As the local stores get their garden seeds in, its time to take an inventory as to what is need, what is not needed and what needs to be replaced. Seed stocks should include the types of food that the family will eat. And, most important, the types of seeds that will grow in a certain geographical area.
The bags that the seeds are stored in should be marked with the type of seed and the date when the seeds were bought. The date is very important so that the seed stocks can be rotated out every 2 – 3 years.
Examples of different types of seeds and plants:
Potatoes – are usually planted from cuttings from a mature potato. When the “eyes” start to sprout on the potato, take a knife, cut a good section of the potato off (along with the eye). Types of potatoes like red skin or Irish are high producers.
Squash and Zucchini – are both members of the melon family. Are disease and pest resistant, high producers, can be eaten raw and are full of nutrients. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13.
If the seeds are to be saved from the Squash and Zucchini plants, keep the two species planted separate and away from each other. Bees can cross pollinate between Squash and Zucchini plants, meaning the harvested seeds have a good chance of being a hybrid. The harvested seeds might produce, but the seeds from those plants might be sterile. If place is limited, and there is a certain chance of cross pollination, do not plant the Squash and Zucchini at the same time. But instead, plant Squash on season, and Zucchini the next season.
Squash and Zucchini leaves have little “hairs” on them. This makes the leaves unpleasant for animals (such as deer) that try to eat them.
Radishes – Are fast growers, usually only taking 30 days to mature from the time the seed is planted. The entire Radish can be eaten. The tops can be eaten like a salad, the root ball can be eaten raw or boiled. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13. The seeds are usually very small, so they do not take up very much room. Radishes should be considered the friend of every survivalist.
Turnips – Can be slow growers, some species are hybrids, and some types will not produce a root ball. So when buying turnip seed, be sure to make the decision based on what the needs of the family are. One of the good things about turnip greens, the leaves can be harvested and eaten at any time. Mustard greens can have a strong taste that some people do not like.
Rutabaga – Its recommended that every survivalist have some rutabaga seeds in their stocks. Excessive consumption of rutabagas can be associated with hypothyroidism. So excessive consumption should be avoided. On the other hand, the rutabaga can be a high producing root crop with a large green top.
Corn – An old world favorite. But these days, most of the types of corn on the market are hybrids. If the seeds are to be harvested, be sure to get some non-hybrid (heirloom) corn seed. Corn can also have a high fertilizer requirement. Survivalist that do not have a source of organic fertilizer should avoid a dependence on corn. Its recommended that corn be included in seed stocks, but not as a primary (more then 50% of total food production) crop. Pest animals, such as worms, coons and deer can also destroy corn crops.
Snap Beans – Can be high producers and have low fertilizer requirements. Snaps beans, like peas do not require a lot of nitrogen. Ashes from a fire and other organic matter can be used in addition to commercial fertilizer. Snap beans should be harvested when they are immature, boiled and served. If the snap beans are harvested when they are mature, the seeds inside the pod could be hard and may require more boiling time. Snap beans should be eaten within a few days of being harvested. One important consideration for snap beans – these plants can be high producers and the bean pods can be canned or jarred. Its highly recommended that every survivalist have a good supply of snap bean seed.
Peas – Another old world favorite, peas have been harvested since the days of the roman empire. There are several types of peas – silver skin crowder and black eye purple hull (just to name a few) – so be sure to stock up on the type of pea that grows well in the local area and suits the taste buds. Peas can be harvested, dried and either saved until needed or replanted the following year. Peas are a good crop that is easy to grow. One of the drawbacks to peas, local wildlife such as deer love them. Peas return nitrogen to the soil, so they compliment crops such as squash, zucchini and corn. To protect peas from the deer, plant them in with the squash and zucchini. Deer do not like the feel or taste of the squash or zucchini leaves and will leave the peas alone.
Watermelons – Have been grown for over 2,000 years, most types are heirloom, take a long time to mature, have a good sized fertilizer requirement, and can grow well with organic fertilizer. Watermelons should be grown as a “treat” crop and not as a primary food crop. Seeds from watermelons can be easily saved, dried and preserved for next years crop.
Onions – Are easy to grow, are high in nutrition, the tops can be harvested at any time, the root balls can be saved through the winter and replanted in the spring. Onion seed should seriously be considered for the seed stocks.
Tomatoes – Most types of tomatoes on the market today are hybrids, so the saved seeds may not produce a crop the following year. Certain types of tomatoes can not tolerate heat very well and my die off during the summer. Even though tomatoes are full of all kinds of good nutrients, they are also susceptible to all kinds of pest, including several species of bugs. In a long term survival situation, pesticide is not going to be available. Because of this, how susceptible a plant is to disease and pest should be seriously considered. Due to the fact that tomatoes are targets to all kinds of bugs, stocking up on tomato seed should be low on the list.
Grape Tomatoes – This species of tomatoes have been recently introduced into the USA. The plants are high producers and are heirloom. Meaning that the seeds can be saved and replanted the next year. If tomato seed most be considered and included, then take a look at the Grape Tomato.