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.

What Food Should You be Stockpiling in Case of Emergency

food pantry-1If you have wandered into the grocery store and stood in the canned food aisle staring at all the different foods and contemplated what to put in your cart—you are doing it wrong. Stockpiling food is a must. Stockpiling food you don’t like, have never tried or have never heard of is a huge mistake. Preppers need to follow one rule of thumb;

Only store what you eat today!

Every prepper pantry is going to look a little different or at least it should. Mine won’t look like yours because we live in a house full of picky eaters. If you are a “go with the flow” kind of person, you can pretty much stock whatever you find on sale. You may love spinach and buy it buy the caseloads. That is great, but if you loathe spinach, don’t waste your money on it regardless of how cheap it is.

The key is to buy foods that are going to give you that homey feeling that will be taken away from you in a post-apocalyptic world. You want your comfort foods and the foods you are familiar with. How scary is it to open a can of split pea soup when you have never tried it before? That stuff does not look appealing. While many people love it, you may not be one of them and the looks alone may have you tossing it out before you even give it a try. You will have wasted precious storage space and money storing food you can’t bring yourself to eat. Sure, you may be able to gag it down if there was nothing else available, but that sure isn’t going to help you feel any better. Survival is as much mental as it is physical. Gagging down cold split pea soup could be pretty tough and will leave you in a foul mood with thoughts of giving up.

Here is a fairly generic list of items you should be storing. Pick and choose the things you and your family like. Don’t waste your money on wheat flour if your family has an allergy to wheat or you really don’t like it. Stock up on white flour instead. Don’t buy things simply because you read some prepper list that said this is what you should have.cans

• Canned fruit
• Canned vegetables
• Freeze-dried meals that actually like
• Baking ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cooking oil, shortening
• Rice
• Oats
• Cereals
• Crackers and various snacks
• Jerky
• Canned meat—only what you eat; if you hate sardines skip them
• Protein bars
• Peanut butter
• Soups
• Chili, ravioli, canned spaghetti and so on
• Mac and cheese
• Dehydrated fruits and veggies
• Dehydrated or freeze-dried dairy products i.e. milk, butter, cheese
• Spices, salt and pepper

This is a fairly basic, generic list. Take a look at your pantry right now. What do you see? Those are the things you eat every day. Those items are what you want to start stockpiling.

Preparing for a Severe Winter Storm

Winter has come roaring in and it is proving to be fierce and we have only just begun. Storms that have ravaged the east coast have proven why it is absolutely crucial people prepare for severe storms that will leave them trapped inside their home for days at a time. If you have ever lived through a severe storm like the one plaguing the eastern seaboard, you know power outages are inevitable. Without power and the ability to heat your home, your life is at risk.

snow WVDo yourself a favor and prepare for the next storm by getting these items in your home today. The time to prepare is now. Waiting until the snow starts to fall will be too late. There will be a rush on these items and you will be left without.

• Bottled water—enough for at least 3 days, just in case pipes freeze
• Canned food
• Freeze-dried food—store extra water for preparing the meals
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Emergency candles and matches
• Extra personal hygiene items i.e. soap, feminine hygiene, toilet paper
• Solar charger for the cell phone in case power goes out
• Extra diapers, formula and baby wipes if there is a baby in the house
• Prescription meds should be filled with at least a week’s supply on hand at all times
• Winter gear i.e. coats, hats, gloves, scarves
• Alternative heat source—fireplace, woodstove and fuel to burn
• Space heaters in case furnace breaks
• Crank radio to hear current weather conditions
• Books, magazines and board games to keep you entertained
• Extra pet fooddog food

You can also help your home stay warm by winterizing it. Put on storm windows or put plastic over the windows to block the cold air from coming in. Hang heavy blankets or invest in heavy curtains to help block the cold drafts. Roll up towels and place under the doors to block the drafts that come in from underneath. Keep doors closed to rooms you don’t use to keep the heat in one area. If your heater has failed, gather the family in a single room, the smaller the better and huddle together to maximize body heat.

Do what you can to be prepared for the next winter storm. It is far too dangerous to try and leave your house just to get some toilet paper. Stay home and stay safe!

Top 5 Mistakes Preppers Make

food pantry-1With the prepping movement spreading across the country and the world, there are plenty of people getting into the world of preparing to survive anything. There is a lot of information out there and people are voraciously soaking it all up and putting it to work in their own prepping. But what if all of that information is leading you astray? Maybe you are not reading the fine print and you are making a huge mistake that could end up making all of your prepping for naught. Check out these top five mistakes and do what you can to avoid them.

1-Putting all of your eggs into one basket or in this case, putting all of your preps in one area is a mistake. What happens when your basement with every bit of your food, water and other emergency supplies is inaccessible or destroyed? You should have at the minimum, two places with supplies, just in case one is compromised.

2-Focusing all your energy on bugging out and creating the perfect bug out bag is dangerous as well. You may have to hunker down in your home for a few days while you wait for the smoke to clear so you can bug out.

3-Preparing to survive all by yourself and not including your family in your prepping is very risky. You cannot do it alone. You need to get your family on board and if you can, a few trusted friends and neighbors. Pooling resources is one of the best ways to plan to survive long term after a disaster.community

4-Not trying out and practicing how to use the survival gear you are storing. All the gear in the world isn’t going to do you a bit of good if you don’t know how to use it. This applies to that freeze-dried food you are stockpiling as well. Experiment and practice with your gear so you are not struggling to learn something new in an extremely stressful, life-threatening situation.

5-Buying a 3-month supply of food and considering yourself officially ready is a common mistake. You are never done prepping. You should always be adding to your supplies and tweaking what you have to make it better. It isn’t something you do on a Saturday afternoon. It is something you do every Saturday afternoon for at least a couple of hours.

Avoiding these common mistakes is important. Don’t get caught up in all of the hype of prepping. Do what you can that is right for you and your family.

Why People Prep

With the prepping movement picking up speed every time there is a new disaster or illness like we saw with ebola, people are reminded why prepping is so important. We just never know when the next catastrophe will strike. It will likely come without warning and we don’t want to get caught unprepared. The following reasons are why people prep. Maybe you have a different reason altogether, but these are some of the most common and plausible scenarios.

Natural Disaster

hurricane-67581_640Earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes can be devastating. They strike with little warning in most cases. With winter upon us, severe winter storms are a real possibility. We are already getting a little taste of what winter has in store for us and if we are not ready to ride out heavy storms, our families will suffer.

Financial Collapse

The entire world is standing on shaky legs as far as the economy goes. We are a breath away from sinking into financial ruin. Citizens are aware of the tenuous situation and are doing what is necessary to stock up on essentials that will help them ride out a global financial collapse of the economy.

Terrorist Attack-Foreign or Domestic

History tells us we are vulnerable for an attack whether it comes from outside or inside. These attacks may not strike near you, but they do cripple the nation as people come to terms with their fear of another attack happening. An attack may leave an area in dire straits until aid can come in. During that time, people will be forced to live on what they have stored in their homes.

Power Grid Failure

Our power grid is vulnerable. A natural disaster, act of war be it a bomb or physical attack on our transformers or a computer virus could thrust the country into the dark. Without power, there would be major upheaval in our world. We would struggle to function and commerce would grind to a halt.

Civil Unrestpolice-275875_640

People are getting antsy about the economy and other acts by law enforcement and the government. We have seen rioting pop up for various reasons. In most cases, the rioting is contained to a small area. What if people across the country decided to voice their irritation with the government by staging massive riots across the country? The country would be paralyzed while the law attempted to set things right.

These are just some scenarios that we have already seen at some point. Being prepared to live through them again just makes sense. We never know what may happen tomorrow, but we can do something to prepare for it today.

Is Bugging Out Best?

In the prepping world, you hear a lot about bugging out or getting out of dodge. Bug out bags are a very popular topic and preppers are constantly working to create the best bag possible. There is a bit of a misconception about prepping or survival training. It isn’t always about bugging out. In fact, your best option, if it is an option, is to stay put. Why would you want to leave the comfort of your home and head out into the open wilderness?tent and bike

Before you automatically assume you have to bug out and live off the land somewhere in a grass hut in the trees somewhere, consider your options carefully. When you choose to abandon your home, you are giving up all of those supplies you have hopefully been building up. You are going to be forced to survive on your wits and with whatever gear is in your bag. Technically, a bug out bag is only meant to sustain you for a few days while you walk or travel to your next rally point, which may be a bunker or some secret hideout.

Some preppers make the mistake of packing as much gear as they can into their bug out bag with the idea of living off the land for weeks or months with whatever they can carry on their back. This would only be necessary in extreme cases.

a stocked pantry is disaster insuranceInstead of assuming you have to bug out, consider this; can you make your home a fortress that will sustain you and your family? Putting up fencing, storing sheets of plywood to place over the windows and investing in a solar power system that can operate a security camera could make your home fairly safe for you to hunker down in. Bugging in is always a better option. Of course, this will depend a great deal on the disaster or event you are dealing with.

If you are convinced your home will be uninhabitable, do your best to scout out a second location that will sustain your family before a disaster situation happens. You don’t want to have to wonder around the forest, desert or prairie looking for a good place to set up camp. Decide early on and consider burying a few supplies for you to use. This will help lighten your load a bit while ensuring you have what you need to survive the great outdoors.

No matter if your plan A is to bug in, you should always have a bug out bag, just in case. Part of prepping is always having a contingency. If you have to leave your home and bug out, you want to be ready.

Top Bartering Items You Need to Store Today for Tomorrow

If there were to ever be a catastrophic event that turned our entire world upside down, things would be way different. Our way of life would be completely shaken up. Store shelves would sit empty. Those who do have a plethora of goods that they are willing to part with are not going to need cash. Cash will be meaningless in a society where there are no banks, no lines of credit or even a way to resupply the shelves. It will be all about bartering. You will use what you have on hand to trade with somebody else for something you need.

When you are prepping for survival, you need to store some things with the intent of using them for bartering. The following list includes some of the goods you will want to store in order to get the food, water or other supplies your family runs short on. You can also use your bartering items to pay for services like medical attention or help splitting wood.

chocolate1-Chocolate/candy-Chocolate can make the world a better place and when things go sideways, a little chocolate will help soothe the soul.

2-Alcohol-Stock up on the cheap stuff, when it is all that is left, people will be desperate to get their hands on it. It can also be used medicinally.

3-Tobacco-Yes, people should quit, but the cravings are strong enough people will be willing to part with their food to get a pack.

4-Sugar-Lots of people focus on freeze-dried foods and basics and forget all about the sugar. Borrowing a cup of sugar is going to take on a whole new meaning in a post-catastrophe world.

5-Heirloom seeds-Growing food is going to be the only way to replenish one’s food supply. For those who didn’t plan ahead, they are going to need seeds to get started.

6-Personal hygiene items-Toilet paper, toothpaste and spare toothbrushes are going to be in high demand. People who didn’t prepare are going to be willing to part with things in order to get what they need for personal hygiene. toilet-roll-220415_640

7-Spices, salt and pepper-These items are so incredibly inexpensive, it just makes sense to stockpile them to use for bartering. A lot of people, who stock up on food, forget about the little things like seasonings to make the food taste better.

Stocking up on these goods today, is better than hiding money under your mattress. Money won’t mean much in a world that has completely fallen apart. The wealthy will be those who have what it takes to survive and thrive. It doesn’t matter how much money a person has if there is nothing to spend it on!