Tag Archives: emergency fund

A Review of Heaven’s Harvest’s Heirloom Seeds

This year is supposed to be our year of no new projects. We want to just improve on what we already have going, so we don’t get caught up in “overwhelm” (can that be a noun?) and frustration.

The garden is one project that we’ve wanted to simplify this year. We’re going to let our main plot lie fallow, and plant in our newer, smaller beds instead. But somehow, we got to April and we still hadn’t picked out or started seeds! (Have I mentioned that I’m a procrastinator?)

When I had the opportunity to review Heaven’s Harvest’s heirloom seed bucket, I breathed a sigh of relief. I wrote the company in an email (and this is a direct quote), “Honestly, it would make my life a lot simpler to be handed a kit of seeds instead of having to go through and hand pick every one.”

Take a look inside the heaven's harvest heirloom seed Kit.

So, receive a seed kit I did, and I am so happy for the opportunity to share what’s inside this bucket with you!

I received a free bucket of seeds from Heaven’s Harvest in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

About Heaven’s Harvest

Heaven’s Harvest is a small, family owned company that offers various emergency preparedness supplies, including water filtration systems, greenhouses, and of course, seeds! I spoke with Meredith from Heaven’s Harvest before accepting a seed bucket, and she was very courteous, helpful, and prompt in her responses. It makes me very happy to deal with small, dedicated companies like this one.

What is a seed kit? 

Generally speaking, it is simply a collection of seed varieties that are fit for growing in most common garden zones. Heaven’s Harvest specifically offers emergency preparedness seed kits- that is, kits that focus on providing enough protein and nutrition to feed your family in case of a situation where grocery stores would not be available.

There are several sizes of seed buckets available. Today, let’s take a closer look at the “homestead” vegetable seed bucket– the largest seed kit available from Heaven’s Harvest.

What's inside a homestead seed kit from Heaven's Harvest.

What comes in the homestead seed bucket? 

Approximately 130,000 individual seeds in 38 different varieties arrive in a hardcore polycarbonate bucket. Each seed type is packaged in a UV radiation-resistant, resealable mylar foil bag that’s meant for long term storage. In fact, if stored properly, Heaven’s Harvest says these seeds should last up to 10 years!

All seeds from Heaven’s Harvest are non-GMO, non-hybrid, open pollinated heirloom seeds. Why is this important? The short answer is that these seeds can be saved year after year to reproduce the same varieties as the parent plants. Conversely, many seeds on the market today cannot be saved, or will not reproduce true to type.

It’s worth noting that for the long-term, sustainable garden, seed-saving is a valuable, money saving skill that’s worth acquiring. For a clear discussion of different seed types, I encourage you to read this short article by my friend Susan.

Things I love about my seed kit:

  • It came with its own storage container.
  • The seed packs are resealable. (No more spilling seeds!)
  • I can save the heirloom seeds year after year.
  • Most varieties included should work well in a variety of garden zones. (Scroll down on this page for a full listing of seeds in the kit. Make sure the plants will grow well where you live!)

The only thing I wish were different is that there are no planting instructions on the back of the packages. If you are unsure of how to plant these seeds, you will need to refer to an internet search or another gardening resource.

Bean seeds from Heaven's Harvest heirloom seed kit

Are these seed kits a good value?

The homestead seed kit includes 130,000 seeds and costs $249.99. That may seem like a lot to you, but the truth is in years prior we have spent about $150/year on far fewer seeds. (And most of them were not heirloom!)

I found seed kits for less online, but they did not include nearly so many seeds. (Or they didn’t even include seed count!) Similar kits rang in at $0.0026- $0.0033/seed. (A small price, I know!). However, Heaven’s Harvest’s kit costs $0.0019/seed. That is significantly less, especially considering that Heaven’s Harvest is sure to include vegetables with high protein and high caloric intake.

If you don’t want that many seeds, the good news is that Heaven’s Harvest offers smaller kits: The neighborhood kit, with 24 varieties for $149.99, and the condo kit, with 12 varieties for $74.99. Seed packets can also be purchased individually as desired.

These seed kits are marketed as a survival tool. How will they help me in an emergency?

Some people buy an emergency preparedness seed kit and put it on the shelf to save for when the stuff hits the fan. If this is your primary intention when purchasing seeds, you will be sorely disappointed if you ever find yourself in a true food shortage situation. Seeds take knowledge, time, practice, and effort to grow into viable food for you and your loved ones. If you ran out of food before your garden was growing, you would likely starve before harvest time.

However, Meredith and John from Heaven’s Harvest encourage you to start using, saving, and sharing your seeds in your bucket today. They recognize that gardening is a skill that takes time to cultivate. They have designed their seed kits to promote longevity and sustainability:

  • Heirloom seeds can be saved year after year. Start your garden & begin seed saving this year, and you will have free seeds for years to come afterwards.
  • A large seed count means you have some insurance against crop failure. (Heaven’s Harvest tries to err in your favor with approximate counts.)
  • Extra seeds can be kept in resealable bags to be used for future gardens, shared with friends, or saved in case of a crop failure.
  • Seed varieties include greens, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, melons, root vegetables, beans, cabbage family veggies, so there is significant variety to ensure 1) that you’ll have enough caloric and nutritive intake, and 2) that you’ll find plants that are successful in your garden zone.

A seed kit will only work for survival if you have practiced with it. Take advantage of the fact that Heaven’s Harvest’s seed kits are designed for long-term development of gardening skills, and don’t wait for an emergency to plant your garden!

Is a seed kit the right fit for you?

This seed kit might not be the best fit for you if:

  • You live in an exceptionally hot or cold garden zone.
  • You like to individually pick seeds.
  • You prefer hybrid seeds to heirloom varieties.
  • You prefer to purchase smaller amounts of seed at one time.

Heaven’s Harvest seed kits might be a good choice for you if:

  • You live in a common temperate garden zone.
  • You don’t want to spend time slaving over seed selection.
  • You want to save seeds for following years.
  • You want long term seed storage for your seeds.
  • You are interested in emergency preparation
  • You value heirloom, non-GMO seeds.
  • You like to buy in bulk for the best value.

For this procrastinator, a seed kit from Heaven’s Harvest was a wonderful solution this year. I look forward to planting from my seed kit and practicing saving seeds from these varieties. I will be sure to come back and update how the seeds did!

Check out all of Heaven’s Harvest’s seeds and emergency preparedness supplies here.

Look inside an heirloom seed kit to see if it's right for you!

 

Good Pickins’ #14

Frigid wind chills have swept our region this week, and our poor hens have been hanging out inside most of the time. Us too, actually. Why go out more than you have to when you can snuggle inside in comfy sweatshirts and fleecy PJs?

December 2014 030Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Things You Didn’t Know About Eggs – Here’s an interesting post on egg and layer facts. I actually really didn’t like a couple of things in this article, but sometimes the things that get me fired up make me want to share about it. One disturbing fact in this article was how many male chicks are killed by the laying industry yearly (can anyone say WASTEFUL?). The next was the quote on cholesterol… but did you know that high cholesterol in eggs is primarily a problem found in commercial layers? Which leads us to the next article…

Free Range Eggs: The Good Egg– From Mother Earth News. Did you know that free-range eggs have half the cholesterol of the typical store-bought egg, and many more times the nutrient? So perhaps the idea of too many eggs being bad for your health is born out of the unhealthy way we raise our commercial chickens. Things that make you go hmmm…. and one more reason to buy local farm-raised eggs or to raise your own.

Being Frank About Family Size– I really appreciated Sarah’s gracious, yet unapologetic approach to family size. We shouldn’t criticize the mother who wants eight children close together, nor the mother who wants only one or two. “The quiver is full with how many are in there,” she reminds us, and I couldn’t agree more. While you’re at it, check out I Was That Mother In The Grocery Store for a little courage in facing your daily routines with children who act like- uhhh- children.

Ten Smart Ways to Build an Emergency Fund– Remember that post I wrote on emergency funds? Ruth at Living Well Spending Less offers some practical ways to begin building that fund for a rainy day.

Read on, and have a spectacular Saturday!

 

Emergency Funds: Because Life Happens

It can happen to anyone at anytime. Everything is going swimmingly, when suddenly your car breaks down. Or your boiler stops functioning mid-January. Or you have an unexpected medical problem. Not only do you have the problem to fix, now you have another problem too-

Money.

emergencyfunds

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Dave Ramsey (who I highly recommend if you’re facing financial stress) recommends building a $1000 emergency fund that you strictly are not allowed to touch. Ever. Unless in case of emergency! He then recommends to continue building an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of your income/expenses in case one of you loses a job or faces catastrophic circumstances.

We took this emergency fund advice seriously shortly after we got married, and I am SO glad we did. It has the amazing ability to help keep you ahead instead of behind. Although we keep dipping into it for various needs, we are usually able to gradually replenish it by the time the next mishap comes around. And it’s funny- there always IS a next time!

When have we needed an emergency fund? Just in the past six months, we have had several occasions. First, our water stopped working and we found out we had to replace our well pump. About $1900 later, we were functioning again. Fast forward a couple of months: a swarm of European hornets infested the wall in our kid’s room. It cost $150 to get them out from a bee removal company (which was actually a steal), plus the money to repair the hole cut into the wall above our daughter’s crib. Next, our car inspection cost a few hundred more than we expected. Recently, heavy rains revealed a leak in our roof. This week, our deep freezer went. Fun, fun.

Big or small, emergencies DO happen and can knock you into a major financial hole if you’re not prepared. Our emergency fund is not nearly as large as many financial experts suggest (we’re just not there yet!). But if we hadn’t had any fund, each of these unpleasant surprises would have put us in deep doo-doo with the bank and our bill payments. While financial upheaval can still be a shocker, the cushion of back-up cash (even a few hundred!) can make the unexpected much easier to handle.

How can you build up your emergency fund? If you have extra money, great. Prioritize your fund and put away a little at a time ($10 a month? $50? $100?) until you reach your goal. If you don’t immediately have extra money to put into savings, look for other expenses that you can temporarily eliminate and put that money towards your fund instead. Cable TV, Netflix, the newspaper, a gym membership, your morning coffee run or lunches bought on the go- all can be dropped to give you some substantial cash to keep on hand!

While it’s tempting (especially during the holidays) to make extra purchases out of stress, lack of time, or for gifts or convenience’s sake, it’s much better to take some of that extra and put it towards an emergency fund. It might save you big time one day in the future!

Here are more ideas to help you build a stash for the next rainy day.