Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Weed Free Raised Bed

To make a weed-free raised bed is fairly simple.

I started out by making the walls of the bed by simply stacking bricks: I used no morter at all.

I then laid down woven weed barrier across the bottom to prevent strong weeds from coming up. It also prevents voles. Voles are REALLY common in Kansas, and they do eat root vegetables!!!!!!!!

I filled the bed up with vermiculite, which raised nasty clouds of white dust that were no doubt very bad for my lungs. I did try to avoid breathing it but I REALLY should have had a dust mask! They are very cheap at the hardware store but it would have meant another trip to town and so I simply tried to avoid the white stuff! I tend to get excited and impatient when a project is very nearly done!

I now had a filled, raised bed but there was no in it fertility at all. So, I dumped little bags of fertilizer on the top, and then I added powdered kelp for trace minerals. I raked it in and watered it down and then I was ready to plant.

The first year I used the raised bed I grew small plants and a few potatos, but the potatos grew over the small plants and killed them.

On the GOOD side, I did not have to dig up the potatos. I simply stuck my hand into the loose vermiculite and took what I wanted. When I decided to remove the potato plants I simply grabbed the stem and pulled them all up. When I removed the plants I did loose a couple of spuds that I had to fish around for but it was BEYOND easy to get the potatos out!

I am now into my second year, and this year I did not plant potatos, instead I planted lettuce, onions, and carrots. I should get a LOT of carrots because I absent mindedly planted carrots TWICE! Since I planted them 1 inche apart on a grid pattern that will give me 144 carrots per square foot. And, I believe that I planted 8 square feet into carrots. That is a lot of carrots, even when you consider that I take every other carrot while they are still small! Baby carrots are excellent!

One mistake that I did make hen I made the raised bed was that the ground was not very level when I stacked the bricks on it. Slanting ground means slanting walls. I had to repair and re-stack a few spots because some of the bricks fell over!

The weather across the United States is sounding pretty grim this year: the states North of me are flooding and the states South of me are afflicted with a drought. If the rest of the country is like this then I may be glad of my bountifull vegetable garden as the price of produce will be going up!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How To Plant Peas

The best time to plant peas is when the soil is cool but not cold: peas germinate best at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Peas may be planted when the soil is as cool as 40 degrees or as warm as 86 degrees, but they will germinate best at 75 degrees. While soil thermometers can be bought at many plant nurseries, I can usually tell by touching the freshly turned soil: cool is fine, but cold soil is not yet ready for peas.
Peas prefer damp (not soggy) soil with a PH of between 6 and 7.
Like many seeds, peas grow best if they are planted at a depth of 4-5 times the width of the seed: practically speaking this works out to peas growing well when planted 1-1.5 inches deep. To allow enough room for strong roots, peas are generally planted 1-2 inches apart.
Peas are usually grown in either single rows or in wide rows. To make a single row, plant the peas about an inch apart in a single row. This has the advantage of being easier to keep hoed. A wide row may be solidly seeded with peas 2 inches apart in a strip up to 1 foot wide. This has the advantage of producing much larger yields in a smaller amount of land, but more hand weeding will be needed.
Whether the rows are wide rows or narrow rows, allow 2 feet between rows of peas.
The tall varieties of peas are generally trellised, and the short varieties frequently are. Without a trellis, pea plants might be damaged if a heavy rainfall beats them down into the muddy earth. I have successfully grown short peas without a trellis, but it is a gamble that you might not wish to take.
Peas will be ready to pick between 55 and 70 days: the shorter peas generally need less time to produce than the tall ones. For this reason, if you live in an area with hot summers you may get a better yield with the shorter varieties of peas. If it is 86 degrees or hotter when the peas bloom, then the pollen will be killed and the peas will not produce.
Ideal conditions for peas are sunny, cool, and moist. If you live in a hot area, it would be best to go with very short-season peas.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to use Natural Remedies to treat Multiple Sclerosis, and very possibly other auto immune diseases as well.

My doctor tells me that half of his patients use natural remedies on the Multiple Sclerosis. That does not mean that they do not also use conventional medicine: it just means that they also use Natural Remedies.

Personally, I have found Natural remedies to be extremely usefull.

L-CARNITINE.   It all started when my doctor told me that Acetyl L-Carnitine was being used for sleep disruption in patients with MS, and that the results had been so good that they had terminated the test early so that ALL of the patients could go on it! So, I set out to find some for myself.

I did not find what I was looking for at that time but I DID find L-Carnitine, and I started taking 3 pills a day. After 36 hours I started feeling better but sometimes that is the nature of MS: I first feel better and then I feel worse. It might have been a fluke. So, I stopped taking the L-Carnitine and when I started feeling better I went back on it. AGAIN, after 36 hours I started feeling better! It appeared that it was taking away the grinding fatigue that was making it so hard for me to function!

I was sold on Natural Remedies from that moment on. And, with my own body to test them on, I could very quickly find out what worked by testing it on myself. I could be my own guinea pig. And, one of the FIRST things that I discovered was that L-Carnitine worked better than Acetyl L-Carnitine. Not that I minded, of course! I was feeling better and the future was looking brighter!

By trial and error, I discovered that 3 pills a day (1500 mg) was optimum, though I needed to take food with it to prevent indigestion.

More information on L-carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine from Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-834-ACETYL-L-CARNITINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=834&activeIngredientName=ACETYL-L-CARNITINE


Surely, if L-Carnitine was so helpfull, other Natural Remedies would work as well? I decided to research other remedies, and try them out on myself. I went through pretty much a boxfull of different items, but I DID find a couple of others that worked!

TURMERIC is a Natural Remedy that is used on Rhumetoid Arthritis, which is a different auto-immune disease. I decided that the logical thing to do was to try it out on my own MS, which is ALSO an auto-immune disease.

To myvery great pleasure, I started regaining feeling in areas that had gone rather numb due to the MS. So, I stopped taking it as a second test, and in a matter of a couple of days the numbness started creeping back. When I went back on the turmeric the numbness started to dissapear again. SCORE!

Turmeric was very easy to find, as it is used in making pickles. I bought it in the spice aisle at the grocery store, and I filled empty plastic capsules that I bought from from Wonder labs to make it easy to swallow.http://www.wonderlabs.com/newshowitems.php

CUMIN was the third Natural Remedy that I discovered. Cumin is the spice that makes chili taste like, well, like CHILI!

Like turmeric, the cumin resulted in less numbness and more feeling. Like L-carnitine, I needed to take cumin with food to prevent irritation! I also filled the capsules from Wonder Labs to make the cumin easier to take: I have never wished to eat spices straight!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The symptoms of multiple sclerosis showed up about 5 years ago. We had
JUST! put a down payment on 5 acres of land, so that I could FINALLY fulfill
my life-long dream of being a farmer. Five acres was a little SMALLER that I
had hoped for, but then I figured on raising high-dollar crops like
blackberries and honey.

Now, you would figure that gaining a lifelong dream would have had me down
on the land in an instant, but I was so very TIRED all of a sudden! All that
I really wanted to do was to rest. I put it off for a little bit.

Well, after a few days of this I gathered together my energy and I got
together some metal stakes and I went down to make a more permanent mark on
the corner: that stick of wood with the pink flag was positively NOT! good
enough to mark the corner of my farm.

I was youngish and I was strong-or so I had thought- but I simply could not get the metal stake into the ground. I barely managed to walk to the corner, and the effort made my vision go out of focus. At one point I reached for what I thought was a stick in my pathway: it turned out to be a large and harmless snake!

 I did not know it at the time, but I was having my first flare-up of MS. It
took me a year to get diagnosed, and that fourth corner never DID get

That was then and this is now. Treatment and herbal remedies have slowed the
progression of the disease, but I now barely have the strength to be a
housewife. STILL I am determined to farm! A few more machines, some
high-quality weed barriers, permaculture, crystals to decrease the need for
watering....... I do believe that I can raise food again! LOTS and LOTS of

I might never again have the strength to stand in the hot sun and sell at
the farmers market, but I do believe that I can RAISE it!

Journey with me, if it pleases you, while I re-learn how to raise edibles
even though I am handicapped! I have had many successes already and I will
happily share what has and has not worked for me, as well as my on-going

My goal is to share with people how quantities of food can be raised in
peoples back yards or on their land, and with not much labor. TRUST me on
this: if I can raise food when I walk with a cane and tire very quickly,
then so can most of America! It is just a matter of knowing how.......

My goal is to write 2-3 times a week, year round. There is so MUCH that I
have to share, from natural cures to gardening to my attempts to raise crops
on my 5 acres to easy ways to prepare the produce for the table.......

Pull up a chair, sit down, and visit with me!

Kansas Terri