Giant World Seed Bank


A few hundred miles from the North Pole and above Norway a set of islands called “Svalbard” exist. They are controlled by Norway and are hosting something that is quite unique – a Doomsday Seed Vault. This Global Seed vault holds over 1.5 billion seeds. This is an incredible amount and within those seeds a tremendous variety exists. Wheat alone is represented by over 50,000 collections from all over the world.

The intended purpose for the vault is to house seeds in case of some world catastrophe or plant die off. Although the environment is frigid additional refrigeration is provided. Should the vault lose power the seeds will remain preserved for years.

Here are some pictures of the Global Seed Vault:




seed-vault-e1445655575944 (1)

location-of-seed-vault (1)


Lets hope this global seed vault is never needed.

I have stored many seeds and found them to germinate for at least 3 years after date of packaging. I have to admit that many seeds I have tested were not stored especially well. They sat in my garage on a shelf. I think this points to the durability of seeds.

How about you? Have you put away seeds? Seeds are some of the least expensive preps that can be purchased and their use is so incredibly rewarding.


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19 thoughts on “Giant World Seed Bank”

  1. I have been saving seeds for a 2 years now .. Non GMO. If you save seeds out of what you buy in the store you may be surprised by how much does not germinate .. and are sterile. You can buy nitrogen filled seed vaults for not too much that will keep forever .. but you get a lot of things you might not actually care for. My wife likes to plant stuff that is pretty.. I don’t plant things I can’t eat… I tell her they “taste” pretty .. “just exercising another sense is all.” Yeah.. I get the eye roll…

    I recently began buying some seed that I can’t find .. Heritage plants. Like sorghum. Produces tons of seed, and can be pressed for syrup (barter and eat), then the Pressed stems and leaves can be used for “silage”. The there is high protein corn .. not necessarily sweet corn.. that you can grind for meal .. or feed to animals. I’m considering some old world gain as well .. Buckwheat, Amaranth .. maybe millet or quinoa. Though I did a little this year and it is seriously painful to harvest and sore without fuel driven high dollar machines. We share a mule driven sorghum press.. also difficult,

    I’ve learned a lot about how and what to save, but I am looking forward to anyone’s feedback. It’s also one of the reason’s I do bees.. feral bees as pollinators are disappearing .. and the honey is good for sale or barter.. eats good to.
    I did learn .. it aint the store .. and it takes a lot more to feed 3-4 people than you think. AND it all; comes in at once ..and why I talk about canning, and planning root cellars. all starts with seed.

    • Good stuff Goinggray58. I will look into the nitrogen filled seed vaults. I’ve also been researching and storing medicinal plant seeds, NOT the mary jane stuff, but real plants that are actually used as part of the chemical make up used in today’s pills. Minus all the other junk. I have the fish-biotics, but wanted more redundancy and choices. Simple things like an ear infection or cold can lead to deadly consequences when you can’t just go to the store and pick up a bottle of medicine.

      “World” seed bank huh? I imagine they are calling that, but when it hit’s the fan. Since it’s in their sovereign territory they aren’t going to just pass those things out. It will start with their land first and then for exchange of power and privilege to the rest of the world.

  2. Goingray58.Its great that you are also a beekeeper. I have a few hives and have been keeping bees for several years. I lost many to
    winter kill last year despite the fact that I left on most of the honey. Honey is excellent
    for us all .
    YES non-GMO heirloom seeds are a great prepping item. We have a couple of cans of seeds frozen
    (purchased from Emer. Ess) and medicinal herb seeds put away as well as vegetable seeds. This
    winter I will try growing some herbs inside under grow lights .

  3. Rourke- I have read about that seed bank-thanks for the great photos-wow-so happy they have
    saved so many varieties. Arlene
    PS If anyone has any access to non- gmo cotton seeds I would like to know where I could buy some.I would also like to show our grand kids what the seeds look like. Thanks.Arlene

  4. Seeds require oxygen to remain viable. Packing seeds in a pure nitrogen environment is not something you want to do. Moisture and temperature are the proper time limiting factors. My procedure is as follows:

    Carefully and slowly dry seeds

    Segregate into groupings by species

    Put each grouping into labeled paper bags (I make my own bags from acid free paper, and use pencil)

    Prepare a 4″ schedule 40 PVC tube of appropriate length and using the proper solvents, glue/fuse a cap on one end. Glue/fuse a threaded sleeve to the other end.

    Wrap a container of silica gel with acid free paper and place into package. Note:

    Some silica gel comes in small aluminum containers ( The non-rusting/decomposing aluminum container keeps the moist (after lowering humidity) silica gel out of contact with the preserved seeds (important when storing ammunition and weapons in a low humidity environment as well. Please do not just throw in silica gel in porous bag).

    Place the seed packages into the container.

    Grease the the threads on the PVC end cap that should have come with the threaded sleeve.

    Screw the greased cap onto the sleeve.

    You now have a low humidity waterproof container for your seeds.

    Wait a week for the silica gel to absorb any moisture/humidity in your new seed vault. This is important before freezing as the seeds will retain some moisture.

    All that needs to be done now is to put your container into the bottom of your freezer. I have several thusly frozen at -18F, the lowest my commercial freezer will cool.

    Hope this helps someone.


  5. If anyone is interested I could work up a post with photos the next time I preserve seeds from the garden (next fall likely). Let me know. I blot seeds dry and place in sunlight only.

    When properly dried and frozen, and in the presence of oxygen, your seeds preserved as described should remain viable for many decades. Heat and moisture are the biggest things to avoid.

    Some commercial seed vaults seal their seeds in metalized bags and then place inside PVC. I don’t recommend the bags as they limit the oxygen the seeds have access to the bag size. Properly prepare your PVC seed vault and protect its physical integrity (further enhanced at the bottom of your freezer) and it should preserve viable seeds for the rest of your life.

    I make a new seed vault every few years and plant my oldest vault in the next spring. This rotation provides quality control while rotating vaults. I suspect my grandchildren could use the seeds in my vaults when they are grandchildren.

    In addition, you may want to lay in a supply of auxin (root growth hormone) to increase germination which would be doubly important grid down.



    • PR
      Thanks ..
      yessir I would like to see that if you are up for the extra work 🙂 You could talk and youtube it too or not. I’ll say if you get a free commercial account, create a channel and people watch your video .. you get dollars for your work and over time it can add up .. I friend of mine videoed his Greenhouse build and nets about $110.00 a month. as you do more stuff you just publish that to your channel.. Some things are awfully rough .. and still make money .. some are polished .. the information is the important part .. thanks for the info bud. I plan on doing the same with some of my stuff .. whether I make money or not.

  6. Arlene,
    I’ll ask my son in Texas to bring some cotton seeds Thanksgiving. They may not be GMO but will be otherwise physically the same. If you wish, he could get a cotton bole as well (and hopefully leave the dreaded weevil in the field). I’ll have him inquire about non-GMO seeds.

  7. Our company’s “seed vault” is far less than the one in Norway, of course, but I have to say the organization they must have to keep everything in order is incredible.

    Our company, has at any one time over 500 varieties of seeds, and we are always organizing and reorganizing to make sure we are getting the right seeds out to our customers. I couldn’t imagine trying to handle 50,000 varieties of just wheat.

  8. Thanks PR I would truly appreciate that and I will pay you for the postage to send it up. I really enjoy teaching the young ones about crops that grow here and other places. If you e mail directly I will send you the postage.
    Yes I would like to see anything you wish to write about with seeds and seed saving.
    Rourke-I have a couple of good books on saving seeds.I will send in the titles. Arlene

  9. Arlene, let’s see if the son can find the seeds/bole. It may be late in the growing year but he has contracts at many of the big cotton warehouses in the Lubbock, Tx area. Not an issue on the postage. If I can get them, all I would need would be a mailing address. Let you know off line via email.

    Thanks all who responded. I’ll try to take some photos when preserving seeds next year and send them in with instructions. It’s not rocket science and I noticed Rourke is advertising a seed company that might be a source of non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds to squirrel away if you haven’t an operable garden.

    I didn’t want to write a dissertation on seed preservation in this format and may have confused some. Different seeds optimally store at different temperatures, moisture, and oxygen concentrations, for instance tree seeds may store best in a nitrogen environment. The general information I provided will certainly preserve your garden seeds for decades.


  10. I’ve had my seeds in the Mylar pouches they came in, inside a refrigerator for two years now, I read the refrigerator is a better storage option than the freezer do to modern freezers have temperature fluctuations do to the deicing settings, I will rotate next year, I keep enough heirloom seeds for a 10 acre farm

  11. Oh, how I wished my freezers had the deicer feature. After a year, mine are a block of frost. I usually defrost in the winter so that as items can be removed, I just move outside where they remain frozen.

    Arlene, the son will try to get some cotton when he is in Lubbock next so hopefully I will be able to send you some.



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