Survival News

Certified Organic Meat Put to the Test

Nutrition blog - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:00

Researchers tested 76 samples of different kinds of organic and conventional meats for 33 different carcinogens.

A study on carcinogenic risk associated with the intake of various meats estimated it to be so high that we may not want to feed beef, pork, or chicken to children more than about five times a month. The study was conducted in Europe, where lamb contamination is a particular problem. In the United States, if there were any standout, it would be chicken and PBDEs (flame-retardant chemicals)—not only compared to other meats, but also to other countries. “Total PBDEs in U.S. chickens averaged 10–20 times higher than those in chickens from Spain or Japan.” However, diet is not the only source of exposure. People eating a vegetarian diet only have about 25 percent lower levels in their bloodstream compared with those eating meat, though a large proportion of the PBDEs levels in omnivores may be from chicken, as I discuss in my video Flashback Friday: Is Organic Meat Less Carcinogenic?.

For other chemicals, diet may play a larger role. Studies of the pollutants in the breast milk of vegetarians, dating back more than 30 years, have found the average vegetarian levels of some pollutants were only 1 to 2 percent as high as the national average. In fact, for six out of seven pollutants researchers looked at, “there was no overlap in the range of scores; the highest vegetarian value was lower than the lowest value obtained in the [general] United States sample.” This is presumed to be the case because these pollutants concentrate up the food chain. So, by eating plants, which are all the way down the food chain, “vegetarians have an edge.” 

Consider dioxins, for example. “Meat, fish and dairy products are believed to contribute almost all of the dioxin body burden,” and, indeed, if you look at those eating strictly plant-based diets, they may only have about a third of the levels of dioxins and PCBs, and even less than a fifth circulating throughout their bodies, as you can see at 1:43 in my video.

A study from India really struck me. “India has been facing a major problem of treating its enormous waste from electrical and electronic goods (approximately 400,000 tons of e-waste each year).” The workers at these electronic waste recycling or dismantling plants can be exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals. As you can see at 2:11 in my video, they can end up with a concentration of PCBs in their bloodstream that is nearly twice as high as those living about 250 miles away along the coast. These were non-vegetarian e-waste recycling workers, though. The PCB levels in the bloodstream of vegetarians working at the same plant were even lower—and not only lower than their non-vegetarian co-workers, but also lower than their coastal neighbors 250 miles away.

The problem with these cross-sectional studies is that we can’t single out the diet. Maybe vegetarians have other lifestyle behaviors that protect them. You don’t know until you put it to the test. Change people’s diets, and see what happens. That’s hard to do with persistent pollutants like PCBs, which may take literally decades to detoxify from the body, but we can get rid of heavy metals like mercury in a matter of months. And, indeed, within three months of the “exclusion of meat, poultry, fish and eggs” from the diets of study participants, there was a significant drop in the levels in their bodies of toxic heavy metals, including mercury, cadmium, and lead. Up to about a 30 percent drop within three months, as you can see at 3:02 in my video.

What if we stick to organic meat? Certified organic meat comes from animals “fed with organically produced feed that is free of pesticides and animal by-products,” by law. Therefore, one would assume “there should be lower accumulation of chemical residues. However, practically, there are no studies on the chemical residues’ content in organic meat”—that is, there weren’t any…until now.

Researchers acquired 76 samples of different kinds of meat, both organic and conventional, and quantified their levels of contamination with 33 different carcinogenic persistent organic pollutants. After all, “the ingestion of food contributes more than 90% to the total current exposure to these compounds, especially those food of animal origin such as fish, dairy products, or meat.” But, “[o]n the other hand, an increasing number of consumers” are choosing organic. “In fact, in the USA, organic food production increased by 50% during the last decade,” so are consumers of organic meat protected or not? 

“[N]o sample was completely free of carcinogenic contaminants,” which is to be expected given how polluted our world is these days, but what was surprising was that “the differences between organically and conventionally produced meats were minimal.” Furthermore, either way, “the current pattern of meat consumption exceeded the maximum limits, which are set according to the levels of contaminations, and this is associated with a relevant carcinogenic risk. Strikingly, the consumption of organically produced meat does not diminish this carcinogenic risk, but on the contrary, it seems to be even higher…” The bottom line is that the “consumption of organic meat does not diminish the carcinogenic potential associated with the intake of persistent organic pollutants.”

There are also Carcinogens in Meat that are created during cooking. See that video to learn more. If you’re interested in the heavy metals issue, watch How to Lower Heavy Metal Levels with Diet.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A study out of Europe found that carcinogenic risk associated with consumption of various meats is so high that we may not want to give beef, pork, or chicken to children more than about five times a month.
  • In the United States, chicken and PBDEs (flame-retardant chemicals) stand out as being most contaminated—compared to other meats and also to other countries. Indeed, total PBDEs in U.S. chickens average 10 to 20 times higher than in chickens from Japan or Spain, for example.
  • Studies of pollutants in the breast milk of vegetarians found the average vegetarian levels of some pollutants were only 1 to 2 percent as high as the national average and, for six out of seven pollutants investigated, “the highest vegetarian value was lower than the lowest value obtained in the [general] United States sample.”
  • These pollutants concentrate up the food chain, so, since plants are at the bottom of the food chain, “vegetarians have an edge.” Indeed, nearly all of the dioxin body burden is thought to come from meat (including fish) and dairy products. Those eating strictly plant-based diets may have only about one-third the levels of dioxins and PCBs, and even less than one-fifth circulating in their bodies.
  • Cross-sectional studies do not allow for diet to be singled out, and vegetarians may have other protective lifestyle habits. When people’s diets were changed, though, they experienced a significant drop in toxic heavy metals, including mercury, cadmium, and lead, in their bodies within three months of excluding meat and eggs.
  • By law, certified organic meat must come from animals fed organic feed that is free of pesticides and animal by-products, so one might assume it has lower accumulation of chemical residues. However, when researchers tested 76 samples of different kinds of organic and conventional meat, not one was completely free of carcinogenic contaminants and “the differences between organically and conventionally produced meats were minimal.”
  • Further, current meat consumption patterns are associated with carcinogenic risk, and, strikingly, intake of organic meat seems to elevate it even higher.

What about organic versus conventional produce? Check out:

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:

The South Florida Backyard Garden Plan Legend

David the Good - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 03:33

We discovered an error in the first printing of The South Florida Gardening Survival Guide.

The small yard food production landscape plan was missing the legend that explains what the different plants are.

Here it is in its entirety.

Amazon is working its way through the backlog of the first printing and we’ve submitted our amended files, so at some point the book will contain the fix. There seem to be at least a hundred copies of the “no legend” version left in the queue.

If you have a copy that is missing the legend, congrats – you now own a very limited edition collectible!

Thank you for putting up with our occasional mistakes. There are a lot of moving pieces when you put a book together. This title had six people involved: myself, Tom Sensible, two book designers and at least two proofreaders.

For those of you that noticed the missing legend and wrote me – thank you. I appreciate the help.

The post The South Florida Backyard Garden Plan Legend appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

The Basics of Understanding and Using Lightning – Epi-3113

Survival Podcast - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 15:42
Today we are going to talk about the Lightning Network which is a “Layer 2” solution for bitcoin transactions.  If that sounds complicated, don’t worry I will help you make sense of it all today.  There is a lot of … Continue reading →

The 5 Best Chicken Breeds for Your Homestead

Organic Prepper - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 07:40
By Chris Leslie

Are you looking for the best chicken breed for your small farm, backyard, or homestead? One of these breeds is likely to be the perfect choice!

In this article, you’ll learn the origins and characteristics of five of the most popular and versatile dual-purpose birds available today.

There are hundreds of chicken breeds out there, from gamecocks first domesticated millennia ago to high-production industrial cross-breeds developed less than ten years ago, and choosing from this embarrassment of riches is one of the most fun parts of starting a backyard chicken flock.

First-time chicken keepers are often focused on chickens that lay lots of eggs as the best measure of a good homesteading breed. But there’s a lot more to the story than that. Hardiness, meat production, size, temperament, and broodiness can all affect a breed’s suitability for your farm and family.

Some homesteaders may also be invested in finding a heritage or endangered breed to preserve as a piece of living history. The breeds on this list tick all of these boxes and more, so read on to find the perfect bird for your homestead.  

Starting with baby chicks? Here’s everything you need to know.

Australorp

The Australorp currently holds the world record for most eggs laid by a hen in a single year (364!), but there’s a lot more to this Australian beauty than her (admittedly impressive) egg-laying skills. The name “Australorp” gives a pretty good clue as to the breed’s origins.

It was originally bred down under as an Australian version of the Orpington, a popular English layer. The modern-day Australorp is smaller and more productive than the Orpington, which has been pushed away from production into being more of a show breed.

Australorps gained popularity in the US in the 1930s because they were one-half of one of the most successful hybrids producers of the period. They are now beloved on homesteads for their steady production of large brown eggs and their utility as a dual-purpose bird.

Australorps are muscular and very active, producing delicious lean mean, especially if they’re allowed to free range. They are also noted for their calm, even-keeled temperament and for rarely going broody. 

Delaware

The story of the Delaware breed is a dramatic boom and bust that illustrates just how quickly industrial chicken production can move on to a new, more productive cross and all but eliminate the old favorite from existence.

Delawares were the favored broiler of industrial chicken companies on the American East Coast for about a decade, beginning from their inception in 1940. Within 20 years, however, they had been almost completely usurped by a more efficient hybrid breed, leaving the Delaware critically endangered even today.

Homesteaders and small farms are working to keep this breed alive, and they are indeed well worth preserving. In addition to their charms as a broiler, Delawares are reliable layers that produce 200-300 large brown eggs every year. They also have stunning white feathers with black bars and red combs, which have given the breed a new life as a show bird. 

(Want to can your chicken? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire or New Hampshire Red is essentially a specialized version of the more famous Rhode Island Red.

New Hampshire Reds were developed by the University of New Hampshire in conjunction with local farmers in the early 20th century by selectively breeding Rhode Island Reds for better broiler traits. The resulting bird is larger and grows faster than her predecessor. While both breeds are dual-purpose, the New Hampshire is the superior meat bird.

A full-sized standard rooster can reach almost 10 pounds; hens average around seven pounds. (Like most of the breeds here, the New Hampshire Red also exists as a smaller, bantam bird.) With antecedents in an egg-laying behemoth like the Rhode Island, it’s no surprise these birds are also regular layers, producing around 200 large brown eggs a year.

New Hampshires, however, aren’t the friendliest or gentlest of breeds. They can be aggressive with each other and are prone to going broody, which does make them excellent mothers. 

Plymouth Rock

Also called the Barred Plymouth Rock, this breed originated in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, in the mid-1800s. There are several different stories about their origins, but the most commonly cited antecedents are the Dominique or Dominiker, the oldest breed of American chicken, and the Java breed. In any case, the result was a beautiful dual-purpose bird noted for its striking barred (read: stripy) plumage, though other colors were developed later.

Through the end of World War II, it’s possible the Plymouth Rock was the most popular and widely kept chicken in American history, favored for their quality meat production and regular laying (about 250 large brown eggs a year). In fact, the Plymouth Rock was one of the first birds to be widely used for industrial-scale meat production. By the 1950s, much like the Delaware, it had been replaced by more efficient hybrids (bred from Plymouth Rocks) and eventually almost disappeared.

However, a good dual-purpose homesteader will always have fans, and the Plymouth Rock has recovered in recent decades. Their docile temperament makes them good mothers to their chicks and a good choice for people with younger kids. 

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is one of the most iconic chickens of all time, and there’s good reason for their ubiquity in pop culture and on homesteads. Reds are a hardy, dual-purpose bird originally bred in Massachusetts and, of course, Rhode Island in the 1850s. Their namesake crimson feathers come from their Malay ancestors, one of several Asian breeds crossed with Italian Leghorns to produce this breed.

Because Reds were purpose-bred for small New England farmers, they are perfect for modern-day homesteaders. Modern strains, especially, are prolific layers, producing upwards of 300 large brown eggs a year. A heritage strain will lay closer to 200 eggs a year but makes up for it by laying (and likely living) longer and providing better meat. Whichever strain you choose, your hens are sure to have the big, sassy personalities this breed is famous for.   

There is no one “best” chicken breed for every homestead, but it’s hard to argue that these breeds aren’t among the cream of the crop! Do you have a favorite breed not listed here? Let us know what kind and why you like them in the comments.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

About Chris

Chris has been raising backyard chickens for over 20 years. She has a flock of 11 chickens (including 3 Silkies) and is currently teaching people all around the world how to care for healthy chickens.”

The post The 5 Best Chicken Breeds for Your Homestead appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

How Big Sugar Undermines Dietary Guidelines

Nutrition Video - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 06:50
International Life Sciences Organization, a nonprofit, is accused of being a front group for Coca-Cola and other junk food giants.

Roasted Sriracha Brussel Sprouts

Real Food RN - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 05:03

This recipe is a tasty way to get your whole family to eat their vegetables. It also comes together quickly as an easy side dish for a weeknight meal.

The post Roasted Sriracha Brussel Sprouts appeared first on Real Food RN.

Pickling with Vinegar vs. Traditional Live-Fermented Pickling

David the Good - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 03:28

My sister has been getting lots of produce from her garden. Recently, she wrote to tell me that she made some pickles.

She is ahead of the game by even making her own pickles from home-grown cucumbers! Preserving your own food is excellent. Home food preservation is the next step after learning how to grow your own food.

I asked her if they were with vinegar or in a salt brine, and she told me they were vinegar pickles.

This is by far the most common way to make pickles in the United States

We are generations removed from the old days of having pickles fermenting in counter-top crocks.

Now, our Great-Grandparents’ crocks are just decorations, their original uses long forgotten.

It’s up to us to bring them back.

#RejectModernity

Pickling With Vinegar vs. Live Fermentation

Pickling with vinegar gives you consistent and safe results. You’ll get the same product every time, whether you’re making dill pickles or bread-and-butter pickled eggs.

I use vinegar in my homemade pickled eggs and in my homemade pear salsa.

However, most vinegar (with the exception of homemade vinegar and some store brands, like Bragg’s) is dead.

That is, it doesn’t have any beneficial microorganisms in it.

If you make pickles and can them – even with live vinegar – the vinegar is sterilized.

On the other hand, if you lacto-ferment pickles the traditional way, by submerging them in salt brine and letting wild bacteria create an acid brine, you cultivate a range of beneficial bacteria that bring great health to your gut and can even raise the nutrient levels in the original produce.

It’s like magic. After a few days, the brine is sour, just like you added vinegar.

People are surprised when I tell them I’m not using vinegar to make pickles! It’s just salt brine, yet the pickles become wonderfully sour and tasty after only a few days on the counter. When they reach the right level of tartness, we put them in the fridge and eat them for months.

The downside of live fermented pickles is that they aren’t shelf-stable like dead, canned vinegar pickles. You can keep those in your pantry for a year or more and they’ll still taste the same. Live fermented foods require refrigeration in warm climates or they start to develop weird flavors. The weird flavors won’t kill you, but they aren’t pleasant. The salt keeps you safe; however, it doesn’t necessarily keep your ferments tasting the same. They are alive!

This means we often enjoy different ferments at different times of the year. In winter and spring, we often enjoy fermented radishes, cabbages, turnips and beets. In summer and fall we eat fermented peppers, okra and cucumbers. It’s fun to roll with the seasons.

Fermented foods are very good for you

As a recent study shows:

In a clinical trial, 36 healthy adults were randomly assigned to a 10-week diet that included either fermented or high-fiber foods. The two diets resulted in different effects on the gut microbiome and the immune system.

Eating foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi and other fermented vegetables, vegetable brine drinks, and kombucha tea led to an increase in overall microbial diversity, with stronger effects from larger servings. “This is a stunning finding,” said Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology. “It provides one of the first examples of how a simple change in diet can reproducibly remodel the microbiota across a cohort of healthy adults.”

In addition, four types of immune cells showed less activation in the fermented-food group. The levels of 19 inflammatory proteins measured in blood samples also decreased. One of these proteins, interleukin 6, has been linked to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and chronic stress.

“Microbiota-targeted diets can change immune status, providing a promising avenue for decreasing inflammation in healthy adults,” said Christopher Gardner, PhD, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “This finding was consistent across all participants in the study who were assigned to the higher fermented food group.”

By contrast, none of these 19 inflammatory proteins decreased in participants assigned to a high-fiber diet rich in legumes, seeds, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits. On average, the diversity of their gut microbes also remained stable. “We expected high fiber to have a more universally beneficial effect and increase microbiota diversity,” said Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, a senior research scientist in basic life sciences, microbiology and immunology. “The data suggest that increased fiber intake alone over a short time period is insufficient to increase microbiota diversity.”

We try to eat fermented foods every day, and multiple times per day. Our health isn’t perfect, but I’m sure it would be worse if we didn’t eat a living diet of good foods and ferments.

How to start fermenting your own produce

Kefir, yogurt, kefir cheese, clabbered milk, apple cider vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut – we have ferments all over the place.

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz was the first to open my eyes to the possibilities:

Once you lose your fear of live fermenting food, you open a new world of possibilities and health. And it’s fun! We’ve already eaten half of this current batch of pickles:

Jump in! You can definitely do this. Rachel is a champ at making fermented foods, and you can be too. Here’s her simple method of making sauerkraut in a mason jar:

I also add black peppercorns, mustard and caraway seeds and some homemade cayenne pepper to my ferments.

When a neighbor of ours had a sickness that required him to take a lot of antibiotics, we brought him some sauerkraut, homemade kimchi and kefir. He’d never had any of those before, and he is at least sixty.

These traditional foods are nourishing and we should take them back. Modern life is overprocessed and literally killing us inside.

Yet with a little salt and some fresh produce, you can start taking back your health while preserving some of the bounty of your gardens.

The post Pickling with Vinegar vs. Traditional Live-Fermented Pickling appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

How To Build A Pulley Clothesline – An Incredible Way To Dry Clothes & Save!

Old World Garden - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 17:49

If you are looking for a great way to save on your budget and have incredibly clean, fresh and wondrous smelling clothes – installing your very own backyard pulley clothesline …

The post How To Build A Pulley Clothesline – An Incredible Way To Dry Clothes & Save! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

What Is a Wildfire and How to Prepare for One

Organic Prepper - Sat, 06/25/2022 - 07:37

Did you know that thousands of wildfires occur annually across the United States? These fires can cause incredible amounts of damage to property and natural resources, not to mention the dangers they pose to human life.

This guide will take a closer look at what a wildfire is, what causes it, and how you can prepare for it.

By the end of this guide, you’ll better understand what to do if you find yourself in a wildfire.

What is a wildfire?

Wildfires are uncontrolled forest fires that often occur in wildland vegetation. They can happen anytime and anywhere in the world. Some of the most destructive wildfires have occurred in the United States and Australia.

Wildfires typically start from a small fire, which then quickly grows out of control due to the spread of flames and the growth of the fire.

Early warning systems, such as forest fire lookout towers, can help identify potential wildfires before they cause too much damage. However, once a wildfire starts, it cannot be easy to contain.

High winds can cause the flames to jump from one area of vegetation to another, making it hard for firefighters to keep up. In addition, the smoke from a wildfire can travel long distances and affect air quality for days or weeks afterward.

As a result, wildfires can have a significant impact on both the environment and public health.

Types of wildfires

There are four main types of wildfires: ground fires, forest fires, surface fires, and Wildland fires.

Ground fires are the slowest burning type and can smolder for days or weeks before being detected. They often start in areas of high organic matter, such as leaves and logs, and can spread quickly through the roots of trees and other vegetation. Ground fires typically burn at a low temperature, which minimizes the damage to the surrounding ecosystem.

Forest fires are fast-moving and very hot, making them the most dangerous type. They often start in trees or brush and can quickly spread to the entire forest. Forest fires typically burn at a high temperature, which can destroy large areas of vegetation.

Surface fires are slower moving than fires in forests but can still be very destructive. They often start on the ground and move up into trees and other vegetation. Surface fires typically burn at a moderate temperature, making them less damaging to the surrounding ecosystem than ground or forest Fires.

Wildland fires combine ground fires, forest fires, and surface fires. They can be very destructive and difficult to control. Wildland Fires typically burn at a high temperature, which can destroy large areas of vegetation.

Crown fires are the most dangerous type of wildfire. They occur when the flames from a ground or surface fire reach the tops of the trees and spread through the forest canopy. Crown fires typically burn at very high temperatures, destroying entire forests and populated areas.

How does a wildfire start?

Wildfires are a natural phenomenon that have occurred throughout history.

They are usually started by lightning strikes but can also be caused by human activity, such as campfires or cigarettes. Wildfires can occur in any landscape but are most common in areas with lots of vegetation, such as forests or grasslands.

When a wildland fire starts, it can quickly spread out of control, leading to devastating consequences. Wildfire risk is increased by dry conditions and strong winds, which can help fan the flames.

As a result, it is essential to be aware of the potential for wildfires and take steps to prevent them from occurring.

How fast can a wildfire spread?

Wildfires are one of the most devastating natural disasters that can strike a community. They can spread rapidly, consuming everything in their path, and often catch people off-guard. So just how fast can a wildfire spread?

The speed at which a wildfire spreads depends on several factors, including the type of burning vegetation, the weather conditions, and the topography. Wildfires generally move faster uphill than downhill and are fueled by dry and windy conditions.

Additionally, wildfire behavior can be influenced by the availability of flammable materials like leaves, branches, and logs. Uncontrolled fires that are allowed to burn freely will typically spread more quickly than fires firefighters actively suppress.

While wildfire prevention is the best way to protect against this destructive force of nature, knowing how fast a wildfire can spread is essential information for all who live in fire-prone areas.

By understanding the factors influencing wildfire behavior, we can be better prepared to evacuate if necessary and take steps to protect our property.

(Looking for information on how to evacuate from your urban home in an emergency? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

When is wildfire season?

Wildfire season typically runs from May through September in the United States. However, the start and end dates can vary depending on geographic location. For example, wildland fire season generally begins earlier in the Southwest and Southern California due to these regions’ hot, dry conditions.

The length of wildfire season also varies yearly, depending on weather patterns and the amount of vegetation available to burn.

The National Weather Service issues fire weather forecasts to help people identify periods when wildland fires are most likely to occur. These forecasts consider various factors, including air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and the amount of dead vegetation present.

By understanding when wildfire season is likely to occur in your area, you can be better prepared to protect your property and reduce the risk of an uncontrolled fire.

When Is wildfire season in California?

Wildfires typically occur in California during the late summer and early fall, when dry conditions and high temperatures plague the state. (Click HERE to see Daisy’s experience with a California wildfire.) However, fire season can start as early as June and last through November.

The exact timing depends on various factors, including fire behavior and weather conditions. Generally speaking, wildfires are most likely to occur during a prolonged period of hot, dry weather.

Santa Ana winds, which are strong, dry winds that blow through Southern California, can also contribute to wildfires by downing powerlines that cause blackouts and fanning the flames that help the fire spread.

Californians can help protect their homes and communities from wildfire damage by being aware of these conditions.

How to prepare for a wildfire

As any Californian knows, wildfires are a fact of life. And while there are steps that you can take to prevent them, once a fire starts, it can be difficult to stop. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for a wildfire.

One of the first things you should do is sign up for your local emergency alert system. This way, you’ll be notified as soon as a fire breaks out in your area.

You should also create an emergency plan and pack a go-bag with essential items like water, food, and medication.

It’s also a good idea to clear any brush and dead leaves around your property and be ready to apply fire retardant to your home.

Taking these precautions can help protect yourself and your property from the ravages of a wildfire.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

How to survive a wildfire

One of the most devastating natural disasters is wildfire. If you live in an area at risk of wildfires, it is vital to be prepared.

The first step is to understand the different types of fires. A crown fire is an uncontrolled fire rapidly spreading through trees and brush. It is tough to contain and can quickly destroy homes and other structures.

The best way to prevent a wildfire is by creating a defensible space around your home. This means clearing away any dead vegetation, removing debris, and trimming back branches.

If a fire breaks out, stay calm and evacuate immediately. Do not try to battle the flames yourself – firefighters are trained to deal with wildfires and will have a better chance of containing the blaze.

Remember, your safety is always the most critical priority. Following these steps can increase your chances of surviving a wildfire.

How to recover from a wildfire

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildland fire prevention is a year-round job. But even the most diligent efforts can’t always stop a wildfire from starting. If your home or property is in an area at risk for wildfires, it’s essential to know how to recover from one.

While professional fire recovery services are available, some people choose to take the difficulty of recovery onto themselves.

In those cases, the first step is to assess the damage. This can be difficult, both emotionally and physically.

The second step is to create a plan for knowing what to keep, what to throw away, and rebuilding. This may involve working with your insurance company, contracting with a qualified restoration company, and meeting with local building officials to ensure that your plans meet all applicable codes and ordinances.

The third step is putting your plan into action. This will require hard work, but with the help of family, friends, and your community, you can rebuild your home and your life after a wildfire.

The bottom line of what is a wildfire and how to prepare for one is

A wildfire is a large, uncontrolled fire that burns through vegetation. They can be caused by many things, including lightning, human activity, and even spontaneous combustion.

Wildfires can be very dangerous and destructive, so it’s essential to be aware of wildfire prevention, prepare for them, and know what to do if an uncontrolled fire impacts you.

Are you preparing for a forest fire? Tell us about your wildfire experiences in the comments below.

About Brian

Brian Duff is an all-in crazy prepper. He’s also a former paramedic, Army Ranger, and international security expert who runs the Mind4Survival blog and podcast and is a co-host on The Survival Preppers YouTube channel.

The post What Is a Wildfire and How to Prepare for One appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Homestead Stories: The Many Shades of Sunflowers

Insteading - Fri, 06/24/2022 - 16:30

I had just transplanted my sunflower seedlings when a friendly neighbor popped over. “Don’t forget to stake them up,” she suggested — always full of useful advice. “And place plastic forks all around them. Squirrels will dig up seedlings in search of the seed.”

“Nasty squirrels,” I grumbled. She was right about them. I use plastic forks all over my garden to detract the pesky critters. I love my sunflowers and other plants, and I wasn’t about to sacrifice the fruits of my labor before they had a chance to grow.

“I finished my planting, too,” she said. “Did you plant all yellows?”

I stepped back from the garden and studied my friend.

“Yes …” I hesitated. “What other color is there?”

“White, red, deep purple, and some multicolored versions. I’m sure there are others, but those are colors I’ve added to my sunflower garden this year.”

“Wow! I always thought sunflowers were yellow, and only yellow.”

I looked at my work, content with the thought of the yellow blossoms that would appear later in summer. Then I turned my attention back to my friend.

“Any seeds left over?”

She beamed. “I thought you’d never ask.” Then she pulled her hands from behind her back and handed me a container full of sunflower-looking seeds.

“These are known as Italian white sunflowers. Not quite white, more of a real pale yellow. The stems grow as tall as 7 feet and the flower blooms are about 4 inches in diameter. Definitely a sunflower-sized plant.”

She handed them over. “Plant in a sunny location and enjoy. We’ll compare our blooms later.”

I accepted the container of seeds and returned to my gardening project. I had more research to do, this time on sunflowers. My neighbor was a wealth of information, but even she didn’t know everything. This mystical, beautiful flower had magic in its history, and I intended to benefit from its many uses.

Related Post: A Helpful Homesteader’s Guide to Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Myths, Legends, and Symbolism

There are plenty of myths and legends surrounding all flowers. The sunflower has been associated with Greek mythology, and the unrequited love between the water nymph, Clytie and sun god, Helios. In this way, sunflowers came to be associated with adoration. Not surprising, then, that sunflowers of all colors (usually the smaller, dwarf sunflowers) should become decorations at wedding events.

Chinese culture associates sunflowers with longevity, good fortune, vitality, intelligence, and happiness. I can see the happiness attribute of sunflowers, as it certainly makes me happy to look at them. I have another neighbor who plants fields of sunflowers for his honeybees. When the flowers are in bloom, it’s a happy sight. And yes, the flowers do move throughout the day to face the sun.

Some religions see sunflowers as a symbol of worship and faithfulness. This belief also makes sense as the sunflower, aptly labeled, faithfully worships and follows the sun on its daily trek across the sky.

And indigenous people often carried sunflower cakes to battle because they viewed the sunflower as a symbol of courage. The cakes would be crumbled and sprinkled on the warrior’s clothing to keep his courage high. They also viewed sunflowers as symbolic of a good harvest when life is bountiful.

There are other symbols associated with the sunflower. Symbolically, it’s a well-rounded flower, and good for just about anything the soul needs.

Sunflower Varieties

You may be surprised (as I was) to discover there is a rainbow of possible colors for sunflowers. Beyond the many shades of white, sunflowers can also be shades of red or deep purple, and multicolored. The center of the flower varies, too, adding stark contrast to the petal colors. And the size varies. Some sunflowers are short with small flowers while others can be taller than the average human with huge flowers. To sum it up, there’s a wide range of sunflower possibilities. In fact, there are more than 70 different sunflower varieties.

Common Sunflowers

The most common variety of sunflower is Helianthus annuus. The state flower for Kansas, it is a large sunflower. It can grow up to 8 feet in height with coarse, hairy leaves and stems. The flowers can be up to 5 inches in diameter and each plant can produce (and hold) many flowers. The signature appearance of the common sunflower is the large central maroon-colored disk surrounded by bright yellow petals that look like rays of sun. As with my neighbor’s field, the flowers move to face the sun at its various positions throughout the day (what is known as phototropism). There are many varieties of the common sunflower. It was originally cultivated in South America, though it’s now considered native to North America.

Known as the prairie sunflower, Helianthus petiolaris is found throughout the Great Plains. The scales on the center disk are tipped with white hairs that are clearly visible when the flowers are fully open.

Russian Mammoth

Also known as the Russian giant, this is another subvariant of the common sunflower and it is huge. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and the flowers often measure more than a foot in diameter.

American Giant

These sunflowers are larger and taller than the Russian mammoth. The American giant can grow up to 16 feet in height, up to 20 times the size of some dwarf sunflowers.

Elf Sunflower

So named because, at 16 inches tall, it is by far one of the smallest of the sunflower varieties. They represent some of the more commonly-colored sunflowers, but there are a few that boast a variety of colors.

Suntastic Yellow With Black Center

This sunflower is known for its speedy growth and abundance of flowers. It can bloom for two months after planting (usually late summer) and has been known to produce more than 20 flowers a plant. It only grows to 20 inches tall, so nothing the size of the giant and mammoth varieties. Its name is due to a dark-colored center that suggests black, but is closer to a very dark brown.

Earthwalker

This is a uniquely-colored sunflower. The petals are a mottled red and orange, really living up to its sun-inspired name. Pollinators love this variety. It’s not a giant sunflower, but it can grow up to 9 feet.

Strawberry Blonde

This is everything its name suggests with petals of strawberry and blonde variations. At 6 feet in height, it is a popular sunflower variation, not only for its unique coloring, but because it’s deer resistant.

Italian White

So named due to its off-white petals. Some Italian white sunflowers boast a tinge of orange around the center, but the petals are mostly white. At 7 feet, it’s an average height sunflower.

Moonshadow Sunflower

This is another white variety of sunflower. It boasts creamy to lemon-colored petals and produces lots of 5-inch diameter blossoms.

Chianti

This variety is a real showstopper. Although it grows up to 5 feet, the beautiful, almost deep terracotta red petals stand out in any garden.

And the list goes on. There are many varieties that can grow only in specific locations. For example, the Schweinitz sunflower only exists in the Carolinas (it’s also considered an endangered variety); the swamp sunflower and lakeside sunflower (both of which require wet, swamp-like soil conditions); and the alkali sunflower that is found in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Sunflower Growing Conditions

Sunflowers of any size or color combination can be considered both annual or perennial. In my experience, they’ve been annual, and I have to collect the seeds every year, allow them to dry, and then plant them again the following spring. Native to North America, sunflowers are considered perhaps the easiest flowers to grow, as long as you don’t have a lot of chipmunks and squirrels (as I do), who love to dig up the new shoots to get to the seeds, and kill the plant before it has a chance to grow. Because of my rodent dilemma, I start my sunflower seeds indoors and transplant them outdoors when they reach at least 6 inches in height, and as mentioned, I surround the new plants with plastic forks, prongs up, to deter the rodent population from venturing near my cherished crop.

Sunflowers need rich soil, and of course, lots of full sun. Taller varieties are best grown near a shelter of some sort (a fence or shrubs) to protect them from strong winds. It’s also important to remember that sunflowers, especially the larger ones, will create shadows that may be too much shade for nearby plants. Regular watering is also required, as most sunflower varieties shrivel in drought conditions.

Sunflower Pests and Diseases

Rodents of all description, and birds once the flowers appear, will all want more than their share of the seeds both before the plant has a chance to grow and after the flower blooms. Countless times I’ve gone out in the morning to discover a sunflower bent over to the point of snapping so some critter could feast on the seeds. The plastic forks work for the seedlings, but once the sunflowers grow tall, the forks are no longer useful. I’ve often thought of covering the sunflower garden with a fine mesh to protect my strawberry and raspberry plants from wildlife invasion. However, if you have an extensive garden, this solution is far from practical.

Inch worms are also a problem as they love sunflower leaves, especially at the seedling stage. Insecticidal soaps usually help.

Sunflower Uses

The seeds of all varieties of sunflowers are good toasted or for making oils. You’ve probably noticed sunflower cooking oil available in grocery stores. Indigenous people ground sunflower seeds for flour, used the oil in cooking, and for dressing hair. Sunflowers grown near homes were was once believed to protect the inhabitants from malaria. The seeds are also used for livestock feed.

Edible and medicinal uses aside, the best part of sunflowers is their appearance. Varied color sunflowers are often used in bouquets and flower arrangements. White sunflowers dry well for fall flower arrangements and floral wreaths. The potential rainbow effect was tempting, and I was planning to add some variety to the shades of sunflowers in my garden.

Out Back with Jack – The Survival Podcast – Epi-3112

Survival Podcast - Fri, 06/24/2022 - 12:20
Today we have another episode of  “Outback with Jack”.  These podcasts will be generated though live steam sessions done early early in the morning.  These will have an approximate start time of 0830 -11:30 CST. These podcasts will are a … Continue reading →

Are You Ready for a Long-Term Water Emergency?

Organic Prepper - Fri, 06/24/2022 - 07:30
Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

Are you truly prepared for a water emergency?

How long could your family survive if the water stopped flowing from the municipal supply and none was available at the store? If the answer is not “indefinitely” then you need to check out my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.

This comprehensive book contains life-saving information about how to:

  • Store fresh water
  • Collect rainwater
  • Purify water from lakes and rivers
  • Dig a well for groundwater

In addition to harvesting water, you’ll gain the tools to keep large stores untainted for long periods of time, test the water you collect for dangerous toxins, and treat water-related illnesses that are commonly contracted during a disaster.

This book is very research heavy, with the latest in-depth information about the contaminants lurking in our water supplies and water-borne illnesses, as well as tips for conservation and sanitation during times when your lifestyle is decidedly off-grid.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the book.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide

If you’ve been prepping for a while, you’ve probably heard of the survivalist’s “Rule of Three.”  You can survive:

Three minutes without air.

Three days without water.

Three weeks without food.

If a disaster has hit and you’re still breathing, then your next concern has got to be water.

Have you ever watched any of those survival shows on the Discovery Channel where people are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and left to survive with limited tools and supplies? In nearly every single episode, the biggest issue is finding and purifying water. Often, they wait so long that they become desperate and engage in risky behavior, like drinking water from a stagnant pool. In one particularly notable episode, the contestants had to be rescued because they became too weak from dehydration to seek water.

  • You don’t have to be a contestant on a survival show or a survivor of a major disaster to require a water supply or a way to acquire it. There are a myriad of smaller issues that can spiral into a personal disaster if you don’t have supplies on hand. What if:
  • Your car broke down when you were driving through the desert and you had to wait or walk for help? Without water you could dehydrate very quickly in hot temperatures.
  • You forgot or didn’t have the money to pay the water bill and your utilities were cut off for a week?
  • Your community was under a water restriction due to contamination of the water supply?
  • The power went out and your home was on well water, thus halting your running water until the electricity was restored?
  • You were out hiking and got lost, then were forced to spend a few nights in the woods with only the supplies in your daypack?

As you can see, those random occurrences that happen out of the blue can strike anyone at any time.

(Looking for information on how to evacuate from your urban home in an emergency? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

When water is limited, chaos erupts.

It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll just go to the store and grab a few bottles,” but when everyone else in your area has the same idea, it doesn’t take long for the shelves to clear, potentially leaving you and your family without water.

Back in 2010, a water main broke in Boston, Massachusetts. The resulting leak flooded into the Charles River, and officials were forced to use the untreated backup reservoirs. A state of emergency was declared, a boil order was announced, and absolute chaos erupted as more than two million people suddenly found themselves without running water. A local news outlet reported:

The run on bottled water caused near panic at some stores throughout the Boston area Saturday night.

At the BJ’s in Revere, the crowd got so big and the rush for water so intense that police were called in. In order to maintain control of an unruly crowd, the store was shut down for the night.

Shortly after residents in Boston received an emergency call warning them of the water crisis, supermarket aisles stocked with water were quickly wiped out.

“They are fighting over it, literally fighting over water,” said a customer at the Roche Bros. in West Roxbury. “I just had to fight my way through the aisles ’cause it’s crazy in there.”

“Not since Blizzard of ’78 have I seen something like this,” said the store manager. “New shipments that arrived were gone within seconds.”

In Coolidge Corner in Brookline, long lines formed at Trader Joe’s, CVS, and Walgreens for any kind of bottled water, including sparkling and pricey designer bottles.

The Governor of Massachusetts was able to lift the boil order a mere three days later, but during that short span, the National Guard was dispatched to deliver water, businesses were called upon to increase the water inventory brought to the local stores, and many restaurants were forced to close their doors due to the lack of safe drinking water.

You’re going to need more water than you think.

Even if you are able to jostle your way to the front of the line and victoriously snag the last 24-pack of individual water bottles, if the situation lasts longer than expected, that paltry amount is not going to see you through it.

Why not? Because on average, the expected rate of consumption is one gallon per person per day. That doesn’t include consumption for pets or what you’ll use for sanitation. If the situations persists for more than a couple of days, you’re going to need to bathe, clean, and wash dishes. Not only that, but you’ll have to figure out a safe way to dispose of human waste.

The water that you store for your family should be enough to see all members of the household through a two-week period without running water. This is the bare minimum supply you should have on hand.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

What if the situation persists for more than a few days?

Sometimes, even an abundant stored water supply isn’t enough. In more dire situations, water supplies can be interrupted indefinitely.

Do you remember the earthquake that devastated Haiti? That unexpected natural disaster took place in 2010, and some areas still do not have running water five years later. Five years. There’s no way a person could store enough water to last for that long, so the people affected have had to completely change their way of life. They’ve had to learn how to acquire water for their needs, how to purify it so it doesn’t make them sick, and how to conserve the limited amount they have available.

 Finding water isn’t enough.

Did you know that oftentimes, more people die in the aftermath of a disaster than in the disaster itself? And the number one cause of death? Contaminated water.

If you are thirsty—truly, desperately thirsty—it’s human nature to drink whatever is available because your imminent demise from dehydration is more concerning to you than the pathogens in that dirty water you are gulping down.

But drinking contaminated water can lead to a host of dreaded diseases like dysentery, hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, shigellosis, typhoid, diphtheria, and polio.  Just one person handling personal waste improperly can contaminate the water supply for hundreds, even thousands, of other people downstream from them.

Fresh water is your most vital prep.

Whether you are just getting started in the preparedness lifestyle or you’ve been at it for a long time, there’s always something new to learn about water. There’s just so much information about water that it deserves its own book, instead of just one chapter in a general preparedness guide.  Aside from air, it is the most vital element of human survival. In this essential guide, you’ll learn that:

  • You must store a substantial supply, but it isn’t enough to just store it.
  • You must know how to acquire it in case your stores run out.
  • You must know how to make it safe to drink.
  • You must know what could be lurking in your water in order to combat it.
  • You must know how to conserve the water, because you have to make the water you acquire last until you can get more.
  • You must know enough about basic sanitation to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

What’s more, a water supply and source aren’t only important during disasters. It’s vital to know about the things that could be lurking in your water even if it assumedly flows safely from your taps. Municipal water supplies and wells can contain things you’d rather not consume. Sometimes these contaminants are mild and only cause issues when consumed over a long period. Other times, the contaminants can make a susceptible person ill almost immediately.

There is nothing you can store that is more valuable than water or the means to purify water. There is no greater preparedness measure that you can take than that of securing a safe, abundant source of water. Without this one vital element that makes up 50 to 70 percent of your body, you’re as good as dead.

This could be the most important preparedness information you ever read.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource is a #1 new release on Amazon and is also available at Barnes and Noble.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post Are You Ready for a Long-Term Water Emergency? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Friday Favorites: Talcum Powder and Fibroids

Nutrition Video - Fri, 06/24/2022 - 06:50
What role does diet and baby powder play in the development of fibroids and ovarian cancer?

Expert Council Q&A for 6-23-22 – Epi-3111

Survival Podcast - Thu, 06/23/2022 - 13:56
Today on The Survival Podcast the expert council answers your questions on red flag laws, the energy crisis, monetary policy, diet, tools, permaculture, investing, rabbits, prepper fantasy land and more. Make sure if you submit content for an expert council … Continue reading →

Your Garden Will Suffer If Your Plants Don’t Have These Secondary Nutrients

Organic Prepper - Thu, 06/23/2022 - 07:36

We’ve talked a bit in the past about how nutrient deficiencies can devastate your garden. And that’s absolutely true. But, we only talked about the heavy hitters then. Secondary nutrients – if your plants don’t have enough of them – can wreck your garden just as easily.

Just what are these secondary nutrients? Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

These nutrients are necessary in amounts that are less than the primaries but more than the micronutrients. They’re all taken up via mass flow, aka bulk flow or mass transfer.

Mass flow is defined in biology as the movement of fluids down a pressure or temperature gradient. In simpler terms, nutrients moving by this mechanism are taken up by the roots via a pressure gradient. This assumes that the soil pH allows for this. These three nutrients, along with most of the others, are readily taken up by the roots in a pH range of 6.0-7.5.

Since most vegetables prefer a pH range of 6.5-6.8, mass flow works very well. Remember also from the last article that nutrients must also be in a form the plants can use. So let’s talk about each specific nutrient, its functions within the plant, how to tell if the plant isn’t getting enough, and what to do about it.

For even more in-depth information, check out this online Agriculture Comprehensive course.

Calcium

Calcium is necessary for root permeability and enzyme activity mainly. Its most useful form is the ion, Ca2+. When buying fertilizer, it’s necessary to look for this nutrient specifically because, unlike NPK, it’s not a standard addition. It should also be noted that many calcium fertilizers will raise the soil pH, making the soil more alkaline. This isn’t a bad thing if your soil is too acidic. If your soil is already too alkaline, this can be a problem.

According to Penn State’s Department of Plant Science:

“symptoms of calcium deficiency first appear on younger leaves and tissues, growth is inhibited, and plants have a bushy appearance. The youngest leaves are usually small and misshapen, with brown chlorotic spots developing along the margins, which spread to eventually unite in the center of the leaves. Veins are also brown, making a typical feature of Ca-deficient plants the dark veins of completely necrotic leaves. Leaves also may be crinkled and torn. The growth of root tips is inhibited in Ca-deficient plants.”

Calcium deficiency causes a huge problem in several vegetables known as blossom end rot, which I mentioned experiencing in the first installment of this series.

Blossom end rot

Calcium is extremely immobile in the plant and, when it does move, tends towards the leaves rather than the fruits. Therefore, a lack of this element in the fruits will cause a rot that begins at the lower end and moves along the entire fruit, rendering that fruit inedible.

Happily, once the problem is corrected, new fruits will be fine. The affected fruits are toast, however. Sad but true. This problem affects a wide range of fruits, including tomatoes, watermelon, squashes, peppers, and eggplant.

So what do we do about it?

According to UW-Extension Madison, uneven watering is a huge problem, so we want to avoid over- or under-watering. Avoid over-fertilizing, and it wouldn’t hurt to have your soil tested to determine calcium levels.

(Want to save that food you’ve been growing? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

Fertilizers high in calcium include shells (egg, clam, or oyster), lime, gypsum, wood ash, bone meal, and calcium nitrate.

A good source of calcium.

Compost can be a wonderful source of this and many other nutrients.

It’s also possible to foliar feed this one, i.e., spray the leaves.
  • To make calcium spray for plants with eggshells, boil 20 eggs in a pan covered with 1 gallon (3.6 kg.) of water.
  • Bring to a rolling boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 24 hours.
  • Strain the water to remove shell fragments and store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Another way to make homemade calcium-rich foliar spray is by filling a gallon (3.6 kg.) jar with water and eggshells. Steep for one month, allowing the eggshells to dissolve and filter their essential nutrients into the liquid. To create your calcium foliar spray, mix 1 cup (454 gr.) of the resulting solution with 1 quart (907 gr.) of water and transfer to a spray bottle. This homemade calcium-rich foliar spray is also rife with nitrogen and magnesium, phosphorus, and collagen, which are all essential nutrients for healthy growth. These recipes are courtesy of Gardening Know-How.

Foliar sprays can also be made from seaweed, chamomile, and compost tea.

Magnesium

This important nutrient has functions in chlorophyll synthesis, as well as roles in fat formation and metabolism. It’s also best used in its ionic form, Mg2+, and can be found in commercial fertilizers if it’s specifically listed. I used a product called Huntington’s Secret CalMag+ Iron. According to SDSU Extension, magnesium is highly mobile, and deficiencies appear around mid-season on fruit-heavy plants.

“Magnesium is highly mobile in the plant, and deficiency symptoms first appear on the lower leaves. Symptoms are more severe on the lower leaves because magnesium is moved to the new growth. Deficiency symptoms consist of interveinal chlorosis (leaf veins stay green while the regions between them turn yellow). Older leaves lose their green color except in the veins. Interveinal chlorosis can lead to necrosis (death of tissue) of the affected areas. On tomato leaves, advanced magnesium deficiency leads to purpling of the affected areas. It may also lead to the defoliation of the lower leaves. Magnesium deficiency does not affect the fruit, but severe deficiency can stress the plants leading to reduced yield.”

The most common options available to correct the problem are either a commercial fertilizer or adding Epsom salts to your soil.

Epsom salt

Epsom salts are added as a side dressing at the rate of 1 tablespoon per plant or through a drip system. Epsom salts also contain sulfur, but too much can cause a soil imbalance and serious harm to your plants. Moreover, these aren’t a blossom end rot treatment.

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Sulfur

This important secondary nutrient functions in the formation of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and oils. The most bioavailable form is the sulfate ion, SO4 2-. According to Penn State, symptoms of sulfur deficiency appear first on the younger leaves.

“Sulphur-deficient plants often are pale green, yellowish-green to completely yellow. These characteristics, which are similar to characteristics of nitrogen-deficient plants, are first observable in the younger leaves. Deficient plants are small with small and often narrow leaves. Stems are thin with inhibited longitudinal growth.”

The older leaves don’t show this chlorosis, which is a good way to differentiate between this and nitrogen deficiency. This isn’t that commonly seen, but it doesn’t hurt to know about it. There are a number of causes, ranging from pH imbalance to simple soil depletion caused by growing the same crops in the same place year after year. Crop rotation is a good strategy for a number of reasons. Iowa State Extension further discusses differential diagnosis and the N-S physiological link.

So what can we do about it?

As noted above, Epsom salts contain sulfur but also have their drawbacks. Compost and compost tea are excellent and easy-to-use sources of sulfur, as is manure. Some fertilizers may contain it, but you’ll have to check the labels one by one. This is one exception to the elemental rule: it is possible to add elemental sulfur to the soil to good effect.

Shortages of secondary nutrients can many problems in the garden, including the dreaded blossom end rot.

Correct diagnosis and treatment are essential if you want your garden to boost your food production. Have you had these problems, and if so, how did you deal with them? Please tell us in the comments below!

About Amy Allen

Amy Allen is a professional bookworm and student of Life, the Universe, and Everything. She’s also a Master Gardener with a BS in biology, and has been growing food on her small urban lot since 2010. 

 

The post Your Garden Will Suffer If Your Plants Don’t Have These Secondary Nutrients appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Double Your Donations and Key Takeaways on Skin Cancer

Nutrition blog - Thu, 06/23/2022 - 07:00

Summer is in swing here in the northern hemisphere, and, for many, that means more time outside. Exposure to the sun is important for producing vitamin D, but it also comes with some risks. The UV rays in sunlight are considered to be a complete carcinogen, meaning they can not only initiate cancer, but also promote its progression and spread. Visit this topic page to read more about skin cancer, and check out videos like The Risks and Benefits of Sensible Sun Exposure and Preventing Skin Cancer from the Inside Out.

 

Recipe: Cauliflower Alfredo Linguini

This recipe uses blended cauliflower to make a rich creamy sauce, giving you a dose of cruciferous veggies while foregoing the fat of heavy cream. It features roasted asparagus, but broccoli or leafy greens are other great options. Get the free recipe here, and go to our Instagram for a video on how it’s made.

      Double Your Donation

One of our amazing supporters has agreed to match all donations up to a total of $20,000! Double your impact by making a gift to NutritionFacts.org by supporting us here today.

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Collier

“In my volunteer role at NutritionFacts, I am a blog editor, which means that I turn raw text from Dr. Greger’s video transcripts into blog posts. I have been a volunteer for about five years, but time flies when you’re having fun. It’s great to be part of a community of people working to share science-based, life-changing nutrition information with the world. Because I come from a family who struggles with preventable health issues, this work is especially meaningful to me. 

My favorite recipe is the Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry from The How Not to Die Cookbook.”

 

Volunteer Translators Needed

Our videos are viewed in nearly every country in the world, and each video on NutritionFacts.org and YouTube has subtitles in English and many other languages. If you have a background in professional translation and would like to join our team of volunteers, please consider applying here. (And check out my message!)

We are especially seeking contributors for French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

  Get the Daily Dozen App

My Daily Dozen was created to help inspire you to incorporate the healthiest foods into your diet every day, and my app makes it easy to track! Visit our Daily Dozen page to download the free app and for more information, a how-to video, and an FAQ.

 

 

 

Top Three Videos

Foods to Help Protect Your Arteries from Saturated Fat If you’re going to have something unhealthy, is there anything you can eat with it to help mediate the damage it may cause?

 

 

Natural Dietary Remedies for Insomnia Lactucin, the hypnotic component of lettuce, is put to the test in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of lettuce seeds. 

 

 

Fewer Than 1 in 5,000 Meet Sodium and Potassium Recommended Intakes Nearly all Americans fail to get even the minimum recommended potassium intake or stay below the recommended sodium intake.

 

 

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Fertilizing Potted Plants – How To Keep Container Plants Blooming Big All Summer!

Old World Garden - Thu, 06/23/2022 - 06:41

When it comes to fertilizing your potted plants for success, what you use to power your plants and how often you apply it can have a big impact on the …

The post Fertilizing Potted Plants – How To Keep Container Plants Blooming Big All Summer! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Real Food for Breakfast

David the Good - Thu, 06/23/2022 - 04:24

“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.” -Sir Albert Howard

We have been on a long, family quest towards real food.

The more I have discovered about modern farming, the less I wish to eat the trash commercial farms are producing. From degraded soils to ripening wheat by spraying with RoundUp, I am sick and tired of being poisoned. Add to that the chlorine and fluoride in our water, the toxins in our drinking containers, the pollutants in the rivers… what a mess!

Since you almost can’t buy good food anymore (raw milk bans, anyone?) we are fighting back in our own little way by trying to produce the best food possible on the ground available to us.

A key to this has been our little dairy cows. One is in milk now, and the other is very pregnant and will be in milk within weeks.

We currently get 1.5 gallons of milk per day from Brandy, our current milker. Rachel milks her morning and evening, every day.

Her hands are the right size for the cow’s teats. When I try to milk, it’s ridiculous – I literally can’t pull it off.

From the milk Brandy provides, we now make all our own yogurt and butter, and are expanding into cheesemaking, thanks to this excellent book by David Asher.

Here is a piece of homemade mozzarella:

And some homemade butter:

And, a good breakfast combining both with some farm eggs from our chickens and some pickled vegetables:

The only items on that plate not produced on the homestead are the Chinese cabbage in the live-fermented veggies and the spices Rachel added.

The peppers, eggs, tomatoes, butter, cheese, beets and cucumbers were all ours, thanks to the Providence of God.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” -Psalm 103:1-5

We are truly satisfied with good things.

It’s been a long road to this point. We started with growing some of our own vegetables long ago, then moved on to fruits and herbs and roots, then to chickens and goats, and now cows. We also learned about the dangers of sugar, of seed oils, of poor mineral content in soil and more.

Cows are one of the best choices we have made, and we are blessed to have a pasture we can borrow to house them in. They turn grass into wonderful food.

I walked through the meat section of a local grocery store yesterday afternoon and looked at the prices of meat, then remarked to Rachel, “You know… I think we could almost just get by with dairy, eggs and chicken at this point.”

A little milk, a few eggs, the occasional chicken for the pot and some cheese and butter go a long way, especially when paired with homegrown potatoes, greens, beans and more.

I also know that I’m not eating unpronounceable chemicals and pesticide residues, or foods that are dead from processing.

What a blessing! Soon, the second cow will be in milk and we’ll get about three gallons per day. I’m looking forward to expanding our experiments with dairy.

Even if you don’t have space for cows, I encourage you to replace factory-produced junk with your own homegrown food as much as possible. There is a lot of joy in eating what you’ve earned through hard work.

Cheetos may be tempting, but good food is truly satisfying and makes you feel great.

The post Real Food for Breakfast appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

Foraging for Mulberries

Insteading - Wed, 06/22/2022 - 17:23

The first time I met a mulberry, it was a confusing introduction. At the time, I considered my general plant knowledge to be better than average, but somehow, this unfamiliar tree didn’t make sense.

It was a beautifully shaped, open grown tree with scalloped alternate leaves that I couldn’t identify offhand (because mulberry trees come in several different shapes). I knew sassafras had three leaf shapes, but this tree clearly wasn’t sassafras. And, weirdest of all, it was positively dripping with a bounty of berries that for all the world, looked like blackberries. But a full-on blackberry tree? That couldn’t be right.

Insteading // wren everett

The flocks of robins and woodpeckers flitting through the branches, however, knew what I didn’t at the time. They understood that the abundance offered by these common trees is something to eat, not gawk at. When I sampled my first mulberry that day, I was shocked by the sweet, vanilla-honey-berry flavor. With berries on the brain, I started seeing mulberry trees everywhere that summer — along city sidewalks, country lanes, and park avenues, and below them the ground was carpeted with free fruit.

How did I make it all the way to my 20s and never taste a mulberry? No idea, but I’ve done my best to make up for it in the years that followed that summer afternoon. These sweet, warm-weather treats have since become one of my favorite wild fruits, and if you’ve made it this far in life without gathering an ample handful of finger-staining goodness, I hope to help you rectify that error.

Finding and Identifying Mulberries

There are four species of mulberry in the United States: some native, some introduced, all edible.

As you’ll soon discover, mulberry leaves, while distinctive to the genus, are anything but consistent. They’re scalloped, sometimes lobed, and sometimes entire. They have a family resemblance, however, and so the best advice I have is to get out there and find as many mulberry trees as you can. The more you observe them in person, the more you’ll recognize them in all their weird and wacky shapes.

Morus nigra is an introduced species found scattered across the lower portion of the country, but it is relatively rare. Morus microphylla, the Texas mulberry, is a native tree constrained to parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. I’ve never encountered these two species and won’t be featuring them in this article, but everything I say about mulberries applies to them if you happen to have access.

The real food haul is to be found with Morus alba and Morus rubra, the two species that carpet the land from coast-to-coast. If you encounter a mulberry tree, it’s very likely one of these two.

American mulberry – Insteading // wren everett

American mulberry (M. rubra) is a native species, often growing in the forest understory as a graceful, slender-limbed tree. The leaves have a fine grit sandpaper feel, with a distinctive sinus-step tooth in the hollows of the leaf-shape (if the leaf has lobes, that is) and often, an elongated tip.

Lobed American Mulberry leaf with the distinctive tooth between lobes – Insteading // wren everett

It’s easy to confuse unlobed leaves before fruiting.

American Mulberry, featuring one of several leaf shapes it may feature – Insteading // wren everett

It produces dark purple fruit that is large and sweet.

Young White Mulberry Trees – Insteading // wren everett

The poorly-named white mulberry (M. alba) is an Asian species that was brought over as food for the silkworm industry and never really took off in the United States. Instead, it has naturalized to the point of becoming our most abundant mulberry species. Unlike American mulberry, it has smooth, shiny leaves that notably lack both that bitty “tooth” in the sinuses of the leaves and the elongated tip.

They’re even shinier in real life – Insteading // wren everett

Its tree form is generally denser and more robust, especially if it’s growing in the open (which they often do). The fruit is a bit shorter than M. rubra, and despite its name, usually ripens to the same blue-black.

Insteading // wren everett

Occasionally, a specific tree will produce white or pinkish-white fruit, but most don’t. The taxonomist who named these Asian trees had only observed white-fruited trees at the time, christening them with a name that makes no sense in the long run. This confusion often leads folks to incorrectly identify black-fruited white mulberry as M. rubra, and identify the few white-fruited white mulberry trees as M. alba; totally deleting the true American mulberry from field guides and foraging books.

The confusion is so prevalent, that when we ordered American mulberry seedlings from our local department of conservation, they actually sent us the non-native Asian trees, mislabeled as M. rubra. I wasn’t aware of the mistaken identity until this year, when I realized a few of our 30 plus trees had white fruit. I took a closer look at their shiny leaves, and the truth was revealed.

For the forager, this mix-up doesn’t mean much. Both trees are similarly edible. Berries is berries, and in this case, they’re tasty from any tree. But for those who make a business in conservation, correct identification, or trying to reestablish native plant populations, it’s kind of a big deal. The mistakes I’ve seen in books, field guides, parks, and even my own orders for native plantings, are so prevalent it’s embarrassing. Furthermore, it’s scrubbing an entire species of native tree from our collective understanding.

Mulberries Look-Alikes

There’s really nothing that looks like a mulberry fruit, except a mulberry fruit. If you see blackberry-like fruit on a tree in early summer, it’s guaranteed that you’ve found the right tree. Isn’t it nice when things are that straightforward?

If the tree isn’t fruiting, it may be easy to confuse nonlobed mulberry trees with American basswood (Tilia americana) or slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). If it’s fruit you’re after, there’s no danger in this potential mix-up — those two trees won’t produce mulberries, obviously.

If it’s the edible leaves you’re after (more on that soon), there’s still little danger. Basswood leaves are similarly edible and delicious. And slippery elm leaves have a history of being used for tea, so there’s no toxic threat.

There should be no guessing in foraging, however — get acquainted with the distinctively asymmetrical base of a slippery elm leaf and you’ll be able to tell the difference between it and mulberry.

Harvesting MulberriesInsteading // wren everett

Fruit: Mulberries fruit around the same time as wild strawberries near the end of May and through the first half of June. When these trees do produce, boy do they produce! You’ll find trees with abundant wild fruit, branches nearly obscured by generosity. The ripest fruits will usually be a deep purple-black color, though the white-fruited variants will be snowy white or pinky-tinged when ripe. Give a berry a taste to see if it’s good. You’ll know, once the sweetness hits you.

Though I see no need to hurry through a berry picking session, you can speed up the process by setting down a tarp and giving the branches a good shake. The ripe berries will rain down, usually with a helping of stink bugs and ants. Thankfully, mulberries float, making cleaning your wild haul a bit easier.

Insteading // wren everett

Leaves: A second product to be gathered from this tree are the edible shoots and leaves. Wait, you may be thinking, leaves? Tree leaves for food? What am I, a giraffe? (Well, you could play-act as one and strip a leaf or two off a standing tree, I suppose).

Mulberry trees have quite edible leaves. The young, green-branched shoots of spring are tender for a choice meal, but any leaf can be used. They’re tasty, don’t have any bitter flavor, and are abundantly available through the tree’s growing season. Both raw or cooked, you can use them as you would any other tender, enjoyable green. If eating raw, however, try to pick the youngest, most tender, bright-green leaves you can. Leaves that have fully matured may leave you chewing for longer than you want.

Beyond the salads or stir-fries, leaves can be dried and used for tea. Leaves have also been dried, ground, and added to flour as a nutritional amendment.

Cooking and Using Mulberries

For fresh eating, there’s little that can improve a fresh mulberry. Gather them by the handful or try them individually. You may be pleasantly surprised to find the range of flavors found from tree to tree. In my own little mulberry glade, for example, I have some trees that taste candy-like, while others have a more subtle sweetness. Just don’t judge a mulberry by the first bite. The next berry may taste different.

When cooked, however, they do sometimes leave a little to be desired. The first time I made a mulberry crumble, I mixed it with strawberries, and it was absolutely decadent. The second time I made a mulberry crumble, I made it with pure mulberry, and it was unremarkably bland. As I soon learned, the sweetness of the berries can be unbalanced when heated. I think it’s because they lack any noticeable acidity. If you combine mulberries with a nice, tart apple, a dash of lemon juice, or some fresh wild strawberries, it will make a world of improved difference. In his book Incredible Wild Edibles (which contains an excellent chapter on foraging mulberries), Samuel Thayer recommends mixing ripe and unripe fruit when making jams and preserves as an alternative way to balance the flavors.

If you can’t decide how to use your mulberry glut all at once, it’s super easy to freeze mulberries until you’re ready to use them.

Mulberries can be juiced, cooked into syrup, fermented or cooked into finger-staining chutneys, and pretty much used any way you would use any other berry. Some folks make a big deal about the little stems that stay stubbornly attached. I see it as a nonissue and don’t notice them. The fact that mulberries lack the hard-crunching seeds of other fruits like blackberries more than makes up for it. If they do bug you, though, cook down the fruit and send it through a food mill. That should clean it up nicely enough for your purposes.

So have you met a mulberry? If you haven’t, or if you’ve only noticed it when it stains the sidewalk bright purple in June, then I hope you fix the situation as soon as possible. They’re a great tree to add to your permaculture landscape, a wonderful friend to visit for a pick-me-up on the trail, and a multipurpose food source that anyone interested in self-sufficiency would do well to get acquainted with.

Decentralizing Meat Processing with Josh Phoenix – Epi-3110

Survival Podcast - Wed, 06/22/2022 - 15:16
Josh is an independent butcher, entrepreneur and agorist. After stumbling into a career at a full service meat processor and learning a dying art, he stepped away to help individual ranchers and homesteaders process large livestock at home. He currently … Continue reading →

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