Tomatoes, Spring Gardens and Challenges

February 16, 2013from freepic.com

Before I go any further, I’d like to thank the forty-eight people arrested on Wednesday for their act of civil disobedience in front of the White House during protests against the Keystone XL pipeline and wish good speed to those who will attend the protest rally at the Washington Mall tomorrow.  Thank you. I wish I could be there with you.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/robert-f-kennedy-jr-arrested_n_2679609.html

Last December, I started a couple of tomato plants, two pepper plants and some lettuce in my ongoing pursuit of an indoor winter garden.  Unlike the previous two winters, when all but the lettuce died off quickly, this year’s crop has grown into healthy looking plants that I hope will begin blooming in the next week or so.  I’ve been eating some of the lettuce on and off for the last few weeks and more is coming up in the pot.  Whether the tomatoes and peppers bloom and whether they fruit, of course, remains to be seen.

I probably should have started them back in late October or early November, since spring will come in the next month or two around here and it will be time to start the garden outside.  Next year I’ll try that.  Still, it would be nice if I had some early tomatoes to tide me over until time to plant and, perhaps, harvest tomatoes in the outside garden.  That has been my goal for the last two or three years.  I’ll keep you posted as to my success or failure in future posts.

And sometime this week, I want to plant the seeds to start those early vegetables that I won’t sow directly into the garden.  Then, the first nice, warm day in March, I’ll get out to the garden with my hand mower and, again, go over the leaves I left on the beds last fall before I cover them with a layer of cured manure.  That is what I’ll plant in, this year.  We haven’t had nearly enough rain or snow to make up for the seventeen inches we were behind last fall, so unless we have a lot more of either over the next month or two, this year will probably be dry, also.  So I’m hoping the bed of leaves and manure will keep what moisture we do get in the soil without things getting soggy around the roots if it does rain.  I’m not sure how sound my reasoning is, but it makes sense to me.  (I’ll keep you posted as to my success or failure with that, over the coming spring and summer, too.)

I bring all this up for several reasons: I’m bored stiff with looking at seed catalogs and long to get outside and to do whatever else I can to prepare for the outdoor gardening season.  I’ve read enough new information about climate change over the winter to convince me we’re going to have to intensify our personal efforts to reduce our carbon footprints and gardening seems a good way to help myself do that.  Gardening –especially with hand tools – is great exercise and good for my own mental and physical health as we approach what will be grim days for the human race.   And working out new ways to keep our gardens healthy as climate change brings changes to our local weather patterns may at least let us keep one small step ahead of those changes.

In our blind determination to maintain business as usual for as long as possible, climate change seems to be winning the race with peak oil – which we’ve only slightly postponed, if at all, by producing and burning the costliest, dirtiest dregs left – to see which will destroy BAU permanently.  Either way, our own economy and eventually, the world economy, cannot continue to take the economic hits both are causing.

The big things the federal government could have done to stop or mitigate these things should have been started years ago.  Because they didn’t, we are increasingly left with small attempts that may or may not make some difference.

This past week, the CBO sent a report to Congress on the increasing costs of climate change related disasters.  The only reaction I read about from Congress was Darrell Issa’s statement, the other day, that the costs of these disasters should be borne by the states and cities that are affected and that they should not expect help from the federal government.  Not a good sign regarding BAU, as far as I can see.

As the failing federal government increasingly passes the costs on to already strapped states and cities, more of the costs will fall directly on us. This will be true around the world. BAU will come to an end.  It’s inevitable.

And while I appreciate the efforts of the forty-eight people who were arrested last Wednesday and those who will protest tomorrow, it is not enough.  The changes that have already begun cannot be stopped.  They can only be mitigated, and that with lessening effect the longer we wait, by each of us powering down in our use of energy – our living habits, our buying habits, our ways of transporting ourselves, our demands on the oil dependent systems that permeate our culture, our work and play habits.

Sometimes we doomers make it sound like such a grim task – use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.  It really isn’t.  We’ve been so propagandized to believe that progress is having more, newer (though not necessarily better), bigger everything.  I like growing as much of my own food as I can, find it exhilarating to ferret out new ways to save energy, learn (or relearn) a skill that will serve me in a less “affluent” world, or make something useful out of what I might have thrown in the trash previously.  It’s like working on a big puzzle. For me, it reduces stress rather than increases it.  It will have to become a more intimate world where we depend not only on ourselves, but each other in ways we’ve sometimes forgotten how to do.  A world where we depend on and so, have to listen more closely to nature.  A world where we use what we need, not take what we want.  I find those good things.

A very different world is coming – either by choice or by nature’s forcing.  We might as well enjoy the challenge.  Repair something you might have thrown away.  Put on an extra sweater and cut back the heat. (It was a good idea when Jimmy Carter first proposed it; it’s a better idea today.) Walk when possible.  Ride a bike.  Preserve and conserve.  Buy local. Start some seeds in anticipation of spring.  Plant a spring garden. Grow tomatoes inside next winter.  Challenge yourself every day.  We can’t save our BAU lives, but we might save enough of the world to leave something for the future.  I find that the most exhilarating challenge of all.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/02/14/1594211/death-spiral-bombshell-cryosat-2-confirms-arctic-sea-ice-volume-has-collapsed/?mobile=nc

http://www.pdfdownload.org/pdf2html/pdf2html.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsalempress.com%2Fstore%2Fpdfs%2Foceans.pdf&images=yes

http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/  National Snow and Ice Data Center

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/i3/Global-Warming-Warnings.html

http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/ download report draft here

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11 Responses to Tomatoes, Spring Gardens and Challenges

  1. CaityJ says:

    I enjoyed your description of your planting progress here. As a person of NO talent in gardening, do you have suggestion for a simple guide for first-time gardeners? I think it’s imperative that those of us who aren’t billionaires learn to take care of ourselves. I would love to have the frame of mind that you mention here. What a great way to look at it. Thanks, Linda.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Caity, I’ve really only been gardening for about seven years and I’m not an expert by any means, but I am persistent – which I think is almost as important.:D
      Here’s a link to the post on beginning gardening I wrote in that Doom and the Working Poor series linked at the top of the blog. It might give you some ideas on how to start. https://conflicteddoomer.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/doom-and-the-working-poor-%e2%80%93-food-gardens/ Also, see the Gardening Information section up at the top of the blog for a whole bunch of links to gardening information.
      Another thing I did, when I was first starting, was go to one of our state university web sites and search for vegetable gardening info. I found a whole guide to vegetable growing – times to plant which vegetables in the different parts of Missouri, time from planting to picking, etc. I downloaded it, but they also would have sent me one by mail for $1.00.
      I still have it in my gardening notebook and still refer to it each spring. I hope this helps take some of the fear and mystery out of gardening for you. It really is such a practical activity for so many reasons. Just don’t expect miracles every year. 😀 And always remember to look, ask questions, learn and ENJOY.
      Have fun and let me know how it goes.

  2. Joey says:

    Off topic slightly … But, why would you oppose the Keystone Energy Pipeline. The oil is going to be used (that is a fact). India and/or China has already taken raw tar sands back. They will take the nasty oil from it for processing if need-be. The United States has the cleanest, most overly-engineered refineries on the planet relative to environmental concerns on the planet. You seriously want that oil processed in a country without the tyrannical EPA watching over it? Wow. Also, given the pipeline builders have said that it’d be a double-walled most safe pipeline ever, why would you want to ban the pipeline. Warren Buffet (Obama’s rich-whipping-boy and inside trader) bought the BNSF railroad a month before the Keystone was killed…. and announced that he’d be more than willing to transport that nasty oil via his choo-choo train (much less energy efficient than a pipeline … more fossil fuel release … and a significantly higher chance of release into the environment through a spill from a train derailment). If you care about the environment, that oil should be processed here and transported through pipelines, since it WILL be used regardless of where or how.

  3. CaityJ says:

    Get OFF my lazy you-know-what, that is!

  4. graveday says:

    Good on you Caity, and glad you clarified, because at first it sounded just a little like it might be your husband you were referring to, heh.
    As to the pipeline, the stinkingest part for me is TransCanada using eminent domain in the path of the pipeline to force people to allow it to pass over their property. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a dilbit.
    And someone I have just come across that might like to read, Linda, is David Korten. Another voice for sanity concerning food and its control.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi grave. Yes, the eminent domain usage is troubling to me, too. As is the increased use of rail to ship tar sands and other unconventional oils. It’s like trying to kill fleas by slapping at them. Wish we had a good anti-oil spray that would kill the buggers once and for all. 😀

      I’ll check out Korten. Thanks for the heads up.

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