Ask Chef Boy Ari
Q: I'm preparing for the economic apocalypse, but I suspect the 15 cans of pickled beets, bag of dried morels and half-dozen jars of unidentifiable tomato-based something-or-other in my pantry aren’t going to last very long after the Super Wal-Mart shelves are looted. What do I need to do to start preparing a garden now, so when spring comes I'll be ready to farm my way into another year of existence? Any seed suggestions or other preparations for a year-one raised-bed garden? —Apocalypse Chow
A: You’re not the only one thinking along those lines, AC, and you might not have thought you had much in common with doomsday-prophesying conservative nut jobs. Listening to a right-wing AM radio show, I just heard about a website called survivalseedbank.com. Its business model is built on the premise of your question.
The website says: “You don’t have to be an Old Testament prophet to see what’s going on all around us. A belligerent lower class demanding handouts. A rapidly diminishing middle class crippled by police state bureaucracy. An aloof, ruling elite that has introduced us to an emerging totalitarianism which seeks control over every aspect of our lives. As the meltdown progresses, one of the first things to be affected will be our nation’s food supply. Expect soaring prices along with moderate to severe shortages by spring.”
For $129 you get enough seeds to plant an acre of veggies, plus a bottle of fertilizer, and the whole thing comes in waterproof packaging so your “Survival Seed Bank can be buried to avoid confiscation.” Or for a lot less money, you can order your own seeds. What you order, of course, depends on what you like to eat, and what you think you can buy at the farmers’ market when the manure hits the fan.
Send your food and garden queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.