How Many Seeds Should a Survivalist Stockpile for SHTF

While we have discussed stockpiling seeds in depth. Something which may have been overlooked, is how many seeds should a survivalist stockpile?

I have come up with a simple formula and would like to know what yall think.

Stockpiling Garden Seeds

How many seeds do you normally plant to obtain X amount of harvest? Lets say you plant one pound of snap beans. With that one pound and a certain amount of fertilizer, you have an idea of how much of a harvest you will get.

How many people are planning on using your place as a long term bug out location?  Because of guest let’s double the number of seeds which be planted.

To keep the formula simple, take the usual number of seeds you plant and double it.

Lets say you plant 2 pounds of contender snap beans. Double that for a total of 4 pounds. Doubling is for the extra people you intended to feed.

How Many Seeds Should a Survivalist Stockpile

Now take that number you doubled and multiple it by three. This is for three years.

If you normally plant 2 pounds of a certain type of seed, stockpile 12 pounds of that type.  12 pounds may sound like a lot of seed to stockpile, and it is.  Stockpiling dozens of types of seeds can quickly add up.

However, some seeds are very small and take up just a little bit of room.  For example, turnip green seeds are very small, while squash, corn, snap bean seeds are rather large.

Examples, rather than stockpiling:

Once ounce of turnip seed, stockpile six ounces..

One pound of corn seed, stockpile six pounds.

1/2 pound of squash seed, stockpile three pounds.

One pound of pea and snap bean seeds, stockpile six pounds.

Simply put, take how much you normally plant in a year, double that amount, then multiple by three.  That would be the very least amount of seed I would recommend stockpiling.

Change The Formula To Meet Your Needs

Lets say you have a family of 4. You plant 1 pound of snap beans which helps feed your family during the summer. You plan in 8 people showing up.

In that case multiple your usual amount by 3, then by 3 again for 3 years.

The three years gives you a buffer zone.

Year one – Plant Contender snap beans and straight neck yellow squash.

Year two – Plant Roma II snap beans and zucchini..

Year three – Plant Purple hull peas and crook neck yellow squash.

Planting one type of bean or pea and squash each year helps prevent cross pollination.

Cross Pollination

Certain types of beans and peas will and will not cross pollinate. Do your research as to what kind of seeds you are stockpiling.

Squash and zucchini are in the same family and are supposed to be able to cross pollinate.

Corn will cross pollinate.

Okra, I only plant one type of okra and that is the smooth skin. It is perfect for canning and cooking. There are several varieties on the market but I only stockpile one type.

Melons will cross pollinate.

Peppers are self pollinated but will occasionally cross-pollinate.

Heirloom / Open Pollinated or Hybrid

Hybrids get a bad rap as the saved seeds will not produce true to the parent. However, hybrids are usually more disease and pest resistant than Heirloom / open pollinated.

There is nothing wrong with adding hybrids to your stockpile. Just be aware that if you save the seeds from a hybrid next years planting may not work out.

I stockpile hybrid seeds, such as corn seed.  I know they are hybrids and I know I can not save the seeds.  However, the hybrids are supposed to grow faster and be more pest and disease resistant than heirloom.  To balance out my stockpile I focus mostly on heirloom / open pollinated seeds.

Some kind of seeds are mostly available in heirloom.  Cucumbers for example, there are a couple of heirlooms such as straight 8 and pickling, and then there are the hybrids such as burbless.

Tomatoes are mostly hybrids.  Do not buy tomato plants in the spring, grow them and expect to save the seeds.  If you want heirloom tomato seeds you will have to order them.

I have bought jalapeno plants, saved the seeds at the end of the year, then grew plants the next spring with the saved seeds.

Summer squash and zucchini are mostly heirloom.

Related Article: Difference Between Heirloom And Hybrid Seeds

Hybrid is Not the Same as GMO 

Hybrid is when two plants are cross pollinated and is a natural process. This is how new types of plants are created.  The crops we eat today are not the same as the ones planted by our ancestors thousands of years ago.  Food crops have gone through a natural section of cross pollination and replanting to make the crops we have today.

GMO is when genes are spliced into seeds to create a new plant that would never occur in nature.  Such as splicing the gene of a fish into a seed.

Final Thoughts

The main focus on my survivalist seed stockpile is:

  • Beans
  • Greens
  • Peas
  • Squash – summer and winter
  • Corn
  • Spinach
  • Melons

I probably have more bean and pea seed than anything else.

When stockpiling seeds, be sure to write the date the seed was purchased on the package.