Something Feral

Digging up the flower-beds.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A clove of prevention is worth a bulb of cure

The stinking rose more closely resembles its namesake as of late:
If you want to get rich in China, the way to do it this year is to buy and sell garlic. The Chinese have always had a taste for the bulb vegetable that makes your breath smell but now there has been an incredible surge in its price, which makes the property boom look static by comparison. Garlic has been a better investment this year than gold or silver.
Of course, I fully expect doubt to be cast upon any preventative measures (other than properly shielding one's sneeze, or the compulsive washing of hands, as advised by the High Priestess of HHS) that are of non-pharmaceutical origins, and doubly so if they're just "weeds". (Unless it's actual weed, in which case, you'll need to get a "green card" and live on the West Coast.)

"Those wacky Chinese! Don't they know that commodities are dead, and plants are only meant to be potential cures for cancer in obscure equatorial countries?"

Now, I'm not advocating that you should sell your house and buy rural real-estate for the purposes of growing vast tracts of garlic (typically, you should have at least a few more reasons, just for the sake of argument), since domestic consumption is likely to remain low. Come what may, I'll be planting everything available to me in January.

Pharmaceutical companies do very little of their own research, and have a long history of copying over the shoulder from folk medicine. My suggestion: cut out the middle-man. I'm already supplementing my diet with garlic, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, St. John's Wort and green tea; I suggest you do the same. (Associated article here; if the strains that are currently active are indeed causing a severe cytokine response, one would ideally avoid foods that boost that response... This is for informational purposes only, your mileage may vary, I'm not responsible for your lack of personal research, etc.)

(Via SurvivalBlog.)


Double Minded Man said...

One of these years I would like to do a garden. Preferably with heirlooms.

What do you intend to grow? And what has worked well for you in the past?

Something Feral said...

Do it this year. Now is the time to order seed catalogs; in most areas of the country, that gives you about three months or four months before you need to get started. (Most catalogs are free, and make good reading when it's raining or cold outside. Raintree Nursery and Seed Savers' Exchange are particularly good.)

I'm going to be putting in several more raised beds, and probably starting the garlic and kale soonish, and maybe a mixed-greens patch. I'm still planning the summer portion, so it's on a to-be-announced schedule, but expect familiar favorites, like green beans, corn, tomatoes, carrots, melons, etc. Fortunately, I have a friend helping, so cross-pollinating crops can be separated enough to maintain pure seed. (The broccoli and the kale are the most recent offenders.)

Good producers vary by region, and growing heirloom varieties (in theory) becomes easier over time as successive generations are preened for the local conditions. Naturally, it doesn't work for everything, but small victories come on occasion. Locally, we have much luck with garlic, but the micro-climate around the farm is cold for the area, so while traditionally cold-weather vegetables grow magnificently, hot-weather crops (tomatoes, peppers, melons) need constant cold-framing to stay happy and productive, unless I pick a strain particularly suited for cold temperatures.

Structurally speaking, I'm leaning towards putting in scattered clusters of 4'x4' 8" raised beds, then applying the square-foot gardening method. I've used a slap-dash method of it before, and it worked pretty well, so I'm willing to try it again, but in a more precise way.