What Should I Do?

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What Should I Do?

Chick in Brooder: Phil Williams

How to Order and Choose Chicken Breeds

First steps in raising chickens
Monday, March 24, 2014, 4:38 PM

If you are planning to start a flock of chickens or add to an existing flock, it is a good idea to do this earlier rather than later, as many hatcheries will sell out of certain breeds by spring time. If you are planning to order day old chicks, there are a few things that you should know about before placing that first order. » Read more

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© Neo-farms

Walipini Style Greenhouses

Year-round gardening in an underground greenhouse
Friday, March 21, 2014, 3:35 PM

How would you like to have fresh vegetables and fruit year round? Sounds pretty good right?  Having an underground greenhouse will keep the temperatures hot in the winter and help prevent overheating in the summer; making it possible to grow your garden vegetables through the cold winter months.

How it Works

We all learned in school that under the earth’s crust is magma which heats the entire sphere. Surprisingly, if you dig down 4 feet, the heating process becomes apparent. For the vast majority of the planet, 4 feet below the surface will stay between 50° to 60°F even if the weather above the ground is 10°F with a cold wind! This phenomenon is called the thermal constant and it’s what the underground greenhouse thrives on. » Read more

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Phil Williams - Crop Rotation Blocks

Introduction to Companion Planting and Crop Rotation

Benefits of change and grouping various plants together
Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 12:06 PM

When planning your next garden planting it is wise to reflect on the previous year's crops and where they were planted.  It is vital that you are rotating your crops in your zone 1 annual gardens. If your garden features the same plants in the same places year after year, pest pressures will build, soils will become depleted, and disease will run rampant. I rotate my annuals in such a way that the soil and plants benefit. For example, I follow my greedy feeders of nitrogen in the plots where I was growing nitrogen fixing peas and beans. » Read more

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Dutch White Clover Living Mulch

Mulch in the Garden

Using a protective mulch layer
Thursday, March 13, 2014, 3:44 PM

When I first started gardening, I wanted to mulch my garden. Coming from a commercial landscape background, it was something I was used to doing, and I understood the benefits. Then I spoke to a relative who had been gardening far longer than I, and he told me how it would burn up my plants. Being new to gardening, I took his advice. Even though I started my garden with two feet of good compost, by summertime, my soil was compacted, and the humus was gone. Without the protection from mulch, my humus layer eroded away, and the soil became infertile and compacted. » Read more

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Shutterstock / Kunal Mehta

Developing Situational Awareness

Playing the "keep in memory" (KIMs) game
Monday, March 10, 2014, 11:15 AM

One of the most important aspects of surviving emergencies is your ability to be aware of your surroundings. This is ubiquitously referred to as “Situational Awareness” and is often just referred to as “SA”. Situational awareness is a peculiarity amongst those who prepare – it is both a skill and experience. It has to be developed, like any skill, but the more often you find yourself in dicey scenarios, the more likely you are to pick up on subtleties that are out of place, or inconsistent with the surrounding environment. » Read more

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Zones of Permaculture

Permaculture Zones

Dividing a site into different functional areas.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 6:19 PM

A major design concept of permaculture is zones. When you are accessing a permaculture site, dividing the property into zones can help you to position certain plants, animals, aquaculture, pasture, orchards, forest, and housing to result in the most positive connections between zones. This process leads to more stacking of functions, and a greater efficiency of the site.

There are (6) zones, starting at zone 0, and ending at zone 5. » Read more

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Herb Spiral : Phil Williams

Patterns of Design in Permaculture

Mimicking nature for better results
Friday, February 28, 2014, 6:05 PM

Permaculture design works to copy many patterns and shapes that occur in nature. This tends to enhance energy flow or slow it down, depending on the needs of the inhabitants. This also adds diversity of life and edge. Below are some of the common patterns in permaculture design and how they can be used. » Read more

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Hugelkultur Sun Traps / Phil Williams

Introduction to Permaculture

Designing sustainable environments and systems
Monday, February 24, 2014, 1:20 PM

Permaculture is literally permanent culture. It started out literally as permanent agriculture, but it is now being applied to other areas besides agriculture. Bill Mollison wrote,

"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way."

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Shutterstock / Jiri Hera

10 Uses for Salt You May Have Never Thought About

Reasons to keep a good supply on hand
Friday, February 21, 2014, 12:06 PM

Salt is one of the most amazing substances in nature. It can be used for many purposes including food preservation, cleaning, cooking, and much more!

Part of being prepared is knowing how to use the supplies that you have – and that includes salt!  Below, I have listed 10 things that you probably didn’t know that you could do with salt and hopefully these will inspire you to stock up on salt and incorporate its many uses into your daily life for simple / non-toxic solutions. » Read more

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Slug: Phil Williams

Control Methods for Slugs

7 ways to keep pesky slugs from your garden
Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 5:06 PM

I absolutely loathe slugs. They are a huge pest in my strawberry patch, and a minor pest in my annual garden. I mulch my garden with either shredded hardwood or straw, and I definitely have more slug problems from mulching. Having said that, the benefits of mulching far outweigh the slugs. I have tried quite a few natural and home remedies that can work wonders at keeping your slug problems to a minimum.  Join me in exploring the numerous options we have at our disposal. » Read more