What is a good way of knowing what you have on hand?
family has a complete food storage program that includes rotation. First, tabulate what the family needs. Often the foods are labeled by date and arranged into categories such as those that supply mainly calories (e.g., fats and sugars), those that supply mainly protein (e.g., meats, eggs, and cheese), and those that supply vitamins and minerals (e.g., fruits and vegetables). Second, when a category has been partially depleted through rotation, it may be replaced with a different food that serves the same general function. This type of flexibility lets a family take advantage of seasonal fluctuations in price and availability.
Taking inventory is a good way of inspecting the quality of the food. It also makes the food storage program a living, flexible program that can change with the needs and likes of the family.
What is the best method of storing seeds? How long do they last?
Garden seeds should be kept dry at all times, preferably in a cool place, and rotated periodically. Buying your seeds a year ahead will ensure a year’s supply of viable seed quite simply. Some seeds may be grown from this year’s plants, but not all—some plants cross-fertilize and produce unacceptable seeds. Hybrids revert to their genetic forebears, which may or may not be good quality. Some seeds that can be safely saved are peas, beans, nonhybrid tomatoes, and cabbage. However, cabbage and its cousins don’t bear seed the first year.