The Seed Project

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by gypsysue, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer


    ]Last week we were contacted by one of the members of the forum, SurvivalNut. He'd bought a can of seeds that were packed for long-term storage, off of ebay, and thought it would be a neat experiment to have people in different places try to grow some of the seeds. He contacted MMM and I and asked if we'd like to head up the project.

    He mailed the can of seeds to us. This is a #10 can.

    The can contains the following seeds:

    Here's the blurb about how the seeds were packed, over 30 years ago:

    I've already contacted some of the people on the forum whom I know are gardeners. So far we have 11 people, counting myself/husband, committed to planting some of these seeds, keeping notes, and possibly taking pictures.

    If there are more of you who would like to try growing some of these seeds, and you take it seriously and will be an active part of this experiment, please send me a PM. I'd like to have a list compiled and be ready to start divvying up the seed in the next week or so. The people in the south will be getting their gardens rolling soon.

    The catch is that you have to give me an address to send them to. No one except myself will have that address, and I promise to delete it from my computer as soon as I mail your seeds.

    Notes and/or pictures on this thread, or PM's to me, would be appreciated, since this is to be educational, as well as interesting, to other gardeners who'd like to learn more about long-term storage of seed and how it performs.

    Everyone else's input and comments are welcome too!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2011
  2. catsraven

    catsraven Meoww

    Sent you a PM. Sounds like a cool project.

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Just send you a PM back, catsraven! Glad to have you join the ranks of the seed project! :D

    Thanks, NaeKid, for making this a 'sticky'!

    To answer some of the questions people have been asking...

    You don't need to send money for postage. SurvivalNut included money sufficient to cover postage. A big thank-you to SurvivalNut for thinking up and sponsering this very cool project!

    You an keep anything you harvest, including seed for future planting.

    The primary purpose of this project is educational. We all may learn a lot about long-term seed storage, how successful it is, and we'll learn how differences in temperature, humidity, soil structure, # of frost-free days, etc., affect the same seeds.
  4. Salekdarling

    Salekdarling Member

    I will like to try this out! Sending you a PM Gypsysue. =)
  5. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Might it be easier to follow if you have each participant start a thread, posting the results as things progress throughout the season. Having it all jumbled into this one thread would mean going back and forth every step of the way. Just a thought. :flower:
  6. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Salek, I got your PM! Thanks for being part of the project!

    UncleJoe, I had a hard time figuring out how we could do this, regarding having a category or thread. One thing I thought of is that we could make a "Social Group" and then all our threads will be together. I wanted to make sure any of the people on PS could read about this, if they wanted to.

    So maybe this thread could be one for alerting the rest of the forum to the Social Group for this project, and interested people could go there to read our threads?

    I'm not real savvy at this computer/internet/forum stuff, so ideas and help are welcome!

  7. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    OK. I created a group called The Seed Project. If you decide you like the idea, start the first discussion. If not, I'll delete the group and we'll figure out something else.
    Each person in the study can start their own discussion to post their results and everyone else can follow along if interested.

    Oh yeah. If we go this route, I can put a link to the group in the first post
  8. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    To the people who's addressed I already had for the seed project, I mailed your seeds today. Monday is a holiday, so no mail. Give it an extra day. As you get them, please let me know. I'm on the run right now, trying to finish things before the library closes.

    Most of you know, we're in Nevada right now, playing "bug-out" in the desert for a while (see my blog in my signature line), so we have limited internet access at this time!

    Can't wait until we all get gardening! :D
  9. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Oh goody, goody, goody!!! :)

    I was out looking at the garden plots today ( since it was 65°) and deciding where things will be this year even though I'm still a month away from being able to work the ground. :(

    I'm putting a link to the group at the top of this page. As this thread continues to grow, I'll post a link in the first post of every page so folks won't have to look far to find it.
  10. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

    I went to get 12 or so green peppers to dice and freeze for my seeds instead....$1.44 each for green peppers,, and red/gold were $2.68!!!!
  11. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    _________________________________THE SEED PROJECT___________________________________

    Very worthwhile experiment. A unique opportunity! This project I will HAVE to see! I'm a seed grower with a small laboratory and a greenhouse.

    And I'll report the results to my friends at Johnny's (where I once worked), as well as my buddy Elliot Coleman!

    BUT - To really have any real credibility with this:

    1. I assume you will be carefully listing seed viability... i.e. what percentage of seeds actually sprouted. If 10 were planted and 4 sprouted that would be 40% etc.

    2. Condition and growth progress of plants against a known control comparison.
    That means taking some fresh seeds of the same variety and planting, watering, and fertilizing with the same things in seperate containers or plots, side by side in nearly the same location.
    It would be interesting to see controlled pollination results, i.e. intrapollination of "old seed" plants and cross pollination with "fresh seed" plants.

    3. Yield at maturity against a known control comparison.

    - then it would interest me how the seeds collected from these would perform for the next generations.

    - photographs would be indispensible!

    Hey, "the proof is in the pudding" isn't it? ... ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2011
  12. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    I can't speak for others but I don't see myself doing any scientific analysis on cross-pollination. I'm a newbie, very small-scale, part-time farmer.

    Germination rate? Absolutely!! That's my biggest concern and the thing that I want to focus my attention on. Yields will be important as will the viability of the next generation of seed.
  13. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    Survival Seed Viability

    I purchased these seeds on eBay. With shipping I paid about $20. I actually let the auction expire, knowing I should put my money in viable seed storage instead. Then I realized the potential trove of answers that may come from the project, good or bad, that would benefit us all. Fortunately, the seller had a sense of humor and relented to sell the seeds for $5 plus shipping instead of tossing them in the trash.

    When I purchased the seeds, my first thought was to contact the AG Department of either the local College or University to see if they wanted to play along and do a scientific study. But my fear was the perfect controlled conditions or process they might follow would not mirror or translate into an average Joe like myself opening a stored can of seeds xx years in the future in SHTF or lesser depression scenario.

    There are lots of variables like type of seed, growing regions, and picking a good season or bad growing season to open the can. Lots of other variables like hot beds, greenhouses, deer, insects, soil types, etc will skew the results all over the place. It represents all of us.

    Since I am a mediocre gardener (i.e. crappy), any potential “average” results would be impossible for me to hope to produce. I would fail from the outset as my Eastern Washington growing area in high altitude and short seasoned.

    I am grateful that GS and MMM enthusiastically agreed to mentor the project when I PM’d them asking them to bail me out and to spread out the seeds, post the results and possibly publish an article in the future. I knew I was over my head from the outset. They have been awesome PS Board members.

    The results will give me a better idea about how to approach my seed storage strategy and the viability of longer term hardened (canned) seed sets that are an alternative enhancement to my shorter term and year to year seed stocks.

    I look forward to the results this year (and hopefully next), whatever they may be.

    In advance, I appreciate the efforts of our fellow community participants who have agreed to take the time to provide a base of information that will be useful to us today and all those that follow us in the future “wake up call”.

    Here is a note from the auction description: “Okay, so my father thought the world was about to end, and he invested in some cool survival stuff!”
    This unknown gentleman’s wise prep purchase 30+ years ago represents a book for us all to open and read, discuss and debate the results together.

    Thank you all participants again for being the “go to” answer guys and sharing your talents for a worthwhile project!
  14. SaskDame

    SaskDame Well-Known Member

    Wow, neat experiment. I have not volunteered as my gardening is so very haphazard. I plant enough for 100 people and hope to not kill enough for 3.

    I can say that I have often had Hybrid Spinach self-seed and the stuff does not breed true to the parent generation. At least I have not had one that does.
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I just have to say that I am waiting on pins and needles for the seeds to show up and a big thanks to SurvivalNut for letting join in on the fun! I will try to document as much as possible and take pictures. And save seed for next year as long as they taste as good as what I grow out now.
    It never hurts to have as much variety as possible seed wise, don't want another "potato famine" caused by inbreeding depression.
  16. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    I am also picking up a 35 year old mixed case of sprouting seeds (peas, lentils and triticale). After GS amd MMM give us all a report on their bug out trip, I'll spring this on them, tho they may just want to shoot me for this one.

    I've never sprouted seeds before, so again, I am way out of my credibility league on this one.

    We might as well have fun while we prep, right?:dunno:
  17. SaskDame

    SaskDame Well-Known Member

    We found some mung beans in storage that were purchased in, we think 1999. We are getting maybe 50% germination (sprouting). They were misplaced so storage conditions were not great. Most of that time it was really dry here and winters were cold and dry.
  18. nj_m715


    I just started sprouting last year and find it very easy. much easier than trying to get a garden to produce. I use a caning jar and cut a piece of plastic window screen to fit inside the canning lid ring. Just rinse them once a day and dump out the water. It grows in about 3-5 days in summer and 7-10 in winter. I tried some sprouting trays because I heard they are all the rage, but the small seeds fell through and through and the root grew into the holes. I went back to jars. I'd volunteer for your experiment, but I already kill 1/2 of what I plant so I'm not a good candidate.
    Since there are that old I would be happy with 40% germination and small fruit production as long as they produce viable seed. Last year we tried some potatoes. we started with only 6 seeds. Every potatoes was about the size of a golfball, but we ended up with about 25 of them. I consider it a success. We didn't eat any, but I have plenty of seeds for this year and I have some manure and fertilizer waiting. Hopefully we can eat most of them this year. I think the size of the fruit has a lot to do with the nitro, soil and sun, but like I said I have brown thumbs so I could be wrong. Good luck with the test. Waiting to see how it goes.
  19. Asatrur

    Asatrur Well-Known Member

    Eagle has landed

    Thanks for sending the seeds. They arrived today and we will start planting soon and keep you posted.
    In Frith,
  20. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    GS, got ours today. Thanks!

    Looking forward to getting into the dirt. :)