Connect with us

Outdoor Survival Skills

How to Save Seeds For Optimal Vitality

Published

on

As summer begins rolling into autumn, it’s time to get busy saving seeds from your summer harvest.  Remember that HEAT and MOISTURE are the enemies to seed viability after storage.  In other words, just the things that make a seed germinate when planted are the things that will kill them during storage and prevent germination later when planted.  Even if the poorly stored seeds germinate, they may produce weak, spindly plants that do not produce fruit or vegetables.  You may get carrot sprouts but never any root bigger than a thread even after months of growing.

When stored properly, some seeds can last 5-10 years, but this depends on the type of seed.  Some seeds don’t do well the second year no matter how good the storage conditions.  Seed banks use climate controlled environments (temp/humidity) to store their seed banks and grow them out every second or third year.

Fedco Seeds has a great chart on Seed Saving for Beginnners which gives great information including seed longevity. Most seeds store well for 2-3 years. Onion will only last one year and leek will last two at the most. Cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes can last up to ten years.  I have successfully grown tomato plants from seven year-old seeds. Remember the younger the seeds, the more vigorous the plants will be.

If you are faced with an emergency where you had to get a garden in and survive off what you produce, you will also need to harvest seed from that garden so you don’t use up all your precious seed bank and have nothing left for the next season. If your emergency is such that you have enough time to grow a garden, you may need to do it for more than just one season. There is no substitute for experience in the garden.

I recommend a fantastic book by Steve Solomon called Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series)Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food In Hard Times. His premise is that you are gardening because you are going to live on what you grow so you cannot afford to waste money or to fail. This book was not written specifically for any particular state or zone and is not for the Square Foot Gardening crowd but it is full of extremely valuable advice gained from decades of experience with subsistence gardening. He also discusses seed longevity and seed saving.

In an ideal situation, you would be growing your seeds every year and saving seeds from the most vigorous plants and the best fruits. Watch for the plants that produce the biggest and best leaves and fruit. Tie a piece of yard around the stem, so you’ll remember those are the plants whose seeds you want to save.

By saving seeds from each harvest season, your seeds will always be fresh. Even if you live in an apartment, you can practice growing seeds on your balcony in pots. That said, you may purchase seeds for your garden and only plant some and save the rest for the next years. I do this. It’s a great money saver.

Seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. A mason jar in the refrigerator is ideal and easy. I store seeds from each type of plant in small, labeled paper envelopes. (These small packets make it very easy to trade seeds, too.) Adding a desiccant, oxy pack, or pumping down to vacuum would also improve shelf life. Do not store seeds in a frost free freezer without making sure the container is airtight. Ever seen an ice cube left too long in a frost free? It evaporates. This will kill your seeds. Seeds need to maintain a low level of moisture to survive, and if you’re packaging seeds yourself, that desiccant packet could make a huge difference in whether or not the seeds remain viable.

If you buy your seeds in a #10 can, keep it in the refrigerator. Every 10 degree F increase in temperature above standard conditions combined with a 1 percent increase in the moisture content of the seed, cuts the storage life of the seed in half.

Last but not least, make sure you purchase good quality seeds to begin with. Some seeds are nearly worn out when you get them. If you purchase seeds that have been stored in an outside nursery with the lovely trays of flowers under a mister system, they are in trouble. I was at a “big box” garden center the other day and the seed envelopes were under the shade cloth outside, in the heat, near the flowers.  The packages had been so damp they were bent over. They had probably been out there all summer. I checked the envelopes and the seeds were loose in the packet and not inside a foil pack inside the envelope. At a “supercenter” I went to, the seeds were inside the air conditioned part of the store and well away from any moisture.  These would be a much better bet. The best place to get seeds for storage is through mail order or order online from a reputable dealer. My favorite is Fedco Seeds for quality, price, and customer service.  There are several other good ones as well.  These seed dealers store their seeds appropriately and test germination each year for each lot.

Growing food is a big enough challenge but can you imagine trying to do that with old seeds that may or may not be viable? Take the time to not only learn how to save seeds but then store them so they will retain their optimal vitality.

Marta Waddell contributed to this article.

Source link: https://preparednessadvice.com/how-to-save-seeds/ by Noah at preparednessadvice.com

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Continue Reading

Outdoor Survival Skills

Building a Survival Garden: A Beginner’s Guide for Urban and Suburban Families

Published

on

In times of uncertainty, having a reliable source of fresh food can provide a sense of security and self-sufficiency. For urban and suburban families interested in preparedness, growing a survival garden is an excellent way to ensure access to nutritious food. This guide will explain why you should consider growing a survival garden and provide step-by-step instructions to help even those with no gardening experience get started.

Why Grow a Survival Garden?

vegetable-garden-spring-young-celery-grow

Food Security

One of the primary reasons to grow a survival garden is to ensure food security. In the event of supply chain disruptions, natural disasters, or other emergencies, having a garden can provide a steady supply of fresh vegetables and herbs. This reduces reliance on grocery stores and external sources.

Health and Nutrition

Homegrown produce is often more nutritious and flavorful than store-bought options. You have control over the growing conditions and can avoid harmful pesticides and chemicals. This results in healthier, organic produce that supports your family’s well-being.

Cost Savings

Growing your own food can significantly reduce your grocery bill. While there are initial setup costs, a well-maintained garden can produce an abundance of food for a fraction of the cost of buying it.

Environmental Benefits

Gardening is an eco-friendly activity. It reduces your carbon footprint by decreasing the need for transportation and packaging associated with store-bought produce. Additionally, plants help improve air quality and can provide habitats for beneficial insects and birds.

Steps to Start Your Survival Garden

Step 1: Plan Your Garden

The first step in creating a survival garden is planning. Consider the following factors:

  • Location: Choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily. For urban settings with limited space, consider container gardening or vertical gardening.
  • Space: Assess the available space and decide on the garden size. Even a small balcony or patio can accommodate a container garden.
  • Climate: Research the local climate and growing seasons. Select plants that thrive in your region.
  • Water Source: Ensure easy access to water. Gardens require regular watering, especially during hot, dry periods.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Once you have a plan, gather the necessary supplies. Basic gardening supplies include:

  • Containers or Raised Beds: Containers, pots, or raised beds are ideal for urban and suburban gardens. They are easier to manage and can be placed on patios, balconies, or rooftops.
  • Soil: Use high-quality, nutrient-rich soil. You can purchase potting soil or create your own compost.
  • Seeds or Seedlings: Start with easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs such as tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and basil. Seedlings are often easier for beginners than starting from seeds.
  • Watering Can or Hose: Ensure you have a reliable method for watering your garden.
  • Gardening Tools: Basic tools include a trowel, pruners, gloves, and a hand rake.

Step 3: Prepare the Soil

Healthy soil is crucial for a thriving garden. Follow these steps to prepare your soil:

  • Test the Soil: Use a soil testing kit to check the pH and nutrient levels. Most vegetables prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0).
  • Amend the Soil: Based on the test results, amend the soil with compost, manure, or other organic matter to improve fertility and drainage.
  • Fill Containers or Beds: If using containers or raised beds, fill them with the prepared soil mix.

Step 4: Plant Your Garden

With the soil ready, it’s time to plant your seeds or seedlings:

  • Follow Planting Guidelines: Each plant has specific planting depth and spacing requirements. Follow the instructions on the seed packets or seedling tags.
  • Water Thoroughly: After planting, water the soil thoroughly to help the plants establish roots.
  • Label Plants: Label each plant to keep track of what you’ve planted and where.

Step 5: Maintain Your Garden

Consistent care is essential for a successful garden. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Water Regularly: Water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells. Ensure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.
  • Weed Control: Remove weeds regularly to prevent them from competing with your plants for nutrients and water.
  • Mulch: Apply mulch around the plants to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weeds.
  • Fertilize: Use organic fertilizers to provide essential nutrients. Follow the recommended application rates.
  • Prune and Harvest: Prune plants to encourage healthy growth and remove dead or diseased parts. Harvest vegetables and herbs when they are ripe to enjoy fresh produce and encourage more growth.

Step 6: Protect Your Garden

Protecting your garden from pests and diseases is crucial:

  • Pest Control: Use natural pest control methods such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs.
  • Disease Prevention: Keep an eye out for signs of disease and take action promptly. Remove infected plants to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Physical Barriers: Use netting or fencing to protect your garden from animals and birds.

Starting a survival garden can seem daunting, especially for those with no prior gardening experience. However, with careful planning, the right supplies, and consistent care, anyone can create a thriving garden that provides fresh, nutritious food for their family. The benefits of growing your own food extend beyond the tangible produce; it offers a sense of security, promotes health, and fosters a connection with nature. As you embark on this gardening journey, remember that patience and perseverance are key. Happy gardening!

Do you and your family have a “survival garden?” Leave your tips in the comments below. 

 

Continue Reading

Featured

Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter

Published

on

sign-indicating-whereabouts-fallout-shelter

In today’s increasingly uncertain world, the threat of nuclear war looms larger than it has in decades. Escalating tensions globally, particularly in regions like Israel and Ukraine, have heightened concerns about the potential for catastrophic conflict. As families seek to prepare for worst-case scenarios, building a fallout shelter in your basement can provide a crucial layer of protection. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a safe and effective fallout shelter in your home, ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any eventuality.

Why Build a Fallout Shelter?

The primary purpose of a fallout shelter is to protect you and your family from the immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent radioactive fallout. A well-constructed shelter can significantly reduce your exposure to radiation, provide a safe space for survival, and give you peace of mind during these tumultuous times.

Assessing Your Basement

Before you start building your fallout shelter, you need to evaluate your basement to determine its suitability for conversion. Here are the key factors to consider:

Structural Integrity

Ensure your basement is structurally sound and free of leaks. Cracks in the foundation or walls can compromise the shelter’s integrity and allow radiation to penetrate.

Space Availability

Choose a location within your basement that offers enough space for your family and essential supplies. A minimum of 10 square feet per person is recommended for comfort and survival needs.

Accessibility

Ensure that the chosen area is easily accessible and can be quickly reached in an emergency. The entrance should also be securable to protect against external threats.

Designing Your Shelter

Radiation Shielding

The key to effective fallout protection is adequate shielding. Materials such as concrete, bricks, and earth are excellent for blocking radiation. Aim for walls that are at least 12 inches thick with concrete or 24 inches thick with packed earth.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent suffocation and ensure a fresh air supply. Install an air filtration system capable of removing radioactive particles. Consider manual ventilation options in case of power outages.

Water and Food Supply

Stock your shelter with a sufficient supply of water and non-perishable food. Aim for a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and a two-week supply of food. Include a water filtration system for long-term sustainability.

Sanitation

Prepare for sanitation needs by including portable toilets, waste bags, and sanitation chemicals. Proper waste management is crucial to prevent disease and maintain hygiene.

Emergency Supplies

Equip your shelter with essential emergency supplies, including:

  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radios (preferably hand-cranked or battery-powered)
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Building the Shelter

Wall Construction

Begin by constructing the walls using your chosen materials. Concrete blocks are highly effective and can be reinforced with rebar for added strength. Ensure the walls are thick enough to provide adequate radiation shielding.

Ceiling and Floor

The ceiling should be as heavily shielded as the walls. If your basement ceiling isn’t suitable, add a layer of concrete or earth above it. The floor should be solid and free from cracks; consider adding a layer of protective material if necessary.

Entrance Protection

Install a sturdy, sealed door that can withstand blasts and radiation. Metal doors with rubber gaskets are effective. Ensure the door can be securely locked from the inside.

Ventilation System

Install your ventilation system, ensuring it can filter out radioactive particles. Include manual ventilation options, such as hand-cranked fans, in case of power failure.

Interior Setup

Arrange the interior for maximum comfort and efficiency. Place cots or sleeping mats along the walls, leaving the central area free for movement. Store supplies in an organized manner to make them easily accessible.

Testing and Maintenance

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your shelter for any signs of damage or wear. Check the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floor, and ensure the ventilation system is functioning correctly.

Supply Rotation

Periodically rotate your food and water supplies to ensure they remain fresh and usable. Replace expired items promptly.

Emergency Drills

Conduct regular emergency drills with your family to ensure everyone knows how to quickly and safely access the shelter.

Building a fallout shelter in your basement is a proactive step towards ensuring your family’s safety in the face of nuclear threats. By carefully assessing your space, designing for maximum protection, and maintaining your shelter, you can create a secure environment to weather any storm. In these uncertain times, being prepared is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity.

Do you have any tips on building a fallout shelter in your basement? Leave them in the comments below. 

Continue Reading

Outdoor Survival Skills

A Quick Way To Estimate Remaining Daylight That Can Save Your Life

Published

on

clock-on-wood-morning-blurred-nature

Navigating the great outdoors can be a thrilling adventure, whether you’re out for a leisurely hike, an invigorating run, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. But as the day wears on and the sun begins its descent towards the horizon, it’s essential to keep track of how much daylight you have left. 

While smartphones have become indispensable tools for many aspects of life, they’re not always reliable in remote areas or during outdoor activities. So, what do you do when you need to know how much daylight remains, but you don’t have access to your phone or any other timekeeping device? Fear not, for there’s a handy trick that has been passed down through generations – using nothing more than your hands and a bit of observation.

In an era where technology reigns supreme, it’s easy to overlook the simplicity and practicality of age-old techniques. Yet, sometimes, the simplest methods are the most effective. This is certainly true when it comes to estimating daylight using just your hands.

Now, before we delve into the intricacies of this method, it’s important to note that it’s not an exact science. Factors such as geographical location, terrain, and weather conditions can all impact its accuracy. However, it provides a rough estimate that can be surprisingly reliable in many situations.

So, how does it work? Let’s break it down step by step.

First, find a clear view of the horizon – a flat, unobstructed area where you can see the sun’s path as it moves across the sky. Ideally, you’ll want to be in an open space without tall buildings, trees, or mountains blocking your view.

Next, extend your arm straight out in front of you, with your palm facing towards you. Your arm should be fully extended and parallel to the ground, creating a straight line from your shoulder to your fingertips.

Now, focus on the position of the sun relative to the horizon. Place the bottom of your pinky finger on the horizon line, with your fingers together and pointing upwards. This creates a makeshift measuring tool that you’ll use to gauge the remaining daylight.

Observe how many fingers can fit between the horizon and the bottom of the sun. Each finger represents roughly 15 minutes of daylight, with four fingers equaling one hour. If there’s more space than one hand can cover, you can use your other hand to continue counting. And if the space exceeds the width of two hands, you can stack them on top of each other to measure accordingly.

By using this method, you can quickly estimate how much daylight you have left without the need for any external devices. It’s a simple yet effective way to stay informed and plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Of course, it’s important to remember that this method is not foolproof. Variations in terrain, weather conditions, and other factors can affect the accuracy of your estimate. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry a backup timekeeping device, such as a watch or a smartphone, especially if you’re venturing into remote or unfamiliar areas.

Despite its limitations, the hand method can be a valuable tool for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, runners, and anyone else who spends time outside. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of humans and our ability to adapt and thrive in any environment.

In conclusion, knowing how to estimate daylight using just your hands is a useful skill that can come in handy when you least expect it. So, the next time you find yourself outdoors and in need of a quick time check, remember this simple yet effective method. Happy exploring!

 

Continue Reading

Trending