Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Survival Seeds from Hometown Seeds

Many of you were right--it was seeds! Laura gets a gold star for guessing "survival seeds." Hometown Seeds sent me their Survival Seeds, a collection of 16 non-hybrid vegetable seeds that can plant up to 3/4 of an acre.
Survival Food Storage
This Mylar-sealed package will keep up to 10 years if frozen and unopened. Or, if you want to plant them right away, you can save seeds from your plants, all of which are open-pollinated varieties.
I really like this ready-made garden collection, because I suffer from a kind of overload when I'm browsing through seed catalogs. I thought I had it bad when I was just receiving the big-name nursery catalogs that do mostly hybrids. Then I fell into the world of heirlooms and seed savers coops....and my gardeners' paralysis got a million times worse! I mean, how do you choose between 267 varieties of tomatoes, each with a tantalizing list of virtues and qualities? Should I plant Winterbor or Nero di Toscana kale? Ice-bred or Sylvetta arugula? (I definitely prefer the ruffly Winterbor over the flat Nero di Toscana; I planted both last year in a fit of indecision.)

Even if you're not planning on putting in a big garden this year, you might want to have a collection of seeds in your long-term food storage. Survival Seeds are made just for this purpose. They come in a resealable Mylar pouch. Each seed type comes in a plastic, rather than paper, packet. Included in the packet are:
  • Lincoln Peas: 5 oz.
  • Detroit Dark Red Beets: 10 grams
  • Kentucky Wonder Brown Pole Bean: 5 oz.
  • Yolo Wonder Pepper: 5 grams
  • Champion Radish: 10 grams
  • Lucullus Swiss Chard: 10 grams
  • Black Beauty: 10 grams
  • Waltham Butternut Winter Squash: 10 grams
  • Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach: 10 grams
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrots: 10 grams
  • Long Green Improved Cucumber: 10 grams
  • Rutgers Tomato: 5 grams
  • Golden Acre Cabbage: 10 grams
  • Romaine Paris Island Cos Lettuce: 5 grams
  • Golden Bantem Sweet Corn: 5 oz.
  • Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion: 10 grams
Survival Seeds also come with detailed planting, harvesting, and seed-saving instructions for each variety, arranged by hardiness group. I like that all of the information is in one stapled handout--no sifting through opened seed packets to find when to plant your peas or your beets. I especially appreciated the seed collection instructions. I had no idea, for example, that carrots and beets were biennials.
My own garden is off to a good start. This spring I've already planted peas, carrots, mache, mesclun, spinach, shallots, leeks, garlic, and onions. I started two large flats of seeds this week, from Cherokee Purple tomatoes to 95-day artichokes to mystery melons that we liked from the farmer's market. Last years' raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, asparagus, rhubarb, overwintered kale, chives, sage, and parsley are thriving. I'm also putting in a collection of fruit plants: Juneberries, honeyberries, currants, gooseberries, and jostaberries, plus more raspberries and strawberries. I wanted to put in a dwarf fruit tree orchard, but I think I'll have to delay that until next growing season.

I'd love to hear about your garden plans/dreams/ideas for this year!


  1. Wow, that is a really cool idea!

  2. Good luck with your gardening. I'm surprised the company states the seeds will last for 10 years. Even frozen in liquid nitrogen in the international seed banks, the researchers/caretakers replace the seeds at least once every ten years.

    My garden is growing great, (living in the SW US), but I will be dismantling it soon. It's a raised bed, and my husband and I will be moving to the NE US at the end of the month. I guess I'll back to container gardening. Though I must admit, I'm sure gardening in the NE will be easier than the 5 years I spent in Alaska - very tough to get tomatoes to turn red in Fairbanks!

  3. I live in an apartment, so I can't really do a garden right now. But, we do have some ever-bearing strawberry plants in planters on our balcony and one of them already has a bloom! I'm stoked! I can't wait until I have a yard that I can use to do a huge garden!

  4. Wow Rixa how do you do it all?
    Very cool idea for food storage.

  5. My goal this year is to plant collards. Our greens overwinter here (SW Canada) and we have abundant local, organic produce in the summer so we do lots of squash and tomatoes for freezing. For cutting fresh even in January, we have kale, chard, and (hopefully soon) collards. happy gardening!

  6. What a helpful post. I have total garden paralysis. It's a whole world I know nothing about and finding non-Monsanto seed companies and figuring out when and how to plant, fertilize and store is so overwhelming to me. Maybe I need to start with something like this so we can have our own veggies.

  7. So exciting. I am in zone 10 in South Florida, so our growing season for most edible food is ending soon:( I had a few varieties of tomatoes going, bad luck (as usual) with peppers, carrots, lettuces, and lots of herbs.

    Many of my herbs, my celery and my onions are still going. We'll see when the temps climb to the 90's soon.

  8. Hi Rixa,
    I'm doing a raised bed garden, well technically a square foot garden, this year with a pretty good mix of fruits and veggies. I remember reading your previous posts about your raised beds. Do you do all of your gardening in those beds, or do you do some traditional row gardening also?

  9. I live in an apartment, but I regularly volunteer at a local NFP farm and garden, and get to take home all the produce I can eat in exchange. It's great for me. I can learn all about gardening in a low pressure environment, I only have to go once a week, and the work is shared.

    But, that survival seeds pack sounds like a great way to start if I ever have a house with a big enough yard!

  10. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing the link!

    I overwintered some broccoli and spinach (yum) and have been eating those. I have garlic in the ground from last fall, and have planted more spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, and green beans. And of course I have lots of fruits from last year that will be perking up soon!

    What is a honeyberry? Never heard of that one.


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