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Dear Editor,

I have been all over the web looking at information about growing sprouts. Some of the places tell me DO NOT eat if old, etc. If they are safe where do I look for seeds? If not safe, then that is all I need to know
Stumped

Dear Stumped,
I did some research on your specific question, and it appears that there was an outbreak of Salmonella from sprout growers (those who sell sprouts to grocery stores, etc.) in 2009. They traced the seed used back to one specific seed supplier.

Thousands and thousands of people sprout at home with no ill effects. I sprout, and have had no problems with it. Following the daily rinsing directions is very important, as is making sure that your sprouting seed is allowed to drain properly after each rinsing.

As far as old sprouts, you put your sprouts in the refrigerator after they’re finished, just like any produce. And just as with any produce, their shelf life is not unlimited. Before refrigerating them, they should be dry to the touch. Let them sit for 8-12 hours after the final rinse, and allow them to drain thoroughly. If your sprouts are wetter than you feel they should be or warm, then punch a few holes in the plastic bag to allow them to “breathe.” Your sprouts should keep for several weeks. However, because they are so easy to grow and so quick, there’s no need to sprout tons and tons. I would sprout enough to last me for a few days, and sprout more frequently.

I bought the Survival Sprout Bank from Solutions From Science. Their seed is second to none, and I believe in the integrity of the company. You can check them out at www.survivalsproutbank.com.
The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I am looking for ideas on things that I can bury that would be water tight, not cave in, in the winter with the clay mud we have, and that can hold some emergency items off site, like you would have a computer backup off site. That way in case some catastrophe happens to the house, I can go to a cache of food and supplies.

A local container company has plastic barrels, and olive barrels I was thinking of. Also would use the container for root cellar storage without the root cellar. They are kind of flimsy and the clay here really swells and contracts with wet and dry weather. Have any ideas? I was thinking the containers from the shipping industry, they only support at the corners not the sides and top and are not the kind of thing that would survive burying. Pods for underground tornado shelters are very expensive.
Digging In

Dear Digging In,
I live in a state with a high clay content soil as well, so I understand your dilemma. However, you’ve gone from asking about a 55-gallon barrel in the ground to looking at shipping containers that are 200 square feet or better. Do you want something just large enough in which to store some emergency food rations or something large enough to hide in? Your application will determine what you need. The only problem with trying to use any type of container for storing goods along with utilizing it as a root cellar is that a root cellar has a high humidity level by design, which would be detrimental to metallic anything. For canned goods and any electronic equipment like a computer, you’d need to keep them dry.

Another thing to consider when burying something in the clay soil you have is that when that dirt gets wet and swells, it’ll push stuff out of the ground. For instance, here in my neck of the woods, contractors immediately dump about 500 gallons of water into newly installed septic tanks because if they’re left empty, they’ll pop like a cork out of the dirt. You really need to find a general contractor in your area to help you figure out, based on your needs, what kind of options you have.
The Editor

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