The beauty of aquaponics is in the symbiotic relationship between all of the organisms within the aquaponic environment. The aquatic animals and other farmed fish supply crucial nutrients the hydroponic plants need.
Summer is upon us and that means summer items are now available. As you have no doubt noticed, some items are only available during certain seasons, and if you miss the opportunity to get those items when you can, you are faced with either waiting until next year or finding an online retailer carrying the item.
This summer, consider adding several kiddie pools to your preparedness supplies. These pools are cheap and come in both rigid plastic and inflatable vinyl. Despite the myriad of colors and patterns of these pools, they can serve very important roles in your preparedness plan.
How many of these pools should you keep on hand? Not every type and size of pool is best suited for each of the uses below, though any would probably work if that was all you had. You will need to size the pool to the task for which it is best suited. After reading the 15 preparedness uses for kiddie pools below, you may find yourself wanting more than just a few of these valuable preparedness assets and in varying sizes.
1. Emergency Water Storage
Among the first things you should do after a disaster strikes is to fill up the bathtubs with water (assuming, of course, you are home and there are no other immediate needs). But, why stop there? If you are going to need water, fill up as many containers as possible.
Small kiddie pools can hold between 30 and 250 gallons of water, depending on the size and construction. Larger pools, like those designed for an entire family’s summer fun, can contain between 1000 and 5000 gallons. However, even a small pool holding only 50 gallons can provide enough drinking water for a family of five for 10 days. Three of these pools filled would be an entire month of drinking water.
If storing outside, cover them with a tarp or sheet of plastic to keep out debris and reduce loss to evaporation. No need to worry about treating this water, you can treat it before using it, depending on the use. In addition to drinking, this extra water gives you additional ability to flush toilets, put out fires, and water the garden.
You can avoid your water storage becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes by using Mosquito Dunks.
2. Rainwater Collection, Expedient Cistern
A backyard full of pools during a rainstorm can collect quite a bit of water. If you are looking at an extended period without a working municipal water system, or as a back up to your well water system, being able to replenish your water storage is like having the ability to make gold.
With a little bit of creative ingenuity and some tarps or plastic sheeting, you will be able to maximize the water collection that each pool collects. Like storing water from the tap, this water does not need to be treated until it is time to use it. Unless you are only using to water the garden or if water is extremely scarce, do not collect water from roof runoff, as this water will be highly contaminated, particularly from bird droppings.
Unfortunately, this is the point where I need to remind you to check your local laws about collecting rain water.
If you have the ability to collect water from a spring or running surface water, especially if it is an intermittent water source, you can use the pool for an expedient cistern. By running pipe from one pool to another, you can expand the amount of water stored, only limited by the number of pools and amount of pipe you have on hand.
3. Decontamination Station
This is an often overlooked use for these small pools, though it is an important one. There are two major scenarios where you will need a home decontamination station: pandemics and radioactive matter.
During a pandemic, you can decrease the risk of getting sick from people, who may have come in contact with the virus, by decontaminating them before they enter your home. Likewise, if any of your family is caught in the plume of a radiological dispersal device, they will need to be decontaminated when they get home. The radioactive particles, from dirty bombs or from an actual nuclear detonation, must be scrubbed from the body to stop the irradiation and to prevent inhalation or ingestion of these particles.
When you decontaminate, you need to control the water runoff, so it does not further contaminate people or other portions of your home. Use kiddie pools to collect this water by having the person stand in the middle of the pool as you decontaminate him or her. The contaminated water can then be treated or disposed.
Please note there is much more involved with decontamination procedures but it is beyond the scope of this article.
4. Mixing Bulk Foods
If you like to mix your bulk ingredients before you package them for long-term storage, you can speed up the process by mixing up a pool-sized batch. For example, if you prefer a blend of hard red winter wheat with a little bit of hard white wheat mixed in, you can mix up several buckets worth before sealing. Another example is buying your beans separately and crafting your own blend of mixed beans. Pre-mixing allows you to have what you need when you need it, instead of having to open several or many containers to derive your mix.
When we were setting up our Square Foot Garden beds, a kiddie pool would have been the perfect container for mixing our soil and amendments.
5. Mixing Cement
Speaking of mixes, a kiddie pool makes for an expedient cement mixer. Handy if you happen to have no electrical power, but need to do masonry repairs. This is commonly used in Arizona by landscapers when they have stonework to do, but don’t want to drag along the large mixer when all they need is a small batch. The big drawback to this is the pool is not good for much else once you are finished.
6. Raised Garden Bed
Once the canary in the coal mine keels over, you will probably be looking for quick ways to expand your garden. Using rigid plastic kiddie pools, you may be able to add a raised garden faster than you could work the soil for a new plot, particularly if you live in an area with poor soil or your new plot was formerly occupied by grass. Among other aspects, raised bed gardens are easier for controlling weeds, waterine, and for avoiding grasses sprouting from recently pulled up sod. These also allow you to grow food where there is no dirt.
7. Bathing, Shower and Washing Station
It’s the apocalypse, but does that mean you have to fight the zombie hordes stinking of B.O.? Of course not! Rig up your solar water heater to a shower head, tie up a privacy curtain around the pool, and step in. Ah!
Seriously, though, staying clean is important to staying healthy. Whether your rigged shower is inside or out, the kiddie pool will collect the water for other uses (toilets, fires, garden, and so on). Additionally, the wide pool prevents muddy splashes that occur when you try to shower standing on the ground.
What’s that? No solar water heater or solar powered water pressure? No problem. Heat some water up with your favorite low-tech method and have a bath, or at least a sponge bath.
Lacking a washtub, these small pools can also serve for laundry purposes. Three pools (soap wash, first rinse, second rinse) and some clothesline and you can face the undead in a clean pair of jeans and shirt.
8. Expedient Fish Pool
Without refrigeration, meat spoils rapidly. If you can capture fish from your local fishing spot and move them to your expedient fish pool, you’ll be able to keep them alive and fresher longer. You may even decide to start breeding them (see aquaponics below).
9. Expedient Hydroponics
Hydroponics is an amazing way to grow food without soil. Once into a SHTF scenario, you may be faced with having to grow food everywhere you have space. Expedient hydroponics systems will allow you to grow food where there is no soil.
10. Expedient Aquaponics
If you have the fish in one pool and the plants in another, you might as well connect them into an aquaponics system. The fish water helps fertilize the plants on the hydroponics side, which in turn cleans up the water for the fish. While using pools would not be the best vessel for any of these last three (fish pool, hydroponics, and aquaponics), it will allow you to get things going until you can find more suitable containers.
11. Crib or Baby Pen
Watching a toddler or crawling infant often means you are unable to attend other tasks. An inflatable pool with sides high enough and thick enough to prevent the child from crawling or falling out, and filled with the child’s favorite toys, allows you the ability to take care of other things. This can be quite advantageous when outside of your home, like when the family is doing some “emergency camping,” by preventing the child from tripping and getting hurt on the uneven and rough ground.
12. Staying Cool in Hot Weather
Even with all these other uses, the pool is still a great way to stay cool by using it as a pool. Without electricity for air conditioning, many people will suffer heat-related illnesses. However, a small pool in the shade can provide needed comfort and emergency treatment for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. When you are providing your own medical care, a pool of water can literally be a life saver.
And not only for people, but pets can also overheat. As long as the water isn’t frivolously wasted on the ground (possibly impossible with pets), it can be used for the big three (gardening, fire control, and toilet flushing).
13. Large Solar Still
If you live in an area having a lot of sunshine, you can use two pools to set up a large solar still. Place a small pool concentrically inside a larger pool. You will need to start with clean pools and attach clear plastic over them, so the clean water runs into the larger pool. To prevent having to open up the plastic and pause the distillation process, rig up some tubing for putting dirty water into the inner pool, and getting distilled water from the larger pool. This large solar still is another way you can reclaim water used for washing or making other water safe to drink.
14. Emergency Raft for Gear or Pets During Flood
Back in the mid 1990s, this author lost about half of his possessions in a 500-year flood. The three days of deluge-like rainfall caused the local river to swell in a matter of hours and people awoke to find themselves in the middle of a half-mile wide flooded river.
One of the items people needed were large containers that floated, so they could drag their pets and whatever possessions they could to safety. Small pools would have worked well for this. While they would not make a sea-worthy raft in any sense of the term, they do work well for expedient emergency rafts.
15. Indoor Pet Pooping Station
You have provided for emergency sanitation for you and your family, including toilet paper, buckets, bags, sanitizing and deodorizing chemicals. The pandemic arrives to your city and you seal you and your family into your home, ready to wait it out. Just then, your trusty biological security system, AKA dog, looks up at you and whines to go “out.” Whoops.
Cats are already trained to use a litter box, but what about man’s best friend? Sure, you could put out newspaper, but who wants to deal with that on the kitchen floor when you cannot leave your house? Kiddie pool to the rescue again! With a little forethought, you can set up the pool for a pet relief station. Whether it be newspaper, sand, or even some artificial grass, having a place for your dog to go is important.
It’s not advised to let the waste sit there, but putting the pooping station in the garage is far more convenient than decontaminating the dog every time they go outside. Combining a small pool with one of those “Diaper Genies” is only one way to control pet mess and odors.
Rigid Plastic or Inflatable Vinyl?
Kiddie pools come in either rigid plastic or inflatable vinyl and, of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. It is likely you will want a few of each, depending on how you plan to use them.
Rigid pools are harder to store, but generally easier to put into use. They maintain their shape and they nest together, meaning you can stack them like measuring cups, allowing you to store a large number of them in the same footprint that one pool takes. They are less susceptible to damage, but more difficult to repair once a hole or crack appears.
Inflatable pools are easier to store, as you can keep them in their small boxes until needed, and refold when finished. This storage convenience comes at a price, as they require more resources to put into use. Unless it is a very small inflatable pool, you will need an air pump. Manual pumps will work, but electrical pumps are the quickest, although, it is likely the power grid will be down when you need to employ them. There are battery-operated air pumps, though without a way to recharge them, using them to inflate a pool may not be the best use for your batteries.
Inflatable pools are also more prone to puncture. These can be patched with a vinyl patch kit, and you will need to re-inflate them once the repair is complete. Many inflatable pools have separate chambers, or rings, which will help prevent a total loss if using to store water.
There are also larger pools, the above ground family sized pools, that have a plastic frame and do not require inflating. This material is less prone to puncture, but these types of pools are large and may be more difficult to set up and take down. However, if you had warning of a pending disaster, these would be space-efficient for water storage.
Though it’s clear they have been an overlooked preparedness item, given the many ways you can use kiddie pools, be sure to stock up on these the next time you head to your local big box store.
The post Cycling a Tank for Aquaponics With or Without Fish is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.
Aquaponics sounds complex, but it’s really not… It just takes a little bit of knowledge and you can be off to the races, growing plants and fish in perfect harmony. In an aquaponic system, you attempt to create a symbiotic relationship between fish or other aquatic creatures, bacteria and hydroponically grown plants. The fish waste is … Read more
The post Cycling a Tank for Aquaponics With or Without Fish is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.
Setting up an aquaponics system isn’t quite as easy as you may think, though it’s not brain surgery, either.
It’s also a great way to grow fish and plants at the same time, in a unobtrusive loop that provides fresh produce grown in nutrient-rich soil and a healthy protein source, raised in an environment that you know for a fact isn’t steeped in chemicals or mercury.
Plus, it’s a huge step toward self-sufficiency.
However, as with everything we do, things go wrong. That’s when it’s a good idea to turn to somebody who’s been there.
I don’t have a system myself, but I contacted some folks who do, and they gave me the lowdown on some of the most common problems to pop up in an aquaponics system so that I could share them with you.
I’ve also included some rookie mistakes that are common, so that you can maybe avoid them before you make them.
1. Don’t Forget to Stir the Hydroton
Even though hydroton has a great surface area and isn’t prone to packing down, you don’t want to allow anaerobic conditions to develop in little pockets.
This can kill your plants, or at least cause root rot. Make sure that you stir it every few months just to keep everything running smoothly.
2. My Plants are Dying
Unfortunately, if your plants are dying, there can be several different problems that are causing it. Go back through and check to make sure that they’re getting plenty of water and oxygen – check the roots to see if they’re healthy because that’s a good indicator.
The pH may be off, or you might have parasites or fungi. These two problems are fairly easy to diagnose. Check your pH using strips, and examine your plants for signs of bugs or mold.
If your ammonia ratio is off, the solution is simple: feed the fish and reduce the number of plants that you have. If your system doesn’t self-correct the pH, you need to consult an expert because moving too far in either direction will kill your system.
These horrible, plant eating mini-monsters are the bane of many a farmer’s existence.
They can knock off a plant population faster than you can say beautiful tomatoes, and they’re hard to get rid of. If you get them, plant more dandelions and carrots because they attract ladybugs, which eat aphids.
Ladybirds eat them, too. This is a war, though, so make sure that ants are farming the aphids, because if they dare, the ladybugs will be killed. Also, make sure you introduce your ladybugs at night.
4. Colors are Fading
If your plants are fading, there’s a mineral deficiency. You could to do a mineral test on your water to see what it’s missing, which is what a lot of rookies may rush to do.
Just use Maxicrop or another good-quality mineral fertilizer and use it according to directions.
5. Foamy Water
This seems to be a top concern on many of the boards that I visited and the reason is so simple that you’re going to laugh, especially when I tell you that it’s relatively easy to fix.
Just like in college, there’s probably soap in the fountain. Some detergent or another has made its way into your system, and the solution is to do a 50 percent dechlorinated water change every day until the foam goes away.
Make sure that you always used cleaning products that won’t harm your fish or your plants, and always clean in such a manner that you don’t shock your fish. Keep as many good bacteria as possible alive in your system.
6. Dead Fish
It’s common to have a dead fish sometimes, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, or there’s more than one dead, you need to check your system, especially the ammonia levels.
Too much ammonia will kill your fish quickly. The easiest way to fix this is to prevent it by checking your levels regularly.
If the problem continues, check all of your system components, including your bell siphon. Make sure that there’s plenty of oxygen in your water and that you’re flushing frequently enough.
7. Don’t Restrict Access to Fish Tanks
It’s tempting, even for experienced gardeners, to want to save space by placing the grow beds above the tanks, but resist the urge because it can cause a ton of problems.
Make sure that you can see into the back corners of the tank, and you are able to catch your fish. Also, make sure that you can easily access all of the components of the fish tanks and beds.
Oh, and you’re probably going to want to change the waters, or you may need to at some point. If you can’t access the tank, that’ll be tough.
8. Letting the Water Get too Hot
This can be a problem for a couple of reasons. Warm water encourages algae growth, but the main problem is that many fish aren’t tolerant to warm water.
If your tank is exposed to the sun for the majority of the day, you may cook your fish, or the oxygen in the water will decrease to the point that your fish will suffocate.
Neither situation is good, so make sure that you choose the right fish for your area, and make sure that it’s shaded if it needs to be.
We just discussed the smaller parasites, but now let’s talk about the bigger bugs such as beatles that will eat your spinach faster than you do.
You can deal with them by using an organic bug repellant such as garlic water that won’t hurt your fish, you can spray them off with the hose, or set up a bug trap that possibly drops them into the fish tank, where your fish will snack on them, or you can arrange for predator bugs that will kill your insects but leave your plants alone.
Spiders, wasps, certain flies, and certain beetles will help you get rid of many predator bugs.
10. Having too Many Fish
This is important if you want a functional system. If you have too many, big fish will eat the small ones, and the biofilter won’t be able to effectively convert or catch all of the fish waste.
A good rule of thumb for beginners is to keep one fish per every eight gallons of water or so.
11. Leaving the Algae in Control
Algae is natural, but you don’t want it to get crazy because it will cause harmful fluctuations in the pH of the water. Make sure that you clean around all of the fixtures of your system as well as in the tank.
12. Feeding Your Fish Improperly
Some people feed their fish hourly, but that’s not typically necessary. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a circular system that takes care of itself fairly well. You should feed them more than once a day, though.
There are several problems that can happen with your aquaponics system, but most of them are fairly easy to troubleshoot. If you have a problem that you just can’t solve, there’s a huge community out there that’s willing and able to help, so you’re not going it alone.
The one piece of advice that a couple of my experienced aquaponics gardeners offered was to learn as much about the process as possible BEFORE you start putting yours together.
That way, you have a good idea of what you may run into and can avoid many of the common problems.
If you have anything to add about troubleshooting aquaponics systems, please share it in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
Aquaponics- Growing Food with Fish We often get much of our aquaponics information from first hand users that enjoy the benefits of this method of growing food and fish everyday. That is a great source. There is an incredible cohesive relationship between the fish and the plants in a well run system. Imagine producing fish …
Growing hydroponically sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s actually neither. All that it means is that you’re growing your plants without soil. I’ve seen examples of hydroponic systems made out of our favorite tool ever – a 5-gallon bucket.
I’ve also seen systems that are exactly what you imagine – tables and tables full of fancy equipment and mysterious-looking tools and chemicals.
Just like anything else, it’s just a matter of how complicated you really want to get.
Let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s all about though, and why you should consider it, then we’ll talk about why it’s a great partner for vertical gardening.
As we already determined, you don’t use soil. The entire system is based on the concept that the roots are freely flowing in the water. They’re not packed tightly in soil. Hydroponic plants grow 30-50 percent faster than their soil-grown sisters, are generally healthier, and produce more fruit.
This is likely because the extra oxygen in the water helps the plant absorb nutrients better, and the nutrients are readily available in the water/solution and the plant doesn’t have to work to extract it from soil. It uses the extra energy to grow and produce.
Use it Inside
Hydroponic growing is also good to use inside because you don’t have the dirt mess and the plants don’t have to struggle so much to get the nutrients that they need, so it’s easier for them to grow in a semi-challenging environment. It’s a great way to grow food in small spaces.
Vertical gardening and hydroponics also pair well because the drip-down system is an effective method of watering, and if you’re using a hydroponics system to catch the runoff, you’re saving a ton of water.
In a situation where fresh water is limited, that’s a huge benefit. As a matter of fact, in a world where soil is becoming depleted and water isn’t as plentiful as it used to be, vertical hydroponic gardening is seen by many as the method of future mass food production. Of course, their plans for world garden domination is a bit more complex, but it’s based on this theory.
Stack it Up – The Foundation of Both Ideas
Also, and this takes us to our next point, hydroponics systems are commonly used in a stacked fashion so that the water is drawn up from catch basin at the bottom and is released via drips onto the plants below. Then it drips from the top layer to the layer beneath, and so on until the water is back in the catch basin.
This makes hydroponics a great partner for vertical gardening.
Lighter and Portable
One problem that you often face with regular, dirt vertical gardening is that the wall is heavy and bulky, in large part because of the weight of the wet dirt.
With hydroponic vertical towers, you get rid of that.
There’s still some water weight, but unless you’re using gravel or sand to secure the roots, the weight is less.
This makes it more portable, too, especially if you use a well-contained system like Plug and Farm Towers. Portability is good for a couple of reasons.
If you need to move your vertical gardening wall or tower so that the plants are getting more or less light, or so that looters won’t know that you have food, then you want to be able to quickly and easily move the wall.
Know What You’re Eating
Another huge benefit is that you know exactly what’s going into your plant. Though you can buy bags of soil to grow your plants in, there’s no way for you to know what’s in that dirt. The same goes for using plain old yard soil. There could be residual fertilizers, pesticides, or acid rain in it and you’ll never know.
When you use hydroponics, you know exactly what your plants are coming into contact with. Enough said about that.
Best of Both Worlds
Finally, the “piece de resistance”, so to speak, about combining vertical gardening with hydroponics is that you get the benefits of the expanded growing space that comes with vertical gardening with the faster growth and higher yield of hydroponics. Bam! That’s what does it for me.
Vertical gardening and hydroponics are like peas and carrots – different, but when you bring them together, they’re a delicious combination that just works!
Start growing your own survival food without soil or space! You only need 10 minutes per day to take care of your fresh food.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.
But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.
You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.
Here are just a few advantages of growing hydroponic plants.
Plants Grow Faster and Yield More Fruit
Studies show that plants grown hydroponically grow 30-50 percent faster than soil-grown plants and also yield more fruit. This is probably because there is a constant supply of water and the nutrients are delivered straight to the roots throughout the day.
Since the plant doesn’t have to search through the soil and break the nutrients down in order to absorb them, it’s free to use that extra energy to grow and produce.
Also, there is generally more oxygen in water than there is in soil. This helps the plant absorb nutrients faster and it also promotes root growth.
Since you’re controlling the medium and you only plant what you want in it, you’re not going to be dealing with weeds, and if you do manage to get a couple weed seeds blown or carried in, they’re easy to pluck out, roots and all.
This saves you time, and prevents the plant from fighting with weeds for nutrients and water.
You Control the Nutrients and pH
One of the biggest problems that we face when we grow plants in dirt is that we’re often at the mercy of the quality of the soil. Without sending it off to be tested, it’s tough to tell what nutrients are in your soil and how acidic it is.
Since some plants prefer a more acidic soil and others prefer neutral or base soil, you’ll find that some plants grow better in your soil than others.
With a hydroponics system, you take all of the guesswork out of the growing process because you control the amount and type of nutrients as well as the pH. This is another reason that plants are healthier and more productive.
You Know What you’re Eating
You really don’t know what’s in your soil even if you’ve lived there for 20 years because pesticides, chemicals, and even acid rain can contaminate it with all sorts of harmful materials. When you grow your plants using the hydroponics method, you know exactly what’s in the food that you eat.
Because there’s no dirt to mess with, hydroponic systems are exceptionally easy to manage indoors or in a greenhouse, which means that you can have fresh produce year-round.
If you get sick of growing tomatoes, just switch them out and grow some basil to go with them. Since your plants will also yield more fruit, you’ll really ramp up your production.
We just mentioned that hydroponic systems are easily adapted to indoor growth, and there is more than one reason why that’s a good thing. First, you don’t have to go out in the rain or heat to tend your plants, or look at a snow-covered, barren garden in the winter.
That’s great, but what about security? If you’re growing plants inside, nobody will know what you’re doing. In hard times, when you’re trying to survive, this can be a deal-changer. And you don’t necessarily need much room for an indoor hydroponics system, either.
As a matter of fact, we’ve tried on, the Plug & Farm Towers can be mounted against a wall and only extends about 6 inches from the wall. It’s only a few feet wide and tall, but is designed so that you maximize your growing space. You can use it in an apartment or even a slightly large closet as long as you have the necessary lighting.
Unlike traditional soil growing techniques, hydroponic systems lend themselves nicely to growing in stacked trays. I’ve seen many setups that range in size from the Plug & Farm Towers to ones that consist of 5 or 6 layers of trays that are several feet wide with a couple of feet between each layer.
If you use a gravity system, you can get quite clever with your angles so that each layer trickles down to the next, then is fed back up to the top again. Even using a hydroponics system that large, you’ll still be using very little water in the scheme of things.
Soil Quality Doesn’t Matter
This one sort of goes without saying since you’re not using soil. To drive home the point, though, I live in Florida and the soil is extremely sandy, with just a bit of loam on the top. Tomatoes grow OK here in that, but they’re merely compared to ones that I grew in the rich soil of West Virginia.
However, if I use a hydroponics system, I don’t have to worry about soil quality. If you pair this with an indoor growing system, you can grow pretty much anything.
Lower Water Requirements
Any plant needs water because that’s how it absorbs nutrients.
Now, of course we can’t give an exact number here because the US has such a wide variety of soils and rainfall amounts, but in soil that’s not too wet or too dry, and grown in conditions that aren’t miserably hot with low humidity, it will take about 20 gallons of water per week to water a 32 square foot garden. That’s a garden that’s roughly 5 feet x 6 feet.
Now, if you have to water an area that large using a hydroponics system, you’re going to use as little as 1/4 of that. Maybe less if you’re filtering and oxygenating the water, because it’s a re-usable source.
In other words, with a soil garden, you’re going to be using 80 gallons per week, but in a hydroponics garden, you’re going to be using that initial watering (5 – 7 gallons) over and over again.
When you’re in a survival situation, that’s a huge difference in the amount of something that you need to live! In essence, that saves you an extra 15 gallons just in the first week, and, even assuming you lose a couple of gallons to evaporation weekly, you’ve still saved at least 40 gallons. That’s enough water for almost two people over a month!
Diseases and Pests are Easier to Get Rid Of
The way that many diseases and pests attack your plants to begin with is via soil. So, since you’re eliminating soil, you’re also eliminating much of the risk of your plants becoming infected. And one of the main reasons that pests and diseases are so hard to get rid of if you DO get them in soil-grown plants is because they hide in the soil and keep reinfecting your plants.
With a hydroponics system, there is no dirt to hold the pest or disease, so they’re easier to get rid of if you are unfortunate enough to contract them in the first place.
Since you’re no longer dependent on soil quality or large land areas, and you can easily use a hydroponics system to grow year-round in a greenhouse or indoors, you can grow basically whatever you want.
You can also experience three or even four growth cycles (depending on what you’re growing), so even if you have a smaller growing area, you can grow one plant this cycle, and another plant the next cycle.
Physically Easier to Grow and Harvest
You can grow your plants at whatever height is comfortable to you – just build your system accordingly. That means that you don’t have to bend over on your hands and knees like you do when growing a traditional garden.
You don’t have to weed the garden, either, at least not on any serious level. If you do need to pick out a few, they pull out easily because their roots aren’t buried in dirt.
Now that you have a few really good reasons to try a hydroponics system to grow your fruits and vegetables, get started! We’ve provided a link to one that we’ve personally tested. It’s efficient, easy to assemble, and simple to use.
It’s also big enough to make a nice wall garden outside, but small enough to use inside even a small apartment. And with only 10 minutes a day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
How To Build A Vertical Aquaponic System You can turn a small yard, a corner in a community garden or an unused space in your home into a thriving vertical farm for vegetables and fish. A household-sized vertical aquaponic system can fit into a 3ft by 5ft (1m x 2m) area and feed a family year-round. …
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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.
When getting started in aquaponics, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s a more complicated way of growing than soil gardening or even hydroponics, so it’s natural to feel confused.When I first started growing aquaponically, I turned to some of the best aquaponics books to show me the way.Reading these books gave me all […]
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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.
Aquaponics is the fastest and most efficient way to grow lots of food in a small space. So why don’t more people do it? First of all, it’s a bit more complicated than planting and watering seeds. You have to set everything up properly, and you have to get fish and take care of them […]
Each spring and summer, gardeners and homesteaders plan their gardens with the goal of growing the most vegetables possible.
But few of them consider aquaponics, a growing method that involves fish and allows gardeners to grow far more vegetables than they can grow in the ground – without dirt and mostly without weeds.
Aquaponics is the topic on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio as we talk to off-gridder and blogger Zachary Bauer, who has one of the largest solar-powered aquaponics systems in America.
Bauer says aquaponics doesn’t have to be complicated and that anyone can do it – no matter the size of the homestead or plot of land.
Bauer also tells us:
- What vegetables can (and cannot) be grown through aquaponics.
- Why vegetables grow faster in aquaponics.
- What types of fish work best in an aquaponics system.
- How often the fish from such a system can be harvested.
- What you need to get started.
Bauer gives us the pros and cons of aquaponics, and he tells us how he set his own system up – and how you can, too. Don’t miss this amazing show if you’re an homesteader or off-gridder looking to grow more food!
The ability to grow plants and raise fish organically without the use of pesticides or fertilizers is accomplished through a method called aquaponics. This system of growing plants and raising fish without the use of soil was discovered by researchers from the University of Virgin Islands while looking for ways through which you can grow plants organically. And, with just a little sweat equity and a few dollars, you too can have a backyard aquaponics system working for you!
How Does It Work?
Basically, aquaponics works in a win-win situation. What happens is that it combines the traditional aquaculture with hydroponics. In aquaponics, plants feed on the effluents released by aquatic animals. Those plants, in turn, purify water to keep the fish more comfortable.
Between 2006 and 2007, this technique was widely adapted and is now commercially used on many farms to grow plants organically. According to some farmers, aquaponics grows plants 50%-100% faster as compared to inorganic farming. With just a small amount of space, you’re able to deliver ten times more as compared to older methods.
What Is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is essentially the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants). This process takes advantage of the aquatic affluent (fish waste) deposited in water to provide essential nutrients to your plants. When the water is affluent rich, it becomes toxic to the aquatic animals. During this stage, plants absorb and use the nutrients eliminating the high water toxicity for your fish to survive.
There are so many benefits you’ll enjoy when you make a backyard aquaponic system. Unlike a fish pond where you’ll have to exchange water every now and then, an aquaponic system relies on the relationship between plants and aquatic animals. Freshwater fish release ammonia which is converted to nitrite by a nitrifying bacterium called nitrosomonas. Another nitrifying bacterium called nitrobacter converts the nitrite to nitrate which is used by the plants to freshen the water for the fish. This process of converting ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate is referred to as “the nitrogen cycle.”
Types of Aquaponic Systems
There are three major types of Aquaponic systems:
Media Filled Beds
This method is the simplest and is commonly used in most backyard aquaponics systems. It involves filling containers with medium and small clay pebbles then planting seedlings directly into the media.
Fish tank water is then pumped over the media to allow the plants to feed on the excess nutrients. The medium clay pebbles act as biological filters where they help to eliminate toxins giving your fish fresh and clean water in the long run.
There are two major ways which this Aquaponics system can be operated: continuous water flow method and the flood and drain (also known as ebb and flow) method.
Nutrient Film Technique
This method involves pumping nutrient rich fish water through PVC pipes. Plants are grown inside cups with small holes at the bottom to allow the roots to reach the water in the PVC gutters.
It’s important to understand that this method is only suitable for leafy green plants with small root systems and not larger plants with bigger, invasive roots.
Deep Water Culture
This method is commonly used in both commercial and backyard aquaponics systems because it’s relatively cheaper to setup and operate. This method uses a foam “raft” which floats on top of water. Plants are held in holes made in the raft in a way that the roots dangle into the water. For perfect results, fish water can either be pumped on the floating racks or the racks can be placed directly on fish water.
Benefits of a Backyard Aquaponics System
Setting up a backyard aquaponics system in your garden comes with lots of benefits such as environmental improvement, better health and higher quality nutrition. This section will review some of the most essential benefits which farmers can expect to enjoy.
Unlike other gardening methods, aquaponics system allows you to plant your seedlings close together thus saving on space. Since this method involves submerging plant roots in nutrient rich water, there is less overcrowding which helps you save on space as compared to other gardening techniques.
Another benefit of backyard aquaponics system is that you don’t have to weed anymore. This method doesn’t encourage the growth of weeds since there is no soil involved. Farmers are able to enjoy the freedom of growing plants at home without weeding.
No Soil Pests
Since Aquaponics doesn’t rely on soil, farmers are relieved the burden of using pesticides to eliminate soil pests. Pesticides destroy the plant slowly over time due to toxins absorbed by the plant.
Plants Grow Faster
Backyard aquaponics system allows plants to access nutrients for 24 hours each day making them grow faster. According to research, vegetables such as lettuce have been proven to grow twice as fast as compared to when planted normally on soil.
Making Your Own Backyard Aquaponics System
There are many ways through which you can make your own backyard aquaponics system. Regardless of the method you choose, always ensure that your system is able to grow plants in a way that confers most of the environmental benefits such as low environmental impacts and water efficiency.
Without wasting time, we will go through a step by step program on how to make a Flood and Drain system.
Flood and drain system
Necessary Equipment and Material
- ~50-gal Fish Tank
- Tank Cover
- Gravel / Grow Bed Fill
- Pipes & Fittings (as required)
- A Grow Bed (roughly 6 – 8-ft3 and 12-in deep)
- Water Pump
- Place your fish tank on a flat surface away from direct sun to reduce algae growth.
- Place the pump and feed pipe in the fish tank.
- Place the grow bed near the fish tank. Fill it with gravel and make sure it’s close to the fill pipe. Also make sure the drain pipe from the grow bed feeds directly into the fish tank.
- Install the timer on the pump and set it to cycle for 15min on, 45 min off.
- Join the pipes and the pump together to connect the fish tank with the grow bed. Also remember to connect the overflow drain in the grow bed to remove water.
- Plant your seedlings into the grow bed and place your fish inside the fist tank.
- Test your fish water to determine the level of Ammonium, nitrite and nitrate. If you notice that the pH level is high or low, you can adjust it accordingly to keep the water neutral.
- Turn on the pump to start the cycling process. This involves circulating nutrient rich water from the fish tank to the grow bed then back to the tank again. After a few days, you’ll notice that your seedlings are growing; a milestone which reveals that your aquaponics system was successfully established.
In summary, there are tons of benefits which farmers enjoy once they set up a backyard aquaponics system. The system is cost efficient and makes backyard gardening more productive and economical. According to research, aquaponic systems use about 1/10th the amount of water used when farming on the ground. This technique helps you produce a tremendous amount of fish and vegetables within a short time in a small area.
Every homestead can benefit from a small scale aquaponics system. Let’s examine some of the reasons you might want to try one this year:
Enjoyment. It’s fun to watch fish grow and swim (even under ice in the winter). It’s also fascinating that you can grow healthy plants without soil.
Fresh produce. So many plants can be grown in aquaponics systems. The main consideration is the temperature if you plan on keeping the plants in the system. Example: scallions and strawberries can be kept year-round. Tomatoes, peppers and such are only growable in the warmer months, unless you have the system in a heated area.
Fresh fish. Even in a small system, you can raise edible fish. Catfish, perch and tilapia are all good, edible fish. You can even raise minnows or Koi to sell!
Natural fertilizer. I love using my fish water for fertilizer. A cup of fish water diluted into 5 gallons of water will be a nice light fertilizer for your garden or house plants.
Building a small aquaponics system is flexible. You can be as low tech as using a heavy tarp for a small pond liner, or you can purchase an aquaponics tank setup. I will explain how I have my system, which cost under $100 and has been running over a year.
I used an old recycled 12-foot pool. This is one of the pools you can buy at just about any general store with an inflating ring on top. The pump will not be any good, but you can buy a small fish pond pump for about $25. The plant container I used was the top of a plastic drum, so it had the two bung holes in the bottom. Along with these supplies, I used some stone that I had in the driveway to serve as growing media.
To summarize, the important components included only the following:
1. Old recycled 12-foot pool.
2. 1 plastic drum.
3. Stone (small driveway stone).
1. Dig a hole in the ground, 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet (saves money and keeps the pond cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter).
2. Place some sand in the bottom of the hole.
3. Use some old tarp and rugs to line the hole (to prevent puncturing the pool liner).
4. Put in the pool liner.
5. Fill the pond, but don’t drain your well! (You could use collected rain water.)
6. Pull out creases in the pond liner as you fill it. (So cleaning the walls in the future won’t be a hassle.)
Now that you have a small in-ground pool, it’s time to work on the growing container.
1. Cut the top of the drum. (I used a jigsaw, but you can use a circular saw carefully).
2. If using the top of the drum, cut it about 12 to 18 inches deep and use the end with the bungs.
3. Put a couple of treated 4x4s across your pond to rest the “drum top” on. Obviously, the bung holes will be facing down and keep the bung holes from draining on the treated lumber.
Time to fill the container
1. Place large stones over the bung holes so that small stones won’t fall through.
2. Fill container with stone (river rock, driveway stone, etc.).
3. Place your pond pump in the pond and the hose in the center of the growing container.I put a 6-inch terracotta planter bottom on top of my planter, and I have my hose pouring into that so it helps distribute the water.
4. I put a 6-inch terracotta planter bottom on top of my planter, and I have my hose pouring into that so it helps distribute the water.
This system works well and allows you even to take onion bottoms you cut and grow them into onion tops. Get creative and enjoy your own small aquaponics system. One last tip: Get some barley straw and toss it into your pond (it will naturally kill the algae that will grow in a pond).
Do you have any aquaponics tips? Share your advice in the section below:
As I’ve touched on the subject of survival gardening many times before and I’ve advocated growing your own, private vegetable or even fruit garden, I’m sure that my suggestions have resonated with many of my readers. And if you share my view that your private garden will be your main source of getting fresh produce once the big markets close down, you’ll like what you’ll “see” next. Of course, serious gardening requires some knowledge, skill and preparation. You’ll need a bit of practice, as I’ve said before, to actually get the desired results. And you’ll need a bit of financial investment too. But even so, survival gardening can still be run on a tight budget, especially in the fertilizer department. The last thing you’ll need to throw your many at is professional fertilizing agents. Don’t get me wrong, these products work, they get the job done, but there are plenty alternatives you’ll find around the house that will work just as well. And most of the stuff you can use as fertilizer would normally be considered waste, and you’d be throwing it away without being aware of its life-sustaining properties.
First and foremost, you need to understand what fertilizer actually is and why it is so important. Plants, in order to grow and develop require certain amounts of nutrients. Sometimes, what the soil provides just isn’t enough. Fertilizer is added to make sure that plants won’t stagnate and that the crops will be plentiful, counteracting a possible depletion of nutrients in the soil. There are 3 major ranks of nutrients that your garden will need:
- Rank I nutrients (that are needed in large quantities): P (phosphorus), K (potassium) and N (nitrogen)
- Rank II nutrients (that are needed in moderate quantities): Mg (magnesium), Ca (calcium) and S (sulfur)
- Rank III nutrients (that are needed in small quantities): Fe (iron), Mn (manganese), Mo (molybdenum), Zn (zinc) and B (Boron)
If you wish to have healthy and nutritious plants, you’ll have to assure that they get most of these beneficial elements during their development. The lack of nutrients won’t allow the plants to develop normally and may even cause their premature death. So fertilizer it’s a must! Let’s have a look at some of the best DIY fertilizers you can find around the house.
As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. But after the omelette is done, don’t throw the egg shells away, they’ll make a great addition to you gardening plan. Egg shells contain a great amount of Ca (calcium), which is extremely important for cellular growth and development. Calcium is one of the elements in the soil that get depleted fastest while plants are growing, so adding some back into the circuit would be extremely beneficial to you garden. Grind the shells into a thin powder and sprinkle them on the ground; that should do it. The shells also contain N and phosphoric acid.
The banana peel is yet another object you’d be tempted to discard right away. But bananas are rich in potassium (K), and so are its peels. Adding banana peels to your garden would ensure rich and well-developed crops, as potassium (K) is a rank I ingredient, which plants can’t get enough of. Not only is it beneficial to all sorts of fruit and veggies, but ornamental plants are loving it also. Don’t throw the peel on the ground directly, rather rip it into shreds and place it in the hole before planting for optimum efficiency.
Coffee grounds are an excellent source of magnesium (Mg) potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) and would make great ”food” for the plants. But adding them to the soil will increase the overall pH, so it’s generally recommended to use them more for plants who strive in a more acid environment like tomatoes, avocados, blueberries, azaleas etc. Before scattering them on the ground, it’s best if you let them dry first. You should scatter them lightly, around the plants.
As long as you have ash leftovers from the fireplace or if you’ve been camping all night, you also have a good means of fertilizing your garden. Ash is rich in potassium (K) and calcium carbonate, which will do wonders for growing fruit and vegetables. The ash method works best for plants that love alkaline surroundings; so don’t use the ashes on acid loving plants. And if the ashes are the result of a fire to which charcoal or lighter fluid was added, don’t use them. The residual agents will harm the plants. So use 100% wood ashes only.
Yes, that’s correct: hair. Any sort of hair will do, be it from people, dogs cats and pretty much any other creature you can think of. Hair is naturally packed with nitrogen, so if you’ll sprinkle it across the garden, you’ll supply the growing plants with a much needed nitrogen (N) boost. Get hair wherever you can find it: scrap it off brushes and save the trimmings from cutting your hair; you can also visit your local barber shop for great amounts of hair that they would otherwise just throw away. Just offer to get it off their hands for free and they’ll most likely let you have it.
And there you have it, some of the easiest and cheapest methods of ensuring the right nutrients for you survival garden. Not only are these methods cheap and convenient, but they’re also very efficient. If it was money that was in your way of getting your hands dirty and your thumbs green, problem solved! You can now have your garden, and on a budget too.
By Alec Deacon
Brett Bauma “Makers On Acres”
Ok, so Aquaponics is becoming a buzz word, and rightfully so. Aquaponics is one of the greatest ways to grow food on a homestead or even in an apartment! Aquaponics is a very versatile system that can be scaled to fit any person’s needs.
So what is it exactly? Well if you tune in to the show, we will discuss what aquaponics is, and we will also discuss what many don’t know, and what it is NOT. Many in the circle around this system think it is a solution to all the worlds hunger problems, and in some ways it is, but also in some ways it is not.
How can we start with an aquaponic system for ourselves and how much is it going to cost me?
Well we can build a system for $40 or $40,000! The key is you need to know what you are going to get in return, and also what you are NOT going to get in return. Aquaponic systems can cost quite a bit to get started, but if done right the first time it will be worth it.
Make sure you tune in to hear an un-biased view and see if it is right for you and your situation.
Visit Makers on Acres website http://makersonacres.com/
Join us for Makers On Acres “LIVE SHOW” every Saturday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Aquaponics” in player below!
Food! We all do it, we all eat. Not only because we have to in order to survive, but also because we like it. Most cultures are unique when it comes to culinary treats, with at least a couple of dishes to set them easily aside from the rest of the world. Cooking may come in different shapes and sizes, but the raw material is (more or less) the same everywhere. We need organic material as fuel. But the organic material we ingurgitate may sometimes be infected by pathogens that will cause us harm. The food of beverages that contain certain bacteria, viruses, parasites or even chemicals will cause great distress and irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the gastrointestinal afflictions are acute; they manifest themselves rapidly, with fever diarrhea and vomiting and won’t last more than a few days, even without medical treatment. Others, on the other hand, will manifest themselves way more severely, and will cause a rapid death if left untreated.
This tiny bacterium (Salmonella enterica) is one of the most common and wildly spread foodborne pathogens on the face of the Earth. It lives in the intestinal tracts of animals and it’s transmitted to humans through food that hasn’t been properly washed and that previously came in contact with animal waste. What makes it dangerous and so wildly spread is the fact that it’s practically impossible to detect. Diseased animals manifest no exact symptoms; nor will the food products that get tainted. It’s not resistant to high temperatures, so cooking the food properly will destroy the proteins that make up the bacteria. If not, hell will soon follow. Within 12 to 72 hours from infection, the pathogen will make itself “visible” through acute abdominal pain and cramp, fever and diarrhea. The diarrhea is severe in this case, so drinking plenty of fluids is a must, in order to avoid dehydration. In a strong and healthy individual, the disease shouldn’t last more than 5 – 7 days. Medication is necessary only if the infection has already spread to the intestines; also if the infected person has a compromised immune system or is an elderly citizen, that will have problems fighting the disease on his own. It can sometimes lead to a complication known as Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, which causes painful joints, painful urination, eye soreness and chronic arthritis. The best way to avoid salmonella infection is it to cook your food carefully, especially meat and eggs.
Also known as trichinellosis, is a disease that’s easily contracted by humans that consume meat infected with the larvae of the trichinella worm (Trichinella spiralis), be it from domesticated pigs or other wild animals. The larvae are incased in a cyst in animal meat. After ingestion, it gets in a human host, where the digestive acids found in our stomachs dissolve the cyst and release the worm. They mature in a couple of days in the small intestine. They will mate, lay eggs and from these eggs small worm will result that will make their way to muscle tissue (through the arteries), where they’ll incase themselves in cystic form again. In an attempt to fight the invasive creatures, you’ll body will suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, acute stomachaches in the first 2 – 3 days after eating the tainted meat. After the worms have matured and start reproducing (2 – 8 weeks), you’ll also experience fever, chills, coughing, eye-sealing, headaches, itchy skin, joint pain and irregularities of the digestive system (constipation or diarrhea). It’s a disease that should not be left untreated. The best way to avoid getting trichinosis is to cook meat at about 160°F, temperature that will destroy the cysts. You can also freeze you pork for 20 days in order to kill the worms, however this might not work when it comes to game animals.
Trichinella spiralis cysts in muscle mass
The Escherichia coli is a large group of bacteria, out of which most are harmless. The one that’s able to cause havoc is called the O157:H7, and is part of the STEC group (the E. coli that produce the Shiga toxin). They’re mostly found in the intestines and stomachs of ruminant animals (cattle) but also in sheep, goats, elk, deer etc. When the animal is eviscerated, the intestines might get cut and spill out on the meat, immediately infecting it. The most common method of spreading the bacteria is through ground meat, but it was also found in milk and other dairy products. Vegetables or fruits that come in contact with infected animal waste will also get tainted. Although it doesn’t manifest itself in any way in the animal hosts, in humans it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and even bloody diarrhea. The infection spreads rapidly, so that about a third of the people infected will get hospitalized; about 10% of those that get hospitalized will die. It’s most dangerous when it comes to children ages 5 – 10. They risk of developing hemolytic-uremic syndrome as a result of the E. coli infection, which can lead to kidney failure. You can avoid E. coli infection by regularly washing your hands, washing vegetables and cooking your meat at a temperature of at least 160°F.
The O157:H7 E. coli
To avoid getting dangerous foodborne diseases, hygiene is a must. Always wash your hands, your food and avoid eating from unreliable sources. If you manifest any of the symptoms that I’ve listed above, check with your doctor immediately and don’t leave anything to chance. Most of the incipient symptoms are common in most type of food related infections, so it’s hard to tell on your own whether you’ve contracted something that’s life-threatening or not.
By Alec Deacon
The post 3 Of The Most Common And Dangerous Foodborne Diseases appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.
Most of us use fishing as a recreational activity. But fishing started out as a necessity for human beings rather than anything else. And what if a time comes when you’ll find yourself obligated to fish for no other purpose than to feed yourself or your family? There are plenty of survival scenarios that could happen and might force you to resort to fishing for survival. If the SHTF scenario finds you at home and prepared, with all the fishing gear you need at your disposal, good. That means one less thing to worry about. But what if you happen to find yourself stranded or you’re forced to leave your home without having enough time to pack your fishing gear too? There are water sources around and “plenty of fish in the sea” but nothing to catch them with. Well, you’re not doomed to starve, that’s for sure. There are plenty of primitive fishing techniques developed way before modern fishing that could very well be implemented today. Sure, fishing with the latest gear is preferable, but if that’s not an option, at least there are other ways that, although are unorthodox, at least they work.
D.I.Y. fishing spear
There is more than one way of improvising such a tool. If you’re aim is good enough and your hand is steady you can make a single point spear. Just find a branch or a piece of wood that’s long enough and simply attach to one end either a blade or a piece of bone that’s sharp enough to pierce flesh. A piece of durable plastic will do just as well. Simply carve enough space at one end of the branch (without breaking it) that’s wide enough to jam the point of the spear in. After you’re done, simply tie the end with a piece of rope or even duct tape and you have yourself a fishing spear. If you’re using a knife, know that exposure to water will deteriorate the quality of the metal in time, so you won’t be able to use it for much else. Another way of doing it is to simply carve the spear tip directly in the branch, by sharpening it with a blade or another sharp object at your disposal. But this won’t be a very durable result, especially if you miss a lot. Hitting the wooden tip on hard surfaces (rocks and sediments) will break it eventually.
But what if you’re a bad that can’t even harpoon a shark in a fish tank? No worries, this mean’s the multi-headed fishing spear is the right tool for you. Take a branch that’s durable enough and split one for about 6 inches long, as many times as you can. Sharpen the multi heads of the spear and tie them last 2 – 3 firmly with the rope, to prevent them from splitting further and eventually breaking. Now find a twig that’s strong enough to keep the “teeth” of the spear separated. You’ll not only hit your prey easily pierce it easily, but the shock from the hit will eject the twig, closing the “spear jaws”. That fish won’t know what hit him.
The multi-headed fishing spear
D.I.Y. fishing gear
Those of you who just can’t give up modern fishing or who simply find spear fishing too primitive can improvise their very own lures, lines and fish hooks. Hooks are easiest to make. If you have a soda can in hand, you can cut the tab a pair of pliers or strong scissors into a hook shape. Anything goes if you creative enough, from safety pins, nails or paper clips to thorns and bones. If you have a sharp knife on you and the patience to do it, you can make your very own toggle hook, used by our primitive ancestors. This is a 1 inch hook made from durable material (bone, sea shells or wood) that’s sharpened at both ends and curbed. It’s attached to the fishing line by its mid section and hidden bait. When the prey swallows the bait, the hook jams in its throat.
Bait shouldn’t be much of a problem, as there is plenty of natural bait around, even in urban environments. Fish tend to go for everything wiggling, so you’ll have no problem if you’ll be using grubs, ants, night crawlers, centipedes, millipedes, maggots, earthworms, caterpillars, beetles etc. If one type of bait doesn’t work, keep trying on until you find the right one. Considering you’ll be in survival situation, you might as well be fishing with multiple fishing lines. So trying out different types of bait and making a statistic shouldn’t be a long and lengthy process at all.
Fishing line is probably the biggest challenge you’ll have to face. Although it’s hard to improvise, it’s not impossible. It can be made out of clothing material (ripped or torn), wire, twisted tree bark, dental floss and pretty much everything else that’s thin enough to attach itself to the fishing pole and strong enough to pull a fish out of the water.
Improvised tab hook
D.I.Y. fishing nets
In some cases this method can be more efficient than the tradition line and hook method. You can use clothing material or pretty much any material that’s strong enough for the job. You can attach two pieces at the extremities and simply walk around with the improvised net submersed. This is very practical if you’re using it in a small lake or stream, but not if you find yourself at the ocean. You’ll have to start from the deepest spot and work your way with the net still immersed to the shallowest spot. When you get there, close the net and pick it up quickly.
It’s probably the most primitive fishing method available. But still, it works. This activity goes by many names (hogging, graveling, noodling, fish tickling etc.) and it varies in technique from region to region. The easiest approach to hand fishing is to catch fish directly from their lairs or hideouts. Cat fish are easiest to catch due to their considerable size (which makes them easy to hold) and their slow response. Just find a fish lair and rich in and grab the fish out. It’s best if you can grab a direct hold of the gills and or on the inside of the mouth. Just make sure that whatever it is you’re grabbing doesn’t have teeth or spikes.
These are some of the easiest methods of fishing in a survival situation. There are more out there for you to discover. Many of them might not be legal in your state, but in a SHTF scenario, everything goes. So do not try them unless you don’t absolutely have to.
By Alec Deacon
I’ve been really into gardening lately, trying to find the best techniques and methods for growing fruit or veggies with as little effort or resources as possible. One method that really caught my attention was the straw bale method, a method that is based on planting into straw bales rather than in the ground. You prepare the bales thoroughly and that’s pretty much it. It’s cheap, requires very little care as the method is not pretentious at all and another bonus is that the plants are raised above ground level, which puts them out of the reach of various critters that could take a liking in whatever it is you planted. And not only that, picking the plants will from the straw bales, will be a lot easier than picking them from the ground. The seemed perfect, but only until I stumbled across the alternative: the HAY bale gardening method, which made the straw bale method seem less appealing all of a sudden.
Hay bale gardening vs. straw bale gardening
For those of you who have very little to do with gardening, there is a major difference between the two. Straw bales are usually comprised from cereal crops stalks (corn, wheat, oat, rye, barley etc.). It’s mostly used for bedding livestock, and apart from carbon, it has no real nutritional value. It’s not inefficient as a surface for growing plants, but it will require regular watering and fertilizers to get the job done. Hay on the other hand, it’s nothing but rich grasses that are mainly a source of rich and
nutritious food for cattle during cold periods (winter time), when the fields are empty. They are filled with nutrients and minerals like nitrogen, potassium, phosphates etc. that vegetables require to grow. It’s exactly this natural cocktail of minerals and nutrients that require no additional fertilizing methods when it comes to hay bale gardening. Hay also holds water more efficiently than straw due to its density and chemical structure. So a hay bale garden requires watering once a day, whereas a straw bale garden will require watering 3 times a day.
The first thing you’ll need to start your very own hay bale garden is getting your hands on hay bales. If you have nobody to turn to in your vicinity that could sell or give you the hay bales, you can always go on the internet and find farmers that have hay bales for sale. Once they’re delivered to you, pick a spot to your liking (preferably in your garden) and set them as you see fit. Next you’ll need to prepare the hay bales for the planting process. What’ll you’ll need is some 42-0-0 or even better, some nitrogen. You’ll treat the bales with nitrogen for 5 days; the nitrogen will break down bacteria, fungi and insects into nutritious compost that will serve as “fuel” for your growing plants. If you’re not that keen on spending money on nitrogen or fertilizers, you can just pee on the hay bales for the 5-day period; pee is rich in nitrogen and it’ll get the job done just as efficiently. However, the daily dose of pee a person produces will not be enough for this endeavor, so I suggest you start saving your pee in bottles or containers.
The preparation of the bales will be done over a period of 10 days total before planting. In the uneven days, the bales will be treated with half-a-cup of nitrogen and sprayed with water. During the even days of the 10 day period, the bales will be watered only.
During this process, the temperature inside the hay bales will rise dramatically, most likely to 120°F – 140°F. Although is very unlikely that the bales will simply catch fire, the risk still exists. So water the bales regularly I order to avoid any unwanted incidents. When the “ordeal” is over, the temperature will subside, from how to warm. Once this happens, you can start planting your vegetables. Just add regular seeds, water the hay garden once a day and you’ll be able to pick the fruits of your labor in no time.
Accurate temperature readings using a professional thermometer
- The bales should be tightly bound if you want them to hold. Synthetic twine works great and hold the hay bales together just fine during the growing season.
- A single bale of hay will hold about two tomato plants, two pumpkin hill, 3 cauliflower plants or 3 broccoli plants; plants cover the same amount of space in the bales as they do in the ground.
- Growing tall plants (sunflower, corn etc.) is not advised, as hay bales do not offer such plants the support they need. If you won’t provide these types of plants with a stacking system, they’ll most probably fall over.
- You shouldn’t water the bales more than two times a day. There is no danger of drowning the plants, because the water will evaporate quickly; the hay bales will not get drenched like soil would.
This method is very interesting and it seems to give great results even for the rookies. You don’t need much to get started. Just a minimum investment and the will power to get things done. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast alternative to gardening, look no further: hay bale gardening is the way.
By Alec Deacon
The post Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.
Planning and setting up your own survival garden is no easy task. It requires knowledge, precision and a bit of practice to get it done. But once you got the project going, doesn’t mean you can just let nature take care of everything while you relax and await to pick the fruit of your labor. Mother Nature works both ways and that which creates, can also destroy. Leaving things to chance is not an option, so you have to take your role as a farmer seriously and watch out for those pesky insects, that if left to their device, can destroy everything you worked so hard for. It takes a bit of studying the phenomena in order to understand it, so you can identify the type of pest you’re dealing with and what’s the best method to apply according to the amount of damage that has already been inflicted. If the infestation is light, picking the insects by hand should suffice, but if we’re talking heavy infestation, you’ll probably have to resort to insecticides. Next I’m going to walk you through a list comprised of some of the most common garden pests and how to read the signs they leave behind.
They are probably THE worst garden pest imaginable, as they have no preferences when it comes to garden vegetables; they simply go for everything that’s green. The easiest signs to read are visual: you know you’ve been attacked by aphids if you happen to find clusters of small, soft-bodied on buds and growth tips. Sticky secretions can also be found from place to place and leaves tend to get curly. Aphids never invade in small numbers and it’s very unlikely hand-picking will do you any good. The best way to deal with them is to spray insecticidal soap or neem oil. There are also specialized poisons that can be sprayed directly on the vegetables, but I strongly advise you to consult a specialist before purchasing or using such products.
They’re food of choice is usually cabbage, carrots, turnips, squashes, spinach and radishes. Their presence is clear if you happen to find wilted plants or yellowish quarter-of-an-inch insects on the root of the plants. The first thing you need to do is to actually stop the flies from laying their eggs near the seedlings: simply put plastic or paper shields about 4 inches in diameter near the plants. If the situation gets out of control, you’ll have no other option but to drench the soil in root maggot insecticide, but do so under the supervision of a professional.
These tiny flying insects have a real craving for tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and sweet potatoes. They’re easy to spot as they’ll easily fly around from plant to plant if disturbed. If in large numbers, they can cause serious damage to plants, because they’ll feed on the nutriments of the underside of the leaves. Light infestations can be easily dealt with by simply spraying neem oil or water. But if you’re dealing with heavy infestation, get the right poison for the job, according to a qualified professional.
Slugs and snails
They’re not the fastest insects out there (possibly the slowest), but don’t get fooled: they can inflict serious damage to your tomato, carrot, lettuce and turnip crops. They are voracious eaters and if you happen to find irregular patterns of holes in the plant’s leaves or stems, doubled by slime trails leading from plants to plant, you’re dealing with slugs or snails (or both). During the day they rest under all sorts of debris, so removing them out of the way and keeping the garden as tidy as possible will keep you out of harm’s way. But if you’re dealing with infestation, you’ll need more than just a tidied up area. You can simply attract and drown them in shallow pans of beer or special baits that are available on the market.
They prefer melons, pumpkins, squashes and cucumbers. If you stumble across wilted plants or just wilted growth tips, then you might suspect you have a borer problem. And if you happen to spot small holes drilled in the plants (usually where wilting begins), than you know for sure you have a borer problem. Plants can still be salvaged from borer infestations by simply cutting out the borer, but if they get to infest the base of the plant, it’s compromised and needs to be torn out. In order to avoid such an obnoxious parasite, spray the base of the plants with the right kinds of insecticide during late spring / early summer, but only under the supervision of a professional.
There are many varieties of beetles out there and they can affect all sorts of crops imaginable. Beetles don’t need special methods when it comes to detection: they’re easy to spot as many are brightly colored and shiny, and they’re feeding methods leave irregular holes in the foliage. As they’re not that hard to catch, picking them by hand would be a cost-effective method if you’re dealing with light infestation. In the case of heavy infestation, just spray the area with the appropriate insecticide, recommended by a qualified professional.
Gophers don’t have very specific cravings, and go for everything they can get their tiny paws on. They’ll voraciously eat any sort of root they’ll stumble across in their underground tunnels. But they also eat the above-ground plant if not disturbed; the mostly prefer carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. If left unattended they can ruin a whole garden in a matter of days.
The most eco-friendly approach in dealing with your gopher problem would be to encourage the presence of birds of prey in the vicinity, by placing bird baths or keeping the garden as tidy as possible so they’re easily spotted by the winged predators. But if the bird method seems a bit drastic, you could just let your dog or cat to roam freely in the garden. Gophers are easily scared and will behave if constantly pressured. Flooding their tunnels is also effective and easy to do.
Dealing with garden pests is no easy task, but it’s not impossible either. There’s a solution to any sort of problem you might stumble upon and nothing can stop you to achieve your goals in survival gardening. But I strongly advise you to never deal with poisons and insecticides on your own, always consult a specialist in the matter before doing so. You not only risk damaging your garden, but also your health. Pest poisons and insecticides are very dangerous if not handled properly.
By Alec Deacon
The post Your Survival Garden Worst Enemies: Pests You Should Watch Out For appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.
The most nutritious fish meat is considered very good for your heart, being rich in protein, minerals and vitamins (A, D and E), very important in maintaining good health. It also contains high-chains of omega 3 fats, selenium and it’s rather low in saturated fats (the bad kind of fats). A scientific studied conducted by professors Dariush Mozaffrian and Eric Rimm showed that eating a portion of 3 ounces of fatty fish (herring, salmon, mackerel etc.) 2 times a week reduces the chances of heart failure by 36%. The omega 3 fats in this case are key in protecting the heart from cardiac rhythm disturbances, maintaining a regular heartbeat. Erratic heartbeats can be very dangerous and potentially fatal if left untreated. They also lower blood pressure, improve the functionality of blood vessels and lower the levels of triglycerides. The studies on fish benefits for the circulatory system are approved by the American Heart Association.
It was also demonstrated (through observational studies) that the same omega 3 fats are extremely important for brain development and activity in infants. Studies confirm that the nervous system and brain in children whose mothers consumed fish during the pregnancy is far superior in development to children whose mothers did not include fish in their diet during the pregnancy and breast-feeding period.
Fortunately, fish is abundant and available to Americans, who should reconsider balancing their diets and making more room for such beneficial and nutritious substances which are found in fish meat. Let’s have a look and see our options.
The farmed Rainbow Trout
The rainbow trout is not only nutritious, but it’s also very delicious, preferred by many when it comes to cheap and affordable sea-food.
It’s not a particularly endangered species, but some varieties are not fit for consumption because they show signs of contamination with PCB chemicals (especially the species native to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron). It’s not pretentious when it comes to cooking. It’s best to leave the scales on while doing so, because this will remove the need of adding extra oil while coating or breading the fish. It’s excellent for simple recipes and goes great with mushroom sauces, spices or just lemon. Baking is best done at 400°F – 500°F, for 5 minutes on each side.
The wild-caught Alaskan Salmon
(Oncorhynchus kisutch and Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)
The wild-caught salmon is considered bettered healthier and better than the farmed kind, sine the farmed ones have double the dosage of unhealthy saturated fats than the wild ones. The omega 3 fats levels are the same. Even marketing giants, such as target have been stacking up lately on wild salmon, selling only salmon certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. This fish is perfect for salads or sandwiches, and it also goes great with white bean soup. There are plenty more recipes out there, each being tastier than the last.
The wild-caught Pacific Sardines
It’s astonishing the comeback these tiny fish made after the late 1950, when the nearly went extinct. They don’t have a good reputation when it comes to creative recipes and food assortments, but don’t let that fool you. Just because they’re been eating straight out of the can for the last hundred years, doesn’t mean there’s no potential available. If you feel like experimenting in an “unorthodox” manner, you can make or buy a mouth-watering sardines & white beans salad. If you feel like keeping the traditions alive, there’s always the ever-popular sardine sandwich with either plain or marinated sardines (garlic, tomato sauce, olive oil etc).
The wild-caught Albacore Tuna
This fish has gained a lot of bad reputation lately because of the suspicion of high levels of mercury poison. After scientific testing, tuna caught in Canadian and Western U.S. coasts have in fact proven to have lower amounts of poison in their bodies than anywhere else in the world. This is because these fish are generally younger and were exposed to the poisonous substance for lesser periods of time. The Albacore is not the type of fish that you find at your local everyday fish market or store. It’s hard to come by, but it’s mostly available at online stores, like Heritage Foods USA. The best Albacore I have ever eaten came in ht shape of tuna kebab, easy to prepare and delicious to the maximum. Simply prepare like regular kebabs, using tuna meat (even the loins) instead of chicken.
The farmed Barramundi or Asian seabass
It’s a very uncommon fish for most Americans, and with good reason. This white-fleshed fish is native to Australian waters, where aborigines firstly fished them by hand from their natural habitat, freshwater rivers. They are easy to breed and the U.S. farms have become highly specialized in doing so. They utilize land-based tanks in which the fish are being kept mainly on a vegetarian diet. It’s highly recommended to buy American, as the other countries farm these fish in ocean-based nets that are highly pollutant. The Barramundi can be simply cooked with lemon juice for dressing, whether It’s fried, grilled, or baked. But it can also be used for fancier recipes, like Barramundi with Swiss chard and roasted sweet potatoes.
As you can see, there is plenty of fish the sea! There are many unpopular species available throughout the U.S. that work wonders for the ones health, whether they’re bought off the internet or simply fished the old fashioned way.
By Alec Deacon
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog. First the blog updates… What’s going on with the apartment aquaponics project? … Continue reading
The post Monday Musings 10/25/2015: Aquaponics Update at Three Weeks appeared first on Apartment Prepper.
In a survival scenario they key word is self-reliance. The weekly trips to the local food markets or stores will cease to become an option. And even if available, the prices will most likely sky-rocket so that it just won’t be convenient anymore. What you need to do is consider the possibility to set up your very own garden, which will sustain and provide for you and your entire family. It’s a rather complex task, but it’s nowhere near impossible. And once you’ll get the hang of it, it will become rather relaxing and enjoyable.
It’s something that can ultimately be achieved by the average Joe, with enough practice, resources and dedication. You don’t have to be a professional farmer, you’ll just have to educate yourself a little in the matter. Be aware of the sustenance and nutrients each product has to offer, calculate how much land you’ll need for the endeavor and set your budget. Your best weapon (if you decide to pick up the shovel) is information: educate yourself on season crops, micro-farming, insect repellants, seed collections and storage and on the nutritional value of various crops.
And arm yourself with patience, because this type of activity requires a lot of practice if you’re starting from scratch. But you’ll get better at it with time, and at some point you’ll be become self sufficient, even though if you originally started gardening as a hobby. When it comes to choosing the right seeds, I strongly recommend getting non-GMO or heirloom variety seeds. These seeds will continue to reproduce, unlike the hybrid varieties that stop reproducing after the first season. Let’s have a look at different types of seeds that are suited for your very own survival garden.
Corn – it’s a warm weather crop, very intolerant to low temperatures, so you should plant it only after the last frost. It usually produces two ears per stack and it’s loaded with calcium, iron and protein. It’s easy to pick and to store.
Wheat – possibly the most common crop in the world, because of its large content of nutrients like copper, iron zinc and potassium. Spring what is planted in early spring and it’s the most common variety in the world. Winter wheat can be planted anytime from late September to mid October.
Potatoes – they’re high in protein, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s best if you plant your potatoes 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost. An average plant will hold somewhere in the lines of 4 -6 potatoes per sprout. When storing them, just know to keep them in a very cool and dark place, away from fruit.
Peas – it’s one of the most (if not THE) easiest plants to grow, because most varieties are not pretentious and grow very fast. Peas are rich in fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and more. The best varieties to consider are the snap, the shelling and the sugar and snow pod. They will do just fine even during a harsh winter, as they’re resistant to frost.
Spinach – considered the original super-food, it’s a great source of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and thiamin. It’s easy to grow, and most species grow best during winter. There are a few though that stray from the rule, so inform yourself before purchase.
Tomatoes – once again, we’re dealing with one of the easiest plants to plant and grow. It’s very nutritious as it’s abundant in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, thiamine and niacin. To make sure you get plenty of them throughout the year, just plant a first batch in late spring and a second one in late summer.
Beans – they come in many varieties, such as kidney beans, pole beans, bush beans etc. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and Calcium. Pole beans require steak firmly planted in the ground, on which the plant can grapple and grow. Their grow cycle is shorter than that of the bush beans and the yield production is better as well. It’s easy to grow and staggering the plant will give continuous yields.
Carrots – there are very easy to grow and prefer cooler weather. So the best time for planting would be during fall, winter or early spring. They’re rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, which is excellent anti-oxidant which does wanders for your eyesight, skin or hair.
Garlic and Onions – they’re a very rich source vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid (folate). They’re best planted in mid or late October, and can be pulled early in case you’re eager to have green onions or garlic.
Cucumbers – they come in all shapes and sizes, with many varieties to choose from. You can pick whatever you like, from large to small ones (which are excellent for pickling). They are very nutritious, as they are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. They are a crop for warm weather and if you pick them regularly, you’ll get increased production.
Lettuce – not only will it be easy to plant and grow, but is also one of the earliest harvests you’ll get. It’s best if you plant it somewhere at 6 – 8 before the first frost date for optimum results. It grows quickly and you can pick it partially simply by choosing a few leaves at a time. The nutritional content differs in case of variety, but mostly all contain proteins, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folic acid and iron.
Eggplants – it’s one of the most versatile vegetables when it comes to cooking, as it offers a lot of possibilities. It’s a warm weather plant and doesn’t do well during winter. So you should wait after the last frost is over in order to plant it. It’s high in fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and anti-oxidants.
Broccoli – it’s a plant that grows rather easily. It’s usually planted mid to late summer and by the time fall is upon us, you’ll have your first broccoli harvest. It has however, the tendency to give yields even after the first harvest. It can withstand mild frost, but won’t survive a harsher climate. A far as nutrients go, it’s most commonly packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and protein.
Cauliflower – it’s a cool season vegetable, resistant to low temperatures. It’s quite fast to grow and gives extremely rich yields. It’s very nutritious and can be very versatile when it comes to cooking. It’s packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibers.
Turnips – the seeds are best sown in late may, but if you get caught in doing anything else and forget, early summer will do just fine. They’re easy to manage, as they’re very resilient to plant diseases. It’s very versatile too, as you can eat the whole plant, green and root alike. They contain calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron.
This list is a must for your very own garden, the plants that no survival enthusiast should go without during a crisis. Remember what I said before: take your time and practice, because it’s unlikely you’ll be successful right away. But once you get the hang of it, you and those close to you won’t go hungry a day in case SHTF. So get going, get your hands dirty and you’ll pick the fruit of you labor in no time… literally!
By Alec Deacon
The post 15 Essential Crops To Have In Your Survival Garden appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.
Harvesting food from Aquaponics seems to be a topic that a lot of preppers and homesteaders are interested in today. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation, grandstanding and downright B.S. out there about the realities of aquaponics. Today we’re going to dive right in and separate the facts from the fiction when it comes to …