The Seed Bank

(Updated 05/07/2022)

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The Seed Bank Project is a collection of seeds that have a proven record of growing well in the Volusia County area. The idea is to have a variety of seeds, stored to retain viability, and able to be reseeded year after year.

The Seed Bank is contained in a sealed quart paint can (a canning jar would also work if kept in the dark) that contains a desiccant packet to reduce moisture. It should be kept in the refrigerator. When removing it, allow it to come up to room temperature before opening to avoid moisture condensing inside the can.


Requirements for inclusion:

  • Must have been successfully grown by Volusia County Prepping members for multiple years.
  • Must be open pollinated
  • Must have been successfully grown from seed from the previous year.


Misc. Items Needed:

  • Empty Quart paint can, sold at Lowes in their Paint department for $3.18. (or use a gallon can if appropriate)
  • Silica Gel Desiccant, one 10 gram pack per can (Amazon). These will be available (free) at the meetings – just bring your Seed Bank can.
  • Printed copy of Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide.
Be sure to DOWNLOAD and PRINT the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. It is as close to a “Single Source” guide to gardening as it gets.


Kentucky Wonder (Old Homestead) Pole Snap Bean
(28 g = ~75 seeds)

65 days. [Pre-1864, first known as ‘Texas Pole.’] Popular since its introduction, though it has undergone some change over the years. Resistant to bean rust. 8 in. pods, stringless and tender when small. Use fresh, for canning and freezing, or as a dry bean. Pkt (75 seeds)

[These do very well on a trellis such as a cattle panel or a fence. Pole beans are a better choice if you will be eating them fresh, since they continue to produce throughout the growing season. Bush beans were developed for mechanical harvesting, and they produce all at one time – great if you’re canning.]

NOTE: Beans should NOT be given much Nitrogen. Use about half of what you would normally fertilize with. Too much Nitrogen will produce great looking, lush green plants, but very few bean pods.

ALTERNATE: Blue Lake Bush Beans if you have no good place to use a trellis, or if you will be canning the beans. Bush beans produce in one large flush rather than spread out through the season as pole beans do; they still produce a few after the first picking. Blue Lake is also available in a pole bean variety. Both Blue Lake and Kentucky Wonder are so similar that they can be considered equal for our purposes.

Homestead 24 Tomato
(0.16 g)

(asc, cf, cr, fw1) 80 days. (Semi-determinate) [1966] Developed for hot humid coastal areas, especially Florida. Often grown in the Mid-Atlantic region, where it reliably sets fruit at high temperatures. Red 8 oz slightly flattened globes. Pkt.
asc = Alternaria stem canker
cf = Cat facing
cr = Crack resistance
fw1 = Fusarium wilt, race 1

[Tomatoes usually require additional calcium for the soil found in this area to prevent Blossom End Rot. Apply fertilizer made specifically for tomatoes.]

Seminole Pumpkin
Pkt (3 g, ~28 seeds)

(C. moschata) 105 days. [Cultivated in Florida by the Native Americans in the 1500s.] Keeps up to 1 year at room temperature! Small fruits are sweeter than Butternut and have firm, deep-orange flesh. Large vines bear bell-shaped buff-colored fruits averaging 6 in. in diameter. Resistant to vine borers. Excellent Downy Mildew resistance; a good choice for hot, humid, disease-prone areas. Give it ample water and room to roam. Also good as a summer squash when picked young.

NOTE: These take up a lot of room, making them an option for planting in open fields where they won’t get much attention. Prime garden space is probably better used for other crops.

Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce
Pkt (0.5 g, 400-600 seeds)

68 days. [1952, named after Parris Island, SC.] Parris Island Cos has steadily gained in popularity since its introduction. It has resistance to tipburn, tolerance to mosaic, and is medium-to-slow-bolting. 10-12 in. heads of slightly savoyed leaves with a creamy white heart.

[Allow some plants to bolt at the end of the growing season to collect seeds. Lettuce has little nutritional value, but it can be grown through the Winter in this area.]

Clemson Spineless Okra
Pkt (4 g, 64-86 seeds)

56 days. [1939, Clemson/SC. AAS winner.] 4-7 ft. plants with few side-branches. Ribbed pods (1¼ x 8 in.), harvest when pods are 3 in. or smaller. Spineless characteristic makes this popular variety easy to pick.

[Dependable producer in hot weather. Plan on picking every second day.]

Carolina Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper
Pkt (0.3 g, 36-60 seeds)

75 days. (green > red) [Introduced by SESE 1999.] The best nematode- resistant bell for home gardeners. Foliage, fruits, and yields are very similar to California Wonder. This variety is a potentially valuable line for developing other nematode-resistant bell peppers. It is also less prone to developing fungus in the seed cavity. The premium-grade, 3- and 4-lobed, fruits weigh ¼-1⁄3 lb and measure 3 x 4 in. Sweet flavor even when green.

[Peppers usually require additional calcium for the soil found in this area to prevent Blossom End Rot. Apply fertilizer specifically made for tomatoes or peppers.]

Tromboncino Summer Squash
Pkt (3 g, 29 seeds)

(C. moschata) 80 days. [Italian heirloom] Light green fruits grow long, curving to a bell at one end. Vining plants can be grown on a trellis. Harvest at 8-10 in. long when the flavor is fine and sweet. Vigorous moschata plants can bear all season in areas where insects are a problem for other summer squash. If left to mature, skin will ripen to tan like a butternut squash.

[This is the only squash we have found that is generally not bothered by bore worms or other pests.]

Florida Highbush Eggplant
(30 seeds)

This is an old variety bred in Florida in the 1940’s for use in commercial fields. Named for its large upright plants that keep fruit off the ground, the truly special thing about this variety, however, is its enormous eggplant. Glossy blackish-purple eggplants are oval to oblong in shape and can easily become 10 inches long. Fruit sets throughout a long season and are perfect for grilling, frying, stuffing, baking or any other eggplant use. 85 days.

Eggplant is not a high value vegetable when it comes to calories or nutritional value; however it is dependable and easy to grow, and adds variety to your meal planning.

Currently being tested, and looks promising (Spring 2022)

Field Pea, White Acre – High nutritional value, legume, does well in poor soil without fertilizer, drought-tolerant. Seed pods form near the top of the plant making them easy to pick. This southern pea variety has compact yet bushy plants that provide dense foliage for shading any new weed growth. At maturity, peas will be pale green when picked fresh. White Acre Pea is a southern delicacy with a mild, nutty flavor and a creamy texture. White Acre is a great pea for preserving. Blanch briefly, vacuum seal and freeze to have delicious peas all winter long, or can in jars for long-term storage.

Carrot, Nantes – Carrots produce seed in their second year. We currently have a test plot that should produce seed this year. If no seed is produced, carrots will be removed from our list entirely.

Seed Saver’s Basic List

If you are saving seeds (which you should be doing), and you want to keep the variety consistent from year to year, the easiest way is to not plant more than one variety of the same Plant Family. This also helps, somewhat, in controlling disease and insect pressure by rotating different plant families through sections of the garden. Pick ONE variety from each Plant Family on this list growing at the same time:

  • (Bean) Fabaceae Family – Beans
  • (Bean) Fabaceae Family – Vigna unguiculata – Southern Pea (acre peas, black-eyed peas, etc.) [Not sure if these can cross-pollinate]
  • (Carrot) Apiaceae Family – Carrot
  • (Cabbage) Brassicaceae Family – Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards
  • (Aster) Asteraceae Family – Lettuce
  • (Grass) Poaceae Family – Dent Corn or Sweet Corn
  • (Hibiscus) Malvaceae Family – Okra
  • (Morning Glory) Convolvulaceae Family – Sweet Potato
  • (Squash) Cucurbitaceae Family – Squash, Pumpkin, Cucumber
  • (Tomato) Solanaceae Family – Tomato, Eggplant, Pepper, Potato