Friday, October 2, 2015

Creating a Well-Rounded Survival Plan: Part 1 — The Short Term

Today’s post will be the first article of a three part series that will help you build your own emergency survival plan. We’ll discuss strategies for short-term survival, long-term survival and how to get started in preparing to execute these plans.

Before we start, one caveat: the most important advice about building your own survival plan is to consider your needs, your abilities and your environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our goal is to simply give everyone options to consider and discuss with your family as you build your own plan.

The Short Term…How Long Can I Survive At Home?
When devising a short-term survival plan, where you live will determine how long you can shelter in place and survive. For example, if you live in a small urban apartment, you won’t be able to store enough food to survive a long time and your shelter may be easily compromised.

FEMA recommends a minimum of three days provisions of food and water at home. We here at My Patriot Supply are skeptical of that number—it seems like the bare minimum. For serious emergencies, we recommend at least a month of food and water. Let’s talk about these two vital survival needs now.

Short-Term Food Storage
So you need to store a month or more of survival food, where do you put it? If you have the space, you’ll want to keep your emergency food separate from your everyday food. You’ll want to keep it in a place that’s easy for you to get to, but hidden from plain sight to deter theft. Finally, survival food lasts longest when stored in a stable, dark, dry and cool environment—like a root cellar.

Even though it’s for short-term survival, your emergency food should have a long shelf life, because it may be many years before you have to depend on it. Our emergency survival food was developed to last up to 25 years, and you don’t need a root cellar to make it last.

Temporary Water
In a short-term survival situation, you’ll want enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning—especially if the municipal source is shut off or contaminated. If you’re staying put, you won’t need to drink as much water as you would if you were active, but you still want to secure at least a gallon of water per person per day. It’s always better to have too much than not enough.

Water takes up a lot of space, so if you can secure a source of fresh water, a filtration system is your best bet. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to filter as much water as you can get from the tap, but a well, stream or lake are great backup options.

Our Alexapure Pro filtration system can filter up to 5,000 gallons on one filter and removes 99.9999% of impurities from any fresh water source. That will more than get you through any short-term crisis. Plus, it requires no electricity to operate, so you can have clean water even if the grid goes down.

Gear Considerations
  • To get through a short-term emergency, you’ll need to have some essential gear on hand. Here is a short list of items for you to consider:
  •    First Aid Kit
  • Battery or crank-powered radio and a NOAA radio
  • Flashlight
  • Manual can opener
  • Trash bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties for waste sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Wrench, pliers or multi-tool
  • Means of cooking without utilities
  • Fire-starting gear (matches, lighters, ferro rods, etc.)
  • Candles or a battery-powered lamp
  • Emergency whistle

What would you add to your kit?

This covers the basics of short-term emergency survival: food, water and gear. Next time, we’ll discuss how to survive for a much longer period in the event of catastrophic emergency.

Do you have a short-term survival strategy that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why You Need An Emergency Protein Supply

In any survival situation, you burn a lot of calories. To stay healthy, alert and active, you need to replenish those calories with carbohydrates, fat and especially protein.

Protein makes you stronger, helps you recover from injury faster and feel fuller longer. That’s why you need to make protein a priority for when an emergency strikes.

There are many ways to get protein in an emergency.

You can hunt, trap or fish.

You can forage for insects and nuts.

You can raise animals for dairy, eggs and meat.

You can grow high-protein crops like beans in your own survival garden. For tips on that, check out our survival gardening blog series.

If you have the knowledge, skills, time and a bit of luck, any of these strategies will help to secure a protein supply. Eventually, we’ll cover each of these topics in depth.

However, sometimes the need for protein is more immediate, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a backup supply.

When you purchase a protein supply with a long shelf life, you have the ability to fuel up with protein instantly, which is crucial in any emergency.  Backup protein gives you that extra peace of mind, especially when you have limited access to other protein sources.

What’s your protein plan for an emergency? If you have an interesting tip to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please post your comments below!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pros and Cons of Your Water Filtration Options

It should come as no surprise that clean, drinkable water is an extremely high priority in any emergency situation. 
Whether a crisis strikes when you’re at home, on the road or out in the wilderness, you’ll need the right tools and knowledge to secure healthy drinking water. 
Today, we’re going to take a look at the best water filtration and purification options for almost any situation. 
First, a small note about the technical difference between filtration and purification: for our purposes, the only difference is that purification removes more viruses and smaller dangerous impurities than filtration. Luckily, if you live in the U.S. or Canada, filtration is usually sufficient. 
However, it’s always good to be prepared, which is why all of our Alexapure™ water filters meet or exceed EPA standards for purification, removing 99.9999 percent of impurities.  
Now, onto your filtration options:


Bottled Water:

Pros: Convenient, all you have to do is buy it

Cons: No better or safer than tap water, extremely wasteful and expensive

Best for: There are plenty of other better options that are more attainable


Refrigerator, Pitcher or Tap Water Filter

Pros: Convenient

Cons: Not as effective as other options, requires electricity and municipal water supply to work

Best for: Non-emergencies. It’s best to secure another option for your home


Pitcher Filters

Pros: Cheapest

Cons: Only filters chlorine, primarily for taste and odor. Bacteria or other contaminants could still be present.

Best for: When your budget won’t allow anything better



Pros: Fool and fail-proof method. If it boils, it’s probably safe

Cons: Time-consuming, equipment and fire-starting skills required

Best for: When all other options are exhausted or when you’re already cooking


Gravity-Fed Filters

Pros: Excellent at removing impurities, great for large volumes of water

Cons: Bulk may not be suitable for some situations. Some gravity filters have slow flow rates and require back-flushing, which are inconvenient

Best for: Use at home or in a stable emergency shelter


Straw Filters

Pros: Compact and lightweight, easy to use

Cons: Does not store water, must filter and drink directly from source, low filtration capacity

Best for: Backpacking and fishing trips, short-term survival


Bottle Filters

Pros: Lightweight (when empty), easy to use, higher filtration capacity than straws

Cons: Lower filtration capacity than gravity filters

Best for: Hiking, car storage, short-term survival


Chemicals (Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide)

Pros: Lightest and most compact, excellent for removing viruses and radioactive elements

Cons: Time-consuming, chemicals have a shelf life, taste is sub-optimal, iodine can be dangerous for children and people with thyroid issues

Best for: International travel, ultra-light backpacking, nuclear catastrophe (iodine)


As you can see, you have many options to choose from. I hope this helps you choose a filtration option best suited to your needs. If you can’t decide, give us a call! We’ll be glad to help.


What’s your favorite filtration option? Let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Protection from Pests | Safeguard Your Garden

Birds, squirrels, deer, moose and bears threaten your sustainable food supply. Protect your heirloom Patriot garden from unwanted pests with several survival strategies. 

Banish Destructive Neighbors from Your Vegetable Garden

No matter where you hang your hat, you likely share your habitat with some sort of wildlife. Veggie-loving critters are liable to be dropping by for a bite once your garden gets going. If you’re a city dweller, prepare to say howdy to crows, robins and squirrels. If you live farther afield, your garden acts as a great green welcome mat to hungry deer, moose and berry-seeking bears as well. 

While it’s best to design your garden from the get-go to discourage unwanted guests, it is never too late to do some damage control with some constructive, non-threatening strategies:

  • Birds

    From snatching up your newly sown heirloom seeds to dive-bombing your strawberry bed, birds can do plenty of damage to your garden. Spread some fine netting over newly seeded areas and producing strawberry beds to discourage invasive beaks. Create a convincing scarecrow to shoo destructive feathered friends away from your
    sweet corn rows. 

  • Squirrels

    Beat these bright-eyed bandits to the punch with homemade hot pepper sauce. Carefully liquefy two whole cayenne or ripe
    jalapeno peppers in a blender, avoiding contact between the hot peppers and your skin (ouch!). Strain the sauce to remove the seeds. Mix the pepper potion with one gallon of water. Add a squirt or two of dish soap so the liquid will stick to your plants, and then apply it with a spray bottle to any produce that may be at risk.

  • Deer

    These super-sized garden pests are always a challenge. They can jump a high fence with ease, and the hungrier they get, the less discriminating they are about what they eat. Rather than giving up, try doubling up. Create two layers of perimeter fencing about 5 feet apart to discourage these persistent four-legged feasters.

  • Moose

    If you share your ‘hood with moose, fencing is the best way to keep them from cruising your garden. Obviously, animals of their size go wherever they want, but electrified fencing wire is your best defense against an unstoppable offense. According to The Humane Society, you should use an electric charge appropriate to the size of the animal. High wattage but low amperage delivers a shock that deters Bullwinkle and his buddies without causing them physical harm.

  • Bears

    If you have a compost pile near your garden, be sure to avoid adding meat bits or sweet, fragrant scraps that attract food-seeking snouts. Before taking more severe measures, try some scare tactics like adding loud wind chimes or a wind whistle near the garden area. If this mild approach fails, it’s time to get tough. While a heavy fence is best for keeping bears away, you can fortify your existing garden fence by adding a strand of electric fencing wire at bear level. Just be sure to turn off the juice before you go in or out!

Keeping your produce safe from wild neighbors is more important than ever in an emergency. Plan ahead by having an emergency arsenal on hand – netting, pepper sauce, scarecrow supplies and electric fencing supplies – to protect your fresh food source in a crisis. Be sure to cache extra heirloom Patriot Seeds for damage recovery too!

Moose photo:  "Cow moose" by Veronika Ronkos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Bear photo: "Black Bear Lake Louise" by Harvey Barrison from Massapequa, NY, USA - Canadian Rockies - the bear at Lake Louise Uploaded by Hike395. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a clever strategy for keeping wildlife out of your garden? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below.

Check back for tips on controlling insects in your garden, coming soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tips for Successful Seeds Starts

For those of us who live in the north, starting some types of garden seeds indoors several weeks before the final frost is essential. Otherwise, they don’t have time to mature. Even gardeners who live in warmer southern climates often have better success starting certain fruit and vegetable seeds in a sunroom or greenhouse. 

One big advantage of indoor sprouting is protection birds and insects. Also, you don’t have to worry about weeds stealing nutrients and sunlight from your indoor sprouts. Once you transplant your starts in the garden, you are likely to see an earlier and more productive yield. Also, because each seed is a tiny power pack of nutrients, you don’t need to add fertilizer to your potting mix.

Garden plants that adapt well to indoor sprouting include:

  •   Tomatoes
  •   Corn
  •   Beans
  •   Bell Peppers
  •   Hot Peppers
  •   Cucumbers
  •   Pumpkins
  •   Winter Squash
  •   Cantaloupe
  •   Watermelon
  •   Broccoli
  •   Cabbage
  •   Eggplants
  •   Strawberries

What You’ll Need:
  1. Soil
    Potting soil designed for seed sprouting is the best medium for indoor starts. It should be fresh and sterile. I’ve also had success with peat pellets – those flat circles that expand with water. When it’s time to transplant, you can put these right into the ground, and they will eventually dissolve. Meanwhile, you don’t have to disturb your plant’s tender root system, so you minimize the shock of transplanting.

  2. Seed Trays
    You can buy plastic seed trays at the local mart, but all you really need are a number of small containers. Those little plastic pots you saved from last year’s garden work fine, and so do empty yogurt containers. The main thing is making sure the pots you use are clean and sterile. Peat pods or pots work great for sprouting and transplanting.

  3. Warmth
    Garden seeds need warmth to germinate. Put your trays or pots in a warm but not hot place, like on the clothes dryer. You can also purchase heated mats designed for germinating seeds.

  4. Light
    If you have a greenhouse, a sunroom or a bank of south-facing windows, you’re set for sunlight. Otherwise, you may need to set up some fluorescent lighting to ensure your young plants get enough light to thrive. If your seedlings look thin and rangy, you should provide more light.

  5. Water
    Naturally. But how much? During the germination stage, the soil should be moist but not wet. Use the clear lid that came with your sprouting tray or a loose square of plastic wrap to hold in humidity. Once the sprouts are up, uncover them and water them from below so that the plants can draw only what they need. Surface watering may encourage mold or bacterial growth.
Next week: Transplanting Tips for Indoor Plant Starts

Do you have some advice to share about your own seed sprouting experiences? Please help broaden everyone’s gardening know-how by leaving a comment below!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blog Series: Survival Gardening for Self-Reliance: Tips and Tricks

Part Four: How to Design A Successful Emergency Garden

When your goal is feeding yourself and your family in a crisis, you have to plan ahead. Earlier in this gardening series, we talked about buying heirloom seeds packed for long-term storage. We discussed choosing a mix of fruits and vegetables for balanced nutrition. Now, armed with your gardening know-how, you are ready to draw up a strategic garden plan.


Selecting the right space

Keep in mind the basic needs of plants when choosing a good space for your garden:

  1. Full sunlight

    Site your garden to the south of buildings and away from trees that cast shade. Most heirloom fruits and vegetables do best with 6-8 hours of full sun per day. Place the tallest plants, like sweet corn, at the northern edge of your plot, so they don’t cast shade on shorter plants.

  2. Good drainage

    Consider soil and slant when selecting your garden spot. Healthy plants need good drainage. If your soil is mostly clay, for example, you should prepare your site by bringing in better soil. Don’t plan to plant in a hollow where rainwater collects and sits, and don’t put your garden at the base of a bare hill where a heavy rain could wash away your hard work.

  3. Water

    Your plants need a consistent source of water throughout the growing season. Take this into account when choosing your garden site. In a crisis, you may have to source rainwater or creek water, so you should have a plan for making that possible, and ideally have the components, such as a cachement system, in place.
Layout considerations

Once you have chosen your garden spot, figure out how much space you have to work with. If you are planning a big garden, remember that the larger it is, the more work and water it requires. The biggest plus of a large garden, of course, is the big harvest. Plan a garden as large as you and your family can reasonably manage.

To make the most of the space you have, you could:
  • Grow upward instead of out – plan to trellis peas, beans, cucumbers and melons. Trellising improves yields, makes harvesting easier and saves horizontal space.

  • Combine plants to maximize space. For example, combine corn, squash and beans. The beans climb up the corn stalks while the squash spreads below.

  • Plant new rows of certain crops every few weeks to expand your total yield of food. Crops like radishes complete their growing cycle quickly, so plant more rows throughout the summer to have a continuous supply.

Drawing it up

Use graph paper or garden planning software to draw up your emergency garden plan. Start with the outer dimensions, and then decide how to divide up your space – in a grid, in a series of rows, in hills or in groupings of plants.

Don’t forget to give each plant enough room to thrive. Check the spacing requirements for each variety as you plot your layout. Also, include pathways so that you can easily reach your plants throughout the growing season.

Are you interested in seeing some sample emergency garden layouts? If so, let us know, and we will post some in the coming weeks!

Illustration for article:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Blog Series: Survival Gardening for Self-Reliance: Tips and Tricks

Part Three: Finding Balance With Your Survival Garden

We both know that fresh fruits and vegetables are among the best natural fuels. The way I see it, your emergency garden could someday be your main food source. Careful planning today will give your family a nutritional advantage in a crisis, so fill your emergency kit with the heirloom seeds that will yield the best nutritional balance.

1. Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach and Kale

These four vegetables are the leaders in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision and a strong immune system. It is also essential for cell growth, bone metabolism and reproductive health. Cantaloupe and leafy greens are also top sources for vitamin A.

2. Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Strawberries

Serving for serving, all of the above provide your family with more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and produce collagen, a protein that supports skin and bone health. Even your brain needs this essential vitamin to stay healthy and effective. Other good sources of vitamin C in your garden include green beans, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peas, cabbage, zucchini, cantaloupe, raspberries and watermelon.

3. Collards, Asparagus, Dried Beans, Potatoes

B vitamins relieve stress, boost your mood and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. All of these functions are especially critical when you are dealing with a crisis. Additional plants that yield big B benefits include chili peppers, beets, corn and broccoli.

4. Lima Beans, Swiss Chard, Kidney Beans, Beet Greens

Red meat is a good source of iron, but greens and dry beans provide plenty of this essential nutrient too. You need iron for healthy blood. Iron fuels your metabolism, helping it convert calories into energy. Include legumes and leafy greens in your emergency garden plan so your family has a renewable source of iron.

Of course, you also need minerals like calcium and potassium in your diet. The great thing about fresh fruit and vegetables is that they provide the minerals you need to stay strong. They are also the best sources of dietary fiber.

Now that you know what to grow for a balance of nutrients, you are ready to draw up a diagram for your emergency survival garden. I’ll walk you through it in my next blog. With seeds and plan at hand, you’ll be prepared to weather whatever crisis comes your way!

Pooling resources is an important part of getting prepared. We’d love to hear your ideas about garden planning. Please post your comments below!