Importance of Stockpiling Heirloom Seeds
Kevin Felts 03.23.18
We have talked about stockpiling seeds numerous times here on AllOutdoor. However, while walking around the backyard where the 2017 garden was planted, I came across an excellent example as to why heirloom seeds are so important.
In 2017 an experiment was done on germinating decade old seeds. The seeds were bought in May of 2007, and had been stored in a deep freezer for 10 years. The seeds were germinated, planted, and various crops were grown. Some of the seeds were yellow squash.
At the end of 2017, a tractor was used to bush hog the garden area. After the bush hogging, a lawnmower was used to cut the grass in the garden area until winter.
Fast forward to March 2018, and squash plants are coming up where the original plants had been a year earlier.
Stuff like this happens on a semi-regular basis. throw something with seeds in a compost pile, and the seeds may sprout. Throw something in the chicken yard, and the if the chickens do not eat the seeds, the seeds may sprout.
It is not just the squash that is coming back. Some of the green onions which had been planted in 2017 are also back. There may be some peas coming back, but not real sure at this time.
Heirloom VS Hybrid
If the plants in 2017 had been hybrids, their offspring probably will not bear true to form, if they sprout at all.
Heirloom on the other hand should bear true to form. This means the plants coming up in 2018 will be like their parents in 2017. Keep in mind, some plants can cross pollinate and the resulting seeds will be hybrids.
Let’s say zucchini and yellow squash were planted next to each other. Since the two are related they can cross pollinate. Thus the saved seeds may be a hybrid.
For those preppers out there who are prepping for an all out collapse, take this into consideration. If farmers planted crops used heirloom seeds, there is a chance the seeds will spout the following year.
Potatoes are an excellent example. It is not uncommon to miss some potatoes when harvesting. The potatoes will stay in the ground through the winter, then sprout the following spring,
Garlic is a wonderful root crop that can spout year to year.
I have some onions here on the farm that are around four years old, and they sprout back every year.
Heirloom seeds are what allows someone to plant from seed, then harvest and save the seeds year after year. If crops are left in the field, there is a chance they will sprout the following spring.