Friday, July 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Long do you Boil Water for it to be safe

I frequently come upon bad advice about boiling water to make it safe to drink. Having enough safe drinking water is of utmost importance to any survivor. Proper information is very important and for that reason I am writing this is to set the record straight.


Boiling Water is the Best Method

As some of us know, boiling water is surest and most effective method of destroying microorganisms including disease causing bacteria, viruses, protozoan’s, and parasites.


Modern filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water come in a poor distant second to the ancient and almost foolproof method of boiling water to make it safe to drink. And importantly to the survivor, the boiling of water requires no special apparatus, training, or difficult to find chemicals. The means to boil water for safe drinking are usually close at hand:

•A source of heat

•A vessel to hold the water.


Boil Water Advisory Couldn’t be simpler. Or is it?


Commonly Stated Water Boiling Times


How Long Should Water be boiled

I am always hearing different amounts of time that water needs to be boiled to kill disease organisms. Recently I perused various publications put out by the government and trusted health organizations. What is glaringly obvious is they disagree on the length of time water should be boiled to make it safe to drink.


Common water boiling times that are stated include:


•“Boil water for 10 minutes” is a common statement


•“5-minutes of boiling” is also frequently heard


•“Boil the water for 20 minutes”. Would there be any left?

•“A rolling boil for 1 minute”. Is it enough?


•“When at high altitudes you need to boil water for twice as long”


Modern filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water come in a poor distant second to the ancient and almost foolproof method of boiling water to make it safe to drink. Which of the above statements are true? None. That’s right. Following any of the above advice for the boiling times of water is a big waste of fuel (and a waste of water if you are short on water cannot afford to lose any to evaporation).

Throughout the world whole forests have been cut down for firewood in order to boil drinking water. Hikers and mountaineers have used up precious fuel boiling water for inordinate amounts of time. In a survival situation you cannot afford to waste valuable resources and energy. With all the bad advice around, many thousands of trees and other fuels and a huge amount of effort have been wasted.


Correct Water Boiling Time


The correct amount of time to boil water is 0 minutes. Thats right, zero minutes.

"According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude."


What is not well known is that contaminated water can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling. The fact is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour for all disease causing organisms to be inactivated. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes. By the time water hits its boiling point of 212 F (100 C) - plus or minus depending upon pressure or altitude - the water is safe. Even at high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it.


Lacking a thermometer to measure water temperature, you only need to get your water to a rolling boil. By that point you know the water is hot enough and that the disease organisms in your water were destroyed quite some time earlier. End of story, turn off the heat. Stop wasting fuel. Let the water cool down. Your water is safe to drink!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tomatoes, My Favorite

When planting tomatoes be sure and set the plants deeper in the soil than in the original container. Be sure and use mulch or black plastic ground cover to maintain even soil temperature and moisture. A light side dressing of fertilizer may be applied when blossoms first appear. Also while plants are small you should put a tomato cage or some other type of support, so when the plant is mature it will not fall over from the weight of the tomatoes. Soil should be well limed before planting, this and even moisture levels will help prevent Blossom-End Rot. Select tomato varieties that are resistant to disease. Harvest tomatoes when red and juicy. A the end of the season, pick green tomatoes before the first frost and wrap in a single layer of newspaper and bring indoors to ripen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"Pepper, Sweet California Wonder 1 Pkt. (100 seeds)"


"HEIRLOOM. The standard bell pepper for many decades, this 1928 introduction is still the largest open-pollinated, heirloom bell you can grow, and a big improvement over the earlier bells. Consistently produces 3 inches X 4 inches, 4-lobed fruit."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If I Had a Say

This has nothing to do with gardening BUT!

Impeach Obama! Now!

Before It is too Late.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Save Your Seeds

Now is the time of year that we harvest our garden and enjoy the bounty that we have grown. But one thing is for sure you must leave some good stock in the ground to save for seed. Just be sure to let the plant mature and fully develop the seeds within it. When you harvest the seed be sure to lay them out on paper towels and let them dry for at least 3 weeks then store them in a cool dry place till next spring when you can germinate them into the next generation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

This is the most rugged, longest lasting microfilter available, This classic, robust water filter made of heavy duty materials is ideal for long lasting continuous use even under extreme circumstances. The silver impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa. The Katadyn Pocket is the only water filter with a 20 year warranty.




• Effective against bacteria, protozoa, chemicals/toxins, and particlulate.

• Fast & easy to use.

• Ultracompact & lightweight - Weighs only 20oz.

• Filter cartridge treats up to 50,000 liters
13,208 gal of drinking water.

• Trusted quality from the Katadyn Brand.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Radishes

Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, moister days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.

When to Plant

Spring radishes should be planted from as early as the soil can be worked until mid-spring. Make successive plantings of short rows every 10 to 14 days. Plant in spaces between slow-maturing vegetables (such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts) or in areas that will be used later for warm-season crops (peppers, tomatoes and squash). Spring radishes also can be planted in late winter in a protected cold frame, window box or container in the house or on the patio. Later-maturing varieties of radishes (Icicle or French Breakfast) usually withstand heat better than the early maturing varieties and are recommended for late-spring planting for summer harvest. Winter radishes require a much longer time to mature than spring radishes and are planted at the same time as late turnips (usually midsummer to late summer).

Spacing & Depth

Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Thin spring varieties to 1/2 to 1 inch between plants. Winter radishes must be thinned to 2 to 4 inches, or even farther apart to allow for proper development of their larger roots. On beds, radishes may be broadcast lightly and thinned to stand 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.

Care

Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared well, is fertilized before planting and has adequate moisture maintained. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.
Radishes mature rapidly under favorable conditions and should be checked often for approaching maturity. Harvest should begin as soon as roots reach edible size and should be completed quickly, before heat, pithiness or seeds talks can begin to develop.

Harvesting

Pull radishes when they are of usable size (usually staring when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and relatively young. Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop.

Winter varieties mature more slowly and should be harvested at considerably larger size. Once they reach maturity, they maintain high quality for a fairly long time in the garden, especially in cool fall weather. Size continues to increase under favorable fall conditions. Daikon or Chinese radish can achieve particularly large size and still maintain excellent quality. Winter radishes can be pulled before the ground freezes and stored in moist cold storage for up to several months.

Friday, July 9, 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.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Make sure your soil is ready for next season

Good soil grows healthy plants. You should prepare your soil well ahead of time to provide the right conditions for growth. We have had the best success getting beds ready in the fall, right after the summer’s garden is finished and when cool, dry weather permits.

Because roots like a soil that is conditioned enough to hold moisture, but porous enough to provide air spaces and good drainage, The best way to give soil this texture is by adding well rotted organic compost, as often as is practical. Good organics include peat moss, well rotted manure over your entire garden to a depth of several inches and mix it into your soil as deeply and thoroughly as possible.

If your soil still seems heavy and form clumps when wet or hard clods when dry mix in up to 2 inches of coarse sand as well as the organic compost.

Soils that are too sandy and drain too quickly can be made more productive through liberal amounts of organic compost.

After preparing your bed, cover with deep mulch over winter to protect the soil and hold weeds down in the spring. With a raised bed prepared this way, we are often able to plant straight into it in spring with no further tilling.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Growing Asparagus

Asparagus grows in most any soil as long as it has good internal drainage. Asparagus roots do not like waterlogged soils that will lead to root rot. Till to a 6 inch depth before planting.

Buy one-year-old, healthy, disease-free crowns from a reputable crown grower. A crown is the root system of a one-year-old asparagus plant that is grown from seed. Each crown can produce 1/2 lb. of spears per year when fully established.

Asparagus is a long-lived perennial vegetable crop that is enjoyed by many gardeners. It can be productive for 15 or more years if given proper care.

Asparagus can be planted throughout the northeast from mid-April to late May after the soil has warmed up to about 50 degrees F. There is no advantage to planting the crowns in cold, wet soils. They will not grow until the soil warms and there is danger of the plants being more susceptible to Fusarium crown rot if crowns are exposed to cold, wet soils over a prolonged period. Plant the asparagus at either the west or north side of the garden so that it will not shade the other vegetables and will not be injured when the rest of the garden is tilled.

Dig a furrow no deeper than 5 to 6 inches. Research has shown that the deeper asparagus crowns are planted, the more the total yield is reduced. Apply about 1 lb. of 0-46-0 (triple superphosphate) or 2 lbs. of 0-20-0 (superphosphate) fertilizer per 50 feet of row in the bottom of the furrow before planting. This will make phosphorus immediately available to the crowns. Omitting this procedure will result in decreased yields and the spear production will not be as vigorous.

Toss the crowns into the furrow on top of the fertilizer. The fertilizer will not burn the crowns, and the plants will grow regardless of how they land so don't bother to spread the roots. Space the crowns 1-1/2 feet apart in the row. If more than one row is planted, space the rows five feet apart from center to center. Wide between-row spacing is necessary because the vigorously growing fern will fill in the space quickly. Wide spacing also promotes rapid drying of the fern to help prevent the onset of fungus diseases.

After planting, back fill the furrow to its original soil level. It isn't necessary to gradually cover the crowns with a few inches of soil until the furrow is filled in. However, do not compact the soil over the newly filled furrow or the emergence of the asparagus will be severely reduced. Spears should emerge within one week in moist soils.

Do not harvest the asparagus during the planting year. Spears will be produced from expanded buds on the crown. As the spears elongate and reach a height of about 8 to 9 inches, the tips will open. The spear will become woody to support the small branch lets that become ferns. The ferns produce food for the plant and then move it down to the crown for next year's spear production.

Asparagus is very drought tolerant and can usually grow without supplemental watering because it seeks moisture deep in the soil. However, if rainfall is insufficient when planting or afterwards, it is beneficial to irrigate the crowns. Otherwise the plants will become stressed and growth will be slowed.

Harvesting

Harvest asparagus by snapping 7 to 9 inch spears with tight tips. There is no need to cut asparagus below the soil with a knife. This may injure other buds on the crown that will send up new spears. The small stub that is left in the soil after snapping dries up and disintegrates. A new spear does not come up at the same spot, but comes up from another bud that enlarges on another part of the crown.

As the tips of the spears start to loosen (known as "ferning out"), fiber begins to develop at the base of the spears, causing them to become tough. The diameter of the spear has no bearing on its toughness. When harvesting, the asparagus patch should be picked clean, never allowing any spears to fern out, as this gives asparagus beetles an excellent site to lay their eggs.

The year after planting, asparagus can be harvested several times throughout a three-week period, depending on air temperatures. Research shows there is no need to wait two years after planting before harvesting. In fact, harvesting the year after planting will stimulate more bud production on the crown and provide greater yields in future years, as compared with waiting two years before harvesting.

Asparagus spears will start to emerge when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees F. After this, growth of asparagus is dependent on air temperature. Early in the season, 7 to 9 inch spears might be harvested every 2 to 4 days. As air temperatures increase, harvesting frequencies will increase to once or twice per day, harvesting 5 to 7 inch spears before the tips start to fern out and lose quality. The second year after planting, the length of harvest can increase to about 4 to 6 weeks. The third year after planting and thereafter, harvesting can continue for 6 to 8 weeks. Since the length of harvest season will vary from year-to-year depending on air temperature, stop the harvest when the diameter of 3/4 of the spears becomes small (less than 3/8 inches). Experience gained by growing the crop will make it easier for the gardener to know when to discontinue the harvest.

When harvest is finished, snap all the spears off at ground level. Apply 1/2 lb. of ammonium nitrate fertilizer per 50 feet of row. At this time, a home garden formulation of glyph sate non-selective herbicide (such as Roundup) can be sprayed on the asparagus patch. This will kill any existing weeds. New spears will then emerge; fern out, and provide a large canopy to cover the space between the rows. Once a dense fern canopy is formed, weed growth will be shaded out.

Storage

Asparagus is very perishable and should be harvested in the morning when air temperatures are cool. After picking, immerse the spears in ice-cold water to remove the heat; then drain the water and place the spears in plastic bags. Store in the refrigerator at 38 to 40 degrees F. Asparagus will keep for 1 to 2 weeks with little loss of quality.