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Happy Snowy New Year

We’ve been looking at hard white frosts since before Christmas but unlike much of the country, we’ve not had much snow. Enough to be a nuisance and make driving on the estate roads something to take slowly but not enough to imprison us in the house.

We’ve really become used to mild winters so a normal winter comes as a shock. I figured I’d have chance to catch up on some winter jobs, but in these temperatures even the potting shed is out of bounds for more than a couple of minutes.

Of course, this harsh winter isn’t without an upside. The slug and bug population will be drastically kicked back for a start. Those who had finished their digging over before the winter struck will benefit from a really fine tilth when the thaw finally arrives.

According to my Norwegian pal, we’re also providing most of Scandinavia with a great source of amusement. He’s got a rural wooden built house triple glazing and a foot of insulation in the walls, about 2 miles out of town.

The road is solid ice and the fields are covered in 6 foot of snow but life goes on as normal for them. The cars drive along on their snow tyres, the children head to school on their skis and he clears his drive with his snow blower.

So when we get a couple of inches and grind to a halt, the Scandinavian news closes on a ‘let’s laugh at the Brits’ piece.

On a more serious note, climate change. I’ve heard a lot of comments about how this winter disproves global warming. The answer is that weather is what we see out of the window and climate is what we see in the statistical record.

The real problem with climate change is that we just can’t predict the weather. I don’t mean the day to day stuff, I mean the winter might be so mild as to resemble spring one year and arctic cold the next. Summer can be roasting and drought one year but the next more like a cold monsoon.

We’ve really got to be more adaptable, sow early, sow on time and sow late in the hopes that one crop will succeed. Be more prepared than a troupe of boy scouts for whatever the weather throws at us, if we’re going to get decent crops.

This is all very well for the gardener but not really on for the farmer. There’s ominous signs on the horizon for food production, and not just because of climate change. The world’s population continues to increase. According to the UN, a 47% increase from the 2,000 population of 6.1 billion to 8.9 billion in 2050 is the most likely scenario. The best case is 7.4 billion and the worst is 10.6 billion.

They’re not making any more land, which is why the Chinese are buying up vast tracts of Africa to grow food for their population.

Add into the mix that modern farming and food production is dependent on oil and energy. Not just for the tractor but also for the production of fertiliser, shipping, storage and so forth. And the one thing that is certain is that energy will not be getting any cheaper. Even if the ‘peak oil’ theory is wrong, recovering the reserves will become harder and more expensive. We’ve had the low hanging fruit.

Here in Britain we’re now importing gas as we use it faster than the dwindling North Sea can supply.

Now I really don’t expect to be alive in 2050. I may live to 95, but it’s not that likely. I do expect my daughter will be around though. What the world will be like then, I don’t know. I suspect growing your own will be a matter of survival by then and we’ll be digging for life if not victory.

I really didn’t intend my first post of 2010 to be so gloomy! Still, enjoy the snow whilst we have it – there’s little else to do – and it will melt soon enough.

Here’s a belated Happy New Year to you!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
8 comments on “Happy Snowy New Year
  1. Swing Swang says:

    Hi John – unless your bunch of Scouts are also a bunch of thespians they hang around in troops rather than troupes.

    Regards,

    SS

  2. gee says:

    The key word for the next decade should be CONTRACEPTION,and after about two decades we might be in a better possition to colonise Mars or the Moon.I know it seems a bit far fetched but humans are very clever and just look at what we have acheeved in my lifetime (60 years).
    Some people would have smiled a bit in 1950 if we said we would land on the moon.

  3. John says:

    You’ve passed the first interview for the editor’s job, SS 🙂

  4. Steven Amore says:

    Definition of “goes on as normal” is different for Norwegians though. I know several. Crackers – the lot of them. It’s easy to go on as normal when your entire population drinks out of lead tankards.

    They laugh at anything – not just the Brits. They drive past a dead cow on the side of the road and shout “How funny is that – a dead cow in the street”.

  5. John says:

    Having spent the summer solstice in Oslo, I can tell you that if they have binge drinking in the Olympics, bet on Norway for the gold!

  6. Mark Beresford says:

    Will be getting the “keys” so to speak for my allotment in March(all being Well) after being on the waiting list for nearly two years. Here in snowy Macclesfield we’re still got 3-4″ of snow . So I’ve been doing my home work and any advice would be welcome..mark

  7. Gerry says:

    Hi folks, I don’t go along with this global warming issue, it was hotter 2 thousand years ago than it is now.
    It all works on sun spots and a 1,500 cycle, so don’t bother stressing over it lol.

  8. John says:

    Regardless of global warming, people ain’t going to stop breeding.

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