How will we farm or garden in the coming Grand Solar Minimum between the years 2020-2055?

July 22, 2020

How will we farm or garden in the coming Grand Solar Minimum between the years 2020-2055?

September 14th, 2020 President Trump in discussions with the California roundtable on wildfires told them, quote  "It will start getting cooler, you just watch"!!! 

Year 2020, Alberta, Canada experienced 6 inches of hail in mid July and freezing temperatures in August and Sept.8th.The U.S. Midwest states lost 10 million acres of crops in August due to a 100 mph windstorm.  Severe hailstorm in Portugal  destroyed the fruit harvest on June 1st. One foot of snow in Montana, Idaho on June 8th. Mantreesberg, South Africa was hit with a snowstorm on July 10th. Early snowfall in Predesh, India on July16th. 1 meter of snow on the Patagonia, Argentina on July 25th. All time lows and snow in Tasmania, Australia on August 6th. Rare summer snowfall hits South West Yunnan, China on August 19th. Winter comes to Dagestan, Russia mid August. Rare snowfall in Southern Brazil on August 23rd.

2020 also saw many devastating floods over major food producing farmlands in China, U.S. and Canada, the Bread Baskets of Global Food Production.

This is a "trend" not mere coincidence. Warming climate is the calm before the storm.

On top of all the global turmoil and climate change, COVID-19 kept the farm workers in home isolation. No planting, No seed production, No food production. Governments and farm businesses are working on 2019 food and seed supply. Seed companies are promising back ordered seed that they expect will come in soon.....or are they just being hopeful?

In the U.S. alone, 35 million new gardeners demanding seed. Once that is gone, God help us. 2021 will show the devastating results of pandemic proportions. 

Research titled 'Oscillations of the baseline of solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale' published in Nature by Prof. Valentina Zharkova and team predicts the upcoming Grand Solar Minimum, similar to Maunder Minimum, which starts in 2020 and will last until 2055. The GSM cycle will again arrive in 2370 – 2415.

More than ever, we will require crop and plant varieties that are regionally adapted for short seasons, have frost tolerance/cold hardiness and have resilience in unfavourable conditions.

What can we do?

  • Choose cultivars, such as fruit or nut trees, that are 2 zones hardier than your current zone.
  • Genetics. Choose your garden and vegetable seeds to mature under 70 days or use protection such as poly tunnels. Plant organic seeds that have built in disease resistance for organic gardens.
  • Shave off as much as 2 to 3 months of growing time in the garden by starting seeds early on a windowsill or small greenhouse and transplant out into the garden (once the soil warms in spring).
  • Source out regionally grown seed and plants that have already adapted to your latitude and growing season.
  • Grow perennial vegetables, fruits and herbs such as parsnip, garlic,  Welch onions, chives, daylily buds-scapes-roots, asparagus, horse radish, sorrel, water cress, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), Chinese artichoke, mints, apples, raspberries, strawberries, currents, nuts, hardy kale, lovage, wild snow peas, American ground nut and many more. Many medicinal herbs are perennial and at the same time ornamental.
  •  Farmers can switch to alternative grain crops designed for short seasons such as grain peas and oats. Other crops such as winter wheat and winter rye can be sown in late August, overwintered and harvested the following year during mid summer when the weather is favourable.
  • Farmer preparedness- short summers may mean 1 cut of hay for their animals instead of 3 cuts. Farmers will have to restructure their business models. They may have to reduce herds and move to a local retail market or rent other fields in close proximity to their own for pasture and more hay for winter storage. Diversification maybe the new norm over specialization for marginal gains.

Understand, prepare, adapt and thrive!