A while back, I wrote about places to scavenge for supplies in a post-apocalyptic scenario. I thought I came up with quite a few ideas, but Reality Survival & Prepping made a list that’s over twice as long. When thinking about scavenging, everyone’s first instinct is to head for grocery stores and restaurants. But if […]
While traveling in the Pacific Northwest, I met Peter Paul, who showed me the most amazing—and amazingly simple—idea for an outdoor worm composting bin. Using the help of worms to break down food matter (even meats!), Peter shows you a couple of simple methods for making great homemade compost.
Not only that, this method creates a vibrant compost tea that gave Peter 7-foot-tall tomato plants! He also sometimes trades his “worm juice” for different items … even once for iPhone (LOL).
This is a sample of the kinds of things you’ll learn when you take The Grow Network’s “Instant Master Gardener” certification class. Chock full of useful, doable information for taking your garden to the next level, “Instant Master Gardener” is available to our Honors Lab members as part of their monthly subscription. Click here to learn more!
(This article was originally published on May 19, 2015.)
It is tough to comprehend how something you can’t see or touch is going to existentially change the human race. From the way you interact with the world, to economics and politics, big data is going to change your understanding of reality. Technologies like cloud computing, the internet of things, big data, and fast data …
Here’s an interesting question that I don’t hear very often: If you start running low on food, how do you ration what’s left? Hopefully, you won’t ever run low on food, but there are plenty of scenarios where it could happen. So in the interest of preparedness, I think it’s important to think about this […]
When I first started prepping, I knew I needed to store plenty of water, but I didn’t realize how much. Every time I went shopping, I would pick up a case of 32 half-liter water bottles. I did this for a couple months, at which point I was satisfied that I had more than enough […]
The post How to Store Backup Water in Your Garage in 55 Gallon Barrels appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Have you ever heard of a kidney wrap? It’s a simple but powerful technique to take care of your body during the winter months.
It soothes the adrenals and ensures your body will be ready to have a fabulous spring. This amazing health technique used to be well known by folks who lived in cold climates, and you’ll recognize the truth of it when looking at the fashions people wore in old photos.
Learn how to protect your own body with a kidney wrap in this video featuring Doug Simons (the master herbalist who teaches “Treating Infections Without Antibiotics”).
(This is an updated version of an article originally published in October 2013.)
I’ve written about the health benefits of honey, but it also has many other uses, particularly in survival scenarios. In this video, SkinnyMedic shares 5 ways raw honey can be used for first aid. I typed them up, but be sure to check out the video below for more details. Note: If you try any […]
Are you sick of your feet freezing every time you go outside in the winter? Sometimes even multiple socks won’t stop your toes from going numb, especially if there’s snow on the ground. There’s a really easy way to keep your feet warmer that only costs a few dollars (if that). I learned this trick […]
The post Quick Trick for Keeping Your Feet Warm in Freezing Weather appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Survivalism isn’t just about gathering supplies. It’s also about making use of everything around you–or on you–in a survival scenario. As you’ll see in this video by Sensible Prepper, even a simple T-shirt has at least a couple dozen survival applications. Here’s the list, but I recommend watching the video below so you can see […]
After a wandering bull ate my pigeon peas I realized I needed a fence — quickly.
Problem: I rent my property and really don’t want to spend money on new infrastructure.
Solution: Plant a living fence!
So I did, and I filmed the process so you can see what I did:
Isn’t that the greatest song ever to be used on YouTube?
Okay, that’s fine. I understand. It really is terrible, isn’t it?
Back to the post.
I’m not a living fence expert by any means. Back when I was young I did help my dad and Grandpa plant multiple fences by taking long aralia cuttings and jamming them into the ground. I have also planted living barriers of blackberries, silverthorn and pyracantha, but they were more hedges than the interwoven sticks I’m now experimenting with. Yet I’m learning and testing now — and as you probably know, I’m rather insane when it comes to experimentation.
Since there were a lot of questions on this living fence/instant hedge, I posted a follow-up video answering some of them:
Species Options for Planting a Living Fence
For subtropical climates with little to no frosty weather, you could build a living fence with Gliricidia sepium, moringa, some aralia species, purple mombin, or even governor plum.
Farther north you can do this with willow branches — especially in wet areas.
Living fences could also potentially be planted from the branches of species of mulberry, though I’ve had 0% success rooting mulberry by sticking branches in the ground.
If you don’t have any trees with branches that can be rammed in the ground to root, just plant almost any kind of tree seedlings in V shapes at 45-degree angles and tie them together at crossing points.
Dwarf apples, anyone?
There are a lot of possibilities for building a living fence. Interweaving the trees causes them to graft together over time and make an almost impenetrable barrier — even more so if you use a hard and thorny tree like osage orange!
As recounted over at Mother Earth News, “Easily propagated from seeds, cuttings, or sprouts from the roots, Osage orange is tolerant of a wide range of soils, resistant to drought, long-lived, and affected little by insects or disease. Planted at a spacing of 1 foot, in four years it makes a fence that is ‘horse-high, bull-strong, and hog-tight.’”
Osage orange is also one of the best woods for tool handles and bows. Bonus!
From the same article:
“Other thorny species that could be used to make living fences are pyracanthas, jujube, hollies, black locust (also fixes nitrogen), honey locust (which has high-protein seeds and pods for livestock and people), prickly ash, and rugosa rose (which has vitamin C-rich fruits, or ‘hips’).”
Other Side Benefits of Living Fences
Beyond just keeping out wandering livestock and nosy neighbors, living fences have some serious advantages.
Let’s run through a few.
1. A Living Fence is Free
Unless you buy seedlings to plant, you can start a living fence for free. In my case, all I had to do was cut some Gliricidia branches and plant them. As for potted trees or shrubs, you can start your own. I always keep a little plant nursery going with a lot of bits and pieces in it. Maybe a multi-species living fence would work? Imagine that! Bougainvillea, noni trees, purple mombin, alternating with nitrogen fixers… crazy! A 2-D food forest!
Oh man. I need to try that.
But the point is: free. Free is good.
2. A Living Fence Produces for You
A wire or wood fence is just a barrier, but a living fence is more than that. It’s a living, productive line of trees.
The top can be cut and fed to livestock or used as a green layer in compost. You can also let it grow taller and make the trimmings into plant stakes. Or charcoal/biochar.
Not bad, eh?
3. A Living Fence Supports Other Species
If your living fence is a nitrogen-fixing species, it will feed the plants alongside it.
A living fence can also serve as a trellis for yams and other species as well as a home for birds, beneficial insects, and lizards.
There are plenty of good reasons to plant a living fence and plenty of species that work almost no matter where you live.
My Gliricidia living fence is now dense and strong after growing through the summer. In another year it will be so strong that passing through it will be impossible.
Sorry bull, no more pigeon pea lunches for you!
*Willow living fence image via Rhian on Flickr. CC license.
Opening doors is more than just a metaphor for moving forward. Sometimes, you truly need to open a door. And sometimes that door is locked. You might be surprised at just how often the skill of unlocking doors can come in handy once you have it. I recently lost a key to a cupboard and I haven’t bothered […]
The post 3 Ways to Open Locked Doors During an Urban Disaster appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
When the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012, it was the deadliest in U.S. history with 27 casualties. A few years later, the Orlando nightclub shooting became the deadliest in U.S. history with 49 casualties. And now the Las Vegas shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history with 59 casualties. That means the record for […]
I live in a very large neighborhood where I go jogging on a regular basis, and every now and then, a dog runs into the road and starts barking at me. If it’s small or friendly-looking, I just ignore it and keep jogging. But a few times, I’ve had a very vicious-looking start toward me, […]
I make this Fire Cider (know in some circles as “Four Thieves Tonic”) each year just as the holiday season gets going. It needs about a month to set, and is ready by January when my immune system could use a good nudge.
Even though I don’t really like spicy stuff that much, I really do like this one.
There are numerous versions of Fire Cider circulating out there. Some are made to be used only externally—e.g., on the skin to ward against bacteria—while others are made out of essential oils. Since making essential oils is a trail I am not wanting to go on right now, I prefer this recipe, which is ingested.
Here are the ingredients I used, and a list of other possible ones you might want to add. Of course, be careful if you have any kind of allergies to any of these . . . .
- Hot Peppers
- Juniper Berries
- Horseradish Root
And here is a “possibles” list.
- Black Pepper
Please let me know in the comments section below if you have a favorite recipe for “Fire Cider.” Do you use any ingredients that I’ve neglected to mention here? I’d love to hear about them . . . . And do let me know if you try it this winter!
(This article was originally published in December 2013, but I decided it was time to revisit the recipe! Enjoy! I’m about to start a new batch myself . . . .)
Everyone living in a coastal area should learn this skill. If you run out of drinking water and there’s a drought or you have no access to lakes or rivers, you might have to gather water from the ocean. The cruel irony of planet Earth is that there is water almost everywhere, but less than […]
A tourniquet is a crucial medical item that should be in every prepper’s first aid kit. If someone has a major wound, applying pressure might not be enough. You may need to use a tourniquet if you want to save their life. But how exactly do you use a tourniquet? Like most first aid items, […]
A lot of preppers have this idea that when a disaster strikes, they’ll just bug out to a rural area. They think they’ll be safe in an area with so few people. But the thing is, unless you’re deep in a national park, you’re going to end up on someone’s property, and eventually a local […]
This video actually several years old, but I just came across it recently and I thought it was worth sharing. There are basic first aid kits out there for $10 or $20, but you get what you pay for with kits that cheap. If you really want a quality kit that will cover a wide […]
Imagine a disaster is imminent and you’ve decided to get out of dodge. You grab your bug out bags, load your vehicle, and hit the road. You might think that once you get out of town, you’re in the clear. But the truth is there are dozens of things that could go wrong when bugging […]
Old ammo cans are incredibly useful if you’re a prepper. They’re designed to be sturdy, stackable, waterproof, and easy to transport (with handles on the top and the front). That’s why militaries have been using them for decades. There are several sizes and shapes, but they all have the same basic design which hasn’t been […]
Concrete and cement are the building blocks of humanity. When you take concrete and make it into a literal block, though, what you’re left with is a cinder block – an item with almost unlimited DIY potential. To help spark your imagination about how to best make use of cinder blocks, we’ve put together a […]
When preppers start looking for a good bug out location, the main feature they care about is “not in the city.” But what about other features? You don’t want to go just anywhere after the SHTF. You want a location that is safe and well hidden, among other things. That is the subject of this […]
It’s well known in the survival world that Vaseline and cotton balls together are one of the best ways to catch a spark and convert it into a flame. So if you have any cotton balls or nearly empty bottles of Vaseline lying around, don’t throw them away! This video will show you how to […]
What do you think are the 5 best things to acquire before the collapse? I’m not talking about small items like lighters and water filters, but larger things that will make your home a better place to live after the collapse. In this video, Prepper Princess has five great suggestions, in order of importance. Here’s […]
The post 5 Things You’ll Wish You Had Gotten Before The Collapse appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Would you like to be able to quickly and easily identify plants?
Even be able to recognize species while driving 60 m.p..h. down the highway?
Marjory Wildcraft discusses Tom Elpels classic book Botany In A Day. Botany is the most crucial skill for sustainable living—everything we need ultimately comes from the plant kingdom: Our food, medicine, shelter, clothing, heating, and so much more.
In this video, you’ll learn:
- How related plants have similar characteristics
- Identifying plants in the Mustard Family … and they are all edible!
- How family patterns can teach you a lot about plants
- Get a grasp on the seven plant families
Get Tom’s book, Botany In A Day by clicking here.
When you want to identify a plant, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this a hazardous plant?
- General question: Is this a flower, tree, succulent, shrub, or grass?
- Is it a monocot or dicot?
- How are the leaves arranged?
- Are the leaves simple or compound?
- What is the shape of the leaf?
- What other leaf characteristics do you see?
- What do the flowers look like? (shape, color, florets, petals, sepals, pedicel, stamen, etc)
- What does the stem look like?
- What type of root system does the plant have?
If you would like more information about plant identification, check out this publication.
Access our growing selection of Downloadable eBooks…
… On topics that include growing your own food, herbal medicine, homesteading, raising livestock, and more!
(Length: 1:16 minutes)
How old are the spices in your spice cabinet?
If you’re like me, some of spices and seasonings might be just slightly older than two to three years—the point at which they lose potency and should be discarded.
But what if you could have a continual supply of homegrown spices and seasonings that you use most, without having to worry about an expiration date?
In this quick video, I show you a quick solution—a living spice cabinet on your kitchen windowsill filled with homegrown spices and seasonings.
I grow basil, chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage.
These are all excellent choices for indoor container gardening. And you can add parsley, horehound, winter savory, dill, marjoram, coriander, and mint to that list.
Whether you’re a well-established gardener or your gardening skills are just starting to bloom (sorry, couldn’t resist! 😉 ), you’ll need a few things to get your living spice cabinet started.
Environment: Right Plant, Right Place
One of the most basic principles of successful gardening is “right plant, right place.”
Basically, if you grow a plant in an environment that meets its basic needs for sunlight, temperature, airflow, soil drainage, etc., you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in the long run.
Your plant will be stronger, healthier, happier, and more productive; have fewer disease and pest issues; and create fewer headaches for you!
So, before you head to the garden center for pots and seedlings, take a few minutes to determine how you’ll provide the right environment for your herbs.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider:
- Light Sources
Sunlight: Most herbs need six to eight hours of sunlight daily. You can usually provide this via an unobscured window with western or southern exposure. To ensure that the entire plant gets adequate sunlight, rotate it every three to four days.
Artificial Light: If you don’t have an indoor location that provides enough natural light, you can use two 40-watt cool white fluorescent bulbs. Place the plants 6 to 12 inches below the light source, and keep the bulbs lit for two hours per hour of required sunlight. For example, if your plants need eight hours of sunlight, expose them to 16 hours of artificial fluorescent light daily. And if you don’t want to mess with turning the lights on and off at certain times each day, consider buying a plug-in timer to handle the task for you. (Trust me, they’re awesome. Highly recommended!)
Herbs prefer moderate temperatures, so choose a location that reaches 65°F–70°F during the day and 55°F–60°F at night. Avoid temperature extremes by keeping your herb plants away from mechanical heat sources and out of chilly drafts.
Herbs will grow best in a somewhat humid environment. So, if you live where it’s arid, you’ll need to get creative to provide supplemental humidity. You might fill a tray with stones, set your pots in it, and keep it filled with water just to the bottom of the herb containers. Alternately, you can keep a spray bottle handy and mist your herb plants with water as needed.
Like many other plants, herbs do best with good air circulation. So be sure not to crowd your plants together, maintaining a bit of space between them. And, when possible, crack a window or turn on a fan to keep some air flowing in the area.
Materials: Four Essentials
Now that you’ve figured out the best spot in your house for your homegrown spices and seasonings, it’s time to go shopping—either in your potting shed or at your local garden center!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Fast-Draining Growing Medium
Look for a potting mix designed to drain fast and control moisture.
The main ingredient will be coir or sphagnum peat moss. These amendments have a large texture that helps the soil stay aerated and well drained, and their natural absorptive properties help keep the soil moist. (Interestingly, the more sustainable choice of the two, coir, is also the most useful. Not only is it a renewable resource produced from coconut husks, but it absorbs nearly a third more water than peat, is much easier to re-wet when it’s dry, is more alkaline, is slower to decompose … the list goes on.)
The ingredient list will also include some combination of water-holding minerals, such as vermiculite or perlite.
Many growing mediums will also include additions like compost, fertilizer, and wetting agents.
Or, you can be like Grow Network, Change Maker, David the Good and make your own!
Think fish emulsion and seaweed. Make your own liquid fertilizers centered on these ingredients here, or find some premade options at your local garden center.
Recommendations vary on how often to feed your culinary herb plants. Some say to use low-dose liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks, while others recommend feeding them every four weeks, or even less often. If you’re concerned about overfeeding, let your plants be your guide. If they look lush but have poor flavor, it’s time to cut back on the fertilizer.
Many people prefer to plant seedlings because they get you to your goal of freshly harvested herbs that much faster. However, if you’re willing to wait a little longer, grow your herbs from seed. In either case, follow the planting directions provided on the pot or seed packet, and you’ll have homegrown spices and seasonings in no time.
Water: The Final Ingredient
Finally, remember to water your herbs—but just occasionally.
Almost all herbs grown indoors will do best if you let their soil dry out between waterings. You’ll know it’s time to water if, when you stick your finger into the soil to a depth of one-inch, the soil is dry. Rosemary is the exception to this rule. Its soil needs to be kept moist.
It’s Time to Spice Things Up!
With just a few simple materials, plus a careful choice of environment, you’ll have homegrown spices and seasonings in YOUR living spice cabinet, just like mine.
It will add visual and aromatic appeal to your home and your meals—and, perhaps best of all, help ensure that your favorite spices are always fresh and full of flavor!
What are your favorite spices to grow? Do you have a living spice cabinet? Let us know in the comments below.
The post Homegrown Spices and Seasonings For Your Living Spice Cabinet appeared first on The Grow Network.
When the average person thinks about things to stockpile for an economic collapse, their minds usually go straight to rice, beans, and bullets. Those are great, but there are so many other things worth stockpiling. So many, in fact, that you’re bound to overlook a few things. I’ve forgotten plenty of things before, which is […]
The post 5 Things You’d Never Think to Stockpile For Collapse appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Although technically a terrorist attack can happen anywhere, it is far more likely to happen in an urban area. In addition, it is more likely to happen at a large gathering such as a concert or sporting event. So whether you live in an urban area or just visit one occasionally to see a singer […]
The Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009–over 8 years ago–and since the United States has never gone over 10 years without a recession, something tells me hard times are just around the corner. If you’re not prepared for a financial crisis, it’s time to get started. And even if there’s never another recession, […]
A delicious cup of coffee is a luxury many of us can’t do without. This tropical beauty (the coffee plant) has us wrapped around her little finger from the first sip to the last drop.
Now that I live in the tropics, I’ve jumped in with both feet to grow a coffee plant and process the beans. Today, I’ll show you how I do it. Now, we didn’t process our coffee plant the easy way. I deliberately didn’t look up all the labor-saving ways to process coffee, much to my wife Rachel’s chagrin. Instead, I decided to do it all by hand.
It started with harvesting the coffee cherries from the coffee plant we discovered in the cocoa orchard.
Watch the video. (Length: 8:47 min)
After that, there are four distinct phases to processing the beans from the coffee plant.
- Harvest the fruit from the coffee plant
- Remove the coffee beans from the fruit
- Ferment/clean the coffee beans
- Dry the coffee beans
- Remove the “parchment” layer from the dry beans
- Roast and grind the beans
I created a couple of videos showing the whole process. You can watch the two-part long version or the short version.
In Part One, we remove the coffee beans from the fruit and start the fermentation process. (Length: 18:29 min)
We did this all by hand, so it was a rather time-consuming process. Using your teeth is not necessarily recommended but works much better than any implement I’ve found, unless you do it the easy way and smash with a big board, like this (Length: 1:43 min):
In Part Two, we show the final process from drying to roasting. (Length: 17:39 min)
If you’re short on time, watch the short version. I demonstrate the whole process from coffee plant to cup in 2.5 minutes:
And, just because…I’m sure you have a cup of coffee close at hand. Have a little fun with the Hip-Hop version!
There’s really no excuse for the rap, but I guess you could call it “edutainment.”
Can’t handle the caffeine in coffee? Try some Dandelion Coffee.
A few years ago, I did a post sharing the entire process as a Hawaiian couple does it.
Sounds like fun and you get coffee?! That’s a win-win! So are you going to try to grow your own coffee plant? Tell us in the comments below.
The post How to Process a Coffee Plant From Tree To Delicious Cup appeared first on The Grow Network.
Save money by growing your own peach trees from seeds. It’s amazingly easy! My video on how to germinate peach pits has almost 40,000 views since I posted it back in July of last year. Watch it below.
Since posting that instructional video, I have received a lot of comments and emails from people thanking me for showing them how to grow their own peaches from seeds.
Recently, my friend Amanda sent these two pictures of her peach-sprouting success.
How Do You Germinate Peach Pits?
Some years ago, I discovered in some dusty corner of the internet that peach pits require cold stratification to germinate. Cold stratification is a technique used to simulate real-world conditions that a seed would get outdoors after a frozen winter, which then gives way to a warm, wet spring. There are six methods of cold stratification to choose from: cold water soaking, refrigeration, fall planting, winter/solstice sowing, outdoor treatment, and snow planting.
I put this knowledge to the test with great success, starting about 50 peach pits I found beneath an abandoned and squirrel-ravaged Tropic Beauty peach growing a few miles from my old place in North Florida.
I did this experiment despite the fact that there are hordes of small-minded gardeners, who take great pleasure in lecturing everyone about the utter worthlessness of starting fruit trees from seed.
These people are wrong.
Here’s a video I did showing some of my seed-grown peach trees in fruit:
And here are two pictures of some of the delicious fruit I got as a result of germinating peach pits in my very own refrigerator:
In their SECOND year, my two seedling peach trees produced about five gallons of fruit. They continued to massively outproduce the grafted peach trees I planted before them, plus they grew with more vigor.
Growing fruit trees from seed isn’t a dumb thing to do. It’s a great thing to do, and a YUGE, high energy, too. Check out this video on how I germinated other fruit trees from seed!
Sometimes the “experts” aren’t necessarily correct. They’re just people who say things adamantly because they’ve heard other people say them.
Heck with that.
Germinate peach pits and you get free fruit trees. Easy! The same method works for plums and cherries, too. And if that’s not enough, you can read about sprouting avocados here.
Finally, here’s how you germinate peach pits, cartoon-style:
Thanks for the pictures, Amanda, and may your peaches grow and produce abundantly. And let us know how your germination experiments go! We’d love to hear from you. Put your comments below.
Clothes pins–along with bobby pins, paper clips, and Q-tips–are one of those handy little items that almost everyone has around the house, but most people don’t realize they have multiple functions beyond the ones they were invented for. In this video, the very creative Youtuber known as Sensible Prepper lists 25 ways to use clothespins […]
Today I want to share a really cool tutorial I found by Survivalist Prepper. For a lot of people, money is tight, so buying little camp stoves for your bug out bag or whatnot can be a challenge. This is why it’s worth learning how to make your own things. This DIY alcohol stove requires […]
The post DIY Alcohol Stove With a Dollar Store Water Bottle appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
In case you don’t know, the “5 C’s of Survivability” is a term coined by survival expert Dave Canterbury from Dual Survival. It’s an easy way to remember the things you need to survive in the wilderness. His list includes a cutting tool, combustion, covering, container, cordage. Since they are the most difficult things to […]
Finding water in the wilderness is actually pretty straightforward. Walk downhill, look for animal tracks that are all heading in the same direction, watch for areas with lots of insects such as mosquitoes, and listen carefully. There are many other ways to gather water in the wilderness, but those are the basics. Gathering water in […]
The post 8 Hidden Fresh Water Sources To Tap for Urban Survival appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
This video by Corporals Corner shows that if you know what you’re doing, you can survive in the wilderness with only a few simple supplies. There are lots of “dollar store survival item” lists out there, but what I love about this video is how he takes the items into the woods and uses them […]
The post Setting Up Camp With Just 5 Dollar Store Survival Items appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
I recently discovered a fairly new Youtube channel called The Prepared Wanderer who in just one year has already made nearly 100 videos. His focus is on camping and bushcraft and he’s been a Search and Rescue Team Leader for over a decade. This video is his response to a viewer who wanted to know […]
Canadian Prepper is probably the best survival-related channel on Youtube. He’s made hundreds of high-quality videos on a variety of topics. This particular video is on a topic that isn’t discussed often enough: survival psychology. People in the first world live such easy, cushy lives compared to everyone else. Yes, even those of you who […]
SHTF is by far the most popular acronym in the prepper community, but what exactly would cause SHTF? What sort of crises should we be on the alert for? In this video by Reality Survival, JJ Johnson talks about 10 realistic disasters that could happen at any time. If nothing else, this list will remind […]
One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of preparedness is the question of what to do with excrement after the SHTF. Disaster movies often show people starving to death or killing each other, but one of the most common ways people die during disasters is from diseases like cholera due to a lack of sanitation. […]
Q-tips, cotton buds, cotton swabs, or whatever you want to call them, can be found in almost every single household. So if you’re a prepper, you may as well learn how to use cotton swabs in a survival scenario. In this video, Sensible Prepper shares 25 survival uses for cotton swabs. Below is the complete […]
Is your bad back a real pain when you garden? If so, you’ve faced the reality that there are certain gardening methods that are easier on the back than others, such as gardening in containers or planting in waist-high beds.
But what if you want to embrace traditional gardening methods and plant straight in the ground, but can’t—or don’t want to—double dig?
Summer: Bake the Soil to Kill Grass and Weeds
In this video, Marjory shows you how to turn a patch of grass into bare soil using a simplified version of a technique called “solarizing.”
By laying a tarp or 2 mil black plastic on the would-be garden bed, weighing it down with rocks, and letting the plot bake for a few months in the summer sun, you can effectively kill grass, weed seeds, and even unwelcome soil diseases. Some research has shown that using a clear plastic does an even better job killing unwanted grass, weed seeds, and soil-borne diseases.
If you live in a hot area and get a lot of sunny days, you’ll usually need to wait a few summer months before removing the black plastic.
In places where the summers are mild, wait even longer.
(Shorten this timeframe by tilling and re-leveling the soil before laying down the plastic, but it’s certainly more back-friendly to just lay down a tarp and wait!)
Autumn, Part 1: Reintroduce the Good Microbes
For solarizing to be really effective, your soil needs to reach about 150°F (66°C).
That’s hot enough to also kill some of the good microbes in the soil. In late autumn, top dress the soil with about 4 to 6 inches (10 cm to 15 cm) of good organic matter—compost, composted manure, or green manures.
We’re going for no more bad backs. So, spread the top dressing and let irrigation and earthworms pull the nutrients down into the subsoil.
(Do this each autumn to increase soil fertility.)
Autumn, Part 2: Use a Garden Fork in Rocky Soil
A note here for those of you with rocky soil: Once you remove the plastic covering, apply a garden fork to soil to remove the bigger rocks.
If you must do this yourself, be sure to use a garden fork with a long, lightweight handle. Try to keep your back straight by bending at the knees instead of the waist.
(Do a YouTube search for “gardening without back pain” for other helpful videos on safely using long-handled tools in the garden.)
Alternately, ask a relative or friend to do it for you, or hire someone to help with this task.
Trade with fellow gardeners—the work you can’t do for the work you can. Perhaps you could provide compost in exchange for help tilling rocky soil, or seedlings in exchange for help weeding.
Spring: Strategic Planning and Garden Planting
When it’s time to plant in Spring, some folks with bad backs like to use a simple, homemade seed-sowing tool.
- Simply take a four-foot length of 2.5 inch PVC pipe and cut a 45° angle on one end. (If you buy your PVC at one of the larger home improvement stores, they will often cut it for you at no charge.)
- Use the sharp end of your seed-sowing tool to make holes or furrows.
- Hold the pipe upright. Drop the seeds in the top hole, and let them fall through to the soil.
- Then, use the tool to cover the seeds with soil.
When deciding what and how to plant, consider reducing the need to weed by using companion planting methods, mulch, a block-style layout—or a combination of the three.
Achieve Gardening Success—Even With a Bad Back!
It’s well-known that converting a plot of sod into a fertile garden is backbreaking work.
But, through pre-planning and gardening smarter, not harder, you can work your beds successfully—without overworking your back!
Now let’s hear from you. What tips and tricks do you use to keep your back in tip-top shape? Tell us in the comments below.
Several months ago, I got a terrible case of the flu. I was running to the bathroom all night, and in the morning I couldn’t even get out of bed. After a few hours, the nausea subsided, but I started to get a headache. It gradually got worse, and worse, and worse, until by lunchtime […]
If you’re a prepper or survivalist, you gotta check this out. Youtube creator, Paul Elkins, put together what he calls his post-apocalyptic bicycle camper / bug out vehicle. Obviously, this wouldn’t work if you have a group or a family, but if you plan to go it alone after the SHTF and there is no […]
Guns are an issue. They have always been an issue and they will always be an issue. There is always someone out there with the great utopian idea that if we simply take away all the guns we will eliminate all the crime. This idea has been proven to fail for many reasons. And yet […]
This is an entertaining video from The Urban Farming Guys who are doing their best to make urban farming exciting. There is no shortage of talent and resource in most urban areas, but there is a serious shortage of fresh foods. This is a giant problem in America today. This food shortage would only be […]
If a major disaster strikes your town, the disaster itself won’t be the only threat to your safety. You’ll also have to beware of two types of people: those without food or supplies who are desperate enough to rob anybody, and criminals who are taking advantage of the lack of law enforcement. That’s why situational […]
The further we get from the days of the pioneers, the more helpless people become. It’s gotten to where most young people (millennials and generation Z) have no basic survival skills. To them, cooking dinner means putting a frozen entree into the microwave. Many of them have never cooked a meal from scratch in their […]
Sometimes an accessory is surprisingly good. So was the case with the Hardened Power Systems USB Multi-Tap. This USB charger might just be the world’s most powerful gadget charger. Where to find: (Mention THR in the order details for the free adapter) HPS USB Multi-Tap 12V/7A Power Supply HPS Operator G1
Most people use plastic hangers nowadays. But if you’re like me, you have an extra closet with dozens of wire coat hangers inside. Before you throw all those old hangers away, you should know there are several ways you can make use of them in a survival scenario. Sensible Prepper made a video all about […]
Here’s a simple compost pile design:
Unlike many of my composting experiments, this is a traditional compost pile of alternating layers of carboniferous and nitrogenous materials. The boundary is made from cut limbs hammered into the ground and woven about with palm fronds.
The C/N ratio in this pile should be about perfect with the greens and browns but if it doesn’t get hot enough I can always pour on some diluted urine to raise the nitrogen levels.
This simple compost pile can be set up anywhere in about an hour using local materials. I’ve done this in a cornfield before, cutting and chopping old stalks for the base, then adding on layers of greens and browns. Come back a few months later and harvest your compost!
Here’s a breakdown on the whole process.
How to Build a Simple Compost Pile with Local Materials
Step 1: Cut Stakes
I used sticks cut from some unidentified roadside nitrogen-fixing tree locals use as a windbreak.
It’s a soft wood and easy to chop, but you can use anything you like from bamboo to oak to PVC. 4-5′ lengths are good, as you want the pile to reach at least 3′ tall and you need some stake depth to drive into the ground.
Step 2: Install Stakes and Put Down Rough Material
I had already cut up some rough material and thrown it down before putting in the stakes, but it’s better to put in the stakes first.
Cornstalks, hedge trimmings and other rough materials filled with air pockets make a good compost pile foundation. In the case of this pile, I used chopped twigs and leaves from the nitrogen-fixing trees used for the stakes, some jasmine and hibiscus trimmings and a papaya tree.
Step 3: Weave the Sides
I can’t make a good basket, but I’m not bad at simple compost pile weaving.
The idea is to hold in the compost while still allowing some air through into the pile. This also supports the stakes. In a temperate climate you could replace the palm fronds with grape vines, tall grasses, cattails or other plant material.
Step 4: Add some Browns
Gotta get that carbon!
As I state in the video, these leaves have a lot of dirt in them. That soil contains microbes which will help break everything down, so I didn’t bother adding a few shovelfuls of soil as I normally would when making a compost pile.
Step 5: Add some Greens (and Keep Layering!)
Get that nitrogen in there!
Grass clippings are a really good compost pile starter – if you have them, use them.
Just keep laying greens and browns until you’ve made the pile nice and tall. You can also throw in biochar if you have it.
It won’t really help the composting process, but my hope is that it will be charged up with nutrients, bacteria and fungi as the pile rots.
Step 6: Water Well
This is important: composting uses a lot of water, so get some on at the beginning. If most of your materials are dry, you might want to water each layer as you build the pile. I was too lazy to do that so I soaked it from the top before finishing the final covering layer.
Step 7: Cover the Pile
Covering the pile holds in heat and moisture. Sticking with my locally available materials, I used banana leaves.
You can also use a tarp or just another layer of brown leaves. Compost really isn’t a finicky thing to make – it’s will work, even if you don’t do anything “right.”
It’s going to decay and become humus over time, hot or not, perfect ratios or not.
In a few months you can turn this pile over and sift out the good stuff – or just push it around over the garden bed beneath and get planting.
Get out there and get composting – a simple compost pile is all you need.
The post How to Build a Super Simple Compost Pile from Local Materials appeared first on The Grow Network.
Call it a radio go box or Ham-O-Can, the Operator G1 by Hardened Power Systems IS the Ham-O-Can…only better. The original Ham-O-Can video is here. This comms box is one awesome piece of kit. Check it out: Products in the video: HPS Operator G1 Midland MXT 105 Operator Magnetic Kickstands New 15 Watt Midland MXT …
This week I want to share a video by Homestead Launch (formerly known as The Daily Prep). Everyone–and I mean everyone–makes mistakes. This is especially when it comes to prepping, which is a lot more complicated than it looks. Your best bet is to learn from the mistakes of others, and that is the purpose […]
There’s no way to downplay the importance of being able to cook in a survival scenario. With a simple heat source you can stay warm, sterilize water, cook out impurities in meat, and even begin to manipulate soft metals. Cooking over an open campfire is simple enough if you’re in the middle of a forest, […]
Some of you are probably asking, “What in the world is an INCH bag?” Most survival sites focus on everyday carry bags and bug out bags, but it’s a good idea to have an INCH bag as well. It stands for, “I’m Never Coming Home.” An INCH bag is the ultimate end-of-the-world bag, the kind […]
If the grid goes down, generating power is going to be a top priority. The question is, how can everyday joe living in an urban area generate power without drawing unwanted attention? Gas generators are too loud, and solar panels only work on sunny days. Well, electronicsNmore came up with another option. In this video, […]
The post Build a Hand Crank Generator Out of a Dish Washer Motor appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Electric cars are gaining prevalence on the roads throughout the world. Check out this video to find out why they are not the answer, without even knowing the question. In the video I mentioned a letter. If you would like to see THR work with Tesla on a complete off the grid system, it is …
There are countless articles and videos with lists of tips, hacks, and things to do if you bug in during a disaster. However, there aren’t many lists of things NOT to do. That is the subject of this video by Reality Survival. If you’ve never bugged in for an extended period of time without power, […]
It is an exciting time in solar power. Storage is shifting from Lead Acid batteries to Lithium Ion. Panels are appearing everywhere in all shapes, sizes, and forms. What happens when you don’t have the space or funds for a large system? What can you do with smaller solar power systems? It turns out the …
The Urban Prepper has a very cool urban survival tin. Most survival tins only have things you would need to survive a disaster: lighter, knife, fishing line, water purification tablets, and the like. But this is more of an “urban convenience” tin. It’s made up of things an urban dweller might find useful on a […]
We’ve been on this series for some time and here it is, the COMPLETE How To Build The Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle. Bug Out Vehicles, they can mean different things to different people. Not all “bug outs” may be permanent, some could be. In this video we talk about the fundamentals of building a bug …
One of the most popular types of stoves for bug out bags is the Solo Stove. Only problem is, they cost anywhere from $60 to $100. But there’s good news: you can make something very similar with two ordinary tin cans, and this tutorial by IntenseAngler shows you how. I typed out the steps for […]
We spent the series looking at how to build a good foundation for your Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle, now we take a look at the gear. Everyone will have a different set of challenges to overcome in their own personal choices on how to outfit a vehicle. This is how I built mine and let …
Imagine a line of pickets that can pick up the approach of anything heading your way. That’s exactly what you have with the Guardline GL-5000 Motion Detecting Alarm System. This is a security system that is well worth it.
This product review was a walk in the park… actually a walk around the yard, testing the effective range of this rugged & versatile motion detector & programmable alarm system. The radio transponder motion detecting sensors easily covered the furthest reaches of my property, sending notice when movement was detected.
|BUY NOW & SAVE 10% with coupon “APN”|
Guardline, a major name in home security systems, has answered the call for a motion detector system with greater range & greater expandability, & has done so in a practical, affordable way.
Operating in the UHF 900 Mhz. radio band, Guardline’s sensors lie in wait to detect movement. Each censor able to be set up with different sensitivity, detected rate of movement, as well as scheduled time of operation. You can configure each one to match it’s location & need of coverage. With up to quarter mile range to the receiver, a sensor can alert you of movement, several minutes before anything could come close.
Made of high impact ABS Plastic in flat OD Green color, each sealed, battery powered sensor, blends into an outdoor setting & operates undetected day & night. The sensor comes with mounting screws for walls & fence posts, but I found it handy to use tie-straps for temporary mounting. The sensors weigh not much more than the 4 AA batteries it holds, so deploying these sensors tactically is a not a problem at all.
But here’s where the GL-5000 stands apart. The central receiver is programmable, with 4 monitoring zones, each able to monitor 4 separate sensors. That means you can deploy up to 16 sensors, & the receiver can keep track of each one. You can assign each sensor it’s own unique alert tone, so just by the sound you hear, you can know in an instant exactly where movement has been detected.
I noted several “choke-points” where anyone coming onto my property would have to pass. It was easy to install a sensor at each spot & give full coverage of the area. The furthest sensor was deep in the woods150 yards away. It was picked up by the desktop receiver. I even went all out and walked way out off my property, to the end of the road over a block away, it still was received. The Guardline GL-5000 is ideal for long range motion detection capability. And with batteries supplying power to the sensors, the system makes for great temporary deployed perimeter security.
My one hitch in the review was all by my doing. The sensor’s case is held together by four small brass screws, and I of course promptly dropped one as soon as I went to put batteries in the unit. I quickly found the dropped screw, but word to the wise, be careful with opening the sensors.
The number of batteries you invest in may be a burden if you have as many sensors the GL-5000 can handle…(16 units x 4 AA batteries each = 64 batteries), but rechargeable batteries are available which can minimize the burden. And if you’re like me, a solar powered charging system can easily be put together which can keep things topped off indefinitely. The upside is how the sensors can be programmed to “sleep” for set periods of the day or night, cutting down on battery use. The GL-5000 doesn’t come with connections to a computer or internet, however that’s another thing a whiz-kid tinkerer could figure out.
That all said, if you’re looking for a reliable, expandable & affordable way to guard for intruders Guardline’s GL-5000 system is more than capable. For Home Security I give it a big Thumb’s Up!
UPDATE: We don’t often offer product specials, but Guardline is offering 10%OFF on purchasing their products through this review. Use Coupon code “APN”.
Offer expires Feb. 28th. 2017.
|Ordering Here Supports further APN Reviews!|
The post Guardline GS-5000 Motion Detection Security System / APN Product Review appeared first on American Preppers Network.
Imagine some burglars break into your home while you’re at work or away on vacation. How long would it take them to find your most valuable possessions (cash, jewelry, electronics, etc)? Would they find those things in a matter of minutes, or would it take them hours? If the former, then it’s time to start […]
If you only clicked this link out of curiosity, you might be expecting the trick to be total BS. It’s not. Now I’m not saying there is some magic trick that will make the cold feel warm, or that you’ll gain a supernatural ability to withstand freezing temperatures without ever getting hypothermia. However, there is […]
DIY Night Vision Powered By A 9v Battery This blew me away and After seeing what it took to make this I may just have to rummage around my moms old stuff and get the old video camera. This is made very easily, just light soldering and gluing. I decided to post this because I …