Monday, March 16, 2009

A Bountiful Backyard

Rather busy this week preparing for a conference...but I wanted to comment on something I read in the WSJ related to psychological depression trends (emphasis mine):

"They are taking cash out of the bank in preparation for a long-haul bad time. A friend in Florida told me the local bank was out of hundred-dollar bills on Wednesday because a man had come in the day before and withdrawn $90,000. Five weeks ago, when I asked a Wall Street titan what one should do to be safe in the future, he took me aback with the concreteness of his advice, and its bottom-line nature. Everyone should try to own a house, he said, no matter how big or small, but it has to have some land, on which you should learn how to grow things. He also recommended gold coins, such as American Eagles. I went to the U.S. Mint Web site the next day, but there was a six-week wait due to high demand."

I was rather surprised to read this, as it is reflective of my thinking as well. We went for a bigger lot (smaller house), which will allow us to grow fruit trees and have a garden. I figure not only is it fresh produce, that is more or less organic, but its also not shipped from Chile, and is a good hedge against supply disruptions or massive price increases. Of course this all assumes we have a green enough thumb to keep things alive, and the weather cooperates. Little did I know, the foothills are a great place to have a backyard orchard. On the problematic side, I had forgotten about the whole, you need two trees for cross-pollination to we'll see how far we actually get with this endeavor.


Husmanen said...

Thanks for the link to the Fruits and Nuts document from UC Davis. It was very helpful.

Actually, last weekend we made raised beds in the sunniest areas of the back yard. I filled them with a mixture of soil from our composter and Home Depot, looks great, now we will see what happens.

Last year we had a cherry tomato plant that grew over 7 feet tall and produced from July to November. It was amazing.

Buying Time said...

Nice Husmanen! That is also on our list of things to do....start composting. It's another win-win situation, reduces our waste, and increase soil fertility.

mbc said...

Growing a garden and planting fruit trees is a great thing, as is trying to obtain food locally through farmer's markets & co-ops, etc. But, having a backyard garden will not insulate you from the anarchy if the s**t really hits the fan.

Husmanen said...

If I was going to buy large amounts, say a cubic yard or so, of soil I would buy from Foothill Landscape Materials on Durock, just off of Ponderosa/South Shingle exit (parallels the freeway).

Over the years I have bought a lot of materials (sand, rock, soil etc) from them for my family in Cameron Park.

They are much cheaper than the buying by the bag, good quality and not far from your area. But you will need a trailer or pick-up truck.

Jacob said...

I definitely want to get a house with some land. Not one of these 3000 ft2 houses on a 4500ft lot...

At least a half acre. Enough for the house, a deck, maybe a pool, and still have room for some trees and a nice garden.

As for gold coins, I am not sure how much the gold eagles would hold their value in hard times. You have to pay a premium which could be 50% over spot price.

Might be better to buy gold or silver bars.

But gold is only a hedge against inflation, but against recession / depression.

Jewelers are going out of business left and right and as people buy less and less jewely the demand for gold goes down.

RV6Flyer said...

"But gold is only a hedge against inflation.."

What generally happens in a major depression? The currency falls in value. Right now the US just happens to be the tallest midget in the room when comparing to world currencies. Gold is true liquidity. If the you-know-what really, really hit the fan, I don't think you will be bribing border guards with local currency. While this is not really an issue people think about in the U.S., it is a real concern in other parts of the world. Think Eastern Europe or Iceland.

RV6Flyer said...

We are trying to contact the owner of a lot on 36th and Folsom Blvd to inquire about leasing it for a community garden. Does anyone have experience participating or organizing a community garden?