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· Founder
17,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Local farm supply stores are getting their summer seed shipments in. If any survivalist are looking to start a seed stockpile, or add to their current stockpile, now is the time.

The key is to buy your seeds early. If you wait too long, certain types of see will be sold out. Take corn for example. It is not uncommon for farming supply stores to sell out of their corn seed pretty quick.

There are also issues with seed shortages. This does not happen all the time, but it does happen from time to time. There may be issues with suppliers having shortages of certain types of seeds.

For example, several years ago there was a shortage in pickling cucumber seeds. The shortage did not affect me as I had a lot of them in my stockpile.

How would a survivalist go about starting a seed stockpile?

Buying Seeds

Figure out of large of a garden you want to plant. Let’s say you want to plant 10 squash plants, so you may want to buy 15 seeds. Rather than buying 15 seeds, buy 50 seeds.

Once you have some kind of idea how large of a garden you want to plant, go down to a locally owned farm supply store. Farm supply stores are an excellent resource for survivalist. Tell one of the employees how many seeds you want. The seeds are measured, sometimes by weight, sometimes by volume, then put in a paper bag.

Stuff like squash, okra, cucumber, melons, spinach… etc are priced by volume. These are measured out by a small measuring cup. For example, 25 cents of squash seed may be a one ounce measurement. Buy more seed than you need, then put the rest in the freezer.

Corn, peas, beans… etc, are priced by weight. Typically, the seeds people buy a great number of are sold by weight. So the seed will be priced by the pound. An employee will put a paper bag on s scale and fill it with however much seed you want. I usually go with half pound bags of various seeds.

Seed Storage

When you get the seeds home, put the paper bag in a zip-lock freezer bag, then put the bags into a deep freezer. If frozen, seeds can last more than a decade. The purpose pf the zip-lock plastic bag for an extra layer to prevent oxygen and moisture from getting to the seeds.

Here is a forum thread where squash is grown from decade old seeds – Germinating Decade Old Seeds.

When stored in a deep freezer, seeds will last for decades. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen keeps seeds stored in special bags, much like mylar bags. Some of the seeds stored there are suppose to be be viable for 1,000 years.

As survivalist we are not worried about storing seeds for 1,000 years. All we want is a seed stockpile for a collapse of society. By having a good rotation policy on place we can rotate out our seeds and replace them with new ones.

We will talk about rotation in another article in the near future.

· Registered
2,076 Posts
If seeds are stored in a ziplock bag and then in a plastic bucket do you have any idea how long they will last?
It varies by specie, storage temp, humidity etc. I have seeds Which still germinated and they are probably 10 years old. They were just kept in a brown paper bag and stored in the pantry.

If I know I am not going to be using a specific seed type (I do not grow everything every year), I have put some in the freezer and some under regular storage just to see if there is a difference. I have not found any real difference in germination. But, I am not talking about seed decades old.

· Emperor has no clothes
273 Posts
Seeds of Diversity's Micro-Seedbanking Primer pdf

If seeds are stored in a ziplock bag and then in a plastic bucket do you have any idea how long they will last?
Though written with another audience in mind, Seeds of Diversity's pdf Micro-Seedbanking Primer contains excellent information on long term storage of seeds.

· Ham Extra Class
3,271 Posts
I have found that the best time to buy seeds from the large box stores are at the end of summer. Since im only planting for my family, i dont require a lot of seeds. And if you plant non hybrid plants then the vegtable is self replenishing its seeds if you save a dozen or so of the fruits or vegtables and dry them out and take the seeds out for future use.

· Banned
17,930 Posts
My experience, based on 36 years of gardening is that seeds kept in the refrigerator in either sealed mason jars or good quality ziplock bags are viable for several years.

Some seeds have a naturally limited storage time frame, such as alliums and parsley, but depending on what they are, they have good germination rates after several years.

I figure that is plenty of time for me to grow and replenish my seed stock, rotating it out just as I do canned and dry foods.

I do keep some seed in reserve that is not planted, and after a few years I end up throwing it out (at the edge of the woods) and replacing with fresh seed, but there is always a reserve above and beyond what I plant.

I've had peppers, tomatoes, bush beans, and various squash germinate at very high rates even after several years in the refrigerator.

In my experience, the key seems to be keeping them sealed and dry, and to only take out what you need and not expose the entire lot to repeated warming and cooling as you would if you took them out, set them on the counter and let them come to room temperature before putting them back in the refrigerator.

I don't know what if any research has been done regarding repeated cooling/heating of seed, and I'm not really interested in finding out. I just know what works well for me.

So FWIW, I've never put seeds in the freezer unless I was cold stratifying them, and few if any vegetables I grow benefit from cold stratification. I generally use that method where required for native flower, shrub or tree seeds.

I have one entire crisper drawer in the refrigerator that contains all my seeds. During a few extended electrical outages, I transferred the seeds to a watertight container set down in a cooler with a little ice in the bottom. Worked very well.

So, just my two cents on the matter.

· gardener & news junkie
4,935 Posts
I keep my seeds on a book case shelf in a metal former bread box, one that would hold two loaves. Been doing that for years. The seed packs themselves are grouped by plant type (nightshades, brassicas, etc) and each group is in a ziplock freezer bag for easy finding. There are also jars of collected field peas in there.

There's been tomato seed that still germinated just fine after five years before it ran out. I've got some kale seed that's in it's fourth year and doing fine. The scallion seed still germinates after 18 months but I haven't pushed it any farther "just to see".

It's been just this past fall that I've started keeping some seed in the freezer for SHTF storage. That seed is in freezer ziplocks and those in a sealed plastic box. I might modify that.

· King of Canada
4,668 Posts
I have kept my seeds in their open packets, downstairs in my storage room. They have lasted 5-6 years and so far maybe more kept that way.

100% germination rate so far.

I'll be growing some of them again this year, will keep notes on germination rates.

· Registered
684 Posts
If you use a frost free freezer, your seeds will not last as long because of the freeze - thaw cycle. If you only have a frost free freezer, put seeds in a waterproof container and enclose that in a block of ice so that the seeds stay frozen.

If you store seeds outside the freezer/refrigerator, learn from my mistake and keep them in rodent proof containers. Besides destroying the packaging with the information on it, they will mix any seeds they don't eat.

· Registered
5,868 Posts
What if the EMP boogyman kills your freezer???

Mix this info with heirloom seeds and you are REALLY sustainable. I have been growing open pollinated vegetables for a few years now, but because I don't grow everything every year and I haven't been freezing seeds I suspect that some of my seeds probably aren't viable anymore. I need to mend my ways.

You can get a few open pollinated seeds off local shelves, but an internet source like SEED SAVERS Exchange will open new worlds.

· accipere rubrum pilula
1,689 Posts
I kept my seeds in a couple styrofoam chests that my wife’s insulin came in (recycled). They didn’t take up much room in the freezer and the seeds kept pretty good.

I think the oldest seeds I had that germinated were about ten years old, they were moon & stars watermelon (which I feel are about the best melon there is).
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