Off grid living: Grow 25 pounds of sweet potatoes in a bucket

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Although sweet potatoes are an important staple food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, this versatile, orange root tuber can be added to many other meals all year round. While sweet potatoes have been used for ages by many cultures around the world, until recently they weren’t a regular sight on American kitchen tables outside of the Holiday season.

In the past decade, however, the sweet potato has found its way to our hearts. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, the root vegetable’s popularity has skyrocketed between 2000 and 2014, with its consumption increasing by nearly 80 percent. And for a good reason; sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch.

They are loaded with essential micronutrients to promote overall health and have fewer calories than ordinary potatoes. Essential nutrients found in sweet potatoes include fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and many vitamins of the B-complex.

What’s more, you actually don’t need a big garden or a lot of space to grow your own supply of sweet potatoes. Read on to find out how to grow sweet potatoes at your home.

Easy steps to grow sweet potatoes in a bucket

  1. Select the right sweet potato – Rooted sweet potatoes will give you the best result since you can be sure that they are not treated with pesticides to stop the sprouting process.
  2. Create some heat – Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes love the heat. While sweet potatoes will still grow at a minimum temperature of 50 °F (10°C), they seem to do much better at room temperature. So, if you live in a colder climate, make sure to keep them indoors.
  3. Prepare a 5-gallon bucket – Once you have selected the right sprouted potato, fill a container that has draining holes in the bottom with moist soil. Plant one potato per 5-gallon bucket, tops exposed.
  4. Waiting for “slips” to emerge – After a while, green shoots or slips will start to grow out of the sweet potato. This step will take about 90 days.
  5. Transplant the slips – Once the slips are big enough, about 6 to 12 inches, it is time to gently remove them from the sweet potato and transplant them to a larger 20-gallon container. In each 20-gallon container, you can plant six sweet potato slips.
  6. Pick the right season – As mentioned before, sweet potatoes are a heat-loving plant. If you are planning to grown them outdoors, make sure the last frost of spring has already passed. Late spring is the ideal time of the year. Also, make sure they stay well-watered.
  7. Harvest time – After about 3 to 4 months – or when the leaves and vines start to turn yellow – you can start digging up the sweet potatoes. If you grow outdoors, this is usually just after the first frost. After digging up the sweet potatoes, shake off any excess dirt, but do not wash them with water as sweet potatoes need a curing process to create their delicious, sweet taste.
  8. Cure sweet potatoes – Next to enhancing their flavor, curing allows a second skin to form over scratches and bruises you made while digging up the potatoes. This protective layer makes it possible to store sweet potatoes at room temperature for up to a year. To cure, store the harvested tubers in a warm, humid place (80°F or 27°C) for two weeks.

As reported by Off The Grid News, bucket-grown sweet potatoes will have a yield of about 25 pounds for each 20-gallon container. (RELATED: Find more information about off-the-grid living at

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Five Healthy Alternatives to Bisquick Pancakes

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pancakesPancakes have always been one of my favorites breakfast treats, and I’m willing to bet that many of you reading this feel the same way. It hits the spot in all the right ways, yet somehow leaves you asking for more. It’s not unlike eating dessert for breakfast (hell, it even has “cake” right in the name).

But that’s also kind of the problem. Pancakes are undoubtedly one of the least healthy ways to start your day, especially if you make them with Bisquick. If you haven’t already, read the ingredients list sometime. Every Bisquick pancake comes saddled up with a hefty serving of unpronounceable garbage.

However, there are plenty of healthy and tasty alternatives that will make you wonder why you ever used Bisquick in the first place. Below, are a few of my favorites.

Banana Pancakes

Let me start by saying that you will find a ton of different pancake recipes on the internet, but since we’re looking for alternatives to Bisquick, I’m just going to share the simplest version of each recipe, and link to more detailed versions for those of you with tastes that are more refined than mine. With that said though, banana pancakes are probably the easiest meal to make on this list.

Honestly, they don’t taste like a traditional pancake. In fact, they taste way better. It has the texture of cream filling or custard, but with a lightly crisped coating. I usually mash up or blend a large ripe banana with one egg, but other recipes will call for a ratio 2 eggs for every 1 1/2 bananas. A pinch of baking powder will also help fluff them up a little. Once you put your batter together, add your favorite spices and fry them in butter. Keep the cakes small though, since it’s impossible to flip a large banana cake without it breaking.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Coconut flour has become a really popular alternative for dishes that are traditionally wheat based, and understandably so. Each serving comes with a modest dose of protein, easily digestible fats, and fibers. That’s a nice step up from white flour, which tends to be lacking in nutrients. Fortunately, coconut flour also makes a pretty mean pancake.

For one person, I’d suggest mixing a single egg with a splash of milk, and anywhere between two tablespoons and a quarter cup of coconut flour (as you can see, I’m not a big fan of following recipes to the letter). Most recipes call for a pinch of baking powder as well as sea salt, but I’d skip the salt if you’re sensitive to that taste. Cook on medium heat with butter, or perhaps coconut oil if you’re just crazy about the stuff.

Almond Flour Pancakes

While almonds usually make a fine addition to many meals, in this case they rock as the main course. I usually mix a half cup of almond flour with a single egg, and add two tablespoons of water with a touch of salt to the mix. Cinnamon and Nutmeg also go well with the batter. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I hear that mixing this with some variation of the coconut recipe is to die for.

Quinoa Flour Pancakes

I have to admit, there are other items on this list that most people will probably find tastier, but quinoa pancakes make up for it by being super nutritious. Not only is quinoa loaded with vitamins and minerals, but these nutrients are very well balanced together. It also doesn’t hurt that each serving of quinoa comes with a few grams of high quality protein.

Most recipes will call for baking soda or baking powder, or they’ll have you mix the quinoa with wheat flour, but I honestly think that the batter is perfect with only three ingredients. Mix one egg with a half cup of quinoa flour, and slowly add milk until you have a gooey consistency. They cook a little faster than regular pancakes so keep a close eye on them. You’ll find that flipping them is really easy since quinoa holds itself together. I’ve never had one of these cakes break on the spatula. After it’s done, you’ll find that it’s a little heavier than a regular pancake, but with a nutty flavor. Instead of syrup, I usually mash up a banana and use it as a spread.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I once tried cooking up pancakes that were made from sweet potato flour. It was super easy to make, but unfortunately it tasted pretty awful. It was way too starchy and I didn’t feel very well after eating it. If you want to make these pancakes, you’ve got to start with a fresh sweet potato. It’ll take a little more effort, but it’s worth the wait.

Like the quinoa cakes, most recipes call for wheat flour and baking powder, but there’s a two ingredient recipe that really hits the spot. Keep this one in mind if you ever have leftover sweet potatoes, since the process is a little time-consuming. You start by roasting a sweet potato in the oven, and then you gather the flesh into a bowl. Mix in two eggs with whatever spices you prefer, and thoroughly whisk it all together. Cook on medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes, flip them, and cook the other side for 3-5 minutes. Since these won’t bubble like normal pancakes it’s hard to tell when they’re done, so use a timer (FYI, quinoa cakes don’t really bubble either). Serve with butter, honey, or maybe even a little cream cheese.

On a final note, if you’re trying to find a healthy alternative to pancakes, you should also be looking to replace your store brand syrup. Throw out the Aunt Jemima and buy real maple syrup. It’s usually in a little glass jar, and it tastes way better. Other than that, my favorite alternatives are honey and molasses. Most people don’t think of molasses as a condiment, but it’s worth trying out on a few of these recipes. You haven’t lived until you’ve had honey, butter, and molasses on a sweet potato.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition