Tag Archives: health

Gardening- Getting Ready for Spring

Hey Spring is around the corner.  Are you ready to start your garden?

Today officially marks the start of gardening season for me.  I will start planting my indoor seeds for spring planting.  I usually start with spring planting on April 1.  Today I wanted to talk about starting your seeds indoors and what are some good plants for this.

Spring is a great time of year.  We are starting to see the end of winter coming soon.  The days are longer.  So this transition into summer is a wonderful time to get your garden ready for planting.  So instead of just direct sowing the seed when the time is right you want to start some seeds.  Why would we do this?

  • We don’t want to buy from our local nursery.  Local nurseries are great, but we have decided we want to learn how to plant indoors and transplant when the time is right.
  • We can get many more varieties of seed than what’s available at the nursery.
  • We like to grow things.

There are many variables in starting your own seed.  To get the best result we need to understand how a seed germinates.

Seeds are usually part of the dying process of the plant.  In the fall as the plant dies back it releases seed.  Usually many hundreds of seeds are in each plant.  Why so many seeds?  It is the law of averages.  When the seeds fall to the ground some are not able to germinate.  Why?  Many reasons.  Bad soil condition, food for other animals, not enough water, etc.  So a plant release many more seeds than it needs to survive.  As this seed falls to the ground it gets covered by other organic matter.  This matter forms a layer above and around the seed, protecting it somewhat during the cold winter. You see the conditions for each type of seed are different.  A lettuce may need cooler conditions than a squash seed.

So spring comes and this seed in buried under all of this organic matter.  As the days get longer and the sun becomes higher in the sky, the seed “senses” this.  You see, inside the seed are all the things it needs to become a beautiful vegetable.  So you are thinking how harsh the conditions for a seed are, and you would be wrong.  Under this organic matter is water, soil, nutrients.  The seed is protected from the elements.  When the time is right the seed sprouts.  It goes up looking for what?  The sun.  You see in order for the seed to become a plant it has to convert the suns energy into growing tall.  Then spring comes and the rains come to water this little plant. It grows taller and taller until it can sustain itself.  Seeds have a inherent “intelligence”.  They know what they are to do.  So when you plant a seed you have to consider the things it needs.

Planting seeds requires good soil, good light and good water.  Neglecting one of them will put the plant in jeopardy.    We start our seeds indoor to give it the best chance of success.  We can give it the proper light, right amount of water, and good soil.  In my experience there have been two issues.  One is having the light too close.  I had my lights too close and it was too hot for the plants and they thought it was summer and the spinach started to bolt.  The second is having the light too far away.  If you are having spindly plants then the light is too far away.  Best to start over.

Light is a very important part of seed starting.  Plants need about 12-16 hours of light.  For this reason it is very hard to start plants in a  window sill here in the United States.  We just do not have enough light in the spring during the day.  I have a timer set up for the lights to come on and off at a certain time.

In the initial stages of growth your seeds will need constant watering(misted) until they develop the proper root structure.  Once the root structure develops then I usually just poor some water in the bottom of the pan.

As your seedlings get somewhat larger you will be able to keep the best one (you did plant more than one seed in each?).  By cutting the best one (usually with a knife)  you will have the strongest plant.

As they get larger you will want to start hardening off the plants.  Hardening off is the process of taking the plant from its indoor state to outdoor state.  When the plants are all nice and cozy inside and go outside they will go through shock.  This shock may kill the plant.  I harden off by taking the plant outside for about a week before I put them in the ground.  Start with about 1-2 hrs a day and increase every day by 1-2 hrs.  By the end of the week your plants should be ready to put into the ground.

What if the weather does not cooperate?  Then you can pot up the plant.  This is the process of increase the amount of soil around the plant.  It will then grow stronger and be ready to go outside when the weather allows.

Remember no matter where you live you can grow some of your own food.  Apartment dwellers can always put a few pots outside and grow almost anything a person with a backyard can grow.  Be creative, have fun and enjoy your food.

Come summer you will be glad you planted your little/big garden.  Nothing tastes better than food you have grown yourself.  Once the hook is in, you will be ready to be reeled into the wonderful world of feeding yourself.  I started with no garden 3 years ago and now I have 5 raised beds and the whole perimeter of my backyard is filled with wonderful food.  We just ate this week our last winter squash.

Happy Gardening.  What are you going to plant this year?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Why don’t you have a Garden?

What is your excuse for not having a garden?  What ever it is, it isn’t a good one.  We can all plant something.  I found this quote by Spencer Kimball

Grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property.  Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees-plant them if your climate is right for their growth.  Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters.  Study the best methods of providing your own food.  Make your garden…neat and attractive as well as productive.

It is interesting he says to “grow ALL the food you feasibly can”.  Hey there everybody ALL means ALL.  This means to me we should be plowing up our backyard and planting a garden.  To me it doesn’t look like he gives any excuses, like I live in an apartment.  The point is to start to take responsibility for your own life.  Since you feed yourself everyday then you should make sure you have a way to be able to produce some of your own food.  Look I know its not easy, but quit doing the things you shouldn’t be doing(like dorking off on the internet, worrying about your neighbors life, gossiping) and be productive.

Gardening has many benefits-

  • Preparedness for food supply disruptions.  Have a secondary food source allows for a partial self-reliance.  It is not important to produce all of your own food, but to supply a portion of it.  Having a garden is like having money in the bank.  If you lose your job you have food storage, money in the bank and a garden.  You now have three different ways of self-reliance.
  • Improved nutrition.  In this day and age where most of our food seems to be processed, having fresh food is even more important.  I know my health has been better by the food I eat from my backyard.  I had more lettuce this year than I could eat so I gave some away.  I received feedback on how long the lettuce lasted.  Some said it lasted almost one month.  The lettuce you get in the store barely lasts a week.  By eating from your own garden you are retaining many of the nutrients lost to transportation.
  • You reap what you sow.  This is a valuable lesson in gardening.  It is great to have a large harvest after the hard work you have put in spring and summer.  Fall comes around and you have all of this great food.  We still are eating the fruits and vegetables we canned from the summer.  What a great feeling to open a can of peaches and taste summer all over again.
  • Gardening is work. I think people underestimate the value of work.  Most things in life are not handed to them, they must work for them.  I do not know anyone who has achieved anything without substantial work.  Those who have great gardens have been working on them for years.
  • It teaches you not to be idle.  He who is idle gets nothing done.  It is ok to learn and grow in knowledge, but if we do not apply it we really have not learned.

Gardening is one of the things I think fall under the Food Tenet.  Providing some source of food other than the store provides and added measure of security.  I encourage you to start with a pot of peppers and go from there.  It is like a gateway drug, once you start you can’t stop.  There is nothing more fulfilling than providing your own food.

What type of garden are you planning this year?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Ric

Cooking with herbs

Every day of your life you probably eat three times a day.  I would venture to guess that most of you cook 1, maybe two meals a day.  The ability to cook has many preparedness uses.

  • Knowing how to cook means you have a skill no one can take from you.  By learning to cook you also know what goes into your food.  I believe this will make you a healthier eater.  It goes along with my theory, you should eat minimally processed food.
  • You are able to make things with only what you have at home.  You have recipes to go by.  The food in your storage is your guide.  This promotes creativity.
  • You are using all those fresh veggies from your garden.

Herbs add extra spice and flavor to what might be an ordinary meal.  There are five basic herbs you should have in your kitchen.  They are:

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary

Additionally garlic should also be grown in your garden along with some others, but these are the mainstays.

Ideas for Basil

  • In a salad- Simply add some fresh basil to any salad
  • Pesto- Basil is a mainstay of pesto.  Goes well with pasta and on bread

Ideas for Dill

  • Clam dip- add some to your favorite clam dip recipe
  • Fish- Dill helps with the fishy taste of fish.
  • On vegetables-  Great on carrots
  • On eggs

Ideas for Oregano

  • Making super awesome spaghetti sauce- add some to your store-bought sauce to make it extra special
  • Add to soups

Ideas for Parsley

  • Soups-  use the stems
  • Salads

Ideas for Rosemary

  • Bread- add some on top of or in your homemade bread
  • Potatoes- add some when you pan fry potatoes

Experiment.  The great thing about herbs is they dont have to have a particular use.  Use them when you feel like it.  Mix it up and have fun.

There are also a few other herbs you might want to experiment with.

  • Cilantro- what makes a homemade salsa “homemade”
  • Mint- Love it in some summertime lemonade
  • Sage- great on meat or sausage
  • Chives-  add just enough onion flavor

Here are some sites about herbs and their medicinal properties

Most of all have fun

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smother

Step 10- Emotional Stability

How is your mind?

Are you always stressed?  Running frantic?
Social and emotional self-reliance are so important.  When life throws us a curve are we able to handle it?  Do we have a good support systems in place to help?  Here are some ideas for maintaining a good support system.
  • Family
  • Church
  • Professional Services
  • Friends

Having a good family structure is what will lead to good mental health.  Families have many issues they struggle with.  Among them are

  • Parenting issues
  • Pornography
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Out of wedlock pregnancy
  • Emotional and Mental issues
  • Grieving
  • Divorce
  • Marital issues

All of the above plus many more can contribute to an unhealthy family situation.  You will be unable to prepare if your existing family is having problems.  Addressing the above problem will allow you to help and move beyond it.  It may take some time but it will be worth it.

I suggest having some family time.  Try one night a week to spend time together as a family.
  • Go to a movie
  • Have dinner together
  • Play a game
  • Go on a walk
  • Read a book
  • Make something
  • Learn something new
  • Go to the library
  • Go to the farmers market
  • Go Swimming
  • Try a picnic

There are so many things you can do.  You don’t have to spend any money.  Your family loves you and wants to be with YOU.  They don’t want anything else but you and your time.

Prepping101
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Step 8-Exercise

Are you asking why this is part of prepping?

Exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy mental and physical outlook. Being in “shape” allows you to handle the everyday stresses that come along with living life.

Exercise is a stressor on your body. By stressing your body it adapts. This adaptation allows you to endure other life stresses with ease.

Your exercise program does not have to be super regimented.

Here are my recommendations

* Walk- This is low impact and can be varied to anyone no matter what shape they are in

* Hiking- Get out and see things you do not see in the city

* Yoga- I like yoga because of the stretching and unique body positions.

* Gardening/Yardwork- These encompass lots of “human” movements

* Biking- Low impact, able to go long distance and for longer times than other exercises

Things I do not like (if they are done to the exclusion of others)

* Running- I like running as long as it is not the only thing done.

* Repetitive motion exercises- push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.

I believe that if you have an exercise routine in which you do the same things every time then you will not be as healthy. The human body is meant to do varied exercise to maintain physical fitness. Please do not construe this as I hate running or push-ups. I think in a well encompassed routine they may be fine, but they are not what I would consider a “human movement”.

Remember, being active is what is most important. Now go outside and have some fun.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother