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Cultivate on a Budget: Affordable Methods for Building a Backyard Greenhouse

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Dreaming of extending your gardening season or cultivating delicate plants year-round? A backyard greenhouse is the perfect solution, allowing you to create a controlled environment for optimal plant growth. Contrary to popular belief, constructing a greenhouse doesn’t have to break the bank. In this article, we’ll explore affordable methods and creative ideas for building a greenhouse in your backyard, ensuring that green-thumb enthusiasts can cultivate their garden dreams without emptying their wallets.

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Salvaging Materials: The Art of Repurposing

One of the most cost-effective ways to build a greenhouse is by repurposing materials. Look around your property or visit local salvage yards, construction sites, or online classifieds to find free or low-cost resources. Old windows, glass doors, or even discarded shower doors can serve as the glazing for your greenhouse. Reclaimed wood, PVC pipes, or metal fencing can be used to construct the frame. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can transform unwanted materials into the foundation of your own backyard oasis.

DIY Mini Greenhouses: Embracing Simplicity

If you have a smaller garden or limited space, consider building DIY mini greenhouses. These compact structures can be constructed using inexpensive materials such as plastic storage containers, clear plastic sheeting, or PVC pipes. By repurposing items like plastic shelving units or old bookshelves, you can easily create multi-tiered mini greenhouses that maximize vertical space. These miniature versions offer an affordable and flexible option for protecting seedlings or nurturing a small collection of plants.

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Hoop Houses: Budget-Friendly and Versatile

Hoop houses are an excellent choice for budget-conscious gardeners. These structures consist of hoops made from PVC pipes or metal conduit, which are then covered with greenhouse plastic or agricultural fabric. Hoop houses provide protection from the elements and can be easily assembled and disassembled as needed. Their versatility allows you to adjust the size and shape to fit your backyard space and gardening needs. With the right design, hoop houses can accommodate various crops and extend your growing season.

Straw Bale Greenhouses: Natural and Affordable

For those seeking a more eco-friendly and budget-friendly option, straw bale greenhouses offer a unique solution. By stacking straw bales to form the walls of the greenhouse, you create a natural insulation barrier. The bales can be covered with plastic sheeting or polycarbonate panels to create the roof and sides. Straw bale greenhouses provide excellent insulation and are often more affordable than traditional greenhouse structures. They also offer the benefit of being biodegradable and can be easily dismantled or composted when no longer in use.

This Tiny But Simple Bag…Protects You From The #1 Killer In A Crisis

Building a backyard greenhouse doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. By employing creative and affordable methods such as salvaging materials, constructing DIY mini greenhouses, utilizing hoop houses, or opting for straw bale structures, you can create a thriving garden oasis without straining your budget. Remember to plan and adapt the greenhouse design to suit your gardening needs and available space. With a little ingenuity and resourcefulness, you’ll be able to extend your growing season, protect delicate plants, and enjoy the rewards of a flourishing garden, all while keeping costs down. Happy gardening!

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Family

Clean Up: Getting Started With Homemade Soap

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homemade soap bar with lavender

The best survival projects aren’t just things you need to survive. Because, after all, who knows when the end of the world as we know it will be upon us? The best survival projects are things that you can undertake are enjoyable projects you can do with your family that allow you to spend quality time together while building new skills. 

One of these is making soap. Soap is one of those things you don’t think about needing… until you really, really need it. Not only will soap be necessary in a SHTF scenario so that everyone can keep clean, it will also be a valuable trading commodity in such a situation. 

Homesteading

What’s more, you don’t need to wait until the end of the world as we know it to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can spend valuable time with your family while creating a product that you can use in the here and now. 

Here are the basics of getting started with homemade soap projects for the entire family.

What Is Homemade Soap?

Soap, for the most part, is made from a simple chemical reaction. This means that homemade soap projects can be a great and fun way to teach your homeschool kids about science. 

The chemical reaction is known as saponification. This is just a fancy, 50-cent word for “turning lye and fat into soap.”

Once you know how to do this, you can make basically any kind of soap you like from invigorating blends of goat milk and citrus to charcoal-based soaps and soaps made out of coffee grounds for exfoliating the skin. 

How To Make Homemade Soap: Making Lye-Water

The first thing we should say is that making real homemade soaps involves using lye, which is a highly caustic substance. You will need protective gear like gloves and goggles. You will also need to work in a well-ventilated area. 

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If you have very young children, they’re probably not going to be able to work with lye safely. Only you can judge the age at which your children are ready to work with lye. For younger children, melt and pour is probably a better option. 

Everything in soap is done by weight, so weigh out the proper amount of lye and water on a digital scale. Once you have them measured out, slowly mix the two together, taking care not to inhale the fumes, before putting them in a cool, safe place for future use. 

How To Make Homemade Soap: The Cold Process

The first and easiest way to make true homemade soap (we’re not including melt and pour which is basically ordering pre-made soap online, melting it down and making it into a cool shape) is the cold process.

Start the process by heating your oils n a pot to about 100 degrees. Then slowly add in your mixture of lye-water until it thickens to trace. “Trace” means a lot of different things to a lot of different soap makers, but ultimately it’s the point where you’ve got soap and you can’t go back. 

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Once you reach trace it’s time to start adding in colors, scents, herbs and other additives before pouring the final solution ijn a mold, where it will sit for 24 hours to harden up. 

Once you know how to make soap, there are tens of thousands of recipes online. Try a few of them and then see what your imagination can cook up. When it comes to homemade soap, the sky’s the limit. 

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Gardening Season Isn’t Over: Fall Gardening Tips

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greenhouse for growing vegetables

The harvest is over but the work for the year isn’t. The best gardeners know that fall is the perfect time to get your garden ready for next year’s crop. It’s not only prudent, it also gives you a great opportunity to spend some time outside enjoying the fall air and getting some relief from the heat and humidity of winter. 

Here are some ways to get your garden ready this fall for next year’s crop. 

Clear Dead Leaves

Your lawn is likely going to be covered in the beautiful problem of dead leaves. That’s not good for your grass and thus not good for your garden, so as much as you might not like the idea of doing yard work after a hot summer of mowing your lawn, you’re going to need to get all those leaves raked up and bagged for the dump or the incinerator. 

Clean Out The Beds

Cleaning out your beds regularly is especially important for people who are growing vegetables in their gardens. Pests love to feast on the debris leftover from last year’s harvest, so you need to dig down and get absolutely everything you can out that’s not soil. That will save you a lot of work next year when it comes to pest control. 

Pull Those Weeds

Due to the decline in temperatures, fall is the perfect time to pull the weeds. Weeds aren’t just an eyesore, they’re choking the nitrogen out of your soil meaning that your plants, be they edible or otherwise, aren’t growing as lushly as they ought to be. So take advantage of the cooler weather and dig those weeds out.

Save Those Seeds!

If you’re a seed saver now is the time to dig out the annuals and have your “second harvest” of seeds. Dry them, label them and put them in a safe place for next year. This is the whole fun about growing annuals – buy once, grow forever!

Throw Down Some Compost

You might think you don’t need to take care of your soil during the colder months, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this is when your soil is in the most dire need of nutrients. The sun is gone and so are most of the critters that keep it healthy. So a thick layer of compost, about 2-3 inches, is going to help maintain the health of your soil during the cold season. Don’t bother tilling – mother nature will do that for you. 

Get Organized

Few things about gardening are most frustrating than having absolutely no idea where all your gear is. So clean everything up and spend an afternoon in the shed making sure there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. 

Plant Your Winter Crops and Cover Crops

Especially if you have a greenhouse, it’s essential to be growing all year round. Other crops will grow better if you have cover – including during seasons when other stuff wouldn’t normally grow. Cover crops and winter crops get you thinking about your garden as a year-long project, not just something for the warmer months. That’s important, especially if you’re growing as a supplementary or primary food source. 

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Food and Water Storage

Hardtack: Crafting the Ultimate Survival Bread for SHTF Preparedness

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Hard Tack Biscuit

Having a dependable source of sustenance is a paramount concern. Amidst the chaos of unforeseen emergencies, the ability to create and preserve nourishing food becomes a critical skill for hardcore survivalists. Enter survival bread, a timeless solution that stands the test of time and turmoil. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top 5 types of survival bread, with a focus on the iconic Hardtack recipe. Discover how mastering this ancient method of sustenance can become your saving grace when SHTF, ensuring you and your loved ones remain nourished and resilient in the face of adversity.

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Hardtack: The Timeless Classic

Hardtack, also known as “survival bread” or “army bread,” has earned its reputation as the ultimate survival sustenance. With a history dating back centuries, Hardtack has sustained soldiers, sailors, and adventurers through countless trials. Its simplicity lies in its ingredients: just flour, water, and a pinch of salt. Mix, knead, bake, and voila – you have a durable, long-lasting bread that can withstand the harshest conditions.

The beauty of Hardtack lies in its shelf life, making it a staple that can be prepared well in advance of any emergency. When stored properly, Hardtack can remain edible for years, making it a crucial asset when modern conveniences are no longer available.

How to Eat Hardtack (A tip you will need)

Hardtack can be quite hard, so it’s best to soften it before eating. You can achieve this by dipping it in water, tea, or soup, or by soaking it for a few minutes before consuming. Some survivalists also use it as a base for toppings like cheese, spreads, or dried fruits.

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Hardtack is a versatile and enduring survival bread that has stood the test of time. By mastering this simple recipe, you’re equipping yourself with a reliable source of sustenance that can provide much-needed energy and nutrition during emergencies or challenging situations. Whether you’re on a long expedition or facing unexpected hardships, hardtack is a hardcore survivalist’s ally that will keep you fueled and ready to conquer whatever comes your way.

Here are other great options for survival bread, just not as good as hardtack bread. 

Sourdough Starter: Fermented Resilience

Sourdough bread isn’t just a culinary delight – it’s a living, breathing survival resource. Crafting a sourdough starter requires only flour and water, harnessing wild yeast and bacteria to create a natural leavening agent. This starter can be perpetually fed and used to create flavorful and nutritious sourdough bread. The beauty of sourdough lies in its versatility; it can be baked in various forms, from loaves to flatbreads, making it an adaptable and sustainable option for survivalists seeking long-term sustenance.

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Oat Bread: Wholesome and Hearty

Oat bread, with its hearty texture and nutritional benefits, is an excellent addition to any survivalist’s repertoire. Mixing oats with flour, water, and a pinch of salt creates a dough that bakes into a satisfying and energy-packed bread. Oats provide essential nutrients, including fiber and protein, ensuring you stay nourished during challenging times. Oat bread’s heartiness and ability to keep hunger at bay make it a reliable choice when resources are scarce.

Pemmican Flatbread: A Nutrient-Dense Delicacy

Pemmican, a staple of indigenous cultures, offers a nutrient-dense survival bread option. By combining lean dried meat, rendered fat, and dried fruits, you create a portable and energy-rich food source. Incorporating this mixture into a flatbread unleashes a burst of flavors and sustenance, making it an ideal choice for survivalists on the move. Pemmican flatbread provides a powerful combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, ensuring you have the fuel needed to overcome challenges in demanding situations. Check out one of our favorite videos from City Prepping about how to make the cultural delicacy.

City Prepping: How to make Pemmican (High Energy Food)

Cornbread: Comforting and Versatile

Cornbread, a beloved comfort food, can be transformed into a survivalist’s ally by using simple ingredients like cornmeal, water, and salt. Baking cornbread provides a taste of familiarity during times of stress while delivering essential carbohydrates for energy. Cornbread’s versatility allows for creative additions like dried herbs or even foraged ingredients, adapting to whatever resources are available.

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Flourishing Through Adversity

In the unpredictable landscape of survivalism, the knowledge of crafting survival bread – particularly the enduring Hardtack – is a skill that transcends time and circumstance. These diverse types of survival bread offer not only sustenance but also a sense of self-sufficiency and empowerment. As a hardcore survivalist, the ability to transform basic ingredients into nourishing survival bread ensures that you and your family can thrive, even when faced with the most challenging scenarios.

Whether it’s the storied resilience of Hardtack, the living legacy of sourdough, the wholesomeness of oat bread, the nutrient density of pemmican flatbread, or the comforting embrace of cornbread, each type of survival bread is a testament to the unyielding spirit of survivalism. By mastering these recipes, you’re arming yourself with a timeless and invaluable resource – a source of sustenance that can sustain you through any storm, ensuring that you not only survive but also flourish in the face of adversity.

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