Homemade DIY Organic Potassium Supplement

Click here to view the original post.

EU-Kommission genehmigt Stärkekartoffel Amflora / EU Commission approves Amflora starch potato

 

Every plant needs potassium to grow, it is necessary for proper growth of the plant itself as well as to flower and flourish.

Anytime of flouring fruit needs a good supply of potassium to grow from peppers to potatoes to fruit trees, if you don’t have a good supply of potassium you may find your plants growth is stunted, leafs are curled and it is just not producing that well.

So how do you get more potassium into the soil and/or pots to help your plants along?

Below are a few suggestions on how to do this, all of the suggestions are focused on organic methods since if you are not concerned with organics you can just go buy a chemical fertilizer and spray it on.  I don’t like chemical fertilizers for a few reasons, mainly that they are a crutch to self sufficiency.  Sure they can give good results now but what will you do if the SHTF or you cant afford the fertilizer or some other circumstance arises where it is not available to you?  You will be left with a soil that is deficient in all the necessary nutrients for productive growth and your yield will be small to nothing.  Worse you will have no experience in the sustainable ways to do this and will be wishing you did, chemical fertilizers are a crutch that will leave you on your ass in the long run.  We are seeing the effects today as more fertilizers are being used to get the same yields as before because the soil is dead, there is no fungi or other beneficial and natural helpers left in the soil, they have been killed off by overuse of the these artificial crutches.

If you want to be self sufficient you need a garden, period, whatever that may be for you, you need it for your long term plans. You need to have not just seeds stored away but the experience and know how to raise them effectively, without that its like throwing you into a college bowl game and being told to coach on day 1, you will fail and it wont be your pride that hurts, but your belly.  An aspect of gardening, an important one is the realize and understand the intricate web that is present in nature that leads to productive yields, ignore it at your own peril.

 

 

GREEN MANURE

Comfrey Tea

Green manure, unlike its brown cousin, is plant based, hence the “green” in the name.  This is basically using beneficial plants that can provide nutrients as a fertilizer base, this can be done in two ways.

1) Use the leaves, etc to put in the planting holes and/or dig in around, beside, etc the rows/plants you are planning to grow.

2) Make a “Tea” which is basically putting in the material into water (ratios may differ depending on the plant) and letting it decompose and leech the nutrients into the water making a beautiful and healthy liquid fertilizer.

On Monday I wrote a post on Comfrey a absolutely great plant for green manure, it is high in nitrogen and Potassium among other things and breaks down quickly allowing for use as a tea or just the leaves.

Beans (soy and others) and Parsely are also good for this.  There are many others and some varieties that work better than others, do some research on “green manure crops” to find out what will grow best for you.

 

MOLASSES

Blackstrapmolasses

Unsulphered Blackstrap molasses (1-3 tbsp per gallon of water) is said to work well and is high in potash.

WOOD ASH

wood ash potash

This is the age old tried and true method for raising potassium levels in gardens.

Hardwoods work best (produce more ash) and some better than others.  As a general rule of thumb for every cord of wood you burn you will yield around 25 lbs of wood ash.

A cord of Oak will yield enough ash for a 60×70 foot garden area, while a cord of Douglas Fir will provide enough fora 30×30 garden.

Be aware that wood ash will raise the PH level of your garden, so test with a soil Ph kit and keep an eye on your garden.  If you compost with a lot of fruit (acid) this will probably help balance things out a bit.  Don’t add a bunch all at once, sprinkle it on, wait a few days/weeks, test, add more, etc.

 

Bananna peel potash

banana peel potash

Now this isn’t helpful if you don’t live in a tropical climate and can grow it, but for times when you have access to grocery stores, keep and collect banana peels (have friends do the same).  By adding this to worm bins or compost (watch for fruit flies) the potassium will be present in the worm compost (learn how to create your own worm bin here) or regular compost, however there is another way.

 

1) Dry the Peels in the sun, dehumidifier or bake in the oven

2) You can direct bury the charred remains or burn them in a small fire until they are ash.

3) You can also just directly bury the peels in the ground as well as use the rind of banana and lemon to do the same thing, but it is more labor intensive obviously!

 

If you have any other suggestions on potash/potassium supplements please comment below!

 

OTHER

A few other suggestions (but mostly you will have to buy) are…

  • Kelp Meal
  • Greensand (deposits on rocks in old seabeds)
  • Granite Dust.  Find from granite quarries, etc.  This will NOT be a quick fix and is to be used as a long term solution as it takes time to break down.
  • Directly layer manure into the ground, on top or make tea.

DO NOT USE CHARCOAL ASH! the sulphur contained in it will kill your plants.

 

If you are not interested in this DIY method I recommend Jobes Organic Fertilizer spikes for containers.  I had good results with them last year before I started my worm bins and experimented with these DIY measures.

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here! Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

 

Amazon GNP help

 

Comfrey: A Miracle Plant for your garden

Click here to view the original post.

comfrey

 

Spring is gone, but no need to worry I have a plant that you can plant now and will be more beneficial to you, your garden and any livestock than anything you have planted yet.

Comfrey is a hardy perennial plant (meaning it comes back in the spring by itself without have to reseed), that can be planted anytime even in winter (if you dont get a deep freeze) that has numerous beneficial properties that make this plant something that you will look back and wonder why you didn’t get it sooner.

 

TYPES

There are three types of Comfrey and depending on what you will want to use it for primarily and how much of it you want, will dictate which type you plant.

 

 

COMMON (True, Quaker, Cultivated) COMFREY

common comfrey

(Symphytum officinale: Borginacae family)

This type is native to Europe and grows to a length of 2 – 3.5 feet tall including the flower stalk.

Flowers are a creamy white/creamy yellow, white, pink or purple depending on the exact strain.

This is primarily used for medicinal uses, however it contains less of the chemical allantonin (the medicinal chemical in the plant) than the Russian Hybrid Comfrey varieties, however it has lower PA’s (pyrrolizidine Alkaloids) which is the toxic chemical in the plant.

It is ingested internally, using older large leaves, as the younger leaves contain more PA’s than younger ones (roots contain more PA’s than younger leaves).  You can also make an herbal poultice (chopping leaves into a soft moist mass) and applied to burns and wounds, and is also said to help heal bones that have been injured.  While some of you may look at this as mumbo jumbo i have seen and head from people I trust that are not kool aid drinkers that this does actually work exceedingly well.

True Comfrey produces less biomass (about 1/3 of Russian Comfrey), however unlike Russian Hybrid Comfrey the seeds can be used to propagate new plants.  This also means that comfrey can be somewhat invasive and spread across your property but not as fast as say dandelions or other very invasive weeds.

 

Rough/Prickly Comfrey

prickly comfrey

Symphytum asperum

This is a comfrey native to Asia with blue, pink and purplish (sometimes) flowers.  This is a coarse and clumped plant and this variety that CAN (but only sometimes) propagate through seeds so it can become invasive if you are not careful, more often like the Russian variety it is propagate through its root cuttings.

It is common used as a silage (fermented high moisture stored fodder that can be fed to cattle, sheep, etc.)

 

Russian (Hybrid) Comfrey

russian comfrey symphytum uplandicum

Symphytum uplandicum, Symphytum peregrinum, Symphytum asperum x officinale

 

This is the most common species you will find around, it is a natural cultivated hybrid. It is a cross between common comfrey and rough (prickly) comfrey.

It grows to 4 feet tall and comes in various varieties known as “Bockings”, they have purple, white, magenta, red or blue (fade to pink) flowers.

The plant is sterile, meaning that its seeds will not grow and the only way to propagate the plant is by root cuttings.  This variety will create 3x the amount of biomass than the common comfrey.

The most common bockings you will find are #4 and #14

Bocking #4 is used for farming and fodder plant for animals, and is the most commonly used in permaculture farms.  This variety is high in protein and allantoin (the medicinal chemical) and has a much deeper root so it is much more drought resistant.

Bocking #14 This variety is used more as a garden supplement using the leaves to make a liquid fertilizer in a compost tea.  You can also had the leaves to compost piles to speed up the decomposition process of the pile since Comfrey leaves are high in nitrogen they add some heat to the pile.  You can also add leaves straight to planting holes and rows, the leaves quickly decompose so they will give an added shot to your gardens.

Truth be told you can use these two types for both purposes, only that one is better for its intended purposes slightly than the other.

 

GROWING

You will want to pick the location of your comfrey carefully since it has a very deep root structure once established and since it is very robust even a small amount of root will mean it will probably grow again.

Comfrey will grow in Zones 3-9, but if you live outside these zones you should try it, it will probably grow.

Comfrey likes full sun, but will do decent in light shade and will grow between 3-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.

When I planted mine I mixed in a little bit of older horse manure i had cooked for a bit in a bucket.  Comfrey is a nitrogen hog and while this is not necessary it also helps it along in its early life.  Some say that it should be fertilized with manure throughout the year or with urine in 1:1 with water.  Now you can do that however if you are using this as fodder for animals their feces should do the job.

Now Comfrey doesn’t need much if any care, as long as its healthy you shouldn’t have any issues with pests or disease bothering it and if they are healthy should last several decades.

 

USES

Fodder for Animals

Comfrey leaves are around 20%+ protein so they are ideal for food supplements for animals, notice i said supplements and not main food source.

CHICKENS: chickens love it and will peck it to death, it is better to keep this away from them and just feed them the leaves or if you are creating a permaculture food forest sow it amongst other fodder crops so that the birds dont eat it as voraciously.

GOATS/CATTLE:  Add it to their hay or plant some in areas where the cattle graze.

 

COMPOST

If you have done any composting you know that it takes experience to create the perfect balance to make that pile “heat up”, the high nitrogen (as i mentioned earlier) will help immensely with that.  Comfrey mines minerals deep, deep down so it is high in NPK and minerals and will add some very good stuff to your compost.

TEA

Fill a Barrel of Bucket with comfrey leaves (half of the container) and fill with water.  Let it rote for a month or so and you will have a beautiful liquid fertilizer.  Dilute 50:50 with water.

SOIL AMENDMENT

Add leaves to the bottom of planting holes for tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, fruit trees, etc.

If you add a layer of leaves (2 inches) to the  sides of growing plants the leaves will slowly break down and add nutrients to the plants.

 

Personal Experience

This is my first year growing Comfrey and since we will be moving I am growing it in a pot (not ideal and definitely not advisable for long term).  I am growing it in a pot so that i can get some good root growth (if you grow it in a pot you will find that roots will start to grow out the bottom), and then propagate them on my property.  Considering that root cuttings go for around $4-5 each, this is also possibly a small money maker for you if you choose to go in that direction.

I will continue to show you my progress throughout the years!

*DISCLAIMER*

A study showed that Comfrey caused increased cancer in rats so the FDA has banned it for internal use (which is why you cant find it on the shelves in the vitamin aisle.)  Do your own research and talk to your doctor.

*DISCLAIMER*

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here! Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

 

Amazon GNP help

 

 

 

 

Vermiculture 101: Composting with Red Worms

Click here to view the original post.

DSCN4962

 

 

My family has composted with Red Worms for a long time, and this year I started my own.

Red Worms will give you some of the best soil improvements and fertilizer for your gardens out there, no need to buy fertilizer from the store, and all you need is a few bucks in materials and things you already throw away in your home!

The worms will provide you two things…

Castings: Basically Worm poop, they are several times high in nitrogen, phosphates and potash than the surrounding soil.  They will result in a healthier plant and because of that health more resistant to disease and implant good microbes and enzymes into the soil.

Worm Tea/Leechate: While not technically a compost tea, this is what is commonly referred to as the “juice” that drains out the bottom of the bin.  It is actually best that as you drain it you return it for a second time through the bin so that the worms can redigest it and make sure no harmful toxins from the plants themselves (leeched during decomposition) are in the tea.  You can also Aerate the Compost tea from worms or straight compost using this method.

You can use the juice straight if you want but dillute it 20:1 and spary on productive trees on their leaves, or a 1:1 – 1:5 for liquid fertilizer in your plants, it has a high PH so you need to be careful and test a bit before you go crazy.

 

There are multiple ways to build your bins so I will give you the plans for both.

 

1 BIN SYSTEM

Materials:

  • 1 Rubbermaid Tub (10 Gal.+) Opaque (not clear). You CAN buy these through Amazon, but I found mine through the Dollar Store and since its the Garage sale season I would fart around those on a saturday and see if you can pick some up for cheap.

  • 4-6 Inches shredded newspaper/cardboard (black and white newspaper, not glossy!)
  • 1-2 lbs of Kitchen Scraps (at the bottom of this page I give you a list of what IS ok and what is not)

 

The reason a rubbermaid type tote is recommended is that surface area/volume is better than a bucket, you want spread out worms not a sheer vertical drop like a bucket would do.  Not saying a bucket CAN’T be used.  Only that it is not as ideal, and you will not get the same return as you would a tote.  Check around discount stores or find some friends who may have a few laying around.  Just make sure it is NOT clear, light kills worms, so anything that is not clear will work.  You can construct the bin out of wood if you so choose, its up to you how much work you want to put into this.

First take your container and mark out where you want to put the vents and mark with a permanent marker around them to mark where you will drill/cut the hole.

DSCN4954

DSCN4952

 

Do the same for the spigot, you will want this at the bottom where the worm juice will pool up.

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have that you can use a SPADE Drill bit to drill out the holes, you can also just carefully cut the hole out with a knife or box cutter, i prefer the drill because it is a no b.s. correct size hole.  If you do not want to buy roofing vents you can cut many many many 1/8′ holes along the top of the Bin (see picture below)

step2

 

Then you will cut out the hole for the spigot and thread it on, inside the container.  Pour some water in and tip it so that it covers the hole spigot, see if there are any leaks.  If so use a non-toxic sealant like a silicone bead sealant for windows, etc.

DSCN4953

 

Now you will  add the “bedding” for the worms, this is the shredded newspaper and cardboard.  Before you add it you will want to get it wet.

 

When i say wet i don’t mean soggy, i mean wet/damp.  So you can do this one of two ways.  You can use a spritzer (that hasn’t been used with chemicals) and spray and spray the newspaper until it gets nice and damp.  You can also soak it in little bits of water until the desired wetness is achieved.  I just took it in the bowl and put little bits of water in it until it was nice and damp.  If you squeeze it and a few drops come out then it is ok, if 3-5 drops come out, it is too wet.  Worms like dampness not soggy and soaking wet, this is why during a rain they come out, so they don’t drown.  Once it is wet enough, then put it in the bottom of the bin, but make sure it is “fluffed” and not all packed down.

DSCN4956

 

Next sprinkle some kitchen scraps into the bin and bury them into the bedding, then sprinkle a layer of good dirt/topsoil.  The topsoil is not 100% necessary but it does help to add some dirt for their diet, which is good for the little guys. (NOTE: I took the picture with Orange Peels in the mix.  I ended up removing these as orange/Banana peels will give you a nice flock of fruit flies)

DSCN4957

DSCN4958

Then dig a little hole in the middle of the bedding and dump your worms into this.  If they came packed in peat moss that’s great.

DSCN4959

DSCN4961

DSCN4962

 

 

Then sprinkle a layer of wet bedding (newspaper/cardboard).  This will completely bury the food scraps/worms and will help to keep the fruit fly population from starting up. If you have an issue with flies, its a matter of too much food and or exposed food, make sure its covered/buried.

 

A issue that I had was some worms trying to escape, I found that this is common and the amount is what tells you if there is a problem or not.  If you have a then it may help to put a layer of dry cardboard on top of the last bit of wet bedding.  Then i also put a piece of cardboard inside over the top of it, this makes a dry layer where they dont want to go past (they like it damp).  If you still have a problem see if putting the bin in some light with the top off for 5 minutes helps, if not then go to 10 then 20 then put the top on, if a few still are trying to get out or just laying there then it is probably ok, they are just sick or confused, discard them.

DSCN4963

If you continue to have a lot of worms escaping you may want to sprinkle some water on them.  peel back the dry layer and pour a few splashes of water here and there and replace the dry layer.

You will know you have the right moisture if you follow the wrung sponge rule of thumb.  When you put your fingers into the bin in different spots it should feel like a wrung out sponge, not dry or soggy.  If its dry add some more splashes of water/wet bedding into the mix.  If its to soggy, add some dry bedding into the mix to help it absorb a little bit.

Put the lid on the top, presto all done!

 

 

2+ BIN SYSTEM

 

Materials:

  • 4-6 Inches shredded newspaper/cardboard (black and white newspaper, not glossy!)
  • 1-2 lbs of Kitchen Scraps (at the bottom of this page I give you a list of what IS ok and what is not)

 

This will be the same as the first bin as far as the setup for the first bin, however for a two bin system in the corners of the first bin (bottom) you will  put in 4 soda (or like) cans in the corners to be used as supports, or not, its up to you and depends whether you will have multiple bins on top. (you can also drill holes and insert PVC pipes  horizontally in the first bin to use as supports for the second bin).

For the second bin, insert the air vents the same as the first.

Then drill 1/4 or larger holes in the bottom of the second bin, this will allow the worms to migrate to the second bin for harvesting.

DSCN4964

When you are ready to harvest the first bin for castings, insert wet bedding, etc (same as you did for the first bin to get your worms ready) and then insert it over the top of the first bin.  give it a month or two and the majority of worms will migrate up to the top and into the second bin through those holes where food is plenty, away from the old bin with little food in it.

You can start this process by waiting until your first bin is NEARING completion and then inserting the second bin.  Some worms will continue to stay and eat what is left and then migrate up.

Once you have given it a week or so, drain the remaining worm juice, etc and remove the bottom bin.

What few worms are left can be tossed in to the second bin and if there are some food scraps left you can place them in the second bin as well.

Take out the castings and put them in whatever storage container you want, you can mix this in with soil for planting or make compost tea with it.

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED THEM?

After a while you will get the hang of it.  Don’t add any more food scraps for a week or so.  Before you do, check to see how they are doing, if there is still a lot of the food you initially put in there don’t add more, wait a few more days.  If it smells there is too much food in there because the worms are not eating it and bacteria is breaking it down faster than they can consume it.

Worms can eat their weight in food per 24 hour period, so roughly .5-1lb per 1000 worms per day.  The nice thing about worms is that if there is plenty of food they will start to mate and reproduce and make more worms, if there is too little food they will not reproduce and some will die off.  They have a way of maintaining the correct balance in the system.

The nice thing about worms is if you need to leave for a vacation you can add some extra food, and even if the food gets scarce they will slow down and not reproduce!

You do not need to grind their food, you can cut up say some rotten potatoes, or larger items, but no need to grind the food, put it in as is.

I recommend placing the new food in a new section of the bin every time, this way they will follow the scraps across the whole bin and not be everywhere.

 

WHAT DO I FEED THEM?

 

YES:

Vegetables

Fruits

NOTE: Peels of Fruits can and do create fruit flies, orange rinds and apple cores are ok, or if you dont care then throw it all in.  I personally toss the fruits and other items that the worms DONT like but can be composted in another bucket for the compost pile outside.

Coffee grounds

Tea Bags

Breads/Grains

Egg Shells (is also good for PH)

Orange Rind

Cardboard

Newspaper (Black and White and NOT glossy inserts)

Dry Leaves

Mature Manure

 

NO:

Many of these things will attract rodents/pests

Meats

Dairy

Any Oils (This includes veggies cooked in oil)

Orange Peel/Citrus (This will attract Fruit Flies)

 

 WHAT CAN I USED THE WORM BYPRODUCTS FOR?

worm castings

(photo courtesy of tentgardens.com)

Worm Castings can be put and mixed in with the soil that you will be planting into.  They are the most potent fertilizer you will find and are ready to be used by your plants right away no need to break down as they are the natural food of plants in nature.  If you are harvesting these castings AFTER you have already planted, I would dig in around the plant without disturbing its roots and push these down around it.  You can also just sprinkle them around the base of your plants and dig them in slightly if you are worried about damaging the roots.  You don’t need a lot to get a big effect however you can’t overdue it so that’s not an issue. Its a bit unnecessary but you can use this to make a worm casting compost tea, using it straight or mixed with other composted materials (I say unnecessary because you are also getting worm juice so need to make it into a tea you will be getting both solid and liquid fertilizer!)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(photo courtesy of gippslandgardener.wordpress.com)

Worm Juice (Tea) is the liquid byproduct of worms breaking down your compost.  Using this is simple, just pour it into your container gardens at the base of the plant or if you are getting a lot of it and/or have a large amount of plants and trees you want to treat you can spray it using something like this…

I would dillute the mixture 2:1 (2 parts water 1 part juice) to maximize its benefits and have it last longer if you dont have a large system.  Once again there is NO detrimental effect whatsoever to pouring “too much” on your plants or trees, this is 100% beautiful liquid gold that your plants will eat right up, like that first cup of coffee in the morning it will get them going!

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me rmorgan(at)greatnorthernprepper.com (replace the ‘at’ with @)

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here!

 

Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

Amazon GNP help

 

DIY Container Gardens: Growing Potatoes Indoors

Click here to view the original post.

DSCN4974

 

Today I present my Youtube video on how to grow potatoes inside in bins.  I presented this first in my post on all the uses for the lowly cardboard box, and decided to give the straw free potato bin container garden a try myself this year.

Its very simple just 4 inches of topsoil a few handfuls of straw and light watering and by fall you will be able to just reach in and grab potatoes free of dirt and ready to eat!

This is very useful if you live in an apartment or are short of space.

 

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here!

 

Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

Amazon GNP help

The 3 Biggest misconceptions about a gunfight

Click here to view the original post.

tombstone-1

 

In my experience there are three categories of people when it comes to a gunfight.

  1. Those that NEVER want to be in one, so much so that they will not even consider having a gun.
  2. Those that wish they could be in the Old West and think they will be Doc Holiday Reincarnate.
  3. Those that have been in one and know what it is really like.

 

Those folks in category 1, I am not addressing today, That would take days and weeks of writing and ‘therapy’ to relieve yourself of these false notions, and propaganda that has been fed to you the majority of your life.  I may address this in a podcast at a later date.

This article will be addressing the 2nd category of people as a person that fits into the 3rd Category.

I am not doing this to try and toot my own horn and say “I’m better than you”, I am just trying to give you some advice, relay my experiences and try to prepare you for what reality will most likely be.

 

1) THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PULL THE TRIGGER

Most people who buy a gun, because they recognize the need for self defense, think that because they go to the range a few times a month and can hit center mass of the target that they are prepared to kill in defense of their own life or anothers life.

Unfortunately It is much more complicated than that.

 

An excellent book to read is called “ON KILLING” by Col. David Grossman, where he outlines how difficult it really is to kill another human being.  He notes that it is MUCH easier to drop a bomb from 30000 feet where the people are never seen or look like little ants than say getting up close with a knife.  One of the more amazing statistics was that in WWII, of those soldiers that fired their weapons in combat, they found that only 15-20% actually shot to kill, the rest fired in the general vicinity or over their heads.  It is not a normal thing to try and take a life.

Later as training developed, bull-seye targets were replaced with human silhouette targets and other things like cadences were changed from “Jody” (a cadence about the proverbial guy back home with your girl) to ones that spoke of killing your enemy, blood makes the grass grow, etc.  This lead to a near 80% rate of people firing to kill the enemy.

Shooting is as much psychological as it is physical (at the range).

I have personally seen it in combat where people froze at the sight of death, now this didn’t last long and 99% never had that again after their first time, however this was due to the fact that training kicked in.  However our training was constant for years (in some cases decades) before this moment, so you need to be aware that going to the range a few times a month may not be enough.

Much like my previous post on “3 Biggest mistakes people make in survival situations” you need to mentally prepare yourself for this moment, be aware that you may “freeze”.  I am not saying this is “ok” or that this may not result in your death, but you need to be aware of this possibility, not just in yourself but in others that may be in your “group”.  If they freeze when the moment comes you need to not get in their face, or make them feel like “less of a man (or woman)” for doing so, it is a natural reaction.  In fact this reaction is a good thing, it means that humanity and our compassion and what sets us apart from animals is still alive and well.  A good thing in the general sense.

Now This is not going to be a whole article on “HOW TO” for training, but here are a few pointers.

  • If you are not shooting at silhouette or “man” targets yet, do so.  never fire at bulls-eye targets in my opinion.  If you are training to defend yourself you WILL NEVER find yourself drawing down on a circle in real life.  Use human silhouette or man looking targets, this will help your mind START to get around this process.
  • Practice your draw and aiming at home every night for 30 minutes before you go to bed, at least a few times a week.  Set up a silhouette target, mannequin, etc. in your garage/room, closet, etc.  Make sure the weapon is unloaded, and don’t pull the trigger just practice drawing, presenting, and getting the proper aim.  Start slow at 25% speed, in a few weeks, up the speed to 50%, next few weeks 75% and so on.  After awhile once you have been doing 100%, start again at 25% speed and redo it again.  Focus on the fundamentals, of drawing, breathing, sight aim/sight alignment, etc.
  • Start practicing reading peoples body language in your daily life, and then use that on your dummy, start to practice paying attention to their eyes, shoulders and hands.  I know its hard on a paper target, but pay attention to these things while still keeping your aim true, center mass.  Most people will show you their intention to fire in their eyes/shoulders and hands moments before they pull the trigger.

 

2) THAT YOU WILL HIT WHAT YOU ARE SHOOTING AT

I have talked to a lot of people, and this comes up a lot.  A conversation with my wife really helped bring this home to me as something that people have fantasies about when it comes to a gunfight.

My wife doesn’t shoot as much as I would like her to, and I bought her a small compact pistol, which she picked out herself. Suprisingly she is quite accurate with it (however I find most women are more accurate out of the gate than men, they listen and aren’t looking to “prove” anything), however I keep telling her that if I am away, etc. and she hears something at night to grab the shotgun.  Because of this I want her to practice more with the shotgun.  She is still quite antagonistic to this idea saying “its too much Ill just grab my pistol”.  Which i reply that the shotgun is the premier home defense weapon, nothing beats it.  I also pointed out to her that with 00 Buck she wont have to worry if she is shaking or isnt quite as accurate, more than likely in a confined space she will at least “wing” the intruder giving her enough time for follow on shots, or scare them off.

Her reply was that “Every time we go shooting I’m really good right? so don’t worry”.

This is a reply I hear from a lot of people, that they shoot well at the range so if anyone ever came into their house, they will easily put two in the chest and be safe.

This is a massive fallacy on their parts, and I hope NOT yours.

Think of some times when you have woken up and may think you have heard someone in the house, or when that brother, sister, friend may have popped out of nowhere and scared you, giving everyone but you a good laugh.  This is what combat is like.  That feeling of a increased heartbeat, palms are sweaty, you are shaking a little bit, this is what it will be like but by a factor of 10.

You will be shaking, perhaps not even noticing it until you bring your weapon up and are trying to line up the sights, and then see that you cant get any kind of really good sight alignment.  Your palms will be sweaty and you will not have as good of a grip, and your heart will be racing making your weapon move up and down as you breath faster.  All of this combined will equal inaccuracy, its ok, its normal.

Now when you are in combat this often happens your first few engagements, but after awhile you become deadened to those sensations and your training kicks in.  The more and better training you have had the earlier it kicks in and you go on auto-pilot.

However most of use here don’t spend 40 hours a week training for this, we don’t live in that mindset 24/7 so we have to recognize that.

You must realize that you will probably not hit what you are shooting at, which is why you have to be careful and heed that old axiom of rang safety rules “know your target and what lies beyond”, meaning know if there are innocents or your kids bedrooms right behind your target.

 

 

3) THAT YOU WILL NOT  BE SCARED

This fits in a lot with the previous misconception, however it is its own separate beast.

Fear

People don’t want to think that they will be “scared” when someone breaks into their house, or that if the SHTF that they will be scared if someone tries to rob their vehicle as you are driving to the grocery store.  Most will say, “Nah, ill just start firing back, kill them and then move on”.

This is probably not the case.  When rounds fly by you in combat, it is not like the movies, when you hear that crack, the sound of a round that almost hit you, you will probably start freaking out a bit.  This is ok, its normal, recognize that its normal, when you do this you wont be freaking out that you are freaking out, wondering why you cant be Junior Rambo.  Recognize it and you will be able to calm down and THEN get to work so to speak.

We are preppers, which means we don’t put our heads in the sand and hope for the best, we must look at every situation and see what our failings might be and fix them.  This is another aspect of prepping, the mental.

When you are shot at or in a situation where you are in danger, the body’s natural response is to become afraid.  Fear keeps us from jumping out of moving trucks at 70 mph, and for good reason.  Fear keeps us alive.

However that fear can also get you killed, so recognize that fear is a normal part of the human experience, train for it, train yourself to overcome it and rely on your training, move past it and then get on with what needs to be done, that being defending yourself.

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here! Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

 

Amazon GNP help

Cardboard Gardening: Dont Throw that out!

Click here to view the original post.

shifting-piles-of-stuff

 

 

 

Now currently I am inundated with Cardboard from our move last year, I kept 80% of our boxes and flattened them, etc, however a whole house of stuff produces a lot of boxes, so I have been slowly using them for other things, from backing for spray painting to fire starters.

Now I was trying to look for more uses for my cardboard as it seems a waste to even recycle it if i can find a use for it, and I did!

Spring is rapidly approaching, although my prepper brothers and sisters to the east may not feel like it is!

 

Egg Cartons:

img_4452

Now I don’t buy store bought eggs anymore, I prefer to source my eggs locally until We get settled into our final destination (where we are now currently will NOT be our homestead unfortunately) so I end up with quite a few egg cartons.

One very great way to use these is for planters.  Now I know my green thumbs out there are probably going “duh!” but many folks out there are quite new to all of this!

Start by cutting the carton in half, and you can leave the flap on one side of them to write the name of the plants if that helps (i think its a great idea!).  Fill the carton with soil and then plant a few seeds in each area, this will give them good spacing to begin with. Water them and as they come up cull the weaker seeds in each carton section so that the strongest survives, once planting season is here you can just bury the carton in the ground as the cardboard will decompose.  If you can use the recycled non/white paper cartons as there are chemicals in the bleaching process.

The photo above comes from gardeninggrrl.wordpress.com, and you can see how she planted them carton and all!

 

Weed Control/Mulch:

MulchLayersInBBGarden_800

(photo courtesy of snakeroot.net)

I did this last year in a couple of my beds as a test case to see if it would work well, and I was impressed.

I started by digging out about 5-6 inches off the tops of the raised beds.  I then loosely flattened out the area and layed in a piece or two of cardboard across the whole bed.

I cut out the areas where I would plant and marked off the corners with some sticks/stakes, Then i soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it.

You will want to make sure the cardboard is through and through soaked, because if you don’t it may become hydrophobic and repel water, and that is opposite of what you want, you want it to hold moisture.

Once it was good and soaked I then cover it with dirt then at about the 2-3 inch layer i layed down another layer of cardboard and soaked it finally, covering it all with dirt.  What this did was two fold.

It helped stop weeds from coming up all around my plants (it didn’t stop them from coming up in the areas where i didn’t lay cardboard, but it cut down weeding a lot), but it also helped to hold moisture in the soil.  Where I am currently at the sun is very hot and the wind is harsh so it leads to dry soil.  There is very little rainfall in the summer so the little we had along with my watering was held very well in the soil and led to good growth.  I would often check during the days and my soil was always damp, a very good thing in that climate.

A Note: you can also use newspaper as well not the shiny junk mail flyers but paper newspapers.

In the case of the picture above these people used wood mulch on top of the cardboard, im guessing this was more to inhibit weeds than hold in moisture as it doesn’t seem to be soaked.

 

Raised Bed Straw grown Potatoes:

straw-potatoes

This is something i can not speak much on since I have not done it yet, I just discovered this but am very intrigued and will try to do this, this summer!

I read a brief description of how to do this on the Colorado State Extension site.

Basically what you do is prep your soil with organic matter/compost, dig a trench four inches deep and 12 inches wide.

Plant your potatoes 4-6 weeks before last frost in your area and push the see (eye up) 1/2 inch down into the loos soil and space 12 inches apart.  Then fill the trench with six inches of weed free straw and as they come up add another 4 inches of straw.

Water evenly to keep moist and don’t overwater them.  The straw will help to keep the soil moist, and promote plant health and growth.  When August comes (or whenever your harvest time may be), you can just reach in and pull back the straw to reveal soil free potatoes, no need to dig them out!

Now how does this relate to cardboard…well if you wanted you can use some of the bigger boxes as planters.  As seen in the photo above they used a old washtub/basin and filled it with 4 inches of soil and then dug the trench in there and filled with straw.  On a budget or in SHTF you can use Cardboard Boxes!  The nice thing as well is that the carboard will break down and you can use that as mulch the next year, etc.

 

There are multitudes of uses for cardboard, these are just 3 ways to use it specifically for gardening!

DO YOU HAVE OTHER USES? COMMENT BELOW!

 

 

 

CHECK OUT AND JOIN THE GREAT NORTHERN PREPPER FORUM, LEARN, DISCUSS AND SHARE!

 

Want to help support the site? find out more here!

Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

 

Amazon GNP help