Future Shortages Due to Coronavirus



  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @Ethereal Earth al Earth: "What is the difference between a seed potato and one for eating?"

    Very little.

    However, potatoes left in sunlight can quickly develop solanine, which is poisonous to humans. Therefore, it's recommended that you get your "eating potatoes" out of the sun as quickly as possible when harvesting. I keep a black plastic leaf bag with me and cover up the potatoes in the wheelbarrow. You also need to make sure they are under soil or mulch while growing, or they'll turn green and develop solanine even before harvest.

    But I've read that for seed potatoes, it's actually a good idea to leave them out in the light for a few weeks in order to let them "green up" and go dormant. Once you do that, don't eat them! Letting potatoes sit out to dry may also reduce the risk of dry rot, and the solanine may be help protect the seed against creatures that would eat it. The solanine is harmless in seed, but you wouldn't want it in your stomach.

    Seed potatoes also have to be cured in the ground before harvest, which means they have to stay there until the part of the plant above soil has died. That is not a problem here in Vermont (or Maine, or Idaho, or other northern regions), but in a place like Nevada that doesn't have cold winters, the plant may never really die back and you'll have "new" potatoes, even if they appear full grown, and those have fragile skin that doesn't work well for seed potatoes.

    Finally, remember that "true seed" also exists for potatoes. These are actual seeds that form from the fruiting body on the flowers. Unlike regular seeds (which are really tubers), these propagate sexually and will not breed true. You can create new varieties using true seed.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,660 admin

    As for potatoes, we would leave them out in the garden to dry a little so that they kept better in storage, maybe up to an hour?

    I would like to experiment with growing potatoes from seed. I just have never got to it.

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 386 ✭✭✭

    Has your friend tried any herbal or supplemental alternatives for her MCAS? Stinging nettles is often recommended as an herbal antihistamine, turmeric may also help, and quercetin can reduce mast cell activation. (I have MCAS and POTS myself though mild compared to most sufferers apparently.)

  • Ethereal Earth
    Ethereal Earth NevadaPosts: 142 ✭✭✭

    @stephanie447 I do not believe she has. She is allergic to the nightshade family and most likely sunflowers/sunflower oil. I will mention those things to her and have her research but I know her allergies are extremely bad.

    @VermontCathy I knew about the green parts being from the sun and being toxic but didn't know the actual name for it. Thank you for telling me the difference.

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @Ethereal Earth yeah, I was thrilled they lasted too :) I would assume in a root cellar would be even better - we do not have one so my canning cupboard is my next best bet :) From my knowledge, seed potatoes are meant for planting, so they have not been sprayed with any growth inhibitors (like many grocery store eating potatoes are, minus organic ones) and have the added benefit that they should (I repeat should...) be free of any disease, etc... Additionally, you can usually get many more varieties that are not available in the grocery store for eating potatoes... That being said, I have known many eating potatoes from the store to sprout and I would think that if these were planted you would get a perfectly fine crop in most cases. My space where I garden is limited though, so I prefer to spend the extra few dollars and buy the seed potatoes to give myself the best chance of a good crop and have different varieties that would not otherwise be available to me :)

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,235 admin

    I see more and more shortages of local small businesses and jobs.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,636 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft Unfortunately I agree with you. My husband and I have been supporting as many small businesses as we can, but the future will be tough, especially if the local governments try to lock things down again.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,660 admin

    It gets worse if you mix natural disasters in with it. There are some small businesses in some small towns not too far away from us that are now dealing with excessive flooding.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,235 admin

    Hi @shllnzl yes, I too do my best to purchase locally. But it's been made almost impossible - by law.

    Local small business have to shut down, but Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Target do not.

    Grocery stores that sell imported food can stay open, but farmers markets with local food are shut down.

    It's absolutely no safer to shop in Wal-Mart than a local store.

    It's like the greatest transfer of wealth ever.

    Here from Bloomberg: "Jeff Bezos is wealthier by $24 billion in 2020,"

    It boggles my mind...

    Why are State and local Governments are intentionally destroying their economies?

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,636 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft Mass insanity with a socialist intent?

    Maybe it's the additives in the processed food.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭

    I've been trying to buy extra rice and beans every time I go shopping. I'm also going to save seeds this year. I've done a little in the past, but it feels so intimidating. However, I had let a mizuna plant go to seed last spring and then chickened out and tossed it. Wouldn't you know it, but there's loads of beautiful mizuna growing up with my corn now! So I decided it's better to just do something than try to do it perfectly and give up.

    @judsoncarroll4 That's pretty scary! It hasn't been that way around here, I'm just taking the events of the last few months as a warning. What kinds of things are you missing?

  • velokigate
    velokigate Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    I agree with all the planning and storing, just in case. I freeze and dry garden yields, and I'll save some seeds. I guess I'm a bit concerned about when being prepared turns into hoarding, and I don't want to go there. Hoarding lowers the chance that very vulnerable folks will be able to get what they need to survive. I know people who are hoarding and living in fear everyday. I don't want to be on that wagon! I'll do the best I can, help all I can, and what happens, happens.

    We can't know the conclusion of this mess, and I am choosing to see the glass half full. This, too, shall pass.

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 372 ✭✭✭

    I have also subscribed to the "he/she who has the most seeds" thought process or maybe I am just a hoarder!! Either way, I have a plethora of seeds from previous harvestings. I have a severe dislike of buying plants/seeds that are genetically altered to produce fruits/vegetables with seeds that are unable to reproduce. So, I started harvesting seeds years ago. No I am not a conspiracy theorist, just a realist!!

  • smik123
    smik123 Southeastern, AlabamaPosts: 60 ✭✭✭

    I had been thinking about other types of preparedness, this is so important also. Thanks for the reminder.

  • tinarock
    tinarock Posts: 21 ✭✭✭

    I am saving seeds a little more aggressively than usual.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 4,134 admin

    It is hit or miss on a lot of things.... but the toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, rubbing alcohol and yeast are pretty much still out of stock. A couple of stores get in the big cases of paper goods like would be sold to businesses. Cleaning supplies are scarce. One grocery store has a little yeast. Meats are still scarce. Yesterday, I was surprised to see there was no ham or coffee filters at the store. Frozen foods are still spotty. I don't buy much packaged food at all, so it doesn't affect me much, but I am sure that there are many people who are having trouble finding their regular foods.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 384 ✭✭✭

    Tomato information: One of the things I have learned with indeterminate tomatoes is to take cuttings and make clones. I live in a warm enough climate I can garden ALMOST year round. When my tomato and pepper plants are getting to big and overtaking the place; I simply cut a branch off to the size I want, stuff it down into some dirt or the aquaponics system and pull the rest of the plant. If you live in a cold climate you could keep the cutting inside under a light. Start with a small cutting only a few inches long and place most of it in water in the window. As it grows & develops roots put it in a pot and under grow lights if window is not bright enough. You could have a nice big plant ready when it is time to plant out.

    As for things that are hard to find. Maybe it is season but I am having a hard time finding anything but lids for canning. I am wanting to use smaller jars as my family is smaller now, but not much luck finding them. Also freezer bags. I am freezing the tomatoes I harvest until I have time to make bbq sauce with them, after finding jars of course.

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 3,540 admin

    I thought all our stores were back to normal but the other day I happened down a freezer aisle that has all the prepared food; TV dinners, frozen pizza, etc. I rarely go down this aisle. So I was surprised to see how low the supplies were. Same grocery store had all of the staples in small to large quantities including yeast which had been out for quite a while. Meat seems to be in pre-COVID supply. But I am in a small rural community so I'm not sure how the big cities look.

    In a previous post I mentioned the lack of wide mouth canning lids but they have been restocked at one of the bigger stores. I have stocked up on freezer bags.

    It seems as we move through the year, it is those seasonal things that are in very short supply.

    I think the next shortage as fall and hunting season arrive, will be ammunition. We bought extra this week to be ahead of the game. No pun intended. :)

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,660 admin

    I wish our garden knew why we needed it so much. After our last rain, maybe it can find a way to push through all the weeds & grass...

    We are always watching & trying to plan ahead. Life gets in the way, but we still try to do what we can.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    One thing I need to replenish is my thread supply. I have done a lot of sewing throughout the lock down and figure that will continue.

    My daughter was finally able to start her paralegal internship this week and we went shopping to find her some more professional clothes. Our clothing stores just opened last week and I was completely unprepared for what we found, or, rather, didn't find. The store honestly looked like something one would have seen in the USSR. If they were stocked at 15% of their capacity, I would be surprised. It was literally empty shelf after empty shelf and racks with nothing on them.

    As @judsoncarroll4 said, the supply chain seems to have broken down. In light of that, I want to lay in a good supply of thread, duct tape, zip ties, nuts, bolts and the like. Our throw away culture may be ending.

  • MartiinCentral Oregon
    MartiinCentral Oregon Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I have grown Egyptian walking Onions for several years now....they can be used as shallots, green onions or you can saute the bulbettes. I love to watch them grow and if you don't dig them they just come back bigger the next year....in zone 4. I was told that they were one of the ones that the settlers brought with them....no stores on the frontier.

    @Paradox Some seeds are good even at that age....I used to throw them away but now always try them out first. Supposedly there were seeds found in the southwest that were hundreds of years old and they still grew.

  • Ethereal Earth
    Ethereal Earth NevadaPosts: 142 ✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft @shllnzl I live in Vegas so everything here is pretty much back to normal except masked and gloved. Most small businesses that could decided not to open, but have started doing virtual "shows" on youtube or facebook, taking orders online via facebook for curbside pick up, and our biggest craft show organizer is highlighting its vendors, sharing their site links and some of what they offer. We are experiencing a second wave coming in, I believe, though no where as bad as Florida.

    @smik123 What other forms of preparedness have you been mulling over? If I could I would make a root cellar to store as much onion, garlic, potatoes, turmeric (unsure if that and ginger can be stored there?)

    @gardneto76 Have you checked thrift stores like Goodwill? I find many mason jars there. You can also save certain pasta sauce jars as the canning lids can fit on them. (Unsure if they do well with canning but can be used to store frozen items, dry goods). I too, need the smaller jars.

    @torey I think they are predicting garlic and potato shortages. Vinegar, apple cider vinegar will probably be in short supply. I honestly cannot think of other items that will be scarce, but am seeing more people having a hard time making ends meet, being able to buy winter clothes or boots, pay for snow clearing services, etc. due to the lack of income from these months.

    I would like to better prepare for any shortages coming up, but between living in an apartment and moving at the beginning of the year, I cannot save too much. I do want to save more seeds as those are easy to store and transport.

  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy check out Melissa K Norris. She lives in Washington state and says she had a terrible time growing tomatoes. They have a hoop or green house (can’t remember) but she is able to grow them now. Maybe she’d have some good tips for you with the short growing season.

  • charr80
    charr80 Posts: 15

    I'm going to be more diligent with saving my seeds. The few I've saved before do best in my garden. Like significantly better. check out this book for info on saving seeds.


  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @maimover Thanks. I have been following Melissa Norris since the spring summit, and bought several of her books. She's a great resource and I second your recommendation.

    Yes, she put up a greenhouse/hoophouse and that made a big difference for her. Unfortunately, my husband has been very resistant to the idea of putting up even a small greenhouse in our yard, so that's not an option right now.

    My tomatoes are looking great this year. I usually have pretty good luck with them, provided that I start with transplants from a local nursery.

    But those huge tomato plants with yellow blossoms are from the nursery. What does one of the tomatoes I started inside from seed look like? Well, I've circled one in red to point it out.

    Cute, isn't he? And he seems to be healthy, but not very productive. Here's a close-up:

    You can see that it wasn't worth weeks of effort and tying up my limited shelf space under lights. And that plant was only slightly smaller than the nursery plants when I planted them all outside, but the nursery plants took off and my self-started plant didn't grow much.

    Next year I am going to focus my indoor seed-starting on other types that work better for me. I'm also going to increase the amount of light on my indoor shelves to see if that helps.

    We all need to keep on experimenting and sharing what we learn here.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @Ethereal Earth "I think they are predicting garlic and potato shortages. Vinegar, apple cider vinegar will probably be in short supply." 

    Vinegar stores well, so stock up in advance. You'll need it for canning some items.

    What I've seen here is occasional shortages of one item or another, but I can usually find the missing item in a different store, or the following week. Early on, bread, flour, and yeast were very hard to find, and toilet paper impossible, but that seems to have stopped. Now I'll find something like lunchmeat to be missing one week and back the next. I grow my own whole garlic, so didn't notice whether it was in stock, but I supplement with dried garlic flakes and those have been available. I don't recall any issues getting spices.

    I expect we'll see this same kind of intermittent shortages of specific things if there is a significant second round of infections. But there was never any problem with buying fresh food in the grocery stores here, though I often had to settle for conventionally grown potatoes because organic ones weren't available. If I had no garden and nothing stored in advance, we'd still have been eating a lot of healthy meals of fresh produce from the grocery store. The supply chain broke down for some items, but there was never a lack of food in the store, even if it might not be what you wanted.

    I was extremely irritated when told by our government that we couldn't buy seeds in our local stores, even though they were in stock. Since I order my seeds online during the winter, I was already mostly stocked before the seed shortages hit, but many people must have been frustrated when they went to purchase them and found they couldn't. While I plan to purchase some seed next year, I'll be saving enough seed this year to have a good garden even if nothing is available from the usual seed suppliers. (I doubt that will happen, but I'm playing safe.)

    We all should grow as much food as you can this year, and can and freeze it. Plan to put in a big garden next year (to the extent your access to land allows). Save seeds this year in case you have problems getting seeds this winter. Be resilient. Don't panic, but plan ahead.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    I seem to have accidentally deleted my own post on tomatoes. Here it is again as best as I can remember it.

    @maimover "Check out Melissa K Norris. She lives in Washington state and says she had a terrible time growing tomatoes. They have a hoop or green house (can’t remember) but she is able to grow them now."

    Thanks. I've been following Melissa since the spring TGN Summit, and bought several of her books. She is a good source of information. Yes, she uses a greenhouse or hoophouse for her tomatoes.

    Unfortunately, my husband doesn't want me to put a greenhouse in our yard. He's been very resistant the idea, so for the time being that's not an option.

    My tomatoes are doing well this year. Here's a picture I took today.

    They look great! But those large, vigorous tomatoes with yellow blossoms are from the local nursery. What do the ones I started from seed myself inside under lights look like? There is one inside the red circle, so take a look.

    Here's a closeup:

    Cute, isnt it? But not very productive.

    It just isn't worth the effort for me to start tomatoes from seed. I'd rather spend my limited time and shelf space under lights growing things that are more productive. I'll keep buying tomato transplants from the local nursery as long as they're available.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @velokigate "I guess I'm a bit concerned about when being prepared turns into hoarding, and I don't want to go there. Hoarding lowers the chance that very vulnerable folks will be able to get what they need to survive."

    Here's how I would define it. Being prepared ethically is stocking things when they are readily available. This means that you will not be competing with the very vulnerable folk later.

    Hoarding is stocking up on things when they are in short supply, which can hurt the more vulnerable people.

    So stock up while things are available in quantity, and put them away for a rainy day.

  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje WA State, Olympic Mtns, Zone 8Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    @Ethereal Earth and @Bryce Langebartels Since I expect a shortage in seeds from my favorite suppliers, I've already ordered for delivery in both September and January. I also stocked up on some organic matter for my soil.

    I too have been seed saving for years but, I am only on my second year of seriously canning food (and I love it).

    I'm with you again @judsoncarroll4 The food chain has been broken. Missing here are rice and flour.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 384 ✭✭✭

    @charr80 I have the 2002 version of Seed to Seed and I love it! It is super helpful when it came to learning how to save my own seeds. I also have “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte which is great for companion planting.

"Italy is known for tomatoes. Thailand for chilies. Germany for sauerkraut. But tomatoes originated in Peru. Thailand imported chilies from Central America. Sauerkraut started in China. Everything is a remix—and the world is better for it. Share what you know. Learn from others."

-Marjory Wildcraft