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How to Start a Garden – 10 Steps to Gardening for Beginners

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

Want to learn how to start a garden, but not sure where to begin? In this post I’ll cover the basic steps of gardening, and provide links to more detailed information so you can garden with confidence and have fun doing it. Get ready to enjoy some of the best tasting fruits, vegetables and herbs you've even eaten.

How to Start a Garden – 10 Basic Steps

  1. Decide what you’d like to grow
  2. Choose a location
  3. Plan your garden beds
  4. Invest in basic garden tools
  5. Test your soil
  6. Prepare the soil
  7. Choose the right seeds or transplants
  8. Plant with care
  9. Nurture your garden
  10. Enjoy your harvest!

#1 – Decide What You’d Like to Grow in Your Home Garden

Rule #1 – If you won’t eat a crop, don’t grow it. (I break this rule for flowers. Edible or not, I like to see at least a few in every garden.) Focus on the fruits, vegetables or herbs that your family enjoys the most.

Make sure your top choices make sense for your area. Figure out your gardening zone and estimated first and last frost dates. If possible, talk to successful gardeners in your area to find out which crops grow well and which don’t.

USDA Hardiness Zone map

USDA hardiness zone map

USDA hardiness zone legend

In my northern garden, crops that take over 100 days to mature or high temps are a gamble. For example, we enjoy watermelons, but I stick to varieties like Blacktail Mountain (70 days) instead of Carolina Cross (90 days). My southern gardening friend, Amber, has challenges with crops like peas, which prefer cooler temperatures, and vine crops like cucumbers, which are prone to mildew in high humidity.

If you only want a small garden, don’t attempt to grow something like a giant pumpkin, which will spread over a very large area.

Do you want to plan for storage vegetables, or only enough to eat fresh? It’s probably best to start your garden mainly with fresh eating in mind, but some vegetables are extremely easy to store. See The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store for more information.

#2 – Choose a Location to Start Your Garden

Most fruits and vegetables need a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day for fruiting. Greens, herbs and root veggies will grow in partial shade. Southern gardens may benefit from late afternoon shade, whereas northern gardens likely need all the sun they can get.

Think about how you will access the garden for picking, watering and caring for your plants. Out of site often equals out of mind – and often a neglected garden. Avoid high wind areas and frost pockets (low areas where frost is likely to settle).

Watch out for wildlife, pet damage and children’s play areas. When we first moved here, our neighbor’s dog would randomly visit and dash through the garden. This was very hard on new seedlings. Now the dog is gone, but the deer and wild bunnies come to visit, so we plan accordingly. See Keep Deer Out of Your Garden – 5 Deer Deterrent Strategies and 6 Ways to Use Garlic in the Garden.

For more ideas on gardening in limited space, see:

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#3 – Plan Your Garden Beds

Once you know where you want your garden, decide on the type and size of garden bed(s). Raised beds are attractive and may make it easier to work in your garden, but they also dry out more quickly. In very dry areas, sunken beds can be used to gather available moisture.

Think about planting your garden in blocks or beds of plants instead of single rows. Beds should be 3 to 4 feet across – narrow enough that you can reach the center from either side. Beds should be roughly 10 feet long or less, so you’re not tempted to step into the bed and compact the ground.

Within the garden beds, place plants in rows or a grid pattern. The goal is minimize walkways and maximize growing space. You only add fertilizer and soil amendments to the planting area, saving time and money. Work with companion plants to attract beneficial insects and improve yields.

A small, well-tended garden can produce as much or more than a large, poorly tended garden. Make sure to give each plant enough room to grow. The seeds and transplants are tiny, but full grown plants can get huge. Overcrowded plants will have difficulty thriving.

Rectangular or square beds are the most common, but you’re only limited by your imagination and building skills. Most raised bed kits are rectangular, but you can also plant your garden in found items like old livestock water tanks or sections of drain pipe.

Vertical Gardening

If you grow up you can squeeze more crop in less space. The best book I've found to date on the subject is “How to Grow More Vegetables, Eighth Edition: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine“. I trellis/fence or otherwise grow vertically my tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, and occasionally other crops. You can view how I do it in Transform Your Landscape with Vertical Gardening – 10 Reasons to Garden Up Instead of Out.

Keyhole Beds

Keyhole beds are round, with a single walkway into the center of the round. Sometimes a composting container or watering container is placed in the center of the round. The nutrients from the compost or the water then drain to the surrounding bed.

Herb spiral from Little Mountain Haven

Herb Spirals

Herb spirals are popular in some permaculture circles, and may make a beautiful focal point in the yard. Generally made of stone and earth, these spirals offer a variety of growing conditions in a small space.

Free Form Designs

Our main garden is shaped like a wagon wheel, with beds between the “spokes” of the wheel. It took a bit of time to set up, but I enjoy the view out my kitchen window.

Don’t have a yard or soil for your garden? Consider grow bags or containers to start your garden. Self-watering containers are a lot more forgiving than terracotta flower pots, which tend to dry out quickly.

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#4 – Invest in Basic Garden Tools

The right tools make working in your garden a pleasure instead of a chore. You don’t use a butter knife to chop up raw carrots, and you shouldn’t use dull or flimsy tools to work in your garden. Basic gardening equipment includes:

  • Garden hoe
  • Scuffle hoe
  • Dirt rake
  • Leaf rake
  • Shovel
  • Hand tools

For a full list of my favorite gardening tools, check out, “My Favorite Gardening Tools – Save Time, Boost Yields, Enjoy Gardening More”. Don't buy cheap plastic tools if you can avoid it. Shop yard and estate sales for bargains on real metal tools, or visit your local garden center. Get tools that are sized properly for you to reduce the risk of injury.

Good tools will save time and effort, and your back. Keep tools clean and sharp, just like you should treat a good knife. To learn how to keep your tools in good condition, visit “Cleaning and Sharpening Garden Tools”.

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#5 – Test Your Soil

Before you start building your garden beds or planting, you need to know something about your soil. Is it acidic, alkaline or neutral pH? Is your soil mostly sand, clay, silt, or a mix of the three? Are there a lot of rocks? Is there a risk of soil contamination from nearby structures, roadways or other sources? Does it have a good amount of basic nutrients?

Some of these characteristics can be determined just from looking at the soil. Others may require home tests or professional lab tests. (For instance, lead contamination from old house paint or nearby roadways with heavy traffic is a problem in some areas.)

Most garden crops prefer soil with a pH around 7 (neutral), although some like conditions that are slightly acidic (potatoes, for instance) or slightly alkaline (brassicas). Balanced nutrient levels are also important, as is the presence of organic matter.

A basic home soil test kit can be found online or at most hardware stores for around $10. The Rapidtest soil test tests pH, nitrogen, phosphate and phosphorus levels. Soil pH can also be tested with a simple pH meter. In the U.S., you can contact your local cooperative extension office or land conservation office for assistance.

Mason Jar Soil Test

A simple mason jar soil test will help you identify sand, clay and silt in your soil.

  • Fill a mason jar about half full of garden soil.
  • Add water to about one inch from the top.
  • Cap and shake vigorously.
  • Allow contents of jar to settle for several hours.
  • Examine the layers that form in the jarred soil.

The bottommost layer will be sand and rocks. Next up is the silt layer, and finally on top is the clay layer. Organic matter (such as leaves or twigs) may be floating in the water.

Loam is roughly 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand, and is considered the ideal soil proportion by many. More clay means that your soil is more likely to hold and trap water. Lots of sand means faster drainage. If you have too much of either, it will make gardening more challenging and soil building even more important.

#6 – Build Your Soil

Most plants prefer a deep, well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Once you start a garden, you’ll gain a new appreciation for heathy soil. Healthy, vibrant soil = healthy, vibrant plants with built in disease and pest resistance and more nutrition.

Each year I add a combination of different types of organic matter. Some common sources of organic matter include:

  • Compost, homemade or purchased
  • Earthworm castings (excellent if you can get them)
  • Manure (should be aged before using in the garden to avoid pathogen spread and risk of burning plants)
  • Fall leaves (use as mulch or till in)
  • Straw and wood chips (best used as mulch on soil surface)

Start with the basics, like compost and mulch, and then experiment based on experience or soil tests. I also add rock powders, use cover crops, weed tea, and other fertility boosters. Microbial inoculants can also do amazing things for plant and soil health. There’s a whole world of tiny soil critters to explore.

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#7 – Choose the Right Seeds or Transplants

My favorite seed sources can be found in the article, “My Favorite Seed Sources, Seed Storage and Germination“. Dave's Garden Watch Dog is a great place to check out a company before you order from them.

To learn which plants grow best directly seeded in the garden and which plants are better as transplants, visit the seed starting calendar. If you want to grow specific varieties, especially heirloom varieties, you'll probably need to grow your own transplants from seed. Starting your own transplants is a great way to save money, too.

You can view my seed starting setup in the post Seed Starting Setup, and view more detailed information on tomato transplants in Grow Tomatoes from Seed – Save Money, Get More Varieties.

If you’re not ready to tackle growing transplants for your garden, here are some tips to help you spot the best plants at the nursery:

  • Look for pots that are roughly equal in size to the plant. Big plants in tiny pots are more likely to be root bound (with roots tangled and growing in circles inside the pot) and suffer from transplant shock when planted in the garden.
  • Watch for signs of stress such as insect damage or yellow leaves. Many stores now set up seasonal plant sales in their parking lots. Even with regular watering, baking asphalt is hard on seedlings.
  • Ask whether or not your plants or seeds were treated or sprayed with potentially harmful chemicals such as neonicotinoid pesticides. Pollinators are critical for fruit set in the garden, so you don’t want to buy plants that may harm them.

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#8 – Plant with Care

Most seed packets and transplant containers come with basic planting instructions. Once you've done the ground work (literally), you just need to jump in and plant. Just give it a try and you can learn the rest as you go.

Rules of thumb for planting in your garden:

  • Plant seeds roughly 3 times as deep as the diameter of the seed, unless otherwise directed on the package. Some seeds require light for germination.
  • For transplants – most transplants are planted at the same depth they were growing in the pot. The exception is tomatoes, which can be planted deeper or trenched in. See “How to Grow (Lots of) Tomatoes Organically”.
  • Wait until danger of frost is past to plant heat loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, etc.

We have printable calendars to help you plan your seed sowing in the article, “When Should I Start My Seeds? Printable seed starting calendar”. The 5-Minute Gardener: How to Plan, Create, and Sustain a Low-Maintenance Garden is a good reference for those who are short on time.

#9 – Nurture Your Garden

There's an old saying that says, “The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.” If you're not prepared to make time in your schedule to tend to your plants, you may be better off hitting the farmer's market, or sticking with extremely low maintenance items like sprouts or herbs. Depending on the size of your plantings, time requirements may range from a few minutes per day to a full time job.

Nab weeds when they’re small with a scuffle hoe – or use them as groundcover, food or medicine. See 5 Reasons I Want Weeds in My Garden.

A rule of thumb for watering is that plants need around one inch of water per week during the growing season. If you don't get rain, you'll need to water. Over watering is as bad as under watering, so always check the soil before turning on a tap or hitting the rain barrels. Soil that is too wet will cause seeds and roots to rot. Foliar feeds like compost tea can be added to give plants extra nutrition and a dose of healthy microbes while watering.

Bugs are more attracted to plants that are stressed or in some way deficient, so if you have healthy, well-nourished plants, your pest problems should be minimal. If you have a problem, chances are there's an organic solution. If you're going through all the effort to grow your own food, why would you want to put toxins on it?

For more detailed information on controlling everything from slugs to rabbits, check out Natural Pest Control in the Garden. For quick control of soft bodied insects like aphids, check out Homemade Bug Spray for the Garden – 3 Easy Recipes.

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

#10 – Enjoy Your Harvest

As crops mature, make sure to harvest promptly for best quality. Leafy greens like lettuce are typically “cut and come again”, which means you can clip off the leaves and they will regrow for another harvest. Beans and peas should be picked every two to three days. Sweet corn should be harvested when cops are well filled out and silk is dark. Tomatoes and peppers can be harvested green or allowed to ripen to full sweetness and flavor. Flavor is typically at a peak when the morning dew has cleared, but before the afternoon heat has settled in. Sample and decide what tastes best to you. See How to Grow and Cook Nutrient Dense Foods for harvesting and storing tips.

One of the reasons I love gardening is because if things don't work out right the first time, there's always next year. There are dozens of different ways to do just about everything, but you won't know what works best for you and your garden until you try. If a plant/crop does poorly the first time you plant it, try again. I usually try a crop for at least three years before I give up on it, because different varieties grow best under different conditions.

Gardening is also good for your health. It can fight depression, reduce stress and improve your diet. See “Dirt Therapy – 8 Reasons You Need to Have a Garden” for more information.

I invite you to visit the Common Sense Gardening page for a full listing of more than 80 gardening posts on the website. There’s advice on everything from seed starting to preserving the harvest.

Still have questions about how to start a garden? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

Originally published in 2012, updated March 2017.

The post How to Start a Garden – 10 Steps to Gardening for Beginners appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

This Article Was Originally Posted at commonsensehome.com Read The Original Article Here

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

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Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.

Steps:

  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

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A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.

Steps:

  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

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Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

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Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.

Steps:

  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites | https://survivallife.com/5-home-remedies-for-chigger-bites/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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