Sure, everybody says you should use heirlooms when you’re survival gardening, but just because a seed says ‘heirloom’ doesn’t guarantee it’s going to grow. If you have problems keeping those hybrid seedlings alive every year then you’ll probably have even more trouble trying to raise crops from seeds. Here are some tips to help guarantee you success when you’re heirloom gardening.
Heirloom Gardening Seed Storage
Seeds need 3 things to grow: moisture, sunlight and nutrients. Moisture doesn’t necessarily have to come out of the end of a water hose and ‘nutrients’ doesn’t necessarily equal ‘soil’. For a seed to start germinating, it only takes a tiny bit of water – maybe condensation on the side of the jar or humidity in the air. And it only takes a tiny bit of soil – even a thin layer of accumulated dust is enough in some cases. Add in a sunbeam and your seeds have everything they need to at least start to grow.
Store your seeds in a cool, dark location in an airtight container. Make sure the container is sealed properly to keep moisture out. And your seeds have a shelf-life of about 2 years. You’ll get best results if you harvest the seeds one year and plant them the very next.
If you want to become expert at seed storage then read Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth. She covers in great detail how to produce and store seeds.
Choose Heirloom Seeds Native To Your Location
Heirloom seeds are tricky. The plants that produce them are hardy, but only in their own native location. For example, you might be able to grow Dolly Parton tomatoes in Kentucky, but not in Wisconsin because they’re just not hardy enough to stand up to the colder climate. On the other hand, seeds that are native to Wisconsin might not perform as well in Florida because they’re not acclimated to the heat.
When choosing heirlooms for your survival garden don’t base your decision on fancy names or promises of giant yields. Instead, look for plants that are native to your geographical location. These are the plants that will produce best in your garden.
Learn How To Really Make Your Heirloom Garden Grow
Those hybrid plants you’ve been buying at the Big Box store every year are genetically bred to grow – no matter what you do to them. You could leave them in the trunk of your car for the summer and you’d probably still get a tomato or two.
To be successful with heirloom gardening you’re going to have to really learn what makes a garden grow. You’ll have to learn about things like soil conditions, fertilizers and composting, best planting times for your area, how to properly plant a seed, which direction your garden should face – all that things that really make gardening fun.
In the beginning, heirloom gardening might seem like a lot of extra work. But let’s face it – in the event of a catastrophe, you probably won’t be able to drive to the store for tomato plants. Learn how to make your heirloom garden grow now, and you’ll learn to love those heirloom seeds. And you’ll know what to do when something really does happen.