Posts Tagged ‘food supply


October Planting – What you can plant right now and when you can eat it

Wayback when I created a handy little chart of growing times for common food plants which proved quite popular. So let’s put it in immediate terms- What can you plant this Labour weekend and when will you be able to eat it?

~~A reminder that this is for a guide for temperate New Zealand.~~

Plant now for December harvest

Leaf lettuce, Mustard greens, Radish, Rocket, Coriander, Parsley

Plant now for January harvest

Beans, Beetroot, Bok Choy, Broccoli*, Cabbage*, Capsicum, Chillies, Cucumber, NZ spinach, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Basil, Dill, Sunflowers

Plant now for February harvest

Aubergine, Carrot, Corn, Leeks, Zucchinis, Pumpkin

Plant now for March harvest

Celery, Parsnips, Potatoes, Yams/Oca


* Yes, you can grow these now but I don’t advise it because of whitefly.

Buy seeds online

You can buy quality vegetable and herb seeds online right now at Trade Me and I’ll make darn sure they get to you ready to sow next weekend.


The Fragility of Food Supply

There are early predictions more than 90 per cent of Australia’s banana crop was wiped out as Cyclone Yasi hit ‘Banana Central’ – a narrow coastal strip  centred around Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell, North Queensland. 85 per cent of Australia’s bananas are grown here.

“With industry worth AUS$400 million, a total of 75 per cent has been affected,” said Cameron MacKay of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council. Bananas are Australia’s third most valuable fruit industry, but 99% of them are eaten by Australians. Exports to Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand only account for 1% of total production. If Australians want bananas in the next 12-18 months the industry will take to recover, then they’re going to have to be imported.

The cyclone will have an even greater effect on sugar. Catastrophic might be the right word here. Farmer lobby Canegrowers has estimated the cost of Yasi will exceed AUS$500 million, including crop losses and damage to farming infrastructure. Sugar is one of Australia’s most important rural industries, worth over AUS$1.5-$2.5 billion. Australia exports 80% and virtually all of it comes from Queensland. NZ’s favourite Chelsea sugar imports 27,000 tonnes of it every 6 weeks. There are a lot of cakes and tea cups in Kiwi kitchens that will be feeling the pinch of increased sugar prices due to Yasi destruction. Bloomberg is reporting that futures prices for the sugar industry have hit a 30-year high.

Things are just looking more and more grim for Australian growers. Floods, fires, drought are just decimating the country. Paul Sheehan has written a very good column in the Sydney Morning Herald about Australia’s topsoil:

“Australia reminds me of an injured person, gushing blood. Others gather around, concerned, yet nobody mentions the gushing blood, or appears to even notice.”


These are not the best of times, and I’m afraid they certainly aren’t going to be the worst. The world is just starting to get an idea about how important top soil is. Soil conservation is a necessity! We need to learn more, protect more, be smarter about one of the most fundamental substances that we’ve taken for granted for far too long.




Fresh sums it up

I’ve just seen this great trailer for a new movie. It could be a trailer for my mind at the moment. Check out Fresh the Movie.


Ground is Broken for White House Kitchen Garden

Obama White House GardenWASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty-six elementary schoolchildren wielded shovels, rakes, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to help first lady Michelle Obama break ground on the first day of spring for a produce and herb garden on the White House grounds.

Crops to be planted in the coming weeks on the 1,100-square-foot, L-shaped patch near the fountain on the South Lawn include spinach, broccoli, various lettuces, kale and collard greens, assorted herbs and blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

There will also be a beehive.

Read the rest of the article

(via Transition Towns Kapiti)


Growing food: How long do I have to wait?

Borlotti beans: wonderfully tasty and homegrownGrow your own food! But be patient – this is how long it will take. The chart looks at how long you can expect to wait for your vegetables to grow from seed. These are estimated times – climate, soil conditions, water supply, different cultivars, farming methods can all give different results.

There’s no time like the present to start growing food, especially when you see how long it takes for veges to grow. The economy is going insane, nobody knows what’s going to happen… you need a little security in your life. Being able to grow food to feed your family is really the best security you can get. Then you know that if you lose your job, or the supermarkets run out, or your country goes bankrupt you can eat.

It’s a baseline to work from – you need to eat. If you grow your own food (or even just some of it) :

—  it will save you money;
—  it will give you mana, strength, self-worth;
—  it will give you better health, keep you active, help you lose weight.

Continue reading ‘Growing food: How long do I have to wait?’


Learning From The Elders on The Internet

dsc01420Terrific work is happening in the recording of traditional food knowledge (TFK) from indigenous people around the world. TFK refers to the cultural tradition of sharing food, recipes and cooking skills and techniques and passing down that collective wisdom through generations. I see this as a very important for two reasons:

1 – To help populations regain their connection to the land, keep their traditional knowledge and reclaim their identity, health and mana.

2 – I’d like to believe that it’s now pretty well understood that many modern intensive-agricultural methods aren’t beneficial to the environment or mankind. We need to take a look at different ways people beneficially work with the land and apply some of the lessons to our own little piece of the earth.

Indigenous Nutrition is a fantastic website with seven quality webisodes exploring the traditional knowledge of seven different peoples, and what they’re doing to keep it. The focus is primarily on health issues. This is an excellent resource and will hopefully inspire others to do similar things within their communities.

From a New Zealand viewpoint, Te Ara covers Māori food production economics and The National Library does a brief introduction to traditional knowledge. The Māori Plant Use database allows easy access to records on traditional uses of NZ native plants. The same people (Maanaki Whenua, who incidentally have a wonderful bookstore) also provide excellent information on harakeke (NZ flax, Phormium spp.).

A lot of work is being done in this area and it would be great to see more resources online in the near future. If you’ve got any great links in this area, please share in the comments.


Notes from US Biofuels Expert David Blume – Growing Your Own Fuel

Last week, I went to the most inspiring talk. None of this doom and gloom the world is ending stuff that you’d expect from any talk concerned with Peak Oil. Instead, David Blume described how we can take control of our fuel needs by growing it ourselves, or with the help of neighbours with Community Supported Ethanol.

David stresses that almost everything that can be made from oil can be made from plants. This stuff is pretty near and dear to the hearts and minds of the LovePlantLife team. We’ll be doing lots of follow-up on this one.

Notes on David’s talk on how Alcohol can be a gas, why biofuels don’t steal food from hungry mouths, how we can grow our own fuel and other additional benefits after the jump. Continue reading ‘Notes from US Biofuels Expert David Blume – Growing Your Own Fuel’

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