Tag Archive: seeds

How to Grow Produce in the Winter

Typically, you think of planting your garden in the spring and summer and harvesting in the fall. However, some people prefer to plant some produce late in the season and allow them to stay stagnant during the winter and harvest during the spring.

Growing plants in the winter time can allow you to have your own vegetables earlier in the spring. Check out how you can plant during the winter and which plants you should grow over the winter.

How to Over-Winter Your Plants


1. Consider where your plants will be located. You will want to plan where winter obstacles like snow drifts might be located when snow falls. Also, make sure that your plants will have as much sunlight as possible – that means avoid putting them next to walls.

2. Loosen the soil in the area with a garden fork or shovel. You’ll want to dig at least 1 foot down into the ground and turn the soil. Also, consider adding some compost to the mix.

3. Plant your over-wintering seeds in mid- to late summer. You can also start more sensitive seedlings under lights if it’s too hot outside during that time. You’ll also need to make sure that the plant has enough time to grow a strong root system before the winter weather sets in.

4. Mulch your plants when you first place them in the summer and again in late autumn. Place a heavy layer of straw, leaves or compost around the plant to guard the soil during the winter. Remove the layer when the spring sun begins to warm. Mulch again after you remove the layer.

If you lose a few plants, don’t get discouraged. Many professional farms and planters will lose plants during the overwintering process.

Moving plants indoors


Depending on your environment, over-wintering plants outside might not work out. Instead you might need to move your plants indoors.

Really, these plants don’t need special treatment. Just make sure that they are warm and watered sufficiently. Bringing a plant indoors can be tricky because you’ll have to choose a place that has enough natural light for the plant to survive. You’ll also need to ensure that the temperature stays between 60-70 degrees and doesn’t dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night. With many tropical plants, air humidity might also be a factor.

What plants to grow during the winter


Onions. Onions are great for winter growth because they tend to take care of themselves. They also have a long growing season.

Garlic. Similar to onions, they have a long growing season and are easier to grow.

Perpetual Spinach is an excellent plant that you can cut and grow again. Early autumn sowings will keep you full with tender young leaves throughout winter and regular harvesting during the summer.

Broad beans. The great thing about broad beans is that when they are sown during the fall, they can be harvested in spring – up to a month earlier than spring sown plants.

Peas. The trick to growing peas during the winter is to find a strong variety like “Kelvedon Wonder” or “Meteor.”

 

Growing in a greenhouse during the winter


There are many items that thrive in cooler temperatures but might not do well in a frozen ground. Instead these plants would do well inside of a greenhouse or a garage.

Lettuce. Lettuce is one of the great plants that grows well in cooler temperatures.

Carrots. Some brands of carrots – like “Nantes Frubund” – are great for winter growth.

Cabbage. Cabbage is great for growers in the northern U.S. Usually, southern states don’t get cold enough to for them to grow a good-sized head.

Broccoli. Broccoli is another great vegetable to start growing at the end of the summer season.

Cauliflower. This is similar to broccoli in that it might not grow well in the south.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: thereadystore


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17 Things to Do with Tomatoes

It’s summertime! And with summer come summer vegetables, like tomatoes! Whether you are harvesting tomatoes from your own garden, or purchasing them from a grocery store or farmers’ market, you can use them to make some of these great recipes.

Main Courses


A tasty but simple tomato soup recipe will start us off! Don’t like to eat soup when it’s hot outside? Why not make it in the winter with your stored tomatoes? Read more here!


Try this delicious and spicy sauce next! Pour it hot over some meat and beans for a hearty chili or serve it cold with chips or vegetables for a yummy salsa. Find the recipe here.


Have leftover scraps from all these tomato recipes? Why not turn them into tomato sauce? Find out how to make a versatile sauce with just your scraps from the recipe at this link.


Looking for ideas on how to use your fresh tomato sauce? Add some seasonings and it would make the perfect topping for cabbage rolls like the ones in this post!


 Looking for another tasty dish that could be served both hot and cold? How about some chicken and sun-dried tomato pasta? Find the recipe here! (Bonus! This one has both gluten free and dairy free options. Double bonus! The post about dehydrating tomatoes, which you will find below, also tells you how to make the sun-dried tomatoes you’ll need for the pasta.)

Salads


Love the flavor of a good BLT, but don’t want the bread? Maybe you’re allergic to gluten; maybe you’re staying away just to be healthier; maybe you just want to try something new. Whatever the reason, a BLT salad would be just the thing for you! Read more at this link. (Bonus! The end of this post has lots of links to other great salad recipes, many of which feature tomatoes.)


 Next up is the easiest veggie salad you’ll ever make! Just chop the vegetables and mix them in a big bowl. Find the recipe here along with some other ideas on how to use your mixed veggies.


Looking for more unique and healthy flavors? Try this recipe for some corn, tomato, and quinoa salad! (Bonus! Had enough salads? try serving it warm as a side or even as a main dish.)

Sides


Who doesn’t love a good salsa? Okay, maybe you aren’t fond of the spice, but if you make it yourself, you can adjust exactly how much (or how little) spice you use! Find an excellent recipe here.


Looking to try something just a little different? How about some pico de gallo instead of just salsa? Read more here!


Planning any backyard cookouts? Of course, ketchup is always necessary for your hotdogs and burgers,  but ketchup from the store is often full of preservatives, corn syrup, and other harmful ingredients. Why not make your own? Take a look at this post for a great recipe!


Since bacon has been so popular lately, it only seems fair to include this tomato bacon dip in our list of recipes! Serve it with crackers, bread, veggies, or just about anything else! Read how to make it here. (Bonus! Try using turkey bacon for a healthier twist.)

Preserving


Preserve your tomatoes in the summer to have fresh tasting tomatoes all year round! This post will give you instructions on two different ways to can your tomatoes.


 For a slightly different flavor, preserve your tomatoes by dehydrating them! There are many ways you can use dehydrated tomatoes, and you can even reconstitute them to use them just like fresh tomatoes! Read more from this article. (Bonus! Find out how to make sun-dried tomatoes, too.)


That last post mentioned using your dehydrated tomatoes to make tomato powder. This post tells you exactly how to do that, and it includes several great ideas on how to use your tomato powder!


Probably the fastest and easiest way to preserve your tomatoes is by simply freezing them. This post has some helpful tips for when you’re freezing your tomatoes.

Growing


Have all these recipes left you inspired to grow your own tomatoes next summer? Maybe you’ve already grown some but want some tips to improve your harvest. Check out this post for several great suggestions on growing tomatoes from how to select the best varieties to how to prevent pests.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: thesurvivalmom


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30 Most Popular Herbs for Natural Medicine

Herbs are a wondrous thing. They not only assist in flavoring dishes and filling the air with delightful aromas, but they also hold medicinal properties that promote healing. Those of you who have herbal gardens of your own, no doubt have a few of these herbal friends already planted. Many of the plants listed below are also listed in my Top 10 Medicinal Herbs that should be in every garden. However, it seems that there are a few more worth mentioning.

Our Herbal Friends

  1. Aloe Vera – Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, wound and burn healer, natural laxative, soothes stomach, helps skin disorders.
  2. Basil – Powerful antispasmodic, antiviral, anti-infectious, antibacterial, soothes stomach.
  3. Black Cohosh – Relieves menopausal hot flashes, relieves menstrual cramps, helps circulatory and cardiovascular disorders, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, useful for nervousness and stress. Note: Do not use during pregnancy.
  4. Black Walnut – Good for eliminating parasites, good for fungal infections, good for warts and poison ivy, aids digestion.
  5. Cinnamon – It has been proven that 99.9% of viruses and bacteria cannot live in the presence of cinnamon. So it makes a great antibacterial and antiviral weapon.
  6. Cayenne– Catalyst for other herbs, useful for arthritis and rheumatism (topically and internally), good for colds, flu viruses, sinus infection and sore throat, useful for headache and fever, aids organs (kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas, spleen and stomach, increase thermogenesis for weight loss.
  7. Clove Bud – Improves the immune system, they are also an antioxidant and doubles as an antibacterial and antimicrobial fighter.
  8. Cypress – The therapeutic properties of cypress oil are astringent, antiseptic, antispasmodic, deodorant, diuretic, haemostatic, hepatic, styptic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor, respiratory tonic and sedative.
  9. Dandelion – Helpful for PMS, good for menopause, increases ovarian hormones.
  10. Echinacea (coneflower) – Boosts white blood cell production, immune system support, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, good for colds, flu and infection. Note: Use no more than two weeks at a time. Do not use if you are allergic to sunflowers or related species.
  11. Eucalyptus – Anti-infectious, antibacterial and antiviral.
  12. Garlic – Helps fight infection, detoxifies the body, enhances immunity, lowers blood fats, assists yeast infections, helps asthma, cancer, sinusitis, circulatory problems and heart conditions.
  13. German Chamomile – Helps stress, anxiety and insomnia, good for indigestion, useful for colitis and most digestive problems, effective blood cleanser and helps increase liver function and supports the pancreas. Improves bile flow from the liver, it is good for healing of the skin that might come from a blistering chemical agent.
  14. Geranium – Dilates bile ducts for liver detoxification, antispasmodic, stops bleeding, anti-infectious, antibacterial.
  15. Ginger – Helps nausea, motion sickness and vomiting, useful for circulatory problems, good for indigestion, and is also an effective antioxidant.
  16. Lavender – Assists with burns, antiseptic, used as a stress reliever, good for depression, aids skin health and beauty.
  17. Lemon – Is known for its antiseptic properties, Essential Science Publishing says that: According to Jean Valnet, M.D. the vaporized essence of lemon can kill meningococcal bacteria in 15 minutes, typhoid bacilli in one hour, Staphylococcus aureus in two hours and Pneumococcus bacteria within three hours. Lemon also improves micro-circulation, promotes white blood cell formation, and improves immune function.
  18. Marjoram – Anti-infectious, antibacterial, dilates blood vessels, regulates blood pressure, soothes muscles.
  19. Marshmallow – Aids bladder infections, diuretic (helps fluid retention), helps kidney problems, soothes coughs, sore throats, indigestion, and as a topical agent it is said to be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and wound-healing.
  20. Melissa – Assists in issues with the nervous system, blisters, and has antimicrobial properties.
  21. Mullein – Can be used as a laxative, good for asthma and bronchitis, useful for difficulty breathing, helps hay fever.
  22. Myrrh – Anti-infectious, antiviral, soothes skin conditions and supports immune system. Also an antispasmodic that helps to reduce spasming due to spasms caused by nerve agents.
  23. Oregano – is a powerful antibiotic and has been proven to be more effective in neutralizing germs than some chemical antibiotics. It has been effective against germs like Staphylococcus aureas, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  24. Pine – Antidiabetic, cortisone-like, severe infections, hypertensive
  25. Rosemary – Antiseptic, Antibacterial, Cleansing and detoxes the body. Supports the liver and combats cirrhosis.
  26. Rosewood – Anti-infectious, antibacterial, and antiviral.
  27. Sage – Used in anxiety, nervous disorders, as astringent, in abdominal disorders, anti-inflammatory.
  28. Spearmint – To calm the Nervous System, aide with Nerve Agents.
  29. Tea Tree – Disinfectant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, burns, good for all skin conditions.
  30. Thyme – Effective against Anthrax and Tuberculosis

Perhaps it is time that we begin taking more proactive steps in our physical well-being. In the book, Natural Health Remedies: An A-Z Family Guide it states that natural medicine does not simply seek to suppress symptoms with drugs and so forth, but it attempts to discover and eliminate the root cause of disease. Even further, the author suggests that natural medicine teaches not only the treatment of disease but also its prevention by instilling dietary and lifestyle habits that promote health.

Via: readynutrition


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120 Powerful Pieces Of Advice For Preppers

I found this interesting article over at endoftheamericandream.com

Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and millions of Americans are feverishly preparing for what they consider to be “the end of the world as we know it”.  In fact, it is estimated that there are now approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States.  But for people that have never done much prepping before, getting started can be both confusing and intimidating.  In fact, I get more questions about prepping than anything else.  People are constantly asking me how they can prepare for the difficult times that are coming.  Well, in this article I have compiled 120 powerful pieces of advice for preppers.  No two situations are exactly the same, and almost every prepper approaches preparation differently, but there are some basic principles that apply to almost everyone.  And without a doubt, a lot of people that are not preparing now are going to regret it in the years ahead.  The global financial system is falling apart, the United States and Europe are absolutely drowning in debt, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are becoming more frequent, signs of social decay are everywhere and war could erupt in the Middle East at any time.  Actually, it is absolutely amazing that there are so many people out there that still believe that “prepping” is not necessary.

When people ask me what they can do to prepare, there is usually one tip that I give above everything else.  It is not very “sexy”, but it is absolutely foundational.

During the last recession, millions of people lost their jobs, and because a lot of them had no financial cushion, many of them also lost their homes.

For the next couple of years, my number one tip is to build up an emergency fund.  If you are a prepper and you are living month to month, then you are in a very vulnerable position.

What is going to happen to all of your preparations if something goes wrong and you suddenly lose your home to foreclosure?

I recommend that everyone have an emergency fund that will be able to cover all bills and expenses for at least six months.

Yes, cash is continually losing value.  But during any economic downturn it is absolutely essential that you be able to continue to pay your bills.  Having a cash reserve is the smart thing to do.

So what else can people do to start prepping for the tough times that are on the horizon?

In a previous article, I explained that a good place to start is by focusing on the five basics….

1) Food

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Energy

5) Self-Defense

If you have those five areas totally covered you will be in pretty good shape.

The following are some more things to consider as you are prepping….

*Do not post pictures of money or gold or your preps on Facebook.  If you do, you might get some unwelcome visitors to your home.

*Make sure that your preparations are not against the law.  If you have any doubt about this, make sure that you do not go on national television and tell all of America what you are doing.

*In the event of a major disaster, there will likely be hordes of “non-preppers” running around looking to take away the things that all of the preppers have been storing up.  This is something that you will need to be prepared for.

*The following are 6 excellent privacy tips for preppers that come from an article by an anonymous author that was recently posted on theintelhub.com….

1. Trust no one that you do not personally know. Even the little old lady down the road will rat on you if she is hungry when the SHTF.

2. Keep your prepping to yourself. Again, do not tell anyone you are prepping. If they know you have stores of food, where do you think they will think of first when the SHTF? Oh and don’t forget, the Department of Homeland Security thinks people with stockpiles of food and weapons as potential domestic terrorist.

3. Don’t share any prepping articles on Facebook or other social media. Don’t draw attention to yourself by posting prepping articles or discussing the topic on the website. You may think you are educating your friends, but in reality you are just letting them know of your actions and plans.

4. Make sure boxes are not labeled with the company name if your order emergency supplies. Most companies will publish this in their ordering information. You don’t want to tip off the UPS driver that you just received a year’s worth of freeze dried food.

5. Do not tell anyone what you are up to. You don’t know how hard it is for me not to tell people I meet that I was almost on the National Geographic TV show. That would be a disaster.

6. Be alert to what others are saying. I was sitting in my dental hygienist chair a week ago and she told me about another customer that was storing food. She thought he might be prepping and she said if it ever got bad, she knew where to find some food. I just acknowledged the statement and let it rest.

*In one article that I did about preparation, I listed 10 things that you can start doing right now to get yourself into a better position for the chaos that is coming….

1 – Get Out Of Debt

2 – Find New Sources Of Income

3 – Reduce Your Expenses

4 – Learn To Grow Your Own Food

5 – Make Sure You Have A Reliable Water Supply

6 – Buy Land

7 – Get Off The Grid

8 – Store Non-Perishable Supplies

9 – Develop Stronger Relationships

10 – Get Educated And Stay Flexible

*Would moving to another area of the country be the best choice for you and your family?  In an article entitled “What Is The Best Place To Live In The United States To Prepare For The Coming Economic Collapse?” I detailed some of the pros and cons for living in various areas of the country.

*In a recent article posted on shtfplan.com, Norse Prepper shared 11 questions that all preppers should be asking themselves….

1. What am I preparing for?

2. Am I going to bug in or bug out?

3. Can I defend my family, property and preps?

4. Do I have enough to feed my family until order is restored?

5. How will I heat my home?

6. How will I keep clean?

7. How will I provide light and electricity?

8. How will I keep up on information and communicate with the outside world?

9. What do I have to offer others?

10. How will I fight off boredom?

11. How do I pay for all of this?

You can read the entire article right here.

*In the years ahead food might cost a whole lot more than it does right now.  Your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.

*Many people do not realize this, but you can grow herbs that have tremendous healing properties in your own garden.

*In a recent article, I detailed some of the things that you will want to consider in the event of a major economic collapse….

#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

#6 Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

#7 During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

#8 Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

#9 Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

#10 When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

*You need to have a plan for what you will do if a massive wildfire comes sweeping through your area.  This is especially true if you live in the western half of the United States.

*In a previous article entitled “20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next Great Depression Begins”, I made a list of 20 things that you will need when you are not able to rely on Wal-Mart or the grocery store any longer….

#1) Storable Food

#2) Clean Water

#3) Shelter

#4) Warm Clothing

#5) An Axe

#6) Lighters Or Matches

#7) Hiking Boots Or Comfortable Shoes

#8) A Flashlight And/Or Lantern

#9) A Radio

#10) Communication Equipment

#11) A Swiss Army Knife

#12) Personal Hygiene Items

#13) A First Aid Kit And Other Medical Supplies

#14) Extra Gasoline (But Be Very Careful How You Store It)

#15) A Sewing Kit

#16) Self-Defense Equipment

#17) A Compass

#18) A Hiking Backpack

#19) A Community

#20) A Backup Plan

*In the comments following that article, my readers suggested a number of additional items to add to that list….

1. A K-Bar Fighting Knife

2. Salt

3. Extra Batteries

4. Medicine

5. A Camp Stove

6. Propane

7. Pet Food

8. Heirloom Seeds

9. Tools

10. An LED Headlamp

11. Candles

12. Clorox

13. Calcium Hypochlorite

14. Ziplock Bags

15. Maps Of Your Area

16. inoculars

17. Sleeping Bags

18. Rifle For Hunting

19. Extra Socks

20. Gloves

21. Gold And Silver Coins For Bartering

*There are more preppers out there than you might think.  Don’t be afraid to reach out and make new friends.

*In a recent article, Brandon Smith shared some of the factors to consider when choosing a location for a survival retreat….

1. Property Placement

2. Community Network

3. Defensibility

4. Water Availability

5. Food Production

6. Proximity To National Forest

7. Secondary Retreat Locations

You can read the rest of that article right here.

*Almost everyone can grow a survival garden.  Even if you only have an apartment, you can still grow a few things on your balcony.

*Don’t underestimate the impact a major transportation disruption could have on our daily lives.

*You would be surprised what you can actually do with limited resources.  For example, there is one family that is actually producing 6000 pounds of produce a year on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.

*Survival Mom once shared the top ten survival tips that nobody wants to talk about….

1. Duct taping your windows will not save you from radiation poisoning.

2. You may have to dig a latrine (more than one time).

3. You may not receive any government benefits or payment from your place of employment during a disaster.

4. It is possible that you may be sick or in the hospital during a disaster.

5. Your pets may not survive.

6. It is likely that your cell phone will not work.

7. No one is coming to help you.

8. Insurance doesn’t cover everything, if there is an insurance company left.

9. There will not be enough food and water for everyone.

10. If it is the end of the world, the previous nine tips will not matter!!!

*An EMP burst caused by a high altitude nuke or by a major solar event could fry most of your electronics.  What are you going to do if that happens?

*Spending a million dollars on a “survival condo” in an abandoned missile silo in Kansas is probably not a very efficient use of your limited resources.

*Off Grid Survival recently posted a list of four powerful traits that most survivors have in common….

1. Survivors stay Calm in the face of Danger

2. Survivalists are Experts at Improvisation

3. Survivors are D.I.Y Experts

4. Survivors are Great Leaders

*You can always learn more.  Organizations such as The American Preppers Network enable preppers to network and learn from one another.

*During the difficult times that are coming, in addition to physical preparation it is going to be absolutely crucial to be both mentally and spiritually tough.

Many have accused me of being a “doom and gloomer”, but I don’t see anything negative about being prepared.

In fact, having a plan can give you a tremendous amount of hope.  There will be a lot of people out there that will be tremendously blessed in the midst of the chaos that is coming.  Victory often goes to those who are most prepared.

But if you choose simply to have blind faith in the system and you choose to stick your head in the sand, you might find that “ignorance is bliss” for a little while but when the stuff hits the fan it is going to be incredibly painful for you.

Previous generations understood that it was wise to store up supplies in the good years in order to make things easier in the lean years.

Unfortunately, most people these days have never been through truly hard times so they have no idea what they are like.

Just because the world has enjoyed a tremendous amount of prosperity for the last several decades does not mean that things will always be this way.

Wake up, take a look at the storm on the horizon and get prepared while you still can.

If you choose not to prepare now, you will regret it later.

Via: endoftheamericandream


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10 Easy Survival Seeds to Grow

Survival seeds are one of those long term essential emergency preps that every family should have.  If the days come when a survival garden is needed, the family will be happy to have invested in such an important prep item.  In exchange for your energy and time, you will want a survival garden that will provide your family abundantly with food.  Non-GMO, heirloom quality is best as these seeds produce seeds you can save for future harvests.  However, stocking up on some packets of the GMO version is not a bad idea either.  Having dependable seeds in times of a crisis is comparable to having another back up for your back ups.  In this author’s opinion, a person can never have enough seeds.  If stored properly, these seeds can last much longer than their expected expiration dates.

Easy Growing Varieties

 Below are a list of easy to grow vegetable and fruit varieties that are not only easy to grow, but will also provide lots of nutrition.   To learn more about the nutritional content of these varieties, click here.

  • Nut/Fruit Trees – To learn more about essential nut and fruit trees for a survival homestead, click here. 
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Berries – Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Grapes
  • Peas/Beans
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin

One of the authors at Backwoods Home Magazine suggest planting survival perennials, or vegetables that come back on their own each year.  Perennials such as asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, garlic, perennial onions, and herbs of both culinary and medicinal.  The survival perennials are an efficient way to produce food and make good use of your time.  Some of these perennials, such as asparagus require two years to grow before they produce food.  Therefore, this is why it is so important to research which type of vegetables and fruits you want in your survival garden.

Storing seeds will ensure that in a long-term disaster you will be able to provide needed nutrition and energy for more physical exertion and mental clarity.  Those who have started their survival gardens have no doubt learned from a few garden mistakes along the way. Yet through these mistakes, gardeners have stumbled upon wisdom and grown into better gardeners.  These experienced gardeners  have taken certain factors into consideration before the seeds are planted, and through experience found which vegetables varieties are easier to grow.

Via: readynutrition


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Securing Long Term Survival With Seeds

Seeds are an invaluable commodity and hold the key to long term sustainability, and survival in some cases.  There are many theories floating around on the correct methods to store seeds for long term use.  Knowing how to properly store seeds will ensure their viability for when they are needed the most.

Seeds are Alive

Seeds are a living thing and should in all the sense of the word be treated that way.  Seeds are dormant until they are introduced to natural elements such as oxygen, moisture, sunlight and warmth that create a growth reaction.  Keeping these elements away from the seeds will prolong their longevity.  Since seeds are alive, they can be stressed out and damaged when subjected to extreme temperature shifts.

The USDA states that if seeds are stored at optimum conditions, they can last for hundreds, maybe thousands of years…”

 Over time, seeds do succumb to the aging process and begin to lose their vigor.  It should be emphasized that if a person is purchasing seeds for long term sustainability, then the seeds purchased should be non-hybrid (non-GMO) and heirloom quality.  These types of seeds will produce fertile seeds that can be stored and the risk of aging seeds is diminished.  Typically, larger seeds such as beans and corn have a longer longevity compared to smaller seeds.  Finding resources such as a Seed Longevity Chart will help determine which seeds can be stored longer than others.

Seed Storage Methods

Seeds should be stored in an airtight container where the natural elements cannot get to them.  Many people use their refrigerators, freezers and basements as a storage facility for seeds.  Keeping seeds at room temperature will cause the embryo to consume its stored sugars within the seed casing and will either get too weak to germinate or die altogether.  There is no right or wrong method, it mainly depends on how the person plans to use their seeds and for how long.  Seed packets typically have a “use by” date.  Once the seed packet is opened, the seeds should be used that season.

Freezing the Seeds

Freezing seeds will put the embryo into suspended animation reducing its need to consume the sugars that are encased in the seed.  This increases it’s storage life immensely.  If the seeds are frozen, they should sit at room temperature for a few days before they are planted.  This is the preferred method of seed storage by leading farmers and agriculturalists.

Refrigerating the Seeds

Storing seeds in the refrigerator is another method of prolonging seeds lifespans.  Some put the seeds in a zip loc bag than then place it in a brown bag so that light cannot permiate through to the seeds.  Another method is to use a smaller zip loc bag, add the seeds and close them up.  Get a larger zip loc bag and place a moisture absorbing material such as dry milk or dry rice to the main large zip loc bag and then add the smaller bags containing the seeds.  Use large bubble mailer to store the large zip loc bag into and place it in the upper back of the refrigerator and use rubber bands to keep the bubble mailer sealed.

Vacuum Sealing Seeds

Many believe that vacuum sealing the seeds is the best course for long term seed storage.  However, some believe this method would harm the seeds due to the absence of the oxygen the seeds need to stay alive.  Vacuum sealing does extend the life of the seeds by keeping out the natural elements such as excessive moisture and oxygen.  If a person lives in a climate where there is high humidity, then this method would be the preferable one.  Storing the seeds in a mylar bag or in a dark container where sunlight and moisture cannot get to it is ideal.

Paper Envelope Storage

Storing seeds in paper envelopes and then storing them in waterproof containers with gasketed lids or in mason jars is another preferred storage method.  One can add desiccant (a substance that removes moisture from the air) to ensure the seeds are not exposed to moisture.  Using aluminum coated plastic bags in lieu of the paper envelope can also be used.  The seeds should be stored away from sunlight in a cool, dark area such as a refrigerator or dark room.

Via: readynutrition


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Three Sisters Technique

According to the Native American legend, the three sisters, also called “Our Sustainers” were sent down from the “Great Spirit.” The sisters are inseparable and all work together in order for each sister to thrive.   This trio: corn, beans and squash, have a symbiotic relationship that helps sustain the crops and gives them maximum nourishment.

 The corn stalk offers itself as a structure for the beans to climb on.  While the beans supply the corn with needed nitrogen as well as well as improving the overall fertility of the soil.  When the beans climb the corn stalk, it also provides the stalk with added stability from strong winds.  The squash vines grow at the base of the bean and corn plants and  provide a type of living mulch to help conserve water and provide weed control.  The roots from the squash vines are shallow and will not invade the roots of the other plants.  Once the plants have been harvested they can be incorporated into the soil as organic compost, thus fertilizing the soil even more.  In this approach, the efficiency of space is not only beneficial, but it is also very easy to achieve results.  Moreover, this is a great gardening approach to teach children about companion planting.

How To Create The Three Sisters Gardening Technique

Just like in human life, each sister must be by itself, before another sister comes along.  In this technique,
timing and spacing are the keys to success
.

1. In late Spring or early Summer, hoe a mound of soil into piles about 1 foot high and about 20 feet across.  The centers of the mound should be about four feet apart and should have flattened tops.  *Note: a 10×10 square foot of space is the minimum area needed to have a good corn harvest of corn.  If you have a smaller garden area, plant fewer mounds, but be aware that you may not get good full corn ears as a result.  See Diagram:

<——————————— 10 FT. ———————————>

 

2. In the center of the mounds, plant 5-6 corn kernels in a circle about 6 inches apart.

3.  After a week or two, when the corn has grown to be 5 inches or so, plant seven or eight pole beans in a circle six inches away from the corn kernels.  

4.  A week later, at the edge of the mound (about 1 foot away from the beans, plant seven or eight squash or pumpkin seeds. 

5.  When the plants begin to grow, weed out the weaker plantlings, and keep a few of the sturdiest of the corn plants from the mound as well as the bean and squash plants. 

6.  As the corn and beans grow, make sure that the beans are supported by the cornstalks.  They should wrap themselves around the corn.  The squash will creep between the mounds of the corn and bean plants.

Once the vegetables are harvested, they can be canned, dried out or eaten fresh.  The yields from these vegetables will be able to further sustain a family longer.  Perhaps the Native Americans were right by calling these three plants “Our Sustainers.”

The three sisters: corn, beans and squash were some of the first domesticated crops used by the Native Americans to sustain their long term survival.  The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims their agricultural techniques to help the Settlers survive.  In fact, if it was not for these seeds given to the Pilgrims, and the three sisters approach, the Pilgrims sustainability would have been greatly diminished.

Via: readynutrition


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Essential Trees, Bushes and Berries

In a homestead environment, a person wants the land to work for them as much as possible.  Wildlife will play a large part as a food source if people are living this type of lifestyle.  Venturing out to play the waiting game when hunting for food can be time consuming and at times, unsuccessful.

Positioning specific types of plants and trees that wildlife are naturally attracted to around the homestead property would be advantageous for any person looking for food or hunting wild game.  There are many advantages to planting trees that attract wildlife.

  • The wildlife that come to feed on these trees and bushes will be nourished by the fruits, but the animals will also fatten up as a result of making the food so available to the animals.  And will make a great prize when hunted down.
  • Additionally, if the trees or bushes are planted near a crop, these trees offer a tasty distraction for animals coming to feed on crops.
  • Not only do the wild animals look to the trees and bushes for food, they will also use them for shelter and use the twigs and foliage for nest building.
  • Most of these trees and bushes provide nourishment for humans as well.  Many of the wild fruits can be used for jellies, jams, fresh juices, types of medicines and tasty snacks.  The nuts from the trees can be ground up into powders and used in baking breads.

Like all types of plant life, it takes time for trees to mature enough to begin bearing fruits.  Some of  these types of trees and bushes can take up to 4-5 years before they begin bearing fruit.  And there are some varieties that take even longer.  Doing proper research on the type of tree or bush that is needed for the property and finding out what zone to plant them in are essential.

Five Trees That Attract Wildlife

Oak Trees–  This tree is one of the most important sources of food for wildlife as it produces acorns that the animals eat. Wild animals will thrive in areas where there is an abundant supply of acorns and will the height of the trees for protection.  Oak trees such as the sawtooth oak, turkey oak, blue jack oak, and the white oak provide food for wild game and wild birds to feed on when food is scare in the Fall.  If this type of tree is around, animals such as duck, wild goose, squirrel, opossum, raccoon, wild boar, and deer will be there.  The sawtooth oak tree is the fastest tree  in producing acorns.  In five years, the tree will be mature enough to begin bearing it’s fruit.

Nut Trees– Nut trees such as the chestnut tree, chinquapin tree, hickory tree and pecan tree are known for attracting wildlife, especially squirrels, birds, boars, deer and sometimes bears.  The nuts from these trees can also be used for human consumption.  In fact, American Indians would grind the chestnuts and hickory nuts into a powder and used it to make breads.   Deer use the thick canopy of pecan trees as shelter and can regularly be seen underneath these trees even in early spring, feeding on late maturing nuts.

Wild Fruit Trees– Having wild fruit trees in abundance not only provide edible food for humans and animals, but they also attract needed pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.  The crab apple tree, mayhaw tree, mulberry tree, pear tree, persimmon tree and plum tree offer food for animals such as the deer, quail, goose, pheasant, and turkey.   Most of the fruit from these trees can make tasty jams, jellies, and fillings for pies.  Plum trees have a tendency to produce fruit faster than the others.  The plum tree will bear it’s fruit in 4-5 years.  Planting a persimmon tree will ensure that the bucks and does will be present for the fruits.  Mayhaw fruits are also great for making mayhaw jelly.  Some believe this is the best type of jelly that can be made.

Wild Berry Bushes– Berry bushes such as blueberry, strawberry, elderberry and blackberry are not only humans favorite types of berries, they are the wildlife’s favorite as well.  Normally, wildlife hunters plant strawberry bushes around their hunting zones to attract whitetail deer who love to eat the leaves.  In fact, the deer love these leaves so much they will strip the leaves off the bushes in the fall during hunting season.  Deer prefer the leaves of the strawberry bush over corn or any other food, for that matter.  The wild strawberry bush is relished by waterfowl, quail, turkey, ruffed grouse, rabbit, deer, bear, raccoon, squirrel and fox.  Turkey and other types of wild fowl will gather around the bushes when the strawberry fruit begin to ripen.  Blackberry thickets are another good berry plant to have around the property for attracting wildlife.  Ground nesting birds, such as quail often use the thorny blackberry thickets as nesting areas.

Wild Grapes – If  wild grapes is on the property, wild life will be drawn to the sweet fragrance this fruit gives off and will go the distance to eat some.  Quail especially love muscadine grapes.  This wild grape grows so many fruits that there would be enough for human consumption and plenty left over for deer, quail, opossum, raccoons and song birds.  When the grapes ripen, quail will migrate in large masses to feed on the fruit.  When planting grapevines for wildlife feeding, one could also interplant other native fruit tree varieties such as plum trees, and persimmon trees.  The grape vines will intertwine with these fruit trees and create a private screening effect for the animals to come and feed.  This privacy will make all deer, turkey and quail feel safe to feed.

Trees can provide more than just shade for homes.  Finding the right kind of trees will keep wildlife returning throughout the year in search for food.  Having a readily available food for wild game to feed on in the fall, winter and spring will keep the wildlife healthy, provide them needed nutrition during the months were food is scarce, and keep them coming back to the property so the hunter does not have venture out to search too far for them.

Via: readynutrition


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Garden Health Checklist From the Vegetable Gardener’s Bible


Edward Smith’s The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is a must have for those wanting to learn everything there is know about gardening and self-sufficient gardening practices.  This easy to read book gives first hand knowledge on how to grow a successful garden.  Many who have read his best selling book are already adopting his gardening methods.  Methods such as the W-O-R-D system:

Wide Rows

Organic Methods

Raised Beds

Deep Soil

His chapter on nurturing soil has been a great source of knowledge for me, and my garden has prospered as a result.  Edward C. Smith has created a book that takes all the secrets out of gardening.  For many of the gardening novices, this book has tips and suggestions that will get vegetables to grow anywhere in North America.  Here is a checklist from Smith’s book for a healthy garden:

  1. Put your garden where there’s enough sunlight, especially in the morning, and adequate air circulation, to dry the dew quickly.  Diseases do better in a damp environment.
  2. Build and maintain a living soil, full of the microbes that help plants to grow and protect them against diseases.
  3. Rotate crops so that disease-causing organisms that live in the soil won’t find their host crop when spring arrives.
  4. Plan varieties that resist whatever diseases are likely occur in your gardening neighborhood.
  5. Intercrop whenever possible.
  6. To keep diseases from spreading, don’t work in the garden when plants are wet.
  7. Keep at least a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) layer of compost on growing beds all the time.  Compost not only ensures a steady flow of balanced nutrients to the plants but also has been shown to inhibit many plant diseases.
  8. Make sure plants have enough water.  By the time it begins to look droopy, a plant is already stressed, and a stressed plant is an open invitation to pests and diseases.
  9. Use mulches and row covers to maintain soil and air temperatures within the plant’s preferred range.

Via: readynutrition


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Medicinal Plants for the Survival Garden

Plants have been revered through out history for their magical healing powers.  In a dire situation where over the counter medicine is no longer available, many will be forced to turn their backs on modern medicine and reacquaint themselves with more homeopathic and natural forms.

In this type of situation, many will be turning to alternative medicines to alleviate and assist some of the more chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, migraines, anemia and arthritis.   Acquiring books on herbal medicines for a disaster scenario would be a great knowledge source to add to any preparedness library.

 In the book, Herbal Medicine: The Natural Way To Get Well and Stay Well by Dian Dincin Buchman, Ph. D, the author advises how important natural medicine is.  She adds that, “Even though much of the medical community ignores, perhaps even disdains plant medicine as too old fashioned, plants are nonetheless the basis for some of the most effective drugs.”  This article is based on some of the author’s favorite medicinal herbs.

Top Ten Medicinal Herbs for a Survival Garden

Cayenne Pepper – (Capsicum minimum)

“Cayenne pepper is a powerful stimulant, producing a sense of heat in the stomach, and a general glow ove r the body without a narcotic effect.  A few grains in hot tea will aid in sluggish digestion and flatulence.” (Source – Herbal Medicine: The Natural Way To Get Well and Stay Well)

  • This pepper can assist as a digestion aid.  Using sparingly, sprinkle a bit over food or in a hot soup.
  • Cayenne pepper is a good source of Vitamin C.
  • Mixing cayenne pepper to a citrus drink such as grapefruit juice can be a very effective energizing drink.
  • Cayenne pepper can be used to combat a sore throat and can also be used in a sore throat gargle mix.
  • An effective anti flu drink uses 2 tsp. of cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1 cup of boiling water, 1 c. apple cider vinegar.  Most adults can take between 1 tsp.-1 tbls. every half hour.
  • Sprinkling cayenne pepper in shoes will warm the feet when it is cold outside.  Caution: it will stain the area where it is sprinkled, but it is quite effective.
  • Cayenne has a history of being used during malignant sore throats and in scarlet fever where it is used internally and as a gargle.
  • Cayenne tea can be used as a control for internal or external bleeding and should be used for those health emergencies where no medical or nursing help is available.
  • A few grains on the gums of cayenne will smart on the gum, and in a cavity and act as a temporary pain alleviator.

Chamomile – (Anthemis nobilis )

  •  This herb is known for it’s uses as a mild sedative.
  • Some homeopathic and natural remedies for children with ADD/ADHD have used chamomiles calming properties.
  •  The flowers can be strained out of the tea and placed into a warm compress to use on ear infections.
  • Tea compresses and tea rinses can be used to treat eye problems.
  • It also has the power to assist in healing of  indigestion, morning sickness, nervousness, neuralgia, painful periods and assists as a sleeping agent.

Dandelion – (Taraxacum officinale)

  •  The salt in this plant acts to neutralize the acids in the blood and is considered a cleaning tonic.
  • When the flowers and a few leaves are gathered and made into a tea that treats biliousness (gastric disorder caused by liver or gall bladder disorder) and reducing ankle swelling.
  • To jump start a slow functioning liver, drink two to four ounces of freshly sliced dandelion root in two pints of water until the water is reduced to 1 ounce.
  • A coffee can be made from the root to cleanse the liver and also has a tonic effect on the pancreas, the spleen and the female organs.
  • If a person is suffering from gallstones, dandelion can also be used.  Combine an ounce of  each: dandelion root, parsley root, lemon balm with a half ounce each of licorice root and ginger root.  Add two quarts of boiling water, simmer down to one quart, strain the liquid and drink a half glass every two hours.
  •  The Chinese “barefoot doctors” use the entire dandelion in their healing practices.  The leaves and the tops are simmered together in a decoction, or they are crushed and used as a poultice for boils and abscesses on the body.
  • Dandelion has also been known to lower elevated cholesterol levels, as well as normalize blood sugar levels in diabetics, and can also help cure symptoms of gout due to its uric acid content.
  • Additionally, young leaves can be gathered in the spring time to make a lovely salad or a steamed side dish.

Echinacea –  (Echinacea Paradoxa, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida)

  • There are three types of echinacea plants, and all have the same healing properties.  The chemical constituents are different in some, but the healing is the same.
  • Although the root is most widely used for it’s medicinal purposes, truly the entire plant can be used.
  • This herb strengthens the body’s ability to resist infection and stimulates production of white blood cells.  Echinacea stimulates the body in non chronic illness such as colds, bronchitis, sore throats, abscesses and for recurrences of yeast infections.
  • Echinacea can also be taken as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis.
  • A gargling solution can also be made with the tea to use with a sore throat.  For cases that are not strep throat related: add 10-16 drops to water or to sage or ginger tea and use as a gargling agent.  If a person is fighting strep throat: every two hours, gargle with the above mentioned teas to which add a dropful of echinacea extract.  If only tablet or capsules are available, take then every two hours during the acute stage.
  • It also helps eliminates mucus and phlegm associated with certain respiratory conditions.

Garlic – (Allium sativum)

  • Garlic is an absolute must for a medicinal garden.  Garlic has so many healing properties, they cannot all be listed.
  • Garlic has natural antibiotic properties.
  • In Russia, garlic is used as an anti flu remedy.
  • Garlic draws out the pain from joints, toothaches, and earaches.  Place a crushed raw piece of garlic on some gauze (otherwise some of these strong herbs can cause blisters) and place the gauze over the area of pain.  For the joints, use a garlic paste.  For the ear, use slivers in gauze.  It takes about 5 days to cure the ear infection.
  • Garlic also helps alleviate and draw out infection from abscesses in teeth as well as in the body.

Marigold– (Calendula officinalis)

  • Marigold is an excellent herb to have on hand for skin issues such as eczema, skin inflammations, soothing varicose veins, soothing chapped hands and can be used to reduce body scars.
  • Creating a plaster by combing marigold ointment and peppermint can be used on the chest to ease the heart during inte4nse fevers.
  • Dipping a compress into marigold tea and using equal parts of apple cider vinegar can alleviate inflammation.
  • The author believes that marigold is “the greatest healing agent for all wounds.”
  • Using marigold in the case of open wounds that will not heal is an effective way to promote rapid healing.
  • This flower is also a haemostatid after a tooth extraction.
  • A douche can made from marigold to aid in leukorrhea (vaginal discharges)
  • Due to marigolds cleansing properties, it can also be used as dressing a terrible wound.
  • Marigold was also used as a toothache and headache preventative in the 1500′s in England.
  • This is also a great companion plant to many garden vegetables.

Peppermint – (Mentha piperita)

  • Peppermint is used in a tea in conjunction with chamomile as a digestive aid.
  • It has stimulating and refreshing properties that dispels headaches.
  • Peppermint tea will also assist in overcoming muscle spasms and cramps.
  • Due to the camphorous principles in peppermint, if peppermint is applied to a wet wash cloth it can be used externally to relieve pain.
  • This herb also hep clear sinus infections.  Apply a large, warm peppermint pack to the sinus area.

Sage– (Salvia officinalis)

  • A tea made of common sage can help lift depression.  A pinch of bruised cloves and a pinch of pure ginseng can also be added as these herbs are also used as antidepression herbs.
  • Rubbing the sage leaves across the teeth can be used to clean the teeth and assist in bad breath.  The tea can also be used to gargle with.
  • Sage tea rub downs and sage baths can be used to ring down a fever.  American Indians used this type of fever reducer.  Note: adding apple cider vinegar to the tea for reduction can be quite effective and the patient simply feel better.
  • Sage tea can used as an antiseptic by chewing the sage leaves to cleanse the system of impurities or drank as tea.
  • Sage has also been known to assist with hot flashes associated with menopause.
  • If a person has stomach troubles, cold sage tea can used to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Sage can also be used to treat the flu.  Using the tea before and during any type of epidemics and to hasten healing during a flu attack.
  • Sage leaves can be wrapped around a wound like a band aid to help heal the wound faster.

Tea Tree– (Melaleuca alternifolia)

  • The Aborigines have used this plant for centuries as an antiseptic to heal insect bites, stings, abrasions , cuts and warts.
  • Because of tea tree oils high antibacterial properties it can also be used as an antiseptic to treat acne.
  • Applying tea tree oil directly to fungus on feet (Athlete’s foot), or adding drops into a foot bath this will help treat the fungus.
  • Tea tree oil can also be used to cure cold sores.
  • Diluting the tea tree oil (4 drops of oil and a pint of water)  in water can also be used as a douche to cure yeast infections.
  • Adding a few drops on tea tree oil to a fine tooth comb and combing through hair to catch lice eggs is also effective.

Thyme –
(Thymus vulgaris)

  • Although thyme is normally used in culinary recipes, it has a great range of use.
  • Thyme can help alleviate gastric problems such as wind, colic and bad breath.
  • Thyme also has properties to help eliminate phlegm and is helpful in overcoming shortness of breath and help with most lung problems.
  • If it also effective in fighting sore throat and post nasal drip.
  • If a person has the whooping cough, make a syrup of thyme tea and honey to help treat the disease.
  • Thyme can also be used to treat a fever.  It is recommended to mix thyme with other herbs to have a better medicinal quality.  Herbs used in conjunction with thyme to treat a high fever could be: marshmallow root tea, slippery elm powder (or tablets), fenugreek or comfrey root or leaf tea.
  • This herb also helps relax the nervous system and can relive a headache.
  • Thyme can be used as a first aid poultice.  Make up a paste of moist (hot-moistened) thyme leaves and apply it to the skin to relieve the pain of an abscess, boil or swelling.  A hot poultice of thyme can help relieve the pain of a sciatic attack, too.
  • An antiseptic can be make for both internal and external use.  It is also used as a local anaesthetic.  Medicate gauze and worrl for surgical dressings with theyme.
  • his herb is also great for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, parasitic skin infections and burns.
  • A insect spray (combined with lavender) can assist in keeping gnats and mosquitoes away.  In fact, the Greeks used thyme as a fumigator.
  • This herb can also be used to dispel worms and parasites.

As many are gearing up to buy seeds for a survival garden, please do not forget to purchase medicinal herbs.  Keeping a body as strong as possible from viruses, colds and flu’s will only help a person in the long run.  And supplying a home with organic healing medicines can, in an extreme emergency assist in saving their lives.

Via: readynutrition


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