Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Basics of Living

FOOD & NUTRITION: Depending on the conditions of your environment and level of activity, an individual can survive about three weeks without food. In extreme cold the lack of food can be dangerous, and in other situations, (like gradual dehydration), hunger can bring about many consequences long before it causes death. These problems can include irritability and low morale, weakness, loss of mental clarity, poor judgment, weakened immune system, and increased difficulty maintaining body temperature.

SANITATION & HYGIENE: During periods of emergency or disaster, sanitation levels can deteriorate rapidly and disease can spread and even cause death in a matter of days. Maintaining good hygiene will prevent disease and illness from spreading. You will need a way to use the bathroom, a way to keep your living environment clean, and a way to keep your hands, mouth, and body clean

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 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 waterings 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 weedeater 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, May 14, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gardening


When gardening there are many things you must consider. First you must put in a garden big enough to have fresh vegetables in the fall and be able to can enough to last you till the next harvest so you will have food all year. Now another thing you must consider is to be sure to grow enough so you can save seeds for the next season. Remember when you harvest vegetables to eat in the fall most seeds are not fully developed so you must leave them on the vine until they are fully ripe or with beans you leave them on the vine until they are dry. Be sure and store your seeds in a cool dry place for the winter. Store as many seeds as you can, if they are stored properly they will last for a couple of years. And always having backup seeds is good.

Ron

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting Started on Container Gardening

Don't be fooled. You don't have to have a large garden to grow fantastic fruits, flowers and vegetables. We have the best suggestion for any garden lover. That's right, container gardening is a thriving way to garden anywhere. We can share some of the best benefits of container gardening, guaranteed to get you started on a container garden today.

Do you long to be able to grow your own fresh vegetables but don't believe that you can because you do not have a big garden? Freshly harvested vegetables taste fabulous and they are so easy to grow. Anyone can grow them - even if you only have a window box you can grow cut and come again salad leaves, radishes, salad onions and if you have room for a hanging basket then you can grow tumbling tomatoes to go with your salad!

People who are only starting to find interest in gardening will find that they will have more success with container and pocket gardens than in growing a full scale garden right away. They can water the plants more easily and they can move the plants around. This means they can place plants in areas around the house where the environment is more suitable for the particular plant variety. Those that need more sunshine can be grown outdoors or near windows and doors while those that require very little sunlight can be grown indoors.

There are many benefits to container gardening, the most important of which is that it requires less soil and takes up less space. People who live in apartment complexes, those with impaired mobility and those who live in dry areas can still engage in gardening through this method. Container gardening also requires less time than growing and nurturing a big garden so those who do not have too much free time can start a container garden. Plants in containers can also be moved around the house, placed on iron racks or on stairs to provide an airy and light ambiance to the home.

Those who are just starting with container gardening can start a small pocket garden near the kitchen and plant basil, tomatoes and herbs. These plants will not only provide the joys of gardening but also give fruits and leaves that can be used for cooking

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Starting Seeds

If you are starting your garden from seed, you may want to start your seeds indoors. Indoor seed starts have a higher success rate initially, this is very important if you are working from seed you gathered yourself! Plant seeds in an area with good lighting (grow light work really well) and be sure not to over-water. Keep the soil at room temperature. Once sprouts have grown two true leaves in addition to their cotyledons (sprouting leaves), transfer them into larger, biodegradable containers and space them two to three inches apart.

Organic gardening is not a fad or new in any way. Rather, organic gardening is the oldest, cheapest and most practical means of growing vegetables that exists. Organic vegetables are tastier, prettier and healthier than their non-organic counterparts. Organic gardening benefits not only you and your family, but your land, animals and the earth. And you will find with fertile soil and healthy plants that insect herbivore will actually decrease.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Garden 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.