TPE Plant Database

Lately I’ve been working on the Plant Identification section of TPE and it has been sooooooo slow… Considering there’s over 5,200 edible plants to add, 8-9 text fields and 2-3 pictures to add for each species.

Here’s an example of a plant – in text format because I’m not sure how to add tables in WP yet.

Ephedra viridis
(Mormon Tea, Brigham Tea, Long Leaf Ephedra, Mountain Joint Fir, Mormon Tea, Ephedra)

Family: Ephedraceae
Hardiness: 6-11
Edibility: 2
Medicinal: 3

Range – South-western N. America – California to Colorado and Arizona.
Habitats – Dry rocky slopes, gravel terraces and canyon walls, often on limestone, at elevations of 800 – 2500 metres.
Domestic Habitat – Cultivated Beds;

Known Hazards – None known

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw. A sweet flavour. Seed – cooked. A bitter flavour, it is roasted and ground into a powder and used to make a bread or mush. A delicious tea is made by steeping the green or dried twigs in boiling water. The flavour is said to be improved if the stems are roasted first.

Medicinal Uses
Blood purifier; Diuretic; Kidney; Poultice; Stomachic; Tonic; VD.

This plant has a wide reputation as a cure for syphilis. A strong decoction of the stems was drunk and a poultice of the pulverized or boiled stems applied to the sores. The stems are blood purifier, diuretic and tonic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds, anaemia, rheumatism, stomach ulcers and other disorders, kidney problems. The dried, powdered stems are used as a dressing on sores and burns. The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents – unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, though they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, though older stems can be used if a tea is made. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.

Other Uses
The twigs, boiled with alum, produce a light tan dye

Cultivation Details
Landscape Uses: Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden. Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it succeeds well in a cold greenhouse but is often killed outdoors by a combination of cold and wet conditions. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed is required. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter. Division in spring or autumn. Layering.

This should be enough information to make an accurate identification, find which parts are edible and how to process and eat them as well as medicinal uses which could be helpful to preppers who are in the wilderness. Is there any other information people may need to know? Leave a comment if you have an idea.

To break down how long it’s going to take:
5,200 plants at 1 minute each for the text only, another 2m to add identification pictures for each
So 5200 mins + 10400 mins = 15,600 minutes which comes to 260 hours or 10.84 days straight. I’ve been aiming to do 60 plants a day which will certainly break the workload up but it will still take 86 days to get them all done, and that’s only the text. Pictures are another matter.

There’s a few other sections of large databases in TPE such as medicinal procedures, medication and animal identification. So I still have these to look forward to. Yay!

The information is basically copied straight from various websites so it’s still copyright but there will be no copyrights in SHTF and this information will save lives, especially if the internet is down. All work is credited to its original owner and there’s the URL reference to where the information came from.

The Preparedness Encyclopedia

Since I first began researching preparedness I’ve been concatenating what I know into an Excel sheet to help refresh my mind when I need to remember what I’ve previously learnt. For example if I forget what ratio of Calcium Hypochlorite I need to add to water for the initial solution.

Preparedness Categories
Fig1. – The categories in The Preparedness Encyclopedia.

Each section seen above has a link you can click to jump to the section shown as well as subheadings when you get there to jump even further into the content you are looking for. An example being “Water > Acquiring Water”. The aim is to find any information you are looking for quickly and easily. Alternatively you could also use “Ctrl + F” to search for what you want if the wording is precise.

There are 11 columns of space of information, I chose this number because there are a lot of “10” row data fields and I usually add a description in the first column to give context about the row. There is also another 11 rows beyond the divider in the middle to allow for comments, discussion and answers which is used in the Entertainment section. Overall the column number goes to “AC” after which it’s then cut off to prevent unnecessary scrolling.

This document has slowly been growing over the past few months until now where it’s 10Mb. I carry this around on my phone at all times because you’ll never know when the information will come in handy.

As of today (2nd May 2018) there are 70 categories such as Water, Cooking, Barter, Foraging, Animal Identification, Homesteading, Gear, Fuel, Weapons, Medical and 60 more.

Each category has a percentage that it’s complete which I update as I fill in more information in that section. When every section is 100% the encyclopedia will be complete. I will however be disseminating the guide prior to completion as I will need assistance finishing it.

Up until now I’ve spent about 1573.25 hours compiling it which is calculated from the number of cells I have that contain information and using the assumption that each cell takes 1 minute to complete. Noting that that may be an overestimation I often come back to cells and edit the information and many of the cells take well over 1 minute to complete, so it averages out.

Unfortunately the document has been corrupted twice already in the past few months which is horrifying when it happens as I’ve spent so much time on this, but both times I’ve managed to recover it (or most of it). Therefore I now wish to blog my progress and upload parts of the guide so I always have an online backup to fall back on.

The first corruption I believe was due to it being saved incorrectly on my USB, which was fairly easily recovered by the built-in excel recoverer. After that terrifying moment I backed up the document 7 times as it was the only copy I had at the time. The second corruption I have no idea how it happened but when I tried to open it on my Windows 10 pc (As I usually edit it on a vista pc), it said it was unreadable and then proceeded to ERASE the file and ALL the 6 other backups I had on the USB. So now I’ve learnt my lesson to have off-USB backups as well. I had to use “Recuva” a brilliant program for recovering deleted and deep files from drives that are invisible to the eye.

After those panic attacks, I’m happy to say I now back them up online as well as on multiple PCs and USB’s, so I’d like to see it corrupt now. At most I can only lose one day’s worth of work.

Currently I’m working on the “Plant Identification” section which by far is the biggest with over 5,400 rows. I have recently added the name of every edible plant known on the planet and it’s scientific name. The next step is to find the information for each plant such as Physical Characteristics, Habitats, Known Hazards, Edible Parts, Medicinal Uses, Pictures and more. At this rate if I add 50 plants a day it would take 108 days to complete them all and it takes about 3 minutes to do a row. (That’s 270 hours to complete them all)

So that’s the simple introduction to TPE, if you wish to help add information to the article please let me know, although I’m not yet giving out the guide until it’s a little further along. I’m also unsure about the title of the guide, perhaps something without “The” at the start to use it more fluently in sentences.