What do you say when people think you’re crazy for being a Prepper?

We hear, all the time, we are crazy for preparing for hard times ahead. Many people believe because we live in the best country in the world nothing, as bad as we think, will ever happen here. When we disagree, they look at us like we grew two heads. They think we’re lunatics and need to be locked up in the looney bin. So, what do you say when people think you’re crazy for being a prepper? How can you get them to consider we might be right?

First, no amount of explanation can get through to the really stiff neck people who simply refuse to accept all the signs of decay in our country. For these people no amount of reasoning will persuade them. However, if you mention our fears concerning where our country is headed and the person seems to listen…you might be able to plant seeds of understanding by telling them what you believe and what you are doing to prepare.

Tell them about our loss of freedoms little by little through the years and the intrusion of the government into our daily lives. Ask them how we are supposed to sustain the increase of national debt and how long can we continue to over spend?  How long can a decreasing amount of working people support and increasing amount of people who don’t work and expect increased welfare and support? Never in the history of our country has there been more people collecting support from the government than those working and paying taxes. This alone can damage an already weak economy, much less all the other problems.

Next, we have a group of activists, raised in our country, who wish to bring us down to the level of third world countries. They believe Americans have too much and our lives are too cushy. They push the idea of equality for all people and put down the wealthy…even those who worked to build their businesses through hard work and fortitude. They want everyone in the world to live the same…except them of course. They want to rule the world from their lofty places and fancy mansions.

Add the above problems to the fact, whether we want to accept it or not, there are people in our world who hate us and want our country to fall. They hate our free market system, our freedoms and most of all our faith. These people have vowed to destroy us and our way of life. Many of them already live in our country. We never know when they will decide it’s time to push their beliefs and begin our destruction.

Anything could tip the scales and bring devastation in our nation. If or when any major event happens, our country could totter. From there it wouldn’t take much to make it collapse. If that happens, even those of us who have prepared will have a difficult time. Those who have not will suffer greatly and many will die.

If people will listen at all, tell them your preparations. Most are practical things everyone can do to make themselves more independent. Share the idea of heirloom seeds, canning more of their own food and raising a vegetable garden. Having three to six months or more of food is a great start. It’s important to gather seeds, canning jars and lids, gardening needs, along with medical supplies, guns and ammo, etc. while we can.

Most of all, encourage them to prepare their hearts. We must come to realize we cannot help everyone. That in itself will be challenging. But knowing you may have to defend yourself from those who would steal your provisions will be very hard. However, it could make the difference between life and death for you and your family. You must be prepared to make the difficult decisions. Being a Prepper is challenging, but we are sure you’re up to the task.

You can visit us at: FleetotheMountains.com

In a Post WCE, Where to get the Best Quality Seeds?

The simple answer is “from yourself”.  The only way this can happen is if you are already practicing the skills you need to secure the best possible seeds for next year’s crops.  Sure, many gardeners will tell you to choose the best plants to get the best seeds, but what they don’t tell you is how to consistently improve, over time, your ability to harvest the best produce possible.  As a matter of fact, you could produce a new variety of seeds through your efforts.

Start with the best quality seed you can get.  Seeds are expensive, so do your research.  Just because you have bought this or that brand for year after year does not mean you are in fact buying the best.

One of the most important things you can do is to keep a proper journal about your garden exploits.  Write down everything, every year.  Date every page.  Did it rain today?  How much?  Was it hotter or colder than normal today than last year on this day? Note it and log it.  What did you plant today?  Remember to log the germination rate each day.  There is no detail too small to consider adding to the journal about your garden or fields.  Why?  Because you will need that information after a WCE.  Then it will be too late to start gathering useful information for your region.  It takes years to gather what you need.  Some of it you can get from local garden experts, but your own experiences are more valuable than anyone else’s.

Test the germination rate for the seeds you plant every year.  You will know the rates for each company from which you buy seeds.  In this way you will better choose products that meet your needs best.  It is with these seeds that you will start your seed saving practices as well as your venture into creating a better and stronger variety of your favorite produce.

Since accuracy is important, keeping a separate journal for various produce so as not to get grape writings mixed up with apple writings might be a good idea.  Now for the good stuff.

When your plants are growing in the garden, continually watch them to see which are the best and worst.  When it comes time to harvest seed, choose only to harvest from the single best plant that has the best qualities you desire.  For the next planting season complete the steps over again.  Be sure to plant these seeds away from the possibility of pollination by any other source.

Each careful harvest gains seeds that are best suited to your environment and most resistant to the pests and diseases of your region.  In this manner you will create your own variety of plants and seeds.  Those, and your reputation for seed production will be valuable after a WCE.

Three Years After WCE, Will Your Garden Seeds Fail?

You did everything right.  You saved money, coins, what ever you needed to be able to trade.  You saved seeds for the Victory Garden and used them.  The world changing event happened, a WCE.  During the first three years you relied on the stash you had in the freezer, but you noticed each year the germination rate was down.  Every year you saved seeds from your garden, but still your garden got smaller and less productive each year.  Sometimes your garden produced weird plants because of cross pollination.  Some seeds failed to germinate producing no plant at all, or produced plants that produced no fruit.  If you don’t watch out, not only will you have nothing to trade, but you might not have any produce for your own needs.

Now you need to find a way to replenish your stash with good seeds.  You know some people trade them.  But in this new era seeds are highly prized and traders likely are not reliable to offer quality products.  They aren’t always “just seeds” any more.  They are the difference between life and death for many people.

In the future, after a WCE, you can expect the same things to happen as did during the 1800s.  Traders were less than honest.  They would knowingly sell seeds with a large amount of weed seed mixed into the lot.  How could they do it?  Simple.  They just bet on purchasers not being able to tell the difference between seeds that look very similar.

Lobelia Seeds
Click to view product details.

 

Since dodder weed seed looks remarkably like clover seed, the buyer could be fooled.  Cheat looks like oat seed.  There are other weed seeds that can be passed to the untrained eye as crop seeds.  As reported in the 1860’s, some sellers knowingly sold impurities as much as 30% weed seeds.  This means that the farmer purchased 738,000 seeds per pound which he thought was for crops.  Instead, he planted 288,000 weeds.  Consider how much time, garden space, and money were wasted in this manner.  If one third of the seeds you purchase are no good, and worse, they grow weeds it will be a waste and possibly the difference between life or death for your family.  You will have at least one third less harvest under the best of circumstances.

Another way people would trick farmers is by bleaching old discolored seeds so they would not look old.  Then they mixed some good seeds in with them. Buyers would end up with old seed that couldn’t germinate.  They might get two or three crop plants for every 100 seeds planted.  The weed crop is doing fine.  The farmer might think it was something he was doing wrong.

Yet another way bad seed is sold is when they are not stored well, or are left to freeze before they are dry and are ruined.  The purchaser can’t always tell just by looking if the seeds have been improperly stored.  But the seller knows what he did if he grew them.  It will pay to know the seller very well.  It will be better if the seller is fully dependent on you for something he needs badly.

This could be why so many people gave up gardening between 1900 and 1950.  The amount of work involved far out weighed the benefit of the produce.  Farmers had to use more land to have a yield big enough to bring to market.  It was not until the U.S.D.A. stepped in and regulated production and sales that seeds and sellers were cleaned up.

Now, seed labels must specify the year for planting, and the expiration date.  Most states require the germination rate to be printed on the labels as well.  If it is not specified, it would be reasonable to assume not more than 70% germination rate.  So, if you need 100 plants, purchase enough seeds to cover the 30% reduction in germination.  You might be happy if it is a better rate, but will be sadly disappointed if the rate is less.

Which brings us to the last way seed sellers might sell old and improperly stored seeds.  Their packaging may be worn and tattered.  If so, don’t buy them, or only offer a small amount of trade for them.  Seeds exposed to light and heat are always less vital than well stored seeds.  Most seeds only store for three to five years under normal conditions, not frozen, and the germination rate is reduced by about 15% to 30% or more per year.

Click to view product details.

After a WCE, how are you going to protect yourself from ruthless traders who would bring you bad seeds when you most need good ones?  Well, unless you have a microscope, pre-labeled seed slides, and some books to smarten you up, you can’t.

Click to view product details.

 


Some seeds are so small you wouldn’t be able to see what you need to know with the naked eye. The slides need to be made by you so you know exactly what you are looking at, and you need to inspect the slides often to see how the seeds have degraded over time so you can gauge the age of the seeds being sold.  The books give you the valuable information that you can use for the rest of your life.  With repeated study you can learn to protect your seed supply both now and in the event of a WCE.

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Armed with these three things, a seed seller who is not trading fairly will not want to subject his product to your tests of quality.  Who knows, your ability to discern good from bad seeds might enable you to trade your skills and knowledge for seeds and other items you need.

Feed the Beef!

For the first several millennium, cattle lived off grass or whatever forage was around.  Cattle were leaner and typically had a lower weight than they do now.  Then some time after 1875, farmers started to wonder why pork was preferred over beef.  As it turned out, pork had more fat.  Fat was a valuable resource.  It was used for everything from making soap to preserving and cooking foods.  Besides all that, fat in foods gives it a silky feel and makes things taste yummy.

Cattle farmers decided they needed to see what they could do to increase fat content in beef.  With trial and error, farmers discovered feeding cattle a diet of strictly corn for the better part of the year yields a fatter, heavier, and tastier beef.  This spurred farmers to grow corn to meet the demand, and eventually cattle farms were relocated to regions where corn is produced to save on transportation costs of the grain.

Corn is a high energy food, if fed to any animal weight gain is going to happen.  Eventually farmers realized they could reduce the amount of corn fed to the animals if they confined them smaller lots.  This revelation reduced the time on expensive corn from eight or nine months to three months.  Finally, some farmers rationalize that by further restricting the amount of movement, beef would be more tender on just thirty days on corn feed.

Of course, restricting movement, keeping animals in extreme close quarters, and little or no variety of feed, leads to less healthy animals.  Those cattle require all sorts of veterinarian services from antibiotics to treatments for flies and other maladies.  Some farmers also give their beef cattle steroids to produce more beef.  Every pound of beef is money.  Then cattle are taken to butcher or market, depending on the cattle producer’s choices.  The cattle on the right are awaiting auction.  However, the small pen is about the size of many enclosures prior to market or slaughter.  Feedlot cattle stand around in muck twenty-four hours a day.

Many of you are aware of these facts.  Some people think it’s just how business is done and it isn’t any big deal.  Other people think conditions need to be changed for greater health of the animal to provide a healthier protein for humans.

In contrast, until recently, most countries in Central and South America were grass fed.  They were pastured until they were wanted for slaughter.  People accustomed to corn fed beef usually find grass fed beef less appealing in texture and flavor.  For this reason, farmers in many countries have switched to corn feeding so they could enter into the global beef market.

What is interesting is the lack of discussion about cattle feed prior to 1875.  This is where it gets interesting.  Since cattle were mostly domesticated in Europe, those methods were brought along with the cattle as people migrated to the Americas.

beetsFarmers grew crops not only for their own consumption and sale, but also to feed their cattle, pigs and chickens.  Beets, cabbages and carrots are all perfect for cattle, just to start.  Cattle will eat just about any fruit or vegetable except nightshade products like potatoes and peppers.

Considering that these crops can be grown in large scale on just a few acres, it is obvious that people have it within their power to raise their own beef cattle as well as feed a dairy cow or a gestating cow.  Enough food can be grown for an entire year’s supply of cattle feed for the price of seeds.  You can produce more beets and carrots per acre than corn by weight.

If you feed garden produce to your dairy cow, remember what a dairy cow eats effects the flavor of the milk.  Cabbage is good food for bovine, but not so good for the flavor of milk. That is only Cabbagesimportant if you are consuming the milk yourself and it is not “homogenized” by a dairy company.

This is how it was done for centuries upon centuries.  People more often than not raised their own beef using their own produce.  This is proof that it isn’t too expensive to raise your own cattle.  People have bought into the lie about the difficulties of cattle production.  So much so that over time, almost 150 years, most people don’t know it can be done any other way.  For most people, the skyrocketing price of beef means they purchase less beef.  With this information, a little bit of land almost everyone can afford beef.  Those who don’t have enough land to raise beef can partner with others by producing vegetables in exchange for a quarter or side of beef.

 

 

Hold onto Your Vision

By Donna J. Benson

It is easy in our times to lose hold of your vision of hard times ahead as weeks, months and years roll along. Many preppers give up or burn out thinking all their preparations are for nothing as things continue to hold together. Yet all the signs are here and getting worse…we are ripe for a fall…collapse could come any time. Believers and non-believers understand the path we are currently on is not sustainable. So we prepare.

As a Christian, I found a Bible verse that greatly encouraged me.

Habakkuk 2:1-4 (GW)
1 I will stand at my guard post. I will station myself on the wall. I will watch to see what he will say to me and what answer I will get to my complaint.
2 Then the LORD answered me, “Write the vision. Make it clear on tablets so that anyone can read it quickly.
3 The vision will still happen at the appointed time. It hurries toward its goal. It won’t be a lie. If it’s delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late.
4 “Look at the proud person. He is not right in himself. But the righteous person will live because of his faithfulness.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (GW)

16 Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.
17 They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.

These verses inspire us to stay the course. They tell us our vision will happen…we just need to continue to prepare…stay the course and it will come to pass. God has given this vision to too many people to ignore. They differs some, but all agree we are headed for collapse and major difficulties. Most point to food and gas shortages, rationing, starvation and eventual martial law as our country implodes. Or outside forces could invade our weakened country, the results are the same. The cities and metropolitan areas will be the hardest hit. Rural regions where many grow gardens and can year to year will have an easier time (as far as food goes).

So I add my voice of reinforcement. We must continue to gather supplies, seeds, and equipment. Anything we can do to bring our families to self-reliance needs to be done. Each day brings us closer to the end of our nation as we know it. Do what you can now and do not lose heart. Stay the course, don’t lose heart.

 

Fall Garden Plans

By cindy

Three weeks ago we started our vegetable garden seeds in the house so they would be ready for the fall garden.  Great plan, right?  You would think it was a great plan anyway. For some unknown reason the seeds sprouted in less than half the time on the package.  Then …read more

Source: 2pairfarms.com

Travel Scenery as How-To Garden Instructions

When you travel, or are just out and about, pay attention to other people’s stuff.  Sounds kind of nosy doesn’t it?  Not so.  If it’s out in plain view, then you should be looking at it.  By looking at what other people are doing, you gain precious information about what you are doing right, or wrong.  Maybe you gain an idea about how to create something similar for your own home.  Or maybe you find a new way to use something that otherwise would be tossed out.  This is especially true for a garden.  Knowledge gained for free is free prepping.

Shutter box planter box for annual vegetable garden.For example, while traveling this week, we noticed this unique garden box.  Clearly it was not a flower garden.  We had to know more about it, but since we didn’t live in the community we didn’t’ know how well received we would be if we knocked on the door.  As luck would have it, the owner of the flower box just happened to stop by our host’s home to borrow a screw driver.

AHA!  The perfect opportunity to ask about the garden box.  As it turned out, Rachael was in the process of moving and had taken the rest of her garden to her new home.  She couldn’t take the box.

Rachael and Jerry used old window shutters that were going to be discarded to form the sides of the box.  They filled it with 100 fifty pound bags of compost dirt they got from the county landfill.  The first year they planted flowers, and every year after that they planted vegetable seeds staged for various harvest times.

Rachael was careful to plant according to space and time to harvest so that some plants would be harvesting while others were still growing.  This is important because they live in zone 6a as defined by the USDA plant hardiness map.  She harvested fast growing vegetables like peas, green  beans, and radishes while the slow growing vegetables like acorn squash, eggplant, and cucumbers were taking their time.  She did all of this in the same planting box at the same time.  As each vegetable was ready to harvest, they enjoyed them fresh and canned or froze the remaining produce.

Because they enjoyed the produce so much, Rachael and Jerry took their gardening another step further.  They decided You can grow almost anything in a bucket garden.to container garden using five gallon buckets and old wooden barrels.  In those containers they have several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, yellow corn and multi-color corn,  green and yellow watermelon varieties.

In the end, their garden is successful and has brought them happiness to see their labor return their favorite foods to eat for several years and will for many years to come.  To see more images of Rachael and Jerry’s garden go to the gallery.

Plan Your Garden According to the Growing Season

Planting Zone Maps are used to determine appropriate crops for your area.One of the great things about living in a sub-tropical climate is the extra long garden season.  They say we have 360 growing days per year.  That’s true.  Sort of.

The time table for this region is great.  For other regions, it is important to start planning early by purchasing seeds to start indoors according to your growing season.  The garden season for zones two, three, and four is much shorter than zones eight, nine, and ten.

AccuWeather.com provides a map with a historical average, actual weather temperatures as they occurred for the current year, and for futures months it provides the historical averages.  It goes back one year and forward one year so you can see the differences between what happened for each time period compared to the historical average.  This is important to planning when to plant your garden out doors.

If you discount the days where the temperature is too hot for anything to do well, the number of good garden days is decreased by 60 days to 300 days.  If you take out the days where there “might” be a night time freeze, then you are down another 30 days to 270 growing days per year.  Adding back in the days you can be growing plants in your home or greenhouse, it’s back up to 365 days.  This increases days for harvest and amount of food harvested.

Since weather is unpredictable, we pay attention to the historical patterns and how it is different from recent years.  There was a warmer difference of from five to fifteen degrees in January of 2013 compared to the historical average.  But, there were also some days cooler by five degrees.

Starting seeds indoors in July and early August assures your garden plants will be safe from the summer heat and ready for the fall garden.  Seed selection should include those plants that take longer than you would like until harvest.

What you plant should take into consideration how you will transplant them to your garden and when.  Read seed packages for information about how long till harvest and how well they do when transplanting.

Some garden plants do very well with transplanting and others die if the roots get disturbed.  The strong plants can be started in almost any container that allows you to remove the plant from the container easily.  Plants that have sensitive roots should be planted in biodegradable containers that are planted as is in the soil.

We consider the amount of produce needed to pack for the season and plant our garden accordingly.  Some for sale and some for canning and freezing.  By choosing different produce for the three harvest seasons, we can produce a greater variety and set aside more product for the year.

If you purchase seeds, it is important to buy your seeds in the spring when they are readily available and in good quantity.  It doesn’t matter that you won’t plant them in your garden right then.  It is important to have the seeds when the right time to start them rolls around.

By the time July and August come around, the seeds you want might be sold out locally.  There might still be some to purchase on the web.  But, most companies run out the most popular items early.  Placing orders in advance is helpful too.

Start the seeds of the longest growing time first.  Some crops take 120 days to mature.  Others take a mere 25 or 30 days.  With good planning there can be harvest nearly every day of the year in this climate zone.  Other zones require better planning to make the most of the growing days.

Seeds are a good investment.  Gardens are a great way to spend time with family and friends.  So much so that even the government recognizes the ability to increase independence and provide a nutritious diet for families.  Because of this, the USDA allows food stamp recipients to buy seeds with food stamps.  If the store does not apply the food stamps to your seeds, be sure to point out to them they are violating the law by disallowing them.  Give them this link http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm.  It is the definitive answer to the question for retailers.

 

From Compost to Potting Soil; part one

Finished compostThere’s quite a bit being said about composting.  It’s almost the first thing out of the mouths of garden enthusiasts when you ask for a list “must do” tasks.  There’s more to composing than letting something rot in a compost heap for a year and tilling it into your garden.  For the purposes of the prepared gardener, coming up with enough material to might be difficult.  Composted material is expensive if purchased.  Potting mix is more expensive than compost.

So, what exactly is compost?  Compost is needed to help combat soil problems.  Compost is rotting or rotted vegetation material.  Animal material may be composted, but that process is for another post.  For most gardeners, getting enough vegetation to compost is difficult.  Grass clippings, falling leaves, trimmed tree limbs and so on, but lets face it.  You can only mow the lawn, rake the leaves you have, and trim so many limbs before you run out of sources.  For the person who is making a small garden in their backyard, this could be enough material.

However, for the prepared, most likely it won’t be enough for the family farm.  Depending on your location, soil condition and the amount of conditioning your soil requires, finding enough matter could be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to spend large amounts of time tending to your neighbors’ lawns too.

Go to the dump.  Depending on where you live, your local landfill will have leaf, grass and tree trimmings.  Call them to find out if they sell mulch, double ground mulch, compost and other things you might want for your garden.  The price is minimal or free and usually sold by the pick up truck load.  In some cities they deliver.  If your landfill doesn’t have what you need, check with other counties.  One of them might have the product.

Go to the barn.  If you have animals that use hay or straw, or just make a mess on the barn floor, you are in gardener’s heaven!  Rake the muck and put it into bins for composting.  Regularly rake the chicken coop and put down fresh hay.  Not only will the birds appreciate it, but fresh chicken poop and hay is an excellent ingredient to add to the compost heap.

Go to the feed lot.  Pick up cow patties.  They’re just grass and water.  Adding a cow patty or two to a compost heap speeds up composting Cow Pattieswhile adding needed nutrients.  Don’t add too many or your compost pile could start fire.  Ask a neighbor if you can have some of his cow patties.  He’ll enjoy watching you get them.  Have cow muck instead of cow patties?  Take a bucket and a shovel instead.  You’ll know where to dig.

Start composting.  How you compost is up to you and depends on how much work you want to put into the job.  Small gardeners often spend $200 for a black barrel on stand that easily rolls to stir the compost easily.  Some people line a box with black plastic and fill it with compost material and cover with black plastic.  Every now and then they go out and stir it to keep it active.  But, the oldest way is to choose a place in the back yard and put the vegetation matter there.  Every week go out and turn the pile with a pitch fork and hose it down to keep it moist.

compost tumblerThe barrel method works fastest and is the easiest, but produces small amounts of compost at a time. This causes bags of material to sit around at least a month waiting for its turn in the barrel.  It might be necessary to buy multiple barrels or not have enough compost for all your purposes.  Using the barrel usually kills off any plant seeds and unwanted insects.  Instead of spending $200 for each barrel, some people make their own barrels from 55 gallon drums and wood.

The box with black plastic is limited only by the amount of black plastic and boxes you have.  It can be difficult to manage since poking holes in the plastic while turning the pile slows down the process.  If done properly, black plastic can get rid of any plant seeds and unwanted insects.

The back yard pile is slowest.  There is nothing to keep the moisture in so watering is important.  The pile must be turned well and often.  It can be difficult work if the pile is deep.  Making an unlimited number of piles makes keeping them sorted by age easy.  Having many piles going at once then becomes faster than the barrel method unless you have access to many barrels.

Tomorrow’s post will continue discussing composting, mulch, and making your own potting mix.

Seed Experiments Opens Eyes to Requirements

Saving seeds.Over the past three years we have been experimenting with seeds to see which ones are best suited for our long term food supply system.  The results have been quite eye opening.

Theoretically, seeds are supposed to keep indefinitely in a sub-zero freezer.  We decided to to do a three year test to see how such a plan could be implemented in a home situation.  We chose pepper and tomato seeds from reputable companies for this experiment from each of the three year lots.  Some of the packages were placed in the freezer and some were left unopened in the house.  Since they are clearly marked by the manufacturer as to the years of use, it was easy to track how the seeds performed.  So, how did they perform?

First, the three year old seeds, the oldest seed group.  The bell pepper seeds that remained at room temperature did not germinate.  Neither did the seeds stored in the freezer.  However, the room temperature tomato seeds produced three plants out of 50 seeds, that’s a 6% germination rate.  The frozen seeds germinated at a rate of about 50%.  None of the plants were viable.  They did not produce fruit.

In the next seed group, two year old seeds were bell pepper and tomato.  Five of the room temperature bell pepper seeds germinated, but the plants either did not survive or did not produce any peppers.  Almost half of the room temperature tomato seeds germinated, and half of those plants died before maturity.  Two tomato plants are producing fruit.  The tomatoes have a 2% fruit production rate.

The current year seeds produced interesting results.  None of these seeds were frozen.  The pepper plants, of various varieties, but including bell peppers, germinated at a rate of about 50%.  All of the tomato seeds are now producing fruiting plants.

The cause of failure to germinate and produce plants can be any argument about the conditions of the seed quality, soil, temperature, location, water supply and so on.  One also has to consider how many times during the last three years the freezer was opened as it would be by anyone who stores frozen foods.

The take away from this is that if we were going to try to save seeds, either purchased or saved from our own crops, it is important to note that freezing 50 seeds could result in no harvest during a time when the harvest is needed most.  So what is a person to do?

Complete your own experiment!  Each person’s situation is different.  Location, temperature, soil, and any number of other variables come in to play.  If you have old seeds, test them!  How else will you know if they are still viable and will produce food for your family?  If you find a seed lot that does not produce, replace them with new seed.

For us, this means we will need to save many more seeds than the number of plants we need.  If we expect a 3% success rate over time, we will need 100 seeds to get three plants.  If by chance all 100 seeds grow, we will have plants for barter.

Considering the relatively low price of seeds compared to other preparedness items, it makes sense to buy extra seeds in bulk both to use and to save for a world changing event.