Seeds: The Importance of Proper Harvesting and Storage
Many people consider food storage to be one of the most important areas for survival planning. Certainly, we won’t argue the fact that food storage is a vital part of preparedness planning for crisis situations, but, food storage alone is not a complete long-term survival solution. We must begin to actively consider active food production. In other words, we need a plan to produce food.
If we only consider a food storage plan, we are only providing a temporary solution to our food consumption needs. We must develop a long-term strategy to replace what we consume. So, that would certainly lend support to the argument that an even greater area of importance for survival planning would be in the storage (and harvesting) of seeds.
Without seeds, food-bearing plants cannot reproduce. Once a food is consumed and utilized in the body functions, it no longer provides value. Thus, without seeds the plant and its bounty would soon become extinct.
With today’s technology scientist are looking for ways to increase yields and to develop disease and pest resident food plants. Genetically modified seeds (hybrid seeds) when harvested from the plant, in most cases, will not germinate to reproduce the plant. The heritage of the plant has been modified and the seed is essentially a mutant. On occasion modified or hybrid, seeds will germinate, but the plant is usually stunted and sterile. These GMO seeds have been man-altered from fulfilling their created purpose, and give an unhealthy dependency and control to those who produce these unnatural seeds.
Heirloom seeds are seeds that have not been genetically modified. The seeds from tomatoes, for example, are harvested from the fruit itself, cleaned and stored for future planting. The seeds if they germinate will reproduce an exact replica of the plant year after year. The seeds if harvested and stored properly can maintain the plant’s heritage for centuries.
Plants, such as fruits and vegetables produce seeds in a variety of ways. Tomatoes, for example, will produce seeds inside the fruit itself. Squash, bell peppers and cucumbers are several others that produce seeds within the fruit or vegetable. Onions however produce a flower that contains seedpods. Anyone growing onions with seed harvesting in mind, must leave several onion plants to go to seed. The plant will grow a flower that carries the pods. Once the stems begin to dry out you can collect the pods. The seeds should be dry and easily removed from the pod. If they appear wet leave until they have thoroughly dried out. Generally, once the seeds have been removed from the husk they are ready for storage or planting. Typically, seeds that have been produce by pods are called dry seeds and will not need further processing. Wet seeds or seeds that are produced inside the fruit or vegetable usually require fermenting or cleaning.
Tomato seeds are an example of wet seeds. They are surrounded by pulp and must be separated from the pulp and any subsequent bacteria or mold. This is accomplished by soaking the seed and surrounding pulp in water for up to two days. Keep the water at room temperature to restrict germination. The mold and pulp will separate from the seed and float to the surface. Some seeds may germinate during the cleaning process. These seeds can be planted or discarded. Mother Nature also provides seed fermentation for plants that produce seeds within the fruit or vegetable. Animals that consume the fruit or vegetable pass the seeds through their digestive track. The seeds lay in the animal’s droppings until the season and temperatures are right for growing. The animal’s digestive process has essentially fermented the seed.
Keep in mind seeds from undeveloped plants may very well grow poor plants. It is incumbent upon you to grow as healthy a plant as possible. Harvest seeds from several plants to ensure a mix to prevent carrying problem plants forward. Cull stunted plants early and nurture the strong ones. Once the seeds have been dried properly after fermenting or culling from the seedpods, they can be sealed in a glass jar and placed in a refrigerator. What you want to avoid is high humidity and extreme heat. Seeds do not have to be stored in a refrigerator however. Simply find a cool dry place where there is no chance of sunlight falling on the storage container. In some cases, the seeds can last up to ten years this way. You can place silica gel packs in with the seeds to prevent moisture collection. Seeds that have not been properly dried may mold, which will destroy the seeds.
Many people believe modified seeds are the way to solve the worlds hunger problems. Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely. The fact is, creating Genetically Modified seeds puts the ability to control populations (and life) in the hands of a small group of individuals, scientists, businesses or governments. Hybrids depend on scientists and laboratories to produce them, which means the global food supply would be dependent on these laboratories for our sustenance.
Heirloom seeds, by contrast, are produced as part of the natural life-cycle every time a plant’s fruit or vegetable crop comes to fruition. It takes a long and tedious process to harvest heirloom seeds on a large scale which is part of the argument used for GMO seed production.
As you developing your preparedness plan, consider the long-term issues of food storage and production. Look deeper into your food consumption needs, and consider the importance of the seed.
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