There is probably no better way to store food for the long term, than in the form of seeds. Seeds are just amazing. I did at little project this year to see just how much food seeds would produce. I planted 50 pole bean seeds of one variety.
When I harvested the beans I weighed 100 of them and then I weighed the entire harvest to get an approximation of how many beans I produced. My fifty original seeds produced over 3200 beans. Just amazing.
I planted six tomato seeds that were so light they wouldn’t even register on my digital scale.
These six seeds produced over 80 pounds of tomatoes. So storing seeds is a very compact way of storing food. Of course the food is not instantly available, but if you can survive for up a year on stored food, your stored seeds will make you self sufficient from that point forward.
As I have stated elsewhere in this blog, I only plant non-GMO, non-hybrid, heirloom seeds; and I save seed to replant. Even though I follow this path faithfully, I still think it is a good idea to have a long term seed bank. My seed bank acts as a back-up to the seeds I save each year, plus the seed bank is small and easily portable. In other words if I have to get out of Dodge, I can grab my seed bank and take it with me.
The concept of a seed bank is not just a crazy prepper idea. Many of you have probably heard of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, often referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Bank.” For those of you who haven’t, the SGSV is a vast storage of seeds of all types from all over the world. The seeds are stored in an underground concrete bunker complete with blast doors and motion detector security. It is located in northern Norway on an island that is about 800 miles from the North Pole. The island was chosen because of its cold temperatures, its lack of earthquake activity, and its elevation above sea level. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto and several other agri-biz giants, and other assorted organizations. The purpose of the Svalbard Seed Vault is to preserve seeds of various plants that might be destroyed in regional or global disasters. Scary stuff.
Somehow, I don’t think I’m on the mailing list to receive any of these seeds if there’s a global disaster, so I decided to follow their lead and put together my own seed bank. What I did is spent about $40 on various different varieties of heirloom seeds that I know grow well in my area and that I have had experience raising. I took these seed packets and sealed them in zip-lock freezer bags, placed them in a sealed Sterilite container, threw in a few oxygen absorbers, and stuck the container in my freezer.
The seeds should keep this way for at least 10 years, probably much longer. There is plenty of information on freezing seeds on the internet. As usual some of the info is good, and some is not so good. You’ll just have to decide who to listen to. If it’s any consolation, I will tell you that I know personally that you can plant beans and field peas that have been in the freezer for 10 years.
I have noticed that several companies sell pre-packaged survival seed collections for long term storage. You could go this route, but I think you would be better off selecting seeds that you have experience with and that are specific to your growing climate. Just make sure that the seeds you store are non-hybrid, heirlooms.