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Old 07-25-2009, 06:05 PM
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Default Types of seeds to stockpile



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This thread is being started because I received some very good and very important questions on youtube.

Lets start with the video.



The question I received:


Quote:
logos2600

The only plants I noticed that had decent calories were melons and beans - I don't think you could survive off vegetables that are mostly water or plant fiber whether or not they have vitamins and minerals. What fruits and vegetables do you recommend for the backbone of a survivalist diet to provide calories and protein?

I divide my seed stocks based on several categories. Besides nutrients, the other considerations are how fast does the food spoil? Because of the spoilage, crops are divided into 2 categories - must be eaten right away, or within a couple of weeks. And crops that can be stored for more then 1 month.


Considerations:
Season that the plant can be grown
Nutrients the plant contains
Fertilizer to production and nutrient ratio
Maturity rate - how fast does the plant grow
Storeability
Feed for livestock?


Example:
Cucumbers have high water requirements. Their roots are close to the ground. Any lack of rain fall can affect the plant.

Cucumber have high nitrogen requirements. If the plant does not get enough nitrogen, the cucumbers will get pointed on the end and their growth will be stunted.

Cucumber have few nutrients and they are concentrated in the skin. If the outer skin is removed, the cucumber looses just about all of its nutrients.

Cucumbers must be eaten within a week or so after their picked. So they can not be stored.

Because of all of these factors, cucumbers are way back on the list. Lets say that there was a list of the top 10 plants you should stock up seeds for. Cucumbers would be around number 9 or 10. They make a good snack, are high producers can be used as a filler at meals.
End of example


Now take the example of the cucumber and apply it to every plant that is being considered.


Now lets take a look at history:
Squash
Corn
Potatoes
Peas
Watermelons
Pecan trees - because pecans can be stored for months
Beans
Rutabaga,Turnips and other greens
Onions

All of those kept our ancestors from starving to death. It was noted in Rome that greens (like turnips) kept man and beast from starving to death. Farmers would grow greens to feed their family, and to feed to their livestock - cows, horses, goats,,,,. But if you tried to feed a squash plant to the livestock, they will not eat it - except maybe the goats.

Peas were dried and imported into Rome over 2,000 years ago. Corn can be dried and will stay good for months. Watermelons can be stored for weeks. Potatoes and onions can be stored for months. Pecans can be stored for several weeks, maybe a couple of months.

Being able to dry and store crops kept our ancestors alive through the winter months. So this must be an important consideration for us as well.


My Recommendations:

Because greens have multiple uses - most of the time you can eat the whole plant. Which includes the root ball and leafy green tops, and because they can be fed to livestock - they are first on my list.

1. Radish - mature in about 30 days. In good conditions, at 15 days after planting you should be able to thin the rows out. Which means you pull some of the sprouts up to give the root balls room to develop. The sprouts that you pull up, they can be eaten.

Because the radish can be eaten as soon as 2 weeks after planting, to me its the first and last resort choice.

Nutrients in Radishes for every 100 grams:

Nutrient ------------- Recommended daily allowance
Thiamine (Vit. B1) ------ 1%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) ------ 3%
Niacin (Vit. B3)---------- 2%
Pantothenic acid (B5) -- 3%
Vitamin B6 ------------- 5%
Folate (Vit. B9) -------- 6%
Vitamin C -------------- 25%
Calcium ---------------- 3%
Iron ------------------- 3%
Magnesium ------------- 3%
Phosphorus ------------- 3%
Potassium -------------- 5%
Zinc ------------------- 3%


2 & 3. Turnips and Rutabaga - Produce a large leafy top and a large root ball. The rutabaga is probably the larger of the 2 plants. But, the Rutabaga takes about 30 to 45 days longer to mature then the turnip. Both plants can be eaten so nothing goes to waste. These plants do well in cool weather, so they are a good early spring or fall crop.

Nutrients in Turnips for every 100 grams:

Nutrient ------------- Recommended daily allowance

Carbohydrates --------- 4.4 g
Vitamin A -------------- 42%
Folate (Vit. B9) -------- 30%
Vitamin C -------------- 45%
Vitamin K -------------- 350%
Calcium ---------------- 14%

Notice the Vitamin K content on Turnips. People with certain heart conditions should not eat plants that have a high vitamin K content. If you have a heart condition, consult your doctor before eating plants that have a high vitamin K content.


4 & 5. Yellow Squash and Zucchini - Disease and pest resistant, wildlife usually will not eat either of these 2 plants. The large leaves provide shade for smaller plants such as peas and protection from wildlife such as deer.

Do not plant Squash and Zucchini next to each other. They will cross pollinate and the harvested seeds will produce a hybrid plant that will be sterile. Thank you Bogdan for that information.

The Squash plant will take about 45 days to mature to where it will start producing food. Once the production starts, the squash will need to be picked every 2 - 3 days. The plant also likes hot weather.

If your garden space is limited, plant either Squash or Zucchini, but not both at the same time.

Squash is divided into 2 groups - summer and winter. Meaning that this crop can be grown just about all year.

Summer Squash - zucchini, straight neck and crook neck. I personally like straight neck.

Winter Squash - acorn, buttercup, butternut,,, those are only 3 of the over 2 dozen different types of winter squash.

Nutrients in summer squash for every 100 grams:

Nutrient ------------- Recommended daily allowance
manganese ------------ 19.00%
magnesium ------------ 10.80%
vitamin A IU ----------- 10.33%
vitamin C -------------- 16.50%
potassium ------------- 9.87%
copper ---------------- 9.50%
folate ----------------- 9.04%
vitamin K -------------- 7.88%
phosphorus ------------ 7.02%
vitamin B6 ------------- 6.00%
thiamin - B1 ----------- 5.33%


2 & 3 VS 4 & 5 on my list: The Squash and Zucchini are high producers, pest resistant, easy to grow, high in nutrients and certain types of squash can be grown just about all year long.

The only reason why Squash and Zucchini are not numbers 2 & 3 is because you can not eat the whole plant. Nor do livestock like to eat the leaves.

In my opinion, the squash and zucchini have a higher cost to gain ratio then the greens. The greens can be eaten at any phase of development, while you have to wait for the squash and zucchini plant to mature and then start producing food.

With the radishes - you can start eating them about 15 days after planting, but they will be very small. The whole plant will be ready to harvest at about 30 days. With the squash and zucchini its going to be at least 45 days before the plant starts producing.

Then there is the size of the seeds. You can plant a dozen or 2 dozen turnip plants for the same amount of space taken up by one Squash seed. That is a purple top turnip seed and a crooked neck squash seed. Given a certain amount of storage capacity, you can stockpile 10X - 20X the amount of turnip seeds then you can store squash and zucchini seeds.

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Notice a pattern here?: If you have not noticed the pattern yet, none of those foods require cooking. All of the plants in my top 5 do not require cooking of any kind.

When I first started working on this list years ago, there were certain requirements for the plants in my top 5. It was through the guidelines I set for myself and real world experience that I decided on those as my top five.


6. Beans and Peas - These include snap beans and peas such as purple hull pink eye. The difference is - snap beans you pick when they are immature, boil and serve. Or wait until they are mature like peas, harvest, shell, boil and serve.

Ok, your probably asking "why" am I recommending something that you have to cook? The peas can be dried, and eaten through the winter.

Beans and Peas have a low nitrogen requirement. If you do not have any kind of fertilizer except for ashes from a fire, that that will do just fine for peas.


7. Potatoes and onions - Underground root crops that are easy to grow, easy to store and have good nutritional content.

The problem is, seed potatoes are usually cut off of potatoes you already have. So if there is some kind of wide spread disaster, and you have some potatoes - do not eat them. Save them and plant them at the proper time.

Onions on the other hand, you can stockpile onion seed with no problem.

Immature onions can be diced up and added to salads or eaten straight.

8. Corn - Used by mankind of thousands of years. But, corn has a high nitrogen requirement and wildlife loves it. Coons will climb up the corn stalk and take the ears.

The corn can be harvested, dried, stored and eaten through the winter.

9. Cucumbers - high producers, high nitrogen requirement, not very drought tolerant, but can be pickled and stored for a long time.

Cucumbers make good side dishes and can be used as snacks. Production can easily exceed demand. So the extra could be given away to friends and neighbors.

10. Peppers - All kind and all types. You can save the seeds from most peppers, so these are an excellent choice for spices. Some peppers like the banana pepper are mild and can be eaten straight off the bush. Bell peppers are good for spices or for making stuffed bell peppers.

Peppers are supposed to be a good source of vitamin C.

11. Melons - Watermelons and cantaloupes. Takes 90 - 120 days to mature. Not too many people want to dedicate 3 - 4 months to a crop.

The rind can be pickled and stored for months.

12. Okra - hot weather crop that needs a lot of water. Pods must be boiled or fried before they can be eaten. But the pods can also be pickled and stored.

Okra is a high production crop. With the right conditions production will exceed demand - meaning that just a few plants will produce more then what you and your family can eat.

I have personally seen 2 rows of Okra, each 100 feet long, fill up a 5 gallon bucket every 2 - 3 days.

The only reason why okra is not in the top 10, it must be cooked or pickled before you can eat it.

Growing okra is a labor of love. The plants have "hairs" on them that will make you itch. And for some reason fire ants like something in the blooms of the plants. Its very possible to be picking okra and get fire ants on your hands and arms.

When you pick okra, wear a long sleeve shirt and watch out for ants.

13. Broccoli, cabbage and spinach - And since we already have greens listed as number 1, 2 and 3, these are moved back a little bit.

Its my personal opinion that cabbage deserves a place in the top 10. But how do you "really" put a number on how important a plant is?

14. Carrots - Why not, just for the fun of it.

15. Pumpkins - And not for Halloween. Look for the sugar and I think the other type is called field pumpkins.

Tomatoes - not on my list. It gets so hot here in Texas that the growing season is short and bugs love them. And there are so many hybrids on the market, I do not want to waste my time saving seeds that are going to be sterile.

Fruit Trees - Lets not forget about the fruit trees that yall should have been planting. But that is a whole other post.


Conclusion: I'am tired of typing, but there is my "list".

I fully understand that not everyone is going to agree. The types of plants are going to need to be adjusted due to location, climate,,,, other factors.

And, that list is going to change due to the seasons. Just because I said zucchini is #4 or #5, that does not mean I'am gonna plant it in the middle of winter.

This list is just my opinion on some of the important plants and types of seed that should be included in your seed stockpile.
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Last edited by kev; 07-25-2009 at 06:10 PM..
Old 07-25-2009, 07:25 PM
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Default Well Kev

Well Kev for what it is worth,


You get (drum roll)


An At-a-Boy


Thanks


later
wayne
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:22 PM
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Will seeds ever go bad? Are there special storage requirements?
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:28 PM
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Kev,

Thanks a bunch.

This is part of my personal sticky collection.
Old 07-26-2009, 06:35 PM
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Nothing personal but you are taking the long way around the barn.
Your list is fine:
Corn,
Beans,
Squash,
Potatoes,
Nuts,
Fruits.

The Cherokee had it right, plant the three sisters.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:57 PM
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Okay, well I took a few notes watching the video and here is my reaction to it. sorry if I've missed something vital but here I go:

You discuss initially (it was you wasn't it?) the plague, and how people died during times of plague of starvation and then move into the seed box.

The most emphasis, quite a lot, was given on radishes as being a 30 day crop - however they have no calories. They do not deserve the most attention, they deserve very little. If you've put them in and waited, starving for fourteen days and you then pull up the greens to eat - you'll be gnawing the chair legs in despair.

The best advice is to have a 20kg bag of rice somewhere (keeps forever, and you can eventually buy a new one, eat the old, and it's not a problem).

And to eat this rice, while crops are growing. You also need to sort out different times of year. If plague arrived in winter, who can grow food? No-one. If it arrives in stinking summer heat, which it usually does - who can grow food? No-one. (Well I suppose that depends on locale.)

The point being, seeds in bob are next to useless. One needs to be already running the garden. One needs also, instead of bag after bag of seed, the ability to propagate those seeds oneself. There's no point putting 3 yrs worth of seed in Bob - you put 1 or 2 crops of seed in bob if you must, and you allow a portion of crops to go to seed each crop. Non GM vital for this as most GM are mules.

Beans and peas, I saw nice big bags of them - that was good. More discussion about what they are good for would be helpful, and also what sort of bush beans? There are green, shell-out and dried bean varieties, dried being best for storage, shell-out best for canning, green for eating/freezing. They don't need much nitrogen but have to be rotated or they exhaust the soil of other nutrients. They provide nutrients for the potatoes and corn if you grown them in the ground just before these.

Corn doesn't need much nitrogen - only early on, when the stalks are growing. I fertilise with chook pooh and compost at the beginning of the crop and don't have to do it again.

What else: those other seeds, gherkins, pickles, watermelons, cantaloupe - they are tricky to grow, won't do well in certain environments, provide very few calories and are not worth the space which would need to be given them. Potatoes are top of the pops and mention should have been given to them on the video - potatoes are the absolute top producer of calories/m2 and work input. And bought ones in the cupboard will have been sprayed to inhibit sprouting.

Sorry if I'm doom & gloom. Maybe I'm more doom & gloom than most, I guess I am trying to actually be ready for shtf and have come to realise that starting a garden when it hits is wayyy too late. way to late. You can't put seeds in Bob that'll save you from starvation because the garden has to be already going, has to be already producing, and one can't choose what time of year disaster will strike. Your store of seed potato has already to exist, which means the crops need to keep being planted because you don't know when it's all going to strike. Make sense?
Old 07-26-2009, 09:36 PM
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Default Harvest time

Basicly, Basicly

you have only about a two week harvesting period. The period starts in the south and moves north, but basicly it is only for a two week period that food stuff, grains, start to ripen and ready to harvest.

If it looks like the beginning of a bad time, I plan on planting indoors and hope for the best. Anything with 4 sides and a bottom will work. A cardboard box with a trash liner will work just fine.

Just keep in mind drainage, but in a real situation, who is worryied about the carpet, right.

later
wayne
Old 07-26-2009, 10:44 PM
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does anyone know where to find free seeds, the ones i found had catch.
Old 07-28-2009, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaroldWayneHamlin View Post
Basicly, Basicly

you have only about a two week harvesting period. The period starts in the south and moves north, but basicly it is only for a two week period that food stuff, grains, start to ripen and ready to harvest.

If it looks like the beginning of a bad time, I plan on planting indoors and hope for the best. Anything with 4 sides and a bottom will work. A cardboard box with a trash liner will work just fine.

Just keep in mind drainage, but in a real situation, who is worryied about the carpet, right.

later
wayne
ummm that really depends on region. In missouri I start harvesting in april and continue threw november hun. One plant might have a 2 week harvest time but a full garden will only leave you december - march. 5 months full storage needed with an extra 2-3 months grain is plenty for a self sufficient gardener.

Crops Ive picked out of snow:
Kale (I think it could be seeded in the stuff really)
Swiss Chards
Cabbage (been fine even after ice cubes formed for 3 days in cups of outer leaves)
Broccoli
Lettuce
Turnips (pick after a frost and they taste more like sweet potatoes)


Kale and Turnips can be cooked together and provide plenty of carbs and packed with vitamins.

In places like Texas I'd almost be more concerned with food storage over summers than winters.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:35 PM
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Thanks for the info Kev!
Old 07-29-2009, 01:00 AM
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Growing a garden is really a good thing but that is only half of it. If you haven't learned how to grow out your own seed, you won't be growing a garden for long. A lot of veggies are biennial. If your winters are to cold, they won't come back the second year to produce seed. Cabbage, beet, turnips, carrots and many others included. There is a lot to learn and even more experimentation to adapt plants to your area.
I am working to "trick" my biennials into going to seed in one year. One, complete year with the use of a basement grow room to strat and grow, an unheated greenhouse to vernalize for two months, and then into the garden where they are going to seed. It is working. I have tubs of seed from many different biennials and more comming. My broccoli is being finiky. This next round I will start it earlier and vernalize longer. It takes time but the pay off will be well worth it. Never having to buy seed again and having it when there is none. The north is my favorite place to live so I will adapt...and survive!
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:33 AM
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ummm that really depends on region. In missouri I start harvesting in april and continue threw november hun. One plant might have a 2 week harvest time but a full garden will only leave you december - march. 5 months full storage needed with an extra 2-3 months grain is plenty for a self sufficient gardener.

Crops Ive picked out of snow:
Kale (I think it could be seeded in the stuff really)
Swiss Chards
Cabbage (been fine even after ice cubes formed for 3 days in cups of outer leaves)
Broccoli
Lettuce
Turnips (pick after a frost and they taste more like sweet potatoes)


Kale and Turnips can be cooked together and provide plenty of carbs and packed with vitamins.

In places like Texas I'd almost be more concerned with food storage over summers than winters.

End quote


I did not make myself clear.

I was refering to the mass market crops. True you have areas of the USA where that is not the norm with strong hot weather most if not all year.

BUT, the crops for the mass market is generally a two week harvesting period.

later
wayne
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:55 AM
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Thank you for such a thorough post. I have been looking for a primer like this. I did a small test garden this year to see what I could grow and how easy/hard it was.
My top performers in order from most yield to nothing

1. Green Beans - High
2. Basil - High
3. Cucumbers - Medium
4. Mint - Medium
5. Bell Peppers - Low
6. Cantaloupe - Low
7. Tomatoes - None
8. Onions - None
Old 07-29-2009, 05:50 AM
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BJJ, I agree that tomatoes are tough , especially up north without a green house. The ones I planted from seed May 1 are few and very green still.(Its been almost 3 months) I only got 4 survivors out of 20 seedlings. Of the Bell Pepper seeds, only 1 sprouted and died. Again you may need a green house, or grow lights.
Old 07-29-2009, 07:09 AM
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What is the best way to store seeds and how long will they last in storage.
Old 07-29-2009, 07:11 AM
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tgoodman44 , Cool and dry for all seeds is best. The general rule of thumb is that the smaller the seed the longer they will keep.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:10 AM
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My top plants are basically beans and corn for the protein and carbs. The rest are vegetables that fill in the vitamins and minerals that we need to maintain good health.

A newcomer to my own garden that I'm experimenting with lately is amaranth. It's easy to grow and will grow in a wide variety of climates. Doesn't have any particularly high fertilizer requirements, grows fast and the entire plant is edible. The leaves and stems make for some of the best tasting greens I've ever had, and the seeds are the only grain that produces a complete protein. It now ranks high in my own list.

Another vegetable that you'll notice in many cultures around the world is some variation on cabbage. It's another easy to grow, easy to propagate and easy to store vegetable. Many cultures have a fermented version, from saurkraut in Europe to kimchee in Korea. Salt fermentation is a great way to preserve many vegetables from turnips to green beans to you name it!

On the subject of trees. It's definately wise to plant as many fruit and nut trees as you have room for. They basically support themselves and provide food year after year. The colonists valued apples greatly and they were a staple part of their diet. For those of you in the hotter parts of the country, think figs. They're one of the easiest and least problematic fruit trees that I've ever dealt with. They produce long, heavy harvests rather than one sudden harvest that you have to deal with preserving. The fruit is very high calorie and dehydrates well. Makes tasty preserves too.

I just moved to this house and this is only my second year of gardening here. Trying to learn what'll grow in this heavy, salty clay soil. Not a lot of luck yet with anything in the tomato or onion family, but I'm improving the soil alot. I was blessed that the property already has 5 pecan trees and a large productive fig tree. I'm having weekly fig harvesting and processing sessions.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bridgierapa View Post
The most emphasis, quite a lot, was given on radishes as being a 30 day crop - however they have no calories. They do not deserve the most attention, they deserve very little. If you've put them in and waited, starving for fourteen days and you then pull up the greens to eat - you'll be gnawing the chair legs in despair.

The best advice is to have a 20kg bag of rice somewhere (keeps forever, and you can eventually buy a new one, eat the old, and it's not a problem).
I agree and disagree.

Calories - yes, we need them and the greens may not provide enough.

But, if you noticed the order, nothing in the top 5 requires cooking. Everything can be eaten straight off the plant, or even eat the whole plant.

Have fun eating your dried rice without cooking it first.

The greens and squash will keep producing as you harvest it. The greens you can pull a couple of the leaves off and the plant will not be harmed. Zucchini is a high producing plant - of which the seeds are easily saved.

With the rice - have fun planting the plastic bag the rice came in. I doubt the bag will sprout rice plants.

The squash and peas are easy to harvest the seeds to have for next years garden.

With rice, you have no seeds, you have no next years garden, you have no hope of a future harvest.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:21 AM
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I agree with Kev on this. Least amount of input for most amount of payback, that makes lots of sense. As the thread was about seeds, I never even thought about rice. It shouldn't be an 'either/or' type of situation...you probably should have both seeds and rice ( and lots of other stuff, too), but as thread was inquiring about seeds, I think previous lists are good. Remember, consider the area you are in and what will grow in your growing season.
Old 07-30-2009, 08:47 AM
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I have a small stockpile of assorted seeds that I got from Home Depot and Calloway's Nursery..

I have heard that store bought seeds are "hybrid" seeds and will produce sterile crops. Is this true?

Will the packages be marked heirloom seeds if they are heirloom? What is the best local place to purchase heirlooms seeds (Ag store, feed store, nursery, etc)?
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bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, okra, onions, peppers, radishes, seeds, spinach, squash, stockpiling seeds, tomatoes, turnip greens, types of seeds to stock



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