As we’ve discussed before, even if you have enough non-perishable food items to last you and your family for an entire year – and only a small percentage of Americans do – it’s very possible you will use them all up before things return to “normal” following a disaster. I know that you don’t want to rely on the government for your food during a long-lasting emergency. True patriots with a passion for freedom understand that food independence is the only way to really live. And there’s really only one way to do it – seeds.
What you want to do is begin storing a wide variety of non-hybrid vegetable seeds. This stockpile, not to mention the new seeds that will accompany the plants that they produce in your garden, will enable you to feed yourself and your family forever. In addition to keeping your stomachs full in an emergency, the food you’ll grow in your garden will be more nutritious and better tasting than the food you’re now buying from grocery stores.
Why do they have to be non-hybrid seeds? As you are well aware, there is a very prevalent trend out there of relying on hybridized and cloned plants. Genetically engineered foods are taking over. Among the many problems with this modern trend of genetically modified foods is that the natural processes that plants go through as they produce seeds capable of replica reproduction are completely destroyed.
In order to breed desirable characteristics such as higher yield and more uniform size to accommodate the machinery used in industrial farming, hybrid plants are artificially cross-pollinated. But the seed produced by the second generation of hybrid plants does not reliably produce a true copy of that hybrid and often loses much of its yield potential.
Should we be worried? Is there any history to back up our concerns? Actually, the lack of genetic diversity of plants was the issue that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-1800s that resulted in approximately 1 million deaths! It also caused the Southern Corn Blight of 1970 that destroyed 15 percent of the U.S. corn crop. Eighty-plus percent of that crop consisted of hybrid corn.
The key to stockpiling survival seeds is open-pollination. When a plant reproduces through natural means, it will adapt to local conditions and evolve reliably, especially in its own locality. Open-pollinated plants are free from pesticides, chemicals and other forms of genetic modification by humans. A report based on U.S. government data from the Consumer’s Union states that an apple grown in the U.S. typically contains four pesticides, with some having up to 10 different residues. Non-hybrid seeds are vibrant links in a long chain reaching back to ancient history. As always, nature knows what it is doing, and attempts to mess with nature usually fail.
We frequently hear the word “heirloom” tossed around in reference to plants and seeds, but the definition is not always clear. As a general rule, heirloom seeds are the seeds of open-pollinated varieties introduced decades ago that, for the most part, are not commercially available anymore, with the exception of some seed catalogs. Some organizations, including the non-profit, 8,000-member Seed Savers Exchange, have set up farms for growing heirloom plants. This activity keeps the old strains going.
Among the numerous varieties of vegetable seeds you can select are beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chives, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, melon, onions, parsley, peas, peppers, radishes, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Herb seeds include argula, borage, butterfly weed, calendula officinalis, catnip, chia, cilantro, cinnamon basil, Culver’s root, cumin, dill dukat, fenugreek and garlic chives. Others include German chamomile, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon mint, lovage, nettle, oregano, pepper, peppermint, purple coneflower, sage, thyme, tobacco, wild bergamot and yarrow.
In a recent blog post, I listed my top 10 favorite vegetable seeds. Of course, there are many more great ones. Following are some suggestions regarding a dozen others that I like:
- If you live in a colder climate, broccoli growth should be started indoors in the spring because if you wait until summer, the outdoor growing season might not last long enough.
- With eggplant, when the fruit turns from firm and glossy to dull and somewhat puckered, the seed is ready to harvest.
- Don’t harvest the strongest pea plants for food. Instead, allow pods to hang on the plants until the seeds are ripe and then harvest them.
- The pods of radishes won’t split open when they mature. When the pods turn brown, remove the seeds, which can be sown as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring.
- Squash seed is usually collected around the same time of the first fall frost. Allow the good seeds to dry for two weeks.
- Cabbage produces a tall stalk with yellow flowers in the second year. Seeds will be ready to harvest when the seedpods turn from brown to yellow.
- The seeds of carrots should be harvested when they turn brown in the early fall. Seeds in the top branches will ripen before those of the lower branches.
- Cauliflower seeds should be planted in the late spring or early summer. In the second year, seeds in pods will be produced on tall stalks, and they should be harvested when the pods turn brown.
- When tiny black seeds appear, chives are ripe to harvest. Those seeds will ripen only gradually.
- You’ll know that the seeds from leeks are ready to harvest when you can see them. Those seeds form inside the capsules of a ball of flowers.
- The black seeds from onion plants are harvested by cutting off seed heads and then drying for several weeks.
- Parsley plants produce an abundance of seeds. You can harvest them as you observe them maturing in the fall.
There are currently an estimated 7 billion people living on earth, and that number is expected to grow to about 9 billion by 2020. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declares that global food production must increase 70 percent by 2050 in order for the world’s people to be fed. But with a global food crisis already looming, there are far too many reasons why the organization’s goal may prove impossible to achieve.
There are a lot of scary unknowns in this world, but here are two things you can count on – there will be some kind of disaster that our government is not prepared to handle and large corporate monopolies will continue to control the food supply. By acquiring seeds, growing your own food and storing seeds for the future, you will place yourself in the driver’s seat. Don’t put yourself at the mercy of those who want to control you. Take control now!
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