Some among us worry about a coming disaster after which we will need to sustain ourselves and not rely on others to deliver what we need. Most of us may not fear a coming disaster, but still want to be prepared to simply replenish what nature takes away. Whatever side of the issue you are, knowing how to save survival seeds and how to use them later might be something good to know.
The concept of saving survival seeds is an old concept that actually may go back to the beginning of man’s life on Earth. It starts with collecting the most vital foods including grains and vegetables, and then harvesting the seeds, prepare them for storage and then use them when the time arises.
Select The Right Seeds
Those who know suggest that you collect seeds from open-pollinated, non-hybrid plants as your survival seeds.
Open-pollinated plants pollinate thanks to insects, birds, wind, human, or other natural means. Because there are no restrictions to open pollination, the plants are more genetically diverse. So there is a greater variation of the plants. This allows these plants to adapt to local growing conditions and climates. As long as pollen is not shared between different varieties of plants, then the seed produces true-to-type plants each and every year. Ideal for being survival seeds.
Open-pollinated plants include:
- Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
- Detroit Dark Red Beets
- Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
- Scarlet Nantes Carrots
- SMR 18 and Marketmore 76 Cucumbers
- Black Beauty Eggplant
- Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
- Iroquois Melon
- California Wonder Pepper
- Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
- Early Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
- Buttercup Winter Squash
- Brandywine Fresh Tomatoes
- Roma Sauce Tomatoes
Hybrid pollinated plants are pollinated by human intervention. Labeled as F1, these seeds are created to breed a certain trait into the plant. Although these seeds tend to grow better and product greater yields, the F1 plants are genetically unstable and cannot be saved for use in following years. These plants are not true-to-type and they are considered to be less vigorous. If you use hybrid seeds to grow plants for your garden, then you will need to purchase new seeds every year.
Hybrid pollinated plants include:
Moreover, there are some open-pollinated plants that are also offered as hybrid and include:
- Stonehead Cabbage
- Sweet Success Cucumbers
- Dusky Eggplant
- Ambrosia Melon
- Gypsy Pepper
- Sunburst Summer Squash
- Sweet Mama Winter Squash
- Burpee’s Big Boy, Celebrity, and Early Girl Tomatoes
Preparing Survival Seeds For Storage
Seeds must be cleaned and air-dried before storage. The process includes removing pods, husks, and other non-essential materials from the seed before leaving them out to dry in the sun or in a cool, but dry area.
Depending on the type of seed, drying can take as long as a week or more. Make certain that the seeds do not have any extra moisture when you finally store them. Wet seeds may need fermenting before dried to permit storage. Take note that fermenting can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you want to attempt it, then do some research on the best practice. If you buy the seeds, make sure you buy them from a vendor who you trust to use the proper drying process.
Store Seeds In Moisture Proof Containers
It is recommended that you store the dried seeds in moisture-proof containers. This will assure that the seeds don’t absorb any moisture while in storage.
Another method of storing is to place the seeds in zip lock bags and put the bags in glass canning, pickle or spaghetti jar because they have airtight lids. Desiccant packs should be added to the jar to ensure against moisture.
Store the containers in a dark, dry and cool area or in a refrigerator or freezer. Freezing seeds allow them to stay in storage for decades without losing their germination capability.
Finally, keep in mind that seeds can’t be stored forever. So if you end up storing the seeds for many years, it’s best to take them out of storage and plant them, and then harvest their seeds and store them for later.
(Sources: Survival Life and Seed Savers)