Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category
Posted by nwnikkie on June 20, 2012
Posted by nwnikkie on November 2, 2011
Using Three Simple Old Fashioned Methods
Food Safety Precaution BASICS
1. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any type of food.
2. Rinse the raw food thoroughly before processing and storing it.
3. Use clean food processing equipment.
4. Always wash the utensils before using them on a different food item to prevent a problem of cross-contamination.
5. Use clean storage containers.
6. Examine the food carefully and discard any food that has mold or bruises or slime or insects or other problems.
7. The shelf life of the food will not be extended forever, but it can be increased by a few weeks to a few months (or longer depending on the food item and the preservation method).
The Three Traditional Food Preservation Methods
These 3 simple ways preserve food using old fashioned techniques do not require the use of any special chemicals, salt or equipment:
1. In the ground.
2. In a root cellar.
1. In the Ground
(Appropriate for Carrots and Radishes in the Fall)
Leave the vegetables in the original ground where they grew during the summer.
This technique works well with carrots and radishes.
Mulch the ground above the vegetables with a thick layer of straw.
However, if the weather has not yet turned cold and you leave radishes in the ground then they will go to seed.
2. In a Root Cellar
(Appropriate for Some Vegetables and Some Fruits)
A root cellar is a cool dry dark place underground where the temperature remains between 40°F to 60°F (or 4°C to 15°C).
1. The depth of the root cellar below ground will vary between 1 to 3 feet depending on the frost line in the area where you live. The frost line is how deep the ground freezes in winter.
2. Humidity must be controlled.
3. Insects and rodents must be kept out.
A simple root cellar can be made from a clean empty food grade 55 gallon drum. Plant the drum sideways below ground under at least 12 inches of dirt. Put the food in the drum and then attach the drum lid. Shovel some dirt against the lid to keep it cool inside the drum. The drum will stay cool and it will keep out the air and insects and rodents. Do not place the fruit or vegetables directly against the sides of the drum. Instead store the fruit or vegetables inside wood boxes inside the drum.
Apples, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes release ethylene gas while in storage and this gas will cause other foods to ripen and spoil more rapidly. Therefore they should be stored by themselves and not with other foods.
Posted by nwnikkie on August 12, 2011
The mini greenhouse can be built for less than $50 and an hour of your labor.
I built mine out of some left over 2 x 4’s. The greenhouse is 4 x 6 feet and 2 feet tall. It took 7 2 x 4’s . The reason for the 6 foot length was to reduce the number of 2 by’s and to not be too heavy. The 2 foot leftovers are used in the construction as well.
Steps to building the mini greenhouse:
- Cut two 2” x 4’ x 8’s in half to give you a quantity of 4 pieces of 2” x 4” x 4’
- Cut 2 feet off of 5 2”x 4” x 8’ to yield 5 pieces of 2” x 4” x 6’ and 5 2” x 4” x 2’.
- Screw or nail together two separate rectangles of 4 by 6 feet.
- Connect the rectangles together using the 2 foot sections of 2 by’s
- Use some scrap pieces of lumber to add a little height to the middle of the top.
- Connect the final 2” x 4” x 6’ to form a taller ridge in the middle (connected to the two scrap pieces in step 5)
- Cover the frame with 6 mil clear or milky plastic. I used some scrap lumber to hold the plastic to the frame along the long sides.
- Recommended: strengthen the corners or any sharp edges with shipping tape. The rubbing and flexing of the plastic on the corners will eventually cause some tears in the plastic without some reinforcement.
Using a Mini-Green house:
Put your plants in the mini green house and prop up one edge with a brick or scrap piece of lumber. If you don’t prop it up the plants can easily overheat.
Keep the plants watered and bring them inside when there is a danger of freeze or a frost. The green house does offer some protection from frosts (I left my plants in the green house during one night that had a non-forecasted frost and they survived) but it may not be worth the risks.
The mini greenhouse offers a lot of the advantages of a full size green house including increasing late winter and early spring temperatures enough for germination and good growth and increases the humidity. You can’t beat real sunlight to get plants off to a good start. It also prevents strong winds from stressing the plants.
The mini-green house is light enough to be able to open it (I roll it over on it’s side to water or move the plants) but still heavy enough to not blow over in strong winds. It does not have built in temperature control or heat but appears to work quite well in North Texas to help get your plants off to a good start. And best of all, it doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. After the danger of frost is over, it will go in the barn to be used again next spring.
Posted by nwnikkie on July 24, 2011
(MotherEarthNews)People often dismiss gardening as an expensive hobby that they can’t afford. While that can be true, it doesn’t have to be. There are way to make gardening cheap.
Here are some resources that are available no matter where you live to lessen the financial burden of growing your own food.
Department of Sanitation or Office County Extension Either look them up on the web or give them a phone call. You might be surprised what is offered. There may be free events and programs during the year. They also might have some giveaways such as compost and mulch. Most cities usually offer compost bins at a discount to their residents as well.
5-Gallon Containers There are plenty of places that you can get containers to start your garden. Some include farmers markets, delis and restaurants. You’ll either be able to get them for free or $1 each.
Soda Bottles Sadly, soda bottles are everywhere. It’s not like you have to drink soda in order to get some. I’ve gotten some from the recycling bin of my apartment or from friends and relatives. You can use them to make hanging soda bottle planters or self-watering containers made out of a soda bottle.
Coconut Shells Once you crack open a coconut and use the milk and meat, you can then repurpose the shell to plant some shallow rooted veggies such as lettuce.
Cafes and Coffee Shops Your local cafe and coffee shops are usually more than likely to be willing to give you their used coffee grinds. The grinds works great as a fertilizer and help to feed the plants. They also make a great addition to your compost.
Free Seeds Look online for local seed swapping event or clubs. You also might find some where you can exchange with others in other parts of the country.
These are just six ways that you can cut some costs on gardening and should be available no matter where you live.
Posted by Sisko on July 20, 2011
Notes about the following article: Most articles instructing you on non-toxic garden remedies often suggest alternate toxic substances . This article is a good example and I thought it helpful to amend this one to demonstrate how these toxins creep into non-toxic advice. Remember anything you spray on your vegetable garden will end up on your plate. You can wash off soap but you cannot wash away the toxins they carry with them. Likewise on your lawn…your pets, wandering cats and dogs, and other critters graze on grasses and you track into your home any toxins placed on your lawn.
See emphasis bracketed in bold and strikethroughs. Dr. Bonners and Bio-Kleen are two good non toxic soaps. There are others. Check the ingredients like you would your food, your garden is food. Don’t use ” any brand” lawn fertilizer, most contain toxins. Get a non-toxic one from a “green” supplier or make your own. Corn syrup contains toxins. Cedar chips are often treated with chemicals, make sure yours aren’t. Finally, ammonia!!??
t’s that time of year to begin gardening and we always seem to encounter a few hiccups after the winter.
In my landscaping business, we specialize in pet friendly yards and encourage others to use natural remedies to eliminate pests and other gardening problems that you may encounter. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Common Sense, Everyday Use Items E.U.I, Food, Garden, Health, Organics | Tagged: do-it-yourself, edible plants, food, garden, health, insects, natural, nutrition, organic, vegetables | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nwnikkie on July 19, 2011
(MotherEarthNews)One of the characteristics of a truly sustainable garden is that it produces at least some of its own seed. This is most often done when gardeners select, harvest and store seeds until the proper time for planting the following year. But some self-seeding crops produce seeds so readily that as long as you give them time to flower and mature, and set seed, you will always have free plants growing in your garden. You can simply let the seeds fall where they are, or toss pieces of the seed heads into the corners of your garden, or whichever area you want them in — no harvesting, storing or replanting required. With most self-seeding vegetables, herbs and annual flowers, you’ll just need to learn to recognize the seedlings so you don’t hoe them down. Should seedlings require relocation, you can simply lift and move them — after all, they are sturdy field-grown seedlings.
In addition to getting all the free garden plants you need (and some to share with family and friends), nurturing self-seeders is also a great way to provide a diversity of flowers that supply pollen and nectar for beneficial insects. Self-seeding flowers, herbs and vegetables that show up in early spring include arugula, calendula, chamomile, cilantro, dill, bread seed poppies and brilliant red orach (mountain spinach). Nasturtiums, amaranth, New Zealand spinach, and even basil or zinnias appear later, after the soil has warmed.
Starting a new colony of any of these annuals is usually a simple matter of lopping off armloads of brittle, seed-bearing stems in the fall, and dumping them where you want the plants to appear the next season. It’s that easy. Most of the seedlings will appear in the first year after you let seed-bearing plants drop their seeds, with lower numbers popping up in subsequent seasons.
Posted by nwnikkie on July 19, 2011
This article details how to identify and prepare this commonplace but excellent tasting and nutritious wild plant — knowledge that is an excellent addition to your survival info store.
How to Identify Dandelion
Dandelion is a perennial, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are deeply toothed and resemble its namesake (dandelion comes from the Old French “Dent-de-lion” meaning lion’s tooth). Here are the key components of dandelion that you’ll want to look for:
- deeply toothed, lance-shaped leaves (3 to 12 inches long)
- leaves grow in a basal rosette
- leaves are hairless
- leaves and flower stalks exude a white milky sap when injured
- yellow, composite flowers (1 to 2 inches wide)
- flowers turn into round white seed heads that float in the wind
Posted by nwnikkie on July 19, 2011
Instructions on how to plant seed potatoes in a bin. This is a great idea if you are limited on space, live in an apartment etc…
First you must drill holes in the very bottom of the sides of the container for drainage. Here is picture that shows a drilled container:
Posted by nwnikkie on July 13, 2011
After having solved the problems of finding water, shelter, and animal food, you will have to consider the use of plants you can eat. In a survival situation you should always be on the lookout for familiar wild foods and live off the land whenever possible.
You must not count on being able to go for days without food as some sources would suggest. Even in the most static survival situation, maintaining health through a complete and nutritious diet is essential to maintaining strength and peace of mind.
Nature can provide you with food that will let you survive any ordeal, if you don’t eat the wrong plant. You must therefore learn as much as possible beforehand about the flora of the region where you will be operating. Plants can provide you with medicines in a survival situation. Plants can supply you with weapons and raw materials to construct shelters and build fires. Plants can even provide you with chemicals for poisoning fish, preserving animal hides, and for camouflaging yourself and your equipment.
EDIBILITY OF PLANTS
Plants are valuable sources of food because they are widely available, easily procured, and, in the proper combinations, can meet all your nutritional needs.
WARNING – The critical factor in using plants for food is to avoid accidental poisoning. Eat only those plats you can positively identify and you know are safe to eat.
Absolutely identify plants before using them as food. Poison hemlock has killed people who mistook it for its relatives, wild carrots and wild parsnips.
At times you may find yourself in a situation for which you could not plan. In this instance you may not have had the chance to learn the plant life of the region in which you must survive. In this case you can use the Universal Edibility Test to determine which plants you can eat and those to avoid.
It is important to be able to recognize both cultivated and wild edible plants in a survival situation. Most of the information in this chapter is directed towards identifying wild plants because information relating to cultivated plants is more readily available.
Remember the following when collecting wild plants for food:
- Plants growing near homes and occupied buildings or along roadsides may have been sprayed with pesticides. Wash them thoroughly. In more highly developed countries with many automobiles, avoid roadside plants, if possible, due to contamination from exhaust emissions.
- Plants growing in contaminated water or in water containing Giardia lamblia and other parasites are contaminated themselves. Boil or disinfect them.
- Some plants develop extremely dangerous fungal toxins. To lessen the chance of accidental poisoning, do not eat any fruit that is starting to spoil or showing signs of mildew or fungus.
- Plants of the same species may differ in their toxic or subtoxic compounds content because of genetic or environmental factors. One example of this is the foliage of the common chokecherry. Some chokecherry plants have high concentrations of deadly cyanide compounds while others have low concentrations or none. Horses have died from eating wilted wild cherry leaves. Avoid any weed, leaves, or seeds with an almondlike scent, a characteristic of the cyanide compounds.
- Some people are more susceptible to gastric distress (from plants) than others. If you are sensitive in this way, avoid unknown wild plants. If you are extremely sensitive to poison ivy, avoid products from this family, including any parts from sumacs, mangoes, and cashews.
- Some edible wild plants, such as acorns and water lily rhizomes, are bitter. These bitter substances, usually tannin compounds, make them unpalatable. Boiling them in several changes of water will usually remove these bitter properties.
- Many valuable wild plants have high concentrations of oxalate compounds, also known as oxalic acid. Oxalates produce a sharp burning sensation in your mouth and throat and damage the kidneys. Baking, roasting, or drying usually destroys these oxalate crystals. The corm (bulb) of the jack-in-the-pulpit is known as the “Indian turnip,” but you can eat it only after removing these crystals by slow baking or by drying.
Posted in First Aid/Medical, Food, Garden, Health, Organics, Safety, Survival, Tools | Tagged: antihemorrhagics, antiseptic, contact dermatitis, death, decoction, diarrhea, edible plants, healing, identification, infusion, ingestion poisoning, Medicinal plants, medicine, mushrooms, nature, nutrition, organic, poison, poisonous plants, poultice, sick, survival, tisane | 1 Comment »