Start Your Own Seed Bank: How to Beat the Food Killers at Their Own Game
By Holly Deyo
While having a nice stash of freeze-dried, dehydrated and canned foods is great fallback, nothing can replace fresh crisp garden vegetables and fragrant, sweet fruit. Increasingly, it is incumbent on individuals to maintain their own supply of life-sustaining seeds.
Seed vaults are not a new concept and had its roots 40 years ago over growing concerns for maintaining bio-diversity. A decade ago, it became mainstream when the global seed vault in Svalbard, Norway took center stage. It is just one of some 1,400 seeds banks around the world. Bet this puts a crimp in Monsanto’s Day! As of 2010, in that location alone, more than 500,000 unique seeds rest waiting to bail out humanity.
So what is the chance that the ordinary human would ever have access? Zip. Zero. Cero. Nada. Zilch. Sero. Nulla. Náid.
This one vault of hundreds is in place to serve the global elite, not us. That Bill and Melinda Gates are instrumental in this project should say everything. So now we circle around to what us, the every day person, can do to insure that we have the same benefits, sans the New World Order.
Create your own seed bank.
It is such a simple deal that it seems really silly to write on this topic. However, it you haven’t investigated it, then maybe it’s not so silly. Maybe it will help you.
This is what you need: seeds. Period. Well, OK, and maybe a bit of know-how. This article shows you how to maintain your own private seed bank that will keep you vegetable (therefore vitamin) self-sufficient. Healthy.
Oldies and Goodies
Seeds have been preserved in ancient Egyptian tombs and found viable to present day. Remember the mummies? Egyptians completely dried out their ancestors to the point where scientists today can carefully examine their bodies. Ditto for Israelis that preserved Judean date palms (the Methuselah tree) going back to Jesus’ time. Now look at the oldest plant to have ever have been regenerated from 32,000 year-old seed. OK, don’t laugh, these seeds were buried by Siberian squirrels – no relation to Putin – a testament to keeping seeds really cold. Surely we are smarter than squirrels! Why should it be any different now? It’s not. You just have to know what to do to keep your seeds viable for many years.
This is in direct opposition to what seed companies want you to believe, especially the 6 big opponents to self-sufficiency: Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer, BASF and Dow. So say them that you can’t keep seeds for much longer than what the package says, even properly stored. Baloney! Double ditto for medications that drug companies want you to believe ‘die’ quickly as was exposed in Dare To Prepare. This is beyond criminal and wasteful. Americans buy $350 billion of prescription drugs every year. Then people needlessly throw a great deal of them away because they believe the pharmaceutical lie.
Shelf lives extend MUCH longer than what they would have you believe. You just have to know what to do. I will share the secrets.
Monsanto and Linked-in Companies
Look at how seed, chemical and pharmaceutical companies are all in bed together enjoying an incestuous affair. They ‘interbreed’ through an unholy alliance.
They now control 98% of the world’s seeds with precious little left for people who wish to grow plants without genetic modification. We want to self-sustain with fruits and veggies seed-to-seed, as God intended. A much larger, readable version of this image appears in Garden Gold.
You get the idea that not only do these 6 major companies own virtually ALL of the world’s seed, they are linked beneficially with pharmaceutical and chemical companies. It paints an unholy trinity of bad health, greed and global seed control. And, oh yes, just take a pill that they’ll also sell to you and you’ll feel better. Combined with ObamaCare, insanity reigns. It is up to us, each American, every human being, to take responsibility and not be a victim to health and government enslavement.
Sound extreme? It’s not. If you have a few years under your belt, look back three, no, just two decades ago. Do you even recognize our Country? Daily mainstream news comes in bits and pieces so bad information is dribbled on us like sweet, benign pastry ooze. We never absorb the entire poisonous picture. However, looking at our Nation by several year jumps, you get a BIG head jerk into reality and question, What has happened to us? Friends in Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand share it’s the same thing there; however, they are more shocked by what’s happening to our ‘bastion of freedom’.
So don’t be a dumbo. Let’s outsmart them
Your first assignment is to have your own small food bank of self-sustaining seeds. Even if your neighbors aren’t yet on board, they will be soon. Wait till their belly growls… they will be your biggest devotee. Even the blindest individual will see what’s happening once their stock portfolio, investments and retirement go skew-whiff as in vanished. Then they’ll think between cocktails and rounds of golf, Where’d my $$ go?
It’s bad enough these conglomerates bought up (and continue to do so) formerly non-patented, open-pollinated and heirloom seeds. See this list of seed terms before purchasing anything. Then they genetically engineer them to grow weakly unless receiving heavy doses of Round-Up and other cancer-causing pesticides. Those guys say it’s all about seed growth. Ya, think? It’s about our slow death and their control.
Death for a price
‘Bought ‘scientists have gone one step further to render seeds sterile after one season. It used to be that seeds grown from hybrid plants reverted to one or the other parent plant, bypassing the combined strength and benefits of the parents. Hybrids produced a more disease-resistant variety, bigger, more vigorous and more flavorful fruit, or grew veggies at a faster rate. The end product was better, but the downside is that seeds from these plants, known as F1’s, don’t pass on these ‘enhancements’. It’s a one-shot deal and then their seeds go back to the less-than-spectacular parent.
A gardener can still grow these F1 seeds, but it’s iffy what the fruit or vegetable might look and taste like. Farmers would never venture here as they may also be more susceptible to disease.
Terminator seeds go hideously beyond hybrids and are dead in a season. They don’t reproduce anything good, bad or indefinite. They are dead seed. Is there anything more inherently evil?
This is how the big 6 mega-conglomerates are taking control of our food supplies. This is unspeakable. Unthinkable. It’s all about the New World Order and if we will submit to being a food slave. This is not what God and nature intended, yet they knowingly and with forethought take people’s food futures and crush them with their patents and bio-tech. It is all about greed and control. Greed and control.
Sowing a bad seed?
It’s not that you can’t store and grow hybrids long-term under proper conditions, but you will NOT be able to harvest the best veggies from the first “offspring” seeds. Thereafter that first season, they become only worse IF they even grow. Remember that old Chiffon margarine commercial… “It’s not NICE to fool (with) Mother Nature!” We laughed back then, but it was a creepy foreshadowing.
Here are some Monsanto-owned seed names1. This list is by no means exhaustive, nor does it include hybrid and terminator seeds from the other five big offenders. Unfortunately it includes some of our favorites: Early Girl tomatoes, Mucho Nacho peppers, Early Butternut squash, Stringless Blue Lake green beans and California Wonder sweet peppers.
The Mon(Satan) List
Beans: Aliconte, Brio, Bronco, Cadillac, Ebro, Etna, Eureka, Festina, Gina, Goldmine, Goldenchild, Labrador, Lynx, Magnum, Matador, Spartacus, Storm, Strike, Stringless Blue Lake 7, Tapia, Tema
Broccoli: Coronado Crown, Major, Packman
Cabbage: Atlantis, Golden Acre, Headstart, Platinum Dynasty, Red Dynasty
Carrot: Bilbo, Envy, Forto, Juliana, Karina, Koroda PS, Royal Chantenay, Sweetness III
Cauliflower: Cheddar, Minuteman
Cucumber: Babylon, Cool Breeze Imp., Dasher II, Emporator, Eureka, Fanfare HG, Marketmore 76, Mathilde, Moctezuma, Orient Express II, Peal, Poinsett 76, Salad Bush, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success PS, Talladega
Eggplant: Black Beauty, Fairytale, Gretel, Hansel, Lavender Touch, Twinkle, White Lightening
Lettuce: Braveheart, Conquistador
Melon: Early Dew, Sante Fe, Saturno
Onion: Candy, Cannonball, Century, Red Zeppelin, Savannah Sweet, Sierra Blanca, Sterling, Vision
Pumpkin: Applachian, Harvest Moon, Jamboree HG, Orange Smoothie, Phantom, Prize Winner, Rumbo, Snackface, Spirit, Spooktacular, Trickster
Squash: Ambassador, Canesi, Clarita, Commander, Dixie, Early Butternut, Gold Rush, Grey Zucchini, Greyzini, Lolita, Papaya Pear, Peter Pan, Portofino, President, Richgreen Hybrid Zucchini, Storr’s Green, Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Taybelle PM
Sweet Corn: Devotion, Fantasia, Merit, Obession, Passion, Temptation
Pepper, Hot: Anaheim TMR 23, Ancho Saint Martin, Big Bomb, Big Chile brand of Sahuaro, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Large Red Thick, Chichen Itza, Chichimeca, Corcel, Garden Salsa SG, Habanero, Holy Mole brand of Salvatierro, Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot, Ixtapa X3R, Lapid, Mariachi brand of Rio de Oro, Mesilla, Milta, Mucho Nacho brand of Grande, Nainari, Serrano del Sol brand of Tuxtlas, Super Chile, Tam Vera Cruz
Pepper, Sweet: Baron, Bell Boy, Big Bertha PS, Biscayne, Blushing Beauty, Bounty, California Wonder 300, Camelot, Capistrano, Cherry Pick, Chocolate Beauty, Corno Verde, Cubanelle W, Dumpling brand of Pritavit, Early Sunsation, Flexum, Fooled You brand of Dulce, Giant Marconi, Gypsy, Jumper, Key West, King Arthur, North Star, Orange Blaze, Pimiento Elite, Red Knight, Satsuma, Socrates, Super Heavyweight, Sweet Spot
Tomato: Amsterdam, Beefmaster, Betterboy, Big Beef, Burpee’s Big Boy, Caramba, Celebrity, Cupid, Early Girl, Granny Smith, Health Kick, Husky Cherry Red, Jetsetter brand of Jack, Lemon Boy, Margharita, Margo, Marmande VF PS, Marmara, Patio, Phoenix, Poseidon 43, Roma VF, Royesta, Sun Sugar, Super Marzano, Sweet Baby Girl, Tiffany, Tye-Dye, Viva Italia, Yaqui
Watermelon: Apollo, Charleston Grey, Crimson Glory, Crimson Sweet, Eureka, Jade Star, Mickylee, Olympia
TIP: Do not plant hybrids and heirloom seeds for the same vegetable during the same growing season in a simple backyard garden. Hybrids will ‘pollute’ your heirlooms and you’ll end up with ‘junk’ seeds.
Seed Bank Success: Choose the right seeds
For the bulk of your bank, choose open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. If a certain hybrid veggie makes your mouth water, then store some of those, too, should you not object to supporting seed-killing conglomerates. Just don’t plant any heirlooms of that same food during that season or plant them far enough apart that there is zero chance of cross-pollination. That could render your seed bank seeds useless.
Seeds, like food, wait to be taken from garden to lips, and must be protected for best nutrition and viability. The main enemies of stored food apply though their two top killers are heat and moisture. Heat kills everything. Full stop. End of story. Moisture rots them. Second nasty issue. Both of these potential problems can be handled by storing prepared seeds in your freezer.
If rodents find your seeds sitting on a shelf, they could be polished off in just a few days. For an unprotected food pantry, it’d take considerably longer.
Rodents ADORE seeds. It’s rodent crack mixed with heroin. Once they figure the route to your supply, they will be continual guests at the banquet table unless you fix the point of entry. Mouse urine and droppings are snout-to-mouth pheromones. Mice provide vivid road maps for Blind Freddy, the mouse. All of his aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, cousins and grandmothers 3 times removed will follow. They are now your #1 seed enemy.
Light and air are lesser issues, but pests, if they eat the seeds, you’ve got nothing.
Especially for seeds saved from your own plants, insects can be a problem. Even if insects survive the freezer, they will be rendered inactive until thawed. They can’t chew when they resemble a block of ice. Adding a few pinches of Diatomaceous Earth to the container and stirring the seeds gently is a good non-toxic solution.
Time isn’t that big of a concern unless seeds are sitting on a (non-freezer) shelf without protection. Look at seeds that have been kept for millennia and are still viable, so it’s a testament to proper storage. Otherwise, they will expire in their normal, natural life span. It varies greatly by seed type. See Garden Gold for the BIG shelf life list.
Some of the best, most economical storage containers include:
- Plastic film canisters IF you can still find them (good for small seeds like lettuce and radishes)
- Mason jars with tight-fitting lids (good for large seeds like beans)
- Glass canisters with gaskets and lids
- Recycled pill bottles (good for small seeds like lettuce and radishes)
- Baby food jars
Avoid Ziplocs, Baggies and other similarly lightweight plastic sacks. Even Ziploc’s line of freezer bags aren’t the best moisture barriers.
Freezing with Foodsavers
The method we like best for our seed bank is the FoodSaver. We’ve used it for 30 years now for making documents waterproof, silver tarnish-free and keeping foods extra fresh. When FoodSaver was first introduced by the Tilia Corporation, the original model had its own little vacuum hose and is still the most heavy-duty unit they ever produced. We still have that first unit.
A few years ago we bought a newer ‘professional’ model and it doesn’t perform quite as well as the original. Regardless, the FoodSaver has undergone many transformations and is invaluable to any prepper for countless uses.
It’s simply a matter of putting the seeds (or food) in the bag, slide the open end into the channel in the front, hit the top right button to remove the air and then push the left button to seal. Buy using a bag larger than the seed contents, you’ll be able to cut open and reseal the bag many times over. Other plusses for using the FoodSaver include:
- Heavy translucent bags let you see what’s inside without opening the container.
- Bags take up less room.
- They aren’t subject to breakage. (Try picking shards of broken glass from tiny seeds and making sure they aren’t damaged in the process.)
- They can accommodate nearly any amount of seed stored.
- There’s room to jot notes on the bag with a permanent marker with no dramas of the label falling off.
TIP: Keep seeds in their original packet as most show not only a food photo, but the package gives the stated expected shelf life date – without taking extra measures.
(Saving seed is only one part of food preparedness. Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning to learn another aspect.)
Where to put your seeds
If your aim is to store seeds for the expected life, they can be kept in rodent-proof containers at a constant ambient room temperature of no higher than 65ºF (18ºC). For example, if the normal shelf life of a pepper is 2 years, they can be stored in their original packets at room temp and most will be viable in 2 years. This doesn’t mean the entire bunch of seeds will fall over dead at the stroke of 24 months. However, germination will be less, which means you’ll need to sow more seeds to get the same number of plants compared to those within the stated shelf life.
This is not the aim of a seed bank. For that, you want to store seeds for the longest time possible and not have to replace them. It saves a ton of money in the long run and keeps you independent of the clutches of seed / pharmaceutical / chemical dragons.
To achieve this, a space needs to be reserved in your freezer for these precious life-sustainers
Last Christmas Stan asked for a hint here and there what I’d like for a present. Before he could blink, “a freezer” popped out of my mouth. A bit of an eye-roll ensued as he thought it was not much of a personal ‘gift’, but when you put a few decades into life, you can only wear so much jewelry, etc. etc. Practical things catch our interest now. The other cool thing is that around the holidays, freezers among other appliances, are a good 25% off. Open a charge account with Sears or another retailer and you might get another 20% off.
The year before we bought the seeds, they sat in our cool basement without permanent, proper housing. Our regular freezer was stuffed and there was no room for seeds. So a freezer Santa brought!
According to Colorado State University, seeds’ shelf lives can be extended to at least 10 years, or more, when kept in the freezer. Other sources state seeds can be kept for 40 years when stored at 0ºF or C. This is the exact temperature that global seed vaults maintain.2
The other big factor is ensuring seeds that are to be frozen are very dry, down to 8% moisture. This is not such an issue if freezing purchased seeds. They have been professionally dried. Seeds plucked from your own plants must be thoroughly dried. The reasons why and how to do this will be covered in another article at a later date.
Terms to know
Obviously, the first thing needed is seeds, whether storing heirloom, open-pollinated or hybrids. As explained in Garden Gold, some terms are interchangeable, some aren’t. This is the first place to start. Know what you’re buying.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) – is the most invasive action taken on a seed. The best-known example of seed altering was the introduction of an Arctic flounder gene into a strawberry to make it frost resistant. You have to wonder whoever dreams the idea of mating fish and strawberries. They are such an unlikely combination. The fear is that continued GMO tinkering will produce “Frankenfoods.”
Non-GMO is often equated with non-hybrid seeds. It is usually the case. Technically, a seed could be tweaked for root rot resistance, for example, but its reproductive system hasn’t been altered so it still allows seeds to be saved and used generationally. This is really a hybridized seed.
Organic is another term that some companies use indiscriminately and customers assume this means heirloom. You can grow hybrids or heirlooms with chemicals and pesticides. It only refers to the lack of added harmful chemicals.
Untreated seed is another term for organic seed.
Hybrid – To produce a hybrid, two very different parent plants are crossed. Hopefully the best of each parent is passed onto the resulting plant. In a rose for instance, of the two parent plants, one might have sweeter scent but smaller petals. The other rose might produce larger flowers but lack fragrance. When these two plants are grafted together, the aim is to produce a richer smelling, larger flower than either of the parents. In vegetables, the goal is much the same – to produce stronger, higher yielding, healthier, uniform, “predictable” crops. This “offspring” is called the F1 “first filial” or “first generation”.
Heirloom – Older varieties saved for generations in Europe were brought over to the Americas and passed on seed-to-seed for generations. Opinions vary on how old a variety should be to qualify as an heirloom; most consider seeds grown prior to 1950 as heirlooms. These are good choices for home gardeners.
Overall heirloom veggies aren’t as large as hybrids and they aren’t as uniform either. However, they are often hardier since “survival of the fittest” enabled them to endure over many generations. Another advantage to heirloom seeds is they don’t all necessarily mature at the same time as hybrids are programmed to do. This lets you enjoy their bounty over weeks instead of days.
Heritage seed – Same as heirloom.
Open-pollinated simply means that a plant has been fertilized by the wind or nature without human intervention. They produce new plants that are just like the parent plant, as long as it has not cross-pollinated with another variety. All heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, but all open-pollinated seeds aren’t heirlooms. Seeds retailer often designate them as OP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Holly Drennan Deyo is the author of three books: bestseller Dare To Prepare (4th ed.), Prudent Places USA (3rd ed.) and Garden Gold (2nd ed.) Please visit she and her husband’s website: standeyo.com and their FREE Preparedness site: DareToPrepare.com.
See How to Beat Coming Killer Food Shortages
Other articles by Holly Deyo
2 Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Feb. 28, 2014; wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Seed_Vault.