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A Guide To Long-Term Seed Storage

February 20th, 2014

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Seeds are living things. For that reason, you have to treat them as such. Just like any living creature – exposure to too much cold, heat, sunlight – even moisture – can kill their essence. In fact, as a general rule, any 1% increase in moisture can mean seed life is cut in half. Knowing more about long term seed storage will ensure their viability when you need them most, and can guarantee a never-ending food supply.

Remember that the only seed that can produce another fertile seed are non-hybrid or open-pollinated seeds, so be sure your pick has these qualities before you start preparing for long-term seed storage.

Why Try Long Term Seed Storage

For one thing, having a continuous supply of fresh produce is one best investments you can make for your health. Additionally, people from all over the country are making efforts to prepare for the worst. Can you blame them? In an unsteady global economy and food market, and considering the impact of natural and man-made disasters – it’s vital to consider your food supply in an emergency situation. You may want to consider, what you would do if our food supply were cut off? Or if the price of food became unaffordable? Stockpiling cans and dried goods can be lifesaving, but what happens if it runs out?

Here’s how to get started for long term seed storage.

The Three Most Effective Ways To Store Seeds Long-Term

Refrigerating Seeds: This method can prolong seed lifespans. Many seed savers simply place seeds in zip block bags with another fabric or brown paper bag over it to prevent light seeping in and penetrating the seeds. Do keep in mind that depending on the availability of refrigeration in an emergency situation, this method isn’t always dependable. Also, refrigeration exposes seeds to some moisture and can decrease viability. If you do have access to a refrigerator, vacuum sealing seeds and refrigerating combined was found to have one highest rates of germination after 12 months.

Vacuum Sealing Seeds: As we mentioned above, moisture is one of leading reasons seeds deteriorate quickly. Vacuum-sealing ensures seed humidity levels are low and can keep seeds dormant for years. While there is an initial investment in purchasing a vacuum seal-packaging machine, the end result is a reliable method to seed storage, even without refrigeration.

Water Proof Storage Containers And Bags:  Traditional seed packets just won’t cut it in terms of long term seed storage. There is too much risk of exposure to sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuation. Re-sealable Mylar® bags and other FDA food safe containers that are air-tight and waterproof can be very reliable in terms of seed storage. Because seeds are dormant and you do not want to activate the seed, store seeds in a dark, cool location.

The Problem With Freezing Seeds: While some seed savers swear by seed storage in a freezer, many are on the fence about freezing seeds. The argument: since seeds absorb and expel moisture in the air, there’s a chance a seed’s moisture level will shift. Freezing seeds can even force seeds to expand, causing the fibers to deteriorate. What do you all think about freezing seeds? Have you tried freezing seeds with success?

***Friends, what are your favorite methods for long term seed storage? What have you tried that worked? What didn’t work***

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Survival Gardening: How To Boost Your Disaster Preparedness

December 28th, 2011

It is as good a time as ever to begin your own survival garden for you and your family.  This year, increased food prices, economic uncertainty and recent record natural disasters have undoubtedly heightened our concern about the safety and availability of food. A desire for a survival garden may also be rooted in the fact that you crave fresh, organic and non-GMO vegetables, fruit and herbs year round. Or like our parents and grandparents during World War Two, “victory gardens” save money, while allowing commercially grown food to be directed to areas that need it.  Whatever the reasoning, survival gardens are easy to construct and following these additional suggestions can allow your family to eat healthfully from home.

How To Start A Survival Garden:  First, decide what your gardening goals are.  Are you looking to add a few more fresh fruits and vegetables to your weekly meals? Perhaps you want an emergency food supply? Or, maybe take it a step further and completely live off the grid? Whatever you decide, it’s best practice to begin by planning a 4-foot wide space for your garden.  You do not want it any wider or you’ll have some trouble planting, harvesting and weeding in the center.  You may make the length as long as you prefer, yet many like to begin with 4×12 feet and the opportunity to grow larger as need be. Pick a location that’s relatively flat and receives sunlight with some shade at certain parts of the day.

After you have found the perfect location, dig an area about 1 foot deep.  You may dip deeper to add more vitality to your garden, but keep in mind that you’ll need more soil to compensate.  Using sized pieces of wood, form an “L” at one end of the garden and use a power drill to set each screw in.  Do the same for all four corners until you have a sturdy rectangular shape. Fill in the hole with nutrient-rich, organic soil, leaving some space a few inches at the top.  Use compost periodically to boost the soil’s needs.

Deciding What To Plant:

Grow any type of fruits, vegetables and herbs you prefer, but do keep in mind that some plants are advantageous to grow together while others will literally steal nutrients from the plant next door.  Check our Companion Gardening blog post to see a complete list of companion plants.

Planting medicinal herbs and plants is a good practice for those who aspire to grow a garden for emergency purposes. Garlic, onions, aloe, cloves, anise seed and other herbs have proven medicinal qualities that could be helpful for injuries and other ailments in a crisis.

Emergency Seed Banks: Many of us want to be prepared in any type of natural or economic disaster, and creating your own emergency seed bank is one way to ensure your seeds are viable when you need them most.  Begin by selecting a wide variety of seeds that are non-hybrid heirloom and non-genetically modified.  Next, make sure your seeds are completely dry and place them in a vacuum-sealed bag.  A Mylar® bag may also be used to ensure tight sealing.  Then, place bags in an airtight, waterproof container or a compact storage case.  Carefully label your seeds and keep planting guides in the container as well. These simple steps will increase the lifespan of your seeds, while giving you more control and self-sufficiency over your food supply in a worst-case scenario.

Storing Fruits and Vegetables: Canning your leftover fruits, vegetables and herbs from your survival garden can prevent waste and can prepare you and your family for most unexpected emergencies.  Using mason jars and two-piece lids will suit you just fine for canning foods.  Make sure the food, cans and lids are sterilized before you label and place the jars in storage for later use.  Freezing food in air tight bags will also retain most of the nutritional value, while blanching vegetables before freezing can stop enzymatic activity that slowly causes the quality of the food to dissipate. Remember that freezing is better for short-term consumption, as a loss of power could mean the loss of your food if you do not have a backup generator.

Do you have a prepared food source for your family in an emergency? 

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