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Monday, March 8, 2010

Three-day-old sunflower seedlings

What to Know When Buying Seeds For Survival

By Tess Pennington

In a disaster scenario, where there are food shortages, survival seeds could be more precious than gold. It will mean the difference between life and death for some. When buying seeds for a survival garden or homestead, there are certain considerations that one should be aware of before purchasing.

Buy Heirloom, Open Pollinated and Non-GMO (non genetically modified)
When buying seeds for a survival garden, or homestead, make sure that the seeds purchased are open pollinated, heirloom and non hybrid seeds. These have not been genetically modified and will still have the capacity to produce viable seeds for their crops.

How Many Seeds are Needed
Do research to find how many crops are produced by each plant and take into account how many members of the family will be eating the crops. Typically, a person does not need to use an entire packet unless they are on a farm.

Longevity of Seeds
Seeds are alive, and will expire. If they are not stored properly, there longevity is depleted. There are many survival seed websites that offer seeds that only last 1-2 years. When preparing to buy seeds, find out from the seed distributor how old the seeds are. Furthermore, do some research and find out which seeds last longer than others and what the best ways are to store the seeds. Typically, larger seeds such as corn, beans and melon seeds last longer than the smaller seeds like carrots.

Some of the longer lasting seeds are:
Broccoli - 4-5 years

Brussel Sprouts - 4-5 years

Cabbage - 4-5 years

Cantaloupe - 6-10 years

Cucumbers - 5-7

Sunflowers - 4-6 years

Kohlrabi - 4-5 years

Tomato - 4-7 years

Turnip - 5-8 years

Watermelon - 4-6 years

Packaging and Storage
Finding out from the retailer how the seeds are stored and if they are stored for long term use will save a person the headache of doing it themselves. Seeds should be stored in an airtight container where the natural elements such as sunlight, warmth, oxygen and moisture cannot get to them.

Seeds can be properly stored by using different methods:
Packaging seeds by using zip loc bags placed into paper bags so sunlight cannot get through. Paper envelopes placed in air tight jars. Vacuum sealed bags.

Many people use their refrigerators, freezers and basements as a storage facility for seeds. Seeds can become damaged do to exposure of high and low temperatures. Additionally, keeping seeds at room temperature will cause the embryo to consume its stored sugars within the seed casing and will either get too weak to germinate or die altogether. Find the best ways to store seeds according to the area you live in. For example, a person who lives in a high humid producing area would want to package their seeds differently than someone who lives in a low humid producing area.

Find out from the seed retailer if the seeds are guaranteed. In the event that the seeds are not viable, and do not produce, a person would want their money refunded from the seed distributor. Contacting the company and asking will help ensure there is a guarantee.

Seeds hold the key to long term survival. By making sure that seeds are the right type and in the best condition for future use will ensure that they will be ready for growing when a person needs them the most.

Tess Pennington is the lead content contributor for Ready Nutrition is an educational resource for those wanting to learn more about home safety preparedness, learning how to cope in disaster situations, and for those wanting to learn how to be more self sustaining. Her career at the American Red Cross left her with years of experience in safety and disaster preparedness. Tess is establishing herself as one of the foremost authorities on safety development and disaster preparedness on the internet. She describes herself as a mixture of Martha Stewart and Les Stroud.

Tess Pennington's work today encompasses:
• Teaching disaster preparedness
• Informing readers about the importance of preparing for any given situation.
• Writing
• Speaking
• Media consultation
Tess lives in Texas with her husband and three rambunctious children.

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Take Advantage of the Gifts You've Been Given
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Food is Power

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