You may be familiar with the cans of seeds you can buy through emergency supply catalogs. Anyone that’s planning for a SHTF scenario probably has one or two of these cans sitting on a shelf somewhere. It seems like a great idea, but what if the day comes when you actually need to open up one of these cans and plant what’s inside? Could the contents of this small can really save your life? Will these seeds produce enough produce to feed your family, and for how long?
I purchased some canned garden seeds from Augason Farms in May of 2011 (the label gives a shelf life of up to 5 years if sealed.) The can contains 13 varieties of non-hybrid, non-GMO garden seeds including: beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melon, onion peas, peppers, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash, tomatoes and zucchini. Also included is a planting guide and the following information about the seeds.
“The 13 vegetables in the “Forever Garden” are specially chosen from the highest quality non-hybrid or Open Pollinated garden seeds available. This means you can harvest the vegetables you grow this year and then replant the seeds year after year….”Forever”.
“These seeds have been chosen for great flavor, and high yields, and have proven to adapt to almost any region, they are quality “short season” vegetables, and if cared for correctly the seeds may be stored in these containers for many years.”
One day, as I was checking expiration dates I realized that I’m putting my blind faith in this can, and I have no idea if these seeds will even sprout!At that moment I decided to give them a test run, so this summer I’ll be planting the seeds in my garden. I’ve already come across one problem with my plan…I don’t have enough space to plant the estimated 8000 seeds that are in the can. In a “real world” situation, I wouldn’t have the means to create more raised beds, or have time to amend my soil, so I’ll be using what I already have in place, and plant the remaining seeds in the clay-like soil around the backyard. I’ll be lucky if any of those seeds sprout!
The first step was to create a timeline of when to plant each seed variety. Below is the calendar I created using the suggested dates on the guide included. (These dates are based on the average last frost date for Flagstaff, which is June 13th.)
Onion, Red Creole (Indoors)
Bell Pepper, California Wonder (Indoors)
Tomatoes, Floradade (Indoors)
Carrot, Scarlet Nantes
Romaine Lettuce, Paris Island Coos
Spinach, Bloomsdale Long Standing
Green Beans, Top Crop
Corn, Golden Bantam 8
Squash, Waltham Butternut
Zucchini, Black Beauty
Cucumber, Boston Pickler
I’ll update this blog as often as possible with the progress of the seeds.
I hope you will all continue to follow along on this experiment with me!