Um... not so fast on food self-sufficiency...
I had to laugh when I came across a post on Gab claiming "That's how much you need to become self-sufficient". Click the image for a larger view.
Um... not so fast. That's an illustration of perfection, showing a garden with very fertile soil, a favorable climate, no pests to speak of, and enough people in the family to do all the work to keep it that neat and tidy. Most of us don't have the benefit of all those blessings. As one respondent on Gab wrote:
My garden had a mind of its own. 2 months of high 90s-low 100s with no rain. Hours spent watering before dawn or at dusk, and the squash, cukes, pumpkin, watermelon went EVERYWHERE, and carrots, celery, broccoli, beets, beans, peas, never sprouted or sprouted to die. That image is perfect, but my plants seem to resist regulation.
Our own (very minor) attempts at a garden have been rather unsuccessful, at least so far. Cedar Sanderson, who now lives nearby, is also battling to develop a North Texas garden. She's also learning about one of the less... ah... popular aspects of gardening around here.
It’s Monday, and I’m sitting at the desk feeling like my brain is oozing out through my tearducts. Not really, it’s the congestion causing me to weep gently and constantly. You see, it rained…
Which is a good thing and I’m very grateful it did. I love that I can plant a fall garden, and have another harvest before winter sets in. God bless Texas! I now have a little flower bed, and leads on some native shrubs, perennials, and fruits that will navigate the harsh summers better than me importing what I’m familiar with. I’m adapting! And so is my immune system. I hope. Given time, because right now it feels like it’s under siege and for the last two weeks I’ve been quite literally under the weather as everything around me burst into jubilant bloom, pollen, spores and what-have-they for reproduction. It’s all part of life but ow, my poor sinuses. I could do with less holes in my head, at least if they’re going to keep filling up with mucus.
There's more at the link.
However, I'm not knocking gardening, not at all. If you have favorite foods and you can grow your own supply, that's an excellent thing. For example: do you use a lot of tomatoes? Are you aware that California's tomato harvest is in trouble?
Lack of water is shrinking production in a region responsible for a quarter of the world’s output, which is having an impact on prices of tomato-based products. Gains in tomato sauce and ketchup are outpacing the rise in US food inflation, which is at its highest in 43 years, with drought and higher agricultural inputs to blame. With California climate-change forecasts calling for hotter and drier conditions, the outlook for farmers is uncertain.
. . .
“Yields are way off this year,” Blankenship said in an interview. “Coupled with drought, we’ve had high temperatures and that in itself creates an issue where the tomatoes are so hot that they just don’t size properly — so you have a lot of tomatoes on a plant, but they are smaller.”
. . .
The California crop has been below the recent production peak of 14.4 million tons in 2015 for the past six years, and 2022 is shaping up to continue the trend, according to US Department of Agriculture data. The industry expects this year’s harvest to fall below the USDA’s 11.7 million tons estimate.
Again, more at the link.
I've heard from contacts in the farming areas of California that the tomato harvest this year may be as much as 50% below what's needed to meet national demand. The news is spreading fast. I laid in a few dozen extra cans of tomato products over the weekend. Sams Club - which normally has pallets full of the stuff - was down to only a two-deep layer of 12-can cartons of diced tomatoes, and they were going fast. The same went for tomato sauce, paste, etc. Therefore, if you can grow part or all of your own supply of tomatoes, you're ahead of the game. Those of us who can't are going to be paying a lot more for them, and will probably be restricted in the varieties and quantities that are available.
So, I loves me some good vegetable gardens: but it's by no means as easy as the "perfect picture" above makes it out to be. I daresay many of my readers can confirm that from long and bitter personal experience.