Grow Your Own: Winter Lettuce and Microgreens Winter is a tough time to grow food, we all know that. This article shows us how to grow winter lettuce and micro greens inside over the winter months. If SHTF this may be all we can gather, especially if you get a lot of snow and freezing …
A backyard field of grains? Yes, absolutely! Wheat and corn are rapidly replacing grass in the yards of dedicated locavores across the country. For adventurous homeowners who want to get in on the movement, Homegrown Whole Grains is the place to begin. Growing whole grains is simpler and more rewarding than most people imagine. With […]
Growing Mushrooms In A Laundry Basket Grow mushrooms with a basket and some straw and have them literally coming out of your ears. Thought you might like to see a great way to grow mushrooms outdoors if you have a shady place that gets watered regularly… Great for an emergency food source or just save money at …
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:
Long before penicillin and other antibiotics, herbal remedies were a standard prescription for a variety of ailments. Here, I’m going to discuss some of the most well-known herbal medicines and highlight the ones you can grow in your own backyard or as potted plants in your home. I’ll also cover basic preparations, administrations and conditions.
The availability of herbs in your garden can vary depending on the seasons, but most can be grown as potted plants on a kitchen windowsill or anywhere in the house where you have regular sunshine. You also can dry herbs or preserve them, but make sure you refrigerate or process any herb that you store as a paste or solution for any period of time.
The herbs we have listed here are in no particular order related to effectiveness. (It’s not like there’s one “super herb” that works for everything.) Their effectiveness varies. Some offer immediate relief, while others need to be taken regularly over a period of time to present results.
You should always check with your doctor before using herbal remedies, especially if you are taking prescription medications. Some herbs diminish or contradict the effectiveness of some pharmaceuticals.
Here’s what you should have in your herbal medicine chest:
Garlic is a natural blood thinner and stimulates circulation. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure when used regularly, and has both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can be eaten as an ingredient in a meal, chewed raw if you can stand it, or roasted and spread on bread like butter. It’s a perennial plant, and the bulbs can be easily divided and replanted to deliver a steady supply. It also grows easily as a houseplant and the flowers are actually quite sweet smelling.
Peppermint is used as a remedy for sore throat and congestion when taken as a tea (you can steep both fresh and dried leaves in hot water). It also can relieve canker sores as a tea or a gargle. When pulverized and spread on the skin, it can soothe muscle aches. It also relieves indigestion and cramping. It’s a perennial but be careful; it truly spreads like a weed. If you don’t have a large and distant patch of property for a peppermint patch, it’s best raised as a potted plant, even outdoors. If it flowers, trim the blooms or the leaves will become bitter.
Calendula is sometimes referred to as a pot marigold. Historically, it has been used as an antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment both internally and especially externally as a wound-healing and skin-soothing agent. When made into a paste, it was often used as a diaper cream and remedy for other skin irritations. It’s a self-seeding annual that grows well as a potted plant indoors. The yellow/orange petals are the primary source of healing agents.
4. Lemon Balm
A member of the mint family, lemon balm is known for its antispasmodic effects on the stomach, as a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, and for its relaxing effects on the nervous system. It’s also a topical skin reliever and in one study done by the NYU Medical Center, it was found to relieve and diminish the effects of herpes simplex. It makes an excellent tea – served hot or cold – when steeped in hot water. It’s a perennial but does not spread like its mint cousins and can easily be grown as a potted plant.
A member of the pine family, rosemary has long been used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. Its primary benefit, according to the Georgetown University Medical Center, is its stimulant properties related to circulation and oxygenation to the brain. Some people see this as an alternative to the stimulant properties of coffee. It’s a perennial in southern climates but must be potted and taken indoors in northern latitudes in North America. Keep it well-watered and replant outdoors in late spring.
Mullein is an ancient herb used by the Romans for coughs and colds. It is usually taken as an infusion or tea from the steeped flowers. Some pharmaceutical companies also add a mullein extract to their cough formulas. It is a perennial plant and often grows wild. It’s easy to spot in a meadow or field because its stalk stands six feet tall above the grass and weeds. The tall stalk and flowers are the parts of the plant you harvest.
There are a lot of opinions about natural sedatives and natural anti-depressants like St. John’s Wort. One that is often underappreciated is chamomile. The National Institute of Health reports that chamomile is one of the best herbs for treating colic, nervous stress, infections and stomach disorders in children. It’s an annual plant but reseeds prolifically. The small flowers are the prime ingredient often infused in a tea.
There are many other herbal remedies, from gingko to ginseng. All can be grown in your yard and garden. The key is to know you have options.
What would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:
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!
16 Foods You Can Regrow From Scraps Become self sufficient and save a lot of cash by regrowing food from your scraps today! I do this all year round. I have literally saved thousands over the 3 years I have been doing this! I have tried this with garlic and have enjoyed free garlic now …
Highlander visits Makers on Acres
Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps”
Brett Bauma, the host of the Makers On Acres Tech, Build and Grow show is going to talk to us about his upcoming shows, and where they are headed. Brett started Makers On Acres with his 8 year old son about 6 months ago with a vision of coupling homesteading and technology to bring their audience a new perspective on efficient paths to self reliance. Brett comes from a background of being a Journeyman level carpenter, and many years in the automation, process control and electrical fields where he still works as an electrician.
Combining his knowledge and experience in electrical and automation with his passion for gardening and homesteading, Brett will be bringing some wonderful projects to the DIY world that will help all create a more productive and efficient life.
Many of the technologies that Makers On Acres focus’ on in their projects are open source platforms designed for the DIY maker/inventor. Some of the platforms include the Arduino, Rasberry PI, Orange PI and many others. These systems can be easily customized and programmed to do a multitude of tasks autonomously. These systems are easily programmed and are adaptable to a large selection of sensors and add on’s (Shields). The development boards have a large number of open forums and coding that is available to help the entry level user hit the ground running with their new projects.
Brett hopes that through his show he will be able to inspire new projects, educate the DIY enthusiast and teach new users so that they can start building their creations and making their own dreams realities.
Join us for Survival & Tech Preps “LIVE SHOW” every Monday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat