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10 Survival Seeds You Must Stockpile For When The System Collapses

Tess Pennington
October 24th, 2017
ReadyGardens.com
Comments (55)

This guide was originally published by Tess Pennington at ReadyGardens.com.

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There are many different types of emergencies that can have long-term repercussions on our way of life. One of those impacts is on our food system. Due to our aging infrastructure and roadways, emergencies can stall the delivery of goods, leaving a community without food for a given period of time. As well, personal emergencies such as job loss could also wreak havoc and make purchasing food all the more difficult. Because these types of emergencies can come out of the blue, many have taken to gardening as a way to insulate themselves from unforeseen emergencies.

Survival seeds are one of those long-term essential emergency preparedness measures that every family should have. They are lightweight, easy to store, and can provide a family with more than enough food. Having a variety of fast-growing seeds to turn to for growing in the garden or for sprouting will ensure a family can maintain their nutrition until help arrives.

Starting a Survival Garden

While sprouting is a quick, “just-add-water” solution for nutrition, growing a garden takes more expertise and planning. As with any form of preparedness subject, a well laid out plan is essential before beginning. Before a new survival gardener starts this endeavor, there are a few questions to consider.

  • Which are the vegetables that grow best in the area?
  • How much time do you have to devote to a large garden?
  • Do you have enough room to grow a year supply of food?
  • Will your survival group be assisting in tending the garden?
  • Do you have any physical limitations such as back or should problems, weight issues, etc.?
  • How long is your gardening season?
  • Do you have the ability to add greenhouses or grow houses to extend your gardening season?

Educating yourself on gardening topics such as micro-farming, soil balance, planting for the seasons, natural insect repellents, seed collection and seed storage could help you better prepare for a long-term emergency. As well,  it is important to keep nutrition in mind when planting a survival garden. Vegetables and fruits contribute an important amount of water to the body, as well as vitamins and minerals that help to digest nutrients, prevent illness and disease and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. That said, keep the basics in mind: vegetables, carbohydrates for added calories and fruits for preserving and for added health benefits.

Practice Makes Perfect

There are few people who have had a perfect garden experience the first time out. Many gardeners learn from trial and error and with each garden season, they learn more of what is needed for a bountiful harvest. Therefore, my advice for those wanting to start a survival garden is to start one now to work out any kinks along the way. Find a sunny spot in the yard and get a garden started! Those who have rocky or unhealthy soil could build an above-ground garden and fill it with rich compost and soil to begin. Two to three raised beds with the length of the yard are enough to produce plenty of vegetables.

Good quality soil is a must for garden beds. Soil rich in nutrients will give the plants what they need to grow. Compost is a popular soil amendment added to the garden and can be made with kitchen scraps. This is one way to keep a continuous supply of nutrients in the soil.

10 Seeds to Plant for the Survival Garden

To determine which seeds to add to the garden, consider non-GMO, heirloom quality seeds to produce highly nutritious food, and viable seeds to save for future harvests. If you are new to gardening, start with some favorite beginner garden varieties like radishes, swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, squash and zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage, and beans. These are all hardy varieties that are full of nutrition and will help you learn as you go!

Below is a list of easy-to-grow vegetable and fruit varieties that will also provide a balanced amount of nutrition.

  1. Allium varieties –  A good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and potassium
  2. Berries –  High in antioxidants, vitamin C
  3. Beans – Beans are very high in fiber, calcium, Vitamins A, C, and K
  4. Broccoli – Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamins A and K, and carbohydrates
  5. Carrots – This root crop is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C
  6. Grains –  Grains are a good source of carbohydrates, are high in dietary fiber and manganese
  7. Peppers – High in vitamin A and C
  8. Potatoes – Potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Vitamin C and a good source of carbohydrates
  9. Spinach – Many call this a superfood based upon its large array of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, iron, thiamine, thiamine, and folic acid.
    Potassium
  10. Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine, and Niacin

Another option for the survival garden is to plant perennials or vegetables that come back on their own each year.  Asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, garlic, and herbs of both culinary and medicinal value would make great additions. Keep in mind that some of these perennials, such as asparagus require two years to grow before they produce food. Do research on your part to determine if you wish to plant these perennials in your survival garden.

Create Sustainable Food Production

When you get your survival garden thriving, consider adding other sustainable food sources like small livestock such as chickens, rabbits, and fish, as well as fruit trees like apples, berries, grapes, lemons, and oranges to your operation. Having a wide array of food choices when times get tough will keep spirits up, nutrition high and give each person a high amount of energy. Sustainable food production will be a vital skill in a long-term emergency and understanding what to grow, how to do it, and when to grow will put you at a greater advantage for when that time comes.

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    Author: Tess Pennington
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    Date: October 24th, 2017
    Website: https://www.readygardens.com/

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    55 Comments...

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    1. Genius says:

      That’s a good list. One consideration though is you had better have a big water source to keep it going. If you don’t have the ability to water a big garden I suggest using aquaponics. That way you have fish also and it is self fertilizing and extremely little water use. Plans are all over the internet and it is a simple thing to build. Catfish and Bass can thrive in any temp water and are very hearty and fast growing. You can convert a greenhouse easily to aquaponics or make a setup in your house. No weeds, no pests, no fertilizer, no hassle, no watering, it’s so easy even a liberal can do it lol.

      • Archivist says:

        We have the biggest water source of all: the sky. We get plenty of rain every year.

        There are two ways around the fact that we might have a dry spell occasionally. One is to have some rainwater storage. The other is to have enough stored food so that you can get by even if the whole garden goes south one year.

        The only thing I grow that needs a ton of water is tomatoes.

        • Genius says:

          I live in a semi-arid climate (by choice). I absolutely HATE places that rain a lot. I lived in northern cali by the coast for 9 months and I thought I would lose my mind. Nothing ever dried out, moss and mold everywhere, no sun, depressing as hell. It was like a prison of tall ass trees you had no view of anything. But everyone has their likes. I have water sources I can tap if need be nearby. As far as food, that is the least of my concerns (no more room for it all). Been prepping over 20 years now and trust me, We ain’t lacking lol.

        • KY Mom says:

          Tess,

          Excellent article! I have shared this with family and friends.

          Thank you!

          Take care!
          KY Mom

      • durangokidd says:

        Buy a “SEED VAULT” at Sportsman’s for $30: 5000 seeds, many varieties. It’s a good way to begin. Add other seeds from the produce you buy at your local farmer’s market. That will ensure you have the right seeds for your region.

        Dry and seal them with your Zip Lock Sealer (you have one right?) and stash in a coffee can. Tens of thousands of seeds in no time. 🙂

      • fishandmud says:

        I do not do aquaponics but that is the only way a garden will sustain a family. We have 5000 sf of garden and can garden 9 months a year and my wife goes grocery shopping every week. People are always telling me that they grow so much that they have to give some away. Then they ask what kind of fertilizer do you use and I always respond the kind you are going to have when TSHTF. None. I mulch my rows and turn it in every season. No pesticides and no fertilizers. I try not to water but the spring garden always needs watered before rainy season starts. Your garden will grow a lot slower without fertilizers but will still produce good.
        If you are going to garden you need to start now. You need to figure out what will grow in your area and what varieties produce the best. Dedicate one area for experimentation. Example : We grow awesome tomatoes, tons of them, but not beef stakes. This past year I broke up 4 rows into thirds and planted 12 different varieties of beef stakes and I now can grow huge beef stakes. We did the same thing with broccoli. Also, don’t always believe the seed packet. It might say fall crop but grow good in your area for a spring crop or vise-versa. When checking different varieties also check different brands. They are not all created equal.
        Rotate your crops every season/year. If you are just getting started and don’t want to give up use some fertilizer. Maybe 1/2 garden with and 1/2 garden without. Eventually you should grow without or stock up. Home Depot and Wal-Mart will be closed.
        Try growing fruit trees. We have 60+ fruit, nut, and vines. Trees provide shade, cover, and food with a lot less maintenance than a garden but all are mostly fruits. Great for a treat, canning, and barter. Eventually a good sized tree will put out the food, big time. Good luck and don’t give up on your garden.

        • Genius says:

          Good advice also replace the shrubs or any other ornamental plants with food bearing things. Grow berries under windows (who the hell wants to fight a raspberry bush to get in). Apple trees or pears provide shade in summer (when you need it). Why have a bunch of worthless shit growing when you can have edible plants?

          • fishandmud says:

            Amen on raspberries. I started 2 plants 3 years ago. They are invasive. We pick and pick and pick raspberries. It is so cool, while the ole lady is fixing breakfast to go out and pick a bowl full of fresh berries to go with it. I wish they were in right now.

        • PO'd Patriot says:

          I utilize the chicken poop and straw for garden fertilizer after I let it cool down due to high nitrogen content. I usually apply it after the last tomato is picked in the fall. We had a very wet/cold spring so I didn’t run out to buy plants but let the garden ground rest this year. I still put a large amount of chicken crap on it and worked it all in. Looking forward to a better coming spring.

      • War Thog says:

        Long as you have electricity, sure go for it. But have you ever tried to grow oats for wheat in an aquaponics system?

        • SCTV says:

          Oats and wheat are two different cereal grains, but I agree that aquaponics are not the end all be all solution. I used to work in a farm supply store and the RCMP had a standing order for information on anyone who purchased supplies that could be used in grow ops. Usually it was just kids buying a single light and foam coolers for “science fair projects” however when guys would come in and purchase cattle troughs and triple mix by the pallet and payed with cash it gives them away. It makes me think that there is large databases on people who purchase anything that remotely resembles aquaponics.

    2. oUCH says:

      Although there is nothing wrong anywhere in the above, the best advice in the whole article is to start asap.. there is far more to raising a crop than dropping a seed in the dirt. Any thoughts of relying on a garden for sustenance must be proven well before need.. besides, you’ll get in much better shape from the exercise and you will eat far better than you will on produce bought from the store. If you do ( and you should ) start gardening.. make it a habit to check your plants every single day.. just part of your routine. That will help insure success by catching any issues before they become plant-deadly problems.

      • Genius says:

        And if you live in a place like me the soil is really shitty. Takes years to develop it. We have raised bed garden that works well. Still a ton of water and weeding and pest control.

        • Sounds like a shitty place, fits you well..

        • Genius says:

          Another good plant to grow (does ok in crappy soil too) is tobacco. Good for barter, insect resistant, can make tea and use as insect repellent.

          • Archivist says:

            You can also take dry powdered tobacco and put it in with your seeds to keep the bugs out. I have a load of used snuff cans to store seeds in. There’s still enough snuff in them to keep the bugs out.

          • Archivist says:

            Also, if you haven’t grown tobacco before, the seeds need sunlight to germinate. So you have to sow them on top of the dirt, then transplant when the plants are big enough.

        • Archivist says:

          The raised beds dry out quickly. Of course that also makes it nearly impossible to over water anything.

          I would consider using the “square foot gardening” book to make a soil mix. Dig the old dirt out of your garden area entirely and replace it with the soil mix. It will cost a bit, but it will fix everything quickly. The soil mix is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 assorted composts (cow, chicken, mushroom, etc.) by volume. I just fill up large buckets and dump onto a large tarp. Then I mix on the tarp with a garden rake.

          One advantage of the above mix is that it always stays soft. That means crops can grow well, root crops are easier to harvest, and it’s easier to pull any weeds and the old plants when they are done producing. Just make your plots no more than 4 feet across so you can reach everything without walking on the soil mix.

      • Nailbanger says:

        A lot can happen real quick to destroy weeks or even months of growth!

    3. aljamo says:

      Plus the joy of planting, tending and anxiously awaiting the harvest back to nature style.

    4. Goatlover says:

      Yes, Start NOW; develop your soil; secure a source of water—all good comments. I can only add: Learn to Save Seeds from what you grow. That is the circle of self sufficiency that I’ve been developing for nearly 10 years now. With practice, persistence, and some patience, I am getting there. Oh, and goat poop, lots and lots of goat poop! LOL Great slow release, pH neutral fertilizer.

    5. Bert says:

      System collapse… those that can hunt in small packs constantly mobile will survive, all others including prepper-hoarders, “gardeners” will die, but that doesn’t sell the sponsors seeds and books.

      • Genius says:

        Ehhh, not so. Those who have multiple bugout/hideouts will survive. If one place is over run just go to the next and wait till the time is right then kill everyone that took up residence at the last place. Leave poisoned treats behind for the enemy to eat to help rid your place of them. Don’t ever keep all your stuff in one place and know the surroundings. I am willing to bet that me and a friend could take out 20 scavenging raiders because we know the area very very well and have caches and can shoot very well at long ranges. The odds for them is slim to 0.

        • NorseMan says:

          So you assume your bugout hideouts – unmanned – will not be found? And the point of the article is to ‘grow’ food – not just live off stashes.

          But I have issue with the seed selection – some of which take up way too much space and take far too long to reach maturity.

          Unless you can guard your garden 24/7 it will get picked and raided by wildlife and scavenger hoards. You really need carts or containers you can move inside to a secure area at night – at least until most people die off.

    6. boyo says:

      Studies have indicated one can live entirely on potatoes (at least for extended periods). One couple did for a year and oddly did not crave other foods once into it. Another man lost 110 lbs after a year.

      Amaranth. Some types can produce at best 1 lb of seed per head. One pound of seed is almost 1700 calories. The seed is as small as a dot from tapping a pencil on paper. This is a real food multiplier. A head or two can produce seed for a field. I started mine late (my new experimental plant) and they’re small but making seed right now. Giant golden amaranth and red garnet are my trials. Some young types leaves can be eaten as a spinach like vegetable.

      http://www.rareseeds.com/assets/1/14/DimLarge/Amaranth-Possibly-Golden-Giant-Eberhardt-Girls-LSS-000_3026.jpg

      https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/amaranth?portionid=48555&portionamount=1.000

    7. durangokidd says:

      ” … those that can hunt in small packs constantly mobile will survive, … ”

      Very bad strategy. There will be lawful authorities, they will have technology and orders to shoot to kill. If you can survive the armed population, lawful authorities will hunt you down and exterminate you like vermin.

      You can WALK but you cannot hide. 🙂

    8. bb in GA says:

      I recommend the squash family – summer, winter, cukes, zucchini, musk melons (cantaloupe). I probably would leave off pumpkins.

      They tolerate lower quality soils and provide volume for your stomach with modest caloric value.

      My experience is that you don’t want to plant cukes and cantaloupes close together (within bee flying range)

      You get a strange looking item called a cukeloupe (or cantumber 🙂 ). I never had the courage to taste one when it happened.

      There are lots of wonderful open pollinated varieties of squashes.

      <bb

    9. grandee says:

      strawberries, blueberries are good garden candy items. Once started, they will go for years, especially if the strawberries put out runners.

      I love gardening.

      • Genius says:

        I have strawberries and blackberries and they are good if you can beat the critters to them lol. Wild elderberries around too, they make some GREAT wine! 😛

        • grandee says:

          squirrels raided my two young chestnut trees. I only got a handful. 🙁

          • babycatcher says:

            Shoot ’em. It’s the only way to permanently lower the population. I have 26 trees in my orchard and it’s 12 years old, and fruit grows beautifully, but about harvest time, those buggers can come thru and strip the trees in a week! I only got half a bushel of apples and a peck of pears this year!

          • PO'd Patriot says:

            Cut those squirrels up in nice pieces and crock pot ’em. Add some taters and carrots and let the crock pot work its magic. BTW, “Rocky” is harder to peel the hide off of than a rabbit.

    10. Kay123 says:

      Genius;
      You are a survivor, for sure.
      Me, not so much.

      I knew a guy who owned a nursery. Had 35′ x 12′ metal framed green houses with
      heavy plastic sheeting cover, with screen ventables and doors at each end.
      No bugs, no weeds, no animals. Tables for sun loving plants, under for shade.
      Growing season lasts about 7 months in midwest.

      I have a beautiful strawberry patch, but with Japanese Beetles, mosquitoes, wild
      Turkeys, ducks, squirrels, chipmonks, snakes, ticks, and God knows what,
      taking over, I didn’t get any this year….had to buy them. ?

    11. grandee says:

      by the way, that’s a nice picture at the start of this article.

      only problem is, all that stuff doesn’t come in at the same time, at least not here where I garden.

      so, more than likely, you will starve to death in between waiting for the peppers to come in after the carrots have bolted.

      and living off pears and tomatoes after the squash in done.

      best to do some research on what to plant and the times of harvest.

      better yet, best get started now with your fall and winter greens. cabbages and onions. garlic.

      even better, you shoulda already been doin’ it. with heirlooms.

    12. Sorghum, the whole plant can be used, the seeds can be ground into flour, or kept whole for popcorn; the stalks have sugar levels comparable to sugar cane and left over material can be fed to livestock, and it can grow almost anywhere farmers would even load shotgun shells with it so doctors would know who stole their cattle.

    13. Sgt. Dale says:

      Great list to start with.

      I would add several just because they grow good where I live.

      The list gives you a lot of good eating.

      Sgt.

    14. War Thog says:

      Starter kit is lame. I have been an organic heirloom vegetable farmer for years. Not every environment can grow wheat or oats. Plus most people wouldn’t know how to harvest either one after they are grown let alone process them. They should offer more of a variety of seeds like squash, bean and pumpkins and corn varieties. This is just a scam to get you to buy the bigger seed can. If anything I highly recommend people purchase their own seeds in a heritage or heirloom variety as they were always breed true. basically saying they were always reproduce seed which will grow the same vegetable. If you purchase a hybrid variety you don’t know what you end up with when you have a new seeds. I would also like to know if the seeds are made by Monsanto or one of the other big evil corporations. Most of their vegetable crops won’t even grow viable seeds. So when growing vegetables, you’re not doing it just for the food but so you can get more seeds for the future. You want some of your vegetable plants to bolt which means going to seed. So you can grow more crops later on without having to purchase more seed.

      • Nailbanger says:

        Yup,
        I live in an area where we can grow year round, grains are just about impossible to grow other than sorghum, anything else just mildews in the field or the birds eat it before it can be harvested.
        The most durable crops are the cruciferous veggies, kale, collards, broccoli, then stuff like chard, beets, carrots do pretty good but real close attention to nematodes needs to be a priority.
        Its tough though, everybody thinks it will be so easy to just start up a garden if things go south.
        Having been a commercial grower and always digging around in my garden i know first hand that most people are going to be real hungry.
        Even just simple lettuce and such, i grow in a tunnel, one rain and all your greens and tomatos are toast, rains like we got yesterday and the preceeding night will ruin it almost instantly.

      • Nailbanger says:

        Other thing to consider as im sure you well know, is that not all varieties will grow good in all locations, thats why seed saving and carefully selecting varieties and the seed you save can make a huge difference,
        Disease resistence, climate compatibility, and so many other traits,
        I had someone tell me they had it all figured out and were going to just dig up part of their lawn and plant a garden if they ever needed to, said they had bought one of those seed vaults that keeps for years, asked them when they bought it, they said 2010,

    15. Brian says:

      Ideally, your choice would promote fiber consumption. Fiber is from fruits and vegetables; the easy-to-digest material is digested and absorbed in your small intestines. What your body’s digestive system cannot handle is passed on to your large intestine where, through fermentation, the intestinal bacteria feed on it and provide our bodies with vitamins and a host of benefits. Fiber is vital to gastrointestinal health and overall health. In an SHTF scenario, a prepper should have several types of fiber supplements (metamucil, benefiber, etc). I prefer the inulin type with chicory root.

    16. I have been veggie gardening for 40 years: best practice is to plant all kinds of seeds continuously for continuous harvest. I buy no fertilizer have 2 bunnies and compost pile.