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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Growing Tips for the Suburban Survivalist

Urban Man says - if you are not growing anything in your backyard, on your balcony or even on a windowsill then you are not taking advantage of learning new skills sets nor getting the value of growing (and eating) your own healthy food. And least I mention saving money. In a depressed economy or monetary hyper inflation, the value of growing your own food cannot be over stressed.

You cannot open an internet browser without seeing former Senator Ron Paul warning of a dire economic collapse coming soon. This is echoed by Stansberry Research, The International Investor, Zero Hedge and many others.

Even growing a couple tomato plants, maybe a potato patch, or even just a squash mound or two can provide lessons learned on growing foods, give you some confidence and a sense of accomplishment, save you money and you may very well need that small garden to survive.

This is a main stream internet article on growing your own small garden and I re-post it as we cannot read, research or save enough articles on growing foods as I fear we are going to need these skills and soon.

10 Tips For Growing Your Own Food In Your Garden, by Sarah Wexler on Yahoo! Food.

There are plenty of good reasons to grow your own vegetables: you’ll spend less at the grocery store, you’ll know exactly what went into growing them, and you’ll have a sense of pride every time you enjoy that just-plucked-from-the-stem tomato.

“You’ll have a great variety of fruits and vegetables, and they taste so much better than anything from the store that’s been sitting on the shelves for days after it was picked,” says Suzy Hancock, general manager at Portland Nursery in Oregon. It’s true — you’ve never tasted a carrot so sweet or a cucumber so crisp as the ones you eat right from your own garden. Here’s her advice for starting your own successful veggie plot at home.

1. Build raised beds. Pick a part of your yard that gets full sun (that’s four to six hours a day), and construct — or buy pre-made — raised beds. They’re easier to weed and warm up faster than the ground, so you can start planting earlier and get better results. It’s also easy to attach hoops to a raised bed that you can cover in case of cold nights or pests like moths or birds.

2. Fill with good soil. Buy potting soil and mix in native soil from the yard as well as compost, mixing so the ratio is half compost, half soil. Mix in a dry organic fertilizer, which is good for long-term feeding, like E.B. Stone Organics Sure-Start, though you’ll still need to add compost every year to replenish your soil. Since vegetables like a close-to-neutral pH soil, buy a pH testing kit at the nursery and see if your soil is neutral. It’s often too acidic; if so, add lime.

3. Wait for warm nights. In spring, it’s generally safe to plant greens (lettuces, spinach, kale, Swiss chard), cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Plant other veggies too soon and you could kill your starters, so hold off until nighttime temperatures stay above 55 before planting peppers, tomatoes, and squash. The most cold-sensitive plants are melons and cucumbers, so plant those last, only when you’re fairly sure temps won’t dip again.

4. Plant the right fruits and veggies. Corn isn’t good for a small space, since it takes a lot of room and doesn’t produce much. Though plant starters are often sold in six-packs, don’t be afraid to scrap some or give to a neighbor; one zucchini plant is likely all you need because it’ll produce so many. Raspberries and mint are both invasive, taking over a whole garden if they’re planted, so use containers to keep them separate from the rest of your plot. Fennel doesn’t do well when planted next to veggies and tends to die. Generally, look for dwarf or bush varieties of plants, which don’t take up a lot of space even when they’re fully grown. A genius hack: buy grafted plants (often done with tomatoes), which are two varieties of the fruit or veggie growing from one plant, so you get double the variety without taking up twice the space.

5. Sequester your alliums. Alliums including onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and garlic are so much more fragrant and delicious from your own garden, but they tend not to play well with others; they can have negative effects on artichokes, asparagus, many kinds of beans, lettuces, and peas. Plant your alliums in separate containers or at least two to three rows away from its foes and it won’t be a problem.

6. Stagger your returns. Plant a mix of vegetables that mature over different time frames. That way you’ll have a steady stream of produce over the whole season, rather than so much ripening at once that you’re scrambling to use it all before it goes bad. The little plastic sign that comes with the plant will tell you the average number of days before it matures; at the nursery, look for a mix of traditional and early-maturing plants to spread your haul throughout the season.

7. Consider companion planting. This is a technique of pairing plants together that can benefit from being near each other. For example, basil generally thrives when planted next to tomatoes or peppers, but not as well when its neighbors are beans or cucumbers; find the whole list of happy plant pairings here. Generally, root vegetables like radishes, beets, and carrots do well when planted between leafy greens, since the root veggies take up a lot of space under the soil, while lettuces don’t have very deep roots.

8. Follow spacing guidelines. The plastic signs that come with your plants will give a guideline of how much “personal space” each needs from the plants around it. Rather than thinking you’ll get more veggies if you just pack more of them into your raised bed, crowding them in can reduce air circulation, leading to pests like aphids. If the plant’s instructions say three inches, give it at least three inches, and consider it room to grow.

9. Plant flowers, too. No, you’re not going to eat them, but flowers like marigolds are more than a pretty touch. Though it’s a myth that they keep bugs away, marigolds actually do help your veggies thrive by attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

10. Close up shop. After you’ve harvested your crops and you’re putting your garden to bed for the season, get rid of dead foliage to avoid pests, then cover with a thick layer of compost. Or, plant beneficial cover crops like vetch (in the legume family) or beautiful red-topped crimson clover; when you turn it under in the spring, it will add nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil — making for an even better garden next year.

Urban Man

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Common Mistakes While Bugging Out

An article posted by Selco on the SHTF School on April 11, 2015. Selco always writes good stuff on website.
[Source: Link to article: post collapse]

Bugging out is something that I once failed to do, because I did not even realize that it needed to be done, actually I saw what was happening but I did not „process“ the information in correct way, so I stay and had to go trough whole period of watching, doing, and getting hit by violence, together with being cold, hungry, sick and everything else.

Because bugging out is so important and survival done right is often not getting into survival situations in the first place I stress importance of bugging out (if you are not already live in great bug out location anyway).

Consider the following couple of mistakes that I witnessed (more than one time):

Right moment Guy figured out that SHTF, something happening in the city, hears screams outside, shots, confusing news on TV, he rounds up his family, puts all bags in his car, they are armed and they go out in order to reach their bug out location in hills some 50 miles away. After one mile of traveling angry mob who just plundering local mall stops the car, pull them out, and beat them, and then kill the guy, he managed to kill few of them before that, but they were hundreds. He is dead. End of story.

If you woke up in the middle of the night, because something strange happens in your town, some event, maybe terrorist attack, or martial law put into effect or whatever, sit down and think for a moment. Your mission is to leave the area and reach your bug out location, do not confuse that mission with any urge to panically run. If you go into the panic you will make mistakes, and it is definetly not time for mistakes. You would be surprised to know how many people are prone to panic, and how many of them end up dead because of that.

Try to gather some information, and act accordingly to that information, who, what, when, how long, where.

Try to figure out what is happening before you start to bug out to your bug out location. What are problematic areas? Who is in control? You will never have perfect information but it is better than having no information at all.

Speak to neighbors, listen to the radio and TV and look on Twitter and other social media. Yes that often means you will need to postpone your trip, maybe for hours, or sometimes for even days. You need to choose the best moment to leave the area (if you already missed to leave the area before SHTF).

"Right way“ SHTF and family get in their pick up, with trailer full of good equipment for SHTF time. They managed to go some 20 miles down the road, where few cars simply „get them“, block them and take everything from them. They manage to save their lives or maybe not. Who knows.

Real problem here is not having right and good equipment, and lots of it. Real problem is that we are being constantly bombarded with information that we (preppers and survivalists) need to have right equipment (a lot) in order to survive. Because without it we are gonna end up dead. We are being instructed that without "things“ we are lost, we are not even right survivalists.

So when SHTF we are becoming something like prisoners of our things. Guess what? I am preparing myself to bug out in my sneakers, with pistol and plastic bag. If I have to I will collect everything else what I need on my way to my bug out location. Do not get me wrong, of course I have my bug out bag, my plans, and my useful stuff for trip to my bug out location, but the point is that I am really expecting that I will find myself in situation where I need to reach bug out location without all those things. Do not accept philosophy that things will save your life. Things will help you to stay alive, but your (correct) mindset will mainly save your life.

Anyway, plan to have what you need at your bug out location (already prepared), do not rely too much on things while you are bugging out, you need to be able to get things done with minimal equipment that’s why skills are more important than equipment and in best case you have both. Right mindset One word-ADAPT.

If you are bug out plan plays out excatly like it should you are a very lucky man. Consider the fact, that most of you are making plans to cover hypothetical SHTF scenarios, that you seen on TV shows, read about it somewhere, member of family went through somewhere, or simply you had couple of bad experiences. It is normal. We need to guess and it is best we can do.

You are building your plans based on that, nothing wrong with that. Except that everything may go wrong in one moment. You have plan to go through the city from point A to point B then to point C etc, and then to reach safe point somewhere. All good, but SHTF and your youngest son is still in school, your car is broken, and at point B in your plan something weird is happening, some kind of riot, let say with all chaos and confusion some trucks with money are rolled over right at your point B and now you need to find out a new way quickly, and your whole plan is gone, you do not know what to do. Welcome to reality! Reality usually likes to blow all your good plans to pieces. But point of planning is to COVER as many problems as you can, so make sure you play through as many scenarios as possible.

For example if you have just one way out of the city it is bad plan, it needs backup and backup of the backup.

UrbanMan's comment: Remember PACE Planning?

Prepare for the fact that your plan will be wrong right at the beginning, and that you need to make new plan very soon, (and couple of more new plans until you reach your bug out location.) Do not end up dead because you wanted to stick to your plan because it looks good, while circumstances changed hourly around you. Survival is about quickly adapting to new situations. That is why it always helps to take a map and whatever else you need to have good sources of information to make new plans on the go. These were just few of the most important things to consider when bugging out. How do you plan to bug out.

Urban Man

Monday, July 20, 2015

Battery Power After the Collapse

Maha Powerex Multi-Charger

Being a huge fan of PACE planning and having redundancies for solutions to survival problems, I have a good supply of rechargeable batteries (both NiMH and NiCD types) and chargers. Some of these are the cheap versions from Lowe's or Home Depot, but my newest charger is the Maha Powerex Multi-Charger which can recharge AAA, AA, C and D sized batteries. The several versions of AAA and AA chargers I have will also be used but give me a barter capacity as I believe many people in a collapse will have not thought about batteries for their vast array of battery powered equipment including radios and flashlights.

Click To Purchase

What I have yet to buy are re-chargeable CR123 3v, also known as Surefire Batteries, and a recharger for these batteries. While I have many Surefire flashlights, which are the best and brightest (considering lumen power) on the market, they are also power hungry so I have intentionally focused my flashlight and lantern procurement on AA power lights.

There is one more portable power tool that I'll be adding soon, and that is the Batteriser which reportedly extends batteries up to 8x longer.

Click Here to read the Yahoo article and watch the video.

The article I was reading stated that it did sound too good to be true, but this new $2.50 gadget promises to bring your AA and C batteries back from the dead.

The article continues,...."You might be skeptical, but the Silicon Valley startup says it’s simply been able to take advantage of a well-known downside of standard batteries. The tiny device works by tapping into the unused energy in a regular Duracell or Eveready. A normal AA or C cell is designed to deliver a steady 1.5 volts, but as the power is depleted the voltage will drop. Once it slips too low, your TV remotes and toys and other devices will stop working. The Batteriser has boost circuitry that will boost the voltage from 0.6 volts to 1.5 volts and will maintain voltage at 1.5—which is a brand new battery.”

Apparently the physics department of San Jose State University also reviewed the Batteriser. “We tested the Batteriser sleeve in our lab and we confirmed that the Batteriser taps into 80 percent of energy that is usually thrown away,” said the university’s Dr. Kiumars Parvin in a statement given to PC World.

So what plans have you made for battery power after the collapse. Remember that in the beginnings or a collapse, much like a natural disaster,. food, bottled water and batteries are the first things that fly off the shelves. Besides who wants to put money into storing one use batteries?

Urban Man

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Latest Pistol Caliber Carbine - Suitable for the Collapse?

Probably the highest density of e-mails I receive are questions regarding survival guns. Readers ask me what weapons or arsenal of weapons I would consider suitable to survive a total collapse. The bottom line is: Have a gun, in fact have several; have sufficient ammunition for each gun; be competent with each gun you own and train your family members to use them as well.

Having said that there are some guns that are more suitable than others for particular or general situations. Here are some instances or things to consider:

If you have a bug out location,such as a house of cabin with hundreds of yards of cleared fields of fire or observation, why would someone limit their survival firearms to handguns, pistol caliber carbines and Shotguns? You would run the risk of being out ranged.

If you are an urban dweller and plan to bug in the urban environment or to transit large urban areas during your bug out, why would you limit yourself to long barreled shotguns or rifles?

Consider your environment. Consider your ranges. Consider your potential threats and density of threats.

While the M1911 .45 caliber semi -automatic is a great gun, with a single stack magazine, it may not be the best choice of a high density threat environment. I, for one, would prefer a large capacity 9mm for a handgun. Same as for a rifle. A .308 caliber M1A1 rifle is a great weapon, but perhaps an M-4 carbine could be better suited for the urban environment.

So that bring me to the latest question I received, and that was what do I think about the latest pistol caliber carbine to hit the market, the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm. The question was if I thought a decent survival arsenal would be the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm carbine to go with a Glock 17 handgun.


Here is the data on the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm:

Price: MSRP - $966.00

Company Narrative: The grip is our most ergonomically designed grip system incorporating a “Solidworks” designed profile allowing the use of standard Glock style magazines, with a low profile magazine release and “Decal Grip” grip panels. The lower is machined from aircraft grade aluminum, provides cleaner lines and lighter weight than our standard steel receivers. The Hand guard is produced from an Aluminum Extrusion, has no fasteners, and is free floating.


Cal: 9mm
Barrel Length: 16.2
Thread: 1/2-28
Side Cocker
Side Folder Stock
Scope Mount
Barrel Extension
Adjustable Front and Rear Sights
Accepts Standard Glock Style High Capacity Magazines (1 Mag Included)
Coating: Cerakote (Burnt Bronze is standard color – other colors available including Black, Tungsten, Sniper Green, Gunmetal and FDE.
Decal Grip Grip Panels
Hammer with Disconnect plus original Hammer
MPA Polymer Case

While I have carbines - M4 and M1's, I do not own a pistol caliber carbine. My reasoning is why have a large platform that only shoots pistol calibers? Although it may be useful for some of your survival teams members, e.g.. ladies, old people and children. But if you have to own one, then own one that has magazines that are inter-changeable with your handguns.

Urban Man