I made a seed purchase a few months ago. Learned alot since then that I'd like to share.
- Don't be stingy with your seed- don't just plant one or two. Many times some seeds will not come up, or not thrive, or get washed away, or whatever. If you only plant a few of each kind, thinking you don't need so much for your family, you may come up short when half actually germinate.
- Make sure you don't try to cut corners by buying cheap GM seed that you can't collect the seeds from. If TSHF and you try to go back next year and buy more seed, you may not be able to.
- Be sure to actually read and study and learn how to collect seeds. The best book I've seen is Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques. Many plants don't give seed the first year. Many plants have seed that isn't the part you eat, like a bean (ever seen a lettuce seed?). Sometimes you have to leave a plant (it can't be harvested to eat at all) so it can "go to seed." Every plant you grow may not be suitable for collecting seed from.
- Buy more seed than you think you might need. You don't want to feel forced into #1 above because you only have one packet of tomatoes and you want it to "last." My daughter washed all my lettuce seeds away when she violently watered them. Maybe you lose a crop to drought or rabbits. You want to have enough to replant.
- Keep your unused seed safe. Put them in a DRY, cool place. I have my seeds in a glass jar with the O2 sucked out and silica packets in. You could put an O2 absorber in there, but the real culprit is moisture.
- Do everything you can to give your seeds the best start possible. Having excellent dirt, a compost pile, and natural fertilizers will give your seeds the best environment to get growing in. I have to amend my clay soil with sand and manure. I have the manure on hand, but I have to purchase the sand. But what's the point of buying good seed to lay it out in the sun on top of rock-hard soil it can't put roots into?
- Plants thrive when watered with rainwater instead of city water- and it's rainwater is free. Put an old trashcan at the base of your downspout or search Craigslist with the phrase "rainwater collection" and you could find some great deals.
- If you're studying botany with your kids, it's fine to grow some radishes or beans and then toss them. But there's no point in planting turnips when you've never bought one at the grocery store. I plan my seed purchases based on my grocery list.
- Don't plant something with only romantic notions to feed it. Ok, we use alot of wheat-based products in our home. But it's not smart use all my available land for growing enough wheat to sustain us, to the lack of anything else. 25 pounds of wheat is available to buy at my local LDS Food Storage building for less than $7. Buy the wheat, with a 30 year shelf life, and grow the tomatoes and onions.
- When all your seeds do germinate, spread the love and give your neighbors seedlings. Tell them when it's time to harvest the seeds too. Educate everyone you can so that you can help them be a little more prepared themselves.
- Don't just limit yourself to seeds! Many fruits are on trees or vines. Potatoes are their own seed. Raw peanuts can be planted. Get cuttings and saplings and anything else that can grow.
This seed company gives a discount for military and disabled vets. They also have a large medicinal herb package.
We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!