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Celt's Garden - California Dreaming in a Drought

It's time to pull out the seed starting trays. Onions, scallions, tomatoes, and perennial herbs first, then as March gets on, Asian green stuff, salad greens, brassicas and flowers. Some delicious green stuff, such as spinach, is essentially water. Water that is becoming expensive and possibly unavailable to California farmers. Even the cute plastic bags of organic salad greens are water piped hundreds of miles from rivers, sprayed on 10,000 acre lettuce patches in the desert and then picked, washed, bagged and trucked here.

Far better to walk outside and pick your salad. Homegrown fresh, delicious crunchy stuff can be grown in a modest patch. Salad greens and herbs are the most cost effective use of small gardening spaces. The drought in California is liable to put price pressure on all vegetables, from tasteless cardboard supermarket broccoli to the delicate high end organic greens. Gardening takes time and energy. I've always looked at it as an optimization problem: what can I grow that I am too cheap to buy? How can I maximize the value of a small space? What things are clearly superior from the garden?

A drought in California, which has positioned itself as vegetable and fruit supplier to the whole nation, changes the calculation considerably. We will get more from Mexico and possibly further south. We will pay more for what we get. Eastern Washington may get a big boost in vegetable sales. Whole supply chains that rely on massive quantities of cheap vegetables from California will have to adapt.

Home gardening is looking better and better.

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Comment by Margo Terrill on April 7, 2014 at 10:44am

Thank you Celt! Well put, informative, timely and succinct!

Comment by Angela MacLeod on February 25, 2014 at 9:50am

I always appreciate it when you create a post here Celt. Thanks for the inspiration and the good info.

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