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Archive for Sunday, February 21, 1999

T HIT THE GARDEN

February 21, 1999

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Has the Y2K bug taken a bite out of you? With the approaching millennium and the possible computer problems associated with the year 2000, many people believe that catastrophic results will occur, including food shortages, requiring us to be "self-sufficient" in order to survive.

This sudden surge in the "self-sufficiency movement" has resulted in many people wanting to grow vegetables that are non-hybrids so they can save their own seeds for survival. Most seed companies indicate which varieties are hybrid (the non-hybrids are usually not identified as such).

If you think the end is near, or that things will be very uncomfortable to say the least, you could purchase extra seed of hybrid varieties since most seeds will remain viable for at least three to five years under good storage conditions. Surely the computer problem can be fixed in three to five years.

Those of us old enough to remember the gas shortages of the '70s will remember this same kind of food shortage scares predicted then. None of the food shortage predictions came true. But we did stand in line to get gas, the economy went sour, the stock market plunged and stayed down plus lots of people lost their jobs, including the president. It was a grumpy time -- but there were no food shortages.

It is the opinion of many experts that the Y2K bug will not cause problems as it relates to food supplies and garden seeds. Additionally, newer hybrid varieties of some seeds have much better disease resistance, water and fertilizer efficiency, flavor and quality along with greater crop yields, than the non-hybrid varieties. You would be sacrificing all these traits by switching to non-hybrid varieties in many crops.

If you fear the Y2K bug will cause food shortages and grumpy times, a far better approach to attacking the bug would be to buy extra seeds of the good performing hybrid varieties.

-- The Garden Calendar is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County office and written this week by Master Gardener Bill Padgett. For more information call the extension office at 843-7058, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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