Storing (and Understanding) Heirloom Garden Seeds
April 26, 2013
Garden seeds probably aren't the first thing most of us think of buying for our long-term food storage supply. But if you’re thinking ahead, or you’re working on becoming more self-sufficient, then seeds should be on your list. You can’t just throw any old pack of seeds into your storage room or freezer and expect them to last, though. When you’re planning to store seeds, look at the seeds themselves, how they’re prepped for storage, and the packaging they come in.
Heirloom seeds are the way to go when adding seeds to your long-term food storage. Emergency Essentials offers non-GMO (not genetically modified) Heirloom seeds that are non-hybrid and open-pollinated. That means these seeds will breed true or that they will produce a plant with the same characteristics, not just once, but over and over. You’ll be able to harvest seeds and replenish your storage. It’s a perpetual storage program! (Learn more about non-hybrid, open-pollinated plants on Granny Miller’s blog.)
Our supplier tests each seed variety personally and on a regular basis to make sure that we get the best non-GMO seeds on the market. Here’s what they test for:
- adaptability to a variety of growing conditions
- ease of growing, so even a first-timer can successfully grow a garden
- nutritional density so you’ll get as much nutrition per square foot as possible
Now let’s talk about how they prepare the seeds for storage. In order to preserve seeds for long-term storage, you have to get the right balance of moisture. Too much moisture means the seeds will rot over time or, if frozen, will burst. Too little moisture means the seeds will die. Emergency Essentials’ Boxed and Canned Heirloom Seeds are prepared to ensure optimum moisture content. You’ll be able to store these seeds in a storeroom or freezer with the confidence that they’ll sprout when you plant them years later.
How long will your seeds last? Let’s assume a base storage temperature at 70° F (storing your seeds at temperatures above 70° F will reduce their longevity). We generally say that seeds stored at 70° F will sprout for up to 4 years. But, if you refrigerate or freeze your seeds they’ll last even longer. We estimate that every 6° drop in temperature will double the life of your seeds. You could really extend the life of your seeds and turn them into a true family heirloom! Our supplier’s tests show that these seeds will successfully germinate even after 13 years of storage! (We don’t know at which temperature they stored the seeds for this test.) However, because seeds are living organisms we suggest that you rotate your stock at least every four years.
Much of the longevity of our Heirloom Seeds is due to packaging. The seeds are heat-sealed into triple-layered foil bags before being packed into a box or #10 can. Each bag has an E-Z Lock seal so the bag is reusable – you can return the seeds to storage in the same bag—even after you’ve opened it.
All in all, storing a few seeds now means more independence later. Emergency Essentials’ Heirloom Seeds will allow you to oversee your own food production. You’ll be able to plant a garden on your own time. You’ll have fresh produce during a time when you might not be able to get it from the grocery store. Best of all, you may just create a family heirloom for the next generation to inherit.