"Survival" seeds and gardening

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by TnAndy, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    OK....like many preppers, I have garden seeds stored in addition to what we plant every year. RichG (from Gold Is Money) and I got to talking the other day and I was telling him about the disappointing rate of germination I'd found on things like green bean seed after just a couple years sitting around.

    Then I remembered I had bought a few of these "survival garden in a can" things back before Y2K, and had never opened them. So I decided to crack open one can and just see if they were still any good.

    The can is from Walton Feed, and was packed in 1998, seed marked for use in 1999. It has 4-5 packs each of corn, beans, and peas, then a single pack of tomato, carrot, onion, beets, lettuce, and several other things. This was a vacuum packed #10 can, and the seed packs themselves were in foil/paper packages. Not a huge amount of seed altogether, but one could probably put out 1/8ac with it. None of the packs were marked as to variety, so I don't know if they are open pollinated or hybrid types.....I'm going to "assume" OP since they were packed for "survival"....but who knows.

    The label on the can said:

    Seeds can be stored for 2-3 years under normal room temp. Reduced temperature will extend seed life.

    Well, these have been sitting on a shelf in my garage, which stays moderate temp wise, but I didn't store them any special way.

    Germination Test:

    Soaked the peas, beans, and corn in bowls of water, for a few hours ( like we typically do our normal way ), then rolled them in a damp paper towel, followed by a few sheets of newspaper, and put all that in a plastic bag so they would remain moist. Also did tomato, cabbage, and carrot seed straight onto a damp paper towel, etc. Should know by Monday-Tuesday what the rate of germination will be.

    I'll give the results of the test on the Wednesday night radio blog, where we will also talk the entire hour about food production on the individual level.

    (Note: Rich and I do a radio blog once a week on GIM radio, Wednesday nights from 8-9pm, EST. Ya'll are quite welcome to listen in and call in with questions/comments if you wish. July is "prep" month where we intend to talk that subject. The website for the blog is:

    GoldIsMoney Radio

    Prior shows are archived there, and the call in number IF you want to participate live on Wed nights is: 1-760-259-2350 )
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    Homer Simpson likes this.
  2. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Darn it! Just leave us hanging. Is it Wednesday yet?
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Here's the results on the germination test:

    peas: 0% ( and they actually molded pretty badly )
    Corn: 90%
    Beans: 40% ( some type of bush green bean I think )
    Tomato: 95%
    Cabbage: 30%
    Carrots: 40%

    That's rough, eyeball estimates, not actual count of seed, because I simply opened a pack and used what was in it.

    I was surprised at the results, frankly.....I unrolled the towels/newspaper on Monday, after they had been in since Friday, and almost nothing was germinating.....but the last two days, they really came on strong.....much more than I would have thought possible for 13 year old seed.

    So, bottom line: I still wouldn't count on older seed....but I wouldn't count it out, either. I'll hang on to the other two cans for another 10 years, I guess ( Unless the S_really DOES_HTF )

    You can hang out on the back porch with Rich G and I weekly on GIM radio blog, or listen to the archived shows here:

    GoldIsMoney Radio Online Radio by gim6 | Blog Talk Radio
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  4. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Very interesting results. The seeds, according to most people, should have only been good for a few years. I store mine in the fridge so they should last at least twice that??? Been thinking about moving them to the freezer, but have read that if they are not dried out enough, they will be damaged by the freezer. Thanks for the results.
  5. Spring Tom

    Spring Tom Monkey+

    good post
  6. ISplatU

    ISplatU Monkey+

    I hope the freezer does not damage them. Because my survival seed bank was in the freezer untill it got unpluged (by a cat), and I lost everything in it. I did not want to refreeze them, so now they are at room temp.

    One day I will find out.
  7. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Let's just hope that what I read was wrong and if not that your seeds were dried out enough. Looks like I'm going to try and experiment with some of my seeds and see what happens.
  8. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Now I'm just sick!
    I gave away over $600 in seeds I had kept in a cool dark place, for just 2 years! But then again, I didn't feel bad about giving them away at the time, so what the heck! I wonder if any of them were useable....? I'll try to find out!
  9. inAsia

    inAsia Monkey+

    Are peas seeds usually so poor to give a zero?
  10. strunk

    strunk Monkey+

    Of course, grow the more vigorous sprouts and let them go to seed. They have some tough genes worth preserving.
  11. Defiant_River

    Defiant_River Monkey

    We have had very good results with three year old seeds. We always let some our garden go to seed, dry them out and store them. Last year we used some of the older ones and did very well. All of the tomatoes, green beans, peas and green peppers made it. We kept them in a coffee can with some of those moisture packets in the back of our closet.
  12. Mangokitty

    Mangokitty Monkey

    Thanks for the interesting post. I have been thinking about buying some seeds and really wondered how well they would store. Hate to spend alot on seeds and then when I need them they are not good. I really don't like the thought of having to replace them every couple of years either.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

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