If you pay attention to the news, you have probably heard some or all of the following phrases a number of times: “global financial crisis,” “food shortages,” “genetically-engineered foods,” “financial collapse,” “soaring food prices,” “weather fluctuations,” “crop failures” and many more.
And you’re not just hearing these words from folks like us who have been keeping their eyes and ears open for trouble ahead. No, they’re now finally being spoken on a regular basis by mainstream media…the very people who previously referred to us as “alarmists.” It has become increasingly obvious to everyone that things are going from bad to worse worldwide and are not likely to get better anytime soon.
Economies are collapsing and people are using any excuse imaginable to protest, loot and riot. Droughts are causing crop failures that result in food shortages all over the world – including in the U.S. – and that’s sending the prices of food through the roof. Political structures are falling apart, which only exacerbates the problems.
Here in the United States, the typical grocery store carries only 72 hours’ worth of food on its shelves, with no back stock. When a disaster strikes the U.S. (not if, but when), there will be mad rushes to those stores and the food and water will be gone quickly. And that “disaster” could take many forms. It could be weather or terrorist related, or it could be a financial meltdown. Regardless, food could be very difficult to come by. Unless you are prepared.
As we’ve discussed before, the best way to be prepared for a food shortage is by acquiring, planting, storing and harvesting seeds. It’s a great idea to stockpile non-perishable food, but no one knows how long a crisis will last. Depending on what happens, you may find yourself in a position of having to feed your family for an extended period of time…perhaps well over a year. You can do it, but only if you are prepared.
The process is not easy – it will require work on your part – but it is simple. One, get non-hybrid, open-pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds with high germination rates. Two, plant those seeds in a garden. Three, store your unused seeds for the future. And four, harvest the seeds from your current plants. If you are successful in doing that, you’ll never have to buy seeds again.
The time to start is now. As I write this, most U.S. grocery stores are pretty well stocked. But we don’t know how long that will be the case. If you get moving on acquiring, planting, storing and harvesting the right kinds of seeds now, you and your family will be in good shape when a crisis strikes. And that self-reliance will feel pretty good during an emergency when others all around you are panicking.
Most people would accept any kind of food in a crisis, but if you’ve planted the right kinds of seeds, you will have the added advantage of having a great variety of delicious and nutritious food containing plenty of vitamins and minerals. Staying healthy will be very important during an emergency when professional medical treatment may not be as available as it once was.
Seeds are wonderful things. Ranging in size from mere dust-like particles to the size of a fist, seeds come in many shapes, sizes and colors. A seed’s growth is what brings a plant to life through the germination process. After soaking up water and swelling, a seed’s protective covering splits and the new plant within begins to grow by utilizing the seed’s store of food.
The particular vegetable seeds you’ll want to acquire will be dependent on which ones are right for your region of the country. You’ll also want to take into consideration your family’s tastes. As an example, I love beets, but my kids can’t stand them. That’s OK, there are plenty of other choices, including lettuce, tomatoes, beans, corn, melons, cucumbers, spinach, asparagus, peppers and many more. You should also take into account the size and layout of your garden.
If you have not yet established a garden, I’d recommend doing so immediately. You’ll want to carefully choose a site for your garden; analyze and prepare the soil; establish rows, raised beds or terraced areas; add mulches; and determine a plant layout that will aid in securing favorable crop rotations from season to season. There are a number of companies that sell the seeds you need to get started. They include local seed sellers, including farmers markets, farmstands, nurseries and garden centers.
If you already have a garden, collect the seeds from your plants and store them. You’ll want to time your harvest based on the individual plant’s method of seed dispersal, clean your seeds and spread them out to dry, label them properly and store them in secure containers in a cool, dark, dry place.
Following are suggestions regarding the 10 vegetable seeds I’ve mentioned:
- The seeds of different types of beans should be planted well away from each other whenever possible to avoid any chance of cross-pollination.
- When selecting the seeds of corn, closely examine both the plant and the ears of corn. Choose the best ears from the earliest-bearing plants.
- When you’re preparing cucumber seeds for storage, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape out the seedy pulp. Put the pulp and the seeds in a bowl of water to ferment. The heavy seeds will sink to the bottom, making it easy to drain and rinse them.
- A cool weather crop, lettuce can be eaten early but has a long season for seed saving. Lettuce seeds don’t all ripen at once.
- Melon seeds are ripe enough to collect and store when melons are ripe enough to eat.
- Let peppers ripen beyond the eating stage before collecting their seeds, which will be ready when the fruit is no longer green.
- When spinach leaves begin to turn yellow, the seeds are nearly mature. The leafiest plants should be chosen for seed saving.
- Harvest tomato seeds when the fruits are fully ripe. Save the seeds from the fruits of several plants.
- When berries turn red and ferny top leaves flop over in the fall, asparagus seeds are ready to harvest.
- You’ll get plenty of seeds from beets. In fact, what may look like a single seed is probably several seeds in a ball. When they turn brown, you’ll know they are mature.
Taking control of your personal situation will go a long way toward making certain that you and your loved ones do not join the ranks of the hungry when food becomes scarce. Once you’ve achieved food independence through the establishment of a garden and a collection of seeds, you’ll be prepared for any emergency, including one that lasts a long time.