Planning Your Prepper Garden

starting seedsWhile spring is still a couple of months away for most people, it is the time of year you need to start planning your prepper garden. Growing your own food is an essential part of the food pantry process. You will not only save money by growing your own food and preserving it, but you will also have an established food supply source if and when things do get crazy.

It is important you spend some time planning your garden so you can take advantage of every inch of space. This is especially important if you have limited space. Many gardeners make the mistake of picking up a bunch of seeds and planting them simply because it seems like the thing to do. Those gardeners usually end up with a bunch of food they won’t eat and either give it away or let it go to waste. You can’t afford to do that when your garden is what feeds your family.

You need to learn about companion planning. One common method that has been around for centuries is planting corn with pea plants in between stalks. The corn shades the peas (which like cooler temps) and provides the pea vines with a trellis. This is an excellent way to maximize your space. Another option is to plant a root crop with a shallow-rooted crop on top. Herbs are excellent for planting over a root crop. Both plants will get the sun they need and will not fight for nutrients. Read up on this because some herbs should not be planted near certain plants. Garlic for one is not a plant you want next to your peas.seeds

Another trick you will want to learn is succession planning. Depending on where you live and your growing season, you may be able to get several crops of potatoes, corn and other veggies. If you start early enough, you can typically get at least 2 crops of vegetables with short growing cycles.

Lastly, invest in heirloom seeds. These seeds produce fruit and vegetables with seeds that can be saved and used for the next season. This is absolutely essential to your prepper garden. You want to be self-sustainable. In a SHTF scenario, you won’t be able to run to the store and buy new seeds every year. You have to produce your own. In many areas, you will need to order your heirloom seeds. They are not usually readily available in most stores. Order now so they are in your hands when it is time to start your plants indoors in preparation for the spring.

10 Crucial First Steps to Prepping

healthy freeze dried foodIf you have just learned about the prepping movement and decided it is something you want to be a part of, there are some things you need to do first. Prepping in general is a big job. It isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of time, patience, dedication and investment. You don’t want to just jump in with both feet and randomly put things on your shelves. This is a job that takes careful planning.

The following are the first things you need to do to get your food storage off on the right foot.

1-Start saving your empty 2-liter pop bottles, water bottles and juice bottles to store water in. Water is a priority. You can also buy water containers, but you need to start somewhere and recycling used plastic containers is perfect. Don’t use old milk jugs. They are not durable enough.

2-Determine how much food you need for 30 days. Make an effort to get 30 days of food on hand and then build up from there.

3-Decide how much money you can put aside each month to building up your food supply. Cutting out a night of dining out, skipping a fancy coffee one day a week and other little things will help you find money in your budget to put towards your food storage.

4-Do some research and learn more about prepping and what things you should be stocking up on. There are plenty of eBooks, blogs and websites that have a ton of information for you to browse through.

5-Identify an area in your home where you will store the bulk of your supplies. Do what you need to make it an ideal food storage space, i.e. covering windows, adding shelves, clearing out clutter and so on.food pantry-1

6-Talk about what you are doing with your family. You need everybody on board. This is a job that is too big for you to take on alone. Get your family involved with storing water and putting food on the shelves.

7-Create a plan of action for when things do get crazy. You don’t want the family diving into your food storage and having a feast. Talk about what you will do when it is time to rely on your emergency food supply. Rationing will be necessary.

8-Add a few things from the attic, your garage or your storage to your emergency storage. You probably have extra blankets, winter gear and tarps lying around. Put those things into your emergency storage and you will already be on your way. It is a good way to see just what you have by keeping it in one place.

9-Plan a weekend or a day to head out into nature with some of the survival gear you have been picking up. Practice using your gear. This is absolutely crucial. You must know how to use the various tools that are going to save your life.

10-Come up with a backup plan or a bug out plan. If your home is compromised, you will need to leave it and retreat to a secondary location. If you have a secure secondary location, you will want to divide your preps. The old saying, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket” applies here. Don’t put all your preps into one spot—just in case you have to bug out!

Prepping Isn’t Just for Doomsdayers

Prepping has gotten a bit of a bad reputation. When certain people hear the term, they automatically think of country folk wearing tinfoil hats and running around hiding in underground bunkers waiting for the sky to fall. It is a stigma that true preppers have been stuck with for decades. Most don’t care, but it is only right that anybody who believes that silly story knows the truth. Prepping isn’t about preparing for outrageous events that can never happen. Prepping isn’t about dressing up in camo and hiding in the trees. It is about preparing to keep your family alive through any scenario—including every day life. Outrageous events happen all the time!thunderstorm-567678_640

For those who are convinced nothing bad ever happens, including war, natural disasters or just bad luck in general, it is them who should take a look in the mirror and adjust their tin foil hats. Bad stuff happens. It is a fact of life. It doesn’t matter if you are in the midwest, the northeast or the northwest. Things happen in life.

The following are some of the reasons people prep. You will notice foil hats have nothing to do with these scenarios.

*Natural disasters—it doesn’t matter where you live, Mother Nature is there and sometimes she gets a little testy and throws a heck of a storm just for fun. It could be torrential rains that cause flooding and leave people stuck in their homes for a day or two or it could be violent snowstorms, major tornadoes and hurricanes or even a wild thunderstorm. It doesn’t matter where you live. A storm can leave you cooped up in your house for days.

*Civil unrest or rioting. Yes, we have seen this happening more and more. Sure, you can take your chances and head on down to the 7-11 to buy that loaf of bread where angry folks are rioting or you can stay home and watch it all on the news while you enjoy your canned food and other munchies from your emergency supply.

*Act of war or terrorism—you never know. While this one is thankfully rare in places like the UK and the US, you never know. That is why people prep because it has happened and it is unpredictable.

emergency*Medical emergency leaves you unable to work. What if you or your spouse or your child gets extremely sick and you cannot work. Sure, you may be able to scrape by and pay the mortgage and utilities, but buying food and other supplies could be tough. Having a backup supply ensures you will be able to feed your family even when times are tough.

*The loss of a job. Nobody has guaranteed job security. Even if you find another one, there is going to be a few weeks without pay. A few weeks where money is going to be short. Having an emergency food supply provides you a cushion that allows you to fall back on it when things are tough.

If you are not convinced, know this; it is always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Supplementing Your Food Supply After SHTF

dandelionYou have been busy stockpiling food and are probably pretty comfortable with what you have amassed thus far. Maybe you are one of those who has calculated your food stores right down to the serving and the amount of days you have on hand. Or you may be one of those who just kind of eyeballs your shelves and guesstimates how many days you have on hand. Both methods are really estimates because you never know who is going to be home when it hits the fan. What if you happen to have relatives visiting or a portion of your food supply is damaged? You need to have a backup plan to supplement your food supply after disaster strikes.
Foraging

Foraging is going to be your best option. You may envision yourself as the great white hunter, but hunting large game is not easy. It is time-consuming and zaps your energy. Energy is not something you can afford to waste when you are low on food. You need to learn what plants you can eat that will help sustain you while you set traps or go fishing for a bigger source of food. There are literally thousands of plants you can munch on. However, nearly every edible plant has a doppelganger that just happens to be poisonous or will cause some nasty side effects. You need to spend some time learning what is safe and what to avoid. It doesn’t hurt to have a manual with your food stores to use as a reference tool. Going through the testing process to determine what is safe to eat and what isn’t can take a full day. You don’t have that kind of time.

Trapping

You may be short on ammunition and unless you have spent time learning how to use a bow and arrow, you are going to have to rely on setting traps. Traps are best used for small game, but you can certainly attempt to trap deer, bear and wild hogs. Small game is easier and more prolific than the large beasts we are used to putting on our dinner tables. Every little bit helps. Along with your book about edible plants, download and print a few instructional guides about how to build various traps with the items you find in your surroundings.fishing

It doesn’t matter if you have enough food to last a year. You have to be prepared to supplement your existing food supply just in case things go wrong or the disaster completely turns the world upside down and you will be forced to survive on your wit and skills for longer than a year. Prepare and practice today to make your uncertain tomorrow a little easier.

Preventing Hypothermia

stuckWith temperatures plummeting and parts of the world dealing with unprecedented cold, it is is a good idea to brush up on your survival skills and what it takes to prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia is the condition you suffer when your core body temperature has lost a few degrees and is hovering around the 96 degrees and below mark. It may not seem like a lot, but your body is a fine-tuned machine that must maintain its pre-programmed body heat setting in order to be healthy. The slightest fluctuation can result in some pretty serious problems.

The Law of 3s is something many survivalists take to heart. One of the most important laws is the fact you only have about 3 hours to get your body temperature regulated. That means, if you rush out into a snowstorm, you only have a couple of hours to find shelter and hopefully start a fire to stay warm. Three hours is not a long time! You can’t put off finding a shelter, especially if it is raining or snowing—two things that will make you wet, which will zap your body heat faster than you can blink.blizzard-15850_150

You have to stay dry and as warm as possible. Snuggling up with somebody else is one way to take advantage of body heat. Hiding in a cave, a debris hut or any other shelter will help as well. The smaller the area the better. Your body heat will produce some heat and will warm your humble abode.

Cover your body with dried leaves, pine needles and other dry debris you find in your surroundings. Put a layer down on the ground to act as a barrier between your warm body and the cold ground. You would be amazed at how much heat your body will generate when it is trapped close to your body by the debris. You may not get toasty warm, but you will certainly have a better shot at maintaining your core body temperature which is the most important thing.

Hypothermia is a serious, life-threatening condition that you must avoid at all costs. It doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in and zap you of all your energy. Plan accordingly before you ever head out into the weather, even if it is just to the store for a gallon of milk. You never know what could happen and you don’t want to get stranded on the side of your road in a snowstorm wearing nothing more than your pajamas and slippers. Dress accordingly!