In my opinion, these are the best of the best of survival and preparedness articles gleaned from the 'net.

Please visit the originating sites to see more like them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5 Reasons Why There is Security in Seeds


It’s ironic that a minuscule seed holds the power of life or death for humans. Multiple disaster organizations, as well as government web sites, recommend that a person have food stored for emergency shortages. Although a food crisis seems unlikely, there is a possibility that it could occur. While canned goods can sustain a family for a short while, seeds are required for producing food for a longer-term crisis.  Storing seeds will ensure that in a long-term disaster, you will be able to provide essential vitamins and nutrients that will be needed for more physical exertion and mental clarity.
Non-genetically modified (GMO) seeds and heirloom seed varieties are preferred for long-term survival because they produce fertile seeds that can be saved for subsequent growing seasons.
Think of seeds as a necessary security investment for your future. If you need them for a long-term survival situation, then you have them. Store the seeds for a long term disaster in a safe, dark, dry place.  Many suggest packaging the seeds and placing them in the freezer to prevent them from aging.
Some ask how seeds can provide security and how they can provide immediate aide in food-shortage scenario.
1. Bartering. Seeds could be used as a bartering item, and if they are used for that purpose, then their value increases ten fold. Many people do not consider storing seeds with their long-term food items. Start thinking of your seeds as a form of currency.
2. Inflation. If you have seeds to grow produce, then the plants are continuously producing more seeds for future growing seasons. If you don’t have to buy produce, then you are saving hundreds of dollars a year on your grocery budget.
3. Nutrition. Many farmers dispute the nutritional value that GMO seeds; in fact, farmers would like more research conducted to further gain insight in how GMO seeds affect our nutritional health. Heritage and non-GMO seeds are safer nutritionally for you and your family.
4. Safety. If you plant your seeds, then you know where they came from and what chemicals/fertilizers were used on them. When you buy produce from a merchant, you do not have that security. Even if the produce says that it is organic, it doesn’t mean that it is grown to the same standards that you would dictate for your family’s nutritional safety.  Many are growing more concerned about the potential of an attack on our food source.  Even the Department of Homeland Security is concerned with the possible terrorist threat on food. Tommy Thompson stated, “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists do not attack our food supply because it is so easy to do.”  This supports the need for every family to put food storage as the highest priority on their family’s disaster plans.
5. Sustainability – Using non-GMO seeds will create plants that will provide seeds for future harvests, thus creating sustainability for those who need the food the most.  Seeds can also be sprouted to eat for added nutrition and vitamin intake.  There is a certain satisfaction to growing your own food.  Food that you can depend on, that you have invested your time in seeing it grow to fruition.  Through this satisfaction and pride, comes the understanding that you are self reliant and can take care of yourself without any involvement from the outside (grocery stores, government hand outs, etc).  The end result from planting a tiny seed is freedom.
Seeds are an invaluable commodity and hold the key to long term sustainability, and survival in some cases.  Investing in these meager seeds can hold the power to sustained health.

Gardening: You can do it!

Container Garden

Vertical Garden

Our very own square foot garden

It's gardening time again! Three years ago, we planted asparagus and this spring, we're harvesting it every day from our garden. My kids eat it like candy. I think everyone should have a garden. As a mother, I love it! What's better than seeing my little 4-year-old picking broccoli out of the garden for a snack on a daily basis (see the blonde head in the lower right hand corner of the picture?)

Gardening promotes healthy eating, provides vegetables and fruit at peak freshness, allows us to can and freeze vegetables for the winter and saves lots of money at the grocery store. We also share our bounty with neighbors and friends.

We currently have lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peas and onions growing in our backyard. I have seed potatoes in my garage which I need to get in the ground. After our frost-free date, which is May 15th, we will plant green beans, cantaloupe, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, herbs of many varieties and corn. The great thing about gardening is that you can plant what you like to eat.
We have a square foot garden which is made of raised beds. However, there are lots of ways to create garden, even when you don't have ground space. If you haven't tried gardening, this is the year to do it!

Here are the instructions to make the vertical vegetable garden shown in the picture above.

Here are some directions to help you get started in square foot gardening:

Here is some help with designing a container vegetable garden:

There are myriads of gardening sources available on the Internet. Your state extension offices are a terrific source with information about how to grow plants in your area, soil testing and master gardeners on staff. Do some research and you can find a gardening solution for you and your family. Trust me, it will be worth it! My kids love to eat veggies and I know it's because they eat them right out of the garden all summer long.

Rural Water Sources - Creeks and Ponds


pond


creek

One of the easiest ways to have additional supplies of water on hand is to have a natural water source that is readily available. Creeks and ponds make excellent sources for water. They can also contain fish that will supplement your food resources. Natural water sources also attract various forms of wildlife that can further enhance your food supplies.


turkey

Got creek?

Special thanks to my friend JT for the great pictures!

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Urban Gardening: Grow Anywhere!

Contributing Author: Misty Baker
Just because you live in an apartment, does not mean you have to live without the joys of fresh, homegrown garden vegetables. There are just a few simple steps that can help you achieve your homegrown produce dream.
 The first thing that you need to do is to consider your growing conditions. Ask yourself what is the availability of sunlight? It is a good idea to spend a few days watching the sunlight pattern on your patio, deck, or balcony. The amount of sunlight directly affects which plants you can grow successfully.
 The second step is to assess your space.  If you have a small space, then you will have to grow small plants with smaller root systems. It would not be a good idea to plant corn or other large plants. Most importantly, make the best use of your space!  Use additional space on walls to grow vegetables and fruits.  And hanging planters could also make good use of a small patio.  Strawberries, cherry tomoatoes or dwarf pepper plants would thrive well in a hanging basket.  The following is a listing of plants that grow well in containers:
  • Tomatoes (you will have to provide support for their stalks)
  • Peppers (you will have to provide support for their stalks)
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Mustard greens
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Most herbs
 The final step is to purchase good dirt. I prefer a mix of five different types of compost, e.g., worm compost, cow manure, mushroom compost, vegetable and fruit compost, etc., vermiculite, and peat moss. If it is good enough for Mel Bartholomew, the inventor of square-foot gardening, then it is good enough for me.
 If you would like some more information on small container gardening, then there is an abundance of information on the Internet. I highly recommend the Squarefoot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

Long Term Disasters Will Have Clear and Present Dangers

With a major disaster, their is a dependency upon the government to save the people.  The mistake these victims make is that the government is not Superman.  This “I’m a victim, come save me!” mentality is one of the biggest mistakes the unprepared make.  If a major disaster were to occur over the entire United States, only 7% of the population would be prepared for it.  If this scenario did occur, there would be many dangers that would exist. 
Imagine, the dangers that would lurk.  Imagine the hungry and desperate that would be willing do anything it took to get their family fed, the diseases that would occur due to poor sanitary conditions and contaminated water supplies.  The people of this Nation would shed their decency and timid natures (which we are so used to seeing), and become nothing short of animals.  We would become territorial predators that would attack to get what is needed to survive.  In desperate times, people will stop at nothing to get what they need to survive.

The Hungry


When a  long term disaster situation begins, many of the unprepared will go out searching for food.  The human race is genetically wired to do what is necessary to survive, even in a panic state.  Those that are panic stricken and in a desperate state are not the type of people to get tangled up in.  They will either attack in organized groups, or individually attack.  They could set houses on fire, and kill if necessary to feed themselves and their families.  If a person decides to be charitable, approach this with caution.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.   As much as a person wants to help their fellow man, their fellow man may want more than just a hand out.
If a person has the power to prepare a city or town for a long term disaster, a great way to plan for this would to have churches or other facilities begin preparing a food bank with canned goods, non-GMO seeds, and needed preparedness items for a long term situation.  This food bank would be able to keep hostility down in the beginning of a long term disaster so that a city can prepare an action plan (if it has not already done so).  The more a city is prepared, the more success it will have, and it’s citizens at surviving.

 Dangers From Lack of Security


To prevent someone from attacking your shelter or homestead, measures must be put into place.  Additionally, having a good security detail to be aware of possible threats and attacks.  This is an essential defense maneuver.  Whether an urban street has blockades and neighbors take turns in groups securing the parameter, or having a sniper set up to alert in the case of a surprise attack.  There must be some form of security in order to defend the area.  Defense will play a large part in a long term disaster.
Creating a barrier to prevent vehicles or individuals from approaching would efficiently secure the parameter of the home.  Re-enforcing fences with cement, or planting a shrub that has thorns is also a good deterrent.  Additionally, another way to secure a parameter is by planting an aggressive growing, highly resilient planst around the parameter, such as bamboo.  This will not only hide the homestead or home, but will also be a way to stop ambushes and persons trying to forcibly attack a home.

Fire

Next to having food and water, having a shelter is a top priority.  If a fire were to break out, many do not have enough measures available to put the fire out.  If the home is on fire, one must do everything in their power to save it.  Having some extra supplies such as Class A fire hydrants and baking soda for smaller fires, Class B for grease fires or a Halon Fire Suppression system, would come in handy if someone needed them.  If the fire cannot be contained, then everyone should evacuate immediately.  If the fire was started by looters, then a defense strategy would be necessary.

Disease


In a long term disaster, death is going to occur. When death is all around, it creates a disease prone area.  If dead corpses are laying in a water source, water-born diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, viral hemorrhagic fever, and dysentary can pose a threat to the surrounding area.  Although persons that are alive are more likely to spread diseases due to poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, it is better to be on the safe side and take necessary precautions.  Additionally, some corpses could have blood born viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, or tuberculosis and could pose a slight risk if someone were handling the bodies.  But the risk can be minimized with basic precautions and proper hygiene.  Having a well organized plan of what to do to minimize the spread of diseases is something for many to think about.  Adding extra rubber gloves, face masks and bleach to the medical supplies would be advantageous.

In Summation

There are two very likely facts that everyone can agree on.  1.) Disasters happen every day.  They happen all over the world.  And may, in fact, happen to each us at one point in our lives.  2.) Desperation has no bounds.  If everyone agrees on these two facts, then the only logical answer is to prepare for the result of these two facts occuring, and the possibility of it happening at the same time.
Preparing for the likelihood of a major, long term disaster is a choice that each person has to make.  If a long term disaster were to occur, the cities would become breeding grounds for disease, not to mention crime, starvation and total devastation.  Many city dwellers will try to flee the cities and roam the countryside trying to find safety and basic needs.  Yet, at the same time have the potential of bringing the diseases and exposing the countryside to sickness.  This is a nightmare, than many hope to never see.  But it has happened before, and it could happen again.  The point of all of this, is if it does indeed occur, how prepared for it will you be?

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