A seed bank is a collection of seeds that are stored for future use. There are some huge seed banks, preserving seeds from thousands of species. The world’s largest is the Millenium Seed Bank, managed by Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. On a smaller level, a prepper’s seed bank is a store of seeds for food plants so that you can grow food after the apocalypse.
Why Should I Make A Seed Bank?
Most preppers have a store of food that might last weeks or even months. But, if you’re really prepping for the collapse of society, you need to make sure you can provide your own food indefinitely. The only ways to do this are foraging for food, and growing your own food.
Keeping a seed bank means that you will always have seeds for edible plants. After the collapse of society, or an apocalyptic disaster, you will have seeds to start growing your own food. If you grow your own food, and a crop fails to grow for a year, you will still have seeds to begin growing the same crop the year after.
What Should Be In My Seed Bank?
Your seed bank should contain seeds from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that will grow in your area. The more varied your collection of seeds, the more likely you are to be able to successfully grow your own food. You should account for potential changes in climate, and not be limited to a small number of fruits and vegetables.
You should also include seeds for other plants that are beneficial to growing fruits and vegetables. For example, include seeds for flowers that attract beneficial insects. Include seeds for plants that can be used as green manure, and nitrogen fixing plants to improve the soil.
The seeds that you collect for your seed bank should be heritage varieties. Heritage (or heirloom) varieties are older varieties that are not hybrid. You can collect the seeds from a heritage plant, and planting those seeds will grow the same plant again. Many modern commercial seeds are hybrids; planting seeds collected from these will not predictably grow the same plant the next year.
How Do I Start A Seed Bank?
Starting a seed bank is pretty easy. All you need to do is collect or buy some seeds for various fruit and vegetable plants. You could start with this pack that contains many different varieties of heritage seeds, perfect for starting your seed collection.
If you already grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can collect the seeds from those. Heritage (or heirloom) varieties are best for collecting seeds. Seeds collected from hybrid varieties will not consistently produce the same plant.
How To Store Seeds For Future Use
Most seeds store best if they are kept dry. Place the seeds into paper bags or envelopes and label them. Keep the paper bags in an airtight storage container with a desiccant, such as silica gel packs. The desiccant removes any excess moisture, which stops mould from growing.
Keep the airtight container with your seeds in the refrigerator, at around 5oC. Stored correctly, most seeds will remain usable for years. However, don’t just make a seed bank and rely on storing it for many years. Maintain and use your seed collection and add new varieties to it.
Maintaining A Seed Bank Year After Year
The best way to maintain a seed bank is to use it. Each year, plant some seeds of each variety of seed that you have. Grow the fruits and vegetables, and save seeds from them to restock your collection of seeds each year.
You should never use all of the seeds in your seed bank. Keep some of each variety, so that if a crop fails one year, you still have seeds to try that crop again next year.
Treat your seed bank in the same way that you manage your stock of food and water. Rotate out older seeds, and keep refreshing your collection with new seeds. This way, you’ll always have plenty of seeds ready for planting when you need them.