Tag Archives: Preparing to Provide

Gardening without Soil – Understanding Hydroponics

Gardening without Soil – Understanding Hydroponics

hydroponics277x185For most people, gardening involves spending some time working the soil, adding compost or fertilizer, and planting seeds. But there are many people who don’t have the land, space, time, or physical ability to do conventional gardening. So how can they still get involved in growing their own food? One answer is hydroponics, growing plants without the use of soil. There are many different setups that can be put together to meet the individuals needs. It’s a fun and productive way to grow most any type of vegetable. And for those with low water supply’s, hydroponics allows you to use the water much more efficiently than simply pouring it into the ground. Also, hydroponics allows you to give the plants exactly what they need to flourish, without guessing whether or not they have enough fertilizer. So if you’re short on time, or can’t move like you used to, join us on Preparing to Provide for a lot of information and suggestions on how you to can began growing your own vegetables, without soil.

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Gardening and Drought on “Preparing to Provide”

drought preparing to provideGardening in a Drought on Preparing to provide! … With the crazy spring weather, a lot of gardens are late this year, putting them right in the middle of summer when it’s often hot and dry. Dealing with drought can be a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to conserve the water that you have and also maximize the effectiveness of it when used in the garden. It all starts with proper planning. Do you have a good source of water? Maybe a rain water collection system? For this week’s show, we’ll spend some time discussing how to keep your plants from getting too thirsty, and also cover a lot of other gardening related topics.

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Gardening and gardening while struggling with unusual weather.

Weather mapMHP GardenIt’s gardening season, but the weather is still not cooperating. It’s just one of those years when nothing comes easy. For this week on Preparing to Provide, we’ll continue the wide open format and leave it up to the listeners to decide the topics of conversation with their phone calls. I have plenty to talk about in regard to what is going on around here, as well as what is NOT going on. Like so many people, I’m struggling with this unusual weather too. But I’d really like to hear from you and talk about what is going on in your gardens or greenhouses. The last show went very well, as a lot of folks had things they wanted to share. The number to call is 347-202-0228, and as always, be sure to press 1 to speak with the operator.
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Gardening, Questions & Answers with MHPgardener

Preparing to Provide125MHPFor this week’s show on Preparing to Provide, I am going to have somewhat of an open format. Unlike shows in the past where I have had guests or a designated topic, I am going to cover a broad range of questions that I receive in response to my YouTube videos. They may be related to gardening, hydroponics, or life in general. Many times, the answers are too complicated for a 2 or 3 sentence response. Some of the questions for this week: Am I concerned about the commercial fertilizers that I use in regard to how they affect me or the environment? How do I feel about the amount of plastics that I use in my hydroponics setups? How did I build my greenhouse? What is the best advice I’ve ever received? Where do I get square buckets?

But I don’t want this show to be solely about me. This is an hour in my schedule that I have set aside to make myself available to anyone who would like to talk to me, regardless of what the topic is. So feel free to call in with your questions, comments, or suggestions at 347-202-0228, and be sure to press 1. I’d like to hear what you’re up to.
Visit Preparing to Provide aka “MHPgardener” Youtube channel: Go Here!
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Garden Fertilizers – Feeding Your Plants

Fertilizer442x442MHPBefore you plant a seed or seedling, you need to apply some fertilizer to the soil or container. What kind and how much depends on what you’re growing, and your particular style of growing. So it’s important to have a good understanding of the nutrient needs of the specific plants. Whether you’re organic, or just a conventional gardener, there are plenty of choices when it comes to feeding your plants. For this week’s show, I’ll be talking about N-P-K…the fertilizer ratio that is printed on each bag. For many people, the preference is simply a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 (triple 10). But suppose you want to address the nitrogen issue for side dressing a heavy feeder like corn. Or maybe you want to increase the flowers in your flower garden by adding some phosphorus. What products are available? How do you know which is best, or when to apply it? Join me tonight on Preparing to Provide for an interesting discussion as I answer these questions and many more, and try to help you gain a better understand of what you can do to grow a better garden.

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Self Sufficient Ideas: An Aquaponics Discussion with Rob from Web4Deb

Preparing to Provide125My guest on the last show was Rob Torcellini, one of my YouTube friends. If you don’t know him, this is his YouTube channel… http://www.youtube.com/user/web4deb we spent quite a bit of time talking about his Geodesic Dome greenhouse, and greenhouses in general. Depending on where you are located, a greenhouse could be used to grow vegetables year round or simply as a way to lengthen your growing season. And one of the huge benefits to greenhouse growing is the fact that you don’t have to deal with unpredictable weather.

We had just gotten started on the aquaponics discussion when the clock ran out. Since I’m putting together my own aquaponics system right now, I’d like to make this a focal point of the show. For those who aren’t familiar with AP, it’s a process that involves growing fish and plants together, in one complete system. The waste from the fish is what provides the nutrients for the plants. In terms of being self-sufficient, an aquaponics setup would certainly make a great addition. If you were able to put this inside a greenhouse, and grow the plants year round, that would be even better. But you’d probably need a way to heat the greenhouse. Well, Rob solved that problem with a Rocket Mass Heater. And for some added insurance in the event of a power outage, he also installed solar panels to meet his electrical needs.

So on this episode of Preparing To Provide, we’ll be providing lots of information for anyone looking to get into aquaponics. And if time permits, we will also be discussing the Rocket Mass Heaters and various solar power options. Please join us for another great show, and feel free to call in with any questions you might have.

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Greenhouse gardening, this is what I’m talking about!

Preparing to Provide125Times are tough, and getting tougher by the day. The proverbial handwriting is on the wall. In order to survive in an uncertain future, we need to be finding more ways to grow our own food. For many of us, that means a garden. But what happens if a storm wipes out your garden? What happens if you have a rainy spring and can’t get the garden planted? Where will you get the vegetables that you need to can and preserve to make it thru the winter? My suggestion is to build a greenhouse. With a greenhouse, you don’t have to worry about too much rain, because you’re growing inside. And if it’s built properly, a greenhouse will withstand most storms, with the exception of tornado’s and hurricanes.

In order to maximize the use of the greenhouse, it helps to be able to grow during the winter. But for most of us, that will require some type of heating. Depending on the size of your greenhouse, one option for heating is a Rocket Mass Heater. They are very efficient and can be the difference between freezing temperatures and a harvest. Also, if obtaining fertilizers is a problem, you might want to consider aquaponics. With aquaponics, you simply feed the fish, and they provide the fertilizer needs for the plants.

My guest for this week on Preparing To Provide is Rob Torcellini from YouTube. His YouTube channel is  http://www.youtube.com/user/web4deb Rob has an incredible setup. He built a huge Geodesic Dome greenhouse for indoor growing. For his grow method, he has chosen aquaponics and has been growing vegetables thru the winter. To heat his greenhouse, he built the most awesome Rocket Mass Heater that you’ll ever see. He even had it set up for automatic feeding of wood pellets. And to top it all off, his electrical needs are being supplied by solar panels. Rob is well on his way toward being self-sufficient and will be a great source of information for those of us who still have a lot of work to do, or anyone just getting started. Please join us for what promises to be another fantastic show filled with lots of useful tips and advice.

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Gardening Questions and Answers – Open Discussion

Preparing to Provide125MHP GardenFor the past several weeks on “Preparing To Provide” we’ve spent a lot of time on raising chickens and homesteading. Well, the weather is beginning to warm up, people are starting seeds, and the folks down South are already planting. So it’s time to focus on my primary topic, gardening and growing your own food. I get lots of questions in response to my YouTube videos, http://www.youtube.com/user/mhpgardener  and many times there are just not enough hours in the day to respond to all of them in detail. As you would guess, the same questions get asked over and over. For this discussion, I will be compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions and providing in depth answers for each of them. Some of the topics will be seed starting, greenhouse construction and growing, and hydroponics. Also, I will give my personal account of exactly how I became so involved in gardening. So join me for an interesting evening of Q & A, and feel free to call in with any questions or tips that you may have.

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Raising Chickens – Part 2 – What You Need to Know!

chicken-run1During the last show of “Preparing to Provide“, we had a great discussion with Paul Wheaton and several callers. A lot was discussed, with quite a bit of focus on long term objectives. Things like rotating paddocks and free ranging would seem to be the end goal for a truly self-sufficient method of raising chickens. However, not everyone has the necessary space for these methods. And for a beginner, sometimes you have to crawl before you walk. A lot of questions remain. Things like… Where to buy chicks? Is it better to start with pullets? How many chickens can you have per coop? What feed is best at what stage? How to deal with extreme heat and cold? With that in mind, we’re going to go back and fill in a lot of the blanks.

chickens1For this discussion, I have enlisted the help of a few more of my YouTube friends. We’ll start the show with Pooter1176 http://www.youtube.com/user/Pooter1176 He has a typical coop and run, with plans for building chicken tractors to allow the birds to have fresh food on a daily basis. Following will be Don, aka MeanEvilConservative http://www.youtube.com/user/meanevilconservative He’s a fellow Virginian with a few years of raising chickens, ducks, and quail. Whether it’s laying hens or meat birds, he has a pretty good knowledge of what it takes to raise them. And to close out the show, we’ll have PetPrepper  http://www.youtube.com/user/PetPrepper she’s been grooming animals for over 20 years and can give you some insight on dealing with extreme cold. She’s pretty far north and has been working on ways to prevent frozen eggs.

So join us for another entertaining and informative show, as we get more advice from people with first-hand experience in raising chickens. With three different perspectives, there should be plenty of helpful tips and suggestions.
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The Seeds We Sow Everyday! Not the ones you’re thinking of.

Preparing to Provide150x150lantern-holly-and-mince-pies-11289842239IyyDuring the last 3 broadcasts of “Preparing To Provide”, we’ve been discussing seeds, primarily vegetable seeds. But as important as seeds are for growing food, there are some seeds that I feel are much more important. So as we prepare for Christmas, I’d like to talk about the seeds that we sow each day by our actions. In everything that we say and do, we plant a seed. It can be as simple as saying hello to a stranger, paying for someone else’s meal in a restaurant, or calling the owner of a lost dog after seeing the phone number on the dogs caller. In each case, it’s possible that you may never see that person again. But you don’t know what the future holds. There may come a time or situation where you desperately need help, and one of those people remembers how you had helped them. Or they may show up at your door one day with a gift of thanks. You just never know how things will play out. But one thing is certain; you can’t reap a bountiful harvest without first planting the seeds. I have numerous accounts of harvests that showed up when I least expected them. And they are always right on time.

Now, I don’t want this to be all about me. I’d like to hear from some of you. It would be great if you could call into the show and share your experiences. Simply dial 347-202-0228 to talk about the little things that you did, and how you were blessed with a harvest later on.  With so much negativity in the world today, encouraging stories can be really helpful. I think we all have plenty of instances where our acts of kindness have been rewarded and often many times over. If you’re unable to call in during the show, and would like to share your story, you can email me at mhpgardener@yahoo.com, and I’ll make sure that your story is heard.

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Selecting the most productive varieties for your garden depending on where you live!

Over the past month on “Preparing to Provide” we’ve discussed the different “types” of seeds…. Open Pollinated,  Heirloom, and Hybrid. Now it’s time to find those specific “varieties” that will do well in your area. From Florida to Ontario, from Texas to Oregon…. growing conditions vary greatly from one location to another. So it makes sense that what grows well in one area would not necessarily grow so well somewhere else. If you want to grow onions, do you need a “long day” or “short day” variety? If you’re growing tomatoes, which is more suitable… a long producing indeterminate, or an early producing determinate variety? If you’re farther north and have a short growing season, what can you do to increase your chances of success if you decide to grow heat loving plants like watermelon and okra? Another factor to consider is the specific growing method. Whether you’re planting in long rows, growing in raised beds, or maintaining a container garden on your patio, there are some varieties that will do well in each situation. Tune in to get answers to the above questions, as well as many more. And feel free to call in and share your own personal experiences. The goal here is to provide as much information as possible to help each other to have more productive gardens.

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Genetically Modified Seeds: Your garden and your food, what you need to know.

During my last show “Preparing to Provide“, where I was discussing seed types, I ran out of time and was unable to cover GM or Genetically Modified seeds. The topic of GMO (genetically modified organism) is one that most people have a very strong opinion about. With the failure of California to pass Prop 37, a bill that would have required specific labeling of food to note whether it contained any GMO products, those opinions are stronger than ever. However, not everything that you hear about the GM story is accurate, especially as it relates to the seeds that you put in your garden. Should you be worried about GM seeds? Which ones are on the market right now? Can you buy them? What can we do to slow the spread of GM seeds? What can we do about the store bought foods that likely are GMO derived? What can you do to make a difference? These are a few of the questions that I plan to answer during this discussion. And, unlike my first show, I will hold off on the phone calls until I have fully presented my case. At that time, I will open the phone lines and address any further concerns and questions. When all is said and done, I hope to have offered up a solution that anyone could be a part of. Time will tell.

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Understanding Vegetable Seeds!

You want to grow your own vegetables, but you’re unsure of what seeds to buy. With so many seed catalogs and online options to choose from, it’s not always easy to make the right choices.  Open pollinated, heirloom, hybrid… and even GMO. What are the differences? What type should you buy if you want to save seed? Which ones can help you deal with potential disease problems? Who should you buy from? How can you be sure that the seeds you purchase are not GMO seeds? Join Bobby on “Preparing to Provide” as he offers a thorough explanation of vegetable seeds and provides answers to these questions and many more. After this discussion, you will be able to open any seed catalog and know exactly what seeds you should purchase to meet your needs.

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