Growing your own food (and being prepared to grow your own food from scratch) is foundational in being prepared for longer-term disasters. Keeping survival seeds on hand (prepper seeds) is the way to make sure that, in the face of an emergency, you have the right tools to “kale” it in the garden and “beet” anything that comes your way. This post takes a look at what kinds of seeds preppers should have for their survival garden, and the best survival seed packs to buy.
What Kind of Seeds for a Survival Garden
It’s a really dumb world we live in. It used to be that you could simply save seeds from one year’s harvest to plant the next year. But with the explosion of agrochemicals, biotechnologies, and genetic modification for higher yields (and higher profits for companies), most seeds today are sterile, as a result of hybridization or genetic modification.
What does this mean? It means you can’t simply buy any old seed packets to stockpile for your survival garden.
Preppers need to buy open-pollinated seeds or heirloom seeds for a survival garden. Open-pollinated means the plants are pollinated naturally by animals or by the wind, which means there will be more variety in the plant’s ultimate traits. Heirloom seeds are more stable than open-pollinated seeds since they’ve been bred repeatedly over centuries for more predictable genetic traits.
Pre-Made Survival Seed Vaults for Preppers
The good news is that there are plenty of pre-made survival seed kits for emergency preparedness. (You can also make your own DIY survival seed kit, which is in the next section below.)
The Survival Essentials kit is one of the top-rated seed vaults available on Amazon. It contains 144 varieties of heirloom seeds. And this is an important note: Don’t necessarily choose your seed vault based on variety. It doesn’t matter if you have a hundred different varieties of okra seeds if you live in Vermont and can’t grow okra in your hardiness zone. The Survival Essentials kit addresses this by including seeds that cover all 9 of the USDA Hardiness Zones.
For a few reasons, I think this kit is the best to buy if you’re looking for convenience in planning your survival garden: it provides a variety of heirloom seeds; it covers all the Hardiness Zones; and it’s packaged for longer-term storage (2-10 years depending on how you store it).
Why Make Your Own Heirloom Survival Seed Kits
There are also reasons to make your own seed vault and survival garden kit.
The first reason is cost: if you’re buying a pre-made seed vault that is meant to cover all hardiness zones, you end up paying for seeds you can’t viably plant. By making your own seed kit, or at least choosing one that is prepared for your region and environment, you’ll end up paying less.
The second reason is storage and use: Like emergency food supplies, ideally you are cycling through your survival seeds every year or two. Why? Same reason as your emergency food: cycling through and using your seeds ensures your emergency supply is always fresh. I have no doubt that pre-made seed vaults can in fact keep seeds viable for 5 years. But I also see no reason, if you’re planting a garden each year anyway (as you should be), to not cycle through and make absolutely certain you’re keeping viable, fresh seeds.
This raises another point: maybe you’re not planting a garden each year because you live in a place where that’s not feasible (like an urban environment). If you are prepping in a city, maybe the pre-made seed vault from Survival Essentials is your best and easiest bet.
But if you ARE planting a garden each year, and are taking the approach of cycling through your emergency seeds, you might first look at smaller heirloom seed packs like the Open Seed Vault Survival Garden or the Pure Pollination 40 Strain Variety Pack.
The third reason to make your own survival seed kit rather than buying a seed vault or one of the above heirloom bags is customization: Beyond simply customizing to what can grow in your hardiness zone, it’s nice to be able to customize to personal taste and personal preference. (Don’t like kale? Then don’t grow kale.)
Again, if you’re making your own emergency seed supply from scratch, remember: only buy heirloom or open-pollinated seeds (non-GMO, non-hybrid). While they aren’t the status quo, there are plenty of seed suppliers to get you what you want.