Category: Nature

DIY Fertilizers: The Cheap & Easy Way

DIY Fertilizers - The Cheap & Easy Way

As I’ve touched on the subject of survival gardening many times before and I’ve advocated growing your own, private vegetable or even fruit garden, I’m sure that my suggestions have resonated with many of my readers. And if you share my view that your private garden will be your main source of getting fresh produce once the big markets close down, you’ll like what you’ll “see” next. Of course, serious gardening requires some knowledge, skill and preparation. You’ll need a bit of practice, as I’ve said before, to actually get the desired results. And you’ll need a bit of financial investment too. But even so, survival gardening can still be run on a tight budget, especially in the fertilizer department. The last thing you’ll need to throw your many at is professional fertilizing agents. Don’t get me wrong, these products work, they get the job done, but there are plenty alternatives you’ll find around the house that will work just as well. And most of the stuff you can use as fertilizer would normally be considered waste, and you’d be throwing it away without being aware of its life-sustaining properties.

First and foremost, you need to understand what fertilizer actually is and why it is so important. Plants, in order to grow and develop require certain amounts of nutrients. Sometimes, what the soil provides just isn’t enough. Fertilizer is added to make sure that plants won’t stagnate and that the crops will be plentiful, counteracting a possible depletion of nutrients in the soil. There are 3 major ranks of nutrients that your garden will need:

  • Rank I nutrients (that are needed in large quantities): P (phosphorus), K (potassium) and N (nitrogen)
  • Rank II nutrients (that are needed in moderate quantities): Mg (magnesium), Ca (calcium) and S (sulfur)
  • Rank III nutrients (that are needed in small quantities): Fe (iron), Mn (manganese), Mo (molybdenum), Zn (zinc) and B (Boron)

If you wish to have healthy and nutritious plants, you’ll have to assure that they get most of these beneficial elements during their development. The lack of nutrients won’t allow the plants to develop normally and may even cause their premature death. So fertilizer it’s a must! Let’s have a look at some of the best DIY fertilizers you can find around the house.

Egg shells

As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. But after the omelette is done, don’t throw the egg shells away, they’ll make a great addition to you gardening plan. Egg shells contain a great amount of Ca (calcium), which is extremely important for cellular growth and development. Calcium is one of the elements in the soil that get depleted fastest while plants are growing, so adding some back into the circuit would be extremely beneficial to you garden. Grind the shells into a thin powder and sprinkle them on the ground; that should do it. The shells also contain N and phosphoric acid.

Banana peels

The banana peel is yet another object you’d be tempted to discard right away. But bananas are rich in potassium (K), and so are its peels. Adding banana peels to your garden would ensure rich and well-developed crops, as potassium (K) is a rank I ingredient, which plants can’t get enough of. Not only is it beneficial to all sorts of fruit and veggies, but ornamental plants are loving it also. Don’t throw the peel on the ground directly, rather rip it into shreds and place it in the hole before planting for optimum efficiency.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are an excellent source of magnesium (Mg) potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) and would make great ”food” for the plants. But adding them to the soil will increase the overall pH, so it’s generally recommended to use them more for plants who strive in a more acid environment like tomatoes, avocados, blueberries, azaleas etc. Before scattering them on the ground, it’s best if you let them dry first. You should scatter them lightly, around the plants.

Fire ash

As long as you have ash leftovers from the fireplace or if you’ve been camping all night, you also have a good means of fertilizing your garden. Ash is rich in potassium (K) and calcium carbonate, which will do wonders for growing fruit and vegetables. The ash method works best for plants that love alkaline surroundings; so don’t use the ashes on acid loving plants. And if the ashes are the result of a fire to which charcoal or lighter fluid was added, don’t use them. The residual agents will harm the plants. So use 100% wood ashes only.

Hair

Yes, that’s correct: hair. Any sort of hair will do, be it from people, dogs cats and pretty much any other creature you can think of. Hair is naturally packed with nitrogen, so if you’ll sprinkle it across the garden, you’ll supply the growing plants with a much needed nitrogen (N) boost. Get hair wherever you can find it: scrap it off brushes and save the trimmings from cutting your hair; you can also visit your local barber shop for great amounts of hair that they would otherwise just throw away. Just offer to get it off their hands for free and they’ll most likely let you have it.

And there you have it, some of the easiest and cheapest methods of ensuring the right nutrients for you survival garden. Not only are these methods cheap and convenient, but they’re also very efficient. If it was money that was in your way of getting your hands dirty and your thumbs green, problem solved! You can now have your garden, and on a budget too.

By My Family Survival Plan

Amazing: Insects Solving World Hunger

Amazing: Insects Solving World Hunger

The total of human population at the beginning of 2016 is roughly around 7.6 billion. And if it’s one thing that’s characteristic for us, is the speed in which we’re depleting our resources; not only are we fast, but we’re constant as well. There’s plenty of us already, and in the near future, there are many things we’ll need to learn to do without. The world reserve of petrol won’t last more than 20, maybe 30 years before its completely depleted. But even more important, it’s finding an alternative for when the food runs out. You can live without petrol and other commodities, but you can’t live without food. The best solution at hand is to throw aside culinary “traditions”, toughen up and accept the fact that the insects solving world hunger. They are the best source of food for dark days! Whether you’re the survivor for a massive World War, scouting the remains of a destroyed society or you’ve been stranded in a hostile environment, you’ll still be surrounded by insects. Most insects are good for eating, just don’t go for the poisonous and venomous ones. It’s their high concentration of protein (can go even up to 75% protein), but also saturated fats (the good kind of fats), minerals and fibers that put them at the top of the list; about 70% of the world’s population is living of insects already, so how long until the rest of us join in? Even the UN launched and official recommendation which encourages insect consumption. Not only is insect consumption healthy, but insect farms would be far less costly and pretentious than any other type of animal. If I’ve got your attention, let’s see some of the best insects across North America that you can get your hands on if SHTF, or if you simply want to experiment.

ANTS (the Formicidae family)

There are plenty of ants to choose from. They’re widely spread and within reach all the time. Just take a bit of patience to scout around the place and you’ll find some sooner or later. Most of the ants you’ll come across are harmless. But if you come across red ants, means you stumbled across some fire ants. They’re bite is really painful, so be as cautious as possible. If we’re talking about an extreme survival case, you can simply reach in the anthill and grab the ants or even better, use a container. I’m sure that if you’ve been starving for a while, you won’t mind their vinegary taste or the fact that you ingurgitate some soil. But if you have the time, boiling is the way to go.

TERMINTES (the Termitoidae family)

Termites are colonial insects, just like ants, they can often be found in large number at ones and their diet consists mainly in eating wood (xylofagous diet). In many places around the world, they live in regular fortresses; termite mounds that are run by all sorts insects devised in social ranks: workers, soldiers, scouts and the queen. However, the mound type structures are no longer found in North America; only fossils are left. Finding termites is really easy, just look for any signs of decaying wood, tree stumps and most of all, damp dead wood.

CATERPILLARS

The caterpillar is not a genus of insect, but rather a transitional form for all sorts of butterflies and moths. Before reaching adult state, moths and butterflies are found in caterpillar form. They don’t have wings, are rather slow by nature (which means they’re easy to catch) and are full of all sorts of nutrients and beneficial substances: vitamin B, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. Whether they’re hairy or not, they’re still a fully nutritious food source. Some reports I have come across suggest that some of the caterpillars you might come across are potentially toxic, but I have found nothing conclusive in this regard. But just to play it safe, I strongly advise you to stay away from the brightly colored ones. In nature, bright colors mean imminent danger.

CRICKETS / GRASSHOPPERS / LOCUSTS (the Orthoptera order)

The insects in this order are some of the most popular amongst people. And with good reason too. They’re everywhere, easy to catch and sometimes swarm in large numbers; they can be devastating to crops, so if you add humans to they’re natural predatory lists, means less damage they’ll be able to produce. Start eating them, before they’ll eat what you worked so hard for. Besides, they are very nutritious; they have a good overall taste, which is similar to peanuts. Frying them accentuates the flavor, and because they’re packed with protein, you can also dry them up and grind them into a fine powder, which you can store in a cool and dry environment.

Be warned, procuring insects is not as easy as it seems. You really need to know what you’ll be going against. If it’s small and it’s crawling, it’s good to eat. BUT if you see bright colors, stay away. Bright colors mean that the insect is probably poisonous or venomous, so move on and keep looking. You also must be aware of you “hunting ground”. You should gathering insects from urban areas or large crop fields, as these are very likely to have been sprayed with all sorts of insecticides, which can be very toxic.

By My Family Survival Plan

The Importance Of A Pocket Chainsaw For Survival

The Importance Of A Pocket Chainsaw For Survival

I am well aware of the fact that most of us that deal with prepping and take surviving in a SHTF situation seriously are familiar with the pocket chainsaw. Many of us have repeatedly used one, no doubt about that. And with good reason too.

The motorized chainsaw is a vital tool to have if you live out in the forest, especially when you are a long way from major roads. It requires very little effort from your part when it comes to cutting down trees or chopping wood (mainly); however you do need to be trained as they can be super dangerous in the wrong hands. Safety clothing such as chainsaw proof pants are a must also. The chainsaw comes in a lot of shapes and sizes and makes the work as easy as possible; all it asks in return is fuel and occasional maintenance.

But no matter how efficient it is in a day-to-day situation, it’s not very reliable when it comes down to a survival scenario. The fuel it requires will stop being a commodity and will become harder and harder to find; same goes for the oil and other parts that are required for maintenance. Plus, you would have to lug it around. If it was a ‘pack what you can carry’ situation, it might get abandoned pretty fast.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative available – and it could be a lifesaver. It’s called the pocket saw, and it’s basically a chain similar to that of a chainsaw, but it has a handle attached at each end of the cutting chain. This gadget will require a lot more effort from your part in cutting wood, as you will need to “become the engine” that drives the chain; but it’s the best option you’ve got. So if some manual labor doesn’t scare you, it will be extremely efficient in a survival scenario, when you’ll need to cut wood for building a shelter, firewood or surpassing and obstacle that might be in your way. The workout will be good for you and keep you warm too!

One of the best things about this particular piece of kit is its portability. A pocket chainsaw takes up a fraction of the space (and weight!) of other types of hand saw.

LIEUTNNT Survival Pocket Hand Chainsaw

This particular pocket chainsaw got tons of 5-star reviews. It has high quality steel teeth and comes in a 36 inch size (21″blade). One feature that really makes the chainsaw stand out are the comfortable plastic handles. This pocket chainsaw should cost around $20 – $25 and as a bonus, you also get a pouch.

The Supreme Products Pocket Chainsaw

The pocket chainsaw put out by Supreme Products also has a bi-directional chain, but what makes it stand out is that the product is modular. The saw can be detached from the handle, and if stored in its box, it weighs only 4 ounces and it can easily be fitted safely inside any pocket. The chain is made of carbon steel that has been coated with an anti-rusting agent. The blade is 28 inches long and the teeth are placed every 1/4 of an inch. At each end of the saw you get a stainless steel hook, to which you can attach the plastic handles, which are more comfortable than the handles made out of fiber, especially when you’ll be using the saw for longer period of time. The purpose of making this chainsaw modular is that you can add extension if you want to rich high limbs; just add as much rope as you like in-between the hooks and the handle. It’s very reliable and sturdy, easy to carry and to assemble and because the blade cuts both ways, you can go through a 3-inch diameter limb in about 10 – 15 seconds. Getting one won’t cost you more than $21.

The SaberCut pocket chainsaw

The SaberCut is released by Ultimate Survival Technologies and it’s a very efficient and qualitative tool. The 24 inch blade is bidirectional, cutting both ways easily because it’s very flexible and durable. The saw weighs in at about 4.5 ounces. It’s one of the easiest-to-maintain pocket chainsaws I ever came across. The teeth are self cleaning and they can easily be sharpened with a standard 1/8 chainsaw sharpener. The handles are made from the same material as the pouch it comes with, which is pretty durable and strong enough. Although this particular saw is not modular, you can always add as much length as you want tying cord to the handles. Not only is the SaberCut efficient and trustworthy, but it’s also one of the cheapest pocket chainsaws you can find, as it costs no more than $11.

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