How To Get One of the most Of Your Iphone

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Garden Prepper February 22, 2016

Consider utilizing wifi whenever possible to save yourself from overage charges if you have a low information limit. Establishing wifi in your home is basic, and a lot of public places like restaurants, hotels, and cafes all have actually totally free wifi established now. Even grocery shops are beginning to provide totally free wifi.

If you travel with kids a lot, an iPhone can be helpful to you. You can easily install a few games on it to keep your kids inhabited on long car journeys, or perhaps just while waiting in line at the grocery shop. This can assist keep them happy and from your hair.

If you do not wish to worry about capitalization when you are typing a text to a friend, you can turn on the auto-capitalization feature. This function is found under Settings-> General-> Keyboard and is the first option when you open this section. This will assist you save a lot of time and enhance your grammar through texts.

Now that you have actually learned some of the techniques and ideas to working with an iphone, you can take your iphone experience to the next level.

If you utilize Safari to search through the Internet on your iPhone, attempt this trick for typing in a brand-new URL. There are some fantastic educational apps for children available if you have an iphone. Some keyboards can even serve a dual purpose, as you can utilize them with your iPad as well as your iPhone.

Consider investing in an external keyboard if you type extensively on your iPhone. There are numerous cordless designs available. They make typing files, e-mails and other comparable things easier. Some keyboards can even serve a dual purpose, as you can utilize them with your iPad along with your iPhone.

Iphones are among the hottest tech items to own these days. If you own one, you may not be getting everything from it that you can. Have a look at these ideas for more information about your gadget. You may be happily surprised at everything you can do with your iphone and a little knowledge.

Instead, press the cord’s button; the small motion will not affect your iPhone at all, allowing you to take a crisp, clear photo.

Use the earphone cord to help you take photos. If you are pressing a button that is on the real phone, it can be tough to take a picture that is in focus. Instead, press the cord’s button; the small movement will not influence your iPhone at all, enabling you to take a crisp, clear photo.

If you use Safari to browse through the Internet on your iPhone, try this technique for typing in a new URL. Rather of really typing out “. As you hold the button down, it will scroll through the most popular site extensions,,.

Is your iPhone frozen? Hold down the House button and the Sleep/Wake button at the very same time. Swipe the screen to shut your phone down.

Now that you have learned some of the suggestions and techniques to working with an iphone, you can take your iphone experience to the next level. Making the effort to discover your phone will offer you with the fulfillment of getting your cash’s worth. So, start using these pointers now!

There are some excellent educational apps for children available if you have an iphone. There are also some great video games to captivate your kids, and a few of the games are also educational. Reading or science, check out which apps are readily available for his age and grade level if your kid requires extra help with mathematics.

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Vegetables That Are Extremely Easy To Grow From Seed

Posted on December 5, 2015 by Garden Prepper December 5, 2015

Learning to produce your own food is a freeing and rewarding experience. It is also sometimes a necessity in certain conditions. Knowing how to grow a few easy vegetables could be the difference between having a full, healthy meal and being hungry. Below are the three easiest vegetables to grow from seeds.


The radish should be one of the first vegetables any survivalist looks to when in need. Not only are they one of the easiest vegetables to grow during the cool seasons, they are also one of the fastest. Several crops of radishes can be harvested during spring and fall because of how quickly the radish reaches maturity.

Radish seeds can be planted later in the year than any other root-based crop and still produce a useful harvest. Planting should occur in rows with seeds placed two inches apart and half of an inch in the ground. They shouldn’t be planted in the shade or near larger vegetables because they require a lot of sunlight. The radish can reach maturity in less than a month after planting the seed.

Radishes also come with a plethora of health benefits, as do most vegetables. They are healthy sources of fiber, potassium and folate. Their high fiber content promotes healthy digestion and helps the body retain water.


There is a huge variety of beans that are all easy to grow and quick to harvest. Any small garden can benefit from beans, whether snap beans, tepary beans, or lima beans. The correct type of bean may depend on the local climate and soil conditions.

The snap bean is the most common type of bean planted because they grow to maturity within 55 days and can produce many harvests through the season. There is also some variety among snap beans themselves. They differ in color and shape, as well as size. Snap beans can be planted in intervals of three weeks once the soil temperature is in the 60 to 70 degree range.

The tepary is another type of dry bean, but it is far less common than the snap bean. They are more suited for hot and dry climates. The tepary is most often seen growing in the Southwest United States because it can survive the desert climate. They require up to 90 days to reach maturity.

Most types of beans will produce multiple flushes after the first set of beans have been harvested. This means one seed can produce quite a lot of beans without the need to plant more.


The cucumber is another plant that yields a lot of vegetables from just one seed. So many in fact, that they need to be planted with at least two and a half feet between each seed. They require heat and a lot of water but if the right conditions are met, cucumbers are an amazing vegetable to have in any garden. They are also low-maintenance and easy to harvest.

Cucumbers are extremely sensitive to frost and don’t do well in cold conditions. The soil should be at least seventy degrees before planting the seeds. Don’t plant them until two weeks has passed since the last frost.

They are available in vine and bush variety. The vine cucumbers grow along the ground and have a higher yield, but the bush cucumber is more compact and easier to care for. Bush cucumbers can even be grown inside of a container.

Avoiding Pests And Other Problems

As easy as these vegetables are to grow, it’s possible to encounter unwanted problems such as pests. It’s important to pay close attention to the garden and inspect the plants on a regular basis. Only plant during the appropriate seasons and in areas with enough sunlight that the plants can grow to full maturity.

Homestead heroes: best fruits and vegetables for self-sufficiency

Posted on September 6, 2015 by Garden Prepper September 6, 2015

My small farm started as an effort to become food self-sufficient. Only after I was producing more than enough produce, dairy and proteins for my own family did I start selling farm products. I’ve been selling direct to the public for a few years now, but self-sufficiency is still my number one planting priority. I favor homestead crops that are nutritious, dependable, high-yielding and hearty. The following are a few of my favorites:


Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are high-value fruits with high levels of nutrition. Berries have more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable.


Although it takes 1-3 years to establish good-producing bushes, berries are perennials that offer a new crop each year without extra cost or effort. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are easy to preserve and keep well for year-round consumption. Expect a yield of 15 pounds per 100 square feet.

Related Article-Community Gardens: The Secret To Urban Self-Sufficiency


Fresh, diced, stewed, sauced or preserved whole tomatoes are a versatile homestead crop. Tomatoes are the most popular home canning item. If you have adequate food preservation skills you can never grow enough.

Aquaponics Systems – Everything You Want To Know About Aquaponics System.If you are interested with Aquaponics System and want to learn to build it,there is a solid guide teaching you how to get started the right way. This guide called “Aquaponics 4 you”(Watch Video Here)

Tomatoes are a great non-citrus source of vitamin C, making them an especially heroic homestead crop for northern gardens.

Winter squash


Winter squash is easy to grow, hearty and high-yielding. Squash seeds are direct sown and do not require weeding once plants are established. A single winter squash plant produces between 4-10 squash. Given proper space and growing conditions, winter squash produces a yield of 50-100 pounds per 100 square feet.

Related Article-The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To

Shelling beans and cowpeas

I raise livestock for meat, dairy and egg proteins on my farm, but not all gardeners want to keep livestock. Beans and cowpeas are two vegetable proteins that can fill protein needs for food self-sufficiency.

Related Article-The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To


 Legumes grow, die and dry on the vine before shelling. Beans and cowpeas are ready to pick when they rattle dry on the vine. Harvest begins after the busiest part of my growing season ends; I enjoy spending the first afternoons of fall shelling my way through buckets of beans.


Doctors praise the immunity building characteristics of garlic and onions. Alliums deter the growth of bacteria, mucus and candida yeast. They promote whole body detoxification and healing.

Alliums can be grown year-round. I grow bunching onions in early spring and again in fall. I also over-winter bulb onions, garlic and shallots. Bulb onions yield a hefty 100-150 pounds per 100 square feet.

Chives and scallions can be used fresh or preserved with dehydration. Garlic, shallots and bulb onions keep well for several months.

Related Article-The Best Plan for Food Self-Sufficiency

Leafy greens

Leafy greens like kale and spinach are the most nutritious vegetables on earth. Both kale and spinach contain calcium and iron, vital minerals often attributed to animal protein sources. Gardeners who don’t keep livestock appreciate the ability to grow these critical minerals in leafy greens.

Water may quickly become scarce in a disaster or an emergency. This quick video will show you how to easily access a common source of fresh clean drinking water (Watch Video Here)


 Many leafy greens can be cut to stalk and regrown to maximize harvest. Intensive growing methods can yield between 100-200 pounds per 100 square feet.

The Best Plan for Food Self-Sufficiency

Posted on September 2, 2015 by Garden Prepper September 2, 2015

Providing high-quality food for your family year-round takes foresight and planning, plus healthy doses of commitment and follow-through. Whether you grow as much of your food as you can or you source it from local producers, the guidelines here will help you decide how much to produce or purchase. The charts linked to in “Plan How Much to Grow” later in this article will also help you estimate how much space you’ll need — both in your garden to grow the crops, and in your home and pantry or root cellar to store preserved foods. Here’s a step-by-step plan to help you make the best use of your garden space (or farmers markets) to move toward homestead food self-sufficiency.

1. Establish Your Goals

Make a list of the foods you and your family eat now — and note the quantities as well. The charts linked to in “Plan How Much to Grow” further along in this article assume a half-cup serving size for fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a 2-ounce serving for dry grains. If your servings differ from the charts, be sure to adjust your calculations accordingly.

Decide what you’d like to grow, noting the foods your family prefers and recognizing that not every crop will grow in every climate. Research different crop varieties: Some crops — such as melons — require long, hot days to mature, but certain varieties need fewer days to reach maturity, which allows them to be grown in areas with a shorter growing season.

Related Article-Community Gardens: The Secret To Urban Self-Sufficiency

Don’t be afraid to start small and build gradually toward food self-sufficiency. A good starting goal might be to produce all of a certain crop that you use. An early milestone for me was growing all of the green beans we needed for a year and all of the ingredients for the spaghetti sauce I canned. Maybe you’ll aim to eat at least one thing from your garden each day. Keep your goals in mind as you’re planning a garden.

2. Choose a Gardening Method

I recommend following the guidelines of “Grow Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming” as developed by John Jeavons at Ecology Action in Willits, Calif., and explained in his book How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits, Nuts, Berries and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. Jeavons’ form of biointensive gardening, which can sometimes produce higher yields than less intensive approaches, focuses on eight principles:

  • Deep soil preparation
  • Composting
  • Intensive planting
  • Companion planting
  • Growing crops for carbon and grains
  • Growing crops for sufficient calories from a small area
  • Using open-pollinated seeds
  • Integrating all processes into a whole, interrelated system.

Using biointensive gardening methods, garden beds are double-dug and compost is made from crops grown for that purpose (some of which, such as corn, also provide food). Together, these techniques create a system that not only feeds the soil but also builds and improves the ecosystem. You can see these biointensive gardening techniques in action on the DVD “Cover Crops and Compost Crops in Your Garden

Related Article-Compost! Everybody’s Doing It!100 Things You Can (and Should) Compost

3. Plan How Much to Grow

You can plan either by the number of servings of various crops you want to eat, or by the amount of space you have available in your garden. First, decide how many servings your family needs for the year for a given crop from the charts on the following pages. Divide the number of servings by the number of servings per harvested pound (far-right column in the charts linked to below) to find out how many pounds you need to grow or buy from a local farmer. (This number of pounds is for produce straight from the garden — not the weight after trimming and peeling.)

After you know how many you need, you can deduce how much space your crops will require in your garden based on the estimated yield from the gardening method you choose. Divide the pounds of homegrown food you need by the pounds per hundred square feet for the yield you have chosen (two middle columns in the charts). The result is the number of 100-square-foot beds you’ll need to grow that crop. Of course, your garden is most likely not divided into 100-square-foot beds, but you’ll have an estimate of the total area needed to produce a given amount of each crop. If you have limited garden space, work this calculation in reverse, planning your top-priority crops first.

Ultimately, the yield you achieve will depend on many factors, including your soil, climate and management skills. That’s why the charts below offer a range of possible yield estimates.

Water may quickly become scarce in a disaster or an emergency. This quick video will show you how to easily access a common source of fresh clean drinking water (Watch Video Here)

4. Keep Good Records

Keep a record of your plans and activities. You can keep a notebook or a computer record, but you’ll find that you can plan better if you have notes from previous years on hand — perhaps you planted way too many green bean seeds last summer or you started your broccoli seedlings too late. At the least, you should know how much seed you used, the area you planted, and whether the amount you produced was too much, not enough or just right. (A good garden-planning resource is the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner.)

Related Article-How To Build A Self-Watering Seed Tray [VIDEO]

5. Preserving Food From Your Harvests

When I first started gardening here in Ashland, Va., I felt the need to do as much canning as I could. I still can green beans and some tomato products, such as tomato soup (I consider that my “fast food”). If you prefer canning, following directions closely is especially important. You can find a compilation of MOTHER EARTH NEWS content on canning in our Home Canning Guide. Additional information is available at the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, including the USDA publication The Complete Guide to Home Canning, which is available free to download.

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My attitude toward canning has changed now that I eat fresh from the garden as much as possible all year. I grow crops that store well all by themselves so that even in winter we have carrots, beets, onions and sweet potatoes (learn more in Food Storage: 20 Crops That Keep and How to Store Them). Another method I’ve shifted toward is solar dehydrating — my solar food dehydrator is a wonderful food preservation tool, and I use it as much as I can. You can learn more about solar dryers from Eben Fodor and the folks at SunWorks. I no longer can applesauce, but I can easily make it as needed from dried apples, and the bulk of my tomatoes are dried by the sun.

Freezing is a convenient option but requires a power source year-round, making your food vulnerable to power outages. The book So Easy to Preserve (also available online at the National Center for Home Food Preservation) has information on freezing and drying in addition to canning. I only depended on a freezer for large quantities of meat during the years we raised our own pork and beef or bought a year’s supply from a friend. Now, however, I buy in smaller quantities from local farmers or share a larger order with neighbors and friends. You could also raise your own smaller animals and process them as needed for the table, thus eliminating the need for preservation altogether.

Related Article-Can you FREEZE Eggs? Yes, and it can save you money!

Want to Do More?

Oils. If you raise livestock, you can render their fats to create cooking oils such as lard and tallow. (Learn more about making and using lard in the book Lard: Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient.) If you raise dairy animals, you can turn the cream into flavorful sweet or cultured butters. (Read How to Make Butter and Buttermilk.)

You can grow sunflowers, pumpkins, peanuts, hazelnuts and other plants to make cooking oil from their seeds. Some nuts and seeds contain more oil than others — for example, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), peanuts, sesame seeds and walnuts have an oil content of more than 50 percent. For best results, be sure to use oilseed varieties of sunflowers and pumpkins, which have an oil content of about 45 percent. Find a chart detailing the yields you can expect from growing various nuts and oilseeds, including their oil content, in Growing Nuts and Seed Crops for Homegrown Cooking Oils.

Aquaponics Systems – Everything You Want To Know About Aquaponics System.If you are interested with Aquaponics System and want to learn to build it,there is a solid guide teaching you how to get started the right way. This guide called “Aquaponics 4 you”(Watch Video Here)

To obtain oil from your nut or oilseed crop, you will need to invest in an oil press. I have successfully pressed homegrown hazelnuts and peanuts in a Piteba oil press (available from Bountiful Gardens), which yielded 3 1/3 tablespoons of oil per cup of hazelnuts and 4 tablespoons of oil per cup of peanuts. (Learn more about Using A Piteba Oil Press.)

Sweeteners. Keeping bees to produce your own honey is easy, plus having these pollinators active in your garden will help increase your yields. Bees forage over several square miles, so encouraging the enhancement of the ecosystem in your community will be to your advantage. A single hive may produce up to 50 pounds of honey per year. (ReadKeep Bees, Naturally! to learn more.)

If you live in an area with sugar maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup from the sap. One to three tapholes per tree are typical, and each taphole yields 5 to 15 gallons of sap. Ten gallons of sap boils down to about 1 quart of syrup. (Check out Enjoy Real Maple Syrup for more details.)

You could also grow sorghum to satisfy your sweet tooth. According to Gene Logsdon in his bookSmall-Scale Grain Raising, an acre of sorghum can produce about 400 gallons of syrup. From a 100-square-foot planting, you might expect close to 10 gallons of juice, which will boil down to a gallon of syrup.

Livestock. Backyard chickens are a relatively simple starter livestock. After they begin laying, expect about 200 eggs a year from each hen. After they have outgrown their usefulness as layers, they can become stewing hens. If you raise chickens for meat, Cornish Cross chicks raised for eight weeks typically finish as 4-pound broilers at a feed cost of about $1 per pound. (MOTHER EARTH NEWS has compiled extensive poultry resources on our Chicken and Egg Page.

Related Article-5 Ways to Put Your Chickens to Work For You

Goats or cows can provide your dairy products. A family cow can produce 3 or more gallons of milk per day. Its calf would yield about 350 pounds of meat at 18 months. When we had a cow, we milked only once a day, letting the calf have the rest, and then we’d take the calf for the freezer at about 10 months.

Goats and sheep need less space and feed, making them ideal for small acreages and even some urban lots. One dairy goat can provide about a gallon of milk per day and offspring for meat. Raising a kid to 6 months yields about 30 pounds of meat, including bones.

Related Article-20 Reasons Why Keeping Goats Will Change Your Life For The Better

For other meat options, a feeder pig raised to 7 months (about 260 pounds) can yield about 100 pounds of meat. You can use a pen, but adding pasture is ideal. If you only have a small space, rabbits may be your meat animal of choice. Litters from one 10-pound doe can produce 80 pounds of meat per year. (Learn more in Rabbit: A Great Meat Animal for Small Homesteads.) If you’d like to raise both rabbits and chickens, the book The Integral Urban House: Self-Reliant Living in the City has a plan for a rabbit-chicken integrated housing system.

Remember that the road to food self-sufficiency should be a community effort. You don’t have to do everything by yourself: Decide what you can do, share the surplus with others, and find like-minded people to embark on this journey with you. Enjoy the adventure!

How To Build A Self-Watering Seed Tray [VIDEO]

Posted on September 1, 2015 by Garden Prepper September 1, 2015

Self Watering Tray

This is a quick and easy project to construct a self-watering capillary tray. It’s basically a tray with its own water supply, that you sit your pots in, and it automatically waters them for you. All you have to do is occassionally top up the main water reservoir, that’s all!

They’re great for seedlings, freshly rooted cuttings, and anything else that needs constant moisture.

How Does it Work?

This simple but effective device works by the principle of wicking, as explained below. In this setup, a terracotta pot (with its drain hole sealed) is used as a water reservoir. Beside it sits a plant in a pot. Both are sitting on capillary matting which absorbs water.

  1. The terracotta pot slowly oozes water out onto the capillary matting.
  2. The capillary matting, a synthetic absorbent material, soaks up water like a sponge.
  3. The moist  potting  soil in the plant’s pot wicks up water from the damp capillary matting.

Now, some basic science. A property of water it that it sticks to itself – this property is called cohesion. It’s easy to understand when you consider that if you put two drops of water next to each other and push them together, they become one big drop!

Similarly to the way that small drops of water join up to make a bigger one, what happens here is that the water in the potting mix connects to the water in the capillary matwhich connects to the water in the terracotta pot, and all three objects act like one big wick, drawing an even amount of water across themselves, and maintaining it as long as there’s water in the terracotta pot to draw from.

So, when the plant draws up the water in the potting mix or it dries out from evaporation, water will wick back into it to restore the moisture lost, so our plant gets its water supply and stays a happy plant, which is the way we prefer to keep them!

Related Article-Community Gardens: The Secret To Urban Self-Sufficiency

Construction Details

1. The first thing you will need is a plastic tray with drainage holes in it to hold the whole thing together.

Pictured below is a seed punnet tray that is used commercially in nurseries. Any plastic tray with drainage will work.


Plastic seed punnet tray

2. The next important piece is the capillary matting. It’s a grey synthetic fabric about 5mm thick that doesn’t rot from constant moisture. You can probably find it at places that sell greenhouse or hydroponic supplies.


  Capillary matting, an absorbent synthetic, rot proof material

3. The third component required, a small terracotta pot, the one used here is a 5″ (13cm) wide pot.


A small terracotta pot, size is not too critical in this application, it just has to hold enough water!

4. Seal the drain hole in the terracotta pot with silicone sealant (or by any other means) so it holds water and does not leak, and allow it to harden.


Terracotta pot with drainage hole sealed with silicone sealant.

5. Cut the capillary matting to size so that it fits neatly into the bottom of the plastic tray.


Capillary mating cut to size to fit in tray

6. When the silicone sealant has dried properly, you’re ready to set the watering treay up. Place the terracotta pot in the centre of the tray. This ensures an even level of moisture all around the tray.

Water may quickly become scarce in a disaster or an emergency. This quick video will show you how to easily access a common source of fresh clean drinking water (Watch Video Here)

Best to move this setup to its final location at this point, as it may get too heavy or delicate to move, once the water and plants are put in. A sheletered location with part shade or dappled sunlight is recommended as you don’t want your delicate plants exposed to full sun or wind. The water won’t last as long either!


Pot place in centre of tray

 7. Place as many plants as you want around the terracotta pot.


Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) seedlings in tube pots placed around watering pot

8. Fill the terracotta pot with water.


9. Water each of the plants so some excess water runs from the bottoms of the pots onto the capillary matting to establish the wicking into the potting soil.


10. All complete, a well watered collection of plants. Now, just top up the terracotta pot and it will do the rest.

If the terracotta pot accidentally runs dry, re-fill it with water and re-water the individual plant pots to re-establish the wicking.


Some Useful Hints & Tips

This can be scaled up in size too without any problems. this is another setup I have which is almost twice as large, approximately 1.5′ x 2′ in size, which has been in place for a few months. It’s located on the east side near a fence where it gets a bit of morning sun, and dappled or indirect light around noon.

Aquaponics Systems – Everything You Want To Know About Aquaponics System.If you are interested with Aquaponics System and want to learn to build it,there is a solid guide teaching you how to get started the right way. This guide called “Aquaponics 4 you”(Watch Video Here)

This is where I put small seedlings and freshly rooted cuttings to keep them safe from drying out, and to establish them a bit further till they are ready to plant.


This system of watering, which is essentially what is termed “sub-irrigation” (watering plants from the bottom up), also allows seedlings to develop strong root systems, which make them much stronger when they are planted out in the garden later on.

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Since the moisture wicks up from the bottom, and the plants roots will grow towards the source of moisture, the sedlings develop a deep, strong and extensive root system. Be careful because they will grow really well, and will set roots into the capillary matting!

You can add a sheet of root control matting over the capillary matting if you want to avoid the plants rooting into it, and the retailers that sell capillary matting also sell the root control mat .

Also, if you really want to give the seedlings and extra boost, you can add a nutrients or fertilizers to the water in the pot. In keeping it all organic, I’d recommend trying things like seaweed extract, worm casting liquid, or compost tea. You’ll be surprised at the accelerated growth rate due to the supply of constant moisture and nutrients!

How to Make Amazing Hard-Boiled Eggs That Are Easy to Peel

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 27, 2015

Hard-boiled (also known as hard-cooked) eggs are notoriously easy to mess up. We’ve all ended up with tough, rubbery egg whites and overcooked yolks that have that unappetizing gray-green ring around the edge. An ideal hard-cooked egg has a firm yet tender white, while the yolk is creamy and well-done without being mealy.


How & Why Do Eggs Firm Up When You Boil Them?

Both parts of the egg—the yolk and the white—are rich in proteins. Those proteins are made up of chains of amino acids that normally come in compact, folded units. When those amino acids are exposed to heat or chemicals, they change form or become denatured. That means the bonds that held the protein together are now broken.

The newly denatured proteins unfurls and seeks other denatured proteins. Next, they link together to form a three-dimensional matrix. In cooking terms, that means the egg white and yolk are turning from translucent and gelatinous to solid. This same process happens in fish, chicken, and meat.


The higher the temperature and the more heat you apply, the more tightly denatured proteins enmesh themselves, forcing out any water. That’s why overcooking an egg or a piece of meat causes it to become dry and rubbery. In order to perfect your hard-boiled eggs, you need to apply heat gradually and gently.

Now that you understand the science behind cooking eggs, let’s cover the steps to making perfect hard-boiled eggs and how to easily peel them.

Step 1: Use Older, Almost Bad Eggs

Eggs that are 7 to 10 days old are ideal to make hard-boiled eggs that will peel easily, says Shirley Corriher, author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking. Researchers discovered that older eggs are more alkaline, which makes it easier to remove their shells. For more help on finding the perfect eggs for hard-boiling, check out our guide on determining the real expiration date of eggs.


Step 2: Add Baking Soda to the Cooking Water

Because older eggs have more alkaline, you shouldn’t add vinegar to the cooking water, though some recipes recommend it. Adding about a teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water increases the alkalinity, which will make the eggs easier to peel later on.


Step 3: Center the Yolks (Optional)

If you’re making deviled eggs or some other recipe where you need to have the yolks of your hard-boiled eggs centered, you may want to take an extra step. Wrap a rubber band around a carton of eggs and store it on its side or pointy side down overnight and your yolks will be centered.


A really old-school method to centering yolks involves twirling the eggs. According to Corriher, Cordon Bleu students in London are required to do this for several minutes before cooking. Thankfully, there is an easier way.

Over at, food stylist foodnphoto stirs the eggs clockwise for several minutes as they boil, then stirs counterclockwise for several more.

Luc-H points out why this works: “The yolk is held in the middle of the albumen (white) by 2 spring like strands at each end called chalazas. If the egg sits still in any position, the yolk will sag down but by spinning and twirling it, it will center itself. In boiling water it’s only a question of waiting until the egg white congeals around the yolk to keep it centered.”


Step 4: Warm Up Eggs to Prevent Cracking While Boiling

A cracked egg is a sad hard-boiled egg: usually the egg white leaks out and makes the whole shebang harder to peel properly once it’s done.

You can warm eggs in two ways: take the eggs out of your fridge and let them sit until they’re at room temperature, or put them in hot tap water for up to five minutes. An extreme change in temperature is the most common reason why eggs crack during the cooking process, which is why you want them at room temperature and to cook them at a gentle simmer.

Either way, this will make it easier to remove the shells without also removing large chunks of egg white later on.


Step 5: Prick the Bottom of the Shell (Optional)

Some swear by pricking the bottom of the shell (otherwise known as the fat end) with a thumbtack to prevent cracking. Chemistry professor Arthur Grosser explains that every egg has a pocket of air inside (as we’ve shown you in our guide to telling when eggs are really expired), and pricking the shell allows the air to escape. Otherwise as the egg cooks, the air is forced against the fragile shell, causing it to crack.


Others argue that pricking the shell makes the structure weaker and more likely to crack under the pressures of cooking. It’s up to you. This is where cooking gets fun—experimentation.

Step 6: Start with Cold Water

There are fans of the method where you lower eggs into boiling water, but that requires more steps and the results aren’t as reliable. Starting with cold water is less fussy.

Besides, as J. Kenji López Alt of Serious Eats points out, “if we drop the eggs directly into boiling water, the exterior heats up much faster than the interior; by the time the very center of the yolk reaches 170 degrees, the white and outer layers of yolk are hopelessly overcooked.”


Step 7: Give the Eggs Enough Room

Use a deep, heavy pot with a lid that’s wide enough to hold all the eggs you’re boiling in one layer and deep enough so you can have enough water to cover the eggs by one inch. A flimsy pot or pan won’t do: it will conduct heat unevenly and leave you with inconsistently cooked eggs.


Step 8: Start the Burner & Prep an Ice Bath

Place your eggs in the pot, add a teaspoon of baking soda, and turn the heat to medium-high. Now here’s the fun part: you get to watch water (almost) boil. While you’re waiting, prep an ice bath that’s deep enough to cover the eggs. You could peel them under running water, but that seems like a waste of natural resources.


Step 9: Turn Off Once Simmering Strong (But Not Boiling)

You really need to watch the pot, however, because you need to turn off the heat once the water begins to simmer enthusiastically, but before it comes to a full, rolling boil. Your egg is going to cook from the outside in, so if they sit too long in boiling water, the whites will probably be on their way to rubbery.

Overcooking eggs is also the culprit for that nasty gray-green sheen to the yolks. Egg whites contain iron and cook more rapidly than the yolk, which contains sulfur. If an egg is overheated, the iron and sulfur react to one another, and create that greenish tint. It’s not harmful to ingest, it’s just not very pretty—and it means your egg is most likely overcooked.


Step 10: Remove from Heat & Wait

Remove the saucepan from heat and cover it with a lid. Wait 10 to 12 minutes. I don’t like draining water from a pot of hardboiled eggs—I’ve gotten hit by the spatters or had the eggs roll into each other and crack before I could properly chill them, making them harder to peel.

Step 11: Give Them Their Ice Bath

I remove eggs from hot water one by one with an ice cream scooper and lower them into the ice bath. Wait until eggs are completely cool before you peel. As Russ Parsons of the L.A. Times points out, eggshells are porous and the shock of plunging them into ice water will help separate the shell and membrane from the flesh of the egg.

Step 12: Peel Those Hard-Boiled Egg Pain-Free

Now, there are lots of recommendations for ways to perfectly peel an egg, but I like to crack, roll, and then peel the egg underwater. Others recommend a similar method. Some things are classics for a reason.


How to Make Your Hard-Boiled Eggs Even Better

If you want to go a step further, after you’ve cooked and peeled them, turn the hard-boiled eggs into heart-shapes for a more decorative snack (and don’t forget to save those eggshells—you can reuse them for other things later). You can also try out the “Golden Egg” method, which is basically scrambling the egg in its shell before you boil them. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s definitely on my bucket list.


What’s your favorite way to cook, crack, and peel an egg?

Do You Have An Aquaponic System? Tables, Information, Handy Definitions, Everything You May Need To Help Understand Different Aspects of Aquaponics!

Posted on August 1, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 1, 2015

Sustainability has many faces, and it should! We all have different strengths, our regions have different needs, and we can all contribute in different ways. So sometimes you can contribute to sustainability by gardening with no water, and sometimes you can contribute by using only water. Using water as the growing medium allows us to grow a lot of produce in small spaces.

Aquaponic gardening isn’t limited to expensive, elaborate set ups like hydroponics, and it isn’t as prone to bad bacterial overgrowth as aquaculture.

After learning what aquaponic gardening is and how it is implemented, you  may want to give it a shot!

What is Aquaponic Gardening?

Aquaponics is the marriage between two water-based cultivation methods. Hydroponics grows plants in nutrient-fed water, while aquaculture is the raising of fish. Combining the two methods into one process makes the entire system more efficient and productive.

Hydroponic plant growth yields intensive results – several times what normal growth brings. But the plants must be fed heavily. The water in both aquaculture and hydroponics has to be cycled out and replenished frequently, as well which can be both wasteful and work intensive. On top of that, hydroponic systems can be unwieldy and expensive.

Aquaponic methods grow plants in water, but they are fed by the growing fish. The fish create beneficial bacteria  and waster that help to feed the plants, and the plants keep the water cleaner when the water is cycled back to the fish. Because the two work together, the negatives of each are minimized so you are growing both plants and fish.

And both elements are healthier as a result.

Where Can You Make an Aquaponic System?

Did you ever imagine you could raise fish in your garage? Don’t be overwhelmed! Aquaponics can be set up in any space, for a reasonable investment and effort. In fact, the simplest aquaponics demonstration is some herbs pulled and floated on a mini pond.

Start with one aquaponics container to get a feel for it. You can purchase a system, but DIY is just as effective and much more affordable. A patio or porch, backyard, or garage work well for aquaponics. You want access to drain it if necessary and not run into problems should something go wrong and spill!

Hydro growing methods have high intensity yields – you will get a lot of return!  If you start with one, you can get an idea of the effort and yields. Then you can plan to establish just the containers that you need. If you already grow your fruits and veggies traditionally, you will be surprised at the increase in volume!

Aquaponic Resources for Further Learning

Before you get started, learn all you can about potential aquaponics methods. There is no one way to make it work, as long as you can facilitate optimal bacterial growth. Learning from the mistakes and successes of others will help you to avoid frustrating and potentially costly experimentation.

Aquaponics methods and background.

A step by step tutorial for a backyard aquaponics system.

Aquaponics systems can be a great experiment for the bored gardener, a new way to be sustainable, and a high efficiency way to get big returns from a small space. Take some time to look into the details, then let us know what methods you plan to use.

If you’ve already started an aquaponics system, what did you learn in the process?

There are many really useful diagrams out there that people have posted but I can never remember where to find them, even some of my own that I have uploaded to the forum several times and I feal bad using more space for diagrams that.

And here is a diagram of one way to do an NFT system but using a gravel filled grow bed to provide filtration.

Another Simple  system design

 pH and tap water information.

I want to make sure everyone knows that the pH of your tap water immediately after you draw it from the pipes, may not be real pH of your tap water.

This is some info that I didn’t originally know it is caused me all sorts of confusion. Water from the pipes or well is often depleted of O2 and full of CO2 the carbon dioxide in the water forms a weak acid which will give a lower pH to the water if measured right away. If you take that same water and let it air (run it through a system or put it in a bucket with a bubbler) to let the CO2 escape then test the pH again, the pH will often be much higher. Example, my well water comes out of the tap with a pH of about 7 usually and after outgasing, it will have a pH of about 8.

This is important to know when doing water changes in a system that is likely to settle with a much lower pH or if dealing with a system that is not fully cycled and you are having high ammonia since higher pH makes ammonia more dangerous to your fish.

It is also good to know this info about tap water when dealing with pH balancing issues. If you are trying to hold a pH around 7 and adding lots of tap water causes pH to go up, then you want to keep water changes and additions small so the system can bring the pH into line without lots of bouncing.

Water hardness and fish health

Each species of fish has its own very narrow range of pH preference and levels outside of this range will cause health problems. For example, koi prefer a range between 7 and 8.5, while some tropical fish prefer water that is slightly acidic. There are several ways that pH can affect fish health

High acidity or alkalinity can cause direct physical damage to skin, gills and eyes. Prolonged exposure to sub-lethal pH levels can cause stress, increase mucus production and encourage epithelial hyperplasia (thickening of the skin or gill epithelia) with sometimes-fatal consequences.

Fish also have to maintain their own constant internal pH. Even small fluctuations of blood pH can prove fatal. Extreme external or water pH can influence and affect blood pH, resulting in either acidosis or alkalosis of the blood.

The other consideration is diurnal shifts in pH, mainly as a consequence of photosynthesis as explained above. Large, fluctuations – even though they may still be within the preferred range – are likely to be stressful and damaging to health.

As well as fish we should bear in mind that nitrifying bacteria in the filter also have a narrow pH range preference between 7.5 and 8.6.

Changes in pH will affect the toxicity of many dissolved compounds. For example, ammonia becomes more toxic as pH increases.

Variances in pH will also exert an effect on some common disease treatments, so it is important to take account of pH (and usually water hardness) when using treatments. For example, chloramine-T is more toxic in at low pH, while potassium permanganate is more dangerous at high pH.

Aquaponic Advantages:

  • Probiotic environment: The presence of good microbes makes it much harder for the bad kind to establish themselves. For example, a key battle in hydroponics is root rot and pythium. This is usually not a problem aquaponics. In hydroponics, you are always trying to maintain a sterile system to keep bad microbes out, whereas in aquaponics, good microbes do the job for you.
  • One input for two outputs: Although hydroponics is less expensive at the start, aquaponics has the advantage of reusing waste as an input for another product. So for your one input, you get a protein source on top of the plant harvest.
  • Water conservation: Hydroponics may use less water than soil growing, but you still have to dump the solution usually after each harvest due to the build up of salts and bad microbes. In aquaponics, water changes are rarely required and water loss is usually only from evaporation and plant respiration.
  • Education and Fun: Aquaponics is also great way to get kids interested in healthy eating. It’s much more fun and educational and it’s a great teaching tool for biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Healthier Plants that Taste Better: Aquaponics has also been shown to outperform hydroponics once the system has reached maturity (usually takes 6 months). Plants can grow more quickly, more healthily and often taste better in a well-balanced optimized aquaponic system. This is offset however by the fact that it’s easier to get a hydroponic system up to it’s peak potential.

These lists are not meant to be comprehensive but are a starting point to help the hobby grower make some decisions. On the commercial level there are many other considerations not listed here starting of course with the market you are going after as well as the risks and costs involved with each method.

Recommended Plants and Fish in Aquaponics

The fish and plants you select for your aquaponic system should have similar needs as far as temperature and pH. There will always be some compromise to the needs of the fish and plants but, the closer they match, the more success you will have.

As a general rule, warm, fresh water, fish and leafy crops such as lettuce and herbs will do the best. In a system heavily stocked with fish, you may have luck with fruiting plants such as tomatoes and peppers.

Fish that we have raised in aquaponics with good results:

  • tilapia
  • blue gill/brim
  • sunfish
  • crappie
  • koi
  • fancy goldfish
  • pacu
  • various ornamental fish such as angelfish, guppies, tetras, swordfish, mollies

Other fish raised in aquaponics:

  • carp
  • barramundi
  • silver perch, golden perch
  • yellow perch
  • Catfish
  • Large mouth Bass

Plants that will do well in any aquaponic system:

  • any leafy lettuce
  • pak choi
  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • arugula
  • basil
  • mint
  • watercress
  • chives
  • most common house plants

Plants that have higher nutritional demands and will only do well in a heavily stocked, well established aquaponic system:

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cucumbers
  • beans
  • peas
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • bananas
  • dwarf citrus trees: lemons, limes and oranges
  • dwarf pomegranate tree
  • sweet corn
  • micro greens
  • beets
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • onions
  • edible flowers: nasturtium, violas, orchids

 If you want to be successful in aquaponics, start with a proven system! 

We offer systems for:

  • home food production
  •  aquaponic systems


Aquaponics is a great alternative to the current farming methods and can improve food security. Here are several reasons why this is the case:

  • It doesn’t rely on oil
  • It doesn’t depend on low welfare standards
  • It doesn’t depend on high feedstuff input
  • Prolific chemical use to meet margins is not required

Aquaponics mimics biology and can be used on a small scale in your own backyard or house, and also on a community level which would educate and enable people to grow their own food to benefit many on a personal and economic scale.

The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 24, 2015



Why dry?

Drying (dehydrating) food is one of the oldest and easiest methods of food preservation. Dehydration is the process of removing water or moisture from a food product. Removing moisture from foods makes them smaller and lighter. Dehydrated foods are ideal for backpacking, hiking, and camping because they weigh much less than their non-dried counterparts and do not require refrigeration. Drying food is also a way of preserving seasonal foods for later use.

How dehydration preserves foods

Foods can be spoiled by food microorganisms or through enzymatic reactions within the food. Bacteria, yeast, and molds must have a sufficient amount of moisture around them to grow and cause spoilage. Reducing the moisture content of food prevents the growth of these spoilage-causing microorganisms and slows down enzymatic reactions that take place within food. The combination of these events helps to prevent spoilage in dried food.

The basics of food dehydration

Three things are needed to successfully dry food at home:

  • Heat — hot enough to force out moisture (140°F), but not hot enough to cook the food;
  • Dry air — to absorb the released moisture;
  • Air movement — to carry the moisture away.

Foods can be dried using three methods:

  • In the sun— requires warm days of 85°F or higher, low humidity, and insect control;  recommended for dehydrating fruits only;
  • In the oven;
  • Using a food dehydrator — electric dehydrators take less time to dry foods and are more cost efficient than an oven.

Preparing Fruits and Vegetables for Drying

Many fruits and vegetables can be dried (Table 1). Use ripe foods only.

Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water and cut away bruised and fibrous portions. Remove seeds, stems, and/or pits.

Table 1. Fruits and Vegetables Suitable for Drying
BananasSweet corn
PineapplesPeppers (red, green, and chili)

Most vegetables and some fruits (Tables 2 and 3) should undergo a pretreatment, such as blanching or dipping.

Blanching is briefly precooking food in boiling water or steam, and it is used to stop enzymatic reactions within the foods. Blanching also shortens drying time and kills many spoilage organisms.

Table 2. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Vegetables
VegetableBlanchingDrying time
Beetscook before drying3½–5
Cornnot necessary6–8
Garlicnot necessary6–8
Horseradishnot necessary4–10
Mushroomsnot necessary8–10
Okranot necessary8–10
Onionsnot necessary3–6
Parsleynot necessary1–2
Peppersnot necessary2½–5
* Dried vegetables should be brittle or crisp.
Table 3. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Fruits
FruitBlanching*Drying time
MethodTime (mins)
Figsnot necessary6–12
Grapes: seedlessnot necessary12–20
Pineapplesnot necessary24–36
Plumsnot necessary24–36
* Fruits may be dipped in ascorbic acid or citric acid in place of blanching.
** Test for dryness by cutting the fruit. There should be no moist areas in the center. Times are estimated for use of the dehydrator or oven methods.
+ Drying times for whole fruits. Cutting fruit into slices may shorten drying time.

Steps for steam blanching (fruit and vegetables):

  • Use a steamer or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid that contains a wire basket or could fit a colander or sieve so steam can circulate around the vegetables.
  • Add several inches of water to the steamer or pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Loosely place fruits/vegetables into the basket, no more than 2 inches deep.
  • Place basket into pot (fruits/vegetables should not make contact with water).
  • Cover and steam until fruits/vegetables are heated for the recommended time (Table 2 and 3).
  • Remove basket or colander and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place fruits/vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for water blanching (only):

  • Use a blancher or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Fill the pot two-thirds full with water, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Place vegetables into a wire basket and submerge them into the boiling water for the recommended time (Table 2).
  • Remove vegetables and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for syrup blanching (fruits only):

  • Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, and 2 cups water in a pot.
  • Add 1 pound of fruit.
  • Simmer 10 minutes (Table 3).
  • Remove from heat and keep fruit in syrup for 30 minutes.
  • Remove fruit from syrup, rinse, drain, and continue with dehydration step.

Dipping is a pretreatment used to prevent fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches, and pears from turning brown. Ascorbic acid, fruit juices high in vitamin C (lemon, orange, pineapple, grape, etc.), or commercial products containing ascorbic or citric acid may be used for dipping. For example, dipping sliced fruit pieces in a mixture of ascorbic acid crystals and water (1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals per 1 cup of water), or dipping directly in fruit juice for 3 to 5 minutes will prevent browning. Fruits may also be blanched as a means of treatment.

Drying Fruits and Vegetables

Natural sun drying

Sun drying is recommended for drying fruit only. Sun drying is not recommended in cloudy or humid weather. The temperature should reach 85°F by noon, and the humidity should be less than 60 percent. Outdoor dehydration can be difficult in Virginia and other southern states due to high humidity. All food that is dried outdoors must be pasteurized.

  • Dry in the sun by placing slices of food on clean racks or screens and covering with cheesecloth, fine netting, or another screen. Food will dry faster if racks are placed on blocks and the rack is not sitting on the ground.
  • If possible, place a small fan near the drying tray to promote air circulation.
  • Drying times will vary (Tables 2 and 3).
  • Turn food once a day. Dry until the food has lost most of its moisture (fruits will be chewy).
  • Fruits should be covered or brought in at night to prevent moisture being added back into the food.

Drying with a food dehydrator

  • Place food dehydrator in a dry, well-ventilated, indoor room.
  • Arrange fruits or vegetables in a single layer on each tray so that no pieces are touching or overlapping.
  • Dehydrate at 140°F. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • See Tables 2 and 3 for drying times.

Oven drying

  • Dry food in an oven that can be maintained at 140°F. Leave door 2 inches to 3 inches ajar. Place a fan in front of the oven to blow air across the open door.
  • Spread the food in a single layer on racks or cookie sheets. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • Drying time will vary (Tables 2 and 3). Do not leave oven on when no one is in the house.
  • Oven drying is not recommended in households where children are present.

When food is dehydrated, 80 percent of the moisture is removed from fruits and up to 90 percent of the moisture is removed from vegetables, making the dried weight of foods much less than the fresh weight (Table 4).

Table 4. Pounds of Dehydrated Food from Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits (20 lbs)Dehydrated weight  (lbs)
Fresh vegetables (20 lbs)Dehydrated weight (lbs)
Snap beans
Squash (summer)1½–2

Pasteurizing Sun-Dried Fruits

All sun-dried fruits must be pasteurized to destroy any insects and their eggs. This can be done with heat or cold. To pasteurize with heat, place dried food evenly in shallow trays no more than 1 inch in depth. Fruits should be heated at 160°F for 30 minutes. To pasteurize with cold, fruits can be placed in the freezer at 0°F for 48 hours.

Conditioning Dried Fruits

Dried fruits must be conditioned prior to storage. Conditioning is the process of evenly distributing moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth. Condition dried fruit by placing it in a plastic or glass container, sealing, and storing for 7 days to 10 days. Shake containers daily to distribute moisture. If condensation occurs, place fruit in the oven or dehydrator for more drying and repeat the conditioning process.

Storing Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Cool-dried food should be placed in a closed container that has been washed and dried before storing. Home-canning jars are good containers for storing dried foods. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Dried foods can maintain quality for up to a year depending on the storage temperature. The cooler the storage temperature, the longer dehydrated foods will last.

Reconstituting Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Dried fruits and vegetables may be reconstituted (restoring moisture) by soaking the food in water. Time for reconstituting will depend on the size and shape of the food and the food itself. Most dried fruits can be reconstituted within 8 hours, whereas most dried vegetables take only 2 hours.

To prevent growth of microorganisms, dried fruits and vegetables should be reconstituted in the refrigerator. One cup of dried fruit will yield approximately 1½ cups of reconstituted fruit. One cup of dried vegetable will yield approximately 2 cups of reconstituted vegetable. Reconstituted fruits and vegetables should be cooked in the water in which they were soaking.

Making Safe Jerky

Jerky can be made from almost any lean meat, including pork, venison, and smoked turkey. Jerky made from meat is of particular concern because dehydrators rarely reach temperatures beyond 140°F. This temperature is not high enough to kill harmful microorganisms that may be present on meat. Before dehydration, precook meat to 160°F, and precook poultry to 165°F. For best results, precook meat by roasting in marinade.

Meat preparation

To prepare meat for jerky, make sure that safe meat handling procedures are followed.

  • Clean: Wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. Use clean utensils.
  • Chill: Store meat or poultry refrigerated at 40°F or below prior to use. It is important to thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator. Never thaw meat on counter tops.

Slice partially frozen meat into strips no thicker than ¼ inch. Trim and discard any fat. Meat can be marinated for flavor and tenderness. Many marinade recipes can be used, including this recipe taken from Andress and Harrison, 2006.

Simple Meat Marinade Recipe

  • 1½ – 2 lbs lean meat
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hickory-smoke flavored salt

Combine all ingredients. Place strips of meat in a shallow pan and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to 2 hours or overnight. Heating meat to reduce chances of food-borne illness should be done at the end of marinating. Bringing strips and marinade to a boil for about 5 minutes will accomplish this. Drain.

Drying meats

Drain strips on a clean, absorbent towel. Place strips in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch or overlap. Dehydrate at 140°F until a test piece will crack, but not snap, when bent. Remove dried strips from rack and cool.

If the meat strips were not heated to 160°F in marinade prior to drying, you may want to do this in an oven after drying. Place the dried strips on a baking sheet and cook at for 275°F, or until meat reaches 160°F. This process adds an additional safety step to the process.

Storing meat jerky

Meat strips should be packaged in glass jars or heavy plastic storage bags. Jerky can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks in a sealed container. For the longest shelf life, flavor, and quality jerky, store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Other Backyard Poultry-Geese.Raising And Caring For Goslings

Posted on August 22, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 22, 2015

Ducks and geese are hardy and fairly easy to raise. Their brooding requirements are simple and they don’t need special housing or equipment, but they can be MESSY! No joke, they are as messy as they are adorable. Luckily, because of their rapid growth and early feathering, they do not require as long a brooding period. The easiest way to raise goslings is of course by a broody geese, or even a willing broody chicken (as can ducklings):

Raising goslings artificially can be an equally rewarding pastime, not least because baby waterfowl are surely some of the cutest creatures of the poultry world. This article breaks down their basic needs and help you prepare and care for for your goslings.


If you are raising your goslings artificially, you will need a brooder to keep them in. Brooders need to be big enough to comfortably accommodate the goslings for a few weeks (depending on the weather) and have a heat source to keep them warm until they have enough feathers to help them regulate their body temperature.

Though many people prefer to brood goslings in their house, an outside brooder house, for example a partitioned off section in a barn or outbuilding, would be easier to manage (think: mess). For the brooder house a wood, concrete, or dirt floor is good. Allow about 1.5 square feet of floor space per gosling and cover the floor with about four inches of absorbent litter, for example wood shavings, ground corn cobs, cottonseed hulls, peanut hulls or peat moss. (**Do not brood goslings on newspaper as the slippery surface can cause foot and leg problems). For the first few days, I’d put some old towels in the brooder, followed by thick pine shavings.

Dampness tend to be more of a problem with ducklings and goslings than it is in brooding baby chicks, so regular removal of wet litter and frequent additions of clean, dry litter is recommended.

For brooder ideas, browse through this thread:

Goslings need to be kept warm enough for the first few weeks, until they have sufficient feathers to help maintain and regulate their body temperature. For the first week aim to have a warm area in the brooder, maintaining the temperature there at around 85*F. This temperature should be reduced about 5*F per week until 70*F is reached. Artificial heat is usually only required for first 5-6 weeks and in good weather, the young goslings can be taken out to pasture from a very young age.


The behavior of the young goslings will be an even better guide than a thermometer. When the brooder temperature is too high, you will notice the goslings crowd away from the heat source. Too high temperatures may result in a slower rate of feathering and growth, so if you see this kind of behaviour, adjust the heat source and temperature as needed.

When the temperature in the brooder is uncomfortably cold, goslings tend to huddle together under the brooder heat source or pile up in corners. Keeping a heat lamp on the goslings at night and during the day, when it’s chilly, will discourage this. When the brooder temperature is just right, the goslings will be comfortably distributed over the floor of the brooder house.


The best food for growing goslings is a formulated starter feed that will meet their nutritional requirements. UNmedicated chick starter can be fed, if waterfowl feed is not available, but take note that the feed you are using contains only those additives approved for ducks and geese and that you will need to supplement it with niacin as needed. (Brewers yeast added to the feed or water is a good safe source of niacin for growing goslings.)

Please note: Certain types of drugs that are sometimes included in chick starting and growing mashes for coccidiosis control can be harmful to goslings. They may cause lameness or even death.

Whether you buy a commercial feed, or mix your own home-made rations, make sure the feed you are using meets he minimum nutritional requirements for goslings, which are:

 According to Storeys Guide to Raising Poultry insufficient or imbalance of calcium, vitamin D, or phosphorus can cause rickets. Symptoms are weak birds with stiff or swollen joints, soft beaks, and soft leg bones. Slipped tendon is a leg weakness usually caused by a deficiency of manganese. Choline, niacin, and biotin deficiency may also have a part in it. The shank and foot remain flexed and extend laterally from the body and there is flattening and enlargement of the hocks. Vitamin E deficiency causes staggering, incoordination and paralysis. Curled toe paralysis is caused by a deficiency of riboflavin. Vitamin A deficiency may cause pustules to develop in the mouth, esophagus and crop and cause death. The best and safest feed for growing goslings is a specially formulated waterfowl starter and raiser.

Goslings can be fed fresh grass clippings from when they are a few days old, in addition to their regular feed, not as a replacement. Make sure if you feed this, that you provide grit.

Make sure your goslings always have fresh, clean water available. They will make a huge mess of it, so be prepared for this! Geese need to be able to put their heads in water to clean their nares, so it’s always good to have water deep enough for them to do this, even tiny goslings. Don’t put deep bowls of water in the brooder that are big enough for the gosling to climb into, or attempt to climb into. Remember these are waterfowl. They love water and they love swimming. A plastic bowl with a lid, with a large enough hole cut in the lid that the goslings can get their heads into, will make a perfect waterer.


When the weather is mild enough, goslings can be let out and allowed to graze on pastures or lawns when they are only a few days old. Grass is the natural food of goslings and you can save a lot of money in feed by providing good pasture throughout the goslings’ growing period. At five or six weeks of age they can feed themselves entirely on good pasture, although some supplemental feeding is recommended until the birds are completely feathered.

If you are in a position to plant a pasture or area specially for grazing geese, Ladino clover makes fine pasture for goslings. Other types of white clovers also are very good, as are most varieties of grasses. In Missouri, bluegrass, orchardgrass, timothy and bromegrass can be use. Small grains such as barley, wheat and rye can make excellent early or fall pasture. Goslings or geese are not fond of sweet clover, lespedeza or alfalfa (lusern).

For large numbers allow about one acre of pasture for each 20 to 40 geese. The amount required varies on the size of the goslings and quality of pasture, but whenever possible, more is always better. When the pasture is poor quality, feeding supplemental grains will be necessary.

Keep goslings out of the rain and off wet grass for the first few weeks, especially when the weather is cool. If the weather is hot, make sure they have adequate shade.

Make sure that the pasture and green feeds you use do not have any chemical treatment that would be harmful to your flock.


Swimming can start during their first week, if brooded inside where temperature can be regulated. A good place to let them have their first swim is in the bath tub, or in a large enough pan, or tub. For the first week, fill it with enough nice warm water (not too hot!), just enough to reach the top of the goslings’ legs. After the first week, make the water deep enough to allow them to dive underwater. Let them play for about 5-10min to start with. ​Do not let them swim unattended! Stay with them until their play-time is up. After swimming, pat them dry and place them right back into brooder to finish drying. If they are brooded outside and by mothers are brooding some recommend waiting until the goslings are 3-4 weeks before setting up a pool that they can get in an out easily. It is very important they can get in and out of their swimming pools easily (place bricks inside the pool and out stacked or provide ramps). If they tire out and get cold they can die. 

The Straight Poop on Using Chicken Manure as Fertilizer [VIDEO]

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 21, 2015


Chicken manure is chock full of nutrients that will benefit your garden .

This spangled hamburg is one of eight birds in my backyard flock. As a typical laying chicken, she lays between 250 and 300 eggs a year. Over that same period of time, this typical chicken — tiny though she seems — will produce roughly 90 pounds of manure. Multiply that by 8 birds and that’s a lot of poop. For some that doesn’t mean much more than the chore of mucking out the coop a few times a year. For the home gardener, however, that manure is worth its weight in…fertilizer. Chicken manure must be used carefully, but is among the most desirable organic fertilizers and will give your garden soil a spectacular boost without spending a dime.

If you want more ideas about how to build a chicken coop read this article-

Chicken manure is chock full of nutrients that will benefit your gardening plot. Topping the list is a healthy dose of nitrogen. While this is great news for a gardener dealing with nitrogen deficient soil, this also makes this manure very “hot.” Plants, especially young plants, that come into contact with fresh chicken manure will be “burned” by the nitrogen content and will quickly wither. Fortunately, there are several good methods for appropriately aging chicken manure for use as a fantastic natural fertilizer.


Chicken manure is a superstar for composting. It can be added to an existing compost bin, but does just fine combined with carbon-based matter such as fallen leaves or dry grass clipping and left in a pile or corralled in chicken wire bins. Left unattended, the compost will be ready for use as fertilizer in 6-12 months. Turned occasionally, waiting time is reduced to just 4-6 months.

Manure “Tea”Composting is one of the important function in the nature which replenishes the soil with essential elements to support life on earth. Composting is a simple but complicated process. People have aversion for composting just because of lack of understanding.

We make waste and throw it outside just because we are less imaginative, less creative and do not bother about others. In my previous video on landfill you can see the plight of a village which is being dumped with waste from a city. Dont we feel ashamed of it? Dont feel inhumane?

Let us do composting at home / work. It is simple, joyful and creative. It is a big step towards building a zero waste society. I made this video to encourage people who are living in cities and always complain about lack of space for doing something. We have to find space in our mind. Then it can work even in a pot! Unleash your creativity and enthusiasm to contribute to save our Planet!

Fill a burlap sack with manure and weigh it down with a couple of bricks or a large rock. Place the sack in a large plastic trash can and fill the can with water. This can be a little messy, but reduces your wait time to just 3-4 weeks and yields a nutrient-packed brine than can be used to treat garden soil or water individual plants.

We all know that a good dose of manure or compost is the perfect Rx for your garden and yard. We also know the local garden store charges a steep price for brewing manure and compost tea. Well, worry no longer, we’ll show you how to brew up your own Manure and Compost tea, quickly, easily and cheaply in a five gallon bucket with just a little cheese cloth.

Off-Season Tilling

If your garden plot will be left dormant in cooler months, fresh manure can be spread over the soil at a ratio of approximately 50 pounds per 100 square feet once the fall harvest is complete. Till the plot to turn the manure into the soil. The soil will be ready to be tilled again in the spring, already packed with nutrients provided by your own backyard flock. Allow 3-4 months for the soil to temper before planting.