We have encountered a lot of recent discussions about Heirloom and non-hybrid garden seeds. One of the most important characteristics of Heirloom seeds is that they are open-pollinating non-hybrid seeds. What does this mean, and why is this so important in relation to emergency preparedness?
Typical seeds you purchase in local stores are generally a hybrid of different plants. This is done to produce higher yields, to help the plants be more resistant to disease, to create specific tastes and colors, etc. The downside to hybrid seeds is that the seeds of the grown vegetables generally cannot be harvested and replanted the next year. Conversely, open-pollinating non-hybrid seeds can be harvested and planted year after year, making them an important addition to any food storage plan!
After researching various suppliers of non-hybrid open-pollinating seeds, Emergency Essentials, Inc. settled on a great product called "Canned Garden Seeds." The can includes 16 popular and easy to grow non-hybrid garden vegetables that are hermetically sealed in E-Z lock reusable bags. The bags are triple-layered foil packets that are sealed in the can. A very helpful Gardening-Made-Easy Instructional Guide is also included.
One tip we would recommend is storing the seeds as cool as possible - your refrigerator or freezer would work best if you have the room. According to the manufacturer, the seeds can be safely stored for 4 years at 65-70 degrees and much longer at lower temperatures. Each 6 degree drop in storage temperature may double the storage life of most seeds. Good planting!