Thursday, December 31, 2009

Try Strawberries


Growing strawberries in your garden has to be one of the more rewarding gardening efforts, because there is just no comparison between store bought strawberries and those picked fresh from the garden. So let’s take a look at how to grow strawberries in your garden.

The traditional way to grow strawberries is to nurture them as perennials, that is you plant them one year and expect them to peak in later years. But some places in the South where the summers are quite hot it is not uncommon to grow them as an annual, and replant the following year.

Based on how you might want to grow them you can pick the one of the strawberry varieties that will work for you.

Where to Plant Strawberries

Strawberries are very versatile, and can be planted in a variety of ways. Many people will plant strawberries in containers. Hanging strawberry planters are a favorite, and let you grow strawberries on the balcony or a patio. For this its common to plant them as annuals so you don’t have to overwinter the container. Strawberries should not be planted where peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes have been grown since these plants can harbor verticillium wilt, a seriously bad disease for strawberries. If in doubt you may think of using the square foot gardening approach which uses a soilless mix in raised beds.

The most common way of growing strawberries is in a bed. Since they are most often grown as perennials, you want a location for the bed that is out of the way, as it will be mulched and scraggly looking for part of the year. You may want a raised garden bed as this will help control the week population, since in perennial beds you can’t just go in and till it up once a year. Like most garden vegetables or fruits, strawberries like full sun, at least six hours of sun a day.

Strawberries need at least one to two inches of rain a week, so if your climate won’t provide that factor in the need for irrigation like the proximity to a hose when choosing a location.

Soil Preparation

Drainage must be good (another advantage of a raised bed) and they do best in a sandy loamy soil. For any garden bed it’s good to prepare the soil with a healthy addition of organic matter like compost, but it’s particularly good for perennial plantings as they chance to work that in again could be several years away.

There are several popular approaches to creating a strawberry bed, which vary a little based on the varieties that you want to grow.

Matted Rows

Matted rows are good for June-bearing strawberries. The plants should be planted about eighteen to thirty inches apart in rows, with the rows being 3 to 4 feet apart. Daughter plants are allowed to spread and root freely. This should result in a matted row about 24 inches wide.

Spaced Rows

With spaced rows to goal is to limit the number of daughter plants spreading out from the mother plant. Once again the mother plants are set eighteen to thirty inches apart with rows spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. The daughter plants are spaced out so they root at least four inches apart. All other runners are cut from the mother plants. This is somewhat higher maintenance approach, but the payoff is in higher yields, larger strawberries and reduced disease problems.

Hills

Hills are recommended for growing everbearing and day-neutral strawberries. For this approach all runners are removed, leaving only the original strawberry plant, forcing the mother plant to develop more crowns and stalks for fruiting. Start by arranging multiple rows of two to four plants with a walkway between each group of rows about two feet wide. The plants are staggered about one foot apart in the rows. After the first two or three weeks of growth add mulch to the bed.

Planting Strawberries

Plant in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Plant the new plants where the crown is at soil level. The buds can be harmed by frost, so for new plantings you may want to wait til after the last frost.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Great Gathering


We are in a unique time on the planet; humanity is now facing a crossroad. The choices we make today will affect our children for generations to come.

By coming together in our hearts, we can and will create the change we want to see in the world. Every day more people are awakening to understand that we must act responsibly and act now to create this change.

How do we begin to make this change with our world facing crisis on so many fronts: financial woes, famine, homelessness, perpetual wars, food shortages, exploitation and disease (to name only a few)? We do have a choice.

We are in the time of choice and human beings around the world are feeling a call to unite and make our voices heard and our actions count. People from the indigenous world to the political are beginning to step forward and speak of this change through action and choice.

There are many indigenous groups, as well as different faiths and beliefs, now sharing prophecies regarding information about this special time on the planet. Within all beliefs there is a similar thread that gives us the same message: we must unite in our hearts in order to overcome the challenges we are now facing on the earth.

What is The Great Gathering? It is the same message of many beliefs from around the world. The message is simple: now is the time for humanity to unite to create the one voice for the people of Earth.

This Great Gathering will be in every country around the world; we will stand together and join our hands, our hearts and our voices. This will create the spark that brings light to the rest of the world and to humanity.

All groups from all directions will join in this celebration of life, of nature, of humanity and all that is.

Neighborhood groups, churches, friends, coworkers, families, corporations that are trying to be responsible, politicians trying to create change, religious leaders, eco-villages, farm associations, truckers, health care workers, humanitarian organizations, educators, laborers, dishwashers, peacekeepers, all races, religions and economic backgrounds (the list is endless) will come together as one in our hearts. Together we will be one voice and change will happen.

In order to begin The Great Gathering we must lay the foundation for this event through our networks of friends and associates. Change starts with the individual taking responsibility. Please send this message to your friends and networks around the world so that once The Great Gathering becomes known around the globe we can then act and call on humanity to join us.

Change and true unity comes from the heart and being humble in our service to the earth and others. We are all connected; this gathering is to remind us that our lives on this earth are a gift to be honored.


We are all equal and we deserve to be heard. The Great Gathering gives us all a voice to say we want change and support change for our children. Through our hearts and unity we can make a difference. Let’s work on making this a reality in 2010—the year of change—by sharing this one idea. Together we will decide when The Great Gathering takes place.

This is how it begins.... with you.......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Year Try Pole Beans


Beans are sensitive to cold temperatures and frost. They should be planted after all danger of frost is past in the spring. If the soil has warmed before the average last-frost date, an early planting may be made a week to 10 days before this date. You can assure yourself a continuous supply of snap beans by planting every 2 to 4 weeks until early August.
Plant seeds of all varieties one inch deep. Plant seeds of pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart along trellis, netting, fence, or poles; or in hills (four to six seeds per hill) 30 inches apart, with 30 inches between rows.
Seeds of most varieties tend to crack and germinate poorly if the soil's moisture content is too high. For this reason, never soak bean seed before planting. Instead water just after planting or plant right before a heavy rain.
Beans have shallow roots and frequent shallow cultivation and hoeing are necessary to control small weeds and grasses. Because bean plants have fairly weak root systems, deep, close cultivation injures the plant roots, delays harvest and reduces yields.
Harvest when the pods are firm, crisp and fully elongated, but before the seed within the pod has developed significantly. Pick beans after the dew is off the plants, and they are thoroughly dry. Picking beans from wet plants can spread bean bacterial blight, a disease that seriously damages the plants. Be careful not to break the stems or branches, which are brittle on most bean varieties. The bean plant continues to form new flowers and produces more beans if pods are continually removed before the seeds mature.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Survival Foods


Natural disasters are a reality that the entire world deals with including hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and even simple short-term power outages. It is important to be prepared in the kitchen. Those who are used to severe weather storms most likely already have an emergency food plan in place. Find out what you can do to prepare your kitchen for natural disasters or any state of emergency with tips and recipes.
Disaster Survival Food Pantry Basics
You probably already stock most pantry basics needed to prepare for a disaster. Canned foods immediately come to mind, whether you can your own or purchase commercially-canned goods. Recent studies have found that modern canning methods can produce a product that is often even more nutritious than their fresh counterpart. Vegetables canned in a liquid are excellent to have on hand in case of a water shortage, as the liquid can be used in place of fresh water in your recipe. A variety of herbs and spices, as well as salt, are a necessity to doctor up shelf-stable foods or for whatever new creations your fertile mind may devise. Salt is also a nutritional necessity.

Cooking oil will be needed for frying foods or making a roux to thicken sauces and stews. Olive oil will be fine unrefrigerated for a few months, indefinitely in cool weather. Jarred mayonnaise is shelf-stable. You might want to stock up on small jars that can be used quickly. Although it has preservatives, it will separate after opening if not refrigerated or kept on ice.

Flour and baking mix will last for up to 1 year on the shelf while sugar, salt, and honey are everlasting as long as they are properly stored in sealed packages or waterproof containers.

Pastas, rice, and dried legumes have long shelf lives, but if your water supply is limited, they will do you no good. Dry cereals can be eaten without milk or with canned juice as a snack or a meal on the run, a sure kid-pleaser. Pasteurized milk is now available in boxes which will keep in your cupboards up to 6 months and come in handy for making a quick sauce. Powdered and evaporated canned milk are further backups.

Dehydrated onions and mushrooms, along with canned vegetable juices, are great for soups, stews, and dutch oven meals with the additional benefit of reducing the need for added salt due to the concentrated flavor. Dry soup bases and gravy mixes can also serve as a basis for soups and stews.

Canned meats and seafood can be used in cold or hot dishes. Processed cheese food and dry grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses are shelf-stable and can fill in for cheese flavor.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor


Somehow I feel it is time to rally around the Flag.
My Grandfathers brother was on this ship, the USS Arizona

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cucumbers


Cucumber is a tender, warm-season vegetable that produces well when given proper care and protection. The vines of standard varieties grow rapidly and require substantial space. Vertical training methods and new dwarf varieties now allow cucumbers to be grown for slicing, salads and pickling, even in small garden plots.
When to Plant
Cucumbers are usually started by planting seeds directly in the garden. Plant after the danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed in the spring. Warm soil is necessary for germination of seeds and proper growth of plants. With ample soil moisture, cucumbers thrive in warm summer weather. A second planting for fall harvest may be made in mid- to late summer.

Cucumbers may be transplanted for extra-early yields. Sow two or three seeds in peat pots, peat pellets or other containers 3 to 4 weeks before the frost-free date. Thin to one plant per container. Plant transplants 1 to 2 feet apart in rows 5 to 6 feet apart when they have two to four true leaves. Do not allow transplants to get too large in containers or they will not transplant well. Like other vine crops, cucumbers do not transplant successfully when pulled as bare-root plants.


Spacing & Depth
Plant seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep and thin the seedlings to one plant every 12 inches in the row or to three plants every 36 inches in the hill system. If you use transplants, plant them carefully in warm soil 12 inches apart in the row.


Care
Cucumber plants have shallow roots and require ample soil moisture at all stages of growth. When fruit begins setting and maturing, adequate moisture becomes especially critical. For best yields, incorporate compost or well-rotted manure before planting. Cucumbers respond to mulching with soil-warming plastic in early spring or organic materials in summer. Use of black plastic mulch warms the soil in the early season and can give significantly earlier yields, especially if combined with floating row covers.

Side-dress with nitrogen fertilizer when the plants begin to vine. Cucumber beetles should be controlled from the time that the young seedlings emerge from the soil.

In small gardens, the vines may be trained on a trellis or fence. When the long, burpless varieties are supported, the cucumbers hang free and develop straight fruits. Winds whipping the plants can make vertical training impractical. Wire cages also can be used for supporting the plants. Do not handle, harvest or work with the plants when they are wet.


Harvesting
Pick cucumbers at any stage of development before the seeds become hard. Cucumbers usually are eaten when immature. The best size depends upon the use and variety. They may be picked when they are no more than 2 inches long for pickles, 4 to 6 inches long for dills and 6 to 8 inches long for slicing varieties. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp. The large, burpless cucumbers should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and up to 10 inches long. Some varieties can grow considerably larger. Do not allow cucumbers to turn yellow. Remove from the vine any missed fruits nearing ripeness so that the young fruits continue to develop. The cucumber fruit grows rapidly to harvest size and should be picked at least every other day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How Long do you Boil Water for it to be safe

I frequently come upon bad advice about boiling water to make it safe to drink. Having enough safe drinking water is of utmost importance to any survivor. Proper information is very important and for that reason I am writing this is to set the record straight.

Boiling Water is the Best Method
As some of us know, boiling water is surest and most effective method of destroying microorganisms including disease causing bacteria, viruses, protozoan’s, and parasites.

Modern filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water come in a poor distant second to the ancient and almost foolproof method of boiling water to make it safe to drink. And importantly to the survivor, the boiling of water requires no special apparatus, training, or difficult to find chemicals. The means to boil water for safe drinking are usually close at hand:
•A source of heat
•A vessel to hold the water.
Boil Water Advisory Couldn’t be simpler. Or is it?
Commonly Stated Water Boiling Times
How Long Should Water be boiled
I am always hearing different amounts of time that water needs to be boiled to kill disease organisms. Recently I perused various publications put out by the government and trusted health organizations. What is glaringly obvious is they disagree on the length of time water should be boiled to make it safe to drink.
Common water boiling times that are stated include:

•“Boil water for 10 minutes” is a common statement
•“5-minutes of boiling” is also frequently heard
•“Boil the water for 20 minutes”. Would there be any left?
•“A rolling boil for 1 minute”. Is it enough?
•“When at high altitudes you need to boil water for twice as long”
Modern filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water come in a poor distant second to the ancient and almost foolproof method of boiling water to make it safe to drink. Which of the above statements are true? None. That’s right. Following any of the above advice for the boiling times of water is a big waste of fuel (and a waste of water if you are short on water cannot afford to lose any to evaporation).

Throughout the world whole forests have been cut down for firewood in order to boil drinking water. Hikers and mountaineers have used up precious fuel boiling water for inordinate amounts of time. In a survival situation you cannot afford to waste valuable resources and energy. With all the bad advice around, many thousands of trees and other fuels and a huge amount of effort have been wasted.

Correct Water Boiling Time
The correct amount of time to boil water is 0 minutes. Thats right, zero minutes.

"According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude."

What is not well known is that contaminated water can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling. The fact is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour for all disease causing organisms to be inactivated. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes. By the time water hits its boiling point of 212 F (100 C) - plus or minus depending upon pressure or altitude - the water is safe. Even at high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it.

Lacking a thermometer to measure water temperature, you only need to get your water to a rolling boil. By that point you know the water is hot enough and that the disease organisms in your water were destroyed quite some time earlier. End of story, turn off the heat. Stop wasting fuel. Let the water cool down. Your water is safe to drink!

Hope

Friday, November 27, 2009

Growing in Containers


You don't need a plot of land to grow fresh vegetables. Many vegetables lend themselves well to container gardening. With some thought to selecting bush or dwarf varieties, almost any vegetable can be adapted to growing in a pot. Vegetables that take up little space, such as carrots, radishes and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are perfect for container vegetable gardens.

What you can grow in a container vegetable garden is limited only by the size of the container and your imagination. How about a Summer Salad container? Plant a tomato, a cucumber and some parsley or chives all in a large (24-30") container. They grow well together and have the same water and sun requirements. By late summer they might not be very pretty, but they'll keep producing into the fall. This makes a great housewarming present, too.


Containers and Pots for Vegetable Gardens
Selecting Containers: Containers for your vegetable gardens can be almost anything: flower pots, pails, buckets, wire baskets, bushel baskets, wooden boxes, nursery flats, window planters, washtubs, strawberry pots, plastic bags, large food cans, or any number of other things.
Drainage: No matter what kind of container you choose for your vegetable garden, it should have holes at the base or in the bottom to permit drainage of excess water.

Color Considerations: You should be careful when using dark colored containers because they absorb heat which could possibly damage the plant roots. If you do use dark colored pots, try painting them a lighter color or shading just the container.

Size: The size of the container is important. For larger vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants, you should use a five gallon container for each plant. You can grow these plants in two gallon containers, however you need to give the plants considerably more attention.


Soil and Fertilizer
You can use soil in your container vegetable garden, but the synthetic mixes are much better. Peat-based mixes, containing peat and vermiculite, are excellent. They are relatively sterile and pH adjusted. They also allow the plants to get enough air and water. Mixing in one part compost to two parts planting mix will improve fertility.
Using a slow release or complete organic fertilizer at planting will keep your vegetables fed for the whole growing season.


Watering
Pots and containers always require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. As the season progresses and your plants mature, their root system will expand and require even more water. Don't wait until you see the plants wilting. Check your containers daily to judge the need for water.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wheatgrass, what is it?


Wheatgrass will Increase red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass also stimulates metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body.

Stimulates the thyroid gland, correcting obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints.

Restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice's abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood. It can be used to relieve many internal pains, and has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.

Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver and blood protector. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.

Fights tumors and neutralizes toxins. Recent studies show that wheatgrass juice has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. The many active compounds found in grass juice cleanse the blood and neutralize and digest toxins in our cells.

Contains beneficial enzymes. Whether you have a cut finger you want to heal or you desire to lose five pounds...enzymes must do the actual work. The life and abilities of the enzymes found naturally in our bodies can be extended if we help them from the outside by adding exogenous enzymes, like the ones found in wheatgrass juice. Don't cook it. We can only get the benefits of the many enzymes found in grass by eating it uncooked. Cooking destroys 100 percent of the enzymes in food.

Has remarkable similarity to our own blood. The second important nutritional aspect of chlorophyll is its remarkable similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in the blood. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute of Health in Japan, is a leading advocate for the use of grass as food and medicine. He reasons that since chlorophyll is soluble in fat particles, and fat particles are absorbed directly into the blood via the lymphatic system, that chlorophyll can also be absorbed in this way. In other words, when the "blood" of plants is absorbed in humans it is transformed into human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body.

When used as a rectal implant, reverses damage from inside the lower bowel. An implant is a small amount of juice held in the lower bowel for about 20 minutes. In the case of illness, wheatgrass implants stimulate a rapid cleansing of the lower bowel and draw out accumulations of debris.

Externally applied to the skin can help eliminate itching almost immediately.

Will soothe sunburned skin and act as a disinfectant. Rubbed into the scalp before a shampoo, it will help mend damaged hair and alleviate itchy, scaly, scalp conditions.

Is soothing and healing for cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy, athlete's foot, insect bites, boils, sores, open ulcers, tumors, and so on. Use as a poultice and replace every two to four hours.

Works as a sleep aide. Merely place a tray of living wheatgrass near the head of your bed. It will enhance the oxygen in the air and generate healthful negative ions to help you sleep more soundly.

Enhances your bath. Add some to your bath water and settle in for a nice, long soak.

Sweetens the breath and firms up and tightens gums. Just gargle with the juice.

Neutralizes toxic substances like cadmium, nicotine, strontium, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride.

Offers the benefits of a liquid oxygen transfusion since the juice contains liquid oxygen. Oxygen is vital to many body processes: it stimulates digestion (the oxidation of food), promotes clearer thinking (the brain utilizes 25% of the body's oxygen supply), and protects the blood against anaerobic bacteria. Cancer cells cannot exist in the presence of oxygen.

Turns gray hair to its natural color again and greatly increases energy levels when consumed daily.

Is a beauty treatment that slows down the aging process when the juice is consumed. Wheatgrass will cleanse your blood and help rejuvenate aging cells, slowing the aging process way down, making you feel more alive right away. It will help tighten loose and sagging skin.

Lessens the effects of radiation. One enzyme found in wheatgrass, SOD, lessens the effects of radiation and acts as an anti-inflammatory compound that may prevent cellular damage following heart attacks or exposure to irritants.

Restores fertility and promotes youthfulness.

Can double your red blood cell count just by soaking in it. Renowned nutritionist Dr. Bernard Jensen found that no other blood builders are superior to green juices and wheatgrass. In his book Health Magic Through Chlorophyll from Living Plant Life he mentions several cases where he was able to double the red blood cell count in a matter of days merely by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Blood building results occur even more rapidly when patients drink green juices and wheatgrass regularly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It’s time to get into Survival Mode

In today’s environment it’s hard to know what Emergency may occur and disrupt our daily lives. With the different kinds of challenges we may have to face, wouldn’t it be better to be ready just in case.

We hear on the news daily about some disaster happening in the world. From earthquakes, wild fires, flooding, tornados, hurricanes, terrorism. This is a slogan I heard a while back that goes, "It’s better to be years early than to be a minute too late". Because once something happens, you most likely will not be able to get prepared. It Will be Too Late. Are you willing to risk the safety of your family?

At American Survivalist we believe that it is part of our heritage to be ready and watchful for any kind of emergency in our Communities, our State, and our Country. This country has a lot of history that of which it was founded on and now the next chapter is about to be written. So what I say to you is how ready do you want to be. There is no getting ready when you are quarantined in your home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day


Today is a day of remembrance for all who have served and died for our country. And for those who are serving now in harm’s way. We should all stop for a moment and give thanks to those who enable us to live with the freedoms we still have.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Tomato Varieties


BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES-the primo slicer for sandwiches, cooking
Beefsteaks are the very biggest tomatoes. Their pulp cavity is generally relatively small, and always compressed and distorted by the extensive placenta wall, giving the 'marbled' appearance of a steak. Because of the compressed pulp cavity and networking of the fruit wall as placenta, beefsteaks hold together well when sliced, and together with their large size, make them the ideal 'slicer' for sandwiches. Because of their high fruit wall to pulp ratio, they also cook down well for sauces. There is a lot of variation between varieties in the density of the flesh, its juiciness (i.e. firm or very soft when ripe), and in the size and softness of the central 'core'. Flavor, as always, can vary, according to the ratio of sugars to acids, and according to the relative amount of sugar or acid present.

Big Beef F1 Staking variety. Outstandingly productive, easily out producing most other large, (about 100mm/4 inches in diameter/ 280 gms ) very regular fruit shape, with no cracking, produce large tomatoes even toward the end of the season, very good flavor. One of the very best of the large main season varieties.

Big Rainbow Staking variety. A spectacular looking tomato grown from at least the 1900's in the USA. Basically a large to very large yellow beefsteak, as the fruits ripen, go through a phase where they resemble a rainbow - 'greenback' on the shoulders, yellow in the middle, and with red blushed pink on the blossom end. The early set fruit can be very large at 900grams/2 lbs or more. The flesh is marbled red and orange. It is relatively free of fruit defects, and bears well. Highly rated in taste tests. Main season.

Brandywine Staking variety. A large beefsteak. Not as tall as some staking plants, this old cultivar (pre 1885, from the Amish community in USA) is renowned for its flavor. The fruit are large, between 400 and 700 grams. They are subject to minor cracking on the top, and are a rather soft fruit, but the flavor is outstanding, with both high sweetness and acidity, making for full flavor. The flavor can be poor in unfavorable seasons. Moderately productive. Main season. It has no disease resistance, and is unsuited to very humid hot areas where disease is a problem.

Evergreen Staking variety. Ripens green toning yellow. Medium sized fruit. The solid dense fruits are well suited to salsas, as well as slicing for frying or sandwiches. Main season.

Golianth F1 A large, smooth, deep red skinned commercial variety of around 300gms/10oz or more. Widely adapted and disease resistant. Early mid season.
Giant Belgium Large to very large, dark pink fruit of around 500 grams/ 1 lb. and sometimes much more. The flesh is dense and meaty.
Great White Staking variety. A particularly vigorous beefsteak, bearing large fruit of around 400 gms. The fruit are yellowish white. Main season.
Grosse Lisse Staking variety. Vigorous, adapted to humid areas. Large, (plus 200 grams) heavy yielding cultivar. Moderate sweetness, low to moderate acidity. Main season.

Marvel Striped Staking variety. Grown in Oaxaca, Mexico, at least since the mid-1800. The large, heart-shaped fruit are yellow streaked with bright orange. Yellow flesh, streaked pink. The skin is thin, Juicy. The flavor is sweet Vigorous.

Mortgage Lifter Staking variety. Extremely large, furrowed, red beefsteak (up to 1 kilo). In good conditions it can be exceptionally productive. Main season
Pineapple Staking variety. The fruit are yellow-red striped, and the plants have heavy foliage. Which helps prevent sunscald.

Ponderosa Pink Staking variety. Large fruit, 200 grams and better. Very ripe fruit are sweet with low acidity. Slightly under ripe fruit are sweet and with better acid. This variety is outstanding for flavor, Main season.
St. Pierre a French heirloom variety actively sought out in the street markets for its superior flavor.

Yellow Brandywine. a deep yellow, near orange color 'sport' of 'Brandywine'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Take Care of your Soil


If you’re gardening in the same soil year after year, you will want to do some things to keep it healthy and vibrant so that it continues to improve. In fact, a good farmer or gardener who’s using sustainable practices will see there soil steadily improving and even growing bigger with each passing year.

This is especially true if you take care to do the regular maintenance that a good garden requires. Most of this is easy to do and a lot of it will come naturally with the gardening process anyway.

First and foremost, never leave your soil bare to the elements. If you plant from seed, this probably can’t be helped much for a part of the year, but for 10 of the 12 months of the year, you soil should be growing something or covered with something. Wind erosion, sun leaching, and other things can quickly degrade the soil’s nutrients.

In the spring, before planting, cover the bare soil with manure or compost and let it sit for as long as you can before you put plants in. If you live in the northern United States, you probably don’t begin planting until late April or early May. The snow will be off the soil by late March or early April, just before the spring thaw. This is the time to spread that compost or manure over the garden. Freezing won’t hurt it and it will create new nutrients as it works into the soil.

While your garden is growing and you care for it, don’t throw out trimmed leaves or pulled weeds. Instead, leave them in the garden rows and let them rot there. Additionally, a lot of the items you might have left over in the kitchen can be put right on the garden rather than the compost heap.

You can throw your used tea bags, pour your leftover tea and coffee, drained blood from meats, and more onto your garden directly without composting. These ad things to the soil immediately. The tea bags, for instance, we’ll leave in the garden as a bundle for a day or two and then remove them before we water again.

At the end of the year, if there is still a month or two of sunlight left, try growing cold-tolerant crops like some types of cabbage, lettuces, tubers, and so forth. A lot of things can grow in cold weather and even survive light frosts. This keeps your soil productive and keeps it working.

Before winter really sets in, though, you’ll want to either have a cover crop in (recommended) or have another layer of compost/manure ready to spread over the soil. Mulch doesn’t hurt either if it’s finely chopped enough to break down relatively quickly.

Cover crops can include clover, grasses, or any of a host of fast-growing pasture grasses. They’re easy to plant too, since all you really need to do is broadcast the seeds over the soil and let them do their thing. This cover crop stops wind erosion and can be shallowly plowed under in the early spring to provide compost.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Growing Green Onions


It's great planting a garden with green onions in the spring, you till the soil and plant your seed in a long row and wait for the sprouts to come up, now the best thing about this is you get to thin the rows so the plants don't get crowded. These onions in there infant stage are the sweetest onions you will ever taste, I wish I could have a boat load of them. But make sure you give them enough room to develop. I like to thin them a little at a time and have onions from the beginning of the garden season right up to the time of harvest.

Be sure to let some of the onions go to seed so you will have seeds to plant in your garden in the spring. This works great because you buy the seeds once and you have seeds forever.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ultimate in Currency


There has been a lot in the news these days about the decline of the U.S. Dollar. Countries such as Russia and China have been pushing for a new world currency or a basket of currencies to replace the dollar as the worlds reserve currency.

Just this morning Brendan Murray of Bloomberg posted an article about this very problem. I'll quote a little from that article:


"President Barack Obama's effort to lead the world economic recovery by spending the U.S. out of its recession is undermining the dollar, triggering record commodities rallies as investors scour the globe for hard assets.

As threats of a financial meltdown fade, the currency is falling victim to an unprecedented budget deficit, near-zero interest rates and slow growth.

The dollar is down 10 percent against six trading partners' legal tender in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's first eight-and-a-half months, the sharpest drop for a new occupant of that office since the Reagan administration's James Baker persuaded world leaders to boost the deutsche mark and yen by debasing the dollar in 1985."

So what does this mean to you? Simply put, your money isn't worth as much as it used to be.
It can be so frustrating to know that you can work very hard, save up some money, then wake up the next morning and find out you can't buy that much with it. In short, you are being robbed.

Many people are hedging the risk of inflation by buying gold, and that may be a good decision. But in the end, even gold requires that you exchange it for the things you really need, and you can't eat it.



Yes my friends the ultimate way to protect your family against economic turmoil is with Food Storage. If you store food and water you are storing security for your family.

Freeze Dried Food can store for longer than 30 years. So when you are making your plans for financial security, please remember that Food Storage is the ultimate currency.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

P-38 and P51 Can Openers


Known as a "John Wayne" by the U.S. Marine Corps because the actor was shown in a training film opening a can of K-Rations, the can opener is pocket-sized (approximately 1.5 inches, 38mm, in length) and consists of a short metal blade that serves as a handle (which doubles as a flat-blade screwdriver), with a small, hinged metal tooth that folds out to pierce the can lid. A notch just under the hinge point keeps the opener hooked around the rim of the can as the device is "walked" around to cut the lid out. A larger version called the P-51 is somewhat easier to operate.

Official military designations for the P-38 include 'US ARMY POCKET CAN OPENER' and 'OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I'. As with some other military terms (e.g. jeep), the origin of the term is not known with certainty; the P-38 opener coincidentally shares a designation with the P-38 'Lightning' fighter plane, which could allude to its fast performance. However, the P-51 can opener, while larger and easier to use than the P-38 can opener, also has a fighter plane namesake in the P-51, which is faster and smaller than the P-38 fighter. One rumored explanation for the origin of the name is that the P-38 is approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) long. This explanation also holds for the P-51, which measures approximately 51 mm (2.0 in) in length. U.S. Army sources, however, indicate that the origin of the name is rooted in the 38 punctures around the circumference of a C-ration can required for opening.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vegetable Gardening


Vegetables
As you're planting your vegetable garden, consider planting times as well as plant compatibility.

In most climates it's safe now to seed or plant hardier vegetables such as beans, peas, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, corn and chard.

When you're sure the soil is thoroughly thawed and warm (at least 60 degrees), go ahead and sow cucumbers, squash, melons, peppers, tomatoes and other tender annuals.

Plant celery and cucumbers near your bean starts — they make good neighbors!

Beans also get along well with peas, corn and potatoes, but keep them away from "aromatic" vegetables such as leeks, garlic, onions and shallots.

Carrots, tomatoes and lettuces also like each other's company — just be sure not to mix them with dill.

Seeds of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and melons can be sown directly into the ground now.

If you sow vine crops for later transplant, use peat pots. At planting time, bury the whole pot so fragile roots don't become damaged.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Try Growing Watermelon


There's nothing like growing watermelon in your own backyard garden. Sweet, cool and refreshing...it's simply delicious! A heat-loving annual, it can be grown in all parts of the country, but the warmer temperatures and longer growing season of southern areas especially favor this vegetable. In cooler areas choose short-season varieties and do whatever it takes to protect them from frost.

Site Preparation:

Choose a location where your plants will get full sun and good air circulation. A gentle, south-facing slope is ideal. Watermelons can grow in many kinds of soil, but prefer a light, sandy, fertile loam that is well-drained. Add generous amounts of manure, compost and leaves to your garden and work the soil well prior to planting. Watermelons like lots of water. Keep the soil moist at all times.

How to Plant:

Soak seeds in compost tea for 15 minutes prior to planting. Plant in hills 1/2-1 inch deep. For regular watermelons varieties, sow two to three seeds per hill, spacing the hills 8-10 feet apart. Thin seedlings in the hill to two seedlings one week after they have germinated. Small bush varieties may be spaced 3 feet apart.
Transplants: If black plastic was used to pre-warm the bed, cut holes in the plastic and set the plants 1/2-1 inch deeper than they were growing in their containers. Water thoroughly after transplanting.

Watermelons are heavy feeders. Apply a slow release balanced fertilizer during planting. Spray plants with liquid fertilizer and seaweed throughout the growing season. Cut back on nitrogen levels after flowers form. Continue with phosphorous and potassium applications until just before harvest.

Harvesting:

Determining when to harvest watermelons can be difficult and requires some experience. For the most part when ripe, the curled tendril at the stem end dries to brown, the underside of the melon turns yellow or cream colored, and the melon will yield a deep, resonant sound when thumped. Allow 80-90 days for bush varieties to reach maturity and 90-100 days or more for the larger varieties.

Seed Saving Instructions:

Watermelons will cross-pollinate, so isolate 1/2 mile from other varieties to maintain purity. When fruit is ready to eat, the seeds are also mature. Collect seeds and wash gently with a mild dishwashing soap. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DELUXE 72 Hour Kit - 2 PERSON


Our 2 Person 72 Hour Kits give you all of the essential items needed to survive the first 72 hours of an emergency. Ideal for any couple or parent and child. All items are kept in a sturdy day pack with room for additional customizable items.
• Includes food & water, light & communication, warmth & shelter, tools, and first aid.
• Sturdy and portable enclosure provides convenience and ease-of-use.

Find out More.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beware growing Seed Sprouts at Home


Since 1995, raw sprouts have emerged as a significant source of foodborne illness in
the United States. These illnesses have involved the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella
and E. coli O157:H7. Alfalfa, clover, and mung bean sprouts have been involved most
frequently, but all raw sprouts may pose a risk.

For most outbreaks, the source of contamination appears to have been the seed.
Even if the seed is contaminated, pathogen levels are typically very low, so contamination can easily be missed depending on the nature of the seed-testing program. The best conditions for sprouting are also ideal for multiplication of pathogenic bacteria if they happen to be present on the seed. Even if the seed are only lightly contaminated, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 levels can increase to millions of cells per serving duringthe sprouting process.

Because illnesses from these organisms can range from mild to extremely
unpleasant and even to very severe in susceptible persons, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration and the California Department of Health Services have issued warnings
to consumers:

Food and Drug Administration is advising all persons to be aware of the risks
associated with eating raw sprouts (e.g., alfalfa, clover, radish). Outbreaks have
included persons of both genders and all age categories. Those persons who
wish to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from sprouts are advised not to eat
raw sprouts.
This advice is particularly important for children, the elderly, and persons with
weakened immune systems, all of whom are at high risk of developing serious
illness due to foodborne disease. People in high-risk categories should not eat
raw sprouts. Cooked sprouts can be eaten if heated to steaming hot or above
165°F (74°C). This type of treatment is most applicable to mung bean sprouts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kale



As much as I love my tomatoes, I have become more and more enamored with leafy greens. Of the leafy greens, kale is probably my favorite. It is one of the most healthful foods you can grow, and it is one of those plants that really don’t need much babying in the garden - always a good quality!

Nutritional Info:

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. One cup has zero fat, 33 calories, and provides 206% of your daily vitamin A requirement and 134% of your daily vitamin C, as well as 9% of your daily iron and 6% of your daily calcium requirement.

It also provides plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and foliates. Everyone should be eating this stuff!

Growing Kale:

Kale is easy to grow, too. Sow seed directly in your garden after your last frost date for spring and early summer harvests, and six to eight weeks before your first fall frost for fall (and maybe even winter) harvests. A good rule of thumb is to plant three to four plants per person in your household. It needs full sun and well drained soil, and, if given these two things, kale will require very little babying from you other than regular watering and weeding. I feed mine with fish emulsion monthly, and it grows beautifully.

To keep it growing after a few light frosts in the fall, mulch the entire plant with three to six inches of leaves or straw. Kale touched by a light frost often tastes better.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home Canning


To preserve foods by canning two things must be done. First, sufficient heat must be provided to destroy all microscopic life that will cause spoilage in food; and second a perfect seal must be made which will prevent the re-entrance of microorganisms. These problems of preventing spoilage have been practically solved by the improved methods of canning which are explained below.

Only the freshest of fruits and vegetables should be canned. Canning does not improve the taste of the product; it only preserves it for future use.
Methods of Canning

Open Kettle:
This method involves cooking the product completely and pouring it into sterilized jars, using sterilized equipment throughout. The jars are then sealed and stored. The open kettle method is recommended only for preserves, pickles, and foods canned in thick syrup. For other foods use the following methods.

Cold Pack:
Cold, raw foods are put into jars and covered with boiling-hot syrup, juice of water. (Tomatoes are pressed down in the jar so they are covered with their own juice.) Jars are partially or completely sealed, following manufactures directions. Jars are then processed in boiling water or in steam to simultaneously cook the food and sterilize the jars.

Hot Pack:
Fruits and vegetables are preheated before packing causing shrinkage before food goes into jars. This is the preferred method as preheating the food before packing prevents “floating”, (especially with fruits) and assures a full pack. Processing time is also lessened when food is hot-packed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Radishes


Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, moister days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.

When to Plant
Spring radishes should be planted from as early as the soil can be worked until mid-spring. Make successive plantings of short rows every 10 to 14 days. Plant in spaces between slow-maturing vegetables (such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts) or in areas that will be used later for warm-season crops (peppers, tomatoes and squash). Spring radishes also can be planted in late winter in a protected cold frame, window box or container in the house or on the patio. Later-maturing varieties of radishes (Icicle or French Breakfast) usually withstand heat better than the early maturing varieties and are recommended for late-spring planting for summer harvest. Winter radishes require a much longer time to mature than spring radishes and are planted at the same time as late turnips (usually midsummer to late summer).


Spacing & Depth
Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Thin spring varieties to 1/2 to 1 inch between plants. Winter radishes must be thinned to 2 to 4 inches, or even farther apart to allow for proper development of their larger roots. On beds, radishes may be broadcast lightly and thinned to stand 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.
Care
Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared well, is fertilized before planting and has adequate moisture maintained. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.

Radishes mature rapidly under favorable conditions and should be checked often for approaching maturity. Harvest should begin as soon as roots reach edible size and should be completed quickly, before heat, pithiness or seeds talks can begin to develop.


Harvesting
Pull radishes when they are of usable size (usually staring when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and relatively young. Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop.

Winter varieties mature more slowly and should be harvested at considerably larger size. Once they reach maturity, they maintain high quality for a fairly long time in the garden, especially in cool fall weather. Size continues to increase under favorable fall conditions. Daikon or Chinese radish can achieve particularly large size and still maintain excellent quality. Winter radishes can be pulled before the ground freezes and stored in moist cold storage for up to several months.

Monday, October 5, 2009

1-Month MRE Supply


Our 1 Month MRE Supply is designed to help you and your loved ones survive any food emergency. This supply will provide enough food, nutrition and calories to sustain 1 person for 30 days. Our military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are fresh and are designed to withstand the harshest conditions. Each day you will receive over 2,000 calories of delicious, life sustaining meals to help you and your family survive
during an emergency or natural disaster. These MREs will store for a minimum of 5 years, if store
d at 75 degrees or less and much longer if stored
at cooler temperatures. Because MREs can be eaten hot or cold and require no cooking, they are the perfect survival food and a must for when you need to evacuate in a hurry and without warning!

Now includes 30 MRE Heaters!

● No cooking or preparation required!
● Aluminum pouch with polypropylene laminate provides extreme durability and slim profile.
● Up to a 5 Year Shelf-Life!
● Trusted quality from military contracted manufacturer!

Do you live in an area that can be impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes or floods? These kinds of disasters can strike quickly and without warning. You may need to evacuate and may have very little time to prepare. The food in our 1 Month MRE Supply is designed for those situations. You will have the peace of mind knowing that whether you have to evacuate in a hurry or shelter in place, you will have the food you need to keep you and your loved ones alive and healthy.

MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) are the operational ration employed by the U.S. military because of they are easy to prepare, extremely durable, self-contained, and provide excellent nutrition and energy. They are the perfect solution for grab-n-go emergency food supplies such as 72-Hour kits and are an optimal solution for short-term emergency food storage.

An MRE can be eaten cold right out of the pouch, but they always taste better hot, so be sure to include the flameless heaters with all your MRE purchases. These convenient heaters only require a tablespoon of water and produce enough heat to warm your MRE in a matter of minutes without having to light a stove or clean any cookware.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Growing Peas


Pea is a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States, wherever a cool season of sufficient duration exists. For gardening purposes, peas may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). Garden pea varieties have smooth or wrinkled seeds. The smooth-seeded varieties tend to have more starch than the wrinkled-seeded varieties. The wrinkled-seeded varieties are generally sweeter and usually preferred for home use. The smooth-seeded types are used more often to produce ripe seeds that are used like dry beans and to make split-pea soup. Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside. Snow peas are meant to be harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop at all. The Southern pea (cowpea) is an entirely different warm-season vegetable that is planted and grown in the same manner as beans.

Recommended Varieties

The following varieties (listed in order of maturity) have wrinkled seeds and are resistant to fusarium wilt unless otherwise indicated.

Early
Daybreak (54 days to harvest; 20 to 24 inches tall, good for freezing)
Spring (57 days; 22 inches tall; dark green freezer peas)

Main Season
Sparkle (60 days to harvest; 18 inches tall; good for freezing)
Little Marvel (63 days; 18 inches tall; holds on the vine well)
Green Arrow (68 days; 28 inches tall; pods in pairs; resistant to fusarium and powdery mildew)
Wando (70 days; 24-30 inches; withstands some heat; best variety for late spring planting)

Sugar
Snowbird (58 days; 18 inches tall; double or triple pods in clusters)
Dwarf Gray Sugar (65 days; 24 to 30 inches)
Snowflake (72 days; 22 inches to harvest; high yield)

When to Plant

Peas thrive in cool, moist weather and produce best in cool, moderate climates. Early plantings normally produce larger yields than later plantings. Peas may be planted whenever the soil temperature is at least 45°F, and the soil is dry enough to till without its sticking to garden tools.
Plantings of heat-tolerant varieties can be made in midsummer to late summer, to mature during cool fall days. Allow more days to the first killing frost than the listed number of days to maturity because cool fall days do not speed development of the crop as do the long, bright days of late spring.

Spacing & Depth

Plant peas 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep and one inch apart in single or double rows. Allow 18 to 24 inches between single or pairs of rows. Allow 8 to 10 inches between double rows in pairs.

Care

The germinating seeds and small seedlings are easily injured by direct contact with fertilizer or improper cultivation. Cultivate and hoe shallowly during the early stages of growth. Most dwarf and intermediate varieties are self-supporting. The taller varieties (Green Arrow and Bolero) are most productive and more easily picked when trained to poles or to a fence for support; but they are no longer popular. Peas can be mulched to cool the soil, reduce moisture loss and keep down soil rots. Some of the snap and sugar peas are vining types with heights of 6 feet or more that require fencing or other supports.

Harvesting

Garden Peas
When the pea pods are swollen (appear round) they are ready to be picked. Pick a few pods every day or two near harvest time to determine when the peas are at the proper stage for eating. Peas are of the best quality when they are fully expanded but immature, before they become hard and starchy. Peas should be picked immediately before cooking because their quality, especially sweetness (like that of sweet corn), deteriorates rapidly. The pods on the lower portion of the plant mature earliest. The last harvest (usually the third) is made about one week after the first. Pulling the entire plant for the last harvest makes picking easier.

Sugar Snap Peas
Snap peas should be harvested every 1 or 3 days, similarly to snow peas to get peak quality. Sugar snaps are at their best when the pods first start to fatten but before the seeds grow very large. At this point, the pods snap like green beans and the whole pod can be eaten. Some varieties have strings along the seams of the pod that must be removed before cooking. Sugar snaps left on the vine too long begin to develop tough fiber in the pod walls. These must then be shelled and used as other garden peas, with the fibrous pods discarded. vining types of both sugar snap and snow peas continue to grow taller and produce peas as long as the plant stays in good health and the weather stays cool.

Snow Peas
These varieties are generally harvested before the individual peas have grown to the size of BBS, when the pods have reached their full length but are still quite flat. This stage is usually reached 5 to 7 days after flowering. Snow peas must be picked regularly (at least every other day) to assure sweet, fiber-free pods. Pods can be stir-fried, steamed or mixed with oriental vegetables or meat dishes. As soon as overgrown pods missed in earlier pickings are discovered, remove them from the plants to keep the plants blooming and producing longer. Enlarging peas inside these pods may be shelled and used as garden peas. Fat snow pea pods (minus the pea enlarging inside) should be discarded. Fibers that develop along the edges of larger pods, along with the stem and blossom ends, are removed during preparation. Pea pods lose their crispness if overcooked. The pods have a high sugar content and brown or burn quickly. Do not stir-fry over heat that is too intense.
Pea pods can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two weeks. Unlike fresh green peas, pea pods deteriorate only slightly in quality when stored.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Raised Bed Gardens


Raised garden beds are great for small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.
By raising the soil level, raised beds also reduce back strain when bending over to tend the bed. Raised beds are available in a variety of different materials, or they can be made with relative ease.
Double-dig the bed area. Turn over the soil to a depth of 16”. Leave soil piled up in the center, away from the sides.
Set bed in place and tap down corners. If the bed has built-in stakes, as in the 'build-your-own' model described above, drive one corner down a few inches, then go on to the others and do the same. Repeat this process until bed is at ground level. If you try to drive one corner all the way down before going on to the others, you put too much twist on the structure and may split out one of the stakes
Level the bed. Use a level for this task. This may seem overly meticulous, but after several watering the soil will settle to level, and you’ll want the bed to be the same. Set a stiff board (2x4) on top of the bed sides, across the span, and set your level on this board. Tap down the sides as needed till you get a level reading. Be sure to check for level both along the length and across the width of your bed.
Burrowing pests? If your garden has burrowing pests such as moles, a layer of 1" poultry netting (chicken wire) can be laid across the bottom, before soil is added. The mesh should continue at least 3" up along the insides of the bed and be stapled in place. If you plan to grow root crops, such as potatoes or carrots, you may want to set the chicken wire lower in the ground by digging deeper when you are setting up the bed
Spread soil out evenly. Add any planned soil amendments, such as peat, compost or lime, and spread the soil evenly across the bed. Water the bed with an even, fine spray. This will settle the soil; add more soil to "top off". (Over time the soil will settle an inch or two more.) Rake the bed once more to even out the soil and you’re ready to plant.
Avoid stepping on the bed. Once the soil is added and the bed is planted, make it a policy to never step on the bed. Stepping on the bed will compact the soil, reduce aeration and impact root growth. Pets should also be trained to stay off the raised beds.
Pathway width. It helps when pathways between raised beds are wide enough for a small wheelbarrow. For grass pathways, make sure they are at least wide enough for a weed eater or a small mower. (In our raised bed garden the pathways are 21" wide.)

Mulch the pathways between beds. Weeding pathways is a nuisance which you can avoid by putting a double layer of perforated landscape cloth over the pathway, and cover this with a 2- 3" layer of bark mulch. When laying down the landscape cloth, allow it to come up 1" against the bottom board of the bed, and staple this to the bed. This will not be visible because the mulch will cover it.

Some weeds will still appear on your pathways regardless of the mulch. Wait until it rains before pulling them out, or you may rip the landscape cloth. The weeds will come out easily if the ground is wet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Must Read

GARDEN HOUSEKEEPING

By Kathy Anderson

Most gardeners, me included, would much rather be outside working in the garden than inside doing housework. Gardening also requires some housekeeping, but plant lovers generally don’t mind being outside fussing with their plants.

Garden housekeeping is done for two reasons. Keeping the garden neat and clean is done to maintain the aesthetics of the garden, and also to maintain the health of the plants in the garden. Keeping the garden free of weeds is a simple step that will improve both the beauty and health of any garden. After all, it’s difficult to enjoy your beautiful flowers if they are hidden amongst weeds. Weeds also attract and harbor plant diseases and insect pests, both which will happily spread to your garden plants. Not only that, weeds will also compete with your desirable plants, using more than their fair share of water and nutrients.

The best way to keep weeds out of the garden is to eliminate the weeds even before you plant anything. At http://www.freeplants.com/ you’ll find an excellent article on weed control that explains how to eliminate weeds from your garden. Of course, more weed seeds will constantly be blowing or carried in to the garden, but you can stay on top of the problem by pulling or hoeing the young weeds weekly, before they get a chance to grow large and set deep roots. While you’re weeding, remove any trash and debris that may have blown into the garden. Watch for over-ripe fruit and vegetables and discard them before they rot and attract insects or rodents. You can also take this time to examine your plants for insect or animal damage. After determining what insect or animal is damaging your plants you can take appropriate steps to prevent further damage.

Try to walk through your garden every day that you can, not only to admire blossoms that have opened that day or to harvest any ripe vegetables, but also to keep an eye on the overall health of your plants. This way you can identify and deal with any problems immediately and not give diseases or pests the chance to become established. Carry a pruning shears with you whenever you’re in the garden and deadhead any faded flowers, especially on your annual flowers. Deadheading simply involves removing flowers that have already bloomed and are no longer attractive. For many annuals, this will encourage more blooms.

It is very helpful to keep a garden notebook for a number of reasons. In your garden notebook you can keep track of the names of all your plants and make a map showing where each one is planted. This is especially useful when you want to share plants with friends so you can tell them the name of the plant they’re receiving. It’s also helpful if you sell your property. The new owners will be grateful to have that information about the plants on their new property. In your garden notebook you can also make notes to remind yourself when each plant blooms or is ready for harvest, what vegetable varieties you planted and which of those performed best or weren’t worth planting again, and how you dealt with any insects or diseases that attacked your plants. If you found that your garden was too cramped, make a note to create wider paths between the rows or beds when you plant again the following spring.

It’s particularly important to make a map of your vegetable garden each year. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, a simple sketch would be sufficient. The purpose of your vegetable garden map is to remind you where each crop was planted the previous year so that you can rotate the current year’s crops. Since many plant diseases and even some insects are harbored in the soil, moving your crops from one area of the garden to another will help reduce disease and insect damage.
Some vegetable crops should never be planted in the same area two years in a row. Tomatoes, corn and potatoes are good examples of crops that should be rotated. Several common tomato diseases will overwinter in the soil and will infect tomatoes again if they’re planted in the same spot as the previous year. Colorado potato beetle larvae overwinter in the soil and will have more difficulty finding a potato meal if the potatoes are on the other end of the garden when the larvae emerge in the spring. Corn is a heavy feeder and depletes soil of nitrogen. Where the corn was planted the previous year, beans or peas should be planted the following season, as these legumes will fix nitrogen in the soil, replacing what the corn depleted.

Finally, garden housekeeping involves cleaning up the garden at the end of the growing season. Any diseased plants should be removed from the garden and discarded. Do not add diseased plant material to your compost pile unless you are confident that your compost pile heats up enough to kill any pathogens. Woody material such as cornstalks and sunflower stems should be removed from the garden and composted. You may want to break these down into smaller pieces as they tend to decompose very slowly.

Vegetable plants that are not diseased or infested with insects can either be removed and composted or tilled into the soil in the fall, where they will break down over winter and add organic matter to the soil. Blooming annuals can be pulled from the flowerbed after the first killing frost. Perennials should be allowed to go dormant before the dead foliage is trimmed back close to the ground. Garden housekeeping is an important step towards a healthy and bountiful garden. It does require a little effort, but garden housekeeping is still more fun than vacuuming and dusting in the house.

Kathy Anderson has been an avid gardener for many years and has grown tomatoes by the acre, along with many other vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. Kathy recommends http://www.freeplants.com/ as a great place to learn more about gardening. Article provided by http://gardening-articles.com/. If you use this article the above links must be active

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What can I do to help with the environment?



Most people want to do something to help with the environment, or go green as the popular term suggests. But they do not know what they can do about it. Well I have some possible answers I would like to share with you. Gardening can be done in so many ways that if we use only some of them we can have a big impact on the environment around us. Take vertical gardening for instance we could plant some ivy at the base of a wall and watch these beautiful plants grow up the wall.

Not only are you helping with energy costs for the building that the vines are growing on but you are also cleaning the air we breathe, and also we are taking a plain wall and make it functional like a piece of art work, and is soothing to the eye. Not only are you helping with the environment, you can take pride in growing something and watch how it grows and matures into a beautiful plant. This is just one of many ways to contribute to the effort to help the planet and ourselves to have a better way of life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Survival Garden ½ Acre Premium Garden Seeds - #10 CAN


A lot of people are selling Survival Seeds and they are the same seeds as you get here but instead of paying well over a hundred dollars your cost is 28.12 plus shipping. You cannot beat this offer. I have bought expensive seeds and this one here too and these are much better because they come in a #10 sealed can.

Premium non-hybrid, non-GMO, open pollinated garden seeds are a must for your emergency supplies. Each seed variety is hermetically sealed in triple foil Mylar bags and then sealed again inside our super tough #10 can to give you the longest shelf life possible. Produced by one of our nation's top seed companies, these non-hybrid seeds will give you reliable, fresh vegetables when you need it the most. Each can comes with 16 individual seed pouches.

These are not the same type of seeds that you buy at your local garden store. Unlike most seeds you buy locally, these seeds are non-hybrid, which means that you can reuse the seeds each year giving you an endless supply of fresh, nutritious vegetables. Because of their unique qualities and packaging, these seeds can be very difficult to come by. Buy yours today!

● 16 extra large seed packets - each seed packet will give you about 10 times more seeds than an average seed packet you buy at the store.
● Premium, non-hybrid, open pollinating, non-GMO seed varieties. These seeds are not genetically modified
● These special non-hybrid seeds allow you to harvest your own seeds for future plantings
● Hermetically sealed in triple foil packets with a resealable top so they can be reused
● Packets are sealed in a durable air tight, #10 can
● Includes detailed instructions on soil preparation, planting, and harvesting
● 5 year shelf life at 75° F - Each 6° drop in storage temperature will double the shelf life
● Enough seeds to plant well over a ½ acre garden
● Buying these seeds at your local retailer could easily cost you over $100 and not give you the nearly the same quality or shelf life

To learn more

Monday, September 28, 2009

Starter Supply - CASE of SIX #10 CANS


Get six cans of freeze-dried food offering the best value available. An excellent starter kit for those just beginning with a food storage plan or for those wishing to add or supplement their existing supplies with some delicious gourmet food. Either way, you will love the convenience of Saratoga Farms™ and Mountain House™ freeze-dried foods. You're covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Forget about cooking and meal preparation, just add water and eat!

● 6 #10 cans in one easy-to-store case
● No cooking or preparation! Just add water.
● Up to a 30 Year Shelf-Life!

Saratoga Farms™ and Mountain House™ freeze-dried foods are second to none in terms of quality and taste. Freeze-Dried foods offer many advantages over dehydrated foods. To begin with they taste much better because through the freeze-drying process the foods retain their taste, texture, and shape. In addition, freeze-drying locks in the freshness, vitamins, nutrients, color, and aroma of fresh frozen foods while providing the shelf-stable convenience of canned and dehydrated foods

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harding off Seedlings

Transplants that have been raised indoors are soft, and must get used to sun, wind and rain. It is best to let them “harden off” gradually for several days before planting in the garden.

Move the trays of transplants outdoors to a sheltered, shady place out of the wind. Keep them well watered. If they wilt anyway, bring them back inside until they perk up again. Be sure to bring them back indoors in the evening.

After two days, leaves and stems should be stronger. Move transplants to a half-sun location for 2 more days. When they are tough enough to go through the day without wilting, it’s time to plant them in the garden or container.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some things you can do


In gardening you don’t always need to have a garden to get the vegetables you need to put up for a season. Most of the time you can get fresh vegetables at stands along the road, provided they are in season, and most grocery stores will carry vegetables that are in season in other parts of the world. Which makes getting ready for any emergency a little bit easier?

Now what you need to do is canning which is my preferred method of preserving food for the winter. You can also freeze most vegetables but if power goes out in an emergency the food will thaw out and spoil. Using the canning process you can also preserve meats for about a year. Actually I look at it like this is enough food to last for one growing season and restock after the next growing season. So I try to finish up eating everything I canned from the last season.
Another way of preserving food is dehydrating. This removes the moisture from vegetables and meats preserving them for several months and the meat is a good source of protein.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Compost Tea

Compost tea is effective on many pests because of certain microorganisms that exist in it naturally. Here's how to make compost tea at home. Use any container but a plastic bucket is easy for the homeowner. Fill the 5-15 gallon bucket half full of compost and finish filling with water. Let the mix sit for 10-14 days and then dilute and spray on the foliage of any and all plants including fruit trees, perennials, annuals, vegetables and roses, and other plants, especially those that are regularly attacked by insects or fungal pests. It's very effective for example on black spot on roses and early blight on tomatoes. How to dilute the dark compost tea before using depends on the compost used. A rule of thumb is to dilute the leach ate down to one part compost liquid to four to ten parts water. It should look like iced tea. Be sure to strain the solids out with old pantyhose, cheese cloth, or row cover material. Add two tablespoons of molasses to each gallon of spray for more power. Add citrus oil for even greater pest killing power.

Another good thing about Compost Tea is it good nourishment for the roots of plants. You will have to make quite a bit of tea but the benefits are much better. Now don’t use the compost Tea all the time, about once every two weeks should be enough.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Advantages of Raised Bed Gardens


First, there are advantages for your garden:

Perhaps the most important advantage is greatly reduced soil compacting. Plant roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can’t avoid stepping in the garden bed occasionally when doing your everyday gardening. A properly designed raised bed garden allows you to do all you’re gardening from the garden path.
Plants can be spaced a little closer together in a raised bed because you don’t need places to step. This increases productivity per square foot of bed and reduces weeding when the plants begin to mature.
Note: Avoid the temptation to crowd your plants. You will still want to use generous plant spacing because your plants will grow much larger in raised beds.

Raised beds tend to drain away excess moisture better than ordinary garden beds. This is another advantage that helps the plant roots to breath. In areas that have saturated soil like Florida and many areas of the South, raised beds may be the only way you can grow many types of plants.
Soil conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a raised bed and they can be varied easily from bed to bed. Raised beds are the answer when topsoil is thin.
Water, fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully because they only need to be applied to the garden beds.
Various studies have shown that raised garden beds produce 1.4 to 2 times as much vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds, due mainly to the above advantages. You can have a smaller and more manageable garden that produces more goodies for your table.

Then, there are advantages for you:

Raised garden beds bring your garden closer to you. Raised beds are after all, raised!
Raised beds tend to bring more order and pleasing geometry to your garden, especially when forms or edging are used to define them.
Raised beds can extend your gardening season. They tend to warm up a little sooner in the spring and remain productive later in the fall.
Do your gardening from the comfort of the garden path. No more bending over to pull weeds or trim plants. Sit on a stool or put a seat board on your garden wagon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

After the Harvest


At the end of the growing season when everything in the garden is done, this is the time to get prepared for the next season. Now is the time to clean out all the plants left in your garden, and compost them. Next put down a good organic fertilizer and till the soil under to help break down the nutrients. Another option is to plant rye or clover for ground cover which you can till under in the spring and this will also ad nutrients to the soil. And by next spring your soil will be ready for the next planting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some tips for Sweet Corn


To ensure pollination plant several rows together in a block, Instead of one long row. Be sure and Side dress with fertilizer when the plants are 8 inches high. Keep well watered, from the time the tassels form up to harvest. Hill corn plants by pushing a few inches of soil up around the base of the plants when they are fertilized. This will provide more stability, but take care not to disturb the roots. Do not remove suckers, which are off-shoots of the main stem. Regular sweet corn, super sweet, sugar enhanced, and most important, popcorn should be isolated from each other to prevent cross-pollination.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Making Compost


You can make inexpensive, easy compost at home from leaves, grass clippings, garden wastes such as stalks and weeds, and vegetable leftovers minus the meat. Pile these together until well rotted. Use a compost tool to aerate the pile. You can enclose the pile with wire or with a ready-made compost bin. Keep adding organics until the size of the pile suits you, and then start another one. Keep the pile moist but not soaking. The pile is usually ready in about 6 months or faster in warm weather. You know it’s ready for the garden when its contents are dark and crumbly and look like the soil in the woods.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This is a Must See

Do Not Get Any Flu Shots

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preparing your soil for next year


Good soil grows healthy plants

You should prepare your soil well ahead of time to provide the right conditions for growth. We have had the best success getting beds ready in the fall, right after the summer’s garden is finished and when cool, dry weather permits.

Because roots like a soil that is conditioned enough to hold moisture, but porous enough to provide air spaces and good drainage, The best way to give soil this texture is by adding well rotted organic compost, as often as is practical. Good organics include peat moss, well rotted manure over your entire garden to a depth of several inches and mix it into your soil as deeply and thoroughly as possible.

If your soil still seems heavy and form clumps when wet or hard clods when dry mix in up to 2 inches of coarse sand as well as the organic compost.
Soils that are too sandy and drain too quickly can be made more productive through liberal amounts of organic compost.

After preparing your bed, cover with deep mulch over winter to protect the soil and hold weeds down in the spring. With a raised bed prepared this way, we are often able to plant straight into it in spring with no further tilling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Early Foods in the Garden


One of the best things you can plant to get a quick harvest other than green onions is radishes. You can even plant them a little bit earlier provided the ground has thawed out from the winter, and you are able to prepare the soil with shovel or tiller. Radishes are full of vitamins and minerals and are a good source of fiber. The good thing about radishes is you plant them and in 30 days you have radishes. Now this may sound funny but have you ever had a radish sandwich? Just lay out two slices of bread and spread some butter on them, clean and slice the radish thin and layer it on the bread, put a little salt on it and you have a radish sandwich. They are very good, and good for you. Talk about a cheap lunch!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Watering you Garden


The best source of water for your garden is rain, as long as rain keeps your soil moist underneath the mulch, or just under the surface of the soil, no watering will be needed. An actively growing garden requires at least 1 inch of rain per week. If you are not getting that or your plants wilt during the warmer part of the day, you probably need to water. During the first 3 weeks after setting out your plants, check moisture weekly. If the surface is dry beneath the mulch, dig down 6 inches with a trowel. If the soil is still dry at that depth water your bed. Later in the season after roots have reached deep into the soil, you need to water only if signs of wilting appear.

Water well but not too often. Soak the garden up to 4 hours at a time letting water soak deep, and then let upper soil layers dry out before watering again. This promotes deep root growth and a more lasting beauty and better harvest from your plants, and helps retard weed growth.

Several watering methods are effective. Ground watering with soaker hoses or a carefully placed hose soaks deep and avoids wetting the foliage, but these devices are sometimes hard to set up or move. Impulse jet sprinklers lay down a lot of water fast and are easy to move around but can beat small or tender plants down. A fine spray sprinkler of the oscillating or whirling type is both gentle and easy to move, but slower to water.