Friday, December 4, 2009

Survival Gardening- Self Sustained Living

That is a picture of some Roma tomatoes I grew in a bucket this summer. The seeds came from what I saved from my harvest last year. I'd like to share my thoughts on seeds, gardening and seed saving with you tonight.

How do I grow all my own food and how can it be free? Well, it's not free the first year of planting because the seeds have to come from somewhere. I bought some and traded for some. All the seeds are what is considered heirloom seeds. So, what's an heirloom seed? It's a seed that will produce the same quality plant as it's parent plant. For instance, the tomato. I plant a seed and it grows. Then it produces fruit. I save the seeds from that fruit, replant them and they grow a plant just like the first one I grew. Same quality fruits, same growing habits.

Nature all on it's own cross pollinates plants all the time. It's normal evolution. The problem with a hybrid is that the fruits of such a cross very rarely grow a plant like it's parent. The seed will grow a plant that reverts back to one of it's parent plants. So, if you plant a hybrid tomato that grows quickly, produces an early tomato with good flavor, the chances of a saved seed producing the same results on the next generation is kind of slim. That's why I plant only heirloom seeds. I want to have the same quality and performance year after year so I know what to expect and I know how much food I will produce. That's a good thing to know when you are eating only from what you grow.

Now, here's a type of seed that is what I consider to be the root of all evil. A GMO(genetically modified organism). This seed is the product of molecular genetics and can often have other organisms spliced into it such as pesticide genes that would never occur naturally. There is no scientific proof that plants and fruits produced from GMO seed do not harm organisms that would normally feed from these plants. Monsanto is now producing GMO seed that grows a plant to produce fruits that are sterile. The resulting fruits from the original GMO seed will not produce a plant. Hmmmm, don't fool with Mother nature boys, it never turns out well........

It makes sense to plant heirloom seeds, grow your garden and save seeds to grow next years garden from your bounty. All the following years you plant, you food is then free. Wouldn't you like to have the same bounty every year? Only use and save heirloom, open pollinated seeds for your self sustaining, survival garden.

Okay, where do you find heirloom seeds? Reputable seed companies such as Johnnys Seeds, Burpee and Seed Savers Exchange are good sources. Seed Savers is exclusively open pollinated. Other companies will tell you in the description and on the seed packet if the seed is hybrid. Never trust a packet or company that does not disclose which kind of seed they are selling. Do your research, read and read some more!


  1. I fell in love with seed saving , I am only on my second year , but there is something so tasty about a pie that you can trace its ancestry. LOL

    My butternut squash pie was so much better tasting than its mother was. I do hope that its children will be just as good. :)

    Something about knowing my plants parentage just tickles me to bits.

  2. great post.. thanks for the info

  3. I understand the difference between hybrid and heirloom, but what about seeds that say "open pollinated", but don't say if they are hybrid or not? Can seeds from open pollinated seeds be saved and grow true?

  4. great post MM,I wanna be a farmer like you when I grow up!!

  5. THANK YOU!! I had a basic understanding but clarify's it all for me. Thank you for the recommended sources. I was able to save one heirloom seed type and will fo for more/the rest next year. Saving dark jars for storage. Off to seach for seeds for this spring! you need any dragons tongue beans?

  6. I love the educational posts! I have a do we know how long a seed will/can be saved? What is the rule of thumb, one year, two years, five, indefinitely? Is it different for every specimine. How bout flowers? I snapped off the dead seed pods of some big beautiful merigolds from the parking lot at a restaraunt a few years back & forgot about them until I found them at the end of this growing season, I still have them but wonder if the seeds are still viable. They will be 3 years old at next growing season. Stacey SWPA

  7. Congratulations on saving seeds and growing your tomatoes and the rest. Another source for heirloom seeds is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (Http://'ve noticed Pinetree Seeds ( is carrying more heirloom seeds, too. I think several seed companies are doing so because it's trendy, and that's what the market wants now.
    To the inquirere above, seed viability varies, depending on the type of seed and where they've been stored. For example, bean seeds may last 5 years, but not onion seeds. I don't think marigold seeds last more than a couple years, but don't quote me on that. You can always plant them and see what happens. Hope that helps.

  8. I have some seeds in my freezer from about 10 years ago- I think I should plant them and see what happens! =)

    I have heard you can freeze them for longer storage but others have also said NOT to freeze them, but simply store in a cool dry place. I know the ones from survivalseedbank keep for years but they are vacuum sealed.


Comments always welcome