To save seeds over time, in the end you have to plant them and
collect the next seasons seeds. It's the only way with seeds that
aren't viable for long. I do a search on 'seedsavers' 'seed banks'
and see what comes up. There are groups around the world who do just
that to keep species alive.
And lo and behold, a nice .edu site :-)
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
Our input would be if you are looking to start saving/storing seed for
fear of a time when seed stock for growing is no longer available we
would suggest a multi faceted approach of the other replies.
Buying off the shelf packets of seed at the end of the year for cheap
cheap is a great option for low cost however as has been somewhat stated
it can be a crap shoot. Some will save and some will not but in a
survival situation you arent going to be throwing a tantrum if your
leeks dont sprout. You will eat whatever comes up. So we would say go
ahead and build a library of seeds from the garden center and try to
rotate out all of the oldest every couple years with new. This way you
will always have, at the least, 2 years garden in your library. The
plants you grow from these packets may or may not be viable for saving
seed but they will at the least provide you with food to eat and
preserve. In our experience when we purchase lots of cheap packets at
the end of a season, each year that passes germination is reduced by 50
percent though there are exceptions in both directions. I wouldnt want
to even remotely rely on packets saved for several years for my food
supply though they are a great adjunct.
To start saving your own seed and building a never ending self
generated supply of seed you will want to start growing "open
pollinated" or "heirloom" plants in your garden. They are the same with
the only difference being that heirlooms are varieties which are at
least 50 years old. As was stated, many of the garden center varieties
you buy can be hybrids which means any one of a number of things can
happen when you save the seed from these plants. They may be sterile and
not germinate at all, you may get only one strain of the cross, they may
not produce fruit, or they may grow fine for a couple years and then
fizzle. Hence crapshoot.
Be forewarned however that certain seed can be pretty tough to save and
additionally some vegetables are biennials which makes saving seed
difficult in some climates.
That said, if you really want to insure that you will have viable seed
for growing it would be best to grow a season or two's worth of seed
every year. This way you have fresh seed for the next two years and
should be safe. Simple crops like tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cukes,
melons, many peppers, sunflowers, beets, are easy to save seed from with
the right procedure and a few fruit will provide you with LOTS of seed.
Lettuce and spinach are simple to save seed from as well. Other than new
varieties we grow our own lettuce, spinach, from saved seed every year.
All of the seed catalogs offer many open pollinated and heirloom
varieties additionally a google on "heirloom seeds" will find you many
suppliers of strictly heirloom seed. www.seedsavers.org is a good
resource as well as books like The New Seed Starters Handbook by Nancy
Bubel are good.
Depends on the seed. Some die immediately (... coffee), some can sprout
after hundreds of years (... mullein).
What kinds of vegetables and root crops do you like?
You want heirloom seeds. That is, NON-hybrid.
Hybrids, well, they work if you have nothing else, and if you have a
steady supply to buy more when what you have is gone, but be aware that
hybrid offspring will look nothing much like the parent(s).
Your local garden center / feed store.
They'll have types that thrive in YOUR climate.
What you really want is to get a garden going. Then you can see in
practice what you're now asking in theory.
And the best way to keep seeds, long-term, is on a succession of live
Nothing to do with preserving, so I've removed that bit.
Henriette Kress, AHG Helsinki, Finland
Henriette's herbal homepage: http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed
The seeds in bird feed generally sprout, and are edible. (Not real
palatable.) Not any good for bread unless you add the right grains,
but they'll do for supplying calories and baiting in quail and dove.
There is a very good book about grains. 'Small Scale Grain Raising' by Gene
Logsdon that could give you a good insight into grain crops. And your
Agricultural Extension office as well. Almost all of their literature is
free. And their advice as well.
Learn something new every day
As long as you are learning, you are living
When you stop learning, you start dying
On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 20:30:32 +0300, Henriette Kress
I don't know where the original poster is located, but this
sure hasn't been true in my experience in several states in
the northeastern USA. Local garden centers have a very,
very poor selection of seeds and not particularly suited to
the area either.
To the O.P.: since you have (or someone else has, maybe)
included 'misc.survivalism', I will assume you want to keep
these seeds a long time for some survivalist purpose or
If I wanted to do this, I'd buy non-hybrid garden seeds
dry-packed in cans for very long storage. For the grains,
you can just buy grains that are sold for people to eat:
also in cans or 5-gallon buckets, and nitrogen-packed,
suitable for long storage.
One place that carries such seeds and grains, packed in cans
This would be a good place for your initial purchase.
I got a steel gazing ball online. it even floats. wont break. Ingrid
List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List
Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame
Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other
compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the
endorsements or recommendations I make.
I have a small one and paid probably $20 for the ball itself, and another $25
for the holder, I've had it 5 years. I usually bring everything in for the
winter but it has been left out once or twice in zone 5 Connecticut, looks
fine... The holder needs to be painted though :o)
Well, if you have mercury glass and it is failing, maybe you can bring it to
the place he bought it. That shouldn't happen so fast. I know someone who's
had a mercury glass orb for about 30 years and it is still as shiney as the day
they got it.
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