A great guide to have handy:
A simple illustration of why we should keep trees and plants living on our soil…
Commonly found in Mexican and Asian dishes, the leafy, bright green leaves of the cilantro plant might not only be tasty, but also help to purify polluted water. Scientist have recently discovered that, in developing countries, cilantro might actually help to absorb some heavy metals found in contaminated ground water.
Students, along with Professor Douglas Schauer of Ivy Tech Community College, were searching for a cheap and accessible way to filter ground water. They dried and crushed numerous wild plants while conducting their research, and found that cilantro was the most effective.
“And then we put that into a solution that has a known amount of lead in it,” Schauer said. “That’s the metal we used as our test metal. Shake it up for a little bit, and then we let the particles settle out, and then we test the water to see how much lead is left behind.”
The researchers found that their cilantro filters were successful in removing many of the pollutants, especially nickel and lead.
Biosorbents are used in environmental cleanups, and help to remove contaminants like lead, arsenic, and other harmful metals. According to the research, the outer wall structure that makes up the cilantro plant is what makes the plant perfect for absorbing the metals.
“The organic toxins we can take care of pretty easily with a number of different methods, but the only way to really get rid of those heavy metals is to treat them with filtering agents like activated charcoal (like what’s found in a Brita filter), but those types of materials are kind of expensive,” said Schauer to CNN. “They are a little expensive for us to use, but they are very expensive to the people living in that region.”
One method of purification using the cilantro filtering method is grinding up cilantro and passing water though it using a tube, which allows clean water to trickle out of the opposite end of the tube, ultimately leaving even cleaner water. Another method involves drying cilantro and putting it in tea bags, which are then placed in a pitcher of water, helping to take out some of the toxic metals.
Schauer believes that, since cilantro is a common herb in poor countries, it could substantially and positively affect access to water in many developing nations.
“Our hope is for somebody who lives in that region to simply be able go in their back yard and grab a handful of cilantro, maybe let it dry out for a couple days sitting on a rock in the sun, and then maybe a handful of that would purify a pitcher of water,” he said.
You can turn a small yard, a corner in a community garden or an unused space in your home (or Bunker) into a thriving vertical farm for vegetables and fish. A household-sized vertical aquaponic system can fit into a 3ft by 5ft (1m x 2m) area and feed a family year-round.
Sean Brady, the aquaponics projects coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Aquaponics and Nourish the Planet in Loveland, Colo., showed us how to build a system from scrap he found around the greenhouse.
This is how to build Sean Brady’s low-cost vertical aquaponic system. All the photos are his, and if you have questions for him, you can contact Sean Brady here or email him at
You can use the following materials or swap out anything for whatever you have on hand. Brady built this system from scrap he had around the greenhouse. We’re including pictures of other, fancier systems that he built out of similar materials to show the diversity that this kind of build affords. Measurements are in feet and inches. Sorry, rest of the world.
15-20 ft. of 4-in. diameter PVC or ADS
Four 4-inch elbows
Four 4-inch T connectors
*Two 50-gallon drums
*15-20 ft. of pex tubing, or aquarium tubing
*Strips of cloth, such as burlap sack, cable ties or another fastener
*Two rolls of electrical tape
One water pump – the size depends on how much flow it would need. An aquarium pump is enough to keep the flow going.
One air pump (optional). The system can aerate itself but it can produce more if it has an air pump.
*Power drill or hand drill
*1-in hole saw
*3-in hole saw
Build time: About two hours.
Recommended plants and fish:
Leafy vegetables, tomatoes and herbs do well in these systems. So do flowers. You can experiment to find which do well and fit your needs.
Tilapia and trout do well, they grow quickly and they’re delicious.
The final steps are not pictured, but easily explained. Cut strips of burlap or some other material, fasten them to the tops of the vertical pipes and drape them down the inside of the pipes. Stuffing the pipes with cloth like this will give the plant roots something to latch on.
Next, cut and assemble the tubing so that you can pump water from one barrel up to each of the four vertical pipes. You could also pump water from the barrel that receives drainage to the barrel that feeds the system.
My first act of gorilla gardening was for my friend Joe. He’d worked for many years on building a home whenever he had money available and help from friends. The place was a cluttered construction site for a long time. But as the building was nearly completed, and the construction debris cleared away, there was room in a sunny spot for a small garden. I knew Joe wanted to grow some of his own food and where he intended to put a garden so when he left town for a week, I made my move.
I collected some discarded 4×4’s and some left over fencing and piled them into my station wagon along with some garden starts and headed over to Joe’s. It’s a lovely place at the end of a dirt road. I got to work with my digging fork and turned sod, weeded and formed beds. I dug holes and erected the posts and fencing. Then I planted the seeds and starts, salad greens, squash, peas and beans to climb the fence and a bed for perennials like rhubarb, herbs and raspberries. I watered it all from the rain barrel. When Joe came home and found it he was delighted. Since then his garden has expanded to 5 times the size of the original.
I live on a small lot in town. The previous owner traveled often so his landscaping was concrete and grass. Now after 5 years, there’s a native plant garden on the shady side of the house with vine maple and crabapple trees, salal, Oregon grape, red flowering currant, columbine and wild ginger. In the sunniest part of the yard, right up against the sidewalk, I have my espaliered fruit trees with 10 different kinds of fruit grafted on to 4 trees. There are 2 blueberry bushes and strawberry plants. In the beds there are potatoes, squash, peas, salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower and winter greens. A stately rhubarb fills out one corner and cosmos bloom by the fence. What a delight to grow my own produce. I planted greens last August to winter over so I’m eating chard, collards, kale and beets year round. The chard with their red and yellow stems brighten up the flower beds.
Gardening on a small lot
It took a while for me to figure out what grows best here in the Northwest and in my yard. Then I had to get used to eating what I grow. But now I’m totally addicted. I take some with me when I travel.
This spring my elderly neighbor said she wasn’t going to garden this year. My ears perked up. I asked, and she said to “Garden as if it was your own.” That garden has been under cultivation for decades so mostly what I’m doing is weeding and uncovering the volunteers. There’s lettuce, chard and garlic in abundance. I added a few squash and beans and covered them with a floating row cover to keep the deer and squirrels at bay.
Another friend is moving from Whidbey where he’s lived for thirty years. He has a well-established landscape. I’ve been weeding with him there getting his house ready to sell and hearing about his projects restoring an old house in Port Townsend where he’s planning to move. Last week while in Port Townsend, I put a couple of big pots on his porch, filled them with potting soil and added salad starts and a couple of squash. A friend 2 doors down said she’d keep them watered. My friend was touched to find them the next day. I love guerrilla gardening.
A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.” It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.
The draft text of the law, which has already been amended several times due to a huge backlash from gardeners, is viewable here.
“This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers, and small-scale market farmers,” said Ben Gabel, vegetable breeder and director of The Real Seed Catalogue. “Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the Plant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers.”
All governments are, of course, infatuated with the idea of registering everybody and everything. Under Title IV of the proposed EU law:
Title IV Registration of varieties in national and Union registers
The varieties, in order to be made available on the market throughout the Union, shall be included in a national register or in the Union register via direct application procedure to the CVPO.
Gardeners must also pay fees to the EU bureaucracy for the registration of their seeds. From the proposed law text:
The competent authorities and the CPVO should charge fees for the processing of
applications, the formal and technical examinations including audits, variety denomination, and the maintenance of the varieties for each year for the duration of
While this law may initially only be targeted at commercial gardeners, it sets a precedent to sooner or later go after home gardeners and require them to abide by the same insane regulations.
“This is an instance of bureaucracy out of control,” says Ben Gabel. “All this new law does is create a whole new raft of EU civil servants being paid to move mountains of papers round all day, while killing off the seed supply to home gardeners and interfering with the right of farmers to grow what they want. It also very worrying that they have given themselves the power to regulate and licence any plant species of any sort at all in the future – not just agricultural plants, but grasses, mosses, flowers, anything at all – without having to bring it back to the Council for a vote.”
Specific provisions are set out on the registration in the Union variety register and with regard to the possibility for the applicant to launch an appeal against a CPVO decision. Such provisions are not laid down for the registration in the national variety
registers, because they are subject to national administrative procedures. A new obligation for each national variety examination centre to be audited by the CPVO will be introduced with the aim to ensure the quality and harmonisation of the variety registration process in the Union. The examination centre of the professional operators will be audited and approved by the national competent authorities. In case of direct application to the CPVO it will audit and approve the examination centres it uses for variety examination.
Such language is, of course, Orwellian bureaucraticspeak that means only one thing: All gardeners should prepare to be subjected to total government insanity over seeds, vegetables and home gardens.
RealSeeds.co.uk warns about any attempt to actually try to understand the law by reading it:
You cannot just read the first 5 pages or so that are an ‘executive summary’, and think you know what this law is about. The executive summary is NOT what will become the law. It is the actual Articles themselves that become law, the Summary has no legal standing and is just tacked on as an aid to the public and legislators, it is supposed to give background information and set the proposed legislation in context so people know what is going on and why.
The problem with this law has always been that the Summary says lots of nice fluffy things about preserving biodiversity, simplifying legislation, making things easier etc – things we all would love – but the Articles of the law actually do completely the opposite. And the Summary is not what becomes the law.
For example, the Summary of drafts 1, 2 & 3 talked about making things easier for ‘Amateur’ varieties. But the entire class of Amateur vegetables – which we have spent 5 years working with DEFRA to register – was actually abolished entirely in the Articles right from the start. Yet the Summary , and press releases based on it, still talked about how it will help preserve Amateur varieties! The Summary is completely bogus. Do not base your views of the law on it!
So, be warned. By all means, read it yourself. But you have the ignore the Summary as that is not the Law, and does not reflect what is in the Law.
As you might suspect, this move is the “final solution” of Monsanto, DuPont and other seed-domination corporations who have long admitted their goal is the complete domination of all seeds and crops grown on the planet. By criminalizing the private growing of vegetables — thereby turning gardeners into criminals — EU bureaucrats can finally hand over full control of the food supply to powerful corporations like Monsanto.
Nearly all varieties of heirloom vegetable seeds will be criminalized under this proposed EU law. This means the act of saving seeds from one generation to the next — a cornerstone of sustainable living — will become a criminal act.
In addition, as Gabel explains, this law “…effectively kills off development of home-garden seeds in the EU.”
This is the ultimate wish of all governments, of course: To criminalize any act of self-reliance and make the population completely dependent on monopolistic corporations for their very survival. This is true both in the USA and the EU. This is what governments do: They seize control, one sector at a time, year after year, until you are living as nothing more than a total slave under a globalist dictatorial regime.
An online petition has already been started on this issue and has garnered nearly 25,000 signatures so far.
NOAH’S ARK and 240 other organizations from 40 European countries have also initiated an “open letter” appealing to Brussels bureaucrats to stop the insanity. Click here for a translated version of their petition.
By the way, I am on the record predicting this exact scenario. Read Chapter Three of my fiction book, “Freedom Chronicles 2026.” (Read it FREE, online.) It depicts a seed smuggler living in a time when seeds are criminalized and people earn a living as professional seed smugglers.
In my book, a woman uses a specially-crafted breast prosthesis to smuggle seeds to “underground gardeners” in full defiance of laws crafted by Monsanto. A vast underground network of grassroots gardeners and scientists manage to put together a “seed weapon” to destroy GMOs and take back the food supply from evil corporations.
Mark my words: Seeds are about to become contraband. Anyone who grows their own food is about to be targeted as a criminal. The governments of the world, conspiring with corporations like Monsanto, do not want any individual to be able to grow their own food.
This is about total domination of the food supply and the criminalizing of gardeners. And this is what big government always does after centralizing sufficient power. All governments inherently seek total control over the lives of everyone, and if you don’t set boundaries and limits for government (i.e. the Bill of Rights), it eventually runs roughshod over all freedoms and liberties, including the freedom to grow your own food.
Our new heirloom preparedness seed varieties can be purchased individually or as a package of five.