• Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week

    Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to know this week

    An overhead shot of the California wildfire from July 18th

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of July 14th-18th :

    1. Typhoon Rammasun Impacts the Phillippines

    Typhoon Rammasun pummeled the shores of Manila on Tuesday, July 15th. After experiencing the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan last year, hundreds of thousands of residents fled to higher ground and worked to shore up their weakened homes in anticipation of more severe storms. Read the full story from Foxnews.com.

    2. California Considers Setting Mandatory Water Curbs

    As a result of the three-year drought impacting California and other states in the West, California lawmakers are considering creating mandatory state-wide water restrictions for the first time during the drought. You’ll be surprised by how much the proposed out-of-pocket fine is for using your sprinkler in California...Check out the full story at foxnews.com.

    3. Chemical Leak Near Thailand’s Eastern Seaport Sickens Nearly 100

    On Thursday, July 17, at least 94 people were exposed to a chemical leak from a ship docked in Bangkok, Thailand. Residents were asked to evacuate the area and to seek medical attention.  Read more about this chemical leak from CBS News. But this is not the first time Thailand has been in the news this summer, read  about the recent political unrest and disaster scenarios people are preparing for in Thailand in our article, “Thailand Natural, and not so Natural Disasters.”

    4. Washington State Wildfires is so Massive it Creates Mushroom-Like Cloud

    Low humidity and 100 degree temperatures have created the perfect conditions for wildfires and large, billowing smoke clouds this week in Washington State. By July 18th, at least 100 homes had been burned. Emergency crews closed sections of U.S. 2 and other main roads across the state. Residents in Leavenworth, WA were asked to evacuate as ash rained from the sky. Read more from the New York Daily News and NBC News.

    5. Scientists identify Mt. Rainer’s volcanic center in detailed photographs

    According to the Science World Report, “Scientists are getting a closer look at Mount Rainier's volcanic plumbing. By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, researchers have made a detailed picture of what happens deep beneath the surface of the mountain.” Learning more about this volcano's internal plumbing helps us better predict and prepare for future eruptions. Check out the rest of the story at scienceworldreport.com.

     

    --Angela 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • Thailand Natural and Not-So-Natural Disasters

     Thailand Natural and Not-So-Natural Disasters

    Some parts of the world seem to experience more than their fair share of hardship. Consider typhoon and tsunami-prone Thailand, whose recent months of political unrest have heaped threats of violence on top of an already naturally precarious region.

    When news broke of the recent coup, travelers and expats were warned to expect everything from flight cancelations to a shutdown of English language news sources. At the beginning of June, CNN reported that “Normality Resumes: Curfews lifted in three Thai hot spots,” but many experts encouraged most people to prepare for any number of disaster scenarios.

    For example, Expatsblog.com noted that in the event of an Internet blackout, travelers and residents would be unable to draw cash from an ATM, and vendors could not process credit cards. An article from AsianCorrespondent.com, a specialized news outlet, passes along recommendations from foreign institutions within Thailand, reminding people to keep electronics charged, to plan on delays in travel time, and to keep in contact with their embassies.

    The US embassy even offers a program to American citizens abroad called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which helps disseminate safety instructions in case of an emergency.

    And, of course, in the midst of all this uncertainty, we’re headed into tropical storm season. Predictions for the 2014 season in the Central Pacific, according to the US State Department, anticipate a normal to “above-normal” season. The same agency (and the same link) provides a useful set of protocols for travelers visiting areas like Thailand in the event of a hurricane or typhoon.

    Weather Underground gives us a nice preparedness checklist for the same situation; and our Hurricane Preparedness mini series (along with a great collection of related resources) can be found in the links at the end of our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane.”

    Whether the disasters we experience are natural, man-made, or both, we can be prepared to ride out the worst.

    To learn more about what’s going on in Thailand, check out the Businessweek article, “Thai Junta Ends Curfew, Puts Out Welcome Mat for Tourists.”

     

    Do you have any experiences dealing with disasters abroad?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, travel, natural disasters, Current Events

  • Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

    |15 COMMENT(S)

    Can you recognize the signs of a Stroke?

    Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

    Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

    So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

    Types of Strokes

    Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

    Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.

     

    Act F.A.S.T.

    Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

    Arm weakness: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech difficulty: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

    Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

    It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

    For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

    There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.

    -Rick

    Sources

    www.stroke.org

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: health, health and wellness, First Aid

  • The World-Renowned Faces Behind CRKT Knives & Tools

    Quality, innovation, and value is what you've come to expect from Emergency Essentials, which is why we’d like to introduce you to a new line of knives and tools that share our same standards from Columbia River Knife & Tool® (CRKT).

    These are no ordinary knives and tools. CRKT® products are created by world-renowned designers who took century-old designs and brought them into the 21st century with modern technology and killer design (no pun intended).

    Tested in the field by their experts and ours, these tools make great additions to your survival gear and camping supplies. And with this Special Purchase, you’ll get all the quality you need and the value you expect from Emergency Essentials.

    Check out these select knives and tools and the CRKT® designers who made them. Or click here to shop now.

    Kangee T-Hawk designed by Ryan Johnson

    Kangee T-Hawk       Ryan Johnson

    With 27 years of experience, Ryan Johnson “has spent the last decade applying modern engineering to centuries-old tool and weapon concepts.” His work has redefined the role of tomahawks in Law Enforcement and Military applications, as well as playing a vital role in the special operations community.

    Ryan is currently president and primary designer at RMJ Tactical, LLC, and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. One of Ryan’s designs is the Kangee™ T-Hawk.

    To learn more about Ryan, check out CRKT’s bio.

    Lil Guppie designed by Launce Barber

    CU-K405s       Launce Barber

    Launce Barber designs new products using what he considers the most fundamental tool everybody shares—our creative minds. With a mindset like that, he continually works on improving designs with new solutions to old problems, even after the product has gone to the shelf. Launce finds it important to partner with leaders in the industry who share his same long-term vision.

    Together, he and Tom Stokes—his long-term engineering and design partner—have created a variety of products which have won numerous awards such as Best in Show (SHOT Show 2003), Most Innovative Import Design of the Year (Blade Magazine 2003), and more. Together, they are responsible for the design of the Lil Guppie.

    To learn more about Launce, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Elishewitz Tao Pen designed by Allen Elishewitz

    Elishewitz Tao Pen       Allen Elishewitz

    Allen Elishewitz’s versatile background as a martial arts expert, Recon Marine, and classical artist has led him to create innovative knife models, as well as luxurious pens and watches. This world-renowned custom knife maker’s work is collected by heads of state, royal families, members of elite Special Forces units, and other notable groups. Over the years, he has received numerous awards for his work.

    He works from his studio in Canyon Lake, Texas and is the inventor of the CRKT® Anubis, Pharaoh, Montu, and Horus folders, and, of course, the Elishewitz Tao Pen.

    To learn more about Allen, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Onion Skinner & Onion Shenanigan designed by Ken Onion

    Onion SkinnerKen OnionOnion Shenanigan Tanto

    Custom knife maker Ken Onion first learned about the custom knife industry in 1989 after spending his childhood fervently collecting any knives he could find. He designed his first knife in 1991 after begging a local knife maker to teach him how—and he’s been designing ever since.

    Ken is a designer, inventor, and member of the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame. He designed CRKT®’s Onion Skinner and Onion Shenanigan.

    To learn more about Ken, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    M16-14 Titanium and M21 Carson Folder designed by Kit Carson

    M16-14 TitaniumKit CarsonM21 Carson Folder

    Kit Carson has made knives for over 30 years. His background in hunting and fishing and his time spent around the world in the Army as a professional soldier have influenced his work as a knife designer. Kit concentrates his work on building solid, functional knives rather than knives that simply follow a fad.

    Kit has been a full-time knife maker since 1993 and has designed the M16-14 Titanium and the M21 Carson Folder.

    To learn more about Kit, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    Ultima 5” designed by Michael and Balthazar Martinez

    Ultima 5"        Michael and Baltazar Martinez

    Michael Martinez and his father, Baltazar E. Martinez, have invented a variety of products over the years, including the redesign of the fixed blade to provide more comfort and control with the patent-pending Ultima. Michael is a former student of R.C. Gorman and specializes in large-scale bronze casting. This sculptor, martial artist, and active club boxer has spent time working privately and in corporate collections internationally, and is the president of Group Design, Inc., along with other design firms and organizations.

    For over 30 years, Baltazar worked for the defense department as a mechanical engineer on a classified nuclear system design. Together, the Martinez’ have created the Ultima 5”- Black Blade with a Veff Combo Edge.

    To learn more about Michael and Baltazar, check out CRKT’s bio.

     

    No matter which knife you choose to use in your adventuring, CRKT® can help make the most out of your experience.

    Which of these knives seems like the best fit for you?

    -Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: weapon, tactical knife, knives, CRKT, gear, survival gear, Survival

  • 8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    We all know that Mountain House food can help you to survive in an emergency, but did you know that an empty Mountain House pouch can help as well?

    8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    Recently, Mountain House’s Instagram page created a series illustrating various ways to re-use a Mountain House Pouch. Here’s what they came up with.

    1. Bet you didn’t know you could use a Mountain House pouch to warm up your sleeping bag . . . Simply fill up an empty (clean) pouch with hot water and place by your feet inside your sleeping bag.

     8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

     

    1. How about using an empty pouch to wash your utensils while camping? This is a great way to conserve water and to get your utensils clean without them getting lost. Simply put soapy water in, close, and shake—no scrubbing required! You could even use the water to clean other small items.

    8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    1. Use a clean Mountain House Pouch as a Waterproof container for your keys, cell phone, and other items you don’t want to get wet while exploring a lake or going white water rafting.

     8 Unexpected Uses for a Mountain House Pouch

    Inspired by Mountain House’s idea, we’ve come up with five more ways to re-use a Mountain House pouch in an emergency:

    1. If you’re lost in the wild and need a container to filter water into, use your empty Mountain House pouch as a container to drink from.
    2. You can carry extra water for cooking and cleaning in Mountain House pouches.
    3. Use a clean Mountain House pouch as a waterproof mini emergency kit (similar to an SOL origin survival pack) to carry with you in your day pack.
    4. Searching for wild edibles, but don’t have a basket or container to carry them back to camp? You can use a Mountain House pouch to collect edible plants and flowers. For plants that need water to stay fresh before cooking, you can add a little water into the pouch.
    5. Lost in the woods and need a way to signal for help? Open up your Mountain House pouch and use the silver lining inside to reflect the sun similar to a signaling mirror.

    Have you ever used a Mountain House pouch or another unconventional tool to help you during a camping trip or emergency? We’d love to hear about your experience!

     

    -Angela

    Photos courtesy of Mountain House Instagram

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: mountain house, food storage

  • Know your Zone: Hurricane Preparedness in the Big Apple

    Know your Zone: Hurricane Prep in the Big Apple

    At the beginning of June, my hometown’s major league baseball team geared up for its annual trouncing by the New York Yankees. Which is why it pains me to say that I’ve discovered something really useful and positive coming out of New York this summer. I’ll be big and put my fanaticism behind me because this is really cool.

    It’s a branch of New York City’s government website called “Know Your Zone,” and it’s a combination of compiled resources and awareness-raising branding, all related to hurricane preparedness. The gist of New York’s hurricane preparation program is the division of the region into evacuation zones, all color-coded on bright and legible maps, and putting in place smooth communication systems to take care of each zones’ residents in the event of a storm.

    As far as I’m concerned, the genius of the site is the way it collects loads of information from several different offices and pages into one place—a sort of one-stop-shopping experience for hurricane preparedness.

    The main page is divided into three sections, with hurricane and evacuation FAQs at the bottom, and useful links and downloads in the middle, including these really smartly designed virtual badges for local businesses’ websites.

     Zone pic

    The top bit, though, is where the real meat is. Large, graphic buttons, with titles like “Find Your Zone,” and “Make a Plan,” send you to other nyc.gov sites, where you can access resources like hurricane evacuation maps or the Office of Emergency Management’s videos and checklists. One of the buttons even shoots you over to the “Notify New York” program, where you can enroll to receive emergency updates via email, voicemail, or text.

     

    What I love so much about this is that it feels like a neighborhood emergency plan, but on a city-wide scale. Anything that serves the dual purpose of preparedness education and bringing communities together in a common effort gets my vote. Even if it does come from Yankee territory.

     

    What does your hometown have in place to deal with large-scale emergencies?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events, hurricanes

  • 20 Must-Have Supplies for a Hurricane

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    20 Must-have supplies for a Hurricane

    The National Weather Service states, “History teaches that a lack of hurricane preparedness and awareness are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.”

    When preparing for a hurricane, it’s important to not only be aware of warning signs and critical information about the storm itself, but also to know about the types of supplies you should have on-hand during the storm.

    The following list provides some basic preparedness supplies, as well as special items to help you face hurricane-specific challenges.

    Top 20 must-have supplies for a Hurricane

    1. Water: 1 gallon per person per day for 2 weeks. Don't forget water for cooking, cleaning, and your pets, as well as water purification and filtration supplies.

    •  Fact: According to those who experienced Hurricanes Wilma, Katrina, and Sandy the most important item to have during a Hurricane is water, which quickly sold out at grocery stores. If you live in an urban setting or small space, an Aquapod is a great place to store water before the storm hits.

    2. Food Storage: At least enough for 3 to 7 days. In addition to having non-perishable packaged or canned food, you’ll also want to have fuel to cook outdoors in case the power goes out.

    3. Solar Power:  If the power goes out, you can easily run a solar generator in your home without worrying  about propane, gasoline, or other flammable chemicals. Even having a small solar panel like a Nomad 7 to charge your cell phone or small electronics can go a long way in a power outage.

    •  Fact: During Hurricane Sandy, several residents discovered their solar panels didn’t restore their power. In fact, many residential panels are connected to the power grid; if the grid goes down, so do your panels. However, using portable solar panels can help you have a reliable source of electricity, when the power goes out. Check out Goal Zero’s portable and durable solar panels to help you weather a storm.

    4. WaterProof Containers: For storing important documents (copies of wedding license, special family photos, social security card, driver’s license, map of area, etc.)

    5. Cash: Have cash on hand in small denominations, including change. At least $20.

    6. Manual Can Opener: Make sure to have a manual can opener in case of power outages. You’ll definitely want a way to get into your food storage cans. Try the Swing-Away Crank-Turn Handle Can Opener.

    7. WaterProof Matches: If you don’t have waterproof matches, you can also store regular matches in a plastic container to keep them safe and dry.

    8. Essential Kits and Medications: First-Aid Kit, Emergency Kit, prescription medications.

    9. Sanitation Supplies/Personal Hygiene items: It’s important to keep your hands clean during an emergency to prevent the spread of disease. If your hands are caked with dirt or other substances, hand sanitizers become ineffective. If your tap water isn’t safe, wash your hands and bathe with boiled or disinfected water. Only bathe with clean, safe water in a water-related emergency like a hurricane. Wait for officials to tell you the water is clean and safe for bathing.

    •  Fact: Poor hygiene and sanitation can spread disease, especially in a natural disaster. According to a John Hopkins Red Cross study, more people die from unsanitary conditions, rather than the natural disaster itself, in some cases. So make sure you have a way to get clean!

    10. Light and Communication: Make sure to have a battery-operated radio, flashlight, clock, or wind-up clock (include extra batteries); tune in to NOAA weather radio for constant updates on the storm and water conditions.

    11. Extra Clothes, Pillows, Blankets: Stored in your emergency kit or a waterproof container.

    12. Hurricane Shutters or Storm Panels: Consider installing hurricane shutters or storm panels if you live in a hurricane-prone area. Hurricane shutters protect your windows and doors from wind and flying debris. There are commercial shutters you can buy, or you can also install your own using plywood. For a guide on picking and making shutters, check out this weather.com article.

    •  Fact: During Hurricane Andrew, much of the damage “resulted from failure of windows and doors. These failures frequently lead to interior wall failure and sometimes roof failures.” This damage could have been prevented if shutters were installed in most homes.

    13. Entertainment items: Cards, board games, toys, drawing pads

    14. Flood Insurance, Home and Property Insurance: Look into flood insurance, if you don’t already have it, to cover damage in case of a storm. Also, check out your current insurance coverage to determine if hurricanes and other natural disasters are covered under your policy.

    15. Evacuation/Communication plan: Be sure to practice your plan and be familiar with it before a storm hits.

    16. Plastic Sheeting/Tarps: After a hurricane, you can use plastic sheeting or tarps to cover any holes or damage to your roof until it can be fixed. Make sure your tarps are in good condition; heavy winds can easily damage them. Note: Installing a tarp on your roof is dangerous, check out these tips for safely installing a tarp.Plastic sheeting with a bit of duct tape is also great for patching leaks.

    17. Tools/Supplies for securing your home—Make sure to have a drill with a screwdriver bit to secure hurricane shutters. Also, have roof and window repair tools, rope, leather gloves, shovel, head and foot bolts for doors, and hurricane straps or clips to help hold the roof and walls up.

    • Fact: A common myth about hurricane preparedness is that using duct tape to secure your windows will reduce shattering, but recently, experts from the National Hurricane Center have been de-bunking this myth. They suggest that taping your windows “can create larger and deadlier shards of glass when winds blow through a home,” increasing the danger. Instead, look into buying or making your own storm shutters.

    18. Insect Repellent: This is a product that may be overlooked when packing our emergency supplies, but it’s good to have, especially in a hurricane.

    • Fact: Heavy winds and sitting pools of water often attract mosquitos after a hurricane. Mosquitos arrive in the area after being blown off trees and shrubbery—and they’re usually hungry, so make sure you have your insect repellent on hand.

    19. Child care and Pet care items: Make sure to have food, wipes, clothing, and other items to take care of your children and pets, if needed.

    20. Whistle and Flares: Do you know why you should have a whistle in your Hurricane emergency kit?

    •  Fact: During hurricanes, whistles are excellent tools to help you signal for help. Whistles are more effective than yelling or shouting because they can signal for help well beyond the range of your voice and with a lot less effort, allowing you to conserve energy. Whistles are one of the most commonly listed items to include in a hurricane emergency kit by hurricane survivors.

    For more tips on preparing for a hurricane, check out our downloadable/printable “Before a Hurricane Checklist.”

     

    Have you lived through a Hurricane? What Other Supplies would you add to this list?

    -Angela

     

    Sources

    Photo Courtesy of Weather.com

    National Weather Service Quote http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/resources/Hurricane%20ENG.PDF

    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/9710472/ns/us_news-katrina_the_long_road_back/t/millions-begin-recovery-wilmas-aftermath/#.U7roY_ldXy0

    New York Times article (Solar Power in an emergency—ways to tap into it when the grid goes down)

    http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/center-for-refugee-and-disaster-response/publications_tools/publications/_CRDR_ICRC_Public_Health_Guide_Book/Forward.pdf

    http://www.ready.gov/food

    http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/sanitation.asp

    http://www.weather.com/life/safety/hurricane/article/hurricane-safety-shutters_2011-11-15

    http://www.mnn.com/family/protection-safety/sponsor/6-tips-to-prepare-for-a-hurricane

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2011/08/26/repelling-mosquitos-after-the-hurricane-deet-vs-dengue-fever/

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/08/25/hurricane-myths-fact-or-fiction

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-experts-stop-taping-windows-for-storms/

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Insight

  • 5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    During my regular news trolling last week, I came across an AP headline that several of the big outlets had latched onto, titled “5 Things to Know About Hurricane Season.” You can read the same article from ABC News, Yahoo news, or The Washington Times, depending on your preferred association. But no matter how you access it, the upshot seems to be that it’s a year to breathe easy. El Niño’s back, which, the article claims, means warmer weather and both fewer and less intense storms. This is great news, considering hurricane season officially began June 1st, and I would really rather work on my tan than stock up on emergency candles during all this beautiful weather.

    Except maybe not.

    The Weather Channel, acting in its official capacity as the smart kid that nobody likes, has put out its own “5 Things” list, which isn’t, but could be subtitled, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable Yet.” In particular, the article points out how complicated and unpredictable a factor El Niño is (depending on geographical location, the warmer currents of El Niño can either lessen or increase the severity of storms), and reminds us that “below average” storm systems can still be devastating.

    For those of us who live in areas that are at all prone to hurricanes, this is not the time to get casual in our preparations. Fingers crossed that we don’t have a repeat of 2004, but, as the Weather Channel put it, “Perhaps a big anniversary will remind Americans it's possible, and it could happen again.”

    In case you missed the re-post a couple of months ago, our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane” includes a thorough list of downloadable resources and links to our 5-part Hurricane Preparedness mini-series.

     

    What are your best tips for hurricane preparedness?

     

    -Stacey Birk

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, Hurricane, natural disaster

  • Microgreens: What They are and How to Grow Them

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    If you’ve never heard of microgreens before (or you’ve heard of them but don’t know much else), I have a major treat for you today.

    What are Microgreens?

    Microgreens come from the same seeds as regular greens, they’re just harvested much earlier. So, depending on the type of seed, you could actually do four things with them: sprout them, grow microgreens, grow baby greens, or let them grow to full-size heads of lettuce (or broccoli, or radishes, or whatever).

    Microgreens: What they are and how to use them

     

    What are the Benefits of Microgreens?

    “Cuteness” aside, microgreens have some great benefits for homesteaders, preppers, and urban gardeners:

    1)      Many microgreens may have more nutrients than their adult counterparts, according to this article from NPR.

    2)      They have a turnaround time of about 14 days from planting to harvest.

    3)      You can grow them in very little space—raise them in a windowsill, on your counter top, or in a little corner of an existing greenhouse.

    4)      They’re an easy, efficient way to get the familiar flavor, color, and texture into your food storage meals—think micro cilantro on your favorite tacos—and makes more meals possible, like a nice leafy salad (without the expense and labor of a full-grown garden).

    What Kind of Greens Can I Grow?

    If you’re worried about variety, you can put those fears to rest right now. A Google search for microgreen seeds landed me tons of sites to choose from, and from a quick glance at a few of those sites, here are some of the varieties I saw:

     

    Amarinth Arugula Basil
    Beet Broccoli Brussel Sprout
    Buckwheat Cabbage Cauliflower
    Celery Chard Chia
    Chives Cilantro Clover
    Collard Greens Curly Cress Endive
    Fennel Garlic Chives Kale
    Kohlrabi Leek Mizuna
    Mustard Parsley Pea
    Radish Sunflower Turnip

     

    How Can I Grow Microgreens at Home?

    It’s easier than you might think to grow microgreens. Follow these steps, and you’ll be in business:

    1)      Pick a fairly shallow tray (3-4 inches high). Make sure it has drainage holes. A lid is also really helpful.

    2)      Fill it with 1.5-2” of damp potting soil.

    3)      Scatter the seeds evenly across the soil. Don’t sow too many, but you can sow many more than you normally would if you were growing full-size veggies.

    4)      Use a board to gently press the seeds into the top of the soil.

    5)      The you can either:

    • Cover the seeds with a damp paper towel, which you’ll keep there until the greens need light
    • Use a fine-mesh sieve or colander to scatter a shallow layer of soil over the seeds.

    6)      Water well (but don’t overwater) to get things started, and keep the soil damp but well-drained until harvest.

    7)      Attach the lid, and put the tray in a sunny area. (If it gets too warm, these tender little greens can burn, so vent the lid if it seems like the container needs to cool down a bit).

    8)      Water regularly so the soil stays damp (but not soaked), and enjoy watching your greens grow!

    9)      Harvest at around 14 days. To harvest, simply cut the stems just above the soil line with a pair of sharp scissors.

    10)  Compost the used soil, and start again!

    How do I Use Microgreens in Recipes?

    Use your imagination to come up with great ways to use your harvest! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    1)      Make a microgreen salad—treat the greens just like you would full-size greens.

    2)      Use them in place of full-grown lettuce on sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, tostadas, or any other recipe where you’d typically use lettuce.

    3)      Add them to soups for a fresh flavor and a slight crunch.

    4)      Top off a delicious appetizer with just the right hint of flavor.

    5)      Make your food tasty and beautiful by using microgreens as a delicious garnish.

    6)      Juice them.

    7)      Add them to a smoothie.

     

    Have you ever grown or used microgreens? How do you (or would you) use them?

     

    --Urban Girl

     

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/08/29/160274163/introducing-microgreens-younger-and-maybe-more-nutritious-vegetables

    http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/growing-microgreens-indoors

    Microgreens: A Guide to Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens by Eric Franks & Jasmine Richardson

    http://www.growingmicrogreens.com/microgreen-seeds?ps=60

    http://sproutpeople.org/seeds/microgreens/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gardening

  • Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    We’ve talked a lot this year about the destructive drought choking the western US. And while California gets most of the attention (check out UNL’s drought monitor and their frighteningly visual perspective on California’s situation), other states are suffering, as well. In fact, the drop in a single reservoir is affecting residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah—and California! This headline from the Daily Mail sums up the dangerous situation:

    “Satellite images reveal mud-choked Lake Powell is LESS than half full and has hit a record low as the Western drought continues to strain major reservoirs”

    The article, which features a chilling image gallery of the barely recognizable vacation spot, reports that Lake Powell currently sits at 42% of its capacity, with experts estimating that this year’s snowmelt will only bring it up to about 51%. And it’s not just bad news for boaters. The man-made reservoir serves as a source of drinking water for 20 million people living across the west, and the Glen Canyon dam that regulates the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to the area.

    While forecasters predict a cool, wet “El Niño” year for 2014, Eric Holthaus over at Slate.com explains why that won’t be enough to recover from this decade-plus long dry spell in his article, “What Does El Niño Mean For Me?”. With no end in sight, then, how can we…er…weather this storm?

    For ideas on ways to prepare against the effects of severe drought, check out these helpful posts:

    And for a recap of this year’s drought and its unexpected effects, read here:

     

    What are you doing differently this year because of the drought?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, drought, Current Events

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