Food in the basement is better than money in the bank

There are many reasons for stockpiling a one-year supply of food. The value of food commodities generally increases at the same rate as inflation. Money in the bank doesn’t do that. Investing in 500 cans of tuna or in dehydrated food that will last five to 10 years are better bets than putting $350 in the bank.

The most important reason to store food is that it comes in very handy in a crisis. It is comforting to know that you can use your home grocery store for an emergency and to help buffer lean money times. If you had to live on what you had in your basement for an extended period of time, you would wish you had a well-rounded supply of food.

In general, most households do not have more than a one-week supply of food. As a nation, we rely almost totally on the supermarket and fast food restaurants. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of feeding a family of four at home in July ranged from $568 per month (thrifty plan) to $1,293.20 per month (liberal plan). Wow! With food prices rising, your best investment right now is food.

If you ask any supermarket chain manager to tell you how long it would take to empty the shelves in any store in the event of a crises, the answer would be about three days. People storm grocery stores and buy anything they could get. The water is the first thing that goes.

I strongly suggest that you find a place in your home — either in a basement, spare bedroom, closet, junk room, under the stairway or in a heated garage — and go to work turning it into your own home grocery store and pharmacy. Somehow, get shelves in there. Build them, have them built or buy them pre-built, whatever works best for you. Just do it now.

This home grocery store will be to you and your family as the ark was to Noah and his family. It will contain all the necessary food, water, bedding and medical supplies to sustain life for a minimum of three months to one year.

What are the best kinds of food to stockpile? It is recommended that you “store what you eat and eat what you store.” Otherwise, you might get sick. A crisis is not the time to change your family’s diet.

Appetite fatigue is a very serious condition. Food storage experiments have been conducted wherein people had mock disasters and lived on their basic food storage for extended periods of time.

If you are suddenly thrown into a diet that you are not used to — especially one with a lot of wheat, beans, corn, honey, powdered milk and dehydrated food — you will have a double crisis. One thing people do not need in an emergency is sickness caused by a drastic change in diet.

It is best to incorporate dehydrated foods into your diet gradually. These are the foods that store well for the long term. To rehydrate them, you just need to add water, so they are good to have in your storage, along with any canned goods that you like. The shelf life on canned goods is about two years and on dehydrated food up to 10 years.

There is nothing wrong with storing wheat, beans, rice, powdered milk and honey, if that is what you are used to and prefer. Store a variety of wheat and other grains, along with flour, oatmeal, rice, noodles, evaporated milk, beans, peas, lentils, legumes, canned meats, tuna fish, canned salmon, soup of all kinds, tomatoes, sauces of all kinds, all baking items, shortening, oils, peanut butter, jams, syrups, salad dressings, mayonnaise, Jell-O, cocoa, bottled fruits and vegetables and many other dehydrated products.

Nothing should be kept for more than two years without rotating except the following: wheat, grains, beans, sugar, salt and any product that is nitrogen-packed for long-term storage and has a low oxygen content.

If people store what they eat and eat what they store, the rotation will automatically take care of itself. Rotating your food so your family gets accustomed to eating the grains, beans, honey and dehydrated products is very important.

Always replace each item as it is used up so you can maintain your stockpile. Purchase cases of items when they come on sale. Our hometown grocery store has case lot sales about four times a year. The best prices are when items are in season. I buy wet-pack corn and beans in the fall when they are two cans for $1. When tuna is on sale, I buy three or four cases. It’s an excellent source of protein, and I save a lot of money by purchasing in bulk.

A sample formula for knowing how much food to store is to keep track of what you eat for a two-week period of time. Surprisingly, most families repeat meals every few days. Multiply the basic ingredients by six to calculate a three-month supply, 13 for a six-month supply and 26 to calculate a year’s supply. Separate menus can be calculated for summer and winter taking into consideration gardening and seasonal foods available. Build your own stockpile slowly, over a six-month period of time.

A hint that has helped me to obtain extra food items: Every time I go to the grocery store I get two of each item that I normally buy, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, pickles, olives, cream soups, mayonnaise, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, mixes, etc. I put one away and use the other. It’s a good idea to keep adding more and more of a variety of items to your home grocery store, so your diet won’t be so bland.

Planned menus can eliminate the panicked feeling you get when you know you should store food and you don’t know where to begin.

If you plan your food storage program carefully, you can avoid impulse or panic buying, which will save you a lot of money and grief. Anticipate your needs for a three-month period of time. Buy bulk food in larger quantities and store them in plastic food-grade buckets that have airtight lids. Do not use paint buckets or any other container that has been used for chemicals. Do not use garbage bags, as they are treated with pesticides. A food-grade Mylar liner inside a plastic bucket works very well with an oxygen absorber vacuum packed and sealed.

Store your food in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and in a place that stays a constant temperature of around 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot or cold fluctuations in temperatures can destroy the nutritive value of the food and shorten its shelf life. A basement or cold storage area is ideal.

Always label every can, bottle or bucket with what is in each container, the date of purchase, shelf life, and the date to be used by.

A three-month, well-rounded supply of food storage is much better than a year’s supply of wheat, beans, honey and powdered milk. The basics are important, but it is just the beginning.

This information came from my books “Food Storage 101. Where do I begin?” and “Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook.”

–Peggy Layton

Store Water And Keep It Safe

Image (6) Layton_Water-tank-185-gallon.jpg for post 28512I own a 185-gallon water tank. I really like it, and it fits the needs of our family perfectly. This large, cylinder-shaped water tank is ideal for storing water. It tucks away into a corner of a room or garage. It easily fits through doors. It is gravity-fed and has an opening at the top to fill the tank. It has a drain at the bottom and a spigot-type faucet about a third of the way up from the floor to fill smaller containers.

I always keep several 5-gallon containers close by just in case I need them. I use a bottle and a half of the oxygen stabilizer ION for the 185-gallon tank and two bottles for the 250-gallon tank. I like to put the ion in at the beginning of the fill so it will mix properly with the water as it fills the tank. If you wait until the end, the ION will not get mixed in properly. ION is guaranteed to keep the water safe for up to five years and probably much longer.

These tanks also come in 250 gallon and 500 gallon sizes. They are tall and stand upright so there is no need to stack water containers on top of each other. This tank takes up less space in a garage or room than any other water storage tanks. Because it is gravity fed, it does not need a pump to get the water out. There are indentations in the tank so it can be strapped to a wall for extra strength in an earthquake.

The tankers are shipped from Utah. The shipping costs on average are around $250, depending on where it is shipped. If you ship two tanks together to the same location, the shipping cost is cut by about 40 percent. If interested, please e-mail for a shipping quote.

ION Very Effective For Water Purification

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleStabilizing oxygen is a proprietary process in which sodium chloride is added to purified water to increase electrical conductivity. The sodium chloride helps facilitate the process of manufacturing ION, a product that stabilizes the oxygen in the water by separating the oxygen molecules from the water. The electrolysis process starts with a saline solution similar to that used by most hospitals. This saline solution is made up of seven different salts collected from around the world. The entire process takes about 30 days. The end product is called ION. It has a very high concentration of oxygen, safe pH levels, with very little sodium chloride remaining in the product. The 30-day brewing process removes the acid from the product and makes it an alkaline base. Alkaline base products are better for your health because bacteria and disease cannot grow in an alkaline environment

Our Bodies Require Oxygen To Rebuild And Repair

Our bodies are amazing in that they require oxygen in every process and function involved in the absorption of nutrients, the reproduction and repair of the healthy cells and the elimination of unhealthy or dead cells. Stabilized oxygen goes into the cells and gives them the much-needed oxygen to rebuild and repair, which helps the body’s natural defenses of the immune system.

ION stands for Ions of Oxygen Negative. It is the negative charge of the ion oxygen molecule that attracts and steals away the positive charge of any anaerobic bacteria in the water. It acts like a magnet attracting and attaching to the bad bacteria or foreign free radical, thus killing them. Anaerobic oxygen cannot live in an oxygen environment thus the ION treatment kills, and eradicates bacteria, some viruses, toxins, fungus, mold, parasites, toxic chemicals and inorganic substances that are either added to or leach into our drinking water.

Dangers Of Non-Purified Or Untreated Water

When people drink untreated water, even from a stream in the mountains, it can be dangerous and even deadly if the following bacteria and parasites are present: cholera, typhoid, dysentery, flukes, leeches, giardia, cryptosporidium, hepatitis A and E. coli. The pathogens can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, fever, abdominal cramping and extreme pain. Typhoid can cause extremely high fever and illness. Some of them are waterborne and get into the water through fecal matter. Giardia is a parasite that attaches to the intestines of humans and animals. Symptoms include severe headaches, inflamed liver, weakness, anorexia and jaundice and can be fatal.

ION is great for wilderness water treatment. I take it with me when I travel to foreign countries or anyplace where the water is questionable. When ION is used in water that will be stored for emergency purposes, it will keep the water safe for at least five years. I believe every medical kit and 72-hour bug out bag should have a bottle of ION in it at all times. One bottle of ION will last for three months for one person. Every person in the family needs to have at least one bottle of ION for an emergency situation.

Filter All Dirty Water Before Using ION

When you are filtering water, it is a good idea to remove as many large particles as possible to prevent clogging your filter system. If you do not have a water filter, you must use the clearest water you can find. If you can’t find clear water, then strain the water through a bandana, cheesecloth, pantyhose or just a piece of cloth.

Another effective way to filter water is to use a 2-liter soda bottle and a coffee filter to filter out large particles and sediment. Cut off the top third of the soda bottle. Place the pour spout upside down inside the bottom of the bottle. Place the coffee filter in the top and filter the water through the bottle. After the water has been filtered, use ION stabilized oxygen to kill bacteria in the water. ION and coffee filters should be in everyone’s emergency kit or 72-hour backpack.

Is ION Safer Than Other Products On The Market?

ION has a mild taste similar to sodium chloride (salt) without the harmful side effects of chlorine. It is nontoxic to the skin or body and works very well for water purification. That is why it is so much safer to use than chlorine bleach, iodine, colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide. All these products can be toxic when taken in large doses.

ION Can Be Taken Internally

ION is well known for killing bacteria in the human body when taken internally and used medicinally as a health supplement. It should be taken at the first sign of flu, cold or any other bacterial infection. All you do is put 20 drops of ION in an 8-ounce glass of water, stir, let it set for a minute and drink it. It has been tested by many labs and has all the documentation to prove its effectiveness against harmful pathogens (disease-causing microbes).

ION Can Be Used Externally

Use ION to sterilize cuts, scratches and bruises, infections, wounds, fever blisters, herpes, cold sores, burns, insect bites, spider bites, bee stings and mosquito bites. ION will not kill friendly flora or good bacteria. In fact, it stimulates the growth and development of beneficial bacteria.

ION is great for plants, root cuttings, transplants, sterilizing cooking tools and surfaces, extending the life of milk and juices, and in making yogurt.

Shelf Life Of ION

ION stores indefinitely on the shelf if kept in a cool environment and out of direct sunlight.

Information in this article is for educational purposes only. Always consult with a qualified medical physician. ION has great testimonials from many satisfied customers; however, is not intended to treat any medical condition. It is sold only as a dietary supplement or water treatment.

Peggy Layton 

Got Extra Produce? Make This And Improve Your Health

Naturally fermented foods have vitamins, protein and probiotics, or friendly flora. They are healthy and good for the body. Sauerkraut is a fermented food that has natural probiotics, providing friendly bacteria in the gut, boosting the immune system and assisting people in staying well.

Veggie kraut is another fermented food. It is easy to make and will keep well if sealed in a canning jar. Veggie kraut can be eaten all year, and it provides the necessary probiotics we need to keep our digestive tracts healthy.

Ingredients For Veggie Kraut

To make fermented foods, you need organic vegetables; sea salt; filtered, boiled and cooled water; a crock with a lid; any nonmetal pot with a lid that can be pushed down inside the pot to add pressure to the kraut; and canning jars with tight-fitting lids. I like to add three capsules of probiotics, such as acidophilus, from the health food store per gallon of kraut. It assists the bacteria in getting started. (This is optional.)

Naturally fermented veggies do not require any sugar, vinegar or heat. Vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, pickling cucumbers, onions, green tomatoes, yellow, crookneck or zucchini squash, potatoes, beets, bell and jalapeno peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli can all be fermented. Veggie kraut is made with cabbage and vegetables and is fermented with the naturally occurring friendly bacteria that are on the leaves of the cabbage and other vegetables from the garden. I take all the extra veggies from my garden, slice them thinly and add them to the brew. It takes about three weeks to ferment properly. It will smell sour as it brews.

Sea Salt

The best kind of salt that I have found is non-iodized Redmond salt. Redmond Real Salt is mined from an ancient seabed deposit formed thousands of years ago from a time when there was no contamination. These ancient seabeds are tucked under the Earth and are remnants of an ancient inland sea in South Central Utah that eventually dried up and is full of natural trace minerals.

ION In Sauerkraut Kills Harmful Bacteria

ION stands for Ions Of Oxygen Negative. I use 10 drops per quart in my sauerkraut to kill harmful bacteria. That is also the job of the salt; however, I have found that it works very well with both products. ION not only kills some harmful bacteria, but it encourages the growth of probiotics. It helps preserve the kraut as well.

ION is optional in kraut and will work just fine without it. If the kraut grows mold, just skim it off.

Recipe For Veggie Kraut

1 large cabbage or 10 cups of garden veggies, including cabbage
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (absolutely necessary)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds (optional)
12 Juniper berries (optional)
2 teaspoons non-iodized sea salt
5 cups of filtered, boiled and cooled water with 5 teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt mixed into the water to make brine

  1. Clean the cabbage and veggies and cut off any brown spots. Wash your hands as well. Using a cutting board and a sharp knife, shred a firm head of cabbage into lengthways strips. You will need about 10 cups of cabbage or veggies.
  2. In a large bowl use your hands to mix together the cabbage and veggies, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and 2 teaspoons salt per gallon of veggies. Massage the salt into the cabbage for 5 minutes to break down the juices. This step is very, very important.
  3. Let the mixture set for a minimum of 10 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Pack the cabbage mixture into 5 sterilized quart-sized wide-mouthed canning jars. Push the mixture down as best you can and pack it in tight. Pour salt-water brine into each of the quart jars filled with cabbage or veggies. I like to use a small jelly jar with beans in it to weigh the kraut down and keep it submerged in the brine. Make sure the kraut is covered with brine and stays submerged for the 10 days for quart jars and 3 weeks or longer for larger batches.
  5. Place the jars in a cake pan or on a cookie sheet so that when it starts to ferment, the juices will spill into the dripper pan. Cover the tops of the jars with a cheesecloth or breathable dishtowel to keep the flies from getting into the jars.
  6. Leave the jars in the dripper pan for 10 days to two weeks. It is very important to keep the kraut at about 70 degrees F so it will ferment. If it is more than 75 degrees, it will go soft and mushy. If it is less than 60 degrees, it may not ferment at all. Room temperature in a kitchen is usually fine.
  7. The kraut must remain submerged under the brine. Check it every day and push the cabbage or veggies down under the brine with the jelly jar, wooden spoon or non-metallic lid.
  8. When you notice that the bubbling stops, remove the jelly jar and skim off the top layer of white foam or scum. If you see mold, just skim it off. It will not hurt the veggie kraut. It just shows that the fermenting process is working well.
  9. For making a large batch, use a clean food-grade 5-gallon bucket with a lid and mix (16 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water). If you are watching your salt intake, you can adjust the salt to a lesser amount. It usually takes about 2 to 3 gallons of brine to make 5 gallons of kraut. I have a 5-gallon batch fermenting right now, and I put a Tupperware type lid inside the bucket so I can push the kraut down and keep it submerged. I add weight with a glass plate on top of the plastic lid. Cover the bucket with the lid it came with, but leave it loose so it can let off gasses. Leave it for 3 weeks in the brine. You will know it is finished when the bubbling stops and it tastes delicious.
  10. You can transfer the kraut into quart canning jars. Add the brine to about ½ inch below the lid. Place the lids and rings tightly on the quart jars of kraut. Place in the refrigerator until it is eaten. If you have a root cellar, you can keep the kraut in a crock with a lid for a year if the temperature stays cold like a refrigerator.
  11. I keep the leftover brine water and add more vegetables and cabbage to keep it going. The brine has all the great probiotics and has already been fermenting so you will have a jump start on the next batch.
  12. Kraut will keep in the refrigerator for several months. If you want to keep the kraut for longer than a few months or if you don’t have enough room in the refrigerator, it can be bottled using a water bath method. Once the scum has been removed from the top and brine added to fill each jar to ½ inch below the lid, place the lid and ring on tight and process in a water bath canner:
    • 0-1,000 feet above sea level for 15 minutes.
    • 1,000 to 3000 feet above sea level for 20 minutes.
    • 3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level for 20 minutes.
    • Above 6,000 feet for 25 minutes.

It is best to use it fresh and then make another batch when you run out of kraut, because canning the sauerkraut will kill the enzymes, which defeats the purpose of making fermented fresh food. However, it does preserve the food for later use.

This recipe and many other wonderful recipes can be found in my book Cookin With Home Storage.

–Peggy Layton

Use Old Tires And Culverts To Grow Vegetables

I attended a community garden tour and was very impressed with a garden that was made completely from used tractor tires and culverts cut to such a height that the owner could garden standing up and did not need to kneel or stoop down. This garden was so impressive that I decided to write an article about it and share the ideas that I learned from these gardeners.

Recycling Old Tires And Culverts

Using old tires and culverts is a great way to recycle. It is a way to have a raised-bed garden in a small space. Tires can be put wherever there is an empty space in your yard or flower bed. The tires are not so pleasing to look at but can be hidden in dirt to make a small garden plot that will increase your vegetable yield. Think of the tires as rubberized hotbeds. Because they are black, they hold the heat and warm the soil. This gives the plants protection as well as a jump start on growth. If you prepare the tires in the fall, they will be ready for the next spring. Some seeds such as garlic, onions, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes can be planted in the fall; and they will come up early in the springtime.
This will give you fresh greens as soon as the snow melts. It is so exciting to have fresh greens after a long winter of eating canned and frozen vegetables.

Planting In Culverts

A culvert is a drainpipe that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail or similar obstruction. Try to find used culverts from construction sites or from your local city or county. You can get them much cheaper if you buy them used, rather than new. Once you find a length of pipe, you will need to cut the culvert 2.5 to 3 feet tall. This is the perfect height for planting.

Planting In Tires

chives in a culvertTires pose little risk when used as a raised bed. Because tires are made of a rubber compound that is tightly bonded, they do not leach poisons into the soil. This is great because it takes a tire that otherwise would end up in the landfill and uses it for a much higher purpose, that of producing food with a minimum of effort. Rubber is much safer to use in your garden than railroad ties or treated lumber, which may be treated with chemicals. Rubber will not rot, which makes tires very durable. Once you get them in place, they will last for decades.
Before placing the tire on the ground, dig up the earth beneath the spot to loosen the soil, then place newspaper in thick sheets under the tire. Once the tire is filled, the weeds will not grow where the newspaper is. The newspaper will naturally compost itself. It is best to use only the black ink newspapers and not the colored sections. Pound wire fencing posts on each side of the tires and attach a circular wire cage made of fencing material just inside the tires so the plants can climb.

The Benefits Of Raised Bed Gardening In Tires And Culverts

gardening with tires

  • One of the best ways to grow an abundance of organic vegetables is to grow them in raised grow beds. The tire method takes up less space and is great for cooler climates because it acts like a hothouse, with the black rubber warming up the soil.
  • The black, heat-absorbing compounds in the tires will raise the temperature at least 10 percent to 15 percent. This extends the growing season by about an extra two months by warming up the soil.
  • You can add to your soil each season by filling the tires with better soil mixed with minerals, compost and other organic matter.
  • The tires and culverts are tall and provide deeper soil for the roots. They drain the moisture much better than traditional gardens.
  • The tires are raised off the ground so that people with knee or hip problems can sit on the edge of the tire and do their gardening and weeding without bending down stooping or kneeling. This is great for older people, because the plants are within easy reach. And you can sit on the edge of the tire when planting and weeding.
  • Raised-bed gardening produces more vegetables in a smaller area.

Preparing Tires For Raised-Bed Gardening

The sidewall can be removed by using a chain saw or a very sharp utility knife. Cut the top and bottom sidewall off the tire. Drill holes in the bottom of the tire to allow water to drain properly. After you have removed the sidewalls of the tire, place the tire where you want it to go and proceed to fill it with prepared soil mixed with a little sand and compost material. Make wire cages to fit around the inside ring of the tire after the plants start growing. This will prevent the deer and other animals from eating the plants inside the tires. Wire cages can be placed around the plants and a heavy plastic covering put over the plants, similar to a little greenhouse. Just tape the plastic in place and take it off when the danger of frost has passed. Doing this will extend the growing season, so you can plant earlier and harvest later in the fall.

Sidewalls Can Be Very Useful

Keep the sidewall that has been cut out from the top of the tire and use it to plant squash, melons or other plants that get large and spread. The ring will keep the weeds from growing, and the black rubber will produce heat so the plant will grow faster.

Growing Potatoes In Tires

cut potatoesFirst, take the seed potatoes and cut them into quarters, making sure that there are at least two or more eyes per quarter. I like to cut them up and spread them on the patio table and let them sun cure for at least 24 hours before planting them. They turn dark and scab over as they dry out.

Second, fill the first tire with soil and plant the seed potatoes about 6 inches apart. Let them grow until they are about 8 inches tall. Then place another tire on top of the first one. Add more dirt until the plants are covered up to two inches from the tops. Let them grow again until they are 8 inches tall. Add another tire and put soil around the stems up to two inches from the top. The potato stalks will send off roots and grow more potatoes in the tires. One plant will produce four times the amount of potatoes it typically would. Four stacks of tires will produce about a hundred pounds and will feed a family of four for the winter. When harvesting the potatoes, take each tire off one by one and find the buried treasure inside each one.

ION (Stabilized Oxygen) Can Be Used To Help Plants Grow

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleI like to mix 20 drops of ION stabilized oxygen with 1 gallon of water. And I water my plants with the ION water about once per week. It can kill anaerobic bacteria, fungus and some viruses that might be causing the plant to deteriorate and not be as healthy as it should be.

ION will help build friendly flora, and it oxygenates the plants. Vegetables will grow so much better with stabilized oxygen in the water.

For more information on gardening and emergency preparedness, check out my book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook.

–Peggy Layton

Growing A Garden Is Good For Your Health

Gardening season is upon us. Gardening is one of the more popular leisure activities in the United States. Gardening is great for mental health because planting and digging in the dirt relieves stress, and we feel better when we do something meaningful that makes us happy. Connecting to the Earth slows us down and grounds us. The soil, the worms and the living plants are fascinating to watch; and we become aware of the miracle of life.

Self-sufficiency is another great reason to grow a garden. With the cost of commodities rising rapidly, gardening can offset the high cost of food. This puts more money in our pockets to use for other necessities. We save money by going to the grocery store less often. It’s possible to save hundreds of dollars per growing season, which really helps with the food budget. For a small investment in seeds and potting soil, a backyard garden can yield more than $600 in fresh, organic produce.

Health is another great reason people grow gardens. The food we plant, grow and prepare for our families is healthier than produce purchased from the grocery store. If we grow our own food, we know that it is organic, since we control the fertilization, pest control and harvesting methods.

One of the best ways to stay healthy year-round is to eat in the season thereof. This simply means that when certain foods are in season, you eat as much of them as you can and preserve the excess by canning, dehydrating and freezing. Have you ever noticed that you crave seasonal fruits and vegetables? That is because our bodies need the nutrients that we get from the different foods that are grown in those seasons.

If you live in the city with limited space and don’t grow a garden, you can shop the local farmers markets and purchase the most organic foods you can find. This is the best way to avoid sprays, chemicals, pesticides, additives and preservatives. Locally grown produce is better for you because it hasn’t been picked while still green and shipped thousands of miles to get to your local supermarket.

Most farmers sell off their abundant harvest at bulk rates. You can bottle or put up the excess food. This will ensure that you will have seasonal foods year-round. This is much more nutritious, and it will keep you out of the grocery store and help you avoid impulse buying.

The Victory Garden

During and after World War II, the concept of the Victory Garden was introduced to the nation. Individual backyard gardeners and small farmers combined produced the same amount of food, as did the entire commercial farming industry. It was a great success, and every family that participated felt a sense of accomplishment by doing it.

The economic crisis of our day is demanding the return of the backyard garden as a way to ensure that each and every family is self-sufficient in hard economic times.

If you start with heirloom seeds (Source:, Victory Gardens of WW II) in the spring and harvest them in the fall, you can make sure you have seeds for the next growing season. Saving your own seeds from your personal harvest is a way to lower your cost of living. Eating the food that you have grown is the best nutrition that you can get. You can ensure that the food is grown properly and has the minerals added back to the soil that are needed to stay healthy. Bloomin’ Minerals Soil Revitalizer is what I put on my garden every year.


If you live in a cramped space and have a small yard, you can still grow a garden. Look around and see if you have places to put tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc. Flower gardens are ideal, because you can plant vegetables between flowers. Some flowers help with bug control. For example, marigolds ward off some garden pests.

The location of your garden is important. It needs to be a sunny, well-drained location, rich in compost and soil texture. Plant taller plants on the north side of the yard or garden so they won’t shade shorter plants. Plants can be planted along fences, patios and corners of lots, even in the yard. A strip of grass can be removed from the lawn and worked to become a raised vegetable bed.

Getting Started Growing A Garden

  1. Plan out the garden plots and plant accordingly. A garden planned in advance will save you a lot of headaches in the future. Lettuce can be grown in tight quarters, but tomatoes need to be spaced about 2 feet apart. Growing and spacing requirements are provided on seed packets, in catalogs and on nursery tags.
  2. Grow the vegetables you enjoy eating. Some examples of vegetables to plant are beans, peas, tomatoes, sweet corn, onions, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, zucchini squash, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, spinach, melons and strawberries.
  3. Herbs such as parsley, thyme, basil, chives and oregano, and any other herbs you like to cook with, can be planted between flowerbeds.
  4. There are two planting seasons. Cool weather, as in the spring, and hot weather, as in the summer and early fall. The most common cool season crops include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm season crops include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, zucchini and other squash and tomatoes.
  5. Starting your own seedlings in the spring and transplanting them in the summer is the least expensive way to get plants. However, you can purchase seedlings that are already started at any nursery.
  6. If you are going to purchase plants from a nursery, then these are the best ones to get: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These plants tend to do better when started in a greenhouse and transplanted in the garden later.
  7. The following seeds are best started right in the ground. Beans, beets, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, peas, pumpkins, zucchini and other squash and turnips.
  8. Squash and cucumbers are two of the ones that you can plant as either seeds or seedlings. I have had better results with them by planting the seeds right in the ground. It seems that the plants go into shock and take as long to grow as the seeds do.
  9. Seed packets do have a shelf life. Look for the seeds that have been packed for the current year.
  10. Purchase seedlings when your soil is ready to plant. Keep them watered and don’t let them sit around for more than a few days. Buy healthy-looking seedlings. They should stand up straight and be stocky, with green and not yellow leaves or any bug damage.

Raised Beds And Grow Boxes

Raised Bed gardening

These raised beds are in my garden and are ideal for small areas. Just shape the dirt into a hill and put sawdust in between the rows to keep the weeds and mud to a minimum. We are ready to plant our tomatoes in this raised bed.

Grow bed

We also have wooden grow boxes for our lettuce and spinach. My husband built a wooden frame, added the soil and made a grow bed. The frame is made of 2-by-4-inch planks placed in a rectangular shape. Use a 2-by-4-inch plank to make the bed 4 inches tall, or use two 2-by-4-inch planks stacked one on top of the other to make the bed 8 inches tall. Make the bed 3 feet wide and as long as your space allows. The soil in the raised beds can be added to and maintained even if the texture of the surrounding soil is poor and has bad drainage. Make your raised bed level even if your garden spot is on a slope, so the water will remain in the bed and the soil will not wash away. Cultivate the soil 4 to 6 inches deeper than the height of the grow bed or box. Add mulch, compost or organic matter; and then dig down and turn the soil. Use a pitchfork to break up dirt clots. Rake it into a nice, level bed. Once that’s done, it is ready for planting.Every spring, you can add more compost and minerals to improve the soil from year to year.

–Peggy Layton

Plant In Pots, Buckets And Planter Boxes For Limited-Space Gardening

For people who love to garden, but have very limited space, container gardening is a great way to enjoy growing your own produce without all the work of planting a large garden.

Getting Started

  • Gather your containers. Make sure the pots have drainage holes so the plants do not get waterlogged. Tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots, potatoes and peppers generally need large containers, while lettuce, radishes, herbs and onions can be grown in more shallow containers.
  • Purchase good quality potting soil. Do not use soil from your yard or garden. Potting soil is made for the best drainage and aeration for your plants. Minerals, Miracle Grow and compost can be added to enhance the soil and improve the success of the container garden.
  • Purchase packages of seeds or seedlings that are ready to be transplanted. Look for specific types of seeds and plants that will grow well in containers. The following vegetables and fruits seem to do the best in containers, lettuce, salad greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, radishes, onions, herbs, beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, carrots and strawberries.
  • Plant your seeds or transplant your seedlings according to the instructions on the package. It is best to place larger containers in the spot they will stay permanently so they do not have to be moved. Find a place to put the containers that is near a watering hose so you do not have to haul water to your plants. Water them deep enough to keep them moist so the seeds will germinate and the plants will grow.

container gardening

Recycle Large Tree Pots

Any large plastic pot can be used to plant herbs. This is a good way to recycle the pots that trees and shrubs come in. You can purchase them from a nursery or anywhere you can purchase scrubs and trees. These can be moved indoors or to a greenhouse when the weather turns cold. Herbs as well as vegetables can be used and enjoyed year-round.

Grow Herbs In Pots

herbs in potsHerb gardens are great to plant in pots along a windowsill or outside in small spaces. Just snip off a few fresh herbs, chop them and add them to your favorite dish.

Cucumbers Can Be Grown In Pots

cucumbersCucumbers like to climb up a trellis. They can be grown on the sides of buildings or fences where they can cling on. String can be tacked on the side of a building to hold them in place. If using wire fencing, the cucumbers can be tied to the wire to keep them from falling.

Vegetables Planted In Buckets

When planting tomatoes, peppers, squash and anything else in buckets, you must drill several holes in the bottom of the buckets for drainage, then put small rocks in the bottom of the bucket about 2 inches deep and add the potting soil on top of the rocks. Add a trellis to the bucket to stabilize the plant. You can plant seedlings in the buckets and keep them in a warm place until the weather permits them to be moved outdoors. The advantage of planting in buckets is that you can move them around to get the maximum sunlight. They can be grown on a porch or in a small space somewhere on your yard or even indoors near a window. When the weather turns cold, you can move them indoors and continue to reap the harvest a couple of months longer than the growing season.

Planter Boxes

tomato plantTomatoes can also be planted in planter boxes with a wire trellis behind them for stability when growing vertically. They can be set on a porch or against the wall of a building where they can get sunlight.

Vertical Wooden Planter Boxes

DIY-Vertical-Wooden-Box-Planter-11I found this do-it-yourself project for the limited-space gardener. Conservation Garden Park provided step-by-step instructions on how to make this vertical planter box that attaches to any tall fence.

Growing Onions Vertically On A Windowsill

Onions grown indoors on a window sill.If you would like to pick fresh onions year-round for cooking or to add to your salads, you can grow them indoors on a windowsill in limited space. Every time you cut the stems of the onions they will grow back, giving you an endless supply of scallions for your salads or cooking. When the bulbs start looking like they are not doing well, pull them out and plant new bulbs in their place. Fresh Organic Gardening detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make this nifty pot of onions.

Planting In Culverts

A culvert is a drainpipe that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail or similar obstruction. If you can find used culverts from construction sites or from your local city or county, you can get them much cheaper than new ones. Once you find a length of pipe, you will need to cut the culvert to 2.5-3 feet tall. This is the perfect height for planting herbs such as chives, onions or any other plants. Each piece must be cut with a heavy-duty saw or a chain saw for the tires and culvert water pipes to make them the right height.
culverts for plantingYou can use the same concept and stack tires on top of each other. The tires can be used as a compost bin by simply cutting the sidewall completely out of the tire. Recycle the sidewalls by using them around other plants to keep the weeds down and protect the plants.

ION (Stabilized Oxygen) Can Be Used To Help Plants Grow

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleI like to mix 20 drops of ION stabilized oxygen with one gallon of water to water my plants. Stabilized oxygen is known to kill anaerobic bacteria, fungus, mold and some viruses that might be causing the plant to deteriorate and not be as healthy as it should be. ION will help build the friendly flora, and it oxygenates the plants. Vegetables will grow so much better with stabilized oxygen in the water.

Some of the information in this article came from my book .

–Peggy Layton

Backyard Gardening In Small Spaces

If you really want to garden but you don’t have much space, don’t let that deter you. Here are some space-saving gardening ideas that just so happen to be affordable, too.

Rain Gutter Gardening

gutter gardeningRain gutters provide an ideal space for growing salad greens since lettuce, spinach and other greens have shallow root systems. This can be done in March and April since lettuce grows best in cool weather in the springtime. Mount the rain gutters the same way you would along the eves of your house. They don’t take up much space on the side of a shed or any other building. Mount them anywhere you have vertical space, such as on a fence, along a deck railing or under a windowsill. All you have to do is cut the rain gutter to size, cap the ends and drill holes every 6 inches for drainage. You can purchase the supplies to hang them at any place that sells rain gutters.

Supplies needed

  • Rain gutter, any length you desire
  • Rain gutter caps (2 per length)
  • Rain gutter hangers (3-5 per length) mount every 3 feet
  • Drill and 1/8 inch drill bit


  1. Place the length of rain gutter that you desire on a work surface. Clip one rain gutter cap on each end and lock them into place.
  2. Turn the rain gutter upside down on a workbench. Drill 1/8-inch-diameter holes through the rain gutter every 6 inches along the entire length. The holes will allow the rain gutters to drain.
  3. Position the rain gutter hangers along the surface where you want to hang the gutter every 3 to 4 feet. Using a screw gun, drive the screws through the mounting holes in the hangers and into the side of the building or fence to fasten them in place. Slide the gutter into the hangers to lock them in place.
  4. Add potting soil to the gutter and fill it up so that it is level with the top edges of the rain gutter.
  5. You may need a stepladder to reach the top gutter. Water the soil with a sprinkling hose or a watering can. With your finger make a furrow in the center of the soil down the length of the gutter. Plant the lettuce seeds into the furrow, planting approximately 20 seeds per foot. Cover over the seeds with potting soil and gently pack it down with your fingertips.
  6. Water the lettuce often as it grows, keeping the soil moist at all times.

Plant Seedlings In A 2-Liter Soda Bottle

soda bottle planterSave your 2-liter bottles and cut them so the top half fits down into the bottom half. Drill a hole through the center of the lid of the bottle. Put string or a wick through the hole and tie it so it will absorb the water from the bottom of the soda bottle. Fill the bottom of the bottle with water. Invert the top of the bottle and fill it with potting soil. Make sure you keep enough water in the bottom of the soda bottle so it will water itself. This would be a great project for children to plant seeds in bottles, place them in a windowsill and watch them grow.

Cinderblock Herb Garden

cinderblock planterIf you live in a place that has limited space for a garden and you want to grow an herb garden, this project might be the answer for you. It doesn’t take up much space and can be planted along the side of a building or fence.

Glue wire mesh screen under each hole in the block with cinderblock adhesive. This can be purchased at any hardware store. Cover the inside of the hole with a square of garden weed barrier fabric or burlap to keep the soil from falling through the screen. Design the cinderblocks in a way that you will get the maximum amount of growing space. Fill each hole with potting soil and plant your favorite herbs in each open block. The blocks that are directly over another block do not need a mesh screen.

Cinderblocks come in many decorative styles and can be purchased at places such as Lowe’s, Home Depot or any outdoor garden store where they sell brick and block. You can get started now and have a fresh herb garden by summer.

Pallet Gardening

pallet gardeningPallets can be recycled and used to grow vegetables. You can grow your salad greens in a small amount of space. In doing the research for this article, I searched for pallet gardening ideas. It was amazing how many different ways there are to grow food in pallets. The easiest way is to place a pallet on the ground, fill it with potting soil and use the slated wood openings to plant in. I have even seen them standing up alongside a fence or building. With a little remodeling you can make planter boxes with the pallet standing straight up. I have seen people put screen mesh on the back and under each slat to hold the dirt. It works the best for smaller plants with shallow root systems, like salad greens.

Old-Window Hot Houses

old window hot housesThese easy-to-make old-window hot houses can be made from recycled materials. Build raised bed grow boxes out of railroad ties, pretreated wood or even cinderblocks. Collect old windows and place hinges at the top of them so they can be folded up and saved for the next spring. Secure them inside a raised bed in the shape of a tepee. These windows warm the soil and protect the plants from freezing on cold mornings. These tepee hot houses can be built in a small amount of space and even in a flowerbed alongside the house. They give vegetables a head start in the springtime.

ION (Stabilized Oxygen) For Gardening

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleION is such a versatile product. I use ION to water my plants. I mix 20 drops of ION with 1 gallon of water. It kills anaerobic bacteria, fungus and some viruses that might be causing the plants to deteriorate and not be as healthy as they could be.

I also use 20 drops of ION mixed with 1 gallon of water for soaking my vegetables. ION will kill harmful bacteria that might be on the vegetables. Just mix it up in a large bowl and soak the vegetables for about 20 minutes, then rinse them well.

ION will help build the friendly flora, and it oxygenates the plants. Vegetables will grow so much better with stabilized oxygen in the water.

There are several chapters on alternative gardening methods in my book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook. Check it out here.

–Peggy Layton

How To Poop In A Bucket

What do you do if there is a disaster in your community? You will not be able to flush the toilets or run water down the drains if a flood, hurricane or something else overwhelms the sewer system. During a disaster situation, public services could be disrupted for many days. If the sewer system backs up or is unusable, you will not be able to use your toilet. Doing so could be very dangerous to your health.

Failure to properly dispose of human waste can lead to epidemics such as typhoid, dysentery and diarrhea. The spread of disease is imminent unless you take precautions and make your own emergency sanitation facilities.

Make Your Own Toilet

Your first task is to make some sort of temporary toilet for your family. Almost any covered metal or plastic bucket will do. If you have nothing but a 5-gallon bucket or even a garbage can, you can use it as a toilet. You can also dig a hole and squat over it, and then bury the waste. It would be something like glorified camping.

Wilderness Sanitation

A couple of years ago, we went on a one-week river-rafting trip down the Salmon River in Idaho with 12 people. We used what was called the groover. The groover got its name during World War II; the soldiers used their rocket boxes as toilets. They sat on them and got grooves in their behinds. When we set up our groover, it was always secluded in the trees or bushes. Sometimes, a jacket or tarp was hung around it to give more privacy. It had a regular toilet seat on it that was adapted with a metal piece on the underside that slid on and off the rocket box. There was a plastic liner inside. When not in use, the rocket box liner was sealed tight with a twist tie and the lid was locked in place. It was loaded onto a raft each day and taken with us so no trace was ever left behind. We had a separate bucket for the urine, which was dumped into the river. Before we launched each day, our groover captain would yell out the final call for everyone to get their groove on.

Make Your Own Sanitation Kit

The (5-gallon) buckets with toilet seat lids can be used to store the supplies needed for your sanitation kit. If you have to take off and go, you can grab the bucket by the handle and take it with you.

The following items can be purchased separately or found around your home. The idea is to get them all in one location in a sanitation grab-and-go bucket.

Supplies Needed

  • Two 5-gallon buckets with lids: one for urine and one for solid human waste.
  • Two plastic portable toilet seats.
  • Several rolls of toilet paper.
  • Paper towels, washcloths and hand towels.
  • A 2-liter bottle of water for washing hands.
  • Two packages of hand and-or baby wipes (large size).
  • Sanitary napkins and personal-hygiene items (if needed).
  • Biodegradable (if possible) heavy-duty (13-gallon) trashcan liners to line the 5-gallon buckets.
  • Heavy-duty twist ties to seal the liners shut when not in use.
  • Large garbage bags for trash.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Face masks.
  • Small, collapsible shovel.
  • Plastic quart jar of laundry detergent, Borax, lime or a jar of Bio-Clean.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Small bottle of bleach with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Spray bottle to mix 1/8 cup bleach to 1 quart of water (label it) and use it to disinfect.
  • Spray bottle to clean the body.
  • Soap, hand-held mirror and personal hygiene items.
  • Diapers, if you have a baby.

Sanitation In The Home

If your house is still intact but the sewer system is backed up, you can keep the buckets with toilet seat lids in the house. Sprinkle the human waste with two tablespoons of lime, Borax, laundry detergent or Bio-Clean after you are finished using the toilet. This controls the smell and bacteria. It is best to use one bucket for urine and the other for waste. Disposable wipes or toilet paper can be put in with the waste.

The bucket with urine can be dumped more often, and the one with waste and liners can be sealed with the heavy-duty twist ties and disposed of by burying. To avoid the spread of disease, at least once a day bury all human waste by digging a hole 2 feet deep or deeper. Bury the entire bag of human waste in the hole and cover it up with the dirt from digging the hole. The biodegradable liners are the best for the environment.

Plastic Liners Inside The Toilet

If you cannot flush the toilet or the sewer is backed up in an emergency, it can still be used. Be sure to turn off the water coming into the toilet by turning the little handle on the pipe behind the toilet. Remove all the water from the toilet bowl. You can double line the toilet bowl with a heavy-duty garbage bag and follow the same procedure as you do with the buckets. When it is full, tie it up and dispose of it the same way as mentioned above.

If you live in an apartment and have no land to bury the bags, double bag them and then seal them the best you can with the twist ties. Place them in your outside garbage can until the city can collect the trash and dispose of it.


Container of Bio-Clean, a blend of bacteria and enzymesBio-Clean is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are all-natural, not genetically engineered. The enzyme concentration is the most powerful on the market. Bio-Clean is nonpoisonous. It creates no heat or fumes, and there is no boiling involved. It does not attack live tissue or inorganic materials, only organic wastes like human excrement, grease, hair, food particles, paper and cotton. This makes Bio-Clean safe for people, plumbing and the environment.

Bio-Clean changes the waste particles into water, carbon dioxide and mineral ash, which become harmless in the outhouse, cesspool, pit or waste system. These elements are then available to use as compost in the garden. I found out about Bio-Clean from my husband, who is a plumbing contractor. He sells Bio-Clean to customers for use in septic tanks to keep them from backing up.

ION Water Treatment

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleI use a product called ION stabilized oxygen in all drinking water to kill bacteria. It will keep the water safe for up to five years. It has been found to be very effective in water treatment. Many studies have been done on this product, and it is concluded that ION will kill harmful bacteria within a few minutes. It doesn’t have any of the harmful side effects that are associated with chlorine or iodine. ION stabilized oxygen is a high concentration of oxygen. One 2-ounce bottle will treat 110 gallons of water. ION can be used medicinally to fight bacteria in the body. It can be used on cuts and wounds. ION will not harm the normal flora in our bodies. ION can be taken every day (20 drops per 8-ounce glass of water).

Use A Spray Bottle To Clean Your Body

Keeping the body clean in an emergency is very important. Boil the water and let it cool down, then fill a spray bottle with water and a small amount of antibacterial soap. Use paper towels or hand towels to wash up. If there is not a way to boil water to wash your hands, then put 20 drops of ION in a spray bottle full of any water and used to clean the body and hands. This will kill harmful bacteria in the water and on your skin. I keep ION in my medical kit and my 72-hour grab-and-go kit. I would not be without it.

–Peggy Layton

Store Quinoa, A Protein-Rich Super-Grain

Quinoa was a staple for the Aztecs in South America and was one of just a few crops the ancient Incas cultivated at high altitudes. Because of its high protein and fiber content, it was highly valued in these cultures. I recommend that people store it as an alternative to white rice, which has very little nutritional value.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a highly nutritious seed that is also considered a super-grain because it contains lots of essential vitamins, including B vitamins; minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron; antioxidants; and fiber.

  • Quinoa contains almost twice the protein as rice and other grains. It is well-known that combining rice and beans together will make a complete protein; however, quinoa by itself contains all nine essential amino acids that come together in the proper quantities necessary to produce a complete protein.
  • Quinoa is rich in calcium without the added cholesterol you find in dairy products.
  • Quinoa is low in calories, with half a cup of quinoa yielding a measly 100 calories.
  • Quinoa has minimal starch compared to wheat and rice.
  • Quinoa is not genetically altered like wheat, oats, barley, corn and soy.
  • Quinoa is gluten-free; therefore, it does not cause gluten intolerance like wheat does.
  • Quinoa can be combined with brown rice in a rice cooker and cooked the same as rice.
  • Quinoa can be used in place of rice in any dish that calls for rice.

I store a lot of this grain because it has a long shelf life similar to white rice, yet much more nutritious. I use quinoa every day by making a large batch of it and storing it in the refrigerator in a sealed bag. It goes well as a side dish with any meal.

Where Do You Find Quinoa?

Quinoa can be purchased at any health food store in the bulk bin section or baking aisles. Look for it near the rice, barley and pasta sections. It looks like a little round seed similar to millet and reminds me of birdseed.

Rinsing Quinoa

Put the quinoa in a fine strainer or over a piece of cheesecloth in a standard strainer. Pick out any brown or black pieces that you see. Run water over the grain. With your fingers you can rub the grains until the water becomes cloudy. Strain and discard the water. Repeat the process several times until the water is clear.

Cooking Basic Quinoa

Prepare quinoa as you would prepare rice. Quinoa is great toasted. Melt a little butter in a pan, add the grain and toast it before cooking in the liquid. I like to use vegetable or chicken stock as the liquid when making quinoa. Water works just fine also. Use two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Use a cooking pan with a lid. Cover it and boil until soft. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes. Do not add salt to the water as it is cooking. It is best to salt the finished product as you eat it. Stir continuously until it is slightly brown on all sides, then it is finished.

Rice Cooker

Place one part quinoa to two parts water in your rice cooker. I like to combine brown rice and quinoa together in the rice cooker. Brown rice requires a little more liquid, so I add another half a cup of broth or water. Even though brown rice takes twice as long to cook, it will turn out just fine. I make large batches of this to have on hand for evening meals. I add salt, pepper and butter to taste. It is fabulous.

Cooking In A Thermos

Another way to make whole grain breakfast cereal is to use a Thermos. Start the night before you want to eat it and add half a cup of grain kernels to the Thermos. Add about a quart of boiling water to the thermos to fill it and then tighten the lid, shake it up and let it set overnight. The next morning, you will have whole grain breakfast cereal. Pour off any excess water. Serve it with milk and honey or sweetener. Add raisins or chopped up dried fruit.

Quinoa Breakfast Mush Recipe

Quinoa also makes a great hot breakfast cereal, similar to oatmeal. Quinoa is great for breakfast whether you are vegetarian or vegan or you just want to eat healthy. These methods of cooking will work for all grains. The cooking times may take longer with the larger grains.

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

  • 2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups milk, soy milk or almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, stevia or agave
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • Optional healthy add ins: sliced strawberries or other chopped fruit; nuts such as slivered almonds, cashews, coconut; raisins or any other dried fruit you like.


  • Combine the quinoa and milk together in a heavy cooking pan and cook over low heat so you do not scorch the milk, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat for another five to six minutes, until quinoa is soft.
  • Let quinoa set for another five minutes to soak up all the remaining liquid.
  • Top with fruit, nuts and any other extra healthy toppings that you love.

Breakfast Cereals Using Other Whole Grains

I believe that if you have whole grains in your food storage, you can make hot cereal or mush for breakfast every day and it will sustain you. Keep your breakfast meals simple. Other breakfast cereal grains that can be stored for hard times are brown rice, whole or cracked wheat, millet, oatmeal, and cornmeal. Get them in the organic section of the health food store. Look for the ones that are labeled non-GMO.

Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice but goes rancid when stored on the shelf for more than nine months. I keep my brown rice in the freezer until I use it.

Whole or cracked wheat kernels cooked in water with a little salt makes a wholesome whole-wheat breakfast cereal. You should use two cups of water and a pinch of salt for every cup of whole wheat. Just boil the water, add the wheat and cook the kernels until the wheat is soft. Eat it with honey, milk and raisins.

Millet is one of the best grains to store for babies, small children and older people. It is easily digested and soft on the stomach. Millet is a small, round grain similar to quinoa and is also used for birdseed.

Oatmeal is great to store because it can be used so many different ways. It can be cooked and made into mush for a breakfast cereal and granola.

Cornmeal can be made into mush by mixing three cups of boiling water with 1.5 cups of cornmeal and a pinch of salt. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes until the mush is thick. Eat it hot with a pat of butter, honey, milk and raisins, if desired.

Wheat Grinder Or Grain Mill

It is nice to have a non-electric wheat grinder that will crack the whole grains if the power goes out. If you don’t have a wheat grinder, use your blender and blend it only until it is cracked in half.

If The Power Goes Out

If the power goes out, you can boil water in a pan on an outdoor fire or use a Dutch oven to cook the grain. It’s good to have an alternative source of heat to cook on just in case the power fails.

Storing Grain

Raw whole grains should be stored in airtight containers. Using an oxygen absorber or vacuum-sealing the grain in pouches will keep it oxygen-free. Grain will store for many years if kept cool and stored in a dark, dry environment.


Clean water is very important when cooking with grains. I store the product called ION stabilized oxygen. It kills most harmful bacteria in the water on contact. It takes only 20 drops of ION per gallon of water. Stir and drink immediately or use in cooking. If the water is dirty, it must be run through a dishtowel or cloth to strain the dirt and debris. It is a good idea to have a portable water filter for filtering questionable water in any bad situation.

–Peggy Layton

A Health Disaster Is Personal; Be Prepared

All the physical preps in the world won’t save you if you get a serious illness such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Unless you have a good insurance plan, you will be on your own. One surgery and hospital stay can cost the equivalent of an entire lifetime of savings for the average person. Medicare even requires supplemental insurance to pay the high cost of most procedures. So it’s best to take good care of yourself and to make sure you store whatever supplements and healthy food you need in case of an emergency situation.

My husband and I are both self-employed, so we had to seek individual insurance. Unfortunately, I had gestational diabetes 22 years ago while I was pregnant. Because it was recorded on my records with my medical doctor and even though it went away after I had the baby, every time I applied for insurance I was denied. My husband had a growth on his ear that he had removed and it was cancerous, therefore he was not eligible for insurance either.

We raised seven children without insurance and have always looked for alternative ways to stay healthy to keep us from landing in the hospital with something serious. When we were raising our children, we did go to the doctor and hospital for broken bones or other issues. We paid out of pocket for our medical bills, usually receiving some sort of discount for self-pay.

My husband and I have had a passion for prepping for most of our married lives. We grow our own organic vegetables and fruits in our backyard garden and maintain a year-round growing-dome greenhouse. We have a root cellar to keep our winter vegetables in cold storage. I bottle or dehydrate my excess produce to make sure I get organic food in the winter as well, and we live a self-sufficient lifestyle year-round. I have been faithful to my healthy lifestyle by not smoking, not drinking alcohol or soda, and not eating sugar, white flour or anything packaged. Because I am very conscious of eating well and taking care of myself, I was not prepared for the looming disaster that I faced with my health these past few years.

It all started about 2 1/2 years ago when I found out I had type-2 diabetes, which runs in my family. I also found out I had adrenal fatigue, and my heart would race at random for no reason. Then a year ago, a monkey bit me at an eco park in Honduras; the doctor on our cruise ship sent me home to receive a series of rabies shots. This was a frightening ordeal because the doctor said I could possibly die, which caused me a lot of stress. The stress from the monkey bite and some emotional upsets in my life, combined with several of my friends and business associates passing away this past year, caused more stress than I could handle, and the diabetes got worse. My doctor gave me a medication to reduce my blood sugar, and it sure did. Five different times my blood sugar plummeted to between 30 and 40. The pills would have killed me before the diabetes would, so I threw the pills away and decided I would deal with it on my own. Because of my inability to get health insurance I have been on a quest to improve my health naturally with diet, exercise and taking essential mineral and nutritional supplementation.

Most People Are Mineral-Deficient

As I did a lot of research this past year, I found out that minerals are essential for every function carried out in the body and that most diseases in humans and animals are associated with a mineral deficiency of some kind.

Statistics from Joel Wallach, N.D., author of the bestselling book and CD Dead Doctors Don’t Lie, show that 95 percent of all people in the United States are mineral deficient.

We Do Not Get Proper Nutrition From The Food We Eat?

If you think you are getting your minerals in a “balanced diet,” think again. Our soil is becoming more and more depleted of minerals. As a result, our food has become less nutritious over the past 40 years. When soil has been farmed year after year, fewer trace minerals are present in each crop.

Cattle ranchers know that to keep their animals healthy they must add minerals back into their feed. Why don’t humans do the same thing? It only makes sense that if animals stay healthy with mineral supplementation, so should humans. Our animals are being fed better than we are.

Most nurseries or farm stores carry products that contain these vital minerals that can be added to the soil before planting. But whether you grow your own produce or not, you need to supplement your diet with minerals.

Minerals Are More Important Than Vitamins

The most common minerals the body requires daily are: boron, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, sulfate, phosphorus, potassium and lithium. Our bodies require a minimum of about 30 trace minerals and a maximum of 70 to use as building blocks for health.

Vitamins do not function well without minerals. Many minerals require the presence of other minerals to be used fully in the body. For example, calcium works better when combined with magnesium. Diabetes and hypoglycemia may benefit from a combination of chromium, zinc and vanadium. Almost everyone knows that osteoporosis can stem from a calcium deficiency. Did you know that proteins, enzymes and hormones are all formed from minerals?

The same goes for vitamin supplements; they often must have the right minerals to go with them. They work together like gasoline and oil in a car. Minerals affect the body’s ability to absorb and use vitamins. And without minerals, vitamins are sometimes excreted, making them useless and producing very expensive urine.

Extensive medical research has confirmed the effectiveness of minerals in working with many health conditions. What is the first thing hospital workers do when a person is admitted? They hook them up to an IV with saline solution of sodium, potassium and electrolytes, which are minerals. This solution saves many lives by restoring the electrolyte balance in the body.

Seawater Is A Great Source Of Minerals

Ionique concentrated mineral drops (CMD) from Utah's Great Salt LakeResearchers have stated that seawater is a great source of essential minerals and trace elements. I have found a great source of these essential trace minerals, called Ionique CMD (Concentrated Mineral Drops).

The Ionique trace mineral solution is made in my home State of Utah.

The Great Salt Lake receives water and minerals from the Uintah, Wasatch and Sawtooth mountains, as well as the Great Basin area. The Great Salt Lake has no outlet, so the water evaporates and the minerals are left behind, which makes them 10 times more concentrated than seawater. These minerals are harvested on the great northern tip of the Great Salt Lake in smaller lakes where the evaporation takes up to two years to extract the mineral-rich concentrated solution. The company uses a solar evaporation and precipitation process, which concentrates the minerals and removes 99 percent of the sodium.

This mineral-rich solution is in an ionic or electrolyte state. Our bodies rely on ionic minerals to conduct and generate billions of tiny electrical impulses. Trace minerals are in a solution of electrolytes that have both positive and negative charges capable of passing through a semi-permeable membrane; therefore, they are easily absorbed into the body and are bioavailable. Because they are highly concentrated, it takes only a few drops in a glass of water or juice to give the body the essential nutrients it requires every day.

The Essential 90 nutrients

Healthy Body Start Pak from YoungevityAnother company I have come across in my research, Youngevity, is founded on Wallach’s findings on mineral supplementation. This past year, I have been taking Youngevity’s 90 For Life™ Healthy Body Start Pak™. According to Wallach, everyone can regain their health and extend their life if they take the 90 essential nutrients in his formula. These include 60 essential minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids.

These nutrients are essential for two reasons. The first is that our bodies cannot manufacture them, so we must consume these nutrients daily in supplements. The second is that if any of these essential nutrients are missing from our diets, we can develop deficiency diseases.

Wallach believes that most diseases stem from a mineral deficiency. I am restoring my health by taking these essential nutrients and mineral-rich products every day. And now that the Affordable Healthcare Act is in place, I might be able to get insurance.

–Peggy Layton