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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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I have been considering storing some seeds to use as barter post SHTF? Is this a viable option? I was thinking that even though I do not have much of a green thumb my family could still benefit from having seeds on hand. Perhaps even a crop share with people that can garden but have no seeds.

How long do seeds hold? How many would be needed and whats the crop yield per package? I don't know much about this, but aren't there seeds that produce non-germinating plants? If so, I would want to avoid those and get the ones that would produce crops with seeds for re-planting.

Thoughts?
 

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Some tips for Seed storage and planning a garden.

Seeds can be stored safely for 3 years at 65 degrees temperature and much longer at lower temperatures. Viability remains at about 75-85% after 3 years at room temperature. The critical factors for storing seeds are temperature and moisture content. Storage temperature should be a cool area of your home, seeds may even be stored in your refrigerator. Each 5.6 degree C (10.08 degree F) drop in storage temperature may double the storage life of non-hybrid seeds. People sometimes ask if freezing will hurt seeds, the answer is no. The National Seed Laboratory freezes their long term storage seeds. Nature freezes seeds during their dormant winter period with no adverse effects.



Tips for Garden Planning:

Swiss Chard will cross-pollinate with Beets. When planting more than one variety of Swiss Chard separate each variety by at least 1/4 mile or they will cross.

When planting several varieties of Beans, separate them by at least 25 feet. They will cross-pollinate.

Keep beans and peas well picked so that they will keep producing.

Pick cucumbers daily so that they will continue to produce.

Corn is wind pollinated. Separate varieties by 600' for home use, or 1/2 to 1 mile for absolute purity. Save at least 500 seeds from at least 10% of the plants to maintain vigor and genetic diversity of the variety.

Never grow Sweet Peppers in the same garden as Hot Peppers. Hot Peppers are dominant and will cross-pollinate with the sweet.

Wear gloves when collecting seeds from hot peppers. Isolate sweet pepper varieties by 150', and hot and sweet varieties by 300'.

Broccoli will cross with Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi. Isolate by 1/8 mile for home use. For pure seed of small plantings isolate by 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Carrots isolate from other carrot varieties and Queen Anne's lace by a distance of 330' for home use. For pure seed isolate by 1/8 to 1/4 mile.

Carrot STORAGE: Cut off tops and do not wash the roots. Store in the refrigerator or over-winter the roots in the garden by covering with a thick, loose mulch such as straw.

Cucumbers - isolate varieties by 1/8 mile for home use. Isolate a minimum of 1/4 to 1 mile for pure seed.

Eggplants - Isolate varieties by a minimum of 150' for home use. For pure seed isolate a minimum of 1/8 mile.

Mustard Greens - Isolate from mustard and Chinese cabbage a minimum of 600' to 1/8 mile for home use. For pure seed isolate varieties by 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Lettuce - Isolate varieties by a minimum of 12' for home use. For pure seed isolate varieties a minimum of 25 to 50'.

Melons - Cantaloupe - Isolate melons by a minimum of 1/8 mile for home use, or 1/2 to 1 mile for pure seed.

Onions - Isolate varieties by a minimum of 150'. For pure seed, cage plants or isolate by 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Bunching Onions - Bunching onions are perennial onions which divide at ground level in the same manner as multiplier onions. Unlike multiplier onions they do not form large bulbs. The bases of bunching onions are slightly enlarged like scallions. Once established, clumps need only be divided periodically. Bunching onions are cold-hardy and may be left in the ground year-round, where the ground doesn't freeze.

Southern Peas - Isolate from varieties of shell peas, snap peas, other southern peas and asparagus beans by a minimum of 50' for home use. For pure seed isolate a minimum of 150'.

Radish - Isolate a minimum of 1/8 mile for home use. For pure seed isolate from wild and cultivated radish by a minimum of 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

Pumpkins and Squash - There are four species of pumpkins and squash. The species name is usually indicated in parentheses beside the name of each variety. Crossing occurs easily within a species and rarely between species. Isolate varieties of the same species by a minimum of 1/8 mile if you save seed for home use. Pure seed requires hand pollination or a minimum isolation of 1/4 to 1 mile, depending on planting size. Note: Zucchini, Crooked Neck and Straight Neck squash are all the same species.

Turnips - Isolate a minimum of 600' for home use. For pure seed isolate at least 1/4 to 1 mile from mustard, and Chinese cabbage (Pak Choy).

Watermelon - Isolate varieties by at least 1/8 mile for home use, or 1/2 to 1 mile for pure seed.

Herbs can be used to help reduce insects, and compliment the growth of several garden vegetables.
 

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How long do seeds hold? How many would be needed and whats the crop yield per package? I don't know much about this, but aren't there seeds that produce non-germinating plants? If so, I would want to avoid those and get the ones that would produce crops with seeds for re-planting.

Thoughts?
Many companies sell seeds in several package sizes, the smallest being for home gardeners and the larger packets for market gardeners and farmers. Often they will list the size of the packet in weight with an approximate seed count.

The answers to your questions vary according to the species. Parsnip, for instance, often comes in packs of hundreds of seeds, but is notorious for having a low germination rate and keeping poorly. The quality of the seed deteriorates after just one year and not many will germinate in normal conditions after that.

Zucchini, on the other hand, might only contain a couple dozen seeds per packet but still have close to 80% germination rate for five or six years if stored at optimal conditions.

Some hybrid varieties have self-incompatibility bred into them, so if you try to save seed from just one variety of, say, brussels sprouts, cauliflower or many other hybrid brassicas, almost none of the seed will be viable. You'll just have a lot of blanks.

If you are interested in keeping seed to trade rather than to grow yourself, you might want to consider keeping some 'staples' such as open pollinated squash, peas, beans, kale, beets, tomato, etc, but also keep some packets of seed which will be difficult to come by after TSHTF, like hybrid sweet corn. You might well find that people who know how to garden already have their own seed saved from previous crops and aren't particularly interested in your years-old OP seed, but will trade willingly for seed they can't grow themselves.

Also, make sure that the varieties you pick are known to do well in your area. I have heard you Americans have something known as an 'extension office' which can give you advice on this subject. :)
 
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