Indoor Vegetable Gardening and Self Sufficient Living

2010
06.17

Since food is an important consideration in self sufficient living, what do we do when we need to grow food but the conditions won’t allow it? Simple – grow indoors. While there are a variety of ways to do this, we’ll look at just two methods of indoor vegetable gardening.

The first approach we’ll consider involves the use of grow lights. While this can be very effective, it also requires a significant amount of electricity which can present a problem in terms of being self sufficient. The advantage, of course is that you can grow pretty much anywhere indoors, regardless of windows or other natural light sources. If you’re off the grid, this option probably isn’t appealing. On the other hand, this is a great way to increase your learning speed as you can continue to gain experience growing year round.

A much better approach which is more consistent with sutainability, is to attach a greenhouse or solarium to your home. This enables you to take advantage of natural light and the heat source for your home. You can start with something simple – like a bay window, or go “all out” with a full greenhouse attached to the house. It may be that you just need a place to start your plants before moving them to the garden.

Want to get started today? Why not begin with sprouting? It’s simple and fun for the whole family as well and offers a great source of nutrition to add to salads and sandwiches. You get results quickly – within days rather than waiting for months. The Sprout Garden 3 Tray Family Sprouting Kit includes sprouter, drainboard, covers, 3 sprouting trays, 2 oz. of certified organic alfalfa seed, and instructions. Once you’ve got the idea, expand your crops and try sprouting beans along with other grains. What’s nice about sprouting is that any window will do – you don’t need any special construction for this form of indoor vegetable gardening.

Have fun!

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“2012″ And Self Sufficient Living

2009
12.16

Hollywood’s recent disaster movie “2012″ is having a surprising connection with self sufficient living. In an article which appeared in the Contra Costa Times, L.A. County’s emergency management spokesman Ken Kondo said he hoped the movie would spark a sense of urgency to be prepared for catastrophic disasters. He watched the movie with preparedness colleagues. Toward the end of the article, Sharon Packer, executive director of the American Civil Defense Association recommends having up to a year’s supply of food and raises concern about the real possibility of long term power outages in the wake of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) caused by a nuclear weapon.

Food shortages and extended power outages are just the kind of challenges that self sufficient living protects against. Here’s one more example of the benefits of learning to live off grid, growing vegetables in your own back yard, and simple living. Sustainability is not just a concept for those concerned with environmental issues, it’s something for every family to consider. And what better time than now to get into this, when these things are within the reach of most everyone.

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Self Sufficient Living Sought by City Slickers

2009
12.07

Two stories recently in the news highlight the lives of high profile people who’ve thrown in the towel on the fast pace of city life, and traded it in for a simpler, better way of life. It’s just one more reminder of growing interest in self sufficient living. One is a fashion author for the Wall Street Journal, the other, the former chief of the federal bailout known as TARP. Read their stories by following the links below.

Neel Kashkari – Former Bailout Chief

Gwendolyn Bounds – WSJ writer/editor

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Self Sufficient Living – The Real Thing

2009
11.19

First it was the “Waterpod”, a sustainable commune floating along the Hudson river, now Mary Mattingly, an artist in New York, is designing the “Air Ship Air City”. In this project, she envisions a self sufficient living dome atop a large apartment complex.

The only problem with this approach is that there is a real dicotomy between trying to make something sustainable, in the midst of a metropolitan center – the epitome of non sustainablility. Minor interruptions in transportation and natural disasters repeatedly remind us of that. There are different schools of thought on this, but the irony of trying to create a pseudo natural environment in the midst of a concrete forest seems futile.

Why not pursue the real thing – actually living in an environment where sustainability is the norm, not something to be contrived. Families are discovering the benefits of self sufficient living in a rural setting. It takes careful planning and alot of hard work, but those of us doing it will testify – it’s well worth it. You’ll find articles in our blog that can help you start planning and working toward making a change in your life you’ll never regret.

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Canning Recipe For Successful Fruit Storage

2009
11.04

An important part of self sufficient living involves food preservation and storage. There are several ways to do this – canning, dehydration, and vacuum sealing being the most popular. Canning continues to be a popular and effective method for fruit preservation. Here are a few tips we have found helpful for successful fruit canning using glass jars:

1. Clean glass canning jars first. Some boil their jars to sterilize, others simply run them through a dishwasher relying on the hot water to do the job.

2. Soak lids and rings in hot water (just under boiling point) for about 20 minutes before use to soften the seal. (Don’t boil them at this point.)

3. Pour hot fruit only a little at a time into the jars to avoid cracking.

4. After the canning process, allow the jars to sit for about 24 hours.

5. Test for proper sealing by pressing gently on the center of the lid after jars have set for at least 12 hours. The lid should not “pop” up and down.

6. After the jars have set for 24 hours, remove the rings and clean the jars to remove any fruit that leaked or spilled out during canning. Food residue left on the outside of the jar in the vicinity of the seal can grow mold which can then migrate into the jar, breaking the seal.

CLICK HERE For a canning recipe for apple sauce.

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“America’s Cities” Promotes Self Sufficient Living

2009
09.22

America’s Cities are facing a serious crisis – but there is hope for those who prepare. That’s the message of a new movie from Urban Life Video productions. The documentary film makes a compelling case with interviews of authorities ranging from top universities like Harvard to the halls of congress. But it’s not such a gloomy forecast for those who are taking steps toward self sufficient living. You can get more information and even watch the movie for free on the internet by CLICKING HERE.

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Self Sufficient Living and Water

2009
03.31

Water is a top priority for any self sufficient living plan. In previous posts we’ve addressed water sources, so now let’s consider water filtration. What is the best way to make sure you can provide safe drinking water for your family?

While there are various counter top water filters available, we’d like to encourage you to consider the advantages of a Berkey water filter. Whether it’s bacteria, cysts, parasites, or even unwanted chemicals, this filter will bring them to non detectible levels. The Berkey works off of gravity so it does not need water pressure to operate. It is so efficient that it can take non-potable (unhealthy) water and make it safe for your family to drink. Also, because it is free standing, this makes it a great portable water filter as well.

If you’d like more information, go to the Berkey website by CLICKING HERE.

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Solar Panels For Homes

2009
03.27

Electricity has become essential to so many activities of life. While it is true that we can learn to live with less or even without electricity, for most of us that is not very practical. Fortunately, alternative energy technology has brought self sufficient power systems within the reach of nearly everyone. There are three basic options – SOLAR POWER, WIND GENERATOR POWER and MICRO HYDRO POWER. In this post, we’ll simply be focusing on solar panels for homes, but you can click on the other options above to read articles about them as well.

A self sufficient energy solar system offers a tremendous advantage in that there are no moving parts, unless you utilize a tracking system. Even in this case, the moving parts are minimal. This is a clear advantage because moving parts eventually need maintainance.

To calculate how much power you can produce with a typical solar system, you need to know how much direct sunlight your solar panels will get. A basic rule of thumb is to estimate 5 hours per day as a rough average, but this approach is not as accurate as making actual site observation. Keep in mind that the angle of the sun changes during the year, so this needs to be factored in. Once you have determined this, simply multiply the output (per hour) of the solar panels by the hours of direct sunlight. This will tell you how much power you could expect. You can see this will also depend on how many panels you use. One panel that produces 200 Watts per hour in direct sunlight, will produce 1000 watts over a period of 5 hours.

The Florida Solar Energy Center presented a study in 2004 to help people understand about how much energy they might expect from a typical solar system. This particular study simulated the power generation of a 2 kilowatt photovoltaic rooftop system for 236 locations throughout the United States. They found a range of between 5 and 8.5 Kw-h per day on average throughout the year.

When it comes to solar panels for homes, if you’re short on money but have some extra time, you could consider building your own homemade solar panels. There are some resources available which provide instructions, plans, and supplemental videos for DIY solar panels for a fraction of the cost of purchasing panels. CLICK HERE if you would like to see an example. (NOTE: We have not yet checked out this particular kit, but plan on doing so and will give a review on this website soon. You will notice that they do offer a money back gaurantee if you are not satisfied with the kit, and they also are using a reputable online merchant service so we felt comfortable sharing this site with you prior to our reviewing it ourselves.)

In our next post we will consider the other components of a home solar power system.

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Self Sufficient Living – What’s Involved?

2009
03.20

Self sufficient living involves learning how to live more simply and in ways that are sustainable – meaning that we are less dependent on the system for our basic needs. It comes as a surprise to most people that it is very feasible to do this. It just requires planning and a bit of work. But those who have done it agree, that it’s well worth the effort. Let’s take a quick overview of the top three basic needs for self sufficient living.

1. Water

This is the first item because it is such a vital need and one for which so many people depend on municipal supplies. The best and most ideal way to provide water for your family in a sustainable way is from a spring or creek which runs year around. although this is challenging to find, there are still rural properties available which have such surface water sources. The next best choice is a private well, which does involve an upfront investment, but a good well will provide water for decades. If you are not in a position to move to the country yet, it’s a good idea to own a quality water filter so that you could provide your family with potable water in a crisis.

2. Food

The average city has only about three days of food, and when crisis hits, the shelves are emptied in a hurry. Even many people who live in a more rural area depend on grocery stores for food, yet a disruption in the transportation system can quickly result in the same problem – empty shelves in the supermarket. There is no reason why people can’t grow much of their own food – providing they have a place to do it. As this post is being written at the edge of spring, it’s a perfect time to get your garden started. CLICK HERE to read more about garden seed selection. But self sufficient living also involves learning to store food as well. This enables your family to enjoy year-around more of the food you grow yourself. CLICK HERE to check out an excellent website on long term food storage techniques.

3. Warmth

Most people rely on electricity or gas for heating their home. A better alternative is with the use of a wood stove. There are many options when it comes to wood stoves, but we recommend considering a wood cook stove, as this can serve two purposes – both heating your home, and providing a way to do cooking and baking. There are excellent quality wood cook stoves available now, but we recommend the Flame View model which is Amish made and of superior quality. CLICK HERE for more information.

Country Living…

You can see that it is simply a given that country living goes hand in hand with self sufficient living. If you still live in the city however, you can start to put these things into practice. If you desire to move out of the city start putting your mind to work in that direction and ask God for help. With careful research, planning, and help from above – you can make that move.

On this website you’ll find other articles on subjects like solar, hydro electric, and wind power.

There are other things that we can do to become even more self sufficient. For example, we can learn to make our own soap, clothes, lotions and other personal care needs such as natural remedies using herbs. We will address some of these in future posts.

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Self Sufficient Living – Interest Is Growing!

2009
03.13

According to an article posted this week in the World Net Daily, interest is rapidly growing in self sufficient living. One seed company is reporting that sales increased 40 percent last year, which was twice the annual growth seen over the last five years.

The story goes on to report dramatic increases in sales of long storing food which began last September, right about the time the real economic crunch hit. Interestingly, Bruce Hopkins, spokesman for Best Prices Storable Foods, told World Net Daily that they were having trouble obtaining No. 10 cans partly because the United States Government was buying up such large quantities. He added that the feds bought most of the freeze dried canned stock from some companies.

The article points out that this “new” preparedness movement doesn’t have the trappings one might expect. Rather than your typical camouflage-loner-survivalist type, the suggestion is that many folks who are now moving toward self sufficient living are your average, everyday Americans that see what’s coming and are simply doing what makes sense.

While I would agree that it does make sense, I can’t help but think about the most important changes this kind of lifestyle has brought to my family. There’s something really enriching about the hard work, planning and preparation involved, as well as getting back to the basics. It’s drawn us closer to each other, and closer to our Maker – and that’s been the biggest blessing of all.

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