Of Blight and Bent Cucumbers


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Now I know I’m going to get a whole stack of emails saying that I’m beginning to sound like a doomsayer and that I think the sky is going to fall. Yes, I know, I know. I’m not saying let’s run scared for the hills, what I am saying is look at what’s happening elsewhere and take appropriate actions to prevent or minimize the damage in your own lives. Remember that we are just going into spring, the northern hemisphere is at the end of their growing season, so what happened there is a good indicator of potential problems in our season.

This post is based around a few articles that I have read over the last week. These are not fringe loonies that are publishing the articles (normally the first thing I look at) these are articles that have a real impact with regards to what we are trying to do, become self-sufficient and provide healthy living food for our own families.

The first article is on the unusually early and severe outbreak of Late Blight on Tomato crops in the US. Although the impact of this specific outbreak is limited to the US and should not have an impact on us, there are some important lessons that can be learnt from what it said in the article. All of the information can be applied locally or in fact anywhere in the world as similar growing, transport and sale methodologies are used in the seedling trade.

The first thing I find extraordinary is that the prime vector for the transmission of Late Blight is the distribution, sale and planting of infected seedlings (They call them ‘starts’). If you think about it, most seedlings are grown in highly intensive environments and all it takes is one diseased plant to infect a whole truck/nursery/farm/garden with minute fungal spores that will continue to spread the infection unnoticed. Something I have blissfully overlooked on many occasions.

Next there is a 20% increase in the end user costs for a packet of tomatoes, it’s the end of summer in the US and they should have bargain priced fresh produce right now with all the harvests coming in. But not so, my maths may be a bit wonky here, but for me a 20% increase in prices translates to at least a 20% loss of produce. Scary if you think about it, and they still have a month to go before field tomatoes get whacked by killing frosts.

With the financial crisis in the US they have had an increase of over 7 million home gardeners this year. This is mainly due to people trying to lighten the load on their monthly bills and stretch every penny. Most of these people take the position of buying seedlings to speed-up the growing cycle, or try to get around the issues of germination. Planting a seedling is much easier, I do agree. However, looking at the side effects I’m more than happy with the extra effort and to wait the extra time by growing my own from seed.

The next article is on a looming food crisis in the UK, without dissecting the nuts and bolts of the article I would like to mention a few things that strike me about this article (and many similar ones from around the world).

First, when things like this are published in a Nanny State like the UK it’s normally a primer to get people aware that they are going to have a problem, it more a case of ‘they’ know it’s going to happen, so how do they break the news to the GDP? (Generally Dumb Public) There have been food riots in many countries around the world recently. Most notably in the EU and Balkan States, but also in the UK and elsewhere.

If countries like the UK and EU are bleating about food crisis and lack of food supply, don’t you think it’s about time we started to prepare for a possible food shortage or crop failure on our side? On the flipside it could also be another GM propaganda tactic to gauge peoples feeling on Food Salvation via GM crops?

Next. The Great and Powerful EU is looking at ‘relaxing’ its idiotic Bent Cucumber Laws, specifically to get around the duel problems of the cost of food and the supply of food. So maybe there really is a food crisis and it’s not just propaganda.

It makes one sick when one thinks of the amount of waste generated in a first world society that regulates the curvature in a fruit. It will then relegate an ‘over bent’ fruit to lower quality class, that is often not sold but just dumped. It’s as if eating a bent fruit will give you dyspepsia, crooked teeth, or some other debilitating 1st world disease.

It’s even more ludicrous that if sold ‘bent’ fruits must be labeled for use only in cooking… come on, as if they have a lower nutritional value than unbent ones. What are they going to do, have sidewalk cucumber police checking your salads for bent cuc’s? I can just see the waiter in a trendy French Café “Oops, sorry officer but it’s not bent, I just slipped with the knife.” Just another regulation that will need to be enforced in an overly regulated society.

What on earth would they do with a basketful of heirloom tomatoes? Every single one looks different and is a different size and shape!!!

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