Episode-614- Seed Saving, Seed Banks & Seed Storage

Photo credit to tonrulkens

So yesterday I did a show one could only call alarming about GMOs and the problems they are creating for society in the name of science and supposedly feeding the world.  Though one wonders how putting round up resistant bent grass on golf courses will fee anything?

Today true to the TSP mission I turn to one of the personal solutions to this problem, preserving the genetic diversity of our existing seed stocks.

There is also a ton of confusion in the seed marketplace today about exactly what a GMO is, what a hybrid is and what an “heirloom” seed is.  Without an understanding of this you are vulnerable to a lot of misinformation campaigns designed to sell you things you don’t need or keep you from using some seeds that may really be beneficial to you.

For instance some hybrids may be resistant to a disease that is rampant in your region or allow you to get an earlier start in a region with a short growing season.  Additionally you do want to avoid GMOs and GMO containing foods whenever you can but the risk to seeds used by home gardeners at this time is greatly over exaggerated by those with something to sell you.

Join me today as we discuss…

  • Understanding Seed Storage and Seed Types
    • What is a GMO vs. what is a hybrid
    • What is an heirloom vs. what is an open pollinated variety
    • What is the purpose of a commercial seed bank, the positives and negatives
    • Do seeds ever “go bad” or is it not quite that simple
    • What are the enemies to a seeds vitality, what makes for good storage
  • Saving You Own Seeds
    • Selecting fruit/seeds for saving
    • Separation distances and cross pollination
    • Succession planting to avoid cross pollination/hybrid crossing
    • Manual pollination and isolation to ensure purity
    • Resource for specific seed types
  • Building Personal Seed Vaults
    • Remember the enemies of seed storage (light, heat, moisture)
    • Oxygen free is NOT the way to be
    • Ziplock vs. mylar vs. containers vs. envelopes
    • Consider how long you really need to store seeds
    • Focus on what grows fast and what provides calories
    • Remember some seeds are food and some food is seed
    • Buying seeds is a good investment – Start with out supporters
    • Trading is another great way to add stock and diversity (local rocks)
    • Why you should join Seed Savers Exchange

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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15 Responses to Episode-614- Seed Saving, Seed Banks & Seed Storage

  1. Excellent show. This covered a ton of information I’ve been trying to clarify and find. I’ll have to listen to it again to absorb everything that was brought up.


  2. Great Show. I love the idea of giving seeds away. One of the things that we do when I have extra seeds is grow several additional seedlings and then sell them to help pay for our garden that year. We generally give seedlings away to friends and neighbors, but I think after your show today, I will probably expand to associates. Thanks!!!

  3. I wonder if someone could make some small scale money selling extra seeds at a farmers market. I usually only see produce “ready to eat.” What would the restrictions be?

    • Modern Survival

      @JarHeadTed, absolutely none. In spite of the hype around things like S.510 you can sell just about all the seeds you can produce to anyone that wants to buy them.

  4. Kevin Yoakum

    Hey Jack,

    I commented about yesterdays show that I watched a documentary called Unnatural Slection last night talking about GMO’s. At the end of the movie about 55 minutes of 59. An Indian lady shows off her seed bank and talks about how India used to have over 200,000 varieties of Rice today it’s 265 because of the green revolution. Great topic.


  5. Did some research on this and had a few thoughts. Why do you need to kill weeds in Alfalfa? It is a solution without a problem? Then as a farmer, why would I want to buy seed every year for Alfalfa? It’s self seeding with regular alfalfa. Then why would I want to spray Roundup on my soil when it binds with nitorgen in the soil and remains in place? Add on top of this, Roundup is a salt. Sounds like a quick way to make a lifeless sand of my soil.

    They, the only thing that is stopping RR Alfalfa from becoming a noxious weed in a farm as a responsbile farmer not allowing more than 10% to go to seed and no cross polinating with other weeds and on the farm. Seems unlikely.

    All it would take to ruin a soybean/corn crop in the MidWest is RR Alfalfa and RR Bentgrass to be unleased on the farmland by the stray seeds as the farmer drives his trackor through the fields. Then he will have fiels of bentgrass and alfalfa with corn.

    • Modern Survival

      @David O. and why does my spider sense tell me Monsanto already has a “solution” ready to solve this problem. I hate them SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fricken much!

  6. Great show again, Jack! (Hybrid Labradoodles are not evil, hybrid Labradoodles are not evil… lol)

    Just curious if you heard Frank Aragona’s last Agroinnovations Podcast. He (and others) are saying we should drop Monsanto’s newspeak label of “GMOs” in favor of calling them “VTGs” (Virulized TransGenics) to more accurately portray the essense of these organisms as the “infected” (and to my mind, “infectious”) strains that they are.

    Also wondering what your thoughts are with the info about the letter from the pathologist Professor Emeritus Don Huber to Ag Secretary Tom Visac warning that a new pathogen is apparently already on the scene from these VTGs that could threaten the domestic food supply.


  7. Wow, tons of great info today.

    One strategy I don’t know if he mentioned is to plant 3 or 4 seeds in every container or soil cube or whatever you’re using. That way you can take out the weaker plants when they’re a few inches tall, making a first selection and improving your variety and it also covers you if your germination rate is low.

  8. Great show. I had a friend give me her seed bank last fall. The seed packs were at least 10 years old. I planted some of the winter wheat inside last December and it is over 12 inches now. The flowers are also growing.

  9. Awesome show!
    This is very important stuff, i hope everyone listens carefully, especially to the part about Spirko variety and breeding our own, most-adapted plants.

  10. I used to subscribe to a mag called Progressive Farmer until they had an issue that was so pro-monsanto that it made me vomit. As I wated fro my subscription to run out, I couldn’t help but notice the series they started back a few issues. Anyway, here is the link to the crops page that mentions ethanol gmo corn and resistant weeds. Sometimes it is good to read the info from the people who actually think this stuff is a good idea.


    or this one more specifically on weeds:


  11. Hotpepprosu,

    I nosed around the website…Loved to see that Palmer Amaranth is a major problem for the RR cotton in the southeast. It is naturally resistant to Roundup. Farms just need to see that that should be planting Palmer Amaranth. It can fix a lot of the problems that Roundup does to the soil, and it is natural, and it is a crop. Funny how the Earth fixes things.

    By the way…I have bookmarked the sight. They tell everything and are so slanted to production farming they miss the real news.

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