Preparing Your Survival Garden for Spring

starting seedsAlthough winter is still holding on in many parts of the country, it won’t be long before the snow melts and the temperatures slowly come up. In a true survival situation, you would need to be growing all year round or at the very least, a good 8 months out of the years. The time to get started on your survival garden is now.

No matter where you live, you can get a jump start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors. Things like tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers have long growing seasons and need plenty of warmth. You can ensure your vegetables have the time they need to mature enough to harvest before the first cold snap comes by starting early.tomatoes

You never know what the weather has in store and this winter has proven Mother Nature is always in control. You have to be prepared for extreme weather that could negatively impact your growing season. Starting early also gives you the best shot at getting multiple crops throughout the season.

You don’t have to have anything fancy to start seeds indoors. You can use old yogurt or butter containers or even the bottom of a milk jug to start your seeds. A nice, sunny window will provide the warmth and sunlight needed for the seeds to germinate and sprout. If the weather is still chilly by the time the seeds are ready to be transplanted, move them into a larger container. The container can be put outside during the day and brought in at night.

By the time full spring has rolled around, you will have a garden full of mature plants that are ready to start producing. Your harvest will be much sooner than normal and you can start enjoying the fresh fruits and garden months ahead of schedule.

Revisiting Winter Weather Preparedness

snowWith much of the country gearing up for a wild winter, it is a good time to talk about winter preparedness. A heavy snowfall or severe weather that results in icy roads or widespread power outages can put people’s lives at risk. If you are prepared for such nasty weather, you don’t have to worry about much more than how you will pass the time.

Winter weather preparedness means you need to be prepared to get stuck at home for days on end. You will have to eat what you have in the pantry and fridge. There is also a good chance you will have to be prepared to stay warm without the luxury of your electric furnace. You will likely need a supply of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking if you don’t have a woodstove to cook on.

There are many elements to winter preparedness. You want to get prepared now, even if you don’t think you will ever need your preps. The old saying, “to have it and not need it is better than to need it and not have it.”

This list will cover the things you need to think about and prepare for.

*A backup source of heat i.e. woodstove or fireplace, if this isn’t possible, you will need to be prepared to seal off a room in the house to try and keep warm with candles, blankets and body heat

*Have a supply of non-perishable foods, you have to assume the power will go out and food in the fridge and freezer will be difficult to cook and may spoil

*Have a supply of rock salt to make the areas you need to walk on outside a little safer

*Have plenty of board games, books and your favorite nonelectrical hobby to keep entertained

*If you do have a woodstove, load up on dry wood nowwood-1767521_1280

*If possible, invest in a portable generator

*Have an emergency kit that includes candles, matches, flashlights and spare batteries

*A snow shovel will be a must, if you can get your hands on a snowblower it will save you some manual labor, don’t forget a roof rake to pull the snow off the roof to prevent a roof collapse

*Plenty of winter gear i.e. wool socks, coats, hats, gloves and waterproof boots, have backups in case the first set gets wet or tears

Usually, in the event of severe winter weather, life gets back to normal within a few days. During that time, you must be prepared to do with what you have at home. You may not be able to go to work, schools will typically be canceled and the whole family will be home. Prepare to feed, entertain and keep everyone warm. Look at it as some time to bond with the family.

Your vehicle needs to be prepared as well. We will cover that in next week’s post.

What’s In Your Emergency Food Storage?

food pantry-1It never hurts to recheck what you have stockpiled in your emergency food storage. If you are new to prepping, you may be trying to figure out what you should be stocking up on. It can all be a little overwhelming. Do you stick with a lot of canned food or do you invest in lots of dried foods? There is no right or wrong answer. Every family will eat differently. The key is to stock up on food that your family eats today. Don’t waste your money buying a bunch of food that your family would turn their nose up at should you put it on the table for dinner tonight.

Survival mode in a chaotic situation is not the time to experiment with the tastebuds of your family. They need the food they know and love. They need their comfort foods to help make them feel at ease and even a little normal. Look at your pantry and start making notes. When you go grocery shopping, look at the stuff in your cart. THAT is what you are going to put on your shelf.

The following list includes some of the things you should add to your stockpile. These are items that are inexpensive and can store for very long periods of time, decades even. They are rather generic and can be used to thicken up soups, stews or even make casseroles. You can certainly get your family to eat that.healthy freeze dried food

Beans—pinto, white, black
Rice
Oats—great for thickening up soup
Freeze-dried dairy products—butter, cheese, milk; this is the only way to store these items long term
Variety of spices and seasonings, a little salt goes a very long way to making a bland dish edible
Peanut butter
Jam
Flour
Pasta noodles—go for a variety and not just spaghetti
Wheat—only store this if you know how and are willing to grind it up to make flour
Canned fruits and veggies
Canned meat—Spam will be very popular, don’t forget tuna, chicken breast and sardines
Jerky
Dried fruit and veggies

This is a basic list. Don’t store a bunch of canned food and ignore the dry stuff. Canned food is typically high in sodium and there is that certain mush quality that will get old very quick. Freeze dried foods are a little more expensive, but they give you a lot more options.