Friday, January 29, 2010

Practice Your Survival Skills


The subject of survival is a big topic and the beginner, as well as the more experienced, may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material that one can learn.

I always recommend frequenting the several excellent survival forums and message boards that are on the Internet. These are run by friendly experienced people well versed in the field of survival. Participants in these survival forums are skilled in everything from bushcraft to firecraft to handicraft. They take great pride and pleasure in helping anyone. Often the survival discussions are lively and informative. If you are interested in learning more about survival, you will be welcomed with open arms into the survival community.

In addition there are a number of excellent books and magazines that cover the topic of survival. The basic ways of surviving have not always changed much over hundreds of years, and very old outdoor survival books contain nuggets of wisdom that even modern day survivors can use.

But it is not enough to read survival books and visit online survival forums. You have to get out there and practice your survival skills and survival gear. Set up a lean-to, build a debris hut, build a fire, find water. Test your skills in a variety of conditions and with a variety of materials. Make sure you would be able to do these very same things while injured or when it is wet or cold or blazingly hot.

The more you learn about survival techniques the more you realize how much there is to learn. When faced with a large task it is often easier to break it down into bite sized chunks. Survival experts have found through experience that the foundation of survival rests on five basic survival skills. Master these 5 basic survival skills and you are well on your way to being an expert survivor yourself. I will post these 5 skills next.

So discuss, read, and practice. That is the way of becoming a survival expert.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Container Gardening Tips


I'm a firm believer in container gardening. This type of gardening has many advantages, first you can control the amount of water the plant needs, and if the environment get bad like a storm you can move the plants to a safe place until the storm or whatever passes by. But the best part is you can be right there to watch them grow and develop. Now you want to make sure that your container is deep enough to contain the roots so you want to have enough room for the plant to grow. A good rule of thumb is the roots will grow down about half as far as the plant grows above ground. Another thing is please make sure your containers are clean and free of cleaning products. This will have a profound effect on how your plants do over the season because of the residual effect of cleaners.
I find it useful to use 5 gallon containers to grow most of my plants. This way you know the roots have plenty of room to grow. Be sure to put a layer of gravel on the bottom about one inch high and put about 8 to 10 holes in the bottom of the bucket to assure good drainage for the plant. And use the best soil you can get. I have found that a rich dark brown soil with some moisture makes the best medium for most plants. Before you put the gravel in the bucket make sure you rinse and clean the gravel to make sure it is free of contaminants.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Advantages of Raised Bed Gardens


I would have to say the most important advantage is greatly reduced soil compacting. Plant roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can’t avoid stepping in the garden bed occasionally when doing your everyday gardening. A properly designed raised bed garden allows you to do all you’re gardening from the garden path.
Plants can be spaced a little closer together in a raised bed because you don’t need places to step. This increases productivity per square foot of bed and reduces weeding when the plants begin to mature.
Note: Avoid the temptation to crowd your plants. You will still want to use generous plant spacing because your plants will grow much larger in raised beds.

Raised beds tend to drain away excess moisture better than ordinary garden beds. This is another advantage that helps the plant roots to breath. In areas that have saturated soil like Florida and many areas of the South, raised beds may be the only way you can grow many types of plants.
Soil conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a raised bed and they can be varied easily from bed to bed. Raised beds are the answer when topsoil is thin.
Water, fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully because they only need to be applied to the garden beds.
Various studies have shown that raised garden beds produce 1.4 to 2 times as much vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds, due mainly to the above advantages. You can have a smaller and more manageable garden that produces more vegetables for your table.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Do it Yourself Skills


Do-it-yourself skills are on their way out for many people, who prefer to have someone else do the dirty work. This has a direct effect on our collective ability to survive disasters.

A large part of survival is the ability to take charge of the situation and do what needs to be done in order to make it through another day. Often this is as simple as knowing how change the flat tire on a vehicle, or do some basic repairs to gear you are depending on. Like sharpening a survival knife, cleaning a rifle, or making a survival kit.

Every day we are losing touch with do it yourself skills, preferring instead to specialize completely into the one small thing from which we make a living. All that other stuff we can pay someone else to do.

When times are good your computer skills, or if you are flipping burgers your ability to churn ‘em out in numbers, may seem like the ticket to a good life. But should TSHTF you are going to find you cannot eat CD’s and your free fast food supply is nowhere to be found.

But it goes beyond that. Simply doing as many things as possible yourself – from plumbing to electrical to car repairs, gardening, and even fishing to putting some protein on the table – will give you a wide array of skill sets and problem solving skills no school can ever teach you.

When things go bad and a large scale survival situation occurs you are going to be in a much better position to survive if you are somewhat of a jack of all trades.

Emergency preparedness is usually pretty much a do it yourself skill if done right. Of course there are those who think all they have to do is pay for someone else to put together a survival kit or year’s supply of food, and they have got it made. Rest assured this way of thinking will serve them ill should they suddenly need this survival gear, possibly of dubious quality, without having the proper training and experience to use it.