exponentiation ezine
exponentiation en ezine

exponentiation ezine: issue [4.0:self-sufficiency]

Gardening in Baskets:

A small vegetable or fruit garden can be grown in basic laundry baskets. This is ideal for those who do not have the land or ability to grow a garden directly in the ground. It is also economical, as it doesn't require a lot of money or resources to construct one.

For anyone wanting to grow their own food yet find it problematic because they are living in an apartment or small home, basket gardening is a wonderful way to solve that problem.

Here's how to start a small garden using laundry baskets:

Collect large and small laundry baskets wherever you can find them. Some cheap places to start looking are at dollar discount stores and salvage yards, but anywhere you buy them, laundry baskets are cheap. Try and collect at least one basket or so for each crop you wish to grow.

Once you have the baskets line them with garbage bags. The tough industrial garbage bags are better to use than others but most any garbage bag used will do fine. Fill the bottom of the garbage bags with about two inches of coarse gravel for drainage and top the gravel with a layer of newspaper.

Next in the process comes filling the basket with dirt. Try and find soil rich in nutrients to add to your baskets. If you get your soil from an empty lot take note that the soil is most likely depleted of needed nutrients. It might be usable as is, but it doesn't hurt to add some of the needed minerals to make it healthy, nutrient rich soil. You can mix the soil with potting soil if you like, or add nitrogen, potassium and phosphoric rich materials into your dirt. Many gardening shops sell soil replenishing objects and organisms. Ideally you want dirt that is sandy in consistency, doesn't have many rocks in it and is dark like compost (depending on your region you will have different colors of sand and dirt, so nutrient rich dirt won't always be a rich brown or black). Too much clay in the dirt is no good for planting. You want loose soil that allows for aeration.

If you have any sort of compost on hand go ahead and mix it into the dirt. If you don't have any compost then mix the dirt with an equal ratio of green and brown vegetation. Peat moss works fantastically. Organic materials such as table scraps and fruit peels can be added as well, but make sure they are chopped up well. Let the dirt remain loose and don't compact it because that will restrict needed aeration (for more info on soil nutrition and compost, refer to the article on composting).

Finally poke a few holes in the base of the lined containers to allow for extra drainage. Once this is done you are ready to begin planting your seeds. Make a note of what you are planting in each basket and put stakes in the baskets that harbor vine growing plants such as tomatoes.

You can plant your seeds directly into the baskets or you can seed them first outside the baskets and then transplant them. One idea for seeding your plants outside the baskets is to plant them inside the cups of egg cartons.

Grab a cardboard egg carton and poke small holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill each cup in the egg carton with potter's soil and put two or three seeds in each cup. Place the seeded egg container on a windowsill of a room that gets plenty of sun and maintains a temperature of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't forget to water the soil occasionally.

As soon as the seeds sprout through the soil in the eggcups they are ready to be transplanted. You can cut each eggcup out of the container individually and plant them directly into the basket garden; since the cups are made of cardboard they will biodegrade as your seedlings continue to grow. If your egg container is made from plastic or Styrofoam, don't plant it.

The advantages of seeding in this manner are a controlled climate, prevention of birds nabbing seeds and sprouting occurs prior to the normal growing season.

If it is your first time gardening beware of frosts that can destroy your crops. Know the climate you live in and tailor your garden to fit it. If you are in a dry area make sure to keep your basket garden well watered, as one of the disadvantages of gardening in baskets is that water isn't effectively retained.

There are plenty of agricultural digests, magazines and books on the market that can help you choose the proper growing strategies for your area. Hopefully, however, this article has explained a simple, economic and efficient method for getting started on your own garden no matter where you reside. With a little elbow grease and light maintenance you can be enjoying your own home grown foods by next fall.

*Note: other containers can be substituted for laundry baskets, however laundry baskets are recommended because they are relatively cheap, large and inexpensive. Small crops and herbs can be grown in leftover coffee cans, milk jugs or just about any other container one can think of. - phantasm


Survival Basics - Understanding the Tools and Psychology of Wilderness Survival and Prepardedness

Interview with:
Gabriel V. Moreira
Kittitas Search & Rescue
Mounted/Canine Unit
Interview taken 03-18-06

Gabriel: I guess what I would say...about survival, is that the first thing you have to do is be prepared. Which means, having the right equipment...matches, candles, flashlights, "survival blankets," a tarp is also very important, a [pocket] knife (you've always gotta have something like that)...

Victor: A popular one these days is the Leatherman, right?

Gabriel: A Leatherman is quite exceptional because you can do so many things with it. ...Always have dry matches, lighters, and/or fire-starters of any other kind. You should always have a tin-cup that you could maybe tie onto your belt, and if you can make a fire, then you can also boil your water or melt snow if that's still around, cook soup, pretty much survive out of the cup! Fire-starters are pretty important year around, really, because you don't always have dry wood. You can strike dry wood [with flint or the "rubbing method"] even if it's wet, then you can dry it out, which a fire-starter will do for you.

Victor: Is it best to carry as little as possible yet try to have extras of certain items, just in case?

Gabriel: You should always have extra socks, shorts/underwear... That's about the most important thing as far as clothing would go. Also, a large garbage bag can be turned into a poncho, keep you dry, hold in some heat. Of course, a survival blanket will do the same, but it's much larger [and keeps you warmer]. And, if you have a couple of survival blankets, or at least one and a tarp [to have overhead], then you can have a little tent, a shelter by wrapping up inside the survival blanket. It will keep you warm up to a point, but it'll keep you alive. Depending on what the situation is, if you're lost, you're better off to stay put and start building a fire. Get the fire as big as you can...make it huge. Keep it burning, that way someone can spot you [with the smoke] from miles away, and it'll keep critters away and keep you warm. Really important. If you've gotten wet, it should be enough to dry you out, if you need to cook something, sterilize water... Smoke signals don't do you any good anymore, because nobody knows how to read 'em.

In most cases, if you're up high in a mountain, you can pretty much drink the water out of stream. It depends on your terrain. Animals go to where the water is, which means there's gonna be crap in it. That's why you sterilize water in a cup under a fire. You can boil it, or there are sterilizing pills that you can throw in your canteen, shake it up, let it sit for a while, shake it up again, air it out, and then you can drink it. (You can still taste some of the pill, which doesn't taste good, but it's drinkable.) Always stay hydrated.

Whistles, light-colored handkerchiefs, and mirrors are signaling devices. With mirrors, you can flash light at someone far (even at a plane). If you're walking, it's good to have red tape to leave behind you [tied on branches] so you can trace your way back. One of the biggest mistakes that people do is when the moment they realize they're lost, they panic and start moving. And in most cases, wind up moving in circles. Better to stay put, build a shelter, start a fire, find food. If you don't have food, and you're in the wilderness, there's no excuse for that - there's a lot of food in the wilderness, if you have certain things that you can make to get it. If you have a string, you can always make a bow and cut some arrows. Hell, even if you have to kill chipmunks, or sparrows, that'll feed you!

V: Even pine needles are rich in vitamin C, aren't they? Don't taste very good though...

G: I think the nuts in some pine cones are probably the tastiest nuts you could ever eat!

V: Ever read Sun Tzu's "Art of War"?

G: No, but I've read the Army's Survival manual # 21-76 of June 1992... That one was made for Desert Storm, so much of it covers only that type of terrain, though there are some parts that describe field tactics in winter, forests, mountains... From it I learned that wool's one of the best clothing materials. You still wanna layer it so there's dead air in between for insulation. Even if you're in arctic regions, you'll get hot so quick that you'll want to take some of the layers off! Nowadays you've also got high-tech synthetic clothing like Gor-Tex. What happens with these synthetics is that they don't hold water; it'll run down over it, whereas cotton absorbs water and holds it. Like, if a man is jogging in the rain, and takes it off when he gets home, then puts it back on to continue running, he'll think it's wet, but it's not the coat - it's his sweaty cotton shirt.

V: So would you only want to wear cotton in desert areas then, so you could stay cool with the dampness of your sweat?

G: No; I would never wear cotton in the wilderness ever, not even in the summer. In the summer, you sweat, it soaks it up, and yeah it has the tendency to cool you, but the clothes will get nasty with your body fluids and you'll have to constantly change into clean clothes. If you wear the cotton in the winter, and because it holds water, the water's gonna make you freeze. You want your body perspiration to move through the clothing, and dissipate. So cotton's no good… You need the right stuff.

V: You remember Ted Kaczynski?

G: Mmm, yep...

V: How do you think he did so well out there in his cabin?

G: All you really need is to have a lot of dry food in stock, a lot of canned or bottled stuff, stuff that don't spoil. Nuts are pretty good, some high enough in protein that they'll make you strong enough to work through the day. You're basically working throughout the whole first three seasons just to have enough things you need to survive the winter. Stack all your wood in the summer. If you're thinking about building a cabin in an area that gets really snowy, you want to find a place with a lot of trees of course.

V: I can see that if you're going on a year-long hiking adventure, as long as you know what types of environment you'll be traveling through, you won't have to bring as much equipment, as you could just make it out of the surrounding resources.

G: But if you were just on a short-term hike, and you end up getting lost, there's no need for that either, because you'll be waiting for someone to find you. Use that bright-colored handkerchief and tie it to a branch next to you where people will see it. A GPS is really important. Everybody should carry one in the wilderness, and set it before you take off on the route for your trip, and that will show you where you came from. But you wanna make sure it's the type that shows the geological formations of the terrain, plus the route. Showing if you're stuck in a canyon, or you've got mountains all around you.

The only alternative is a compass and a map, the only disadvantage being that they don't tell you themselves where you're at. Using the sun isn't going to help you with any more than showing how much daylight you've got left. As far as "moss growing on the north-side of a tree,"that's not always right.

Remember, if you get lost, just stay put, until someone finds you. The first thing to do after that is build shelter, and a fire. Then you worry about finding something to eat, but most importantly finding water. You have to have water; you can go a couple of days without food, but if you're dehydrated, you're not going to last – especially if you're walking, because your body needs at least to liters a day. If one thinks they can substitute vitamin pills for food, that's incorrect.

V: Is there any particular situation where you shouldn't stay put, other than when you're getting chased by carnivores?

G: Nah...I think that, if you figure out you're lost – by lost, I mean you have no idea what direction you're in – it's time to build a shelter and a really big fire, and just hang out. Even if you have a Survival Blanket, it's still best to put up an overhead tarp shelter as well – that'll keep the wind offa ya, and you won't get wet. Your clothes have to keep dry, or you'll get hypothermia. And when that happens, you're doomed. Of course, if you don't have a tarp, you can sit under trees that have a lot of branches, and in there will be a lot of dry ones you can snip with your Leatherman to use for your fire. If you are in snowland, one of the best places for shelter is the bottom of a tree trunk, or a cave. It will help a lot if you know how to burrow into the side of a mountain...we [Moreiras] learned that in the Marines. All the heat's in there, and if you have a fire or even a candle lit, it'll get so hot you'll wanna go back outside. A hole made correctly will be round, and if you have a candle burning, you can glaze the inside of the cave and make the frosted water run down the side instead of letting it drip on your face from melting slowly. Then you can put branches, like from a Douglass Fir, and have a drier, more comfortable bed to sleep on.

V: Anything else, grandpa?

G: Just this...if you're going out into the wild, and you get into a really ugly situation like the Donner Party, understand that nature knows no "morality"– its rules are survival of the fittest. When a human's out there, his key to survival is pragmatism. When you're young, summer camp is good training.

Oh, and if you have to take a crap, and you have no air-packaged toilet paper, or you're unsure if the leaves around you are non-poisonous, your only option left is to do what Arabs do – use your hand, then wipe it off on the grass. ...That's why they don''t greet with their left hand.


http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8NWHQON4 (for the ascetic of enduring adversity)

copyright © 2006 mock Him productions