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Archive for the category “prepping”

Growing Potatoes in the City

If you are living in the city and have a garden terrace or balcony only, you still can grow your own potatoes. The trick is to grow them in stories and as such multiply the limited space available.

In many countries, like the US, you can’t use your front yard for vegetable growing for aesthetic reasons. But there is work-around for that. The complete growth cycle varies between 90-150 days. First of all it takes perhaps 30 days for the potato to grow into a little plant like in the video above and are ready to be put in the bag. Eventually you need ca 1 m2 for a bag, but only if the plants are fully grown. Before that you place them on your terrace close up against each other. By the time you can’t see the plastic anymore you can move the bags to your front yard, for “decorative purposes”, wink wink nudge nudge.

aardappeleters-van-goghAardappeleters (Potatoe Eaters) – Vincent van Gogh (1885). The painting shows the simple life for peasant people in the village of Nuenen near Eindhoven. Van Gogh lived here for two years and was born in Zundert, also located in the Noord-Brabant province. Six years later Philips would be established in neighboring Eindhoven and would develop into one of the electronic giants on the planet. Take-away point: never underestimate the nutritious value of ordinary potatoes.

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Solar Air Heater

Private preparations for a ‘sustainable future’ are progressing satisfactorily:

– Solar panels gave me 1450 kWh in the first year on a household consumption of 1550 kWh; that’s almost full coverage.
– Three seasons of running a vegetable garden, making substantial progress every season. Coming season the full garden will be available, providing 100% of potatoes and vegetables. Additionally a greenhouse will be installed in February after the last tree stubs will have been removed and 100 m2 will be available for gardening, enough for two persons.
– Freezers and generator backup are in place.

Motivation: anticipating a global financial “Big Reset“, as well as creating a pension plan not (entirely) based on paper assets. “Peak oil” is of secondary concern only.

The last item on the prepper todo list is space heating support. For that purpose 10 m x 1.6 m garden fence facing South-West is available. The idea is to construct a huge solar air heater, consisting of a large black plate, covered by double glass, so that during the day, air hotter than 21 C (if any) can be pumped into the living room. At a later stage, air from the collector can serve as input for an electric heat pump for temperatures < 21 C. Ideally the black backside solar radiation absorber will consist of black solar panels to gain extra electricity, to be used for the electric heat pump. In the Summer the glass cover needs to be removed to prevent over-heating of the solar panels. At a later stage a heat storage, like a vessel of 1 m3 filled with pebbles, could be added to the system.

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