And one last gem from Geri concerning freezing grains and an easy way to tell how dry your seeds really are.
What follows is a 1997 posting to one of Gary North’s forums, with Geri’s answer inserted after each question. Dear Geri, . At the Portland Preparedness Expo recently, I spoke with a lady who sells sprouting seeds and equipment as well as other storage foods such as grains and beans. She told me several things. Could I run them by you for accuracy. Let me list them as follows:
Now, I’ll share a big secret with you. Go to a good health food store. Go to the rack that sells commercially bagged grains. Arrowhead Mills is an example. You will find hulless (really “naked”, Avena nuda) oats, hulless barley, rye, etc. Turn over the bag and see if it says “organically grown, nitrogen packed” Bingo!!
Your grain storage worries are over IF you store them in an airtight/rat proof container. In the freezer is best. If you want them for seed as well as eating, test-germinate a few. Sprout 100 seeds between sheets of moist paper towel on a plate tucked into a loose plastic bag on top of the fridge. After all that are going to sprout do so, count them. If 86 sprout, its germination rate is 86%. That’s good. Store them well.
Geri Guidetti, founder of the Ark Institute, is one of the foremost authorities in the subject of non-hybrid seeds and survival gardening in the country today. Even in quick answers such as what you will find below, her comments are informative and authoritative. This is one lady who knows what she’s talking about. If you haven’t had the chance to visit her site, you owe it to yourself to drop in.
Geri’s answer: No, the seeds, grains, beans do not necessarily become dead food when the oxygen is removed. In fact, according to the National Seed Storage Laboratory in Fort Collins, CO–our official national seed bank–research shows no measurable difference in seed/grain viability for a majority of seeds whether stored in air, CO2, N2, or vacuum. If sufficiently dried, all of these seeds are effectively dormant to the point that the surrounding gas mix, or lack thereof, is insignificant to storage. Note, too, that we are talking viability, here–the ability for the seed to grow after storage. Seeds do respire at an extremely slow rate, however, which can be measured with a small increase in carbon dioxide gas after many years of storage.
Geri’s answer: Okay, hulless barley and NAKED oats. The tough hulls that adhere to barley and oats have made them nearly impossible for self-sufficiency folks to grow for their own food UNTIL the hulless varieties became more widely available again. For a long time, they seem to have disappeared, though it is thought that they were commonly available a long time ago. I grow both. I have recommended a hulless oat variety to many of you who have had me work up Personal Food Security Programs. These are great seeds. You can literally rub the hull off between two fingers
Now, the presence of air with its high O2 content will eventually cause beans to harden, but if kept in cold or freezing temperatures and DRY, they should be viable for germination for many years. They will, however, take longer to cook.
The IDEAL way to store grain for both retention of nutrients and for viability as seed is to freeze it. The key qualifier here, though, is that it must be DRY. How dry? Ideally down to 8% moisture. Ten percent is still good. Don’t fret about needing instruments to measure this. Longer seeds should snap smartly, cleanly in half when bent if they are this dry. Wheat and corn seeds should shatter and powder when hit with the head of a hammer (That’s the Geri Guidetti Dry Seed Test–you won’t find it in a book. It is very reliable,though.) Beans, peas and other large seeds will shatter.
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Thankfully, there are a number of sources where you can obtain non-GMO seeds (not genetically modified) and non-hybrid seeds. These non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds are the ones you are going to want to save for your DIY seed bank.
Spotlight: Now available for the first time, Spark Naturals has released their Essential 4 Pack in the larger, 15ml size. The kit includes, Lavender , Lemon , Melaleuca (Tea Tree) and Peppermint .
The month in the upper right corner is the month the seeds are mailed. It has nothing to do with planting.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
One of the best ways to accumulate seeds for the long term is to purchase a few packets of seeds monthly over time. You know how I like to do things One Month at a Time, right?
4. Keep your seeds in a moisture proof containers. A Mylar bag or mason jar is perfect as is a food saver bag. Even a standard Ziploc bag will work if you take care to squeeze out all of the air first.
All seeds are heirloom varieties and non-GMO. In addition, we have an FAQ at //averagepersongardening.com/seedsclub/faq.php which answers the most popular questions that we receive.
As with all giveaways, you will need to enter your response in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Thursday with the winner selected at random and notified by email and also with an announcement in the Sunday Survival Buzz. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or an alternate will be selected.
What is your favorite gardening tip?
I grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, I started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. Awhile back I abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on on San Juan Island in NW Washington State. These days I call Arizona home and am actively pursuing the purchase of a mountain retreat along the Mogollon Rim. As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a glamourista but hope you do not hold that against. me. My bug out bag includes makeup and other items to make me look and feel good if SHTF.