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Food, water, and shelter are the three essential requirements for survival after an apocalyptic disaster. Of the three, though, it is food that will be the most difficult to acquire.
Making sure you have enough food to survive after the supermarkets are permanently closed requires a multi-faceted approach. While stockpiling canned food and other foods with a long shelf-life is a great idea, food stockpiles can only last for so long. In order to be prepared for long-term survival, you need to explore other options as well.
One of the best ways to ensure you have food for the long-term is to build a survival seed bank. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what survival seed banks are, the benefits that they offer, and how you can build one for yourself.
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What are Survival Seed Banks?
A survival seed bank is a collection of seeds that you can use to grow a large and diverse garden in a survival scenario. A good seed bank will contain a large variety of seeds so you can get all the nutrients you need.
It should also contain seeds for vegetables that can be harvested at different times of the year so you’ll have access to food year-round.
What Type of Seeds to Include in Your Survival Seed Bank
For starters, you will want to select heirloom seeds that are open-pollinated, non-hybrid, and non-GMO.
Selecting seeds that are open-pollinated will make it easier for you to ensure that your plants produce, and selecting heirloom seeds that are non-hybrid and non-GMO will allow you to collect more seeds from your plants once they have grown. Then you can plant those seeds and keep your survival garden going for as many years as necessary.
Second, you will certainly want to select seeds that grow well in your area. This qualification will differ depending on where you live, so research the types of plants that grow well in your growing zone.
Lastly, be sure to include seeds that produce vegetables that are nutritious and high in calories. Not all plants are created equal, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with each seed that you plant. For more information on the best high-calorie crops for a survival garden, check out this list of high-calorie crops for your survival garden.
How to Store Your Survival Seed Bank
The best way to store seeds for the long-term is to freeze them. When frozen, most seeds will last for at least five years, and some of the more durable seeds can last as long as twenty years.
Another important consideration when storing seeds is keeping them organized. Since different seeds have different planting and growing requirements, it is absolutely essential that you know exactly what you are planting before you plant it.
If you purchase your seeds in packets, the type of seed should be clearly labeled on the packet. If you’re buying them in any other form that is not clearly labeled, though, one good way to keep your seeds organized is to place them in mason jars and put a label on each jar that tells you what type of seed it contains, when it was put into storage, and how long it is expected to keep. Chalkboard labels are great for this.
Keep in mind that even though frozen seeds will last for a very long time, you may still have to rotate out your seeds in order to keep them viable. By labeling your seeds with the date you put them into storage and how long they should keep, you’ll know exactly when to replace them.
How to Collect Seeds from Your First Harvest
Seed banks are only intended to be something of a starter package. In other words, once you have planted the seeds from your seed bank and gathered the harvest, you’ll have to collect more seeds from the plants you harvest if you want to be able to plant a garden again the next year.
The process of collecting seeds from a vegetable that you planted is going to vary depending on the specific vegetable, but most of the time it involves allowing the plants to go to seed, harvesting them, letting them dry out, then separating the seeds from the rest of the plant so they can be put into storage.
When it comes to collecting seeds from your first harvest, the type of vegetable that you plant is highly important as well. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and corn, have seeds that are easy to collect, while others will be a bit more difficult.
Of course, as I already mentioned, planting non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds is essential if you want to collect more seeds from your harvest. Hybrid and GMO seeds are designed in such a way that the first crop will not produce viable seeds that can be replanted.
The reason for this is that the companies selling these seeds want you to purchase more from them next season rather than using seeds you collect from your first harvest. This makes these seeds worthless for use in a survival seed bank, so you should always stick to heirloom seeds that are non-hybrid and non-GMO.
Lastly, look up each type of plant in your seed bank ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the process of collecting seeds from them. You may even wish to write the process down and store it somewhere safe so that you will be able to reference it again in case you forget.
Helpful tip: Write down the seed-harvesting process on a piece of paper and tuck it into the mason jar with the seeds that correspond to it.
Putting Together Your Own Survival Seed Bank
If you want to put together your own seed bank, you’ll have to purchase seeds from a commercial seed supplier. Thankfully, there are plenty of great suppliers to choose from such as Seed Savers Exchange, Abundant Life Seeds, Sustainable Seed Company, and many more. Once you’ve harvested your first crop, you’ll be able to collect more seeds and grow the size of your seed bank.
Just keep in mind all of the necessary requirements when selecting your seeds, learn how to harvest and store them properly, and you should have no problem building a high-quality seed bank from the ground up.
Purchasing a Pre-Made Seed Bank
If you want to save a little time, you can purchase a pre-made survival seed bank off of Amazon such as this 32-plant variety pack which includes 15,000 non-hybrid, non-GMO heirloom seeds in clearly-labeled packets.
These pre-made seed banks include all the seeds you need to put together a first harvest that will allow you to collect even more seeds.
It’s important to remember that survival seed banks are not a one size fits all solution. A collection of seeds that works well for one person may not work well for you. In other words, just because a product is marketed as a pre-made survival seed bank does not mean it’s guaranteed to include every type of seed you want or need.
Take your time when looking for a pre-made seed bank and explore the many options that are available until you find the seed bank that is right for you. There are certainly plenty of different options to choose from, so you should have no problem finding a high-quality seed bank that meets all of your requirements for an affordable price.
Of all the things you can put into storage in preparation for a large-scale disaster, a survival seed bank is easily one of the most important.
Having a high-quality survival seed bank along with the skills and resources necessary to grow a garden and collect seeds from your harvest will enable you to keep food on your table for an unlimited amount of time and perhaps save you from starvation – all thanks to one box of seeds.
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Richard Mathew says
Great advice , contact The Stover Seed company offers solutions to a number of perennial problems. stoverseed.com
Kieran Roberts says
I myself have a lot of seeds and most certainly will need to get other things.
Very good advice for absolute beginners like myself, who have a brown thumbs.
You need to keep your thumbs covered and protected from light. ROTFLMAO
Jennifer Davis Allen says
Several years ago I started some tomatoes from seeds, then saved seeds each year. I grew them organically (composting, companion planting, using natural bug repellents such as planting marigolds). I shared some tomatoes with neighbors and they declared them “food from heaven”. MUCH more flavorful than ones from the grocery store. It seemed each year I used seeds from my homegrown tomatoes, the flavor improved.
Good information about seeds.
It’s 100 percent good to have a survival seed bank, but seeds are only a very small part of the whole growing process.
Not only do you need the seeds, you need to have the tools and materials to prepare ground for those seeds, and the expertise on how to start them and/or plant them outside. You need to know when to plant, what plants grow well in your zone, and you need to have supplies like manure and fertilizers on hand as well.
If you currently have a garden, this is not a big deal, you already know all of this stuff and have ground ready to go. If you don’t, well… then it’s time to not only get your storage seeds but also to start looking into all of the other things you will need to make them of any use at all.
Depending on where you live, your ground likely will need at least some work to be planting-ready (if you have clay soil, rocky soil, sandy soil, etc.). You may well (probably do) need a water collection and irrigation plan (rain barrels, hoses, etc).
Lastly and most importantly, you need to know what you are doing, how to deal with garden pests when you can’t just run to the store and buy pesticides, etc.
It’s a process.
Having said that, there’s no time like the present to start working on it!
Excellent advice, thanks!