Monday, November 26, 2012

A Complete Guide to Basic Preparedness

A Complete Guide To Basic Preparedness 

Part One
An overview  

"Be ready and keep ready, you and all the hosts that are assembled about you… After many days you will be mustered in the latter days…" Ezekiel 38:7, 8. 

By de Andréa,
Opinion Editorialist for

    May 12, 2009

How does one prepare:  for a possible severe long term Recession, Depression, or even the Tribulation?

There is NO DOUBT that today we could be in a severe, prolonged economic RECESSION and very possibly headed for a full blown economic collapse.  Is this the precursor for the TRIBULATION?

“But of the watchman see the sward come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sward comes and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman hand” Ezekiel 33:6

In fact, a recent poll shows that 60% of Americans think we are headed for a Depression.  Unemployment has skyrocketed to an average of 12% in California and growing.  The average family in the state of Michigan is now well below the standard poverty line set by the Federal government.  The U.S. Government is printing TRILLIONS of phony monopoly dollars to try to stop the economic slide.  Many Americans are wondering, as I have, if there is any thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families, our children, and grandchildren during these tough economic times that may be just down the road.  And don’t forget about your pets, chickens and other farm animals that you might have.

Many people have asked what I am personally recommending to my friends and neighbors to help get them better prepared right now to weather-the-possible storm ahead.

Yes God is in control, but He does expect one to be responsible, and prepare for what He has already told us is coming --- have you been listening?

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith,” Hebrews 11:7.  

‘What if’ we do not have a continuing economic disaster, will you lose anything if you prepare for the worst and nothing happens?  Answer, no, because you would be prepared with the essentials of physical life.  These essentials do not change just because there is no emergency.

On the other hand---‘what if’ the worst hits you and your family hard?  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being prepared.  Have you ever stopped to think what happens if the electricity goes off?  No --- I don’t mean just for a couple of hours or days, I mean weeks, months or maybe even a year or more.  Trust me, running your hair dryer isn’t going to be one of your main concerns.

Overall, I am an optimist, but I'm also a realist, and I don't like what I see down the road.  The Bible, the Boy Scout's, independent survival schools, and the military taught me a thing or two about the advantages of "Being Prepared".  Preparing is just that, thinking ahead for possible good and not so good outcomes. More importantly it is what God has told us to do in prophecies and Revelation.

A subscriber named Paul writes: I have been among the starving in Haiti; and trust me; it is not a pretty sight.  I believe we are living in the last days.  We are clearly witnessing the evil that is taking place in the world and throughout our country as well.  We are approaching a different reality now.  I believe it is time for the church family to get prepared for the evil that is eventually coming on the earth.

I am preparing spiritually and physically for myself and for my family to be able to help others in their time of need, and in the process to win as many to Christ as possible during the difficult times we may face ahead. 

The word of God speaks much about the end times and we know that it will be the most difficult time in history.  Our hearts should be prepared and full of the love for the lord so we can be alert and hear what the spirit is saying to the churches.”

The Scout motto to "Be Prepared" should be the watch word of the day.  It can calm nerves and bring greater peace of mind and security to you and your loved ones.  (And don’t forget about your pets)  This is why God gave us so much information about preparing ourselves for what is to come.  He doesn’t want His kids to be in a heap of hurt anymore than you would want your kids to be hurting.  But He does want us to be responsible.  He even taught the squirrels to store up for winter.

God included in his Word a script of the future and how it is to be played out.  Shakespeare once wrote as part if his play “As You Like It” in 1600: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:  They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”  We are part of this future production and God has given us the script so that we, His children, will not be taken by surprise.  Moreover, we must play our part.   

So if you depend, for example, on electricity to pump water from your 300 foot or more, deep well, and there is no electricity, do you have a source for drinkable water?  Oh!  Right!  You are city folk and you have city water, or you have a generator to run your pump, but the question is: with no electricity, will you be able to get fuel to run your generator for a year?  Or does your city water have electricity to pump pressure or is your water treatment plant going to continue to make your tap water safe.  A bit of advice…don’t risk being a “dependent”.

What I am trying to say is, now is the time to think about these things, not after the train has run you down.  In the past several years the demand for long term storage foods for example has been very high, and is increasing.  Being prepared means getting ready before you need it, not afterward when the panicking crowds will find out that they are too late, the supplies will all be gone.  I have seen it many times over my lifetime, and it could happen again at any moment.
In fact, I have said it time and again that when a crisis strikes, and you see it on the 6 o'clock news the time to prepare is over.  It would be like trying to buy insurance when your house is on fire.

The 1970’s comes to mind with the gas shortages, waiting for hours in the long lines around the block, fights break out, or suddenly the line moves so fast it disappears; you drive directly up to the pump, now only to find out why the line has disappeared, the gas station - is an empty station.

I remember on the 6 o’clock news someone was quoted as saying that there was a toilet-paper shortage.  Even though there wasn’t --- people made a run on the supermarkets and created a two and a half week T.P. shortage.

I'm being very up front and blunt with you. My words might be tough but I have seen first hand from previous experiences what we are currently facing, but today it's on a MUCH LARGER SCALE than anything anyone has seen or experienced since the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s.

Being prepared by storing essentials is not the ultimate answer for one’s survival, but it buys time.  Being caught unaware of a possible pending emergency is a shock at best or a disaster at worst. Storing essentials will give you a period of time to plan your future survival should the emergency out last your supplies.

The essentials of physical life can be reduced to five basic needs, in order by priority:              
1.    Air 
2.    Potable Water
3.    Proper clothing
4.    Food
5.    Shelter
In That order…

1. Air storage
Since the storing of air may not be practical or might be considered just a tad extreme or paranoid, I think I will dispense with air storage tanks.  If this is a source of concern for you, then you may need to talk to someone --- soon…  (Sorry for the bad humor).  However --- yes there just might be ‘a however’…  I would be remiss if I didn’t address all the possibilities and then let you decide if you think it might be an issue for you. 

Air --- and especially clean non-contaminated air, is number one propriety because we can live only a few minutes without it.

In another life time, my daddy said:  You know son, “someday the government will control the air we breathe”.  Guess what? They control the air we breathe…or at least they try.  That however, is not my concern; it’s that someone else that doesn’t have our best interest at heart may try to control the air we breathe.  While W.M.D.’s might be remote, it is a possibility, more now than ever before. 

People didn’t really recognize it at the time, but during the Cold war with the old Soviet Union, we really didn’t have a real threat of a nuclear war.  It was because of the deterrent.  When one has two relatively sane nations both with the capability of committing genocide on the other, one has no real threat.

We are now facing an enemy like none that we have ever faced before.
Contaminated air could very well be an issue.  Either because of nuclear fallout from a dirty bomb or the release of something like Sarin gas which is methylphosphonofluoridate. (That’s why they call it Sarin)  One can inexpensively prepare for these two possibilities by the purchase of a military gas mask with extra cartridges for contaminated air and Potassium Iodide tablets for possible nuclear fallout.  For more information about air read “Part Two.” 

2. A potable water supply
Water is a number two priority, because one can live no more than two to four days without water, vital organs begin to shut down, sometimes irreparably.

If you are absolutely sure that no matter what else happens---when you strike your rock, speak to it, or turn on your tap, that good clean non-contaminated water will come forth, then there may not be a need to prepare for the storage of potable water.  But if this is a concern for you, then one needs to figure approximately one gallon of consumable potable water per day per person for drinking and cooking, 30 gallons per month or 365 gallons per person per year minimum, plus a source of non-potable water for washing.  If you have lakes and streams non-potable water might not be a problem. 

If you chose to store a minimum amount of drinking water, then there is a recipe for preparing potable water for storage.  Even though the water that comes from your tap has been treated between the lake and your water glass, it isn’t totally free from bacteria.  Your body has natural anti-bodies to destroy the remainder of this bacteria, your long term storage container does not.

Remembering that one needs approximately one gallon of water per day, you might consider using 55 gallon food grade poly-drums, as many as you think necessary.  One can easily treat a drum of stored water with a quarter to a half a cup of plain, ordinary Clorox bleach.  This will keep what little bacteria there is in your tap-water from doing what every living creature does--- replenishing the earth.

Be sure, that when you eventually draw water to drink from this treated water storage that you let the drawn water stand open from six to eight hours before drinking to let the chlorine evaporate. Over night wouldn’t be too long.  For details on how to treat water for long term storage, read “Part Three”.

3. Proper Clothing  
You might wonder why clothing would be a priority over food?  It’s because one can go a long time without food, weeks, or sometimes more than a month.  But if it’s winter time, and you have no way of heating your house, or you don’t even have a shelter to heat, you will suffer from hypothermia long before you starve.  You can always keep warm if you have the proper and practical clothing; one can pickup a lot of this kind of clothing at a thrift store.  You’ll notice that I said “practical and proper”--- remember we are not trying to win a fashion contest here.  Thin layers of a lot of loose and baggy clothing can keep you warmer than one thick wool shirt.  It is loft that insulates, and not the material that matters except for weight and comfort.  In other words you can insolate with steel wool as well as prime northern goose down, but steel wool can be a bit uncomfortable and heavy.  If one is insulated properly, one can be safe from hypothermia by one’s own body heat even in subzero temperatures.  Remember loose clothing provides space for loft to trap warm air, tight clothing does not.  For more information on survival clothing and keeping warm read “Part Four”.

4. Stored food
It is the ONLY INVESTMENT you can eat.  If you have not yet done so, I suggest getting a 3 month to 1 year supply of emergency food for each member of your family where possible.  Whether it is a ‘Stock Market’ crash, job loss, or natural disaster; an emergency backup plan is always a wise INVESTMENT.  Even a few months of food reserve is better than nothing.  This could be with a combination of 3 months to one year of store bought, non-perishable foods, and long term freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, be sure to include some dried grains and legumes.

Grains such as wheat, rye, barley, oat meal, rice --- and legumes such as a variety of beans, lintels, and split peas, keep for years with a minimal amount of storage preparation, and they are cheap.  Commercially prepared ‘freeze-dried’ foods, such as meats, veggies, and fruits, can be a bit pricier, but they provide a variety not found in dried grains and beans alone.  Not only do freeze dried foods store longer than any other food products, longer even than store bought canned goods, but they are excellent tasting and super easy to store.  Dried pasta and nuts are another good choice.  Don’t forget about fats, such as (would you believe freeze-dried) butter and margarine, lard or vegetable oil you can store and rotate.  Remember you’re not trying to get ready for bikini season here, and besides your food will not digest without fat in your diet.  Ask about what is available, where to buy, and how to prepare food for long term storage.  And don’t forget about your pets…

How long does it last? 
Stored foods like grains, legumes, and freeze dried or dehydrated foods, if properly prepared and packed will last for ever.  Well --- maybe not for ever, but forever as far as you are concerned and likely your children as well.  The experts say 30 years and that is because they have only tested them for 30 years.  When archeologist for example, discovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb they found dried grains and legumes together with his sarcophagus.  They milled some of the grains into flour and made bread, and soaked some of the legumes in water and cooked them.  Except for the loss of some of their original taste they were eatable and nutritious; moreover they were more than 3000 years old.  And they didn’t have Mylar bags, oxygen absorbents, or vacuum packing.

Notice I did not recommend stocking up on frozen foods;  this is because we could loose our electricity and one would have to have a neighborhood barbeque in a few days to consume all the food that is by now beginning to thaw.  See “Part Five” for additional information on how to store and accumulate food.

5. And lastly a shelter
Hopefully you will not lose your home as many already have.  If you think that this may be a possibility as if you loose your job or something, you might want to consider spending some of your savings or even take out an equity loan on your house, to buy a small but adequate trailer house.  In the meantime you can use it for weekend trips for the family.  There are plenty of good used ones available now, at a better than reasonable price. See “Part Six” for preparing your shelter.

Additional things you might want to think about

A “victory garden”:
During the Second World War, I remember my mother tending a garden of vegetables in the backyard.  I have a sneaking suspicion of why she started the garden.  Not only did it provide the much needed produce that we were short of, but most importantly I think it was to discourage me from going across the railroad tracks to the farm behind us and stealing whatever was growing there at the time.  One may want to start with a simple salsa garden.

Wendy tells us how
W. Atlee Burpee & amp; Co., the largest seed and gardening supply store in the country, says it has seen a 25 to 30 percent spike in vegetable seed and plant sales this spring compared with last.

"I've been in the business for 30 years, and I've never seen anything like it -- even remotely like it," said George Ball, chairman and CEO of the company.

“In 2008, there was a 15 to 20 percent up-tick in seed sales because of high food and gasoline prices. Not since the '70s, when the company saw sales increases in the 10 percent range, has gardening seen such buzz,” he said.

The National Gardening Association expects 43 million American households to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year.  That's up 19 percent over last year, according to a 2,559-household survey the group conducted in January.  L.A. County has lifted the urban restriction on vegetable gardens and even chickens in the city limits.

About a fifth of the gardeners this year will be new to the activity, the survey says.  Most -- 54 percent -- said they will garden because it saves them money on food bills.  A slightly larger group says they garden because homegrown food tastes better.

There's evidence that recession gardeners stand to see substantial savings at the grocery store checkout.

Last year, Burpee released a report saying a family will get an average 25-to-1 return on its investment in a garden.

So, by that count, a family that spends about $200 on a medium-to-large garden will save $5,000 in grocery bills over the course of a year.

For a lesson from Burpee seed Co. courtesy of Wendy in how to plant your first garden go to “Part Seven”.

Remember the odds and ends
Everyday items, like toilet tissue may be an ESSENTIAL to you.  Just think how life would be without it, hand and laundry soap, deodorant, shampoo, shaving cream razors, tooth paste, feminine hygiene items, baby diapers, prescription drugs, etc.  Remember most of these items as well as stored food can be purchased in bulk and rotated and replaced throughout the year. Moreover they are great inflation hedges. And don’t forget about your pets…

Again Paul has an appropriate Scripture verse: “And that no man might buy or sell, save that he had a mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name” Revelations 13:17 

Our current deflation may NOT last longer than 6 months or so.  INFLATION however will eventually hit everyone hard and can be long-term.  When the Government inflates the money supply by TRILLIONS, without an increasing GNP, inflation will follow big time.  Remember our dollar is no longer backed by gold or silver as it used to be, it is backed by product (GNP).  What happens, when production slows as it already has, or even stops, and there is more money than there are goods to buy?  The value of the dollar shrinks as too many dollars chase too few goods.

In these days of electronic everything, which may no longer work, including the means of exchange i.e. money, we may not realize it but our money or means of exchange is mostly electronic.  Again what happens when the electricity goes away?  No means of exchange that’s what.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you sell all your stocks, or bailout of your 401k and IRA.  I do however; highly recommend a ‘cash’ reserve of living expenses stored AWAY from your bank.  Keep this low key for your safety and do not tell anyone about it.  I suggest going to another bank branch to draw money out where no one may know you personally (tellers sometimes talk to others).  This is your emergency backup fund.

I am simply saying, whether it is an economic crisis, an earthquake, or a loss of electricity, you need to be responsible for yourself and your family.  Be prepared with an emergency backup plan with a portion of your assets as your own personal safety net consisting of long term storage of food, clothing, air, water if necessary, (forget air) and possibly some emergency bartering materials.  Cash, Junk Silver, pre-1964 silver dimes, quarters, half dollars and some of the newly minted silver rounds and maybe even a few small newly minted gold coins are a good way to start.  Stay away from the large one ounce gold coins as they are like having one to two thousand dollar bills, you wouldn’t want to try to get change for one of those.  Get only $1’s, $5’s, $10’s, and $20's for cash reserve, no $50’s, or $100's.  You may not be able to get change for those either.  For the same reason I do not recommend bars of gold or silver.  Also forget about rare coins.  These are not nearly as liquid to sell or trade, and few will care about their numismatic value. 

I would recommend if you can --- a minimum of 500 dollars per person in your household to start with and then try to increase it to 1000 dollars over time.  If you want to take out more, assuming you have more, don’t take out any more than $5000 at a time to avoid bank reporting rules, and then divide it equally in silver/gold and small denominations of cash.  This is of course in addition to all of your stored water, food, air, and clothing, (well maybe not air) and other necessities.  This will put you in a good position for buying, bartering, or trading for things that you may have run out of, or forgotten to store.

What if?
I know that is an awful lot of ‘what ifs’, but again, if these hard times don’t come soon, then they will come later, and it will cost no more to prepare with the essentials now, (likely less) than it will later.  If the shortages and famines and tough times don’t come within five or ten years then you can begin consuming some of this stored food and replacing it with new stored food.  That way you will always be prepared with supplies that are fresh. 

Just like choosing salvation through Jesus Christ---you have everything to gain and nothing to loose.
Well, these are my top recommendations to meet the possibility of tough times ahead.  They are not all inclusive, but a great start.  Please ask questions to fill in your blanks.

Our hope is in the Lord for the best, but as He has taught us in His word, be prepared for the worst.

Part Two
Air Contamination


This part of the guide is for families preparing for imminent terrorist bio or strategic nuclear attacks with expected severe destruction followed by widespread radioactive fallout or contaminated air downwind.

IF ONLY A 'Dirty Bomb' or Bio Attack not the vastly more devastating nuclear weapon blasts - You can expect localized and downwind contamination from the explosion and dispersed radioactive or bio chemical materials.  If you are near enough to see or hear any local bomb blast, assume that it includes radiological or chemical agents.  You should move away from the blast area as quickly as possible.  If the wind is blowing toward you from the direction of the blast, travel in a direction that is crosswise or perpendicular to the wind as you move away from the blast area.  If you have a gas mask, use it, or cover your face with a dust mask or a wet cloth to avoid inhaling potentially radioactive dust.  Upon reaching a safe location, remove your outer clothing outside and shower as soon as possible.  Refer to local news sources for additional instructions about sheltering or evacuation.  The government is better prepared to direct and assist the public in a 'dirty bomb' incident, unlike an actual nuclear weapon attack.

If this is a nuclear or dirty bomb containing spent nuclear material the first thing you should do is take your Potassium Iodide tablets. This will saturate your thyroid with Iodine so it will not absorb the radiation from nuclear fallout.

When fallout is first anticipated, but has not yet arrived, anyone not already sheltered should begin using a dust protector filter mask and hooded rain ponchos.  Everyone should begin taking Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) tablets for thyroid protection against cancer causing radioactive iodine, a major product of nuclear weapons explosions.

If no tablets are available, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protective effect.  (WARNING: Iodine solutions are NEVER to be ingested or swallowed, only Potassium Iodide tablets are to be taken orally)  For adults, paint 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, ideally at least 2 hours prior to possible exposure.  For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml, for children under 3 but older than a month, half again, or 2 ml.  For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml. (One measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don't have a medicine dropper graduated in ml.)  If your iodine is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly.  Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show that it will still be very effective for most.  Do not use if allergic to iodine.  If at all possible, inquire of your doctor NOW if there is any reason why anybody in your household should not use KI or KIO3 tablets, or iodine solutions on their skin, in a future nuclear emergency, just to be sure.

The principles of radiation protection are simple - with many options and resources families can use to prepare or improvise a very effective shelter.  You must throw off the self-defeating myths of nuclear un-survivability that may needlessly seal the fate of less informed families.

Radioactive fallout is the particulate matter (dust) produced by a nuclear explosion and carried high up into the air by the mushroom cloud.  It drifts on the wind and most of it settles back to earth downwind of the explosion.  The heaviest, most dangerous, and most noticeable fallout, will 'fall out' first close to ground zero.  It may begin arriving minutes after an explosion.

While the smaller and lighter dust-like particles will typically be arriving hours later, as they drift much farther downwind, often for hundreds of miles.  As it settles, whether you can see it or not, fallout will accumulate and blow around everywhere just like dust or light snow does on the ground and roofs.  Wind and rain can concentrate the fallout into localized 'hot spots' of much more intense radiation with no visible indication of its presence.

This radioactive fallout 'dust' is dangerous because it is emitting penetrating radiation energy (similar to x-ray's).  This radiation (not the fallout dust) can go right through walls, roofs, and protective clothing.  Even if you manage not to inhale or ingest the dust, and keep it off your skin, hair, and clothes, and even if none gets inside your house, the radiation penetrating your home is still extremely dangerous, and can injure or kill you inside.

Radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion, though very dangerous initially, loses its intensity quickly because it is giving off so much energy.  For example, fallout emitting gamma ray radiation at a rate of 500 Rads per hr (fatal with one hour of exposure) shortly after an explosion weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later.  Two days later, it's only 1/100th as strong, or as deadly, as it was initially.

That is really very good news, because our families can readily survive it IF we get them into a proper shelter to safely wait it out as it becomes less dangerous with every passing hour.

What stops radiation, and thus shields your family?  It is simply putting mass between them and the radiation source.  Like police body armor stopping bullets, mass stops (absorbs) radiation.  The thicker the mass, the more radiation it stops.  Also, the denser (heavier) the mass used, the more effective it is with every inch more you add to your fallout shelter.  The thickness in inches needed to cut the radiation down to only 1/10th of its initial intensity for different common materials is: Steel 3.3", concrete 11", earth 16", water 24", wood 38", etc.  The thickness required to stop 99% of the radiation is: 5" of steel, 16" of solid brick or hollow concrete blocks filled with mortar or sand, 2 feet of packed earth or 3 feet if loose, 3 feet of water.  You may not have enough steel available, but anything you do have will have mass and can be used to add to your shielding - it just takes more thickness of lighter wood, for example, than heavier earth, to absorb and stop the same amount of radiation.  Increasing the distance between your family and the radiation outside also reduces the radiation intensity.

The goals of your family fallout shelter are:
To maximize the distance away from the fallout 'dusting' outside on the ground and roof

To place sufficient mass between your family and the fallout to absorb the deadly radiation

To make the shelter tolerable to stay in while the radiation subsides with every passing hour

While a fallout shelter can be built anywhere, you should see what your best options are at home or nearby.  Some structures already provide significant shielding or partial shielding that can be enhanced for adequate protection. 

If you do not have a basement available, you can still use the techniques shown below in any above ground structure, but you'll need to use more mass to achieve the same level of shielding. 

You may consider using other solid structures nearby, especially those with below ground spaces, such as commercial buildings, schools, churches, below ground parking garages, large and long culverts, tunnels, etc...

If you've accomplished the above; securing your supplies, stored water, and built your family fallout shelter, CONGRATULATIONS!  You have now succeeded in improving the odds of survival for your family 100-fold, or more!  Now, you need to expand your knowledge and fine-tune the tactics that will make the most of your family survival strategy.

While evacuation might be prudent for individuals who act quickly in response to a threat, governments will be slow to call for mass evacuations because of their potential for panic and gridlock.  As the recent government calls for duct tape and plastic sheeting led to sold-out stores, anxiety, and derision from the press, there will be great reluctance to issue similar alarms.  If you want to assure that you have adequate food and supplies for your family you must act BEFORE the panic without first waiting for government instructions that may never come or as urgently as warranted.  You alone are ultimately responsible for your family.

Part Three

1)  1 Gallon water is disinfected by 8-16 drops of regular household bleach (visually about 1/4 of a teaspoon) - double that for cloudy water.  Mix and let stand 30 minutes.  One teaspoon will disinfect 5 gallons.  Immediately after treating, water must initially have a slight smell of chlorine.  If it does not - repeat the process.  A quarter cup of bleach in a 55 gal drum of water is a good start. An exact formula for the treatment of drinking water is difficult because of the many sources for water.  City water for example already contains some chlorine, while well water does not.

2)  Household bleach is relatively harmless.  The smell or “waft” of chlorine is not bad: it indicates that water is treated and germ free.  Once treated and disinfected, the chlorine smell will go away in a few days.

3)  Regularly used water from large tanks may be treated once or twice a month with 1 Oz. bleach per 200 gallons or 5 Oz. bleach per 1000 gallons

4)  Long-standing water in tanks will be disinfected w/ 1 pint household bleach per 1000 gallons.  (2500 gal tanks are fine with 3 pints.) 

5)  Bleach effectively kills bacteria and viruses, stops smells and then breaks down.  Its effective germ killing alkaline property is completely neutralized very quickly.  It does not stay chemically active in tanks for more than a few days.  Most germs require sunlight to grow. Store water in the dark.

6)  If water is relatively clear: but has a noticeable smell of chlorine: it is drinkable, disinfected, and harmless.  Humans need 2 quarts per day minimum, plus 2 more quarts per day if you are cooking dehydrated food.

7) When drawing water from a treated container such as a 55 gallon drum, let the water stand in an open container over night and most of the chlorine will have evaporated and is perfectly safe to drink.

8) Stored treated water should be discarded and replaced every 12 months.   

6 % sodium hypochlorite solution, referred to as “common household chlorine bleach", is not a seriously poisonous substance to humans.  It is an alkaline salt.  It is not an "acid".  However it effectively kills bacteria and viruses upon contact.  It is the world-wide chemical of choice for treating drinking water; very heavily chlorinated water may be more irritating to the lungs than it is harmful to the intestinal tract if used for drinking purposes.  Even drinking straight household bleach rarely results in death.  The alkaline properties of pure undiluted bleach may cause painful chemical burns to the esophagus and stomach - but it is not deadly poisonous.  All long-standing water that is exposed to air and sunlight grows bacteria and other organisms which may include the very troublesome protozoa, Guardia.  These organisms may cause people to become very sick. 

Iodine has long been carried by back-packers for cases of emergency because very small long-lasting tablets effectively disinfect germ infected water.  Iodine is at least 1000 times more toxic than is sodium hypochlorite (bleach).  Unlike sodium hypochlorite, iodine does not break down.  It does, however, cause an unpleasant taste in treated water.  This is why back packers are given the option to carry a taste neutralizing tablet for use if water has been treated with iodine.  Iodine does remain in the body.  Iodine poisoning is of greater concern for longer term situations than is the slight smell of bleach.  In any regular situation, bleach is by far the preferred method for purifying drinking water, because it effectively kills harmful organisms, and then it breaks down and is quickly chemically neutralized.

In an emergency hunting for potable drinking water:
It should be noted that fish, mosquitoes, algae, etc. can not - and do not live - in poisonous water.  Given the choice between two still ponds in the wild; one with mosquitoes, or algae growing in it -- and another near-by it, which may be seemingly clear but nothing alive is in it, I would prefer to drink the water that has the organic life growing in it.  The other standing water, even though it appears clear - is obviously unusable or undesirable to other living organisms and therefore it may be poisonous. 

Part four
Proper Clothing

There is the proper dress for each occasion.  A black tie dinner is usually the ultimate in fashionable dress, or as we see at the Hollywood awards, the competition is for the latest and most expensive fashions, or the best and sometimes the worst dressed people.

Survival also has its fashion, although it may not be pretty, or a competition for the best dressed, it certainly can be a necessity.  I placed proper clothing just after water in priority because of all the survival training that I have had and conditions that I have to survive in hypothermia can be the most dangerous.   

God’s Word says: …”pray that is does not come in winter”…I can tell you first hand that there is a very good reason for this warning.  Although we do not have very severe winters here, one does not know the circumstances one is liable to find oneself in, when, and if, the tough times come.  

Can you guarantee yourself and your family that you will have a nice warm shelter no matter what happens?  No, of course you can’t.  One can survive sub-zero temperatures with only the clothes you wear.

One can survive without air for 5 to 8 minutes.  One can survive without water for 2 to 4 days.  One can survive without food for up to a month, but you will succumb to hypothermia long before you starve. 

In the winter of 1959 I took cold weather survival training with the military near Watertown, New York, in the Adirondack mountains just south of Montreal Quebec Canada. For 41 days I lived outside, no shelter ate food which was still in its frozen state, in temperatures of 45 degrees below zero with a wind chill that would at times drive the temperature to 65 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.  That’s when your breath freezes and creates snow. Moreover I stayed warm with only the heat that my own body produced.

Hypothermia occurs when the internal core body temperature begins to dip below 97 degrees Fahrenheit, below 95º F one is in real trouble if the temperature is not increased soon.  Normal core or trunk temperature is 98.6º F. individuals may vary slightly.

Hypothermia symptoms usually begin slowly.  As you develop hypothermia, your ability to think and move often become clouded.  In fact, you may even be unaware that you need help.  As your thought process is impaired, you may fail to realize that you are becoming colder.  Once you get cold, it can be very difficult to get warm again.

Usually, everyone thinks about hypothermia occurring in extremely cold temperatures, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  It can happen anytime that you are exposed to cool, damp conditions.  Older people are more susceptible to hypothermia.

Hypothermia may be a new word to you.  It describes the rapid, progressive mental and physical collapse accompanying the chilling of the inner core of the human body.  Hypothermia is caused by exposure to cold, aggravated by wet, wind, and exhaustion.  It is the number one killer of outdoor enthusiasts.

We used to call the effects of hypothermia “dying of exposure” or “freezing to death”, but in the end, the result was the same.  The unprepared didn’t get to go home.

• Cold reaches the brain depriving you of judgment and reasoning power. 

You will not realize this is happening.

• You will lose control of your hands.  This is extremely serious. You may be unable to light matches. You may take off your gloves or mittens and be unable to get them back on. You may even find you can’t zip up your jacket or sleeping bag.

This is hypothermia.  Your internal temperature is sliding downward.  Without treatment, this slide can lead to stupor, collapse, and death.

Hypothermia is especially a concern for households with elderly occupants over 65.  One should keep the thermostat set at no less than 68 degrees in the daytime.  The problem with low household temperatures is that older and ailing persons are particularly susceptible to accidental hypothermia which can be a life-threatening condition.  Accidental hypothermia can occur even with temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees.  Infants less than one year of age should never sleep in a cold room and should be provided with warm clothing and a blanket to prevent loss of body heat.

Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech.  Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin.

Frostbite is another cold weather concern and is especially dangerous because it often happens with little warning.  Numbness can occur so quickly that the individual is unaware of being frostbitten.

Cold weather can kill in two distinct steps, through exposure and exhaustion.  When your body begins to loose heat faster than it can produce it, you are undergoing hypothermia.

You can do two things:
1. You can voluntarily exercise to stay warm.  We did this a lot, but there’s a trade off.  Eventually, you will become exhausted and will be unable to continue vigorous enough exercise in order to keep warm.

2. Your body makes involuntary adjustments to preserve normal temperature in the vital organs, and you start shivering.  Also one must be careful of over-heating in really cold or freezing temperatures causing one to sweat.  When one begins to cool down then the moisture has a tendency to freeze. 

We were testing some thermo boots which are extremely insolated, we called them Mickey Mouse boots because they we so big.  They were really good unless one would walk in them for a long distance then your feet would sweat and when you stopped, your toes would freeze…no!  I mean literally we had several cases of frozen toes, because the boots were too insulated to walk in.

Hypothermia prevention
As you were growing up, your mother may have told you, "Put on that nice warm shirt and your warm jacket, it's cold outside.”  I really don’t want to contradict any of your mother’s wise advice, but clothes aren’t warm unless they have just come out of the dryer.  Try it yourself, go into your closet, and feel different clothes to see if some are warmer than others.  I can assure you they will all be the same temperature.

Loft in this respect is the ability to trap air that your body has heated.  God created us with a natural heater built right in.  It will produce all the heat we need to maintain the proper temperature to survive even in the most extreme cooooold, burrrrr, providing we have the Proper Clothes.

Trying to hold on to as much of the heat we produce as possible is all about loft or insulation.  To continue to dispel any misconception about some products or fabrics being warmer than others, one can keep just as warm with an isolation made of steel-wool or newspaper as one can with the finest prime northern Canadian goose down. But goose down is likely to be a little more practical.  Personally I prefer a synthetic product called Dacron hollow fill made by DuPont.  It is a little heavier but it doesn’t lose its loft when wet.

Today’s miracle fabrics are much lighter and loftier than anything we had.
Many modern fabrics make keeping dry and warm easy, but you still must use care and a good bit of common sense.  You may not intend to risk your life, but surviving cold conditions unprepared is taking an unnecessary risk.

If you are on a budget or can barely afford the clothes you have on.  There are creative ways in which one can achieve loft.  As I mentioned earlier one is not trying to win a fashion contest.  Thrift stores are a good source of inexpensive clothing. There are however some rules.

The baggier the better
For the purposes of keeping warm do not buy snug fitting clothes they will lose heat as fast as you can produce it.  The reason --- they do not trap air, there simply is no room for it.  Try this for example: if you are a size small then try on a small shirt, then try on a medium shirt over that, and a large shirt over that, and a XL over that, and XXL over that, and well… you get the picture.  Many loose layers of shirts will trap a lot of air, and remember a final jacket will have to be gigantic.  You will look as if you gained a hundred pounds and you may well have done so, depending on how heavy all those shirts are, but you will be warm and more importantly you will survive not only the temperature, but the look of gaining a hundred pounds.

Part Five
Food and Other supplies

Whether it is for long term storage or to eat tomorrow, food is one of the five essentials of life.  

Some may look at the long term storage of food and other supplies as hoarding.  My definition of hoarding is the accumulation of wealth with no obvious or expressed purpose, just for the sake of accumulation.  Is one hoarding if for example, one shops for groceries for more than a day or a week or even a month?  Of course not, we have an obvious purpose; it’s called the responsibility of survival. One will rarely buy a cup or a gallon of gas at a time, usually at least a tank full whatever the size, and sometimes some extra gas to have on hand.  

Just as the fuel for your vehicle, we will eventually run out of the fuel we need (calories) to burn, we will no longer be able to keep warm or have the energy to survive.

As I said earlier we usually purchase food and other supplies for at least a few days a week or sometimes even a month. To prepare for a shortage for whatever reason, or an emergency, all one has to do to began the long term storage of food is to expand what you already do.

Buy some extra
To start with, when you do your regular grocery shopping buy some extra canned goods and dry goods, be sure to write the date of purchase in them so they can be rotated, once you begin to accumulate a lot of stuff it is difficult to determine how old it is.

Canned goods will keep up to five years, pasta if properly packaged will keep up to ten years, as I said in the preparedness part one, grains such as wheat, rye, barley, oat meal, rice --- and legumes such as a variety of beans lintels and split peas, keep for a life time with a minimal amount of storage preparation, and they are inexpensive.  Commercially prepared freeze dried foods such as meats veggies and fruits can be a bit pricier, but they provide a variety not found in dried grains and beans alone and will keep for more than thirty years.

Starting, by accumulating approximately 3 months of regular store bought food and supplies for every person in your house hold including your pets, is a minimum, and should be rotated each week.

A larger cash of food for long storage would require different preparation and possibly from a commercial source.  Grains and legumes can be stored for long term in oxygen free vacuum Mylar bags and then sealed in 5 gallon containers.  Also a variety of Freeze-Dried foods vacuum packed in number 10 cans (one gallon cans) will keep for more than thirty years. 

One should also consider the fact that a large cash of food and supplies take a lot of room and should be stored in the coolest environment possible.  Exposure to excessive heat will shorten the life of even the best prepared and properly packaged food.

Don’t forget other supplies that you have learned to depend on as necessities, such as bar soap, liquid, laundry detergent, and shampoo, especially if one has an allergy to regular soap and requires specialty products for personal use or laundry.  You may not be able to get those kinds of things.

Make a list of things you use all the time like toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Toilet paper might be something to consider.  Purchase extra of all the personal and household items so that over time you will accumulate several months worth of supplies. And don’t forget about the pets.  
Prescription drugs etc.  One cannot always purchase more than a week or two of certain drugs. Not only do Doctors and pharmacists hesitate to fill large amounts of prescription items but many of them have a very short shelf life.  But I would consider accumulating what you can. 

Lastly it is wise to have a radio, a special radio. One that has several broadcasting bands on it such as shortwave, air/sea, FM, AM, weather, etc. Also one that uses multiple power sources such as solar, battery, windup, and yes household current just in case you have it.  There are two kinds of hand crank or windup radios - one has a spring like a child’s toy the runs a generator for up to 3 or 4 minutes and will charge a battery for up to ten minutes.  And please ask questions.  

Part six
As mentioned in the basic guide, if you do not own your home outright and there is the possibility of losing one’s income thereby loosing one’s home, then you may want to think about purchasing a trailer house adequate enough for your family’s needs.  In the meantime you can use it for an extra room when you have company or on weekend vacations with the family.

Even though you have now learned to survive out in the elements under any conditions, having a shelter of some kind is the meringue on the lemon pie.

Not only does it provide a place to store your air, your water, your clothes, and your food, well maybe not your air, but it can help keep you comfortable, dry, and warm.

If your house is not equipped with a wood burning stove, you may want to look into installing one, even if you normally heat your house with a central forced air gas heater.

The subject came up when I was talking to one of my customers one cold winter; I said, “how are you going to heat your house if the electricity goes away?”  The elderly lady looked at me with pride and turned to looked at her much older husband and said with confidence--- “Well… we have gas”.  As she looked back at me I replied with, “I’m so sorry to hear that”.  We had a little chuckle over that, and I said seriously while pointing to the fancy dancy computerized programmable electronic thermostat on the far wall, how will that work without electricity?  As she turned and looked at the modern computerized gadget, I could see the blood drain from her face while she obviously recognized the reality that someplace and somewhere along the line, all modern technology depends on electricity, even her “Gas Heater”.

Even without the thermostat the heater is likely ignited electronically and unless they have a pair of long distance running squirrels to turn the squirrel cage fan that distributes the warm air throughout the home the heat will likely just stay in the heater.

So even if you have a house, it is back to the basics of a wood burning stove.
You may be able cook on your gas kitchen range providing it is gas and not electric, and you still have gas, one can usually light a gas range with a match even if it is normally ignited electronically.

One can however, cook on a wood stove or a charcoal barbeque.  I have even baked bread in a portable ‘cast iron Dutch Oven’ in the hot coals inside my wood stove. 

Remember you must store enough fuel, dry seasoned wood, and or charcoal to burn in these contraptions.

Most of us have electric lights.  If one is blind or has the habit of going to bed at sundown and getting up at the first light of the eternal sun, then you may not have a need for a substitute source of light.  But for the rest of us, battery powered lanterns may be a good source of temporary light, but batteries can be expensive and short lived.  A step up from batteries would be propane light, but again all those little canisters take up space and are also quite expensive.

Plain as opposed to fancy candles can be economical, but not very efficient.  My suggestion would be the old fashion Hurricane lamps.  You remember, the kind you used to carry out to the barn at night in the winter. They not only provided light but a little heat as well and quite efficient compared to a candle.

You can buy them for about $5 or 6.00 each and they are fueled by diesel, or jet fuel, or a less dirty and slightly more refined paraffin oil, commonly known as K-1 Kerosene.  Five gallons will cost you about $35.00 unless you buy it in larger amounts.  If you purchase a portable kerosene space heater you can use the same fuel, but you will need more of it.  Although Kerosene is obviously flammable it is not however near as volatile as gasoline and can usually be stored safely.

So you have air, water, clothes, food, and a place to put it all.

What more could a body want?

A French Chateau on the Mediterranean maybe… 

Part Seven

Planning Your First Vegetable Garden

Here's all you need to know about starting a vegetable garden.

Vegetables and flowers are
natural companions, and the
combination can turn a potential
eyesore into an attractive
landscape feature.

Why Grow Vegetables
Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money -- that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season.

It also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce. Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It's a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun. Growing vegetables is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor -- without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Read on for more!

Getting Started
Deciding What to Grow
It's best to start small with your first garden. Many gardeners get a little too excited at the beginning of the season and plant more than they need -- and end up with wasting food and feeling overwhelmed by their garden.

So first, take a look at how much your family will eat. Keep in mind that vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash keep providing throughout the season -- so you may not need many to serve your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and corn produce only once. You may need to plant more of these.
Determining How Much Space You Need
Once you know what you want to plant, you can figure out how much space your garden will need.

Keep in mind that you don't need a large space to begin a vegetable garden. If you choose to grow in containers, you don't even need a yard -- a deck or balcony may provide plenty of space.

In fact, a well-tended 10-x-10-foot garden will usually produce more than a weed-filled or disease-ridden 25-x-50-foot bed.

Picking the Perfect Spot
No matter how big your vegetable garden is, there are three basic requirements for success:

Full sun. Most vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun. If they don't get enough light, they won't bear as much and they'll be more susceptible to attack from insects or diseases.

Here's a hint: If you don't have a spot in full sun, you can still grow many leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. And if you're in a hot-summer climate, cool-season varieties such as peas may do better in part shade.

Plenty of water. Because most vegetables aren't very drought tolerant, you'll need to give them a drink during dry spells. The closer your garden is to a source of water, the easier it will be for you.

Good soil. As with any kind of garden, success usually starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter (such as compost or peat moss).

Many gardeners like to have their vegetable gardens close ot the house. This makes it easier to harvest fresh produce while you're cooking. It can also be handy to keep a few favorite potted vegetables next to your grill.

Designing Your Vegetable Garden
There are two basic approaches to planning the layout of a vegetable garden:

Row Cropping
This is probably what comes to mind when you think of a vegetable garden as you place plants single file in rows, with a walking path between each row.

Row cropping works best for large gardens, and it makes it easier to use mechanical equipment such as tillers to battle weeds.

The downside of row cropping is that it is that you don't get as many vegetables in a small space as much of the soil is used for foot paths rather than vegetable plants.
Row cropping isn't as visually interesting, either.

Here's a hint: Allow at least 18 inches between your rows so you have plenty of room to work between them. And as you sketch out your plan, place taller vegetables at the north side of the garden. This includes naturally tall plants -- like tomatoes -- and plants that can be grown on vertical supports -- including snap peas, cucumbers, and pole beans.

Intensive Cropping
This means planting in wide bands, generally 1 to 4 feet across and as long as you like. Intensive cropping reduces the amount of area needed for paths, but the closer spacing of the plants usually means you have ot weed by hand.

Because of the handwork required, it is important not to make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach.

Intensive cropping also allows you do design your garden, making it a good choice, for example, if you want to grow vegetables in your front yard. It's a great solution for mixing vegetables with ornamentals, as well.

A specialized version of intensive cropping is the "square-foot method." This system divides the garden into small beds (typically 4 x 4 feet), that are further subdivided into one-foot squares. Each one-foot square is planted with one, four, nine, or 16 plants, depending on the size of size of the plant when it matures.

It also makes sense to leave some areas of the garden unplanted at first. This allows you to plant a second crop to harvest later in the season. Lettuce, radishes, green onions, carrots, and bush beans are commonly planted several times during the season.

Creating Good Soil
Testing and Fixing Your Soil
It's best to test the soil before you begin digging. Check drainage soaking the soil with a hose, waiting a day, then digging up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil hard. If water streams out, you'll probably want to add compost or organic matter to improve the drainage is poor.

Next, open your hand. If the soil hasn't formed a ball, or if the ball falls apart at the slightest touch, you'll soil is probably sandy. (Add organic matter to improve sandy soil.) If the ball holds together even if you poke it fairly hard, you have too much clay in your soil. (Organic matter improves clay soil, too.)  But if the ball breaks into crumbs when you poke it -- like a chocolate cake -- rejoice! Your soil is ideal.

If your soil doesn't drain well, your best bet will probably be to install raised beds.

Here's a hint: Build raised beds on existing lawn by lining the bottom of frames with several layers of newspaper, then filling with soil. That way you don't have to dig!

Digging Your Beds
Loosen your soil before you plant. You can either use a tiller or dig by hand.
Once the soil has been loosened, spread out soil amendments (such as compost) and work them into the soil. Avoid stepping on freshly tilled soil as much as possible. Otherwise, you'll be compacting the soil and undoing all your hard work.

When you're done digging, smooth the surface with a rake, then water thoroughly. Allow the bed to "rest" for several days before you plant.

Choosing Varieties
Once you start picking out varieties, you'll probably notice there's a big variety to choose from. There are thousands of tomato varieties alone!

When selecting varieties, pay close attention to the description on the tag or in the catalog. Each variety will be a little different: Some produce smaller plants that are ideal for small gardens or containers, others offer great disease resistance, improved yields, better heat- or cold-tolerance, or other features.

Seed catalogs are one of the best sources for vegetables to grow. Once you narrow your choices to types of vegetables, pick two or three varieties that seem promising. That way if one variety doesn't perform well, you'll have other plants to make up for it. Next year, grow the best performer again, and choose another to try.

Many vegetables can be started early indoors or purchased already started from a garden center. The benefit of this approach is that you can have a crop ready to harvest several weeks earlier than if you were to plant seeds in the ground. Starting vegetables indoors is not difficult, but it does require some time and attention. Seed packages list the options you have for planting particular seed.

By using vineing crops like pole beans and snap peas you can make use of vertical space in the garden and boost yield per square foot.

Care and Feeding
Most vegetables like a steady supply of moisture, but not so much that they are standing in water. About an inch of water per week is usually sufficient, provided by you if Mother Nature fails to come through. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. For in-ground crops, that may mean watering once or twice a week; raised beds drain faster and may require watering every other day.

Weeds compete with your vegetables for water and nutrients, so it's important to keep them to a minimum. Use a hoe or hand fork to lightly stir the top inch of soil (cultivate) regularly to discourage weed seedlings. A mulch of clean straw, compost, or plastic can keep weeds at bay around larger plants like tomatoes.

Fertilizing your crops is critical to maximizing yields. Organic gardeners often find that digging in high quality compost at planting time is all their vegetables need. Most gardeners, however, should consider applying a packaged vegetable fertilizer, following the directions on the box or bag. Don't apply more than recommended as this can actually decrease yield.

This is what it's all about, so don't be shy about picking your produce! Many vegetables can be harvested at several stages. Leaf lettuce, for example, can be picked as young as you like; snip some leaves and it will continue to grow and produce. Summer squash (zucchini) and cucumbers can be harvested when the fruit is just a few inches long, or allowed to grow to full size. The general rule: if it looks good enough to eat, it probably is. Give it a try. With many vegetables, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce.

Chicken-wire fencing stops rabbits. Be sure that any fencing you install is easy to remove when you need to tend the plants.
Stopping Pests and Diseases
Pests and disease are ongoing problems for most vegetable gardeners. Although specific problems may require special solutions, there are some general principles you can follow.

Deer and rabbits. Use fences to deter rabbits. Make sure the bottom of the fence extends about 6 inches under the soil to stop rabbits from digging underneath it. The fence needs to stand at least 8 feet above the ground to prevent deer from jumping over it.

Spring insects. Row covers, which are lightweight sheets of translucent plastic, protect young crops against many common insects. Row covers are also helpful to prevent damage from light frosts.

Fungal diseases. Reduce fungal diseases by watering the soil, not the leaves of plants. If you use a sprinkler, do it early in the day so the leaves will dry by nightfall.

If a plant falls prey to a disease, remove it promptly and throw it in the trash; don't add sick plants to your compost pile.

Grow varieties that are listed as disease resistant. Garden catalogs and Web sites should tell you which varieties offer the most protection.

Make it a habit to change the location of your plants each year. In other words, if you grew tomatoes in the northwest corner of your garden this year, put them in the northeast corner next year. This reduces the chances that pests will gain a permanent foothold in your garden.

Summer insects. Pick larger insects and caterpillars by hand. Once you get over the "yuck!" factor, this is a safe and effective way to deal with limited infestations.

Or use insecticidal soap sprays to control harmful bugs. Most garden centers carry these products. Whatever pest control chemicals you use, read the label carefully and follow the directions to the letter.

Growing Vegetables in Containers
Growing vegetables in containers is an easy way to experience the flavor and freshness of home-grown vegetables.

Getting Started
Here's a little-known secret: Most vegetables actually grow really well in containers. And by picking the right plants, you can grow a fair amount of food in just a few pots!
Picking a Spot for Your Garden
Most vegetables do best in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day). Tomatoes, peppers, and other varieties that often get diseases usually stay healthiest in an open spot with plenty of air circulation.

If you live in a cold climate, you can give your garden a head start by placing the pots near a south-facing wall.

If you live in a warmer part of the country, be cautious about setting your containers on a cement patio, which may grow too warm for optimum growth. Put larger containers on dollies or carts; you can move them to various locations depending on the conditions at the time.

Choosing Containers
Happily, most vegetables aren't fussy about what kind of container they grow in. The only basic requirements is that the container is large enough to hold the plant and that it has drainage holes so excess water can escape.

When it comes to size, the bigger the pot is, the better, especially for beginners. The reason for this is that large pots hold more soil -- and thus, hold moisture longer so you don't have to water as much.

Look for containers that are at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Large flowerpots, half barrels, plastic-lined bushel baskets, window boxes, planters, and large containers (like 5-gallon buckets) work just fine.

Some vegetables need particularly large containers. Standard-size tomatoes and vining crops, such as cucumbers, will do best for you in containers 20 inches or more across. Peppers like pots at least 16 inches in diameter. In a pinch, most will still grow in a 5-gallon or larger container.
If your container does not have drainage holes, you will need to add several. Use a 1/4-inch drill bit to create holes in the bottom or along the sides near the bottom. Line the bottom of the pot with screen or landscape cloth to prevent soil from spilling out of the holes.

Plants that grow tall or produce vines -- like tomatoes and cucumbers -- will be more productive if grown up a support. A wire cage, inserted into the container at planting time, will do. Use larger, heavier containers for trellised plants to minimize the risk of tipping.

Container Materials
Not sure what type of container to grow your vegetables in? Don't fret -- typically, you'll care more about this than your plants will. In general, plants in terra-cotta (clay) need more attention to watering than other types of pots, because of the porous nature of the terra cotta.

Also think about the color. Dark colors absorb heat -- so they may make the soil too warm for some vegetable crops in summer, especially in hot-summer areas. And avoid containers made of treated wood, as it may contain chemical compounds that could be absorbed by your vegetables.

Potting Tips
While your vegetables aren't fussy about the kind of pot they're in, they do care about the potting soil.

As is the case with most other types of container gardens, your vegetables will do best in potting mixes made for containers. Ask at your nursery for a mix designed for use in larger outdoor containers.

Or save money by blending your own container mix. Use equal parts of peat moss, potting soil, and vermiculite, perlite, or clean sand. Fill the containers to within an inch or two of the rim.
To determine how much potting mix you'll need, figure:
3 pints of soil per 6-inch pot
3 1/2 gallons of mix per 12-inch pot
6 1/2 gallons of mix per 20-inch pot

Plant your vegetables in containers the same time you would plant in the garden. Depending on what types of vegetable you want to grow, you can start seeds in your containers, grow transplants from seeds started indoors, or purchase transplants from a garden center.

Here's a hint: Start crops such as beans, corn, carrots, radishes, and spinach, from seeds sown directly in the container.

Regardless of whether you are planting seeds or transplants, thoroughly water the container before you plant. Soak the potting mix completely, then allow it to sit for a few hours to drain excess water.

Plant seeds according to the package directions. Because not all seeds will germinate, plant more than you need, then thin the excess later.

Set transplants at the same level they were growing in their pot (except for tomatoes, which you can strip off their lower leaves and plant them deeper in the container).

After planting, water gently but thoroughly to settle the seeds or transplants. Keep the soil from drying out as fast by mulching with straw, compost, leaf mold, or a similar material.

Care Tips
Watering is the most important thing to watch for. So inspect your vegetables regularly to make sure the potting mix hasn't dried out.

Here's a hint: Make watering easier by installing a drip-irrigation system. It can automatically irrigate your vegetables for you.

Starting about a month after planting, feed your vegetables about once a week with a water-soluble fertilizer, following the package directions.
Also keep an eye out for weeds and other pests. While plants in containers usually aren't as susceptible to disease as varieties grown in the ground, you'll still want to watch for problems.

Remove or treat any plants that show signs of disease or insect damage.

Harvest Tips
Harvest is the most satisfying step. Pick your crops as soon as they reach a size where you will enjoy them. Most vegetables are more productive if you harvest early and often. Letting plants "go to seed" will often cause a drop in fruit set.

Fall Care
At the end of the season, add the container soil to your compost pile. Reusing soil from year to year can spread infections and insect infestations. Thoroughly scrub the container to remove all soil. Rinse in a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water, then rinse with clean water and store in a dry spot.

Part eight
Why Use Sprouts?

By James Talmage Stevens

Making the Best of Basics ––Family Preparedness Handbook

Reasons for using sprouts are so plentiful and so important it’s usually only a matter of listing them to convince you to try this very special kind of in-home gardening––accomplished in the comfort of your own kitchen.  In-creasing numbers of families find sprouting nutritious, delicious, and far less expensive than store prices. 

Nutritional Advantages
Nutritionally, dried seeds, grains, and legumes provide only a small portion of the total nutrients the body requires. However, once they are sprouted, seeds provide the largest relative amounts of nutrients per unit of intake compared to other food sources. Sprouting multiplies the content of minerals and vitamins in the seed many times because a wealth of nutrients is released to aid the development of the seed during its growth process.

There is no doubt more nourishment contained in a plant’s sprout than at any other time in its life cycle. Often, new nutrients occur where there were none before. Vitamins A, B complex, C, and E are increased, sometimes as much as ten times!

Both the quantity and quality of the protein in most sprouts are dramatically increased. New amino acids form as the seeds sprout, resulting in increased digestibility. Sprouts are biogenic—alive and capable of transferring their life energy to your body. They contain enzymes which aid in digestion of foods, provide a good source of fiber, and slow the aging process. They are also an excellent multipurpose vegetable. Using sprouts greatly increases vitamin content of dishes, provides a ―live‖ food, and in general supports better health for the body. To add to all of their nutritional plusses, untreated and organic sprouts are free of pesticides and are pest-free, too.
Watching your weight?
An additional benefit of sprouts is the low carbohydrate, fat, and cholesterol content—a real plus for weight-watchers.

Storage Advantages
It really doesn’t matter how sprouts are utilized in food preparation, they will sustain good health and stamina. If you had only a supply of sprouting seeds in your food storage, you could live a full year or more, eating only from your kitchen garden. The best part is that sprouts are also the least expensive fresh vegetables you can procure and store!

It is virtually impossible for a family to store enough fresh vegetables to last a long period of time—or to have them available in times of extreme duress, whether due to people-caused or natural disasters. By sprouting seeds, fresh vegetables are only 2–3 days away––year-round! Sprouts substitute for green vegetables and replace lettuce and other greens when they become expensive or unavailable. Get a variety of seeds and learn to use them and you will have fresh green vegetables year-round, even when there is no way to grow vegetables in soil. This makes sprouting seeds a high-priority acquisition item for your family’s preparedness plan.

The amount of food value stored in such a small space is a boon to a family’s foods storage program. Sprouting is a very easy way to increase the utility of many types of grains, seeds, and legumes or beans. Sprouts are easy to prepare and utilize. Both equipment and supplies are easily found and readily available almost anywhere. The effort required for a batch of sprouts is minimal. Bringing sprouts to the table, ready to eat, takes less than 10 minutes during the en-tire 3-day (average) growth period.

Compared to vegetable gardening, kitchen gardening with sprouts is easy. There is little fuss and bother. Sprouts re-quire no fertilizer. In fact, all that’s required is some water, air, and a small nook where they can grow. Sprouts con-serve energy, too. They require few resources for their sprouting cycle. You can eat sprouts without cooking them, and any sprouted beans or grains cook much quicker. Sprouts save money—all of the above, and this, too! Sprouting inexpensive seeds can help support your family’s overworked budget!

More Free Sprouting Information:
If you have a computer connected to the internet, you can download the entire 11 Page Basic Sprouting Guide for free at for more topics such as: step by step sprouting using jar and tray methods, the basic sprouting chart, ideas for sprouts and recipes, as well as a mini directory of sprouting equipment.

Summer Sprouting Growing Tip
During the hot months of the summer it is best to refrigerate your sprouts after about 3 to 4 days of sprouting.  The sprouts will continue to grow more slowly in the refrigerator--- this prevents the sprouts from becoming too hot and spoiling.  Water every other day after refrigeration.

I hope this is of some value to you should there be any kind of disaster natural or otherwise.  If not, it always pays to be prepared.  I don't even want to tell you what the alliterative is. 

de Andrea 


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