It is exciting when the sun starts to really shine in early spring. The promise of warmer weather and long days outside with your family and friends is alluring. You may already be dreaming of the succulent strawberries you will be picking from your garden in a matter of months. After the berries there will be plenty of fresh vegetables to snack on or throw into a salad. This is all very exciting and it can run away from you if you are not careful.
You need to spend some time planning your garden so you can maximize space. If you plan accordingly, you can use every inch of space and get the most out of your garden this year. This is important for every gardener, whether you have acres to plant in or just a small patch. With the smaller area, you need to make the most of your space so you can grow plenty of food for your family. With a bigger space, you want to be careful you don’t randomly plant here and there and end up wasting water and dealing with more weeds and pests than you can keep up with.
There are some programs you can find online that allow you to input what vegetables you want to grow and a rough diagram of your gardening space. The programs generate a plan for you that maximizes space and ensures you are planting companion plants together. The programs also help you avoid planting enemy plants together.
If you are not interested in using a computer, sit down and sketch it all out. This will help you figure out where to start planting when it is time. Don’t plant vegetables that you will not eat. You don’t have to plant broccoli if it isn’t something you and your family will not eat. It takes up space for nothing. If you live in a climate that makes it next to impossible for something like pinto beans or peppers to grow, consider using the space for something you know will grow and be ready for harvest before the weather turns.
Imagine all of your hard work and the money you invested into stockpiling food is washed away in a matter of hours due to a flood. It would be devastating. You would be left with nothing at a time when you needed it most. Starting over would be daunting. The very thought of spending money on new food stores and emergency supplies would be overwhelming. For some, it would be financially impossible. What can you do to protect your emergency supplies from being washed away in a flood?
Know Your Flood Zones
Your best line of defense is knowing whether or not your home is in a flood plain. This can be researched at your local county office or by searching the government site here. You enter your address and a map pops up to let you know what the likelihood of flooding is in your area. If you are in a flood zone, buy the insurance that specifically covers floods. The majority of homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding.
Prepare for Floods
If you are in an area where flooding is a possibility, you need to know just how much flood waters you can expect. Is it going to be a few inches or could it be a complete washout? While it is impossible to predict, you can get a general idea by knowing where the flood waters would be coming from. Plan accordingly. Never store your preps directly on the ground. Secure shelving so that the bottom shelf is a minimum of 6 inches off the ground. If you expect higher flood waters, make that bottom shelf a bit higher.
Waterproof Your Preps
Placing your food inside 5-gallon buckets sealed with lids is an excellent way to protect it from flood waters. It would be a good idea to add another layer of protection by placing the food inside Mylar bags or large plastic bags, place the bags into the buckets and then seal the buckets. This will keep the food dry and safe to use. In some rare cases, water may manage to get inside a bucket. If this is the case, toss the food. Never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters that may harbor all sorts of chemicals, bacteria and viruses.
Flooding can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to destroy everything you have worked to build up. Pay attention to news reports and do what you can to save your emergency supplies, but never risk your life for them. You can always start again.
It is already that time of year again to start planning your garden. A prepper needs a garden for several reasons. The food it provides will give your family something to eat today, while the extra produce that is common is preserved and put on the pantry shelves for the future. Gardening today also helps teach you the ins and outs of gardening so you are an expert when the garden is the only thing you have to feed your family.
While you are thinking about your garden this year, think about using heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are the only kind that will produce vegetables that you can harvest the seeds from to use next year. This means you always have new seeds to use for the following year. In fact, you will probably have more seeds than you can use, which means you can sell, trade or barter your heirloom seeds for different seeds or other things you need.
Heirloom seeds do cost a bit more. However, you only have to buy them one time. You will save money in the long run by paying a little more up front and not ever have to worry about buying seeds again. The investment can pay off once you learn how to harvest, dry and preserve the seeds to sell or trade.
When you are shopping for heirloom seeds, keep in mind you are going to be getting vegetables that are very natural. They haven’t been crossbred or genetically modified to be disease resistant, have shorter growing times or produce larger than life crops. You will have to learn how to garden without the benefit of these traits, which isn’t all that hard. And, you will LOVE the delicious produce you harvest.
Start shopping for your heirloom seeds today so they are ready to put in the ground when planting season arrives. If you can’t afford to buy all heirloom, start with a few packs and slowly build up your supply.
You don’t realize how addicted to communicating with the outside world until it is gone. Have you ever left your cell phone at home and didn’t realize it until you got halfway to work? Did you turn around and go get it or suck it up and put a message on Facebook you didn’t have your phone the second you got to work? What about an internet outage? The horror!
Imagine what it will be like after a major disaster or some kind of event that knocks out the power grid, the cell towers and the internet. You will be forced to live in a communication black hole. Your only option will be the radio and AM stations at that most likely. You won’t be able to pick up your phone and call for help or call your family to make sure they are okay. You won’t be able to check your email or check social media.
You may not think that is a big deal, but until you are forced to completely disconnect for even a few hours, you will understand just how serious it is. People in our world will seriously have withdrawals. We have become so reliant upon our communication systems, we will feel lost. Feeling lost can wreak havoc on your mental status. Giving up or wandering aimlessly isn’t going to help you survive. Despite how silly it seems, you need to have a back up communication method to ensure you have some way to make contact with loved ones after a disaster.
The following list includes some of the options you have for communicating after everything else is gone.
2-way radios are an excellent option for families that are in somewhat close proximity to each other. Radios that reach up to 5 miles are great, but they rarely reach that far in the city or in an area where there are a lot of trees and hills.
Satellite phones are another option and are not all that expensive. Satellites will likely still be functioning after a disaster.
HAM radios will keep you connected to the outside world, which will help you figure out what is happening and what you can expect.
CB radios are great for use around your area. You can connect with family, friends and law enforcement.
Don’t get caught without a way to reach out to locals. Keep at least one of these methods handy so you can keep updated with what is happening and get that peace of mind you need about friends and loved ones.