to do a lot of that, but we have a neighbor who moved here after falling on hard times due to the Great Recession. So we supply them with various inputs like fertilizer, unique seeds we've collected, and work when they're out of town, and in return get a share of the results.

Which I should add emphasis to the others mentioning this: some years you don't get much. This year had a late start to the growing seasons, so there was little in way of for example tomatoes and cucumbers available for us (and this was generally true in our area), and the rather special squash seeds we supplied produced for us a squash that was only 2 feet long instead of the normal 3. If you're doing this for survival, you need to produce in good years enough excess to can or otherwise store not only for the rest of the year but the next year or two minimum (need I mention Joseph to this audience?).

And if you're really serious about survival, you'd best grow some serious grains or the like, and if you have children, they need fats/oils to thrive, so you need to cover that one way or another. For really severe situations, read Nuclear War Survival Skills, which is a book you should have a paper copy of anyway. The food section is great, for that's in fact going to be harder to deal with than the short term problems of fallout depending on how organized a county is after the event, how much stored grain it has and for how many surviving people (avoid being in for example Egypt, which has to import half its calories).

Not all dire by any means, as I recall one tractor trailer load (before the more recent max weight increases) of wheat will keep 100,000 people alive for a day. Well, if you know how to minimally process it for consumption (and sprouting for vitamins, or note that now is a good time to stock up on cheap "one a day" vitamin tablets), which the book covers along with all the other improvisations that'll keep you alive. And as another author pointed out, if you're set for a nuclear war, you're pretty well set for any other disaster.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 9:42 AM  

Rambam: "Oh, please. Gardening is work."

Work is good for you.

"Plus their are a lot of bugs involved."

Which fill important ecological niches and ensure the ongoing survival of life on this plant via the decomposition of waste and balancing of species. Generally, if you intercrop and allow for habitat (i.e. hedgerows, patches of weeds, wildflowers or bloom-bearing perennials) near your gardens, the problems with crop loss drop significantly)

"Society is not going to revert to an agriculture economy."

An man-made EMP or natural solar flare could change the world overnight. Many higher-ups are planning for that possibility. It may or may not happen, but gardening is cheap insurance against that and many other potential ills.

Trusting the system during peak wealth and centralization is less than wise.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 9:43 AM  

"Those Mexican gardeners if it was up to them would take 5 minutes and just get rid of the dog"

Hehheh.

Anonymous RedJack #22 December 05, 2015 9:44 AM  

@19 RoundUp ready plants are not a good idea. It means Round Up Ready weeds.

There are many bean fields near me that you can no longer spray round up on. It doesn't work.

Blogger haus frau December 05, 2015 9:48 AM  

The trick to saving money by gardening is in learning how to preserve the harvest in a palatable way. Freezing is best but takes up lots of space and leaves you vulnerable to power outages. I acid can and pressure can most of our food often times as a finished recipe like marinara sauce or chili verde. There is a big learning curve in preserving food. Be prepared for lots of failures you wouldn't eat outside of the zombie apocalypse.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 9:50 AM  

Doom:

"There are many problems with growing your own food. If time is money, and purely on economic principles, gardening is very expensive."

It's much less expensive than watching being sedentary, watching TV and eating factory food. You could just as easily say "there are many problems with going to the gym." Yes, it's not easy but the benefits go beyond pure economics. And, as I've written before, focusing on high-value foods makes sense. We've saved tons of money by growing crops that are easy to grow in our region, such as sweet potatoes. I spend about 2-4 hours of work a year for yields of 100lbs + of sweet potatoes. Identifying nutritious and easy-to-grow crops for your area takes some questioning and experimentation but also takes much of the frustration out of gardening.

"I just don't want people to get the crazy notion that they are going to buy seeds, toss them in the dirt, then have free food for the rest of their lives."

I don't either and I address those concerns extensively in the book.

Though, on the other hand, if you plant some fruit or nut trees that are well-suited to your area, you can take care of them for a year or so and get free food for the rest of your life.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 10:05 AM  

@25: The Roundup Ready system is a tool, but hardly the only tool. Overuse in the same field without doing other things will only get you ahead of the game for a period of time. But I'd strongly suggest intelligent use of it for the "gardener" who's trying to grow a lot of staple crops and has plenty of room to change where what is grown when. Or who just wants some respite from hand weeding; even if you generate glyphosate resistance weeds, the populations of different weeds will be different, and against wild type plants, there's a good chance they'll be less competitive depending on what they had to do to gain resistance.

In a survivalist context, use the system a little to get familiar with it, then lay off of it unless and until things get dire and you need the extra productivity it brings.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 10:06 AM  

That Would Be Telling

Scientists are the most likely candidates for ending life on this planet, so I do not share your faith in modern science.

As for:

""Roundup Ready" GMO strikes me as one of the safest and ecologically best of all of them. Glyphosate is a nice, precise herbicide that attacks a unique to plants and microbes metabolic pathway that produces the "essential" aromatic amino acids (the ones with a benzine ring, we animals can't synthesize them); glyphosate itself is harmless enough to drink (but not Roundup and its generic varieties, which include adjuvants like soaps to get past various barriers plants have like surface waxes). It allows short but intense applications of glyphosate while the desired plants are growing, reducing the overall use of it. It's win-win-win as far as I can tell."

No, it's not. Glyphosate is touted as safe; however, it's been linked to some ugly things in recent years (1) and we've been taking up more than our fair share. (2) It also destroys the natural soil ecology and in conjunction with chemical fertilizers furthers the practice of ignoring healthy crop rotation, allowing crops to be grown and regrown on mineral-depleted land.

And, as a previous commenter has noted, it's leading to the rise of resistant weeds and losing its effectiveness. Throwing out the sensible practices of millenniums of farmers in a blast of chemical frenzy will likely be looked upon in the future as pure madness.

As for GMOs, I'm with Taleb on their usage. Why be part of a massive science project under the control of the same folks that brought us Agent Orange?

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19539684

(2) http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2014/04/extreme-levels-herbicide-roundup-found-food

Blogger Cail Corishev December 05, 2015 10:09 AM  

I just don't want people to get the crazy notion that they are going to buy seeds, toss them in the dirt, then have free food for the rest of their lives.

That's the strawiest straw-man I've seen in a long time. But assuming someone's stupid enough to get that notion out of this conversation, why not let him? Seems like that would be amusing to watch.

Blogger Dave December 05, 2015 10:16 AM  

We're not sure this is why their product started poisoning people...

...we asked for a sample to try to figure out what went wrong


Who is this we, Kemosabe?

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 10:17 AM  

Scientists are the most likely candidates for ending life on this planet, so I do not share your faith in modern science.

Therefore, if we want to survive, we'd best ignore science, scientists and blindly reject their works.

Yeah, that's going to increase the probability of me and mine surviving whatever they whip up in their labs.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 10:26 AM  

@That Would Be Telling

So, it's either complete faith in modern science or complete rejection with you.

How's the train?

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 10:33 AM  

We're not sure this is why their product started poisoning people...

...we asked for a sample to try to figure out what went wrong


Who is this we, Kemosabe?


The US government, the FDA as I recall, which was rather upset that this Japanese company was selling adulterated, poisonous L-tryptophan that had injured a bunch of Americans. Note that it's entirely possible to use these techniques to safely increase your production of a chemical for animal consumption, you just have to be careful, maybe not change 3 things at once while decreasing the removal of byproducts, and, you know, testing the new stuff with chemical and perhaps biological means before shipping it to an unsuspecting public. Even simple mass spec and chromatographic techniques, not to mention NMR, should have revealed they weren't shipping what they thought they were shipping. And their issues with face resulted in their sweeping it all under the rug instead of figuring out exactly what went wrong (maybe it was only the decreased purification).

But that assumes a safety culture which as I observed in the nuclear and airline domains they've demonstrated they don't have. And I'll go farther, as a culture, at the top Japan is very corrupt and doesn't give a damn about the little people (and if you say the US is no different, you haven't looked closely at both situations). They're rather let thousands of people die in the Kobe quake than accept help from outside the prefecture, let alone the rest of the world, or let hundreds die when, after ignoring the warning signs from an improperly repaired (in the US) airliner, let Americans help with the rescue efforts. Their face is more important than your life.

Anonymous BigGaySteve December 05, 2015 10:34 AM  

The time to garden was 5 years ago that way you would have fruit nut trees starting to yield, and you could do tree guild permaculture with them. Don't forget to plug some logs with mushrooms for Vit D. Shiitake have the highest D but oyster are easier. Vit D and fats are the hard to find part in Nigapocalypse planning. The common weed purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source. I will wait for the paper version.

I just need to talk my husband into it. Unless you are getting a greenhouse you can surprise him. When doom is done use his Mexicans to set up your backyard and see how long it takes your husband to notice.


Oh, please. Gardening is work. Plus their are a lot of bugs involved. Society is not going to revert to an agriculture
economy


It will revert to a tranny cannibal raper biker gang economy. Bugs will be on the menu. You don't want to be a TWERP, Those With Empty Reserve Pantries.

the crazy notion that they are going to buy seeds, toss them in the dirt, then have free food for the rest of their lives

If they set up swales and tree guilds they can pretty much just go pick food at no significant cost. You will have to supervise the Mexicans in setting it up http://www.permies.com/t/1475/plants/fruit-tree-guilds

Don't do the opposite of companion planting, it turns out plants hate also.Beans HATE garlic, onions, peppers and sunflowers.
Corn Hates tomatoes. Onions Hate beans, peas and sage. Cucumbers Hate aromatic herbs, melons and potatoes.
Peppers & Radishes Hate beans and kohlrabi. Cabbage Hates broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and tomatoes.
Carrots Hate anis, dill and parsley. Lettuce Hates broccoli. Tomatoes Hate broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, kale and potatoes.

For plant and forget Nigapocalypse food look at Caragana Arborescens (Also known as Siberian Pea Tree, Siberian Peashrub) for USDA zones 2-7 and Tragopogon Pratensis (Also known as Goat’s Beard, Showy Goat’s Beard, Meadow Salsify, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon) USDA 3-7. The Caragana Arborescens is nitrogen fixing with a good amount of oil and protein.


Blogger Cail Corishev December 05, 2015 10:38 AM  

And, as a previous commenter has noted, it's leading to the rise of resistant weeds and losing its effectiveness.

People are starting to understand this with regard to resistance in antibiotics given to humans, but not when something's being dumped into livestock feed every day or sprayed over millions of acres.

Also, I don't trust people who lie to me, regardless of their intentions. When they claim that DNA recombination is no different from hybridization, just faster, that's a flat-out lie, but I've heard that claim over and over. If you have to lie and count on my ignorance, I'm going to assume there's a reason for that. Maybe you're just too lazy to try to educate me on the harder stuff. But maybe you're hiding something or don't really have good answers.

The other reason I'm wary is that nearly all the people in the industry have beliefs about the origin and purpose of life that I don't share. If you believe that life and its progression through time is an accident, just one long string of mutations and adaptations, then why not take over nature's role and guide that process? (I also get the impression that many scientists -- who really should know better -- have adopted the Star Trek version of evolution, where it leads inexorably to a better organism. If you believe that, then speeding evolution up with genetic modification is almost an imperative.)

If you splice a gene into field corn that makes it more heat-tolerant, and then a decade later it turns out that that gene change also changed the pollen in some way that poisoned and wiped out several species of honey bee -- well, shit happens. A natural mutation could have done the same thing, and there were plenty of extinctions before man came along. The superior corn we created will provide plenty of HFCS to replace honey as a sweetener, so shut up, hippie.

Blogger szook December 05, 2015 10:42 AM  

Yeah...yeah....but what about the sewage protein burger guy in Japan!?!?

Anonymous RedJack #22 December 05, 2015 10:46 AM  

We garden a bit. This year, because of a bad does of compost given to me, it wasn't as great as normal. Still, I made enough red sauce to last us till June, 50 lbs of potatoes (all gone), a few gallons of frozen strawberries, and all the lettuce in season that I could eat.

Oh, and onions, garlic, a few parsnips (not my favorite) and lots of diced tomatoes. All this for less investment in time and money than most people spend playing fantasy football.

Now I am not at David's level, but I do enjoy it. Between gardening and hunting, a lot of our groceries are provided for. Yes it is work, but that is ok. I would personally rather spend time outside in the growing season that not.

Now the garden is fallow for the winter, and all the seed catalogs are coming. Time to reload (another hobby people can't seem to understand), play video games, and read. Hobbies are supposed to be something you do. I now people who spend 20 hours a week on fantasy sports, which is there thing. I choose to grow something in the sun.

Blogger Harsh December 05, 2015 11:01 AM  

Therefore, if we want to survive, we'd best ignore science, scientists and blindly reject their works.

That's actually not bad advice.

Blogger JaimeInTexas December 05, 2015 11:03 AM  

Setup a shed on rails, no floor, dig a 3 foot deep whole, move shed over hole, iar night kill a deer without firearm, drag deer into shed, dress it, cover hole with dirt, plant domething on mound.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 11:06 AM  

RedJack #22: "This year, because of a bad does of compost given to me, it wasn't as great as normal. "

Did you get hit with the curling leaves and twisting growth, i.e. aminopyralid poisoning?

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 11:09 AM  

Also, I don't trust people who lie to me, regardless of their intentions. When they claim that DNA recombination is no different from hybridization, just faster, that's a flat-out lie, but I've heard that claim over and over.

Who's made that lie? Maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but I don't recall any "scientists" making that claim. 5 minutes just now didn't find anything specific besides a quote of a reverse claim from "Robert X. Cringley", presumably Mark Stephens, who's a computer pundit, not a scientist.

If you splice a gene into field corn that makes it more heat-tolerant, and then a decade later it turns out that that gene change also changed the pollen in some way that poisoned and wiped out several species of honey bee....

Not necessarily a good example. The "honey bee" is a domesticated animal we evil white males brought over from Europe. Worrying about honey bee populations like they're a natural thing instead of akin to herds of cattle is a category error. The more general danger you're talking about is an issue, for sure, but what principles do you have for where you draw your lines? What do you think of Norman Borlaug, for example? Not sure of any single guy who's more changed the world's ecosystem, although Fritz Haber is also worth considering.

A natural mutation could have done the same thing

Or genes jumping between species. If you've played this game as long as I have, you'll remember the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA and the resultant extreme caution taken by scientists for years until they determined what they thought was safe and not. One of the results was our learning that genes jump around all the time, and a very large fraction of the possible deleterious combinations have already been tried out in nature (unless you're a Young Earth type). And, yeah, "there were plenty of extinctions before man came along", where's my pet trilobite!

But if you're proceeding from the philosophical basis that we have no business "playing God" (to grossly simplify your position), then I'm not sure we have any common ground to discuss this.

Anonymous The train is fine. December 05, 2015 11:33 AM  

Mr. Good do you have an opinion on sprouting?

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 11:40 AM  

Sprouting is a good way to get nutrition and healthy enzymes without having to put in a garden. I would argue that sprouted grains are better for you than their unsprouted counterparts. That said, you need to be careful of molds and bacteria that like to get into the sprouts. Warm, moist indoor conditions can sometimes cause issues. I knew of someone that was regularly feeling ill and consuming wheatgrass juice to feel better... until they realized it was the bacteria in the sprouts giving them trouble.

Anonymous BGS December 05, 2015 11:43 AM  

"Worrying about honey bee populations like they're a natural thing instead of akin to herds of cattle is a category error."

Much of our food supply depends on the honey bee to pollinate. While GMOs are poisoning them they are also offering an alternative to buy. Just like Soros profiting from stabbing you in the back. Next you will tell us that earthworms are illegal aliens.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2428511/How-lowly-earthworm-changed-face-America-forever-brought-early-European-colonists-chickens-malaria-common-cold.html

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 11:59 AM  

"That's great if it's hunting or trapping season."

I don't know of any place in the US where there is a season for marmots, and hitting them over, or twisting their little necks is a legal means of dispatch.

Property owners can dispatch rabbits out of season to defend crops, otherwise there wouldn't be any commercial crops either, just a bunch of fat rabbits, although their may be other legal restrictions (in my state, you can kill 'em, but you can't possess 'em out of season, which is a point for your argument).

When my land was zoned agricultural I could could shoot varmints in my yard, the legal restriction being that the bullets had to remain within my property lines. Now, if I take a Crosman pumper out to shoot a piece of paper I'm going to have a SWAT team jumping out of helicopters on my ass and a Wrist Rocket is felony possession.

Some of my neighbors who are less fastidious about the law shoot marmots in my backyard from inside their house. Most of the locals think they deserve a medal for it.

Trapping them is legal, the problem being is that the appropriate sized traps will catch cats as well. The neighbors aren't quite so keen on that, which is too bad, they make the best banjo heads.

Despite these issues which might prevent its pragmatic implementation, my point is valid and in a SHTF WROL scenario, anyone who tries to prevent you from shooting a rabbit is likely to be a pretty good protein source as well.

Anonymous That Would Bee Crawling and Buzzing December 05, 2015 12:02 PM  

@45 BGS: Wow, I had no idea those harmless seeming worms I used to fish with were illegal aliens! Makes me feel better about threading them onto hooks.

As for our herds of undocumented immigrant honey bees, we can help! They don't look very expensive to buy, and if you find you really don't like the inevitable stings, surely you can learn enough to get them to swarm to the house of your favorite local SJW.

Image verification was appropriately cactus plants. Maybe we need a book on fortifying your home with barriers of thorny plants and the like....

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 12:02 PM  

"Much of our food supply depends on the honey bee to pollinate."

Protip: Peas don't need no bees.

Anonymous That Would Bee Telling December 05, 2015 12:07 PM  

Protip: Peas don't need no bees.

But other tasty things like onions do, although we aren't limited to honey bees, they're just the obvious pollinator for large scale agriculture. And remembering some things I've watched about developing hybrid corn, if you're doing this on a garden scale, a little time at the right time with a small paint brush will do the trick.

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 12:12 PM  

"But other tasty things like onions do . . ."

Are you trying to keep yourself alive, or run a French restaurant?

Anonymous RedJack #22 December 05, 2015 12:15 PM  

@41. Curling leaves. Helped my disabled neighbor till his garden, so he gave me a long ton of compost from the local facility. It burnt the heck out of my carrots. Later season plantings were better. I think it was to hot (put it on in the spring). The potatoes were fine, and the squash grew like mad.

Anonymous That Would Bee Telling December 05, 2015 12:24 PM  

"But other tasty things like onions do . . ."

Are you trying to keep yourself alive, or run a French restaurant?


Actually, looking closer at the list, it looks like they aren't required, but if 30 minutes will help ensure a good crop, sure!

If you like turnips, or Canola as an oil seed, watermelons (insert obvious jokes, bees of one sort or another are "4-essential"), cantaloupes, cucumber, squashes, apples and a bunch of other fruits (add a ladder and a lot more time), raspberries and some other berries, better whip out that paintbrush if your area is suffering from a general bee apocalypse.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 05, 2015 12:35 PM  

Who's made that lie?

I'm talking mostly about farmers defending their use of it in conversation, but they got the "genetic modification has been going on for millennia; this is just faster" line from somewhere. And of course a scientist wouldn't put it as bluntly as I did, because it would be too easy to refute. But take a look at the Wikipedia page, for instance, which implies that hybridization just naturally leads into the next step of DNA recombination. It's often presented that way, as just a newer, more scientific way to do the same stuff.

Now you'll say that Wikipedia is not Science!, and I'll ask you: where do more people get their information? But here's a university source which says, "What is the difference between conventional breeding and transgenics (GMOs)? Time."

Not necessarily a good example.

Make up your own example then. I'm not saying we should try not to wipe out honeybees because they belong here; I'm saying we should try not to wipe them out because they're a good thing, regardless of how they got here. The specifics weren't the point, which is that we don't really know that we're not going to screw something up badly. It's not as simple as splicing a gene here or there and changing one species in one way, partly because of things you point out, like gene jumping. If we tweak a gene in corn to get one more bushel an acre, we don't know what negative effects might come with that. Weird stuff does happen in nature without our help, but it doesn't follow that we should accelerate it.

I'm not necessarily against all of it or saying shut it all down. But I don't trust massive corporations whose officers go through a revolving door between Big Ag jobs and the White House to err on the side of safety over profit, and I don't trust the feds (because of that revolving door) to ride herd on them strongly enough. So far, most of the modifications have been single genes, so the risk was small. But as they run out of easy modifications, they're starting to try for polygenic traits like drought resistance, which are much more complicated and will require more interdependent tweaks and a greater chance of side-effects.

And the companies (if not the lab workers) really, really don't care very much if a modification from one of their strains gets into other crops and kills them or makes them sterile or something. They just don't, any more than most companies in the past cared about the effects of waste dumping or erosion or other side-effects of their methods. We could all have three heads and be dying of cancer at 25 before Monsanto would take responsibility, so it's up to us to keep our own food safe.

Of course, I'm not in favor of government regulations either, so I don't have a happy answer for how to do that if you don't grow your own.

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 12:36 PM  

" . . .if 30 minutes will help ensure a good crop, sure!"

Since raising crops (and, for that matter, so is gathering) is work, you are going to need on the order of 30 lbs per day, year round, of vegetable matter to stay alive long term. You will find yourself spending a lot longer than 30 minutes with your paintbrush to produce that.

"If you like turnips . . ."

For those I have a cunning plan.

", . . or Canola as an oil seed . . ."

Are you insane? Besides that, "Canola" is a trademark, like "Lexus," for a proprietary agricultural product which you cannot produce from your garden, and is thus irrelevant to Grow or Die.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 1:05 PM  

they got the "genetic modification has been going on for millennia; this is just faster" line from somewhere

That is true. Just like artificial selection was (I assume) followed by hybridization, which was followed by gross genetic damage with mutagenic chemicals and ionizing radiation was followed by recombinant DNA. Which I did in the lab in the '70s on bacteria, using techniques developed in the '30s. And as I noted and you acknowledge below, also happens in nature all the time. The question is where do you draw the various lines, and with what principles. Me, I start wondering how careful they were with the gross mutation stage.

[Wikipedia, which is not worth discussing, even if your interpretation of that bit is correct], which implies that next step of DNA recombination. It's often presented that way, as just a newer, more scientific way to do the same stuff.

Because it is. Not that the techniques of hybridization, especially between cultivars of the same species, is a like technique. Just different means of fooling around with DNA to achieve the same ends. You do agree it's for the same ends?

Your Penn State example is done by students, and what they're saying is at minimum tolerable, especially when you read the section below your quote, which ends with this big caveat which probably also blurs the line of cross species transgenics:

"To further complicate things genes can be copy and pasted from one plant to another within the same species. Even with classical breeding this could be done. So where does the line get drawn? Should there even be a line drawn?"

But I'm asking for a Scientist making such a claim, which evidently neither of us has been able to find.

The rest of your posting outlines how our attitudes about this are different, close to irreconcilably so. Probably the most I can say is that we'd all be poorer, less healthy, and far less numerous if we'd adopted the precautionary principle you're advocating. Heck, would we evil whites, blacks, and Hispanics even be over here in the New World if we'd adopted it in 1492? Would anyone have dared to eat the first tomato, relative of the deadly nightshade?

I mean, you're inveighing against pizza! That's an end which justifies many means!

Blogger Gordon December 05, 2015 1:27 PM  

I think you will love the Kindle. And the book as well. David's an entertaining writer. Just don't tell your hubby that Compost Everything is indeed available in paperback until the Kindle is in your hands.

This was my first year doing serious gardening, and I had great success. Enough that my wife, who has professional reasons to demur, told me I can till up the front yard. That's where the light is best.

Blogger Gordon December 05, 2015 1:45 PM  

Yeah, the catalogs are on my dining room table, featuring tons of thin, badly groomed leftists doing things on the seed farms. They can't wait to vote for Bernie. I still love looking through them. The wife says that the 68 varieties of tomato I want to plant are just too many.

I have a great source of free horse barn sweepings. I test each batch by growing peas in pots. So far, no problems.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling December 05, 2015 1:49 PM  

" . . .if 30 minutes will help ensure a good crop, sure!"

Since raising crops (and, for that matter, so is gathering) is work, you are going to need on the order of 30 lbs per day, year round, of vegetable matter to stay alive long term. You will find yourself spending a lot longer than 30 minutes with your paintbrush to produce that.


That's the extra work that might be required to add tasty onions to the mix of things I'm growing, if it turned out insect pollenization was insufficient.

When you say 30 pounds, are you including the chaff from grain production? Since the metrics I remember are much less for enough calories from grains themselves.

"If you like turnips . . ."

For those I have a cunning plan.


No, no, turnips are for ambition, not so much for cunning. Remember how deeply we gazed into Baldrick MK II's soul in that episode.

", . . or Canola as an oil seed . . ."

Are you insane?


To try to produce oils/fats as well as carbohydrate calories so that the children I'd be feeding would thrive (per Nuclear War Survival Skills)? Well, maybe, but I am ambitious. Although around here soybeans are the standard seed oil, and you can do a lot more with them to directly feed people than is normally done with rapeseed. Yep, after TEOTWAWKI I plan on feeding children tofu!

Besides that, "Canola" is a trademark, like "Lexus," for a proprietary agricultural product which you cannot produce from your garden, and is thus irrelevant to Grow or Die.

Forgive me for only signalling that by using the proper noun instead of hunting down the right Unicode character. Canola®. Are you happy now? Although someone should tell Pioneer/DuPont that they need to mark it so, if it hadn't lost its trademark status per Wikipedia and all the generic uses of it I just found.

A few minutes with Google found this source of "canola" here, $23.50/pound, $7.95/oz, and $2.95/packet, sounds like a bargain, and perhaps worth playing with for years when soybeans don't do so well.

Blogger Feather Blade December 05, 2015 2:06 PM  

proprietary agricultural product which you cannot produce from your garden

Call it rapeseed and you can probably get away with putting it in you garden. Bonus: you'll trigger all feminists within a three block radius.

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 2:11 PM  

"When you say 30 pounds, are you including the chaff from grain production?"

Growing grains is coolie work. Vegetables are much more productive and efficient for the home gardener. Healthier too.

You're going to average about 100 calories/lb. at the table from your crops.

"To try to produce oils/fats as well as carbohydrate calories so that the children I'd be feeding would thrive . . ."

You're not going to do it with plants. Chucks are loaded with the stuff though. 3500 Calories/lb. 600 for the lean. Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient and about 25 grams a day is luxury, even for labor.

" . . . around here soybeans are the standard seed oil . . ."

In an environment where you need your garden to survive, where are you going to obtain your hexane? Give it up and just feed your soybeans to the pigs and chickens and get your fat from them. They do the job better than hexane anyway.

" Canola®. Are you happy now?"

Yes. That was easy.

" . . . perhaps worth playing with for years when soybeans don't do so well."

Just get several pairs of rabbits or guinea pigs. If you rely on plants for your own food, you are not going to among those who make it. Nor your children.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 05, 2015 4:23 PM  

Give it up and just feed your soybeans to the pigs and chickens and get your fat from them.

Yep. If you raise pigs for meat, you'll have more lard than you know what to do with, it's basically shelf-stable if you do it right, and it's better for you than seed oils anyway. Seed oils only make economic sense if you have industry to produce them on a large scale.

If you rely on plants for your own food, you are not going to among those who make it.

True. You can get a lot of calories from beans, corn, and potatoes. But on a small scale your best return on time, in both calories and nutrition, comes from meat, eggs, and dairy.

Blogger Groot December 05, 2015 4:33 PM  

@3. Juan and @24. David The Very, Very Bad:
"Those Mexican gardeners if it was up to them would take 5 minutes and just get rid of the dog"
"Hehheh."

༽ ༽ ༼ ༼
║ಥ ಥ ║
║﹏﹏║

@36. Cail Corishev:

All of history has changed with the development of genetic engineering technology CRISPR. This is beyond mutation, cross-breeding or hitting genes with a sledgehammer. Somebody will do it. China will do it, is doing it.

China's Bold Push into Genetically Customized Animals

Anonymous kfg December 05, 2015 5:03 PM  

"Somebody will do it. China will do it, is doing it."

MAD may have had its point with regards to weapons of mass destruction, but I'm not sure that it's equally good policy with regards to a nation's food supply, never mind its actual populace.

It reminds me of a question my late grandmother used to ask of my late younger brother: "If he jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?"

Put me down for LMS.

Blogger David The Good December 05, 2015 5:42 PM  

Gordon: "This was my first year doing serious gardening, and I had great success. Enough that my wife, who has professional reasons to demur, told me I can till up the front yard. That's where the light is best."

Congratulations!

kfg: "Growing grains is coolie work. Vegetables are much more productive and efficient for the home gardener. Healthier too."

Yes. Read Farmers of 40 Centuries for a look at the incredible labor that went into feeding China with rice. Insane. I recommend root crops over grains in the new book, unless you're in a climate too cold for most roots. The tropics are awesome for root crops and poor for grains... the far north is better for some grains and bad for a lot of roots.

Blogger automatthew December 05, 2015 11:52 PM  

The tropics are awesome for root crops and poor for grains... the far north is better for some grains and bad for a lot of roots.

In which David explains the geographic distributions of booze.

Anonymous Mr. Rational December 06, 2015 12:07 AM  

Vox Populi has, at long last, filled the niche vacated by the loss of the late lamented Mindweapons in Ragnarok blog.

Awesome.

Blogger newanubis December 06, 2015 12:27 AM  

Haven't read the 10 yet but I sure hope there's a section on aquaponics. Closed system of edible fish whose waste fertilized the flora above, which clean the water for the fish.
Super high yield and a great middle finger to Monsicko corp. About 300 bucks all told iffn you can glue off pipe together. Done right, your home system handles a family of 4 in perpetuity.
Keep it quiet though. If you're 'the dude with the food' they may even eat you after cleaning out your stores.

Blogger newanubis December 06, 2015 12:28 AM  

Haven't read the 10 yet but I sure hope there's a section on aquaponics. Closed system of edible fish whose waste fertilized the flora above, which clean the water for the fish.
Super high yield and a great middle finger to Monsicko corp. About 300 bucks all told iffn you can glue off pipe together. Done right, your home system handles a family of 4 in perpetuity.
Keep it quiet though. If you're 'the dude with the food' they may even eat you after cleaning out your stores.

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