I know many people who have go-bags in which they carry seeds. I’ve learned a few things about seeds through my experience and research that I thought I’d share.
Most are probably aware that it is essential that the seeds are heirloom seeds. If you take hybrid or other modified seeds, they won’t produce seeds for you to store for future years. You may get something for one year, but that will be that. Heirlooms are original strains which produce seeds for future generations. If you haven’t done so, it is also important to research how to save seeds for the various plants you want to take.
Another critical piece to is find varieties to fit where you think you might go. There is a huge difference between those which will grow in a warm climate and those which can grow in a short, cooler growing season. If you plan to be somewhere further north, it is critical that you choose varieties with short growing seasons. You can get tomatoes that have 65 days to ripening and those with 95 days to ripening. If you are in the north trying to grow plants with 95 day cycles, your plants will never produce before the first frost. If you’re not sure where you might go, make sure you have variety. If you have to prioritize, look for things that can be dried and stored well, those that can provide things like starchy foods to get you through the winter and those that can be used in a variety of ways. And don’t forget fruit trees. If they can grow in the area, it’s an investment in the future to take seeds to grow them.
Consider what you take. I’ve talked about some of the challenges of gardening in a wild setting in a previous post, so it’s important to be realistic about what you will try to grow. All of the non-native plants will have issues that natives don’t- whether it’s attractiveness to animals or challenges with the climate. So, in addition to “garden vegetables”, I would recommend taking seeds of wild plants that have already proven their ability to thrive in nature. If they are native to the area you are going, you have the ability to propagate patches near you, making it easier to gather. They also require much less water and most grow much faster. Believe it or not, you can order seeds for what many would consider “weeds” through many online stores. You can also wild harvest so you get some practice at seed saving.
The final reminder is that seeds don’t last forever. Many seeds need a cool, dry place out of the sun for longest storage. So, if you have seeds in a go-bag in your vehicle, you may need to check more frequently due to heat and humidity they may receive in the car.
Now is a great time to work on gardening. Try some no-till techniques, gather and preserve seeds, then see if they will germinate. Experiment! It’s fun and may make the difference so you’ll have yummy food in the future!