Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Edible and Medicinal Plants



Edible and Medicinal Plants

In an emergency situation you might need to rely on nature to help you survive. Here is a list of things you might want to plant or look for near by and be able to recognize.



Acorns
A nutritious source of protein, 100 grams of shelled white oak acorns contain 500 calories and 30 grams of fatty oils. The acorns can be eaten whole or ground into a flour or meal for pan bread and is also a food staple that can be stored.



Cattails
Given their flexibility and multiple purposes, cattails have been referred to as the supermarket of the wild. The rootstalk can be eaten raw or boiled to extract the root starch, or roasted for good caloric value.

Chickweed
Chickweed is most often chopped when consumed due to its stringy consistency. The consumption of chickweed is said to treat stomach problems, lung diseases, several skin conditions, as well as numerous other disorders.



Kudzu Vine

Most of the Kudzu vine is edible except for the pods and seeds. In the east, Kudzu is used to treat a number of aliments from allergies and headaches to intestinal problems and blood pressure.



Dandelion
The entire dandelion plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The dandelion leaves are packed with iron, containing even more of the nutrient than spinach. One of the best things about harvesting dandelion is that there are no poisonous look a-likes, which makes for an easy harvest.


Ground Nut
The American groundnut is a hearty source of protein often found near moisture-rich soil, producing starchy tubers that when boiled or roasted taste like a white potato.

Shepard's Purse
Although not scientifically proven, it is said that Shepard's Purse is used as an alternative medicine to treat anything from heart and circulatory issues to headaches and problems associated with menstruation. Shepard's Purse can be applied directly to the skin to alleviate superficial burns and bleeding skin injuries.


Wild Onion
Wild onion can be eaten raw or used in soups, salads, and stews. Historically, Indian tribes would use wild onion medicinally, crushing the onion and applying it to the skin to alleviate bug bites and bee stings.

Spiderwart
Spiderwort stalks cook well like asparagus and the leaves can be used in salads, soups, omelets, and stews. The sap of the Spiderwort can be used on skin conditions. Herbalists have also used Spiderwort as an alternative medicine as an anti-diarrheal, analgesic, astringent, expectorant treatment as well.


Stinging Nettle
While handling these plants without gloves can produce terrible discomfort, stinging nettles have incredible nutritional clout. The leaves, once free of their stinging, bristly hairs, can be steamed, sautéed, or boiled and worked into a meal or soup. The leaves can also be made into a nutrient packed tea. Not to mention they're a surprisingly great source of protein.


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Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Plant Your Own Survival Garden

My family was watching Doomsday Castle on Discovery Channel recently and they had to build a Survival Garden. I wanted to share with you the tips they gave. A standard garden with rows stands out and people will come looking for your food when they run out of their food. The way this garden is set up it camouflages your food to protect it.



Imagine a garden that takes up very little space, but grows five times more food per square inch than a traditional garden. A garden that you plant once in your lifetime, but provides food for 30 years without any fertilization, pesticides, or weeding... and it's all disguised to look like overgrown underbrush!
In a future world where there is potentially no electricity or refrigeration, no super markets or seed stores, and no fertilizers or pesticides, it makes sense to look at people who have managed to live successfully for generations without these “conveniences.” Studies of native indigenous people around the world (people who have lived off the land for generations without electricity, refrigeration, commercial agriculture, pesticides, or insecticides) showed that these people lived primarily on perennials (plants that grow year after year without replanting) as opposed to annuals such as typical grocery store vegetables (crops that must be replanted each year).
Simply put, perennials only have to be planted once and they will produce food for a lifetime. Whereas, garden vegetables (annuals), have to be replanted year after year from seed. And because of the natural life-cycle of perennials, they have the time to put down deeper and longer roots, which makes them able to get more nutrients, reach water deeper in the soil, and makes them less susceptible to seasonal variations in sunshine, rainfall, cold and heat than an annual plant.
In nature, plants don’t grow in rows and don’t need to be cultivated, trimmed, weeded, or treated with pesticides. Yet nature has been growing fruits, nuts, berries and herbs successfully for millions of years without man’s help. In fact, many plants often maintain symbiotic relationships where each plant benefits by being with the other. Our Secret Garden of Survival mimics the way that plants grow in nature. And in nature, plants grow together in three dimensions: some taller, some shorter, and they grow in a way where all plants get adequate sun, air, rain, and oftentimes share nutrients and benefit from natural pest control.
Plants in nature often grow in concentric circles where the tallest plant (often a fruit or nut tree) provides shade underneath it for shade-seeking plants, and outside of that shade, a layer of shrubs like blueberries and blackberries can grow. Outside of that circle of shrubs, herbs can grow. Herbs in this position have the added benefit of attracting insect pollinators as well as predatory wasps, which will feed on many of the “bad” bugs that would normally attack the fruit on the central tree and berry bushes. These herbs, in a way, provide a defensive perimeter around the fruit, nuts, and berries that bad bugs must cross at their own peril. Finally, around the herb layer is a lower level of ground cover, which often accumulates nitrogen (a natural fertilizer) that these plants take from the air, and make it available to the surrounding plants.
Because we are growing in three dimensions, we can produce five times more food in the same space that you would plant a traditional garden. And because these plants all grow together, and are in some cases intertwined, it does not look like a traditional garden, but instead looks “natural”- like overgrown underbrush, which camouflages the garden from marauders.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of garden for preppers is that it is almost no work to maintain, compared to gardening with annual vegetables. And in a doomsday scenario, preppers are going to have enough work to do, without having to tend to a garden every day, while exposing themselves to potential enemies. Further, by planting primarily perennials- and a large variety of them- you will always have food for you and your family each year, no matter what the short term summer weather brings.




Secret Garden
A garden disguised to look like overgrown underbrush.



Strategic Layers
Plants grown together in three dimensions.

Start in the center with Fruit/Nut Trees, then around that plant your berry bushes, then around that you have your herb layer with your cooking herbs and medicinal herbs and then the ground cover layer which can be anything from clover to strawberries.

How it works-
The herb layer attracts pollinators and predator wasps that kill "bad bugs." It is a natural pesticide, if you have these plants in place you don't have to worry about it.


Sharing Space
Mint, Comfrey, Mountain Mint, Cucumbers, Beans, Peanuts, Oats and Clover, all growing together in this 2 x 2 ft. square space.


Growing together
Grapes grow on apple trees in the secret survival garden. They actually grow better together than by themselves. These produce 7 times more fruit that grapes that are growing on trellis. 



To learn more, check out Rick Austin's book Secret Garden of Survival.

For more detailed information on how you can grow this kind of garden and get the book, go to Rick Austin’s website, SecretGardenOfSurvival.com



What a Secret Garden Looks Like and Why It's Important with Rick Austin from Sean Tounn on Vimeo.

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Preparedness Tip Wednesday: 55 Preparedness Items


There are countless survival preparedness items (preps) that you can store ahead of time (before potential disaster), for your use during and after the emergency or disaster (or total SHTF).
The following are 55 preparedness items or categories which are randomly listed, and are not all inclusive in any way. In fact, the list is intended to be fun, to get you thinking outside-the-box about your own needs for preps.

I'm posting these in no particular order…

 
1. Toilet Paper, and other sanitation items such as feminine hygiene products, diapers for infants, etc. These are items that should be mass stored if possible.
2. Paper Towels. Too many uses to mention, store as many as you can.
3. Coffee Filters. For those drinkers of coffee of course, but these are excellent filters for many other purposes.
4. Trash Bags. All sizes. You can also store many free plastic grocery bags from the store every time you get them after shopping. Important for bagging up refuse and preventing disease.
5. Zip type Freezer Bags. Lot of uses.
6. Coolers, various sizes. If you have room, can be used to keep things cool or cold, but also used to keep items from freezing in very cold weather.
7. Shovels. All sizes from small garden type to those used for digging. Very important to have after a disaster.
8. Soaps and Cleansers. Sponges and other scratchy pads. You are likely not going to have a dishwasher after a disaster and you have to have some means of cleaning pots, pans, dishes.
9. Cotton Rounds. First aid uses, Excellent Fire-starter (mixed with Vaseline).
10. Paper to write on. This includes note pads, index cards.
11. Pens and Pencils, especially the click pencil type that don’t need a sharpener.
12. Rubber bands. This also includes hair bands. Used to keep items organized and from flying apart.
13. Tape. All kinds from duct, masking, electric, to scotch. Many uses.
14. Sewing Kits. Threads, needles, buttons, zippers, you are going to need them.
15. Matches. Keep them dry and store lots of them.
16. Salt. You won’t believe in certain areas how hard it is to get this necessary mineral for survival. Store as much as you can.
17. Aluminum Foil Wrap. Good for cooking and many other uses.
18. Candles. All sizes. Not only for light at night, but can be used to heat small items up in small cookware.
19. Can Opener. Without many of these you will have a bad time trying to get your canned food out.
20. Basic Tools. This includes hammers, screwdrivers, saws, axes, utility knives, scissors. Anything extra that you can store from your
tool chest.
21. Handyman’s Hardware Assortment. Assortment of screws, nuts and bolts, wire, nails, etc. Store in clear jars with lids or in original packages.
22. 5-Gallon Gas Can Containers. These can be used for gas or other fuels as well as for water that are durable. Obviously, never use for drinking water if they’ve ever been used for gas!
23. Round Magnifying Glass. Use to see small items (optical glass is best), or to start a fire if matches are wet or out of them.
24. Envelopes. All sizes for storage. Smaller for seeds you can get from the wild as one example. Tough postal envelopes are also good for storage after a disaster.
25. Boxes. You are really going to need this if you have to suddenly move somewhere quick for clothes and other items. Many grocery stores will give you free fruit boxes that are sturdy and have lids. Also large plastic boxes with lids.
26. Shoe Laces. Many people have shoes that are still wearable and need shoe laces. Shoe laces are also good for tying off material with other purposes.
27. Paper platesplastic eating utensilsdisposable drinking cups. IF you can store enough, excellent way to save your soap supplies by not having to wash the dishes.
28. Blankets, sheets, pillows, pillow cases. Just because you are in emergency does not mean you have to live like a refuge.
29. Towels. All sizes from hand to bath. You will be very grateful to be able to dry yourself off with something you are use to.
30. Fishing line and string. Lots of uses.
31. Nylon rope, cord, clothes lines. Do not be without.
32. Toothbrushes, dental needs, dental floss. Even without toothpaste you can still keep your teeth healthy.
33. Q-tips / Cotton Swabs. Not only personal use, but uses for fine detailed work.
34. Honey. Lasts practically forever and a good sweetener for many foods.
35. Trigger spray bottles. Use to disperse insect repellent as one of many uses.
36. First Aid Kit. Most items such as bandages, gauze, tweezers, nail clippers, scissors, wrapping tape, etc. can be stored without rotating. Keep more first aid supplies than you think, because they can get used up very quickly (extra gauze – 4×4′s, 2×2′s for changing dressings).
37. Firestarters or Newspaper. Yes, newspaper for starting fires, wrapping delicate items, insulation. Keep dry and preferably in sealed boxes.
38. Safety Pins. Fastening of almost anything that has broken. Bobby pins also good.
39. Sunglasses. You will really need to protect your eyes after an emergency, glare is something that people forget about if they have to be outdoors for extended periods of time.
40. Hats. One size fits all baseball type caps, scarfs, ski caps. A lot of heat is lost through an uncovered head, also sunburn.
41. Gloves. So important, from keeping hands warm to protecting your hands from hazards such as broken glass and much more.
42. Extra Clothes. Especially well-made rugged pants and other clothes that will wear well. Don’t forget the extra comfortable shoes, socks, underwear, warm jackets.
43. Small handheld Mirror. For signaling, but also for personal grooming.
44. Cloth grocery tote bags. Reusable. A very good way of collecting things and supplies such as food from the wild.
45. Stapler with plenty of staples. Also paper clips to seal off small items and fastening paper. Your package of survival seeds as for example.
46. Extension cords. You may actually still have electricity from some source such as a generator or solar panel system. Routing power to other appliances or tools can only be accomplished with an extension cord. Can be used as a substitute for light duty style rope also.
47. Brushes. From nail, paint, to hair brushes. One good use for a hair brush is removal of ticks, fleas, burrs, from clothing.
48. Tape Measure. Measurement tools, rulers, very important to know distances and measurements for building, etc.
49. Games. Boredom is awful, and a simple deck of cards, boardgames, something to take up time if confined after an emergency. Great for the kids too.
50. Survival Books. Anything that will give you information and instructions on survival, cooking, plant identification, map books. Your bookcase may not be around after a disaster, store information you will need someday.
51. Wind up clock. Your battery operated clocks and watches or other time telling instruments are someday not going to work. A wind up clock is better than using a sundial.
52. Plastic storage containers. Ziploc, Tupperware, Rubbermaid, anything that can air seal something. All sizes.
53. Sticky notes. Use to label what you have after the disaster. Secure it better with scotch tape if you want. Lots of uses. Leave notes for others.
54. Safe for your cash. Cash money may be the only way to buy anything immediately after a disaster. Good for holding silver and gold coins too.
55. Heavy duty tarps. Many sizes and inexpensive. Cannot emphasize how many uses these have, and can be folded up and stored in smaller spaces. Be sure to look for heavy duty.

Note: This prep list was NOT intended to be a complete list (which does not exist – it’s an endless process,) and it was NOT intended to resemble a list of essentials. But instead it will hopefully get you to thinking about your own readiness and supplies, to expand your thinking.
Start your own list! If you’re not sure how to get started, one idea when thinking of your ‘list’, is to think in categories. That’s mostly how I do it. For example, think of kitchen items and then list priorities in that category. Think of shelter, clothing, food and water, tools, sanitation, security, transportation, etc… think ‘categories’ and then narrow it down within each category. Start with food and water!

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