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D.I.Y.

A question that comes up while ‘on the road’, is: How can I eat healthy, with lack of stores around or refrigeration? So much easier to just buy canned or dehydrated foods….not?

Honestly, it’s not that much trouble to sprout seeds, for tasty greens to add to your diet. Use them in place of lettuce, raw and in cooking. make enough to use in a couple days, and no need to refrigerate. Keep two or three of my small D.I.Y. sprouter containers going, and you will have healthy greens whenever you want them.

Mix your sprout seeds for a taste variety. You can buy a mix called a ‘salad mix’. To get started fast, Just go buy a bag of mung beans or lentils in the grocery store. They make fatter sprouts, but if in a rush to start, and no health food store in sight, go for it!

How To Make A Recycled material Sprouter:

I like using empty cottage chez or sour cream containers, same diameter, but one short and one taller. Then drill holes in bottom of the short one..[5-6 holes are enough][smallest drill bit]…..or could poke with a hot nail or some such. Make holes so inside is smooth and any rough edges are on bottom. Also drill holes in the lid. Only need one lid.

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STEP 1: Soak a heaping tablespoon of seeds in water, in the larger container overnight.

STEP 2: Drain in the morning , into the smaller container. Thereafter, rinse twice a day. Easiest to remember in the morning and before bedtime. In about three days, you’ll have sprouts ready to eat. When you see the first tiny leaves, they are ready. You set them in the sun for a couple hours to green them up. NOTE: While they are growing , you must simulate the effect of being in the ground, by keeping them in a dark place. Just cover your containers with a cloth to keep sunlight out , or store in a cupboard. The larger container catches the drips.

ENJOY: Toppings on sandwiches, in green juices, stir-fry, and as a salad. I love cottage chez/sprouts/sunflower seeds/and italian dressing salad.family200family201family209family210family211

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The setup empty

The setup empty

kale tub b

kale tub b

kale tub a

kale tub a

Parsley

Parsley

Today is 01/09/2013. I just planted my first plants in the jerryrigged, deep water culture, raft system I have come up with. This is an easy to do setup, minimal expense…as far as hydroponics go anyways.

I make a lot of green energy drinks, and use a lot of parsley, kale, choc. mint, lettuce, besides all the citrus , etc. I’m trying to go raw, as much as possible, but it’s a process. I figured , if i can grow some of the more expensive and most used plants , in an organic, hydroponic way, then I will have the best of nutrients available , and save $$$$.

For the small, simple system I have at this point in time, it should recoup the investment in 3 months, maybe less. This is what I spent:

Good 4 outlet air pump…….$27.95Bag of hydrogen…expanded clay pebbles….$10.99,                                                                                          3 inch net cups….24 @ .42 …$10.08                                                                                                                 air stones……….$6.00                                                                                                                                           25 ft. of air tubing, black…….$5.00                                                                                                                          Plants………………a couple packs and a 6″ parsley plant, I divided……..approx $8

Total…………………………………….$60.10

To buy hydroponic lettuce, and herbs is out of this world in price at the grocery store, and I just won’t do it. $5 a head of lettuce…………..yeah right. But , of course I want the best, so stubborn me decided to do something about it. I watched utube for a month , seeing how other people did their simple systems.

Of course, once I get over the learning curve of making a bell siphon….much like how a toilet works, then I will do a flood and drain system, possibly above my aquarium….utilizing the pump for the aquarium. For now this raft system will do. With the raft system, if requires no water pump…only air. it’s drawbacks are……you have to plant same type plants, so one doesn’t rob another of nutrients, as the roots float in the water. Basically you do it in batches. I wanted to do a batch of lettuce, but could find no packs of lettuce to buy, and the seeds I started are not ready yet.

Sooooo…I did two tubs of kale, and one of parsley. I got the parsley from a well picked 6″ pot I have feasted on for a month. It looks very sad. I cut it up into 5 pieces, and we’ll see if the hydro system revitalizes it.

You have to rinse off all the soil from the plant’s roots, and then plant in the net cups, in the clay pebbles. I used a combination of some ‘tea’ the hydro store people gave me a sample of and some miracle grow liquid to start off. I will make my own ‘tea’ once I find a source of rabbit manure. I plan on making my own concoction with rabbit manure, compost, and some fish water.

I had 3 solid grey tubs, so used them to start. i scrounged cement blocks and three 2 x 4’s in approx 5 ” lengths for the shelf. I spray painted the shelf so it looked like I had a lick off sense, and wasn’t a redneck. Maybe a yuppie redneck…is there such a thing?????  I had styrafoam from my redneck air conditioner project, for the rafts. I did surgery on them with a vicious kitchen knife and cut the holes out with muscle and a wide mouth funnel. I cut a notch off a corner for the air tube to pass through. You have to make it snug, or alaege can grow and upset the apple cart, hydroponocally speaking. You don’t want light to reach the underside, and the air helps to keep ickiness from growing and your roots white.

I hope I did it right……will do weekly updates on the progress.

UPDATE:  Now it’s 04/18/2013…The project is over, and I will be hitting the road for a visit to family in Pa. It was interesting, but i didn’t really have enough light available for it, so plants didn’t thrive as well as I would have liked. Much better to do this sort of thing in a green house.

Who’d thunk some simple curtains would evolve into such a tedious project. I listened to so many folks say reflective material was the way to go, and while it makes sense , that stuff is just not my style, Beauty….cuteness and functionality, as well as not make me crazy with being tedious to use every day.

I’m rolling with the weather, so not all that concerned about insulating. Being able to go drive to the grocery store on a moments notice as well as be stealth at night are what is important to this mostly urban dweller.

Right now I have everything strung up with nylon cord, but may switch to heavy duty fishing line for the invisible factor. I did use the fishing line on the tailgate curtains and the behind the front seat curtains. When using the fishing line, it has no stretch , so I found double backing and fastening the behind the seat curtain with a pin to the material works just fine for now. Will finese it as time goes on.

I got two black twin flat sheets at wal mart for around $4 each. Now, in retrospect….light blocker curtain panels would have been better, but expenses are very tight this month, and I had access to a sewing machine, so I went with the sheets. I had to double the material, as it was thinner than I liked. I had a good hunk of fancy velour type black material that made the rear and behind the seat curtains.

The twin sheets made 2 36″ panels and one smaller, which got used in the small space right behind the seats. I crocheted hot pink tie backs, which I am finding little places built in to hook them on. It’s important to me to keep my windows uncluttered for driving. I tried for a week to leave the hot pink poster board up on the sliding doors, but they create too many blind spots for backing up in parking lots. So they will stay stashed under the rug, unless I am camped and crave PINK…..lol.

I sewed the curtains with a 2″ head ruffle, so that part would help cover any gaps, from the cord being limp. It’s also ….purdy!

I am happy with the results and all I have to do is pull them out of the tie backs, and I am set for the night. Maybe two min. set up time, doing that, and plugging in the fan to settle down for the evening.

Side window view.

Sliding door view.

Window coverings have become the headache of the Van Conversion.

I am up to Plan E……………………….

First I made semi permanent coverings for the sliding doors with Hot Pink poster board. It slips in well around the windows. I can see to drive pretty well, so long as I leave the back side windows uncovered for driving.

Now I am not thrilled to be constantly taking curtains up and down so the fix i did toady is temp. only….and UGLY. I hate it, but I had already bought the reflective material, so am using it till I find material to make cuter curtains.

The tinted windows just needed a little help to keep folks from peering in. That is all this provides.

I had a heck of a time getting some sort of hook up. All the glues failed. I have no idea where all the wiring is, so didn’t want to hit any of it. Finally, I got tiny screws, and that with hot glue, is what is working to hold them to the vinyl around the windows.

My plan F is to get Ten ….1 yard pieces of black fabric..45″ to 54″ long, and make a bunch of curtains, and mount hot pink tie backs. I also have to figure out how to hold them close to the windows, as most of my windows slant outward.

FRONT WINDOW……I added elastic pieces , so I could hold up the sunshade to the visors……Hot Glue to the rescue again!

I LUB Hot Glue!

 

Closeup.

The Van Conversion is starting to come together. I’m chill’in and my Pally Dove’s house, finishing up on projects and actually listening to her sage advice, as she lived in an Rv a good many years, and was an RV Park Manager , once upon a time. THANKS DOVE AND KEN!

She and I had a fun time at Home Depot….looking for Styrofoam  insulation for the top of the Swamp Cooler. I found a broken piece I talked the Home Depot guy down to $3 on, plus he sliced it into manageable pieces for us.  Then we were off to the plumbing department to find a 2″ elbow. I found one that had a little step piece, which I liked, as it will fit in perfect and has it’s own lip.

The foam I found was not 1″ thick, so I cut two and glued them together with elmers white glue…..and let sit overnight.  Ken helped me trace out the holes and did the one for the plumbing pipe with a hole attachment on his drill. Then he handed me a small saw and indicated i should take over and do the big hole for the fan. All the better for me to do as much of it myself , as possible….empowering….eh ladies?!

I made the large hole so the 12v fan would sit right in perfect. After making sure the whole shebang fit perfect, I lined it all with white duck tape, so it wouldn’t fray and those darned little pieces of Styrofoam wouldn’t flake off..

I added a couple of rope handles, so it would be easy to remove the ‘air conditioner’.

I plan on using 2 or 3 wide mouth gallon jars to keep my ice in, in the cooler. The melted ice can be used for water to drink and it won’t mess up the food I keep in the cooler. Also there will be much less chance of any water mold getting started.

My new Power Station is all charged up, and I hooked up the fan and it all checks out ! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!

Cool Florida night’s sleep is now MINE!