Letter Re: Finding Virtue in Potatoes

Mr. Rawles,
Regarding the letter Finding Virtue in Potatoes, by Anatoly, after reading the book, One Second After by W. R. Forstchen, in which the State of Florida sustains 100% casualties, with the inability to grow sustainable food as a major cause, I began researching viable crops to prevent such a catastrophe.

After talking to locals, Ag Agents, and gardeners, the most recommended staple crops for Florida were corn, potatoes, and Seminole Pumpkins, in addition to the regular garden crops. But, it was also recommended to store as much wheat as possible, now, while the opportunity is there.

Historically, corn has sustained the populations of Florida over the centuries. A lot of corn is produced commercially and just about every garden you see has at least one row of corn in it. However, given the huge population increases since the 1960s and the fact the corn production uses a lot of mechanization and fuel, it may not sustain the population as in past years. Most folks that grow a row or two of corn admit that it wouldn’t sustain them for very long. As for back yard production, I have tried to grow corn using the square foot gardening methodology, but have yet to harvest any. That methodology seems to be susceptible to thunderstorms and tropical storms, which knock the corn flat, but, I have high hopes.

Potatoes are grown commercially in the State of Florida, but back yard production is what has the potential to make the state sustainable. This article, Grow 100 lbs. Of Potatoes In 4 Square Feet: {How To},http://tipnut.com/grow-potatoes/, describes how to grow enough food to sustain a person for a whole year in a small space. With most of the population living in urban and suburban areas, the ability to produce 100 pounds of potatoes in a 4×4 space, four times a year, is very important. I do know of at least three locals that have done this, but it takes dedication and diligence. The local Ag Agents could be more help, but they seem to concentrate on the commercial production of potatoes. I used to eat potatoes with every meal, but now only eat them about three or four times a week, as recommended. However, if I had to, I could go back to eating them every day, I miss them.

A Master Gardener in Tallahassee, recommended the Seminole Pumpkin, which was named after the Seminole Indians. The Seminoles were able to get the pumpkins to grow in trees, which enabled them to hide their villages from U.S. Army scouts and patrols during the Seminole Wars, and other Indian tribes before that. The pumpkins are climbers, have a high nutritional value, and will keep for up to a year after harvesting, even in Florida’s harsh environment. There are two kinds of pumpkins, a green striped and a tan, but I am not sure what the difference is.

As stated before in SurvivalBlog, this concept of storing seeds to plant if the need arises is not viable. There are a lot of issues that need to be worked out beforehand, so it is best to start now and gather the knowledge needed for growing sustainable crops.