by Barry Bookman, Vice Chair
Hello Again! With the current Stay-at-Home order, what better time to start a garden, especially with fruits and veggies that store well and keep fresh longest.
Why you should consider a garden now:
Currently we are getting food from the grocery store. The key word - currently. What would happen if 10% of truck drivers couldn’t deliver because they were sick or the roads were blocked? Store shelves would run low and once people realized deliveries were reduced, the shelves will be picked clean. Current predictions indicate stores have about three days of stock without replenishment, and that’s assuming normal buying habits. The food distribution network in this country is fragile. Our current pandemic aside, what would happen if there is a large earthquake? Even if bridges survive, much of the other infrastructure may not. It would be very difficult for delivery trucks to get here. People will lose any sense of civility when their food supply is threatened. Growing of some of your own food helps address some of these possibilities.
Where to grow a garden:
Almost anywhere there’s dirt! Most homes have many unused spots to grow things. What better use for that corner of idle land than to make it productive? Raised beds are great family projects and are easy to tend. If you’re in the country, don’t forget to protect against deer and rabbits! If it has dirt, sun and water, you can grow something!
To use indoor or porch space, you can buy or build small garden boxes. For smaller indoor boxes, tomatoes, green onions and herbs are favorites. You can also grow alternating tiered trays of micro greens or sprouts, planting a new batch every week!
What you could grow:
For outdoor gardens, consider vegetables that are easy to grow, prolific, and that store well. Prolific vegetables include: tomato, cucumber, zucchini, squash, bush or pole beans, welsh onion, bulb onion, carrot and potato. With proper care, most of the vegetables will grow into the fall!
Vegetables and fruits that store well without refrigeration include: carrots, potatoes, bulb onions, beans, cabbage, garlic, squash, apples, pomegranates, and most citrus fruits. When planning for long term storage, most fruits and vegetables must be stored separately. There are many ways to store them, but they will all last longer if stored in a cool, dry, dark place and not touching each other.
Canning and pickling, vacuum sealing, dehydrating (can be done in a low oven), and sun-drying are all fun family projects! A quick internet search will help you with ideas and books. Remember we are preparing for myriad threats - If the power or internet is out, books will be the only way to get this information.
Garden vegetable ideas/links:
Long term storage ideas/links:
Together - We got this!
Coronavirus and Prepping
by Barry Bookman - Vice-Chair, PEP-C
On April Fools’ Day 1979, FEMA was created. – seriously.
For years the government has been encouraging people to prepare. Since May 2011 even FEMA has been advising people to prepare for the zombie apocalypse! Of course, they are having fun teasing “preppers” but their advice is good. Google “FEMA zombie apocalypse” – I kid you not!
PEP-C members have been advising people to prepare in general, but we’ve been emphasizing preparing for the “big one”, a large earthquake involving the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Washington has had a “big one” about every 300 years. The next big quake could strike this hour, or not at all. Scientists just don’t know.
There are many types of disasters that could happen, from natural to man-made. If you are well prepared for an earthquake, you will be well prepared for other events. The coronavirus is different than an earthquake in that infrastructure is intact and the grocery supply chain is largely uninterrupted. In a large scale natural disaster the roads may be impassable, utilities will be down and infrastructure and supply chains would be down, possibly for months. The government will eventually get food and supplies to us, but until they do, we are on our own!
If folks had three weeks supply prepping for earthquakes, they probably would not be panicking, would have more patience, and stores would have enough supplies for all. Preparing is like putting money in the bank for a rainy day!
Since it is recommended we avoid large groups, and many are staying home, use the opportunity to get to know your neighbors – from a safe social distance of course! Get to know what their strengths and vulnerabilities are and how you can help each other. In time of true disaster, your local community will be critical to you and your family’s survival, and perhaps you to theirs.
Use this event as a learning experience. Ask yourself what you didn’t have and what you could have used more of. Then when you shop, buy a little extra each time. Store it someplace dark, cool, dry and rodent-proof. Store as much water as you can – at least one gallon per-person per day. PEP-C sells 55 gallon food grade barrels for water storage. When you store your water, make certain you treat it. There are many good articles on-line about treating water.
To help prepare residents, PEP-C offers neighborhood training called PC NET. We also host a FEMA program called Map Your Neighborhood (MYN). Both trainings are described on the Pierce County website. You can learn about MYN by watching the YouTube video. The link is provided at the end of this article.
Prepare today for an easier tomorrow!
You’ve got this!
Here are a few informative websites:
Pierce County Dept. of Emergency Management
Pierce County List of Hazards
Pierce County Alert (free, customizable, alerting service)
FEMA and the Zombie Apocalypse
FEMA’s Map Your Neighborhood Video