Plants to confuse Mad Max

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by purplepear, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Last week I delivered the "Designing for Disaster" module from our PDC to a group at a meditation retreat.
    Some of the participants were real "survivalists" and an excersise that usually attracts positive design concepts such as water storage and LETS trading and seed saving and food production, went a bit feral and was getting to escape tunnels and gun emplacements. Someone had a valuable idea that we need nutritious food that does not necessarily look like food to the uninitiated petrolhead.
    Casava and artichokes were two that were mentioned as food plants that could be passed over in a raid that saw your house cow and laying hens killed for meat.
    Similar to the thread on seeds to take when you hed for the hills - lets discuss plants that will sustain you but will not be readily recognised as food to someone who eats Macas'
     
  2. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    I guess anything that doesn't grow on a sesame seed bun! ... Hang on, nothing WILL grow on a sesame seed bun, not even mould!!

    Kohl Rabi - just looks weird, man! Also those spiky looking cucumbers (Kiwanos, I think they call them), ginger / turmeric / taro. Let them take the chokos, you get to keep the root tuber. Keep a separate store with all the green spuds and oxalic containing stuff, and let them take that.
    Maybe you should call me for that lecture next time PP. I was an Infantry Section Commander in another life, and could have given them a great lecture on gun emplacements, fields of fire, and the relative effectiveness of grazing fire versus plunging fire! :D :D
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I'll keep it in mind Don, I never made it past lance corporal and that got me a drop in pay. Bugger.

    Good suggestions - thanks.
     
  4. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What a great topic! I have to think about this for a bit and I'll come back with a list....
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Good choices Permasculptor I will look for them. I look forward to your list Eco
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Ok - my thought process is that if it doesn't look like anything you can buy in a supermarket then it isn't edible. So -

    Root crops. The really challenged invaders will know what a chip looks like but not even that it comes from a potato and what a potato looks like. I reckon 95% of them won't recognise a potato PLANT. Carrots and beetroots - they might pick as edible. Sweet potato, arrowroot, oka, jerusalem artichoke, yakon, taro, yam, radish, cassava, jicama etc etc - anything that grows under the ground would confuse them. They have the advantage of high starch content so you get your carbohydrates for energy.

    Edible weeds, or at least edible greens that you won't get at the shops - purslane, amaranth, warrigul greens, ceylon spinach, dock, nettle, sida retusa etc etc. Many are high in protein and vitamins.

    Fruit that you can't buy at the shop and you only know about if you have a garden - maybe they'll recognise mulberry and loquat. But probably not jaboticaba, finger lime, tamarillo, pepino, jackfruit, sapote, durian. (Durian would really confuse them because it doesn't smell like food. Unless the invading horde has come from SE Asia....) Sugars and more vitamins.

    Weird looking veges like Don says. Spiky cucumbers, weird looking melons and pumpkins. The 95% that wouldn't know a potato plant if they stepped on it would probably also not know a choko if it fell on their head...

    Stuff that needs some work to make it look like it does when you buy it from the shops. Would they recognise olives on a tree as edible? What about macadamia nuts still in their capsules? Or most nuts for that matter.... Good oils. Beans that aren't so palatable fresh but you can use as a dried pulse - rice bean, cow pea, pigeon pea, madagascar bean.

    Plant poisonous but similar looking things with something edible. Deadly nightshade next to blueberries. You've got a 50% chance they won't be back for a second try.... Maybe some nasty mushrooms next to the good ones.

    Plant stuff that needs preparation to make it palatable or safe to eat, or eating a lot of it would make them sick - cassava, rhubarb, monsterio (they probably wouldn't recognise monsterio as food anyway).

    Use sacrificial plants to distract them - strawberries under a mango tree so they don't look up!

    Hmm - I think I might do OK at my place by the look of this. The whole question reminds me of the quote I heard recently - that food security is when your neighbour has enough to eat.
     
  8. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    I think I have seed for the salad mallow if PP or anyone else is interested PM me, It self seeds really well too.I do have a sweet leaf bush but will have to work out if or how to propagate it.
     
  9. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    This thread is a sign of the times. Is anyone thinking along the lines of propagating plants to give to Mad Max in the hope he will do something useful with them, like take up gardening? Or even seed packets for the neighbours etc. I am only concerning myself with encouraging my friends into growing their own food right now, giving them worm farms and hopefully down the track human compost toilets (because maybe in times of need people will forego the slight displeasure at the thought). I definitely think pro-active community gardens are a positive thing to plan though...

    Has anyone read the Humanure handbook? Very interesting and enjoyable read.
     
  10. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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    Thought Max only ate canned dog food...

    I think most of the Maxes would be hard pressed to identify anything as food if it's not in a styrofoam box or tin can.

    I'm planning on planting more torny defensive edible plants on the outside permitter (hawthorns, caci, etc) to act as a natural barrier. Could also plant it in such a way as to 'guide' the hungry hoards away from the main zones...hoping that they'd take the path of least resistance. Maybe with dead ends and a maze like layout. I can get around my site in the dark but if someone new tried it they'd be stumbling around.

    Also might dress up some of the local cats like this too...just not sure how to get them to 'cluck'.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    We are working our little heads off with the right solutions here at Purple Pear, Alex. With Community Supported Agriculture, Permablitz, Transition Towns, Permaculture Education and courses in sustainable living. (I am tempted to put a link to our "events" page.) This is definatly where energies need to be expended.

    There are people who will not accept handouts and knowledge but will back themselves and their ability/strength to take what they need to survive. They will kill the milk cow for meat and forego the other products she can produce and move on, exploiting resources till they are expended and perhaps be content in the "knowledge" that science will find yet more ways to exploit dwindling resources.

    Spreading love is a real key to the future and I am excited by the future." Give peas a chance" I say. Isn't it interesting to contemplate how the majority may survive in the face of the stupidity of the few who see themselves with the power over the rest?

    Eco you are on the ball and I may redesign my gardens but educating the CSA members may prove difficult - I know they bawlk at Kohl rabi even though it is infinatly usable. I love the strawberries under the Mango - a brilliant piece of innovative design.

    You make a point Mod but by Mad Max I guess I am refering to the gangs that existed. Max himself could be shown a better way with love and understanding. I love the cat concept.
     
  12. SueUSA

    SueUSA Junior Member

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    I would go with the underground tubers: decent nutrition, dead/dying tops might not attract attention, covered with straw mulch could be overlooked. Most thieves don't get into labor all that much, they're usually grab-and-go.

    Having a false wall can hide canned/preserved foods.

    Treat your seeds like gold and hoard accordingly. Know how to pollinate plants properly and save the seeds.

    Sue
     
  13. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Salsify - It's hard to convince my wife of that even ;)

    I'm thinking bush tucker type foods like muntries, lilly pilly and bunya pine. Given that the whole infrastructure will probably have collapsed the native option may be the easiest too in many cases. Would they bother stealing acacia seed?

    I reckon guns will be one of the first things they try to steal!

    Yeah, tight knit local communities are going to be the first line of 'defence', cats dressed as chickens will be important when that fails :D
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Hmmm, how do you know that? I think if hoards of metal men come for your cow and chooks then trying to live on greens and roots is pretty futile - you'll get hungry and weak soon. How are you planning on replacing the cow and chooks?

    If things really were that bad, this thread should be about how to use a gun as well a grow stealth veges ;-p
     
  15. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    That's my kinda thinking *evil grin*

    I love that! :rofl:

    The guvmint already did that :(

    Hmmm ... setting your chinampas up as free-fire zones, minefields between swales, tripwires in the salad patch.... I could start writing a new chapter for the Manual - "Infantry Minor Tactics - The Permaculture Way"
    :rofl:
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    This thread is for fun right? Do all the people on this forum really think that we are going to have a major food crisis in Australia? In our lifetime? I don't. I mean such that the only way people will get enough to eat is if they've been producing it themselves.

    Eco beat me to the sorts of suggestions I was going to make but i don't think she mentioned bitter melon.
     
  17. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    Australia exports far more food than it imports, and 95% of the fruit and veg is sourced nationally, so I doubt we will have a major crisis. On the other hand the price of food will rise dramatically, so locally grown food will make more sense, especially in the yard as it is free!
    The only factor that might lead to a crisis is if climate change deals a hefty drought... This is for the short term however, in the long term I think growing food locally is the only sustainable practice, so it will probably trend that way.
     
  18. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I think it's entirely possible that there will be food crises in Western nations within our lifetimes. But we have no way of knowing if they will happen or not i.e. the situation is very unstable.

    At the moment food is entirely dependent on oil, even most peoples' home grown veges (where are most home gardeners getting their water from and how? not to mention their seeds). It's very easy for that food chain to be interrupted. In the recent earthquake in Christchurch, NZ and a subsequent slip that closed the main rail line and road into Christchurch from the north, there were shortages in supermarkets in various parts of the South Island. The main distribution centre in Chch was closed for a period of time too. Nothing drastic, no-one went hungry, but it wasn't a particularly bad disaster. A bigger earthquake would interrupt supplies longer. As would a decent sized tsunami hitting the east coast of Australia. The saying in NZ is that the supermarkets have enough food for three days at any given time.

    Drought is likely to be an ongoing and increasing problem in Australia and NZ. We're both wealthy enough currently to import food (except NZ gets lots of its food from Oz). But as oil gets more and more expensive this will no longer be economically viable. If the droughts are spaced out and the oil doesn't run out quickly we can transition to local food production again. But if it happens fast or coincides with global instabilities, then people may get hungry.

    Sun burn, have you seen David Holmgren's work on peak oil and the four scenarios? https://www.futurescenarios.org/

    I think the collapse scenario is possible but not inevitable, which is why I focus on the descent scenario and am uncomfortable with conversations that talk about marauding hordes stealing food. If we are going to entertain that scenario I think we need to be realistic about it and talk about ways to prevent it. It's not a theoretical argument IMO, it's actually about whether we get to survive or not.
     
  19. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    FYI - about a month ago i was working along side a tall and scary looking guy who actually built some of the cars and hand weapons (that arm mounted pistol bow) on Mad Max 2, after a while i got talking (turns out not so scary) and if things got bad he knew alot about veggie patches and homesteading - so d0 most of the suprisingly nice (sleeve tattooed) ppl i work with as they all grew up on the 1/4 acre block.
    I think the ones that would form gangs and turn nasty would be gen Z. Most of them don't know how to paint a wall or put together a flat pack bbq - desperation will come from lack of knowledge (and land to an extent). If we get a peak oil induced food crisis it will take a few years to fully manifest itself. There is too much money to be made for a Z for zaccariah, day of the triffids, end of civilisation scenario.
    Part of the Mad Max story is a peak oil slow decline.

    ......Or we could keep giving our governments and police more power until they could shut the country down overnight (in some grand crisis) - this could be the only way to have the shops close down "overnight".
     
  20. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    Australia has positives and negatives. The negatives are the large transport distances and the potential for drought. The positives are a low population and our relative isolation. I am very happy to be here! We hardly felt the global economic crisis and this may prove to be an island refuge in a future crisis. We don't have to fear immigration en masse as it is very difficult to transport many people oversea, although I'm sure thousands will attempt it, and we have no direct reason to fear invasion or forced involvement in war as the cost of such a venture outweighs any benefit.
    The large transport distances will compel relocalisation of food production, as it is economically necessary. Hopefully this will take place over a decade as the oil shortage becomes more acute.
     

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