This could be a challenge for city folk who think corn grows in cans…

Dr. Jim has a fun post about The Survival Seed Bank and after many years of entering horticulture shows, I feel more than qualified to laugh myself silly over this harbinger of doom.

First off, a plant lesson – the difference between hybrid and heirloom plants. Survival Seeds seems to think there’s some Frankensteinesque genetically modified mad science going on with hybrids. If your purebred dalmatian runs off and gets preggers by the neighbour’s champion stud poodle, will their offspring be monstrous products of genetic engineering? No, they will not. They’ll just be dalmadoodles.

There is no altering of molecules going on with hybrid plants. It’s not cloning, or protein tweaking. It’s not like what they’ve done to canola or corn to make them pest resistant. All they do is take two varieties of a vegetable, say tomatoes, and cross-pollinate between them. The fruit that results will be a hybrid of the original varieties and, with luck, the fruit will feature the best attributes of each, be it good colour, nice flavour, decent size, quick germination time, or heavy yield. Whatever the breeders are looking for.

You can still plant the seeds of purchased hybrid plants if you save them properly, but you’ll have to take whatever nature gives you. They’ll be inferior compared to their parent plants in many ways, if they grow at all. For the purpose of seed saving, you are better off with heirloom plants because you can rely on every new generation to be exactly the same as the previous in terms of colour, taste, and germination time. Size, quantity and quality will vary depending on conditions, of course, but that goes for everything you can plant, edible or not.

I think Survival Seeds is operating a scam, but not because they’re gloom and dooming you into something you don’t need. I think everyone should be planting as much as they can in the space they’ve got. Don’t wait for shortages. There are books and websites galore that show you how to container garden, plant strawberries in pillars, build potato boxes. You can get bumper crops no matter how big or small your yard or balcony is if you know what you’re doing. But watch for what zone you’re in when it comes to picking plants to grow. Everything has an optimal hardiness zone and in northern climates especially, a greenhouse is essential for starting seedlings because the ground will be frozen for longer which means the growing season itself is going to be short. And there have been years where a wicked early frost damaged crops in mid-August.

I think the scam might be how much they’re charging for this. Survival Seeds is offering 22 varieties of “Super Seeds” and charging $297 (unless you BUY NOW off their website – pay only $149). They add this dark warning at the bottom:

I want to make SURE you understand how much you’re getting here. If you purchased these same seeds “retail” you could very well pay over $600, if you can even find them. That makes the Survival Seed Bank package a ridiculous bargain. For just $149.00 plus 15.00 shipping and handling (total $164.00), you get enough seeds to plant a full acre survival garden! And… you’ll have confidence knowing that you and your family will be able to eat if the Insiders trigger some huge meltdown. You’ll have the best germinating seeds available. Don’t wait another second — call or order online right now, while you’re thinking about it.

P.P.S. Remember… when these Survival Seed Banks are gone (with the current seed shortage) we can’t guarantee enough heirloom seeds will be available to meet the current high demand.

You’d be daft to plant an acre (aka 43,560 sq.ft.) worth of seeds without first making sure you have enough people willing to pick 2000 square feet worth of cucumbers, let alone pickle ’em… There’s no point in planting more than you can use in a year unless you have ample storage space and know how to can.

I can only assume this was last season price, but Roguelands was offering 100 packets of heirloom seeds for $39.99 which is “a savings of over $175,” according to them. It doesn’t look like they’re selling seeds right now but I’d suggest bookmarking that for next year. Look at what they offer (sic throughout):

As a general guideline, each 100 packet sets contain ALL major crops, including: Heirloom Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Chiles, Eggplant, Beans of several types, Sweet Corn, Beets, Chard, Cabbage, Collards, Kale, Mustard Greens, Turnips, Carrots, Radishes,Cucumbers (slicing and pickling), Melons, Watermelons, Lettuce (several types), Asparagus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Onions, Okra, Peas, Parsnips, Spinach, Zucchini, Winter Squash, Pumpkins and a few culinary herbs.

We try to make sure that ALL of the above crops are included and typically several varieties of each are included.

We also include some less known crops such as Amaranth, Oriental Greens, Chicory, Endive, Lamb’s Lettuce, New Zealand Spinach, Miner’s Lettuce, Artichokes, Cardoon, Salsify, Luffa, Cucuzzi, Rhubarb, Wild Strawberries, Popcorn, Dent Corn, Southern Peas, Rare Grains … just to name a few.

Our 50 packet sets contain everything that our 100 sets include, with the exception of the less known crops and the fact that multiple varieties may not be include

Roguelands advertises that its seeds can be stored for up to five years. Unlike the Super Seeds that might require the “Indestructible Survival Seed Bank (container that) Can Be Buried To Avoid Confiscation.” Although they claim it can keep seeds for 20 years, like you’d remember by then where the hell you buried it…

The only thing Roguelands doesn’t say is how many seeds per packet, but it’s usually between 20-50, depending on the size of the seed. More for something like carrots or lettuce maybe. But at that price, you can buy four sets and still not spend as much as you would buying from Survival. And have much more choice in what to plant.

The moral of the story: Shop around. They may have your well being in mind, but I think Survival Seed has its eye on your wallet.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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2 Responses to This could be a challenge for city folk who think corn grows in cans…

  1. Dr. Jim says:

    I got 8/10s of the cherries needed for a pie from me 2 trees this year. Alas, they are still quite short. Bumper crop of oregano, some of which went to seed and is spreading all over the place. I forgot to water me pair of potted peppers and my apple tree died. Altogether an above average year for farmer Jim!

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    Well done you. Heh.

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