Getting The Most From A Fall Raised Bed Garden

Although I have a large, fenced in garden, I wanted to give it—and myself!—a rest this fall. Of course, I also still wanted access to the freshest, home-grown carrots, lettuce, beets and other cool-weather crops.

To that end, I just put in a new raised bed made from reclaimed pallet wood. (For the sake of food safety, I made sure to use only heat-treated wood and finished it with plain flaxseed oil.) The raised bed is close to my house and rain barrels, so I shouldn’t have to work as hard to care for it.

The 16-square-foot space is also small enough that I won’t need to spend hours weeding or cultivating.

Read more: Disassemble pallet wood to save money and resources on your raised bed project! 

Initial Prep

That’s not to say that putting a fall garden in a new raised bed is effortless. Several factors can influence the quality and quantity of produce I’ll be able to coax out of the small space. First, I located it in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun daily.

As important, I’ve taken real pains to keep nibbling critters out. Before I filled the 1-foot-deep bed, I put down a thick layer of cardboard. Then I used landscaping pins to secure two sections of hardware cloth. This should keep burrowing animals from accessing the garden from below.

Subscribe now

To facilitate drainage, next I filled the bottom 5 inches with dead tree branches and dried-out plant stems. (I’d been saving these to shred and add to my compost pile, but I had plenty of extra material.) Then I added a few loads of plain garden soil. After that, I mixed in a couple loads of finished compost.

Although it’s not always easy, I’m no longer relying on peat moss. So, I filled the remaining few inches of my raised bed with a peat-free mix.

The recipe comes from Briana Bosch, owner of Colorado-based Blossom & Branch Farm. It includes four parts Foxfarm Coco Loco Potting Mix, one-and-one-half parts compressed coconut coir fiber, and one-half parts green sand.

Read more: Say goodbye to peat moss with these alternatives.

Choosing My Veggies

Plenty of veggies can tolerate fall’s cooler temperatures. Some of these include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kale, lettuce, peas, and spinach. And, with fewer insect pests around, fall is a good time to grow some of the trickier ones.

For instance, in the spring, the flea beetles invariably find my broccoli. I’ve had better luck with this particular crop during the fall.

Since the first average frost in my area is still a few months away, time-to-maturity wasn’t too big a factor. I would have enough time to grow most any fall crop. However, I focused on growing vegetables I actually like—especially super-sweet carrots and sugar snap peas.

I also chose many cut-and-come-again types, so I can enjoy ongoing harvests…

Continue reading here

POLITICO Pro: Privacy bill triggers lobbying surge by data brokers

“Just because data brokers have spent the last 20 years making millions of dollars off of our personal data because Congress hasn’t passed a privacy law doesn’t mean it should continue to be legal,” Caitriona Fitzgerald, deputy director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of D.C.’s best-known privacy advocacy groups. “The bipartisan consensus behind ADPPA is that we need to rein in these abusive data practices, not codify them into law.”

Read the full article here (subscription required).

Continue reading

Whip Inflation Nonconformably: We can at least effectively hedge against inflation.

In recent months, I’ve had several consulting clients ask me about how they might protect themselves from the ravages of inflation. The official rate of inflation is now at 9.2%, but everyone knows that the real-world rate is somewhere north of 14%. I’m offering some concrete suggestions that I will relate in this essay, but first, let me digress into some history:

According to the Wikipedia article about the WIN campaign:

“[President Gerald] Ford had taken office in August 1974 amidst one of the worst economic crises in US history, marked by high unemployment and inflation rising to 12.3% that year following the 1973 oil crisis. As a Republican, Ford favored the WIN campaign’s emphasis on addressing the problem through voluntary actions of citizens, instead of price restrictions imposed centrally by a big government bureaucracy.

The campaign began in earnest with the establishment by the 93rd Congress of the National Commission on Inflation, which Ford closed with an address to the American people, asking them to send him a list of ten inflation-reducing ideas. Ten days later, Ford declared inflation “public enemy number one” before Congress on October 8, 1974, in a speech entitled “Whip Inflation Now”, announcing a series of proposals for public and private steps intended to directly affect supply and demand to bring inflation under control. Suggested actions for citizens included carpooling, turning down thermostats, and starting their own vegetable gardens.”

Ford’s WIN campaign had lackluster success, mostly because it failed to address the real roots of inflation, which the U.S. Treasury’s monetary policy and the credit policy of the Federal Reserve banking cartel. To his credit, Ford came into office at the tail end of a five-month long Arab oil embargo, an already weak economy, and already high inflation. This was when the term “stagflation” was popularized. Ford served as President for just 895 days. In 1974, inflation peaked at just over 12%.

Granted, the consumer price index dropped from 9.1 percent in 1975 to 5.8 percent in late 1976. But that had more to do with credit tightening and the business cycle than anything accomplished by the WIN public relations campaign. Inflation surged again under President Jimmy Carter. By the summer of 1980, dollar inflation was peaking at 14.5%.  It was only a tighter credit environment triggered by the Federal Reserve’s higher interest rates that finally brought inflation under control. But this of course came at a cost: Interest rates that were so high that they nearly killed the U.S. economy. According to the Freddie Mac data, 30-year mortgage interest rates averaged 16.63% in 1981. Some 15-year mortgages were written at a whopping 19.5% annual rate.

Inflation in 2022

Let’s jump forward to 2022.  Interest rates are now climbing, but not nearly enough to combat   inflation. The economy is slipping into recession. Government spending is out of control. Layoffs are looming, and the housing market has peaked. Stagflation is back!  It now appears that the Federal Reserve will not…

Continue reading

What School Should Have Taught You

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By the author of The Faithful Prepper and  The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

What school should have taught you is a lot different than what it actually does. And real life is a lot different than what they teach you to be prepared for in high school. And I suppose when I say ‘what they teach you in high school,’ I mean the collection of stuff that it’s very difficult and rare to incorporate into your day-to-day life.

At least in my case, I left high school having taken a lot of calculus tests but then going out to live on my own and trying to figure out how the heck I was supposed to find an apartment, what some of the very basics of insurance were, and trying to learn everything else that is typically associated with “real life” as quickly as possible. Granted, I’ve used geometry a few times, but calculus has remained on the shelf.

While my chemistry class did teach me how to sleep in a sitting position, which has been helpful at the occasional wedding (you get away with it if you bring a nice gift), I found that this skill doesn’t really help one to put bread on the table. And the bits and pieces I gleaned about the proper way to balance a chemical formula? Well, they didn’t really help me out much.

The high schooler complaint – “We’re never going to use this!” – is largely correct.

I have since learned that I should really go back and give my English teacher a thank you, but the great bulk of what I learned was, in fact, rather pointless.

How on earth was it that I had spent years in high school – a place I guess I had always assumed would teach me what it was that I needed to know – and then left to discover that I really didn’t know anything of practical value? I mean, I wasn’t a completely helpless case, but most of everything that I really needed to know I learned from my mom and dad.

I suppose that’s largely the way it’s supposed to be, but shouldn’t high school be worth some value?

(Looking for something else to read as well? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to what to eat when the power goes out.)

I was pretty frustrated with the entire experience after the fact.

I never let it make me bitter or anything like that, but I did flounder my way through those first few years keeping…

Continue reading here

Europe’s Digital Services Package: What It Means for Online Services and Big Tech

[]By Paul Meosky

[]The EU recently passed comprehensive legislation on platform monitoring, digital free speech, and antitrust, largely directed at Big Tech. On July 5, 2022, the European Parliament adopted the Digital Services Package, comprised of the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) and the Digital Services Act (“DSA”) and first proposed by the European Commission in December 2020. The European Council of Ministers will sign the bills into law this September, and they will take effect in early 2024 (though Big Tech will have to comply within months of entry into force). The Digital Services Package is touted as a “global first,” promising to “safeguard[] freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses.” After years of growing tech reliance and tech consolidation, “Democracy is back.

[]Or is it? Critics have pointed out possible pitfalls in the legislation that may affect free speech, civil society, information access, and security. For example, many civil rights advocates are particularly concerned about a “crisis response mechanism” (“CRM”) added at the last minute and with little public input. The provision is meant to protect citizens from misinformation when lives are on the line, such as during COVID or the Ukrainian conflict. Yet it also concentrates power in the EU executive and could be abused to cripple free speech on the continent. Thus, the CRM, like the rest of the package, is a potential two-edged sword, and its net impact on democracy depends on how it is enforced—if at all. Over-enforcement could lead providers and platforms to over-censor, endangering free expression across the continent, and to be overly-permissive with sending personal data to potentially repressive governments. EFF and Apple have both raised concerns that the DMA’s interoperability requirement could make personal information less secure. Under-enforcement, on the other hand, would erode public trust in the EU and maintain the harmful status quo.

[]The impact also depends on the context of where it is enforced. Human rights organizations have urged lawmakers to consider the precedent the EU will set for the rest of the world, and how powers that promote civil rights in France or Denmark could erode those same rights in Turkey or India. The legislation could even spark a race to the bottom, with platforms over-censoring rather than risking violating the national laws the DSA incorporates. Some of the laws implemented in member states with more restrictive regimes, such as in Poland and Hungary, could conscript Facebook or other large tech companies with caches of personal data into targeting political dissidents and marginalized communities. Even in less autocratic-leaning nations, the EU model may fail. If, as some EU lawmakers have claimed, the Digital Services Package is a “European constitution for the Internet,” then it necessarily reflects European principles that other regions may or may not share.

[]To appreciate the “how” and the “where” of this European approach to a global problem, we must first appreciate the “what”…

Continue reading

These Items Disappear First When SHTF

Stockpiling survival items before the SHTF will prevent you from being among the panicked hordes of the unprepared. Waiting in line to pay price-gouging amounts for both common everyday items and crucial supplies would not only be costly and time consuming, but also potentially dangerous.

Knowing what you need before you need it is the key to spending money only on what you actually need – and not finding empty shelves in place of the necessary items.

The great run on toilet paper of 2020 due to Covid-19 is but one recent history example we should all keep in mind when organizing our prepping budget.

There are many natural or simple ways to live without toilet paper, but this rush to manic stockpiling clearly illustrates just how quickly items will disappear from stores and how rapidly price increases occur, during an emergency.

There were also more vital items that could no longer be found locally or in online stores during Covid, as well. Anyone who was seeking rubbing alcohol or everyday cleaning supplies was surely left disappointed.

Another Great Depression, a second pandemic, or a power grid down emergency could be looming on the horizon, with the duration of any given disaster situation entirely unknown.

Regardless of the reason which prompts an SHTF scenario, the basic stockpiling of item needs remains the same.

Medical Supplies

These Items Disappear First When SHTFThere will be three things immediately in short supply during a SHTF scenario: food, potable water, and medical supplies.

Purchasing and learning how to use the most advanced type of medical supplies that you can afford, might just save your life one day.

An Ingenious Way To Stockpile Prescription Medications At Home

While all preppers stockpile Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol, medical gloves, peroxide, and other common first aid kit items, go several steps beyond and purchase other legally available medical preps such as syringes, medical grade staples, needle and thread for stitching up a wound, IV bag and supplies, non-prescription medication and natural herbal alternatives, wheelchair, supplies to set a cast, as well as surgical and dental tools.

Even if the folks in your tribe do not know how to use surgical or dental tools, someone in your area may but not have access to their supplies and be willing to barter their services in exchange for food, water, or shelter.

Distilled White Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best multipurpose and shelf stable survival items you can stockpile before a SHTF event.

These Items Disappear First When SHTF

Not only can you use it to preserve food, distilled white vinegar is also a wonderful natural disinfectant.

You can use it to make your own cleaning products to help both rid and prevent germs.

Related: 50 Survival Uses For Vinegar

In addition to being used to can food to preserve it, distilled white vinegar can be added to regular milk to turn it into buttermilk…

Continue reading

7 Steps to Control Garden Pests on Your Homestead –

You’ve spent months planning your garden — preparing the ground, ordering heirloom seeds and carefully coddling your seedlings. Transplanting went well and you were anticipating a huge harvest. Unfortunately, the aphids, moths and deer found your garden first.

In an SHTF scenario, you have enough to worry about. The last thing you need is for animals and bugs to get into your garden and steal your precious crops. Here are some reasons why pest control is essential and some ways to keep your food supply safe.

Why Does Pest Control Matter?

Pest control is essential for growing an abundant garden. As a homesteader, your garden is integral to your journey toward self-sufficiency. If you can’t get a handle on pests, you won’t be able to survive off your land. Unfortunately, dealing with meddling creatures can be tricky and highly frustrating.

Many homesteaders want to go the organic route and avoid chemical sprays. These are only short-term solutions and make it more challenging to grow healthy plants the following year. Organic pest control protects the ecosystem while steadily increasing your garden’s resilience to invaders.

Whether you’re ready to live completely off-grid or are preparing for when it’s necessary, pest control is vital to your survival. If bugs and animals have free reign of your crops, they could damage them and affect your yield. They could also eat the best parts and leave you with a few meager vegetables to sustain yourself.

Keeping these varmints out of your garden can help your plants and food supply thrive. With great care, you could end up with hardier plants and delicious, home-grown nourishment.

How to Prepare for Pests

The best form of pest control is prevention. Most homesteaders use a combination of planting strategies and physical barriers to keep their gardens from being overrun. Here are seven ways you can handle pests and keep your harvest safe

1. Know Your Area

Before you can plan how to protect your garden, you need to learn more about the pests in your area. Their preferences and life cycles will affect what prevention strategies you use. Some pests are seasonal, while others can be a problem year-round. Effective prevention methods are different for every animal.

If you live near the Appalachians, deer and groundhogs will be an issue. You may also have to deal with rabbits, aphids, blight, cucumber beetles and hornworms. Although you can stop some pests mid-infestation, others will wipe out your plants so quickly that prevention is your only hope.

The more you learn about local pests, the better equipped you’ll be to outsmart them. For example, you can rotate your crops to avoid larvae some unsavory bugs may have left in the ground the year before. Seasonal row covers and netting can protect plants from animals and pests when they’re most active.

Even weather can have an impact on pests. For example, birds often peck into strawberries because they’re thirsty. Putting bird baths out can protect your crops by…

Continue reading here

Home Repair 101: What is the Most Important Tool and Why You Need It

It feels scary at first when you have nothing handy to get your repairs and renovation started. How often have you needed to fix something around the house and didn’t have the right tools?  

Worse case is if you are missing one of the most important items. And how many times did that thing you needed to fix turn out to be easy if you only had that one piece of tool that simplifies everything? Well, this is one of those times. 

You need to strap your repair belt kits if you see dangling wires, faulty switches, or flickering light bulbs. 

You can quickly get basic tools like pliers, wire cutters, and a few screws from your local construction and electrical supply stores. 

In this post, you will get to know more about the level. 

Yes, a level. 

If you have not heard about it or have seen it from a repair guy but have not used one before, you must read on!

Levelling with YourLevel: The Most important but the Most Underrated Tool

You may be a first-time homeowner or someone living alone in a bachelor’s pad, and one of the first few things you do is to check for drills and power outlets. Check the walls for holes if you can set up your power switches or install some tox to hold any danging wirings.

If these aspects are missing, then you need to start drilling. So you go to your toolbox.

You look for your drill gun. Check! You look for screws and tox. Check. You look for a hammer. Check. But then something feels missing. Do you have the level?

But why would you need that tool in the first place?

What is a level?

To answer that dangling question a while ago, a level is a standard electric measuring instrument, and it is a nifty device that helps you take even surfaces and straight lines to connect one drill hole to another. 

The level is probably the most necessary tool for home repair because it ensures everything is level and even. If something isn’t level, it can look crooked and unfinished. A level is a must-have for any home repair project, big or small.

How does a level look?

The level consists of a horizontal graduated glass tube with internal float, used to determine the horizontality of surfaces. It is also called a spirit level or bubble level.

The Level Concept

You can trace the origin of the level back to the ancient Egyptians. During their time, they used a simple device that consisted of a wooden rod with markings to indicate different levels. The modern-day level was invented in 1661 by English carpenter William Gascoigne.

Are there types of levels?

Yes! There are a few types of levels used for particular tasks.

Different types of levels are used for different purposes. For example, optical levels are used in surveying, while digital levels are used in construction. There are also water levels, which use the principle of buoyancy to measure liquid height, and laser levels, which use a beam of light to indicate a horizontal…

Continue reading here

EPIC, Coalition Comment on Proposed California Rules

EPIC, along with the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Ranking Digital Rights, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, sent comments to the California Privacy Protection Agency regarding proposed regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The Agency was seeking feedback on regulations related to data minimization, limits on sensitive data collection and use, global opt-out rules, service provider and third party restrictions, and more. “Californians’ most urgent need is not for more notices about their rights; it is for substantive, meaningful limitations on the use and disclosure of their sensitive personal information,” the groups told the Agency.

EPIC has previously advised the Agency on the automated decision-making provisions of the Act. In Fall 2021, EPIC, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, and New America’s Open Technology Institute filed comments urging the agency “to continue ‘protect[ing] consumers’ rights’ and ‘strengthening consumer privacy’ at every opportunity, consistent with the expressed will of California voters.”

Continue reading

NPR: Scanning students’ rooms during remote tests is unconstitutional, judge rules

Digital privacy advocates have raised red flags over online proctoring services’ alleged civil liberty violations in recent years. 

In December 2020, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint against five popular proctoring services, including Honorlock, for their “invasive” and “deceptive” data collection practices. Fight for the Future, a nonprofit that created the website BanEproctoring.comcalled the decision a “major victory.”

Read the full story here.

Continue reading