The one thing that every home should have is a home emergency preparedness kit. It is something you hope you will never have to use but in case of a disaster you will be happy you were prepared.

Here are the essentials of a home emergency preparedness kit.

  • Water: You will need one gallon per person per day for at least three days. Double up if you live in a very hot climate, have young kids, or are nursing.
  • Food: Plan for at least a three-day supply of non-perishables and a can opener. Make sure to pack protein, fruit, and vegetables and store food in pest-proof containers.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First-aid supplies
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies: Pack moist towelettes in sealed packets, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, and plastic ties. More good options are travel-size shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrush, and deodorant.
  • Radio or TV: You will definitely want a portable, battery- or crank-operated radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Cash: Have at least $100 in your kit.

As an alternative to making your own kit, you can buy a fully stocked kit from the American Red Cross. A kit with a three-day supply of essentials for one adult costs $50 to $70.

 

 

ga_c79a1f75ca77b86d_spcms_0Colorful plants native to eastern and southeastern Asia, Camellias were exclusively cultivated in Japan and China for centuries, Camellias were introduced to Europe during the 17th century by the tea trade between countries. Camellli sinensis is the species of the plant used to produce tea.

Where To Plant Camellias

Camellias, a brilliantly colored flowering shrub that flourishes in dappled, overhead light, is an ideal plant for semi-shaded north-facing home gardens. In their native habitat, Camellias are an under-story plant found growing under the canopy of other trees at the edge of forests or wooded regions. Chose a well-drained location in the garden. Camellias can’t stand “wet feet” and will die in soggy ground with poor drainage due to the shortage of oxygen in the soil.

Spring-flowering Camellias do best in neutral to slightly acid soil with a pH of between 5 to 7. If you have compacted clay or chalky alkaline soil, camellias with have a difficult time; leaves turn yellow and the plant fails to flower. Healthy camellias are an evergreen, retaining their deep green leathery leaves all year. Both the flowers and foliage add visual interest to the home landscape.

Before planting camellias in the garden, do a soil test to determine pH levels. A pH level soil test kit is available form local home and garden supply centers. For a complete soil analysis, take a soil same to your local county extension office for a determination of pH content and a full report of what you can do to amend your garden soil. Camellias do best in regions of the country where the summers are not excessively hot and the air is moist and humid.

Growing Camellias In Containers

If you do not have the ideal soil or growing conditions: no worries. Camellias are perfectly suited to container cultivation and make excellent long-term patio or sunroom plants. If you wish to grow camellias in containers outdoors, find a sheltered location out of the wind, preferably on a west or north-facing wall. If you are in a northern climate subject to freezing weather, growing in pots is the way to go. Containers are brought indoors before the first frost and make a lovely houseplant through out the gray days of winter.

When planting in containers, choose a pot large enough for the plant to grow, providing a weed-free loamy soil supplemented with well-aged herbivore manure (cow, sheep, goat, horse) to provide nutrients and to help hold moisture. Make sure the pot has excellent drainage. Positioning the pot on a rolling base makes it easy to move about the patio to take advantage of the best light and to move into the home or greenhouse when the weather cools.

Replant every two to three years to a larger pot to allow for vigorous growth. When repotting, add fresh topsoil and aged manure to the potting mixture.

An Abundance Of Flowers

Camellias brighten shaded spots in the home landscape with bold bursts of color in shades of white, creamy yellow, sunshine yellow, pale pink, hot pink, lavender, orange, red, and burgundy. New hybrids offer a diverse array of variegated color combinations. Clip off spent blooms to encourage flower growth.

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