Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Gear: Snow Peak Mini Solo Titanium Cook Set

A quick bit about a piece of gear I've purchased and used. I'm going to be periodically posting a lot of these in the near future.
This time it's the Snow Peak brand Mini Solo Titanium Cook Set.

This consists of a small titanium pot with a lid and a titanium cup, both of which fit together for storage, and the two pieces come in a mesh bag to hold them together. Each container has folding handles.
I got to use these items, or at least the cup, on a weekend survival training retreat that I took a couple months ago. We found and picked wild elderberry leaves and wild mint and made tea with them and though we used a different titanium pot to boil the water in, I did use my own cup to drink the tea and I have no complaints. The tea itself was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS by the way :) Best I've ever had.

In order to maximize the use of space, I also keep some small supplies inside my titanium pot. Inside I keep a 7ft length of twine, an easy-sharpening tool for my blades, a 25ft length of 550 paracord, and two cliff-bars.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home container garden update

I don't know if this is really an update as I never posted the initial stuff on here, just on my social networking account, but I wanted to post my progress here since I've got multiple images to share.
Today I bought some more containers and potting soil to add to what I'm already growing.

I've tried to start from seed the following vegetables for a fall container garden:
- Carrots*
- Lettuce
- Broccoli
- Cauliflower
- Yellow Onions*
- Bell Peppers*
- Tomatoes*

Those with asterisks* were planted a few weeks ago, but the other three were still sitting in their biodegradable seed trays, drying out and running out of space to grow, and therefore dying. I finally decided to try and save them and bought some containers, rocks for dainage, and potting soil.

This here is the mess I made getting everything done today.
There are two large black containers with Broccoli, Caulifower and Lettuce in them, a small black container with mixed salad greens (which I ate for lunch just before posting this), two long containers with bell peppers and onions, respectively, wich you can't really see behind two are two old fish/reptile tanks which I plan on using as mobile mini-greenhouses if I ever have a large enough space to do so.

I'll spare the images of the broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce plants as they're so tiny and non-green that they barely stand out in front of the potting soil, but here's a picture of the 7/8 carrots I planted. One definitely didn't make it so it's just 7 now. By the way, growing in an old kitty-litter container.

Here above are the bell peppers and below are the Spanish Yellow onions.

I was thinking of growing green onions as well, we use them a lot in our boiled chicken for enchiladas and tacos and whatnot, but I just didn't get around to ordering any seeds so just yellow round onions for now. They'll be good to cut up and put in the rice or ground beef.

Despite the fact that tomatoes are supposed to be a warm-weather crop, mine are doing, very well, better in fact that anything else if the health and size of the leaves are to be any indicator. Thanks to our warm southern california weather, these babies seem pretty happy, even though it's admittedly been getting a bit cold and rainy lately.

They're actually a hybrid bush variety called "Bush Goliath," recommended by Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast which I listen to on a regular basis. They're supposed to be better for container gardening because they grow in a bush rather than vine all over the place and they grow really nice big tomatoes, great for putting on sandwiches and burgers, which is what I tend to use tomatoes for more often than anything else.
Motivated by the success of this so far, I'm planning to grow some other varieties of tomatoes next spring/summer. Varieties better for putting in salads and making into sauce and paste so I can try and make my very own spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe sauce, and whatever else I can think to do with my own organic tomatoes.

Here's the aftermath of the salad I had for lunch. It used to be much bigger (it's actually three separate plants), but this is what it looks like after I've cut most of it off for my salad. It should grow back about 4-5 times before it stops so I've got some more tasty organic self-grown salad ahead of me.
I actually got these salad greens from the community garden I volunteer at.

This here is the remnants of my broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce. I took the best three of each and planted them in larger containers, but these look like they're done for. Either way though, I noticed that the clovers beneath my overturned fish/reptile tanks were growing pretty strong so I decided to water these dead looking guys and stick them underneath to see if I can possibly save them. Fingers crossed.
I really would like to plant in the ground, put in raised beds, and do WAY more than this, but as I'm renting all I can do is stick to container gardening. This is good though. I'm learning that I really have to be more attentive to my plants if I want them to do well. I'm lucky I've got as much still healthy as I do have, considering I sort of neglected them quite often as far as watering and I took WAY too long to finally plant these things. Lucky for me I live in one of the most forgiving climates in the country here in southern California and the city I'm in was originally all agricultural land (and much of it still is).

Anyway, just wanted to post about my progress, for my own sake as much as for the interest of anybody else who might care. I'm very happy to be progressing toward my goal of learning to self-sufficiently grow my own food and I'm taking note of every lesson I learn in the process.