When it comes to getting a big head start on growing a great garden next year, believe it or not, now is the time to act with a few key …
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Author of The ULTIMATE Survival Gear Handbook
The “celebration” of the US going off the gold standard exactly 50 years ago (irony mode off) is the … Read the rest
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“It’s so pretty.” I heard the comment of a nearby, daily walker. “Why is she pulling it?”
I wanted to stop what I was doing and explain, but I was making progress — well, sort of — and I didn’t want to lose momentum. It was a nasty job, pulling invasive weeds and this weed was one of the worst. It threatened to extinction everything that tried to grow in the general vicinity.nz_willowherb // flickr
You’re probably wondering what weed could possibly be worse than dandelions, which have medicinal purposes and nurture the pollinators, particularly honeybees and wild parsnips. It may have once been a source of edible root vegetables, but it’s now considered toxic on many levels.
The current purge I was working on was the invasive Japanese knotweed. Pretty as it is with its delicate flash of white-green flowers, Japanese knotweed is listed as one of the top 100 invasive species by the Global Invasive Species Database. And, with good reason.Japanese Knotweed Appearance
To describe it as tall when fully mature is an understatement. The Japanese knotweed can grow as tall as 9 feet (3 meters). Its stems are thick and tough like bamboo and its leaves are broad and shaped like teardrops. The plant grows densely and overtakes native vegetation. The stems of new growth are reddish or purplish. As the plant matures, the stem color turns green with red or purple specks. Small, greenish-white flowers appear in late July or August and produce a white fruit that encases the shiny, brown, triangular-shaped seeds. Wind and water help spread the seeds.
It’s a woody-stemmed herbaceous perennial, also classified as a rhizomatous plant due to its massive netting of rhizomes. The Japanese knotweed is part of the buckwheat (Polygonaceae) family. The naming of this family is apropos with its origins being from the Greek words, “poly” which means many (and Japanese knotweed definitely grows many) and “goni” which means knee or joint (probably referring to the bamboo-like stalks that dry out and die in the fall, but remain standing tall and strong all winter).Natural Habitat
This invasive Japanese knotweed grows everywhere: wetlands, riverbanks, roadsides, ditches, utility rights-of-way, fence lines, and of course, my garden. In North America, it’s found in Canadian provinces from Ontario to Newfoundland and in parts of British Columbia where it’s not too arid (the interior regions of British Columbia can be very dry) and it’s found in 42 states outside arid regions like the Southwest and several of the Gulf states. It also doesn’t grow well in the highest areas of the Rocky Mountains in Canada or the United States.cuthbert25 // flickr
With its invasive nature, it’s quite literally spreading across the continent. As it grows and aggressively takes over an area, its dense thicket of bamboo-like stalks has a negative impact on the native plants. Since it grows in dense thickets, it literally crowds out all the other growth. It has an extensive rhizome root system which is a particular concern when it affects building foundations and other infrastructure. The root system is particularly destructive as it can grow through asphalt and concrete.
Old homesteads are often overgrown with this weed which was probably once introduced as an ornamental plant. The wind spreads the seeds and the rhizomes spread unrelentingly underground. The rhizomes can be dug up, but not necessarily eradicated. And even forces of nature, like flooding, can’t diminish its spread. It’s a highly persistent species.Edibility
Interestingly, the new growth that appears in spring has the appearance of asparagus spears, purplish in color before fading to green as it matures. If eaten, Japanese knotweed (which is considered by aboriginal peoples to be a medicinal herb) actually tastes something like asparagus. Some people describe it as a cross between asparagus and rhubarb. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be sautéed or pickled or even baked in a pies or crumbles. In fact, there is such a thing as knotweed beer! However, it’s best to peel the tough, outer layer in the more mature shoots. When eaten raw, it’s juicy and tastes tart like rhubarb, and it’s crunchy like both rhubarb and asparagus. The leaves can also be eaten like spinach — in a salad or cooked.jo zimny photos // flickr
Whilst the weed is edible at any time during the growing season, the best time to use Japanese knotweed as an edible plant is April and May. The first shoots of spring appear at this time, and when they are about 8 inches in height, they are tender for eating. Later in the season, they become stringy (like rhubarb) and will definitely need to be peeled.
You can pretty much substitute Japanese knotweed for any of your savory asparagus dishes, or your sweet rhubarb desserts. Either way, peel it if the outer layer is tough and springy, and then chop the shoots into 1-inch pieces. For a savory dish, you may either boil until soft or sauté in butter for about 10 minutes until tender and light beige in color. Add salt and other herbs to taste and serve as a side dish or add to casseroles.
For a sweet dessert, boil in water and sugar (more sugar than water, usually 1 cup sugar to 1/4 cup water) until completely soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Add to pies or sweet sauces and serve like any other sweet dessert.
Sweet and savory as it may be, as an invasive species, it is illegal to transport or sell it in most parts of the country. Yet, gourmet restaurants everywhere have added Japanese knotweed to their menu in various forms, from raw to cooked, in all variety of dishes. It adds a unique flavor and makes for a great conversation piece. Know the plant if you tend to hike in the wild, as it makes for great survival food if stranded somewhere.To Grow or Not to Grow?
Although it’s classified as an invasive species, there are no restrictions imposed (yet) to curb the inclusion of this plant in private gardens. If the plant appeals to you and you want to add it to your garden despite the fact it might totally take over, there is no reason to prevent you from doing so. The choice is yours, but beware of the risks should you choose to include it. There really is no way to contain it effectively, especially if the rhizomes worm their way 30 feet from your original planting!
That said, should you choose to grow Japanese knotweed for any of its positive benefits and edible qualities, it’s easy to start and will thrive in any garden area where it’s planted. It prefers full sun, but it will grow just about anywhere, as long as there’s moist soil. The plants spread well along riverbanks. The roots can split and be spread downstream by the current to easily establish new growing areas. As mentioned, these underground rhizomes have the ability to spread 30 feet or more from the parent plant. Its voracity makes one cringe at the destructive nature.
On the other hand, if (like me) you want to get rid of this invasive weed/herb/plant (whatever you want to call it), there are some herbicides like Roundup that work well. Best to apply in the late summer when the plant is past its prime. However, if (also like me) you don’t want to use chemicals, you can tackle the problem the old-fashioned way: Dig it up and burn it, or discard it safely and effectively so it doesn’t take root elsewhere. I’m good at the digging and discarding process as I’ve tackled everything from brambles to weed trees and so much more. My shovel and my back are always getting a good workout in the garden.
Today’s post is brought to you by award-winning author and artist, Emily-Jane Hills Orford http://emilyjanebooks.ca When this author isn’t writing, creating collage paintings, working on her needlework or composing, you’ll find her in the garden. Even in the winter, gardening is not far from her thoughts as she plans and prepares for the next season and the next growing adventure. Using pressed flowers from her garden, this author/artist/composer, is gardening indoors with multi-faceted garden ideas re-created on canvas.
W shares pictures and some data on his Jerusalem artichoke garden in Pennsylvania:
“Just wanted to share my 60’ row of sunchokes.This is an old riding ring we built and it is modified bank run material topped with just sand. Over time weeds and grasses grew, We did a chicken tractor for 2 years. About 2 years ago I started the 2 rows with horse manure and hay and then started adding daikon radish and this year potatoes , the sunchokes and a late planting of sunflowers which are not eve in the manure bed, they are just in the wood chips. I’m in the process of trying some more daikon and winter squash where I took the taters out. I have another pile of manure to move, hope I can get 2 more rows built.” I’ve always been fond of Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, even though I don’t find them particularly digestible. They have very good uses as a survival crop to feed animals, even if we don’t eat them. The plants also make a good amount of biomass for the compost pile, and grow and produce under poor conditions. I once grew them in the rocky subsoil of a construction site in part shade and still got a yield. We didn’t find them to do well in Florida, but here in Alabama I have some nice-looking plants in one of the Grocery Row Gardens. If they do well, I should make a bed like W made. It’s lovely and when they burst into bloom in fall the effect is magical. Gorgeous flowers and a useful crop.
In the spirit of our survival philosophies, I think something is pretty … Read the rest
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Shocking and Dehumanizing Discrimination Against the Unvaccinated Is About to Make Life VERY Difficult
All over the world, the hot-button subject of the moment is the Covid vaccination. Many governments discuss … Read the rest
There is little doubt that fall is our favorite time of all for planting onions in the garden. And for so many great reasons! For starters, it’s simply refreshing to …
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What role does diet and baby powder play in the development of fibroids and ovarian cancer?
If you randomly select a group of women and ultrasound their uterus, most of them have fibroid tumors by age 50—and by most, I mean more than 80 percent of black women and nearly 70 percent of white women. As you can see at 0:23 in my video Talcum Powder and Fibroids, half of the white women in study already had fibroids by their early 40s, while half of the African-American women had them even early, by their mid-30s.
After getting over the shock of how widespread fibroids are, the next question becomes, Why the racial disparity? Is it “diet, stress, [or] environmental exposures”? Perhaps the reason could offer a clue as to what causes fibroids. For example, African Americans tend to have lower intakes of fruits and vegetables, and fruits and vegetables appear protective against fibroids. (Citrus are particularly protective, though apparently not just citrus juice, as found in the Black Women’s Health Study.)
It’s interesting that if you measure the levels of beta-carotene in fresh surgical tissue samples of uterine fibroids and adjacent normal uterine tissue obtained during hysterectomies, you find significantly lower concentrations in the fibroids. In fact, as you can see at 1:23 in my video, beta-carotene was not even detectable in half the fibroid specimens, and the same was found in cancer: Most cancerous tissues tested had undetectable levels of beta carotene, compared to the normal tissue right next to the tumor. Could it be that decreased levels of beta-carotene somehow play a role in causing these conditions? Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but you don’t know until…you put it to the test.
There had never been a randomized controlled clinical trial of fruits and vegetables for fibroids, until… never. Researchers did do a randomized controlled trial of kind-of-a-fruit-and–vegetable-at-the-same-time studying tomatoes for the prevention of fibroids, but they studied fibroids in Japanese quail—as in the birds. That doesn’t really help me help my human, non-quail patients.
The action of lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes, “in an animal model may not accurately represent lycopene action in humans.” And, indeed, the Harvard Nurse’s study found no apparent link between lycopene consumption and fibroids, as you can see at 2:27 in my video. So, yes, fruits and green vegetables at least may have a protective effect, but we won’t know for sure until they’re properly put to the test.
Vitamin D level is another possible factor as to why African Americans disproportionately suffer from fibroids, since women with darker skin are more likely to be deficient in the vitamin. As many as 80 percent of black women may have inadequate levels of vitamin D, compared to only one in five white women.
Vitamin D does inhibit fibroid cell proliferation, at least in a petri dish, and it may be able to shrink tumors in your pet rat, but what about in people? A population study did find that women with “sufficient vitamin D” levels in their blood had about one-third lower odds of fibroids, consistent with the finding that women who report lots of sun exposure also appear to be protected, but until there’s an interventional trial where women are randomized to vitamin D or a placebo, we won’t know for sure if vitamin D plays a role in fibroid prevention or treatment.
African-American women are also more likely to sprinkle baby powder on their genitals, which may not only double the odds of fibroids, but may also increase the risk of ovarian cancer, the deadliest gynecological cancer. Internal memos show Johnson & Johnson knew about the cancer risk, but still decided to target African Americans. In an advertisement depicting an African-American family that you can see at 4:04 in my video, Johnson & Johnson said, “Think of us as a lifetime friend of the family”—perhaps a lifetime cut short by its baby powder. At least that’s what a jury found in 2017 when it awarded a woman $110 million in damages, and that was on top of the $200 million in verdicts from 2016, with thousands of lawsuits pending after internal memos revealed that, decades ago, Johnson & Johnson’s own contracted toxicologists were warning the company there are multiple studies showing a cancer link. “Anyone who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
- Fruits and vegetables appear to be protective against fibroids, and African Americans tend to have lower intakes of these plant foods.
- Fibroids are widespread amongst women, with more than 80 percent of Black women and nearly 70 percent of White women having fibroid tumors by age 50, as determined by uterine ultrasound, and African-American women seeming to get them at an earlier age.
- When measuring levels of beta-carotene, significantly lower concentrations are typically found in fibroids and cancerous tissues.
- A randomized controlled clinical trial of fruits and vegetables for fibroids has never been conducted, so, although we know fruits and green vegetables appear to be protective, we cannot know for certain until put to the test in an interventional trial.
- African Americans may suffer disproportionately from fibroids due to inadequate levels of vitamin D.
- Sprinkling baby powder on genitals may not only double the odds of fibroids, but also increase ovarian cancer risk, and African American women are more likely to do this than White women.
- Johnson & Johnson was aware of the cancer risk but, according to internal memos, still chose to target African Americans in its baby powder ad campaigns.
- Juries have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in verdicts from lawsuits filed against the company, with thousands more suits pending.
When I started this article’s corresponding video, I profiled the effects of diet and supplements of fibroid tumors, but then I got dragged off on that horrifying ovarian cancer tangent—and I’m so glad I did. What a story! No wonder corporations are working hard to pass tort reform to limit the amount of damages they have to pay for their negligence or malfeasance. If you remember, it was a series of landmark court cases that also dragged damning internal tobacco industry communications into the light. For a bit on that story see:
- Big Food Using the Tobacco Industry Playbook
- The Healthy Food Movement: Strength in Unity
- How Smoking in 1959 Is Like Eating in 2019
- The Role of Corporate Influence in the Obesity Epidemic
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:
- 2019: Evidence-Based Weight Loss
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
Today we unite for a celebration of generosity, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform the world. Xóm Bắc Cầu Ecovillage, Vietnam This is the story of Émilie, who, together with architect Franscesco and teacher Hieu and many other volunteers, has given life to Xóm Bắc Cầu to spread sustainable community living in …
Anyone living in an area dominated by harsh elements understands the importance of carports. Apart from protecting the car from the harshest weather, carports also provide additional and versatile space. They ensure your asset enjoys enhanced protection.
The good news is you don’t have to hire professional contractors to build a carport for you. You can do it yourself. Building your own carport proves you’re a responsible car owner and saves you tons of money. A DIY carport is a great option for anyone looking to get inexpensive cover for their vehicle.
This article shows you what you need for a DIY carport including materials and tools. You will also learn about 15 DIY carport plans worth considering.Important Details to Consider When Building a Carport
Building a carport is intense work requiring plenty of preparation. You should think about a few important details first — which you will find below. Before starting, confirm that you have all the appropriate tools. Apart from tools, there are a few other things to consider.Carport Height and Size
How much space do you have for the carport? Is the space enough for the carport and your vehicle? Before you lift the first tool, confirm whether the height is enough for the car. Otherwise, you may have a carport cover that’s too low for your vehicle.Types of Materials to Use
Next, you need to select your tools carefully. The construction of a carport requires a unique set of tools and materials. It’s worth mentioning, however, that you can recycle or reuse some of these materials to save even more money.
Here are the tools you need for a carport DIY project.
- Drills (cordless or power)
- Screws or TEK screws
- Hammer drills
- Tin snips
- Tape measure
- Sockets and spanners
- Rivet gun
- Spirit level
- Laser level
- Ladders, duct lifts, scissor lifts, scaffold, trestles
- Safety gear
Apart from these tools, you should also consider whether you want to build a DIY metal carport or DIY tarp carport. You need metal sheets for the former, while a tarp is mandatory for the latter. Additionally, get whatever materials you need if you decide to construct a DIY solar carport.Carport Location
The location of the carport is another critical detail. For location, you need to evaluate your property carefully to determine the ideal spot for the carport. It’s best to erect the carport in a flat and level area. Secondly, confirm if the surface is suitable for building such a structure.
Avoid areas with utility lines for gas, electric, and water services.Other Considerations
There are several other factors worth examining before proceeding with the construction of a DIY carport. For example, you should build a carport that matches the style of your entire property. That way, it won’t look out of place.
Don’t forget to check or apply for local permits, too. For this, you may need assistance understanding the local building or zoning codes to avoid falling foul of the law. You could visit the offices of the local authorities to learn more about the regulations.
How much labor do you need to install the structure? In some cases, you could build it alone, while in others, you will need a team — even amateurs such as friends and family — to help you with the DIY project.Free Carport Plans to Consider
Before dashing outside to start constructing your DIY carport, determine whether to choose paid or free carport plans. This article delves into free plans that are just as effective as the paid alternatives. Let’s look at the top 15 free DIY carport plans.Attached Carport Plans
This simply means the DIY lean-to carport is attached to your home rather than standing alone. To build it, you need to make sure it has right-angled corners. Typically, it takes a day (depending on your skill level) to build the attached carport as a DIY project.Find the plans at My Outdoor PlansFreestanding Double CarportPhoto courtesy of How-to specialist
A freestanding double carport is an excellent option for a household with more than one car. It’s also suitable for families with snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles. Before proceeding with construction, get an engineer’s input before pouring the footings.Find the plans at How-To SpecialistDIY Carport Cheap
With some lattice panels, roofing tins, support poles, and lumber, you have almost everything needed to build an inexpensive DIY carport. As cheap as it is, the carport will let you enjoy the protection it offers your car for years.Find the plans on YouTube10-by-16 DIY Lean-to Carport
Are you wondering whether a carport is worth building for that small car you own? In that case, the 10-by-16, DIY lean-to carport is what you need. For such a structure, invest in cedar or any other kind of weather-resistant lumber, as that will give you a carport that lasts years.Find the plans at My Outdoor PlansDIY Carport With Storagephoto courtesy of how-to specialist
It’s possible to build a DIY carport with storage. Such a structure is impressive for its ability to protect the car while providing enough space for storing small garden equipment. Because of its double function, this option might be best if you have one car.Find the plans at How-To SpecialistDIY RV Carport
The 20-by-40 DIY RV carport is worth your time and energy because of its ability to protect large cars or multiple vehicles. With its gable roof, it would have no difficulty sheltering your boat as well, and sturdy trusses make it even more special.Find the plans at Garden Plans FreeRecycled Shipping Container Carportphoto courtesy of I save a to z
It’s possible to make a DIY carport from recycled shipping containers. That’s right. You can transform a shipping container into a one-car carport that can also serve as a storage unit. One of the attractions of this option is its ability to remain standing in the face of fierce winds.Find the plans at I Save A to ZPVC Carport
If you want to save even more money, you would be better off going for the DIY PVC carport. A PVC carport is more affordable than a DIY metal carport and all types of DIY wood carports. Apart from costs, it’s pretty light and thus needs reinforcement to protect it from flying away when strong winds blow.Find the plans at HunkerDIY Solar Carport
A DIY solar carport is a wonderfully inexpensive addition to your property. Its sustainability and ease of assembly are worth the construction time. Additionally, it offers you the option of portability, and you can install it as a freestanding structure or a DIY lean-to carport.Find the plans at InstructablesDIY Tarp Carportphoto courtesy of bootstrap farmer
Why should you pay more for a carport when you can save tons of money with a DIY tarp carport? With this option, you don’t have to dig footers or lift huge, heavy posts that threaten to break your back. On top of that, you can install it in a single day without any additional help.Find the plans at Bootstrap FarmerThree-Car Carport
A three-car carport is an excellent option if you have a large family or own up to three vehicles. Feel free to customize it according to your preferences and the property’s appearance. Consider gable roofing to make everything sturdier and better in appearance.Find the plans at How-To SpecialistDIY Carport Kit
A DIY carport kit comes with everything you need. You would only need a few additional tools and equipment to make your work manageable and effective. More impressively, you can order a kit that’s to your specifications.Find the plans at Home DepotFlat Roof Carportphoto courtesy of fair dinkum builds
The simplicity and functionality of flat roof carports make them the most popular. Added to that is the fact they are quite easy to install. Visually, they are clean and open while not requiring any additional reinforcement.Find the plans at Fair Dinkum Builds Carport Pergola
A carport pergola is attractive for many reasons. First, it is cheap to build. Second, you can finish building it within a day to create a half-shady area to park your car. Then you only need to plant vines at the foot of every support post to make it eco-friendly.Find the plans on YouTubeDIY Wood Carport
DIY wood carport plans are not complex. This type of DIY carport is the most customizable, too — you can make it suit your entire house easily. This plan is the best if you want to stay away from fancy garages that cost a fortune to erect.Find the plans at How-To SpecialistConclusion
Building a DIY carport is not a complicated procedure that only rocket scientists can perform. You can do it with some of the most basic tools and materials. Moreover, recycling or reusing some materials and structures, such as an old shipping container, will save you time and money.
At Insteading, we advise our clients to embrace the DIY culture. It is an excellent way of saving money and learning new skills. Building a DIY carport offers you a chance to put your creativity to the test not only when it comes to the type of DIY carport plan you select, but also in matching its design to your property.