Seeds for Survival: Saving and Stockpiling Seeds to Grow Your Own Food

By Lisa Metheny published on in Guest Posts, Preparedness, Survival

Bright red apples a tree against a blue skyMore often, people are starting to realize the perks of growing their own vegetables, fruits and herbs. For some, it is a fun way to net some of their favorite produce. For others, a herb or vegetable garden and some fruit producing trees or vines is serious business. These types of growers rely heavily on their harvests to provide the produce to get them from one growing season to the next. These gardeners often practice home canning, freezing or even drying methods to extend the shelf life of the fruits of their labor. Regardless of whether you grow plants for hobby or are a die hard master gardener you probably understand the importance of having a ready supply of seeds.

Six Good Reasons to Stockpile Seeds

  1. Save time and gas by avoiding trips to garden and hardware stores to purchase seeds each season.
  2. Become more self-reliant and rely less on other distributors or suppliers.
  3. Avoid future food crisis around the country by having your own stash of seeds stored and growing your own produce from those seeds.
  4. Enjoy knowing the origin and history of your seeds which also helps you avoid diseases in plants and possible contamination from chemicals or pesticides.
  5. Use seeds as a bartering tool for other necessities.
  6. Help prevent extinction of your favorite varieties of plants.

Seeds, Seeds and More Seeds

Now that you have decided to start stockpiling seeds you need to figure out how to prepare them.

Green beans growing on a chain link fence with grassy area and trees in the background.

  • To freeze or not to freeze is a common question among gardeners? Well, what does Mother Nature do with the seed?  If the seeds were left alone, would they mature after being frozen in the ground or not? If you are still not sure, I suggest you gather the seeds for plants you like to grow, and experiment with different ways to store them.
  • Drying seeds is another option. Seeds fall into either the dry or wet category after they mature. For example beans, peppers, okra are in the dry category, while tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant fall into the wet category. Knowing which category they fall into will dictate how you store them. The dry category seeds often require a simple cleaning, dehusking and drying before they go into containers. Wet seeds will need to have any pulp removed first by gently washing the seeds. It is usually a good idea to ferment wet seeds. Then, dry them in a shady place for a few days. This helps prevent mold from growing before storing.

Label, Label, Label

The goal is to make life as easy as possible so labeling seeds are crucial. Things to include on the label:

  • Name of seed type and variety
  • Date stored
  • Ideal season for planting
  • At maturity information such as what nutrients are found in this produce
  • Time needed to mature
  • Special instructions (such as do these seeds require special type of fertilizer etc.)
  • Expiration date for unused seeds

Big pile of yellow corn seeds

Whether you choose to stockpile, seeds, canned goods or batteries, the key to doing it successfully is to use commonsense and stockpile the items you want or need. Afterward, you can plan on items that maybe of use to someone else (think bartering). Vegetables, herb, fruit or even medicinal plant seeds are just a few of things you may want to start stockpiling.

Are you stockpiling seeds? Share your tips and experiences with seeds in the comment section.

Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

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Comments (1)

  • Hank Alvarez

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    Saving seeds is a lot easier than most people think. I’m five days post op from a hip rebuild so my garden is on auto pilot right now but I regularly grow five kinds of peppers, five different varieties of tomatoes, two kinds of cuc’s, plus other veggies and most of the seeds are saved from previous annual harvests. I save the seeds, dry them for a week and then put them in old 35mm film canisters and store them in our vegetable crisper in the fridge. Recently I found some Chile Negro seeds marked “1995.” they were probably two or three years newer but I planted a dozen and got six healthy plants. I would encourage any one with a green thumb to save the seeds from your favorite veggies and try your luck. What have you got to lose? Hank

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