As more and more Americans purchase Seed Banks and Survival Seed Kits, it’s important to know how to determine quality, quantity, and growing ability. The best Survival Seed Kits contain non-hybrid seeds, or seeds that 100% natural and haven’t been “enhanced” or altered. The best seeds are those with high germination rates, meaning the vast majority of seeds actually grow into food. As for quantity, that depends on how big your family is, how much land you have, and how prepared you think you need to be. To help, we’ve come up with our top 10 list….the top ten seeds you and your family need to survive.
#1 Lincoln Peas
Lincoln peas are one of the most popular vegetables on the market because they’re easy to grow and delicious. These sturdy peas have a sweet flavor when picked young, but also have excellent long-term qualities when frozen or canned. Lincoln Peas have a 60 day turnaround from planting to picking, making them perfect for quick turnarounds. Pods are 3 inches long with 5 or 6 peas on each pod. A Lincoln pea plant is compact at about 18-20 inches long and the best part is they don’t require staking. Peas are also very hardy and can withstand cold temperatures and light frost well.
#2 Scarlet Nantes Carrots
The Scarlet Nantes Carrot is the classic gardeners carrot because of its delicious old-world taste that is sweet and healthy. This carrot is a 5.5-6 inch long coreless variety that is perfect for juice, raw eating, cooking and freezing. The Scarlet Nantes is a particularly good variety due to its excellent freezing or canning qualities. This biennial plant produces a seed stalk the second year. Turnaround time from planting till harvest is 65 days. 1 ounce of seeds gives you approximately 16,000 seeds. Carrots in general are known for their durability, strength and above average germination rate.
#3 Parris Island Romaine Lettuce
Parris Island Romaine Lettuce is a fine romaine lettuce with tight, medium-to-large upright heads. This Lettuce has an excellent green color and fine flavor mid-ribs that are crunchy and juicy. Romaine lettuces are among the most nutritious of all lettuces due to their high chlorophyll content. The turnaround time from planting to harvest is 66 days. The heads are uniform in size, tall and erect with interiors that are pale-green to cream. The outer leaves are dark, gray-green in color and the lettuce is named after the island off of South Carolina.
#4 Detroit Dark Red Beet
The Detroit Dark Red Beet is the most popular beet on the market due to is tender and sweet taste. Beets are also particularly convenient to grow because they can be harvested at any stage of growth. The Detroit Beet is a biennial plant that produces a seed stalk the second year. Beets are delicious pickled, roasted, steamed or baked. They can also be canned and stored effectively. Their mid-sized roots grow with a smooth, round shape and rich scarlet color in a 50-day growth cycle. Beets are a cool-weather crop, directly sown in fall or as soon as soil can be worked in spring.
#5 Swiss Chard Lucculus
Swiss Chard Lucullus is a biennial plant that has large, heavily savored green leaves with celery – like white stalks. This vegetable grows about 28 inches high throughout the summer and fall and has a turnaround of 60 days. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, either as fresh salad greens, or cooked. The flavor is mild and delicious. It is also one of the earliest vegetables to plant. Swiss Chard holds well after cutting and tolerates hot weather. It grows until first frost and produces heavy yields yet never bolts. If it is kept cut regularly this chard will bear and remain in prime condition over a long period, making it a perfect addition to a Seed Kit.
#6 Golden Bantam Sweet Corn
Golden Bantam Sweet Corn is an open pollinator variety with 5-6 inch long ears of richly flavored quality corn. Seeds can be saved for future harvests in subsequent years. Golden Bantam can be served fresh, frozen or canned. The plants grow to about six feet and produce seven inch ears loaded with eight to ten rows of sweet, plump, golden kernels. Each ounce is approximately 110 seeds. Turnaround time from planting to harvest is approximately 80 days. Seeds are open-pollinated and can be grown, harvested, and replanted endlessly.
#7 Black Beauty Zucchini Squash
This Zucchini is a glossy fruit that is long, straight, slender and firm. The Black Beauty is one of the most popular types of summer squash because it is very easy-to-grow. Zucchini has many uses and recipes that include preparation by baking, frying, steaming, or freezing. This fruit ranges in size from 6-8 inches and mature in a 48-day growing cycle. This early and prolific heirloom variety has been exceedingly popular for its dark green skin and creamy white flesh. Black Beauty can be used in soups, salads, and casseroles.
#8 Golden Acre Cabbage
Golden Acre Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that is delicious eaten raw, cooked, or prepared as sauerkraut, Cole slaw or stir-fry. Golden acre cabbage produces 3-4 pound heads that are succulent, sweet and tender. Each head measures 7-8 inches in diameter. With a 58 day turnaround, this veggie is easy-to-grow and low maintenance. It will grow best in partial-shade, in firm, fertile, free-draining soil. An ounce of Cabbage seeds contains approximately 5,600 seeds, which makes Golden Acre an excellent compliment to any Seed Bank due to its exceptional bang for the buck. Another advantage to cabbage is they can be planted close together, thus saving precious land for other crops. Cabbage can be harvested anytime after the heads form.
#9 Rutgers Tomato
The Rutgers Tomato is an exceptional vegetable with a fine, mild flavor. It has medium to large determinate vines and a turnaround of 74 days. Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable because they require little space and effort, yet they produce a large yield. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or juiced, dried, canned, baked, fried, and made into a range of sauces. Rutgers Tomato is a mid-season fruit that weighs 4-6 ounces.
#10 Waltham Butternut Winter Squash
The Waltham Butternut Winter Squash is an improved butternut-type squash with better uniformity and larger yields than other varieties. The fruit is tan in color and about 8-10 inches long. They are thin skinned with deep orange interiors. This popular squash is easy-to-grow and stores well when mature. Squash is a delicious vegetable that can be baked, boiled, steamed, fried, or frozen. Turnaround from planting to harvest is 95 days. 1 ounce equals approximately 250 seeds.