The Best Survival Seeds for You Self Sustained Garden
You’ve certainly watched a movie or TV show in which the world came to an end in a freakishly scary manner. Well, that’s Hollywood for you – the kind of fictional entertainment that keeps us glued to the screens! You were probably enjoying it from the comfort of your living room, or at the movies with very little to worry about.
But you got to admit; all this post-apocalyptic entertainment sparks one huge question – what if the films are right? What if life as we know it will be interrupted suddenly by a monstrous catastrophic event? See, the problem is we don’t know if or when the world will end. Theories have been thrown around by the likes of Nostradamus, but they don’t give a conclusive answer.
And he’s not the only one who predicted an apocalypse; there are many others (including very significant religious figures and scientists). And whether you believe in religion, science, or conspiracy theories, you have to admit that this whole topic brings a rather scary feeling. The kind of feeling that gets you thinking; it is better to be safe than sorry.
So, what better way to be safe than to prepare for an unpredictable event of catastrophe. But, where do you start? If the films have taught us anything, it’s that food should be your number one priority. If a global catastrophe were to occur and you find yourself among the survivors, chances are you will have to fend for yourself and supplies will be scarce.
Well, when it comes to food, you can save yourself that trouble and just grow your own. The good thing about that is that you can start stacking your seeds right now.
Start Prepping Now
You need to understand a few things about seeds and plants if you are to successfully grow your own food garden in the event of an event. These are not the complicated biology stuff. They are just basics that will help you get on your feet and get your crops growing.
For starters, you must have a food stockpile that will sustain you as you wait for your first crop to mature. Well, that has little to do with botany or gardening. It’s more of common sense. The trick is to pick foods that don’t go bad easily and store them in refrigerators or freezers.
Of course, if you see their expiry date approaching, you can always consume them and replace them with a new stockpile.
Next, you must know how to choose the right survival seeds for your garden. There is no single, umbrella rule on this but you want to make sure that your seeds can grow in your climate. You don’t want a situation where you have survived a bomb or nuclear attack only to die of starvation because your seeds couldn’t grow.
One way of avoiding that is by purchasing seeds that can grow in harsh and semi-harsh environments. After that, give yourself a trial run. Get a small garden and plant your seeds so that you see how they and you perform in this whole farming thing. That should give you a clue on what you need to learn to grow your own food.
What Your Seeds Need
Speaking of growth, when thinking of seed germination, there are four factors that you should consider. The first is water. Seeds need it to germinate and grow because it is an important component of the photosynthesis process (the process by which plants manufacture their own nutrients). Water is critically important once the seed has started to germinate. During that period, a dry spell will kill the plant’s embryo.
Seeds respire, and they need oxygen for that. If it is limited, you will end up with inhibited or unhealthy seedlings that may not germinate. So, before you sow your seeds, make sure that the medium is fairly firm but not packed. It should allow oxygen to pass to the plant.
While certain seeds require light to germinate, others can do so without it. For example, lettuce, petunias, and begonias must get sunlight. On the other hand, plants like calendula and verbena do better when there is no light.
If you read seed catalogues, you will come across such information and guidelines. But, remember that you can always add supplementary light to your garden, particularly if it is located indoors.
Just like light, heat can stimulate some seeds to grow, and it can also inhibit others from doing the same. Some seeds like spinach, strawberries and lettuce seeds require cool temperatures to germinate. On the contrary, others like tomatoes and impatiens will not grow without some level of heat. You might want to read seed catalogues to know just how much heat is enough for each seed that you have.
As you might have noticed, the four factors are environmental. Unless you have the necessary resources (like watering hoses, lighting and heating equipment and means of collecting and supplying oxygen to your germinating seeds), you really have no influence over them. And the reality is you will have little to no chance of getting the said resources in a post-apocalypse. But there’s a way around that – understand how nature works.
Account for Different Seasons
Earth’s weather conditions vary by season and region. In the US, we have the spring, summer, fall and winter – each with its own distinctive weather conditions.
So, how’s that relevant to your seeds and survival? Well, while you might not be able to influence nature’s supply of water, heat, oxygen, and light, you can time your planting to coincide with the best time for your seeds to germinate.
Here’s a case in example, potatoes and peas will thrive when grown in March. The same month is also great for planting tomatoes, but you will have to wait for the winter frost to clear.
September is the proper time to plant most vegetables, including spinach, kale, and lettuce. Of course, that is just a ‘by the way’ type of information. In an emergency situation, you might not have the luxury of timing, but you can most certainly choose which seeds to plant first and which ones to store until their right time for planting.
Storing Your Seeds
Speaking of storage, how long do seeds last? We’re glad you asked. That’s a very important question because you will need to know when to discard your current stock of seeds and replace it with new ones – you know, just in case they have expired. The shelf life of seeds varies greatly depending on the type of seed and how you storage vault. We will discuss all your seed vault later but how about we look at the shelf life of some selected seeds.
- Grain seeds (like wheat, rice, and sorghum) usually last longer than most other food-producing seeds. They can still germinate even after ten years of storage.
- Others like seeds from the brassica and cucurbits families can last up to 5 years. Brassica seeds include kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Examples of cucurbits are squash, pumpkin, melons and cucumbers.
- Some seeds like carrots, peas, and beans have a midrange shelf life of about three years.
- On the lower side, you have onions, peppers, and leeks that last for one or two years only.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your survival seeds should produce foods that the whole family can eat. It’s common to have one or two family members who don’t eat certain foods. It could be health-related or due to any other reason. Either way, try as much as possible to avoid stocking those seeds because they will reduce your vault’s efficiency. What you want is the stock of seeds that can feed everyone in the group when the time comes.
Finally, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Sure, you can take farming as your primary post-apocalyptic survival strategy. But, don’t make it the only plan. For all, you know an apocalypse can make land sterile for certain crops. So learn how to hunt and gather. Know the animals and plants that are edible so that you can make them your plan B in case farming fails.
Aim For Organic, Open-Pollinated Seeds Only
Other than possessing the skills above, you also want to ensure that the seeds you choose for your survival plan are organic and open-pollinated.
Organic seeds are those that have not been exposed to chemicals of any kind. Usually, seeds are treated with chemicals during growth, harvesting or processing for reasons such as enhancing yield, encouraging early germination and prevention from bacteria, fungi, and pests.
Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? It isn’t! Non-organic seeds produce poor yields and will not make a reliable source of food for generations to come. So, the bottom-line here is that you should stick to organic seeds only.
Open-pollinated seeds are those that are not hybrid. That means they can be pollinated by outside sources like birds or wind. That’s a contrast to hybrid seeds whose pollination can only be done artificially.
So, why is that important? Because open-pollinated seeds will give you food for many generations to come, but most hybrid seeds cannot produce more food after their first generation (because they won’t get pollinated). And if they do. It will be of very poor quality and quantity.
Your Survival Seed Vault
As we have already mentioned, you can’t store your survival seeds forever. They will expire at some point. But, what you can do is prolong their shelf life. Seeds usually fail to germinate when their receptacles are exposed to water and moisture before planting. So, if you want to extend their expiry date, you might want to look for a storage container that is waterproof and moisture-proof.
The whole point is to keep your seeds as dry as possible. One effective way of doing that is by storing them in tightly closed jars. If you don’t mind digging into your pocket, you can land yourself a great seed storage container from stores that sell seeds. They even sell anti-moisture kits that you can insert into the jar.
Once, you have packed your seeds in containers, store them in a dark room that is dry and cool. Remember the conditions necessary for seeds to germinate? Yeah, water, heat, light, and oxygen. Keep your seeds away from them, and they won’t germinate until you plant them.
Alternatively, you can store the seeds in a freezer. Frozen seeds take long to expire, and they won’t germinate under the conditions.
Now you know the why (why you need a stockpile of survival seeds), how (how to store and plant your survival seeds), where (where to grow your seeds) and the when (when to grow them). But the one thing you probably don’t know is the what. What are the best survival seeds to store in your vault? That’s the most important bit of any survival plan.
Your seeds must produce edible foods, give high yields, and should be relatively easy to grow. One thing to keep in mind is that different plants take different durations to mature. So, it’s important to have seeds that can grow fast within one month to those that take five months or even a year. That should cover your short, medium and long-term food supply plans.
Here is a list of seeds that you should have in your vault:
- Onions: they are easy to grow and will nourish you with vitamin C & B, potassium and fiber.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers grow fast, but provide food for a long period because they grow best when picked.
- Broccoli: this nutrient rich veggie takes about three months to mature. Each main head is usually accompanied by smaller heads that you can harvest later.
- Radish: Plant a radish today, and it will be ready to harvest before a month ends. That super-short maturity period is the main reason you should have it in your vault.
- Lettuce: Lettuce will provide plenty of food because you can eat the leaves, stem, and seeds. It takes just about 50 days to mature, but you can start to harvest as soon as the leaves grow big enough.
- Kale: grows well in pretty much any It’s hard to go wrong with kale but you will get the best yield if you plant it in the spring.
- Spinach: best for providing iron and vitamins, spinach grows well when planted in the spring.
- Cabbage: the biggest benefit of cabbage is that you can get a consistent supply by planting every two weeks. Just remember to replace each harvested plant with a new one.
- Peppers: spice up your meals with some sweet and some hot peppers. They’ll surely take your thoughts off your emergency situation during meals.
- Beets: best known for their ability to survive frost, these veggies are tasty, nutritious and grow really
Other vegetables to consider include carrots, Swiss chard and eggplant.
- Wheat: an excellent choice if you have many mouths to feed because wheat produces a very high yield. Although it’s best to plant wheat in the fall and harvest in the spring, you can do the reverse and plant it in the spring.
- Corn: each crop will give you two or more ears, which makes it a high-yield crop. Additionally, it is economical in space because you can use the same field to plant beans and squash simultaneously with the corn.
- Barley: barley gets a spot here on account of its versatility. It has a great taste on its own but you can also use it to make beer, grind flour and feed animals (if you have any).
- Beans: yeah, beans are fruits (technically). That aside, some varieties of beans (like bush beans) are perfect for a survival situation because they mature after only two months. Additionally, they will enrich the soil by balancing nitrogen levels. Don’t forget to throw a few soy bean seeds in your vault.
- Tomato: certainly the most versatile fruit for a prepper. You can eat it raw, use it to spice up your foods when cooking or even make tomato sauce.
- Pumpkin: you can eat the fruit or seeds. Even pumpkin leaves are nutritious and make an amazing vegetable.
- Peas: these easy-to-grow fruits mature very fast and are resistant to frost. They are rich in vitamins and should help you stay healthy and strong.
- Sunflower: this low maintenance crop needs the sun only to thrive. It grows in poor soil and produces a good share of tasty seeds.