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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apartment Survival: People

Original Article

As important as food, water, shelter, and security are, I’ve been discussing them largely in the absence of what is likely the very most important factor in apartment survival. That factor is the presence of the other people in your apartment complex. Depending on the circumstances, those other people may be a help, hindrance, or outright danger to you. The other people in your complex will determine the longer term viability of bugging in to an apartment.

First, let’s look at some broad classifications of people that you’re going to have at your apartment building. The first type will be those that believe everything will be better tomorrow morning. They will wait for the water and power to be restored, and are sure that the bus service will resume tomorrow so that they can go to the grocery store. They may also be extremely frightened and agitated, and could be dangerous if armed. I would expect this group to have the lowest overall survival rate.

The second type will be the G.O.O.D. type, whether they are preppers or not. As a crisis looms and deepens, they will pack up and head off to find safer, better situations somewhere else. They may or may not take all of their resources, and if you have exposed possessions, they may or may not take some of yours. What is more, they might not stay gone. It is entirely possible that a proportion of them will find nothing better out there and survive long enough to make it back ‘home.’

The third group are the ones that while perhaps not prepped, are proactive and coping as best they can. They will be among the first to start pilfering empty apartments for food, water and resources. They may be jerry-rigging solutions to things like heat and water purification, and they might even be a bit territorial, and perhaps somewhat aggressive in some circumstances. I would expect this group to do better than either of the others.

Finally, there are you and hopefully one or two more people like you. But there are no guarantees of that.
So for you, the first question is to find out who stayed and who left. When you know who is left, you can assess them as to whether they are threats or possible comrades. Remember, threats need not be limited to actions directly against you. It might well be that the neighbours are being a threat because they will not make proper sanitary arrangements, or making too much noise or light which may attract unwelcome attention.

It is imperative that you find like minded people in your building as soon as possible. Everything I’ve discussed can be done more easily by a small to medium sized group than can be done alone. This may require you to make the first overture, and will likely necessitate you taking a leadership role. Depending on the depth of the crisis, you may need to make decisions (or guide your group into making the decisions) for everything from defense and rationing to water and sanitation. This doesn’t give you license to become a feudal baron, but you will find that in a crisis, people will rally behind someone that is willing to step up to make those decisions, as long as the decisions are sound.

A small group working together will greatly increase your chances of survival, and group pressure will likely bring the ‘unwilling’ into line and into your group. The flip side is that a building full of uncooperative individuals makes it almost certain that all will fail. Despite everything you try, you may fail to weld the remaining people in your apartment into a cohesive group.

I see no easy answer to this, short of relocation. If you cannot get everyone in your building on side very quickly, the viability of staying at your apartment is severely diminished. Whether it is an empty building or storefront, an abandoned house, or a multiple unit such as a four-plex from which all have fled, you and whoever is like-minded need to go. You may even be able to find a building that is working together to join, but I believe strangers will have a difficult time getting in to a functioning group unless you possess goods or skills that are needed.

In the final analysis, the determining factor as to whether or not apartment survival is a viable option will come down to who is left in your apartment, and whether a community can be created from a collection of what were likely strangers before the crisis.

It is on this that all of your other efforts rest.

Plant these Companions with Tomatoes

Original Article

COMPANION PLANTING: Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, and leaves that can repel or attract insects. In some situations they can also enhance the growth rate and flavor of other varieties. Using companion planting through out the landscape is an effective form of pest management, allowing nature to do its’ job. By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies.
There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants and could be used as a border, backdrop or inter-planting in your vegetable beds.
TOMATOES: Tomato allies are many: asparagus, basil, bean, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pea, pepper, and sow thistle.

Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health, mature dill retards tomato growth.
Enemies: corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight contaminating each other. Keep apricot, dill, fennel, cabbage and cauliflower away from them. Don’t plant them under walnut trees as they will get walnut wilt: a disease that attacks tomatoes growing underneath these trees.

Consider planting these easy companions with your tomatoes

BASIL: Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Do not plant near rue or sage.
CHIVES: Improves growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes. A friend to apples, carrots, tomatoes, brassica (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, etc) and many others. Help to keep aphids away from tomatoes, mums and sunflowers. Chives may drive away Japanese beetles and carrot rust fly.
FRENCH MARIGOLD: They have roots that exude a substance which spreads in their immediate vicinity killing nematodes. For nematode control you want to plant dense areas of them. There have been some studies done that proved this nematode killing effect lasted for several years after the plants died back. These marigolds also help to deter whiteflies when planted around tomatoes and can be used in greenhouses for the same purpose. Whiteflies hate the smell of marigolds. Do not plant French marigolds next to bean plants.

PEPPERS, BELL (Sweet Peppers): Plant peppers near tomatoes. Harvesting tip: The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn’t fully develop until maturity.

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