A garden is the best way to guarantee your family’s food supply, but what about in the long term? Learn how to create, store, and most importantly, use a survival seed bank personalized for your family and environment.
Some people avoid reading or watching the news because they don’t like what’s going on in the world. But avoidance can’t stop what’s coming because you can’t control the things that affect the world’s food supply.
There’s a growing sense that a major food crisis is on the way and the government is trying to prepare right now for that crisis.
But if you know anything about how the world is run, then you know that if you’re not the one in charge of your family’s food supply, you and your loved ones could very well end up standing in a ration line or worse – going hungry.
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Why You Need to Have a Survival Seed Bank
Far too many people have the belief that if something bad does happen that interrupts their access to food supplies, the government will have a backup plan to save their family.
When millions upon millions of people rely on the same belief that there will be enough to go around, they’re going to end up disillusioned.
There won’t be.
The government (and it doesn’t matter which country you live in) isn’t going to be prepared for any major food crisis.
Because they simply can’t stockpile enough food to feed millions of people for a long term situation. You might think that the hope for relief from a food crisis lies at the base of Mount Plateau in the depths of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which houses the world’s biggest seed storage.
But the seeds in this vault aren’t coming to your rescue and you won’t be able to get to those seeds.
Take a look in the mirror.
You’re looking at the person who’s your best chance of survival.
It’s up to you to know what to do and to be prepared for any food emergency situation.
That means that you’re going to need to know how you can live off the grid. When every method of getting food is suddenly stripped away from you, it can’t be the catalyst that rocks your world.
You have to have a way to replenish your food supply long term.
Not just food storage. Food storage, and a deep pantry, is an important, even vital, part of your survival plan, but even if you have enough goods to last a few years, that won’t be enough. In the event of a food catastrophe, you’ll need more.
You have to be able to bring food back in, to replenish your stores.
And if there’s no way to get food from a grocery store and the government’s hands are tied, then what are you going to do? You need to be able to have a survival garden that will take care of you and your family’s nutritional needs for many years to come.
You start this by having the seeds that you need to raise a survival garden – and you need to have enough of them to plant a few acres’ worth of food. This means that you need to have the kinds of seeds that have the ability to reproduce themselves.
They’ll keep on producing for you. And you also want to look for seeds that haven’t been modified. When you plant seeds from a seed bank, you can guarantee that you’ll have food year after year – regardless of what’s going on in the rest of the world.
By using seeds from the foods you grow (and replanting those once your crops come in), you’ll ensure that your food supply will continually produce. You want to make sure that you look for seeds that offer a lot of produce return as well as ones that are high in nutrition and are long lasting.
An important note – I have been saying for years that you should not buy a generic pre-packaged seed bank. In most cases, that’s true. These large collections of seeds are not personalized for your area or your family’s needs. Instead, build your seed bank around the vegetables that you eat regularly and grow in your home garden … and build your home garden around the vegetables that you store!
What Seeds You Need to Have in Your Survival Seed Bank
To sustain life, there are certain seeds that are a must have, so the seeds that you buy for your survival seed bank need to have these seeds in the container.
You need a variety of beans.
Some of the better varieties are bountiful beans, October beans and the stringless black Valentine beans. My favourite is the heirloom Rattlesnake bean, which grows long, attractive beans that are mottled purple and can be eaten as green beans, shellies, or left all season for dried beans. Beans can produce a crop in a time frame of 47 to 90 days, depending on the type of bean seed that you choose to plant.
Beans are staples that provide you with protein as well as fiber. Beans are also very sturdy crops and can produce an abundant supply of food. Because of their protein and fiber content, they can give you plenty of energy.
Corn seeds are something that you also need in your survival seed bank. Corn is a staple food that can keep your family sustained for long term food survival. You’ll want corn that can grow quickly, in less than three months.
For that, look for seeds like Reid’s Yellow Dent Corn or Stowell’s Evergreen Corn. These usually grow in twin ears with an average length of between 8-10 inches, so they’re very hearty.
Cabbage seeds – like the Copenhagen Market ones – need to be in your seed bank. These heads usually grow to be a decent size and can offer gardeners a little over 3 pounds of cabbage per head. They can reach maturity in just over two months.
When considering which seeds to get for your seed bank, you want to take a look at how those foods will help you maintain good health. You’ll want to look at whether they offer anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits.
If you choose beet seeds like Detroit Dark Red Beet, you’ll grow a food loaded with anti-inflammatory assistance. Plus, they promote some internal organ benefits, too. These seeds can reach maturity in about two months. Early Wonder Beet is another great heirloom variety that is fully mature in 50 days.
Remember when your mom told you to eat your greens because they’re good for you? She was right – especially when it comes to spinach grown from Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach seed or a hearty green like Blue Curled Scotch Kale. I tend to prefer kale over spinach since it’s easier to grow, less likely to bolt, and extremely cold hardy.
These will grow into tasty plants that are packed with nutrients, including the A and K vitamins. Plus, they’re rich in Vitamin C and folate. Spinach seeds produce a fast crop and you can usually have viable plants in about six weeks.
Also for greens, you’ll want to get loose leaf lettuce such as Oakleaf or Red Salad Bowl. Both of these seeds can reach maturity in less than two months. Other greens you’ll want to include in your diet are Green Arrow Peas. These can be harvested in about two months and produce an abundant crop.
Cucumbers like Bushy Cucumbers are also a great addition to your survival seed bank. These can be ready for harvest in about six weeks. The Boston Pickling Cucumber or the Chicago Pickling Cucumber are two more very old varieties that, as the names suggest, are perfect for pickling. Both were developed in the 1800s for those particular regions.
Carrots are also part of a healthy diet. Seeds that produce Scarlet Nantez Carrots can be ready to eat in a little over two months. This kind can usually produce carrots of about 7” in length.
Tomatoes can be eaten fresh, canned or juiced. Some of the best heirloom options are Brandywine Tomato and the meaty Roma. Not only will you get plenty of antioxidants, but these are loaded with vitamins as well. And if you’re planning on growing tomatoes, don’t overlook the famous Mortgage Lifter Tomato – it produces big, 1-pound fruits in about 85 days. The breeder of this, in the 1940s, sold the tomatoes for $1 each and raised enough money to pay off his mortgage.
Squash and Eggplant also add much needed vitamins to your diet. Look for ones like Waltham Butternut Squash and Rossa Bianca Eggplant. Don’t forget to bank plenty of fruit seeds as well – like cantaloupes and melons and other varieties.
You’re going to want to make sure that you have a wide selection of good choices to grow, not just for the vitamin and mineral content, but for the taste and preferences of each family member.
I strongly recommend that you buy your seeds from a local seed company – I have a strong preference for small, family-owned and local businesses who focus on non-GMO, heirloom seeds. Contact them to find out the cost for buying bulk seeds – you may need to place an order early so that they can plan for your needs.
How to Store Your Survival Seed Bank
You need your survival seeds in order to start the garden that’s going to keep you and your family sustained for however long it takes. Right now, with food still being plentiful and most people able to get whatever they need from the grocery store, seeds aren’t considered all that valuable.
But when a crisis hits and getting food becomes a free-for-all frenzy, the seeds that you have are going to have a high value. Think of these as your currency and amass as many of them as you possible can, because once the crisis is here, it’s too late and there will be a run on survival seeds.
When you have these in your possession, you don’t want to go around talking about the fact that you have them. Keep your survival seed bank hidden away, out of sight from prying eyes in order to keep the seeds from getting stolen.
Seeds need to be protected from bacteria, fungi, pests, fluctuating temperatures and moisture. The most important issue that you need to know about storing seeds is that moisture is not your friend.
If moisture seeps into your seed storage, it can ruin it.
And moisture isn’t the only culprit that can harm your seeds. If you keep the seeds stored in an area where the temperature is too high, that can cause some damage to the seeds as well.
You want to make sure that the moisture percentage is kept as low as possible. If you can get it to less than 4 percent, that’s considered to be a safe moisture percentage for the seeds.
The storage temperature needs to be kept around 40 degrees. By taking care with how you store the seeds, you can ensure their longevity. You also want to make sure that you don’t keep your seeds anywhere in the sun.
The heat from the sun can change the storage temperature, rising it above what’s healthy for the seeds. If moisture and heat combined get to the seed, then it kills the seed’s ability to grow plants.
When you get the seeds, if they’re not in moisture proof containers, then you need to be put them in ones that are. When you harvest the crops that you grow from your original survival seeds, you’ll want to save those seeds as well.
This means you need to have a book on seed collection like Seed to Seed. Get it now and make sure you understand how to collect the seeds from various plants. That means, of course, growing them now and practicing. You don’t want to find out – after you’re relying on your garden – that you don’t understand the directions!
When and How to Use Your Survival Seed Bank
As you know, timing is everything. That includes knowing when to use your survival seed bank. You don’t want to rush and use the seeds too early – but you don’t want to wait so long that you miss out on the right time.
You need to be aware of which climate zone you live in. Because you can’t just plant seeds and expect them to grow if the season that you’re currently in would only end up derailing your plans.
All of the seeds should be planted according to the hardiness zone of your state. What this means is that your area will have a certain level of temperatures that make growing a garden with your survival seeds a viable option.
Planting too soon or too late could not only diminish your crop yield, but you could end up not getting any produce at all – and you don’t want that kind of waste. Plus, counting on having a food supply and ending up not getting it could be a major stressor for you.
Plant your garden during your climate zone using your survival seeds when you begin to notice that a food crisis is imminent. And make sure you plant it before the time is at hand to need it.
You can feasibly plant with your survival seeds and keep the garden producing for years. Remember to always aim for a garden that’s as carefree as you can make it. You’ll want to use your survival seeds to plant a garden that will sustain you and your family with as little fuss as possible.
This way, you won’t be using any physical labor or any other means – such as having to bring in water or set up a water system. You also want to make sure that you plant your seeds in a way that won’t draw attention to whatever it is that you have growing.
If others see it, your garden could be a target. This means that you can forget about the kind of gardens that you see that have perfectly uniform rows. Instead, plant a garden using your banked survival seeds and let nature help you grow that garden.
Nature is perfectly capable of maintaining crop growth with a minimal amount of effort from you. Lay out the garden so that you’re using the ground wisely. This means that you’ll want to plant seeds where the crops can grow together in companionship.
You’ll also want to plant your seeds according to the height and sun ratio. That means that you need to plan out your garden in a way so that each plant has access to the sun as well as to the right amount of moisture.
There are some seeds that offer natural pesticide control. For example, marigold and lavender are both natural pest repellents. Put the taller plants around in a perimeter to help shade crops that need less sun than other plants.
Usually, this means you plant your bush type crops on the outside of your garden.
If you use crops that can benefit your pollination purposes, this can help your crops grow. Plants that are used for pollination purposes are seeds that produce fruit – like blueberries.
It also includes flowers. Every Old Order Mennonite farm I’ve ever visited has at least one flower garden. One day, sitting among a group of ladies, I heard one sighing that “I love my flower garden, but I feel as though I’m wasting time in it.” It’s interesting that they have a strong tradition of flower gardens – attracting and feeding pollinators – but have forgotten why these “useless” plants are so important!
If you’re someone who doesn’t really have any experience with growing food, then you’re going to want to know how to do it before the time arrives that you simply must have the knowledge, or else it puts your survival at risk.
Remember, in an emergency situation, you may not be able to log onto the Internet to find the answers you need! The best way to learn how to have a successful garden using survival seeds is by going ahead and getting some seeds and planting a garden right now.
This way, you’ll already know what to watch for, what didn’t work and what does work in preparation for the time that you do need to have the food supply ready. You can also plant other vegetation to help you hide your crops.