Sunday, April 20, 2008

Anyhoo, We Can Always Eat Wheat, Can't We?

No, we can't. There are a dozen coincidences conspiring to make wheat more valuable than gold.

Crop failures in Australia downgrade wheat harvest projections

Disease and crop failures are destroying wheat fields worldwide

So, is there something else we can eat? Corn? Bioethanol put that out of everybody's reach as long as those policies are in place.

Most crops require pollination, temperatures above 20 degrees celsius for more than twenty minutes a year and at least a little water now and then.

The death of pollinators is continuing unabated

Permaculture lab underground is looking like a damn good idea right now, isn't it? I know it is, but I'm way behind schedule. I have to finish the Sparkgap quonset before I can start on the Permaculture lab construction.

My advice is look good and hard at potatos and grow them on your own piece of land.


Alex Supertramp said...

What will you do for a light source if the permaculture setup is beneath ground? Would it require a lot of water to keep the production viable and how technical an approach will you take to the cultivation, meaning, are you going to be testing and monitoring soil chemistry etc? From what I hear permaculture involves a lot of trial and error until you get a properly regenerating little ecosystem going so maybe wouldn't want to delay it too long.

Texas Arcane said...

I've done some experiments with manufacturing my own light pipes from space blanket foil inside of 150mm PVC pipe, capped at both ends by lucite or plexiglass. I have recently been thinking about something much simpler involving sheets of plexiglass screwed into the roof, covered by plywood doors that open on hinges externally, then piling up a half meter of sandbags on top of a piece of thick plastic to cover it until it is needed.

In addition to this, I could always grow some minimal crops by using halogen-style 3 Watt Cree-Xlamp LED lighting. Powered by solar or wind setups on the roof.

I'd build it tomorrow if I had the time but I have a lot of things I have to finish by the summer on my own before I start work on it.

I have so many cinder blocks I am considering some kind of Hoag-style design for the lab using a half boiler for the roof. I still have one navy watertight door left to use as an aboveground entrance.

The easiest thing to work with would be a modified sea container sealed in concrete but that requires more funds to get the work done off-site.

Anonymous said...

When I was in highschool, my family had our own garden. I cultivated that soil until it was so perfect... you didn't need to dig for a potato, you could just shove your hand down into the dirt and pull one up!

One year, we planted potatoes and ended up with tomato plants? very confusing. Come fall harvest, we discovered that these same plants ALSO had potatoes in the roots!

Maybe it was some residual 'downwinder' effect or something... I was a little too wierded out to eat either one, they looked a little odd as well.

Nowadays I wish I had propagated and selectively pollinated those plants. Maybe I could be making money today off of those things.

(totally off the subject... Why the term 'sparkgap'? What does that mean in the context of a NBC shelter?)

(A Thousand Good Intentions)

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, your idea of 'light tubes'...

I've wondered about the same idea, but filling the tubes with sterile water (water has a very decent halving thickness and costs nothing and is easy to repair or replace a faulty unit) As long as you can keep any algae from growing in the water, you should still get some good light down at the bottom, with enough water to block out the gamma. I just wasn't sure about how much UV can still get through a suitable thickness of water.

Your thoughts?

(A Thousand Good Intentions)

Anonymous said...


Texas Arcane said...

Although I am not that keen on it and would prefer another approach, lately I am thinking that burying the thing to the roof and then sandbagging the roof doors (opening to reveal plexiglass skylights) is the simplest and most idiot proof design. It's also doable with nothing but the supplies I have on hand.

You might not be able to unsandbag the roof for a couple years, in which case you'd need electric lighting, which is becoming more and more doable with LEDs.

Anonymous said...

I hear LED's are EMP vulnerable due to the 'diode' properties getting overwhelmed by rampant, non-directional charge. So you'd want to faraday those till afterwards.

do you have a solar charging system? I would imagine those are relatively EMP vulnerable as well. What's your power generation system? hydro? an excercise bike?

(A Thousand Good Intentions)

Joseph Dantes said...

Wheat is non paleo poison. I'd rather die than eat the stuff for a year... I'd probably wind up dead anyway, just slowly. At best it would be a form of very painful suspended animation.

Potatoes are a-OK, unless you're trying to drop weight or be physiologically optimal. Corn I'm not sure about, I stay away from it.