Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

Sprouts for Survival

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Sprouting Wheat, Beans and Seeds
Grow your own tiny, highly nutritious vegetables in a few days, anywhere.
Put into glass storage jars, or plastic tote-bins, a year’s supply of alfalfa seeds, mustard seeds, wheat berries (whole wheat kernels) and the beans of your choice. The best ones for sprouting are pinto beans, adzuki beans, small red beans, mung beans, peas, lentils, and any small red or white kidney beans. The smaller the bean, the better crop of sprouts you will have. You are certainly able to sprout large kidney beans, but they may sour faster once sprouted. Use sterile glass jars with relatively wide mouths, and some nylon, cheesecloth, or plastic window screen material (it’s soft and comes on a roll, available at big hardware stores) attached to their rims with rubber bands. Put a half-inch or so of little beans or alfalfa seeds at the bottom of a jar, and add clean water up to half-jar full. Soak the beans or seeds overnight. The next morning, drain the jar through the porous material attached to the rim. Rinse seeds or beans with water through the top of the jar, no need to remove straining material; drain well, and set in a place with little light. Rinse again in the evening. Repeat this process daily, and on the third or fourth day, you’ll have sprouts. If you would then like to enhance the sprouts with a little chlorophyll, or green leaves, set the jars on a windowsill for a day. There’s a variety of ways to prepare and eat sprouts. One is in salads, another is in sandwiches. I like to put them on whole-grain bread that has been spread with labneh, or strained, thickened yogurt. Some people grind up sprouts and cook them into meatless spaghetti sauce. Sprouts can be baked into breads, as well. Sprouts are the perfect survival food, if one has the little bit of water required to soak and rinse the seeds or beans. Seeds and beans are easy to store in glass jugs or plastic bulk-bins. They have longevity, just as you will if you treat yourself right. ~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008


Click Here to Read M-J's Frequently-Updated Website, Elegant Survival News

Elegant Aloe Vera Plant

Posted on December 4, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Aloe vera plants make excellent hostess gifts. Their neat habit and elegant shape make them welcome in any room. They are low-maintenance and useful in wound-care applications. Because aloe vera needs very little water, it is also the perfect plant for a college dormitory room. The aloe vera plant provides a natural healing salve and some elegant greenery. ~~M-J

June Gardening, Northern Hemisphere

Posted on June 7, 2011 at 2:25 PM

There are good and bad days for certain gardening activities, according to the moon.

June, 2011

5th-8th These are bad days for planting. It's now a good time to eliminate pests, and to cut down brush.

9th-11th Good days for planting seeds for above-ground food-crops and flowers.

12th-13th Very good days for planting leafy greens. Any above-ground crops planted during this period should do well.

14th-16th Avoid all planting. These are good days in which to do hay-cutting, perform administrative duties and to engage in general farm-work.

17th-18th Plant root-crops such as potatoes, celeriac, carrots and beets.

19th-21st Poor days for any sort of planting. Kill plant-pests, fertilize, and do general farming chores now.

22nd-23rd This is a good period in which to plant late root-crops and vines. Set strawberry plants now. These are favourable days during which to do transplanting.

24th-25th These are barren days on which it is favourable for plowing and cutting hay.

26th-27th Good for planting root-crops, and for transplanting.

 28th-29th Do no planting during these days; seeds planted now will likely rot in the ground.

30th June: this is the best day of the month for planting root-crops, and will be excellent for sowing seed-beds and all transplanting.

Elegant, Nutritious Radishes

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 11:07 AM

in many regions, it is time to plant radishes, which are considered a cool-weather crop.

Planting Advice for the Rest of April

Posted on April 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

April 26th-28th:

These are favourable days for sowing grains, hay and fodder-crops, and for planting flower-beds.

The 26th and the 27th of April are especially good for planting tomatoes, beans, corn, melons, squash, and other above-ground crops.

The 28th of April is propitious for planting root-crops such as potatoes, beets, celeriac and carrots.

The 29th-30th of April are also favourable days for planting root-crops like beets, carrots, radishes, Turnips, peanuts, cabbage, and  horseradish. These two days are also propitious for planting cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery, and all leafy vegetables.


Hillard Green, Quoted in The Foxfire Book, 1972

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 8:45 PM

For a likeness of Hillard Green, who was an octogenarian circa 1970, see this PDF file from Foxfire. He is pictured at the right of the page. In the last chapter of the original Foxfire Book, published by Doubleday in 1972, Hillard Green, who lived alone in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, is interviewed by students and makes some startlingly prescient statements:

P. 371, while putting up tomatoes:

"Everyone ought t'learn how to do such as this. One o'these days, times might get back hard again, and then what will they do? Nobody not knowin' how to do nothin'. Might have t'live off th'land again, one day. We never had nothin' for the winter only what we put up. What we put up was what we had. Goin' t'be a lot of hungry people someday."

~~Hillard Green

More Hillard Green Quotes to Come, here at Elegant Survival

M-J's Gardening Tips

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Gardening with M-J

Cucumber as Pest-Repellent in the Garden and Home

The health-promoting, diuretic, eye-freshening cucumber holds a drastically different meaning for certain garden and household pests.



Raccoons and skunks don't like cucumbers, in fact they are repelled by them, therefore planting cukes at the outer edge of your vegetable garden is a wise plan. There you are also easily able to provide cucumbers with a surface on which to climb, such as a fence or trellis.



Cucumber skins placed about the kitchen will naturally repel cockroaches. These hard-shelled bugs are a perennial problem in New York City and Paris, where even the most posh apartments are afflicted with roaches. Las cucarachas detest the bitter compound called trans-2-nonenal that is inherent in cucumbers.



~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2010


Gardening Tips for the 21st of April

This is a good day to plant tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cotton, and other above-ground crops. These are also fine days on which to plant seedbeds and start flower gardens.



According to the Old Farmers' Almanac, April 20th and 21st are propitious days on which to

bake, cut firewood, cut hair to increase growth, mow grass to increase growth, dig post-holes, wax floors, and to get married.



Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

Elegant Survival, Established in 2006 by M-J de Mesterton

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 11:30 AM

...is in no way affiliated with a group of musicians in Boulder, Colorado who have recently adopted the same name.

Autumn Harvest, by M-J de Mesterton

Posted on September 29, 2009 at 9:43 AM

M-J's Gardening Tips

Posted on March 16, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Gardening, Spring 2009

Assorted Tips from M-J

Buy eggs in cardboard cartons, rather than in styrofoam ones. Fill them with dirt, and start your seeds in them, one per egg-cup.  Then, when the danger of frost has ended, you do not need to transplant each seedling individually. All you do is dig an area and set in the egg carton (minus the lid, of course, which you tore off earlier). Cover up the edges with soil. The cardboard egg carton will bio-degrade inside your garden.

Spray a solution of 30% hydrogen peroxide and 60% water on your seedlings and plants to give them an oxygen-boost.

Mix a little Epsom salt into your watering can. Epsom salt is a tradtional fertilizer in England, whence it came.