Why we prep
Here’s another reason why you – and your friends and family – should prep:
For the last few days the media has been shaking Trump’s setback on immigration control like a starving dog with a deer hide. And in the process, much of the rest of what he’s done has fallen off the radar.
In Trump’s first 14 days in office, he signed the following executive orders and memorandums:
- The treasury secretary is to review the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law
- Executive branch agencies must first abolish two regulations before creating another
- A memorandum to restructure the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council
- A memorandum directing the secretary of defense to draw up a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS
- An enlarged ban on administration officials working as lobbyists
- A 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven terror hot spots: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan
- The authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall
- The stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities
- The hiring of 5,000 more Border Patrol agents
- The end of “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants
- The reinstatement of local and state immigration enforcement partnerships
- A 30-day review of military readiness
- A revival of the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipelines, to be built with U.S. steel
- A ban on federal funds to international groups that perform or espouse abortions
- The withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal
- The imposition of a hiring freeze for most federal agencies (excluding military) to shrink the size of government
- An instruction to federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare on states and individuals – for all intents, ending the individual mandate
For the life of me, I can’t remember ever getting up every morning so eager to reach my computer and get the latest news. Every day, Donald J. Trump inflicts more outrage on the United Government of America, often on an hourly basis. And because the kleptocrats are so entrenched, they can’t dig themselves out of one Trump-inspired quagmire fast enough to attack even the next one, let alone anything from three days back.
So while all the media focus is on the demand that proven killers have a Constitutional right to enter the United States, the rest of Trump’s agenda (so far) is pretty much getting a pass. And has-beens like Carl Bernstein are declaring that Trump’s presidency is descending into chaos.
More meltdowns are on the way and so are more executive actions. It’s going to be a very bumpy ride, so keep up your prepping. (But what a rush!)
And that’s one of the reasons we prep.
Well I hope you all ordered your seed catalogs and/or made the trip to the local nursery to start looking at the garden seed options available for your area. If you live in a place like me with six additional inches of snow over the last week, that’s about all you can do prepper-garden-wise for a while, except for more research on what works best for where you are.
Today, we’re going to look at the “F” in our WWF mnemonic (Water, Warmth, Fertilizer – remember?). Notice I didn’t use the term “soil.” For one thing, that would screw up the mnemonic; but for another, soil – while important – isn’t nearly as important as the fertilizers it contains, with regards to plant growth.
Think of it like this. Let’s say you bake a cake. You add the right amount of flour, water, and baking powder (and whatever else you need in a basic cake, since this is an analogy, not a recipe). You take it out of the oven and it looks pretty good. But when you stick some in your mouth, it tastes like fluffy cardboard. There’s something missing; something like chocolate, vanilla, sugar, fruit, icing, etc.
The cake is a carrier for all the things that make cake worth eating. And soil is the carrier for the things that make plants grow.
Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
Soil really isn’t even necessary, as hydroponic gardening demonstrates (more on that later). The best soil, optimally, simply performs two major functions: It holds water (but not too much) and it holds minerals (that it releases to your plants on demand).
Most clays are excellent holders of nutrients, but they don’t hold a lot of water and they won’t surrender either nutrients or the water easily to the plants. Sand, on the other hand, will give up water easily; too easily, in fact, and when that water goes, it takes the minerals and nutrients with it.
The very best base soil for gardening is a loam, which is a mix of sand, silt and clay. When you mix a loam with organic materials and fertilizers, you make a soil that will grow almost anything.
If you have a loamy soil in your garden area, congrats. But if you’re like me, you’ll have to modify your existing soil. Doing this isn’t rocket science. For example, I have silty clay soil. Using a rototiller or even just a shovel, I mix equal parts of sand and aged manure into that clay which gives me a light, easily tilled soil.
Another often-quoted (and often overhyped) factor for soil productivity is pH. The pH scale (1 = strong acid; 14 = strong base) is an indicator of how acidic something is. In the case of good growing conditions for most plants, a soil pH of 6 to 7 (neutral – neither too acidic nor too basic) is best. You can determine your soil’s pH with test strips purchased from most nurseries. Or, you can just wing it, like I always do.
Finally, for this week at least, there’s another famous three-letter abbreviation to be considered: NPK.
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NPK is shorthand for the three most important elements in garden soil: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (yeah, potassium is designated by a “K”; go figure). While plants, like humans, need lots of different minerals, these three are the big kahunas:
- Nitrogen (N) – Nitrogen is important for leaf growth on the plant
- Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus is strongly involved in root growth, as well as flower and fruit development
- Potassium (K) – Potassium is needed for a lot of plant functions
Now, having said that, don’t let it freak you out. If you have a source for good aged manure from animals like rabbits, chickens, cows, horses, sheep or goats, just amend your soil with that and you’ll be fine. But if you need to add store-bought fertilizers, you’ll be okay with any brand that contains equal amounts of each of the big three, and you’ll be able to recognize the relative concentrations by the large numbers written on the side of the bag which will read 4-4-4, 10-10-10 and the like.
Here are a couple of websites that will explain these fertilizers in greater detail:
Okay, I’m out of space for this column. But there’s lots of info out there on the Internet on soil optimization, so go exploring.
Next week we’ll take a look at ways maximize your prepper garden space and watering efficiency. So start “cultivating” the friendship of a local farmer with lots of livestock, find a source for sand or topsoil, and keep preparing.