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Founder
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When it comes to stockpiling seeds we have discussed the topic in depth. Something that has been overlooked is how many seeds should you stockpile?

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

How many seeds do you normally plant to obtain X amount of harvest? Lets say you plant 1 pound of snap beans or purple hull peas. 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? Or, are you planning to going to a rural farm? In other words are you bugging in or bugging out?

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.

X * 2 = Y

2 * 2 = 4

Now take that 4 pounds and multiple it by three. This is for three years.

4 * 3 = 12

If you normally plant 2 pounds of a certain type of snap bean, stockpile 12 pounds of that type.



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, save the seeds.

Year two - Plant Roma II snap beans, save the seeds.

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.

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.
 

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You talkin' to me?
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I store two years worth, and pretty much only what I grow. However, given your math of extra mouths apprearing unexpectantly I may change that to three as you have suggested. For me it's not so much as having to feed more people as it is having a crop failure for some reason, (such as last years spring monsoons that resulted in an total garden fail).
 

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Emperor has no clothes
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Seed Savers Exchange: Crop-Specific Seed Saving Guide

Something else to keep in mind in addition to potential for cross pollination, is knowing how many plants to grow out to facilitate continuance of a viable gene pool. Even if not wanting that level of detail, a chart distributed by Seed Savers Exchange, Crop-Specific Seed Saving Guide is worth printing to keep in your files.

http://www.seedsavers.org/site/pdf/crop_chart.pdf

HTH
 

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gard'ner
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Peas and beans generally do not remain viable past the first year in my area.
Unless you have a way to freeze the seed after the grid goes down... Storing these seed may not be helpful.
A better alternative is to accumulate peas and beans that self sow.
I used to have crowders that self sowed in my previous garden...
In my current garden I have some Speckeled limas and some black beans that are returning for me...
But... Any that I try to keep past a year... Don't come up...
 

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You talkin' to me?
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Peas and beans generally do not remain viable past the first year in my area.
Unless you have a way to freeze the seed after the grid goes down... Storing these seed may not be helpful.
A better alternative is to accumulate peas and beans that self sow.
I used to have crowders that self sowed in my previous garden...
In my current garden I have some Speckeled limas and some black beans that are returning for me...
But... Any that I try to keep past a year... Don't come up...
Planted from the same sack of October Beans for three years, got a good crop every year. What's funny is that the bag I planted from came from Krogers, not a feed or seed store.
 

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gard'ner
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Planted from the same sack of October Beans for three years, got a good crop every year. What's funny is that the bag I planted from came from Krogers, not a feed or seed store.
Lucky you!
How are you preserving your seed?
At my house... I find it necessary to discard the store bought dried beans too, as they become inedible with age.

We seem to have weevils that I've never seen in any other part of the country... Weevils in the beans, the corn, rice, even weevils that eat the boards in the barn!
 

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Planted from the same sack of October Beans for three years, got a good crop every year. What's funny is that the bag I planted from came from Krogers, not a feed or seed store.
When I was a youngster, mom would always "look" through the great northern beans getting them ready for supper. She was actually picking bad ones out and an occasional rock. I asked her to save them for me to plant in my own little garden.. I always had a good crop. Sometimes better than what dad would buy seed for to plant in the garden. It's funny how that works.
 

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I dislike the term stockpile, and its hoarding connotation, but I use a formula similar to kev's when I'm planning my purchases. I keep 5-10 plantings worth of most things, with the smaller seeds that tend not to keep well being on the lower end.

There are plenty of good reasons to save some extra seed; such as a planting needing to be redone because of a late frost; or your favorite type not being available from the supplier because their crop was damaged.
 

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patriarch
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I personally don't stock pile seeds. I save seeds. Pounds of been seeds? 64 pole bean seeds will produce bushels. 150 kernels of sweet corn will produce 3 rows 32' ft. long. ( 150 ears) 25 tomato seeds will produce all the tomatoes your neighborhood can eat.



I save tomato seeds every year. Maybe 1/2 teaspoon of each variety. I don't recommend stock piling seeds. . If you buy seed, just purchase an extra packet. Save your unplanted seed for two - three years, then toss. Just like rotating your stored food products, weather caned or dry product.
I purchased a 20 cent packet of Broccoli seed at Wal-mart. It had about 30 seeds. Some very small. Very few people have room to plant 30 Broccoli plants. Just another couple extra packets will plant a fall crop or even next year.
 

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I have control issues
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I don't necessarily "stockpile" seeds...oh wait, I have 5 5-gallon buckets with seeds, divided by cool season or warm season, etc. For me, it's not so much the NUMBERS of seeds, but the number of VARIETIES of various types of veggies. For example, I have seeds for 3 different types of pumpkins, 3 types of eggplants, 8 types of cucumbers, 19 varieties of tomatoes, 7 or 8 varieties of lettuce, etc. And, since some seeds don't germinate well after 1 year, I save seed from my various veggies so that I always have fresh seed. I currently DO buy some seeds from a few suppliers, but those are new varieties that I want to try. (That's why I'm up to 5 buckets of fruit/vegetable and grain seed.
 

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In Memory
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This goes along with "store what you eat & eat what store".

As such, with few exceptions we harvest & store seeds from what we grow for next years garden crops.

That is "after" we learned by trial & error which garden vegetables & grains, etc., grow well in our BOL garden space.

We also do a lot of "propagation" from cuttings, roots, etc.

LOL, I bet in the last few years, I have given away hundreds of 2 year old well established grape vine starts, grown from cuttings in 1 gallon pots.

I also am fairy good at sterile "tissue culture" & "cloning".

Even taught myself how to DIY make 0.02 micron ambient gas exchange filters for sterile culture jar caps.
As purchasing them is extremely expensive.



As well as DIY mushroom grain spawn jar lid filters.

 

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I don't think anyone should stockpile seeds unless they actively use and grow some of them. An armchair gardener is in for a bunch of surprises. Even planting a few seeds in a pot will teach you very valuable lessons. "We kill a lot of plants while we're learning."

As others have mentioned, t doesn't take many seeds to give you a big crop. Consider that %germination drops the longer they are stored. Start small, save seeds from the veggies that work out for you, and go from there.
 

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Don't be dumb
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The only seeds that I have saved tend to be the beans. We had a great heirloom variety that did well. I 100% agree that you should only store a lot of what you have previously grown.

As for saving seed, I can see the reasoning to store a lot more than what you could reasonably use in a couple of years.

-you may have to plant twice in a season due to weather or destruction
-your BOL population could be dramatically increased by family/friends that did not prep, growing food is the only way to get more
-you can grow and eat just the sprouts or the seeds if the food situation gets dire
 

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Good idea to save some extra seed.
Rotate it by growing some out every year and replacing the store.

Personally, I wouldn't depend on hybrid seeds for self-defense gardening. Like most things, commercial seeds are designed for best customers: in the case of seeds that is the commercial growers. Typically the commercial grower will have different goals than the survival grower. Tomatoes that never ripen for example.

If you believe commercial hybrid seeds might become unavailable, you should "practice" survival gardening with OP seeds—since OP seeds are what you are going to be using once your stockpile of hybrids are gone. Hybrids not only don't breed true, some times they are mules and don't breed at all. At the least they produce an unreliable offspring and reliability is the whole point. Right?

Seems to me a good idea is to buy and plant different OP varieties for a few years to find out which works best for you. Take notes! If you are anything like me you will forget.

After a few years' trial you come up with favorites. Subsequently selectively choose seed from the "best" examples. Some plants won't interbreed between species (i.e. crooknecks & zucs) but some will. Over time you naturally select for the one strain most well suited to your garden.

There were hundreds of varieties of potato growing on any particular mountain in Peru, selected over generations by families for the particular slope, moisture, soil etc.

Here are some pointers about saving seed
 

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hermit
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Lucky you!
How are you preserving your seed?
At my house... I find it necessary to discard the store bought dried beans too, as they become inedible with age.

We seem to have weevils that I've never seen in any other part of the country... Weevils in the beans, the corn, rice, even weevils that eat the boards in the barn!
Put dried beans, rice, flour, etc in the freezer for three weeks. Kills the mold, and weevils and stuff.
 

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Gitter Done!
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I might have overdone it, but I built my seed bank up to about 250 pounds of seeds. Several million seeds of every American grown veggie, berry and fruit tree I can think of or that I liked. (The ones that don't grow here I don't have).

All in sealed containers, some in cap packed containers for 25 year storage.
Stored in cool dark areas.
All are heirloom organic seeds.

Plus I have a few ounces of turkish tobacco and virginia tobacco seeds.

I might be able to sustain living on mars if I had too. :)
 

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We have 2 years worth here and gramps has about 5 of what he grows. Combined, if everything goes well this year and we recover from last years failure, we should fill both cellars and pantries.

We have 20 in the group but with how things are going with family and friends, it could double very quickly. They garden, but not on our scale. That would have to change (ongoing discussions).
 
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