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Seed that Feeds and Saves!

January 27th, 2013
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If you’re like the millions of people making New Year’s Resolutions for 2013, eating healthy and saving money may be at the top of your list.  Sadly, we now live in a world where it’s inexpensive to buy processed foods, and costly to purchase healthy foods; making many believe that eating healthfully while saving money is an oxymoron. Yet, many are discovering that a simple garden is quite the financial stimulus during these dark economic times, while providing plenty of fruits and vegetables for the whole family. What could you do with the extra money saved from your garden?

Planting your own home garden is as trendy as ever, especially when we see Michelle Obama planting her own family garden at the White House, and seed sales (and prices!) increasing by upwards 20% year on year. Luckily this means that there are plenty of resources out there that can help you build a successful garden.  Below are our top 5 reasons to ditch the grocery store and instead, invest in and plant a simple garden while bulking up your wallet.

The Top 5 Reasons A Garden Can Save You Money

1. Bruce Butterfield, a researcher at the National Gardening Association claims that one well maintained garden is able to return (on average) $1 and ½ pound of vegetables per square foot.  You can increase your savings even further by cutting down on capital costs.  This means that forgoing fencing, fertilizer and preventing weeds by planting closer together may increase your returns.

2. A study at the University of Arizona found that 40-50% of American food goes to waste, while each family throws away almost $600 a year on groceries. Gardening allows you to customize exactly what and how much you would like to grow, reducing unnecessary food waste.

3. According to W. Atlee Burpee Co., every $1 you spend on seeds is able produce at least $25 in fruits and vegetables.  This means that investing $50 in seeds could eventually yield $1,250 in groceries – wow!

4. MSN claims that fruit trees, lettuce, herbs, vine vegetables and bell peppers are less costly if grown in your own backyard.  If you can resist expensive gardening gadgets and unnecessary expenses, these vegetables will give you the most bang for your buck.

5. Freezing, canning and drying vegetables grown in your garden can increase the cost-benefit ration even higher.  Plus, saving leftover vegetables means you can eat healthy all year, with no additives or chemicals normally used in preserving. There are countless online resources that give detailed instructions on this process.

 Do you grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs? How much are your estimated savings a year?

 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Lavender – The Flower of Distrust

January 19th, 2013

They say that every flower has its meaning when it is given as a present. It may express good feelings but also doubt and warning. The lavender, it is not exactly clear why, is it due to its color which is usually not connected with good feelings or due to some story, in the language of flowers is connected with the distrust. Besides this fact it is very nice and useful flower, which has found its place in many industries and is grown in many parts of the world.

It belongs to the mint family and is native to the Old World. It was also found in the Canary Islands and on Cape Verde. Some of the uses of the lavender are connected with growing it as ornamental flower. It is also used as herb and the nice lavender oil is extracted from it. With the time due to the specific shade of the violet color in which this plant is growing even a special color appeared in the English language with the name of the flower.

It is natural that everybody has seen lavender but still it will be briefly described with few words. The shape of the leaves is diverse. In some species that are commonly grown they are simple, and in others are pinnately toothed. However in almost any species the leaves are covered with fine hairs, when actually is the oil extracted from.

The flowers grow in whorls, and they are higher than the foliage.

The most common type of lavender that you can see is called the English lavender. This flower is grown in gardens, which means that it is too far from its original ground of a wild plant. That is why in many case it can be very invasive for the other flowers in the garden. In many countries in the past lavender was growing so much that it was declared as a weed in Australia and in Spain.

As for the conditions to grow best lavender from the above said you can guess that this plant does not need much water to grow. The soil has to be very well drained for it. Grainy and sandy soils can be the best choice for the plant. The direct sun is also very necessary. No matter what type of lavenders you choose to grow you have to take good care of them as you are regularly fertilizing them. The good air circulation is also very essential for the plant. Do not risk planting the lavender seeds in areas with high humidity. It can develop fungus on its roots and this can turn into a huge problem.

In large quantities the flower is usually grown for the extraction of the above mentioned lavender oil. When use in the medical and cosmetic industry it can have very strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

The English lavender has more sweet notes and is mostly used in cosmetic products like shower gels rather than in medicine.

Like most of the plants the lavender also have reserved place in the kitchen and cooking. The honey which the bees produce from the flower of the lavender is marked worldwide as one premium quality product. The flower of the lavender allows to be candied and makes beautiful decoration on cakes and candies. There is special group of baked products made and flavored with the so-called lavender sugar.

When added to a dish it gives it really nice sweet flavor and can be successfully combined with sheep or goat milk.

 

About the author:

Nicole is a passionate  writer, devoted mum and housewife. She enjoys writing about healthy home organizing. Read more at http://www.sendflowers.org.uk/

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The Best Bug Out Bag Essentials

January 5th, 2013

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, city dwellers and suburbanites discovered that you no longer have to be a spy or military personnel to take advantage of a bug-out bag. That is, an easy to carry bag packed full of the important essentials needed to evacuate your home quickly. Some of the largest challenges after the superstorm were battling the cold due to electrical outages, (a shocking 8.1 million homes and businesses lost power), being caught without shoes and warm clothing, and having to walk for miles to get food and supplies.

The best bug out bags will prepare a family for at least 72 hours after evacuation (three days is the average time for help to arrive in an emergency situation). With extra emergency supplies on hand, a family can evacuate quickly and with little notice, and are better able to help others instead of waiting for help to arrive.

Why Do I Need A Bug Out Bag?

Creek Stewart, a survivor skills guru asserts that there are four major threats to prepare a bug out bag for: 1) Natural disasters including superstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc., 2) Technological failures effecting dams, nuclear plants, and power grids, 3) Pandemics or epidemics, and 4) Terrorist attacks including biological threats, dirty nukes, nuclear war, and bombs.

How To Choose A Bug Out Bag:

Choose a bag, or even two bags, based on utility rather than aesthetics. Depending on your family and work situation, it may be ideal to pack two bags: one in the home and one in the car. You also want to consider your physical strength, and the number of people you are packing for. The ideal bag is under 10 pounds, has the ability to expand, and includes some room to strap items to the outside. Choosing a bag with well-fitting straps can also increase what you’re able to take with you comfortably.

What To Pack In Your Bug Out Bag:

*Water and a safe water purification system: boiling water is the most effective way to purify a water source, and purification tablets are a good second option.

*Non-perishable food and a means to cook it: this includes canned goods, power bars, a cook set, a mini stove, and at least 2 can openers.

*Shelter: consider packing a lightweight tarp, pop-up tent and lightweight blankets.

*Solar powered or battery-powered lighting and radios: be sure to include several packs of backup batteries.

*Personal medications: multivitamins, anti-diarrhea medications and bug repellents are also recommended.

*Personal hygiene items

*A first aid kit: soft-sided kits are the most compact and flexible.

*At least several hundred dollars in small bills and coins: keep cash in a waterproof tube, and expect most ATM’s to be down.

*Warm clothes and comfortable shoes: packing several layers (including waterproof layers and extra socks) may be the easiest way to manage temperature changes. Rolling clothes optimizes space the best.

*Tools: multipurpose tools save space and have a variety of uses. Rope, duct tape, a whistle, a pry bar, fire starting materials, and a fixed blade knife can also prove very useful in an emergency situation.

*Protection and self-defense: protect yourself and your property with peppers spray and/or a handgun, and practice using both safely before an emergency occurs.

*Additional items worth bringing: a map of your surrounding area, signal mirror, sun block, glow sticks, a compass, fishing lures and a line, hand sanitizer, a deck of cards and a book (for boredom), bandanas, and at least 3 evacuation routes

***Friends, what are the essential items in your bug out bag?

 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Why You Should Add Disaster Preparedness To Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 5th, 2013

2012 may be remembered as the year when we realized how disasters of many kinds could affect any of us. With the year coming to a close, and in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, becoming more disaster prepared is topping many New Year’s resolution lists.

Below are our top 5 reasons for adding disaster preparedness to your New Year’s resolutions. How will you become more disaster prepared in 2013?

5. Community, local government and disaster relief organizations often are unable to get to everyone quickly.  This became very evident during Hurricane Katrina, but was also an issue during Superstorm Sandy. During the superstorm, city police and fire departments quickly became inundated in the relief effort, and did not have the equipment or resources necessary to help many families trapped in their homes amidst rising floodwaters. Furthermore, relief organizations sometimes need to focus their efforts elsewhere in an emergency. Therefore, preparing for at least 3-5 days of survival can mean the difference between thriving or eating out of a dumpster.

4. Being prepared can help reduce fear or anxiety about unexpected disaster. If you live in an area affected by natural disasters, planning and taking appropriate measures to secure your house and emergency needs can reduce these fears. To ease your nerves, start small. Secure items that can shake loose if you live in an earthquake prone area. Or, begin flood proofing your home by relocating valuables to higher floors. As the year progresses, more preparedness measures should be underway.

3. You and your family can become self-reliant in an emergency situation, and care for your own basic needs. Families can and should prepare to become self-sufficient for at least three days in a disaster (the average number of days before rescue). This includes having access to a survival garden, and the means to provide shelter, warmth, first aide, emergency food, water, and sanitation, and protection in an emergency.

2. You can help others. Preparing your own family early this year can mean more opportunities to secure additional emergency items for others in need.

1. You can reduce the risk of losing a loved one, a family pet, and valuable possessions. Keeping your loved ones safe from harm is the leading reason disaster preparedness is essential in 2013. Check out our other disaster preparedness posts to ensure your family, pets and valuables stay safe in a survival situation. Share the information with your family, and teach your children what to expect and how to respond in an emergency.

-Tips For Sustaining A Survival Garden

-Five Tips For Prepping

-How To Prep An Apartment Or Small Living Space

-Survival Gardening: Boosting Your Disaster Prepardeness

-Canning 101

Here’s to a safe and well prepared 2013!

 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside: What You Can Grow Indoors

January 5th, 2013

Baby it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to deprive your inner gardener of fragrant herbs and fresh vegetables this winter. In well-insulated homes with temperatures kept above 60 degrees F., growing plants indoors can be an ideal environment for both young and mature plants.

Growing Herbs Indoors: Most herbs can grow very well indoors, and require minimal maintenance. Place herbs near a bright window, and ensure they do not come in direct contact with the window. If a sunny window this winter is hard to come by, your next best option is supplementing their sun exposure with grow lights.

The best herbs to grow indoors are perennial and do not require significant sunlight. These include flavorful herbs like chives, marjoram, oregano and rosemary. Herbs like basil, parsley, sage, and thyme grow well indoors, but keep in mind that they require strong sunlight to thrive.

Growing Vegetables Indoors: To successfully grow vegetables indoors, choose small vegetables that do not build lengthy root systems. Delicious varieties of beets, carrots, eggplants, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes all have relatively short root systems and will do well in a container next to a sunny window. Leaf lettuces like Bib and Boston are also quite easy to grow from seed indoors, using a small container.

While your herb garden may not require supplemental light, the shorter and darker days of winter may not provide vegetables with the 6-8 hours of sunlight required to survive. Using fluorescent lights that provides a full UV spectrum or grow lights can make all the difference. Ask your local garden center which lights will work best for your vegetable needs.

Tips For Growing Plants Indoors:

*Keeping a fan nearby can regulate plant temperature, and will help to properly circulate the air to prevent mildew and fungus from forming.

*You may need to water indoor plants a little more often, as winter heaters tend to keep soil pretty dry. Water plants when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

*Plants need darkness as well as sunlight in order to survive. Set a timer on your fluorescent lights, and don’t get overly ambitious about providing excessive supplemental sunlight.

*Add a time released fertilizer to plants as needed. Do some research on all of your plants, as different plants require varying amounts of fertilizer. Generally, plants that are growing rapidly will require more fertilizer than plants that are slow growing.

 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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5 Reasons To Start A Garden in 2013

January 1st, 2013

Instead of the usual New Year’s resolution to battle the bulge, why not vow to learn something new? Starting your own garden is a rewarding activity to master, and is the perfect resolution for those that also want to get outdoors more, save money, and eat healthier. Plus, you don’t have to wait for spring to begin. Start an indoor garden of fresh herbs on January 1st!

Our Top 5 Reasons To Start Your Garden In 2013

Reason #1: You’ll have easy access to fresh food, grown organically and sustainably. Instead of driving to the grocery store to pick up perhaps some not-so fresh vegetables that have traveled great distances, take out the middleman this year. With some planning, you can build a garden with everything you enjoy just a few steps from your kitchen. Be sure to choose seed varieties that are organic and non-GMO to ensure your family is also eating healthfully and sustainably in 2013.

Reason #2: It’s personally rewarding. From seed to harvest, the joy of watching your garden grow and flourish can be a rewarding experience like no other. Many avid gardeners attest that they enjoy being out in the garden so much; they continue to do so through lifestyle changes, growing age, financial circumstances, and busy work lives. They find that the surprising personal rewards go beyond having your own source of food (though, that is rewarding too!).

Reason #3: It gets the entire family outdoors: Gardening is more than just growing food and flowers. It’s a way for kids and adults to stay active and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Plus, FitDay says that the average gardener burns 230 calories an hour. Now that beats watching TV any day!

Reason #4: You can save some cash: Even if you start small, you can slash your food bill by planting a garden. In fact, the nonprofit National Gardening Association produced a study that determined an average family spends just $70 a year on a small to medium-sized vegetable garden. For many families, that means thousands of dollars in savings. Now the real question is, what could you spend the extra cash on?

Reason #5: It’s a hobby you can teach and share with others. Gardening offers a unique opportunity to integrate the greater community into the benefits of growing your own food. Whether that means showing your grandchildren how to water a garden, or starting a community garden – gardening has a way of connecting people together.

Sending warm and heartfelt New Year wishes to you from all of us at Humble Seed!

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