Rapitest NPK tests

How to use a Rapitest at-home soil test to figure out what your garden needs

A lot of people try gardening by putting seeds in the ground and waiting. When nothing comes up, or plants barely grow, they chalk it up to being bad at gardening or not having a green thumb. In reality, their soil probably just doesn’t have the nutrients plants need. Soil testing is your chief weapon

News roundup for Fri, Apr 9, 2021

There’s been rioting in Northern Ireland for six days in a row, and most of the tension is over Brexit-induced trade and border woes. Leaders from all sides are calling for calm, but few are engineering solutions to the problems driving the unrest. The US is exporting a whole lot of corn, and we’ve blown

Do you still need to disinfect packages? Analyzing new CDC advice

Over a year ago, we told you how to disinfect packages from COVID-19. In the interim, some doctors and scientists became aghast that people were doing this. The CDC offered conflicted and confusing advice, which we happily fact checked, and the CDC withdrew. Many of you are still following our package disinfection advice. Now the

News roundup for Tue, Apr 6, 2021

Rates of reproductive harm by industrial and environmental contaminants are growing. Some projections seem almost hyperbolic—half of people will need clinical help to conceive in two decades? But folks have been studying this for decades, and the trends are very concerning. It’s tough to address in everyday life because plastic and plasticizers are ubiquitous and

Covid-19 has a silver lining. Will society learn the lessons or let this pain happen in vain?

Covid has caused tremendous pain. But it could’ve been so much worse, and it’s frankly dumb luck that things weren’t 100-1,000 times more painful. The (potential) silver lining is that things were juuust bad enough to catalyze meaningful change in the future — such as treating essential workers better and building more local slack in

News roundup for Fri, Apr 2, 2021

How could a boat stuck in a canal be one of the largest single-point-of-failure logistics disasters in the world? Corporations monopolizing shipping and supply lines, a dearth of anti-trust laws, globalization, and using container ships as big as the Empire State Building have a lot to do with it. FEMA recognizes that climate change is

News roundup for Tue, Mar 30, 2021

We knew global shipping was backlogged even before the container ship got stuck in the Suez. It’s been freed now, but many months of shipping and logistics chaos are left in its literal wake. Costco, for example, is having trouble stocking cheese now. Expect shortages of odd and sundry items and general price increases. Baltimore

News roundup for Fri, Mar 26, 2021

There was a mass shooting in Boulder, CO on the 22nd, and 10 are dead. There’s typically a flurry of debate on gun ownership after mass shootings, along with the swift drafting of legislation—but in many places gun laws are broadened after shootings. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen now, but the US

Goats

Homesteading misconceptions: Why having goats is harder than you may have heard

Many new homesteaders, when asking what to do about the overgrowth of brush or brambles, often get the response: “Just get some goats,” due to their reputation for eating grass, briars, and pretty much anything. When I bought my five-acre property in 2017, I intended to buy some goats straightaway for milk and meat, and

News roundup for Tue, Mar 23, 2021

A recent US intelligence report paints domestic extremists as a looming threat. Extremism from both sides of the political spectrum is unlikely to die down in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, disrupted economy, and recent civil and political unrest. Homelessness is still rising in the States. Iceland has had its anticipated eruption. So far

News roundup for Fri, Mar 19, 2021

12.6 million people have been displaced because of climate change in the last six months alone. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies report that most of these displacements were due to natural disasters. Asia has been hit hardest. Louisiana is losing land to sea level rise. The state has a $50 billion plan to

Field garlic bulb

Is field garlic safe to eat? Yes! How to identify field garlic

Many preparedness-minded people want to get into foraging wild plants but are worried that they’ll pick something that might kill them. An easy plant to start foraging is field garlic or wild garlic, which is plentiful, easy to identify, and versatile. You may even have some growing in your yard now. HEY! It’s almost spring,