Farm, Garden and The Land > Gardening and Agriculture

Banking on an Emergency Seed Bank?

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Frugal Upstate:
This whole conversation makes me think of a book that I borrowed from the library months back called "the resilient gardener" (which actually I should read again)  The lady who wrote it seems to be of the prepper mindset-her introduction & first chapter talked a lot about diversifying so that you have a harvest despite weather issues, the fact that our current plant spacing recommendations are made with the assumption that you can water easily ( larger spacing means more soil for each plant to draw water from in a dry season), historical changes/weather that caused farming changes (I had never heard of the "little ice age" or how it changed the way Europe farmed). She does talk heavily about growing winter squash (she's gluten free) and how she air dries/preserves things. All in all an interesting read that is very pertinent to this topic!

I've been wanting to read the book "gardening in hard times" but my library doesn't have it.

Oh-and one more weather related point for new Gardeners.  It's easy to assume when you have a crop that does terribly that you messed up--but ask around!  It may be that it was just a bad year for that crop.  I was so dissapppimted in my first attempt at corn last year until I realized that all the professional farmers locally had a lousy year too.

macmex:
Nicodemus,

     I bet your problem with the dying seedlings could have been that your soil media ran out of nutrients. I've been gardening since I was four, and am now 53, and I STILL made that mistake, this year, when I started potatoes from seed. They all died because of starvation.  Seed starting medium is not like real soil. Once the plants have their first true leaves you need to fertilize with fish emulsion or Miracle Grow, on a weekly basis, until you plant them outdoors. And don't forget to harden them off by giving them a little and then increasingly more, real sunlight, before planting them out there. If you don't harden them off, they'll probably burn and die

Your comments on seed banks are right on. I do know that one can store most seeds in a sealed container, in the freezer, for a LONG time. I once grew out some seed, from such a cache, after 25 years, and they all came up as if they had been stashed away the year before. But the larger issue is that one be growing and learning, using and learning to eat, what they grow. A beginner would do best to grow only a couple of things he or she really enjoys, to begin with, and then branch out.

Climates and soils differ greatly. So sometimes there are few who can help one skip the trial and error aspect of gardening. Whatever you are really going to need, to survive, you had best be doing before you need it.

Incidentally, "The Resilient Gardener," by Carol Deppe, is perfect for a beginner, wanting to learn to be more self sufficient. It's also my favorite gardening book.

Here are a couple of threads discussing the book:

George

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/okgard/msg1208403331376.html

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg010646407371.html
 

Freebirde:

--- Quote from: Nicodemus on July 10, 2012, 08:15:32 AM ---Some garden staples don't simply produce just enough to eat within a certain period of time and continue to so on a long timeline so that a person to go out to the garden and just pick what they would need to eat on a daily basis. Some plants produce a flush within a relatively short window of time. Therefore, if the gardener doesn't have the ability to preserve a portion of the harvest when it's optimal, a lot of that food might go to waste. This means the gardener needs even more knowledge and perhaps more equipment.
--- End quote ---

Tomatoes, strawberries, and some fruits are the most common of these.   When it says 'determinate' or 'June bearing' on the seedpack or pot, that means most of the fruit will be ready for harvest in a short period of time.   This is good for growers who want to preserve/process all their crop at the same time.   When it says 'indeterminate' or 'everbearing', that means the fruit will be ready to eat over a longer period of time.

Some other good sources of gardening books are your local Goodwill, thrift shops, estate sales, and yard sales.    Estate sales and yard sales are also a possible source of canning supplies and garden tools.

Nicodemus:

--- Quote from: macmex on July 10, 2012, 11:44:12 AM ---Nicodemus,

     I bet your problem with the dying seedlings could have been that your soil media ran out of nutrients. I've been gardening since I was four, and am now 53, and I STILL made that mistake, this year, when I started potatoes from seed. They all died because of starvation.  Seed starting medium is not like real soil. Once the plants have their first true leaves you need to fertilize with fish emulsion or Miracle Grow, on a weekly basis, until you plant them outdoors. And don't forget to harden them off by giving them a little and then increasingly more, real sunlight, before planting them out there. If you don't harden them off, they'll probably burn and die

Your comments on seed banks are right on. I do know that one can store most seeds in a sealed container, in the freezer, for a LONG time. I once grew out some seed, from such a cache, after 25 years, and they all came up as if they had been stashed away the year before. But the larger issue is that one be growing and learning, using and learning to eat, what they grow. A beginner would do best to grow only a couple of things he or she really enjoys, to begin with, and then branch out.

Climates and soils differ greatly. So sometimes there are few who can help one skip the trial and error aspect of gardening. Whatever you are really going to need, to survive, you had best be doing before you need it.

Incidentally, "The Resilient Gardener," by Carol Deppe, is perfect for a beginner, wanting to learn to be more self sufficient. It's also my favorite gardening book.

Here are a couple of threads discussing the book:

George

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/okgard/msg1208403331376.html

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg010646407371.html

--- End quote ---

I'm glad that I happened to look in on this topic so that I could catch your reply, macmex. This is a different thread.  ;D

Maybe a Mod or Admin can move these over to the Banking on an Emergency Seed Bank? thread.  [DONE.]

My problem could have been nutrients. I added some calcium and magnesium, but nothing got past their first set of true leaves. I tend to think it might have been a perfect storm of problems with light, heat, water and nutrient problems.

The pepper plants that were yellowing, never got more than an inch or so high and only had about four leaves started a growth spurt once I repotted them and moved them outdoors. They probably got too slow a start to do much this year, but they're all the container variety and if they do well enough this year I'll take them indoors and try to keep them alive.

MissAnthrope Plant Nerd:
Interesting post.  I chuckle to myself every time I see an ad for one of those cans of seeds.  Yes, I have a couple sitting in the back of the extra refrig - but I wouldn't have actually paid for them - they were freebies and I am definitely keeping them set back.  I chuckle because I can see lots of folks - after the meltdown - run for their cans of seeds.  I can see the sad, dismal failure of their novice gardening efforts - they will stick all the seeds in the ground and . . . nothing but a few runty little plants.  I don't have a problem with keeping an unopened seed bank, BUT you had better have serious experience in gardening or the seeds will be wasted.  Those seed banks are sold as a magic button - with no forethought of what growing survival food will really entail and the months you have to baby your plants along until they start to produce.

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