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Old 10-26-2017, 10:09 AM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Default The Project Issue #2 and Seed Caches

I do like seeing new material coming out for MP. Though in Issue #2 of The Project that just got released, I saw one thing that just seemed off and did the math as I am wont to do.

The article mentions a cache type for a community that is one Pelican case with 1250 packets of seeds. The seeds are chosen for the region, climate, etc and are enough to supply four 100 acre farms for four years. Looking at some agricultural data, the average amount of seed for an acre of land using direct seeding (planting directly in the soil versus starter bed and transplanting seedlings) is right around two pounds. The average density of seeds is about 30 pounds per cubic foot. That comes out to 200 pounds per farm per year or 3200 pounds of seeds, or about 107 cubic feet.

The largest Pelican case I can find is the Mobile Military MM08 Pallet-Ready case at 35.8 cubic feet (internal capacity). So three of these will do the job. It will still fit inside a large sewer vault as the article mentions, but to call it 1250 packets in a single case and imagining carrying the case, opening it and handing a farmer a few small packets to plant is not exactly the right image.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:58 PM
cosmicfish cosmicfish is offline
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RPG designers and writers almost never do all the research and almost uniformly hate to do the math.
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Old 10-28-2017, 03:53 PM
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Try searching Seed Bank Kits like Heirloom Seed Bank Kit, they should give you an idea of how the kits should look
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:53 PM
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http://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/survivalseedvault.html

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Old 10-28-2017, 09:13 PM
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The image that ArmySGT. posted is very telling. That bucket supplies enough seed for a 2 acre plot. Just two acres. According to what else is on the website, that bucket holds 1.8lbs of seed but there are just over 55,000 seeds in that.
So using that as a basis for some really rough estimates, 100 acres would require 2,750,000 seeds so four x 100 acre farms would require 11,000,000 seeds.

Even without that crude info, I think most people would realize that the proposed Pelican case of 1250 seeds is would be hopelessly unable to supply one 100 acre farm for even one year let alone four.
So four farms for four years?
The Project proposal isn't just overly optimistic, it's so ludicrous as to make you laugh. Or cry.

The website that ArmySGT. linked to makes for a much better Project proposal. One bucket of 55,000 seeds for two acres appears to be enough to feed one family with some surplus so to my mind, a Project seed cache would be say, twenty of these 2lb pails (holding 1.8lbs of seed) to give 40 acres of crop. All that for just 40lbs weight and it's not particularly bulky.

If all that crop is kept as seed then (again using rough & optimistic estimates), the next season you could potentially have 80 acres of crop.
Yes it's going to take some time and probably requires the people being helped to be councilled not to eat the crop but if the Players like the rebuilding aspect then that sort of time period is a good tie to the community they're trying to help.
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:40 AM
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Farm Pail


https://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/sp/farm-pack.html

List
https://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/fmp-var.html

Homestead Pail

https://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/sp/homestead-pack.html

List
https://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/hp-var.html

Livestock Pail


https://www.non-hybrid-seeds.com/sp/livestock-pack.html

Last edited by ArmySGT.; 10-29-2017 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:22 PM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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So a few of those blue drums that can be used as rain barrel full of repackaged seeds should work.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:29 PM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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The 55-gallon blue rain barrel might be the best form factor for the original intent of the cache. You need just shy of 15 of them to hold the required number of seeds. Spread that over 16 barrels, and you have one barrel per 100 acre farm year. That way, each barrel will have enough empty space for educational material, like planting and growing guides, preservation techniques and a cookbook with balanced nutritional plans for the plants grown.
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Old 10-29-2017, 09:22 PM
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I go with the Pelican 1630 M.O.B. Case for the seeds and education material, and have 55-gallon blue barrel packed with a crop irrigation kit.

https://www.earlysgarden.com/compone...t2-700x700.jpg
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:29 AM
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I'm REALLY not comfortable with the idea that the Project could store sufficient seeds for several farms. Would it not be more plausible to have enough seeds for lots of vegetable gardens? That way, the Project could provide a way for people to obtain the necessary micro-nutrients and vitamins

This might be an interesting possibility

http://www.carbon.org/catalog/pub/disasterkit.htm
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:04 AM
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Does it really matter? Barring some exceptional technique, the team should know when they wake up and discover the year that these seeds are no longer viable. I wouldn't waste too much time on an irrelevant set of crates that should be immediately abandoned.
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:40 AM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Of course it matters. Seeds found in many places that have produced viable plants have been carbon dated as being more that 1000 years old a number of times. It all depends on storage conditions. At 150 years of well controlled storage you will have a lower rate of germination, maybe lower than 40%, but that can still be useful.

Last edited by mmartin798; 10-31-2017 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:52 AM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt W View Post
I'm REALLY not comfortable with the idea that the Project could store sufficient seeds for several farms. Would it not be more plausible to have enough seeds for lots of vegetable gardens? That way, the Project could provide a way for people to obtain the necessary micro-nutrients and vitamins

This might be an interesting possibility

http://www.carbon.org/catalog/pub/disasterkit.htm
Is it the word farm that is the problem? I am not talking about a monocropping mega farm. From the start I assumed a farm practicing conservation agricultural, which includes growing a variety of crops, rotating them, and other sustainable practices. This is why there are packets of many varieties of seeds in the cache rather than large sacks of a single crop.
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:14 AM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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And some references on permaculture, other sustainable farm techniques. Spare tool handles, for 5 years after there would be a lot of heads in garages and barns.
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:29 PM
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Wandering around the net looking for sites that relate to this topic, I found the following information from this site: - https://www.thespruce.com/how-many-v...garden-1403355

Quote: In “How To Grow More Vegetables”, intensive gardening guru, John Jeavons, says you’ll need about 200 sq.ft. per person to grow enough vegetables and soft fruits for the growing season at intermediate yields. To grow all the food for one person's needs for the whole year requires, for most people, at least 4,000 square feet—though some diet designs are possible that can use a smaller area. :EndQuote

200 sq.ft per person or for those of us in metric, approximately 18.6 sq. metres.
For comparison purposes, 1 acre = 43,560 sq.ft.

So in regards to Morrow teams trying to help out with agriculture, a typical vegetable garden as we envisage it, would be a supplement to whatever other food gathering practices a settlement has. The idea of stocking seeds to help establish even 2 acres of crop will obviously need a substantial amount of seed (based on the figures for a 2 acre plot in the website that ArmySGT. linked to).

Rereading the cache description provided by mmartin798 I realize that I thought the cache held only 1250 seeds but it actually meant 1250 packets of seeds. Even with that correction I think that those packets will not hold enough seed for a single 100 acre farm for four years let alone four 100 acre farms for four years.
I think it would work better if that allocation of 1250 packets was meant to supply up to 100 acres of crop, but 400 acres and for four years just seems wildly optimistic.




NB: For all the conversions I've been using http://www.onlineconversion.com/area.htm
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:14 PM
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800 year old seeds from extinct species of Squash grown in Michigan.

Seeds
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic View Post
Rereading the cache description provided by mmartin798 I realize that I thought the cache held only 1250 seeds but it actually meant 1250 packets of seeds. Even with that correction I think that those packets will not hold enough seed for a single 100 acre farm for four years let alone four 100 acre farms for four years.
I think it would work better if that allocation of 1250 packets was meant to supply up to 100 acres of crop, but 400 acres and for four years just seems wildly optimistic.
These are or should be all hierloom or non hybrid seeds.

Heirlooms are old varieties that have become uncommon due to mega farms and mono cropping. Saving seed from each harvest will produce true and full varieties of the seed saved. Depending on the fruit or vegetable 10% to 50% would need to be unharvested until fully ripened to produce seed (onions. turnips, corn, etc). Tomatoes, squash, melons, are notorious for their seeds and none would have to be held back or ripened past a point for quality consumption to have enough seed for the nest years harvest.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:06 PM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmySGT. View Post
These are or should be all hierloom or non hybrid seeds.

Heirlooms are old varieties that have become uncommon due to mega farms and mono cropping. Saving seed from each harvest will produce true and full varieties of the seed saved. Depending on the fruit or vegetable 10% to 50% would need to be unharvested until fully ripened to produce seed (onions. turnips, corn, etc). Tomatoes, squash, melons, are notorious for their seeds and none would have to be held back or ripened past a point for quality consumption to have enough seed for the nest years harvest.
Friend of mine bought a farm where heirloom watermelons have been grown for 100 years. the watermelons and seeds came with it.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:31 PM
cosmicfish cosmicfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmySGT. View Post
800 year old seeds from extinct species of Squash grown in Michigan.

Seeds
This and other examples miss a few important points:

1) Every species has its own period of viability. Some seeds are viable for centuries, some for decades, some for a few years. 150 years after sealing, most of the varieties will be long past their sell-by date, even if a few are still within range.

2) Not all seeds within a given species expire at the same time. If the mean survival of seed X under conditions Y is 15 years, then a few will likely still be viable at 30 or 50 years, but most will be long dead.

3) A lot of the news stories about ancient seeds being recovered miss that growing them required exceptional techniques and/or a lot of seeds per growing plant. The "Methuselah Tree" that was grown from a 2,000 year old seed was the work of a single dedicated grad student subjecting the seed to a number of techniques and materials that were not part of standard agricultural practice. The squash mentioned above does not indicate how many seeds it took or what the grower did to cultivate them, but I would be willing to bet that it wasn't "plant one seed, water and fertilize, yield one plant".

So my point is that if the viable period of the seeds is 10 years, then 150 years later there may be a small fraction of one or two varietals that will still grow with what the typical Team can do, but if the Project is going to grow from their seeds then they will likely need a better seed vault where the Project uses special techniques and facilities and personnel to preserve a variety of breeds long past their viable dates.

And there is one other point, I guess: Who is going to use this in a game? As has been noted by many on here, it is hard to get most players to get past shooting, I can't imagine a situation where an actual group of players is going to turn to an actual GM and ask about seed details so they can start the agricultural development stage of the Project. In every game I've ever played, these seeds are going to see two possibilities: being ignored, or being discarded. I don't see a player group doing any actual agriculture... ever.
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:04 AM
mmartin798 mmartin798 is offline
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Your points are valid. Even studies from 1961 showed that most food seeds do die off in large quantities within 70 years, though legumes were shown to be particularly hardy in this regard. This all seems to be a problem with the walls of the seeds being thinner on food crops. Weeds, with their thicker walls, can live several decades without careful storage and still be viable in large quantities.

Food seeds routinely get treated in a number of methods to inhibit molds and other pathogens that hamper seed germination. It is not outside the realm of possibility that, given the prevalence of nanotechnology in the Project, a graphene treatment is used that helps mitigate moisture loss and thereby improving seed viability. While this would not make the seeds immortal, such a treatment could help achieve the 40% viability at 150 years that would make such a cache still useful.

The whole seed issue does need to be addressed in some manner, as they are present in so much of game canon. Third edition has agricultural teams and seeds explicitly listed in Delta Base. Fourth edition also has agricultural teams and says they have seed stores and frozen livestock as well. So all these agricultural teams are either just some additional farmers with a supply of fertilizer trying to improve on some wild plants they find or they have the ability to quickly start up some new farms with their supply of seeds and start churning out lots of food and surplus seeds within three years. Either way could be a scenario for your game.

As to who would use the seeds in game, back in 1981 my group used them to help a community that had recently be attacked by raiders that burned their fields. So play group vary too.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:58 AM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
This and other examples miss a few important points:

1) Every species has its own period of viability. Some seeds are viable for centuries, some for decades, some for a few years. 150 years after sealing, most of the varieties will be long past their sell-by date, even if a few are still within range.

2) Not all seeds within a given species expire at the same time. If the mean survival of seed X under conditions Y is 15 years, then a few will likely still be viable at 30 or 50 years, but most will be long dead.

3) A lot of the news stories about ancient seeds being recovered miss that growing them required exceptional techniques and/or a lot of seeds per growing plant. The "Methuselah Tree" that was grown from a 2,000 year old seed was the work of a single dedicated grad student subjecting the seed to a number of techniques and materials that were not part of standard agricultural practice. The squash mentioned above does not indicate how many seeds it took or what the grower did to cultivate them, but I would be willing to bet that it wasn't "plant one seed, water and fertilize, yield one plant".

So my point is that if the viable period of the seeds is 10 years, then 150 years later there may be a small fraction of one or two varietals that will still grow with what the typical Team can do, but if the Project is going to grow from their seeds then they will likely need a better seed vault where the Project uses special techniques and facilities and personnel to preserve a variety of breeds long past their viable dates.

And there is one other point, I guess: Who is going to use this in a game? As has been noted by many on here, it is hard to get most players to get past shooting, I can't imagine a situation where an actual group of players is going to turn to an actual GM and ask about seed details so they can start the agricultural development stage of the Project. In every game I've ever played, these seeds are going to see two possibilities: being ignored, or being discarded. I don't see a player group doing any actual agriculture... ever.
AG-1? A central seed vault, farm animal freeze tubes.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
This and other examples miss a few important points:

And there is one other point, I guess: Who is going to use this in a game? As has been noted by many on here, it is hard to get most players to get past shooting, I can't imagine a situation where an actual group of players is going to turn to an actual GM and ask about seed details so they can start the agricultural development stage of the Project. In every game I've ever played, these seeds are going to see two possibilities: being ignored, or being discarded. I don't see a player group doing any actual agriculture... ever.
I think there is a lot of variation in game groups out there. The one I was involved in was heavily into rebuilding civilization. Of course it took killing off some of the more trigger happy characters, not the players they realized the PDs stance quick after the first couple Ye Haw! adventures.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmartin798 View Post
Food seeds routinely get treated in a number of methods to inhibit molds and other pathogens that hamper seed germination. It is not outside the realm of possibility that, given the prevalence of nanotechnology in the Project, a graphene treatment is used that helps mitigate moisture loss and thereby improving seed viability. While this would not make the seeds immortal, such a treatment could help achieve the 40% viability at 150 years that would make such a cache still useful.
But why would the Project work on this? They were expecting to activate well within the reasonable lifespan of the seeds with even modest preservation, and they have the ability to do deeper cryogenic storage for a smaller quantity of seeds at select sites. This effort certainly makes sense if the Project predicts failure, but I don't see why they would otherwise spend limited research resources on such a topic.

And without that strangely prescient and expensive focus on preserving seed stock for 30x longer than it was expected to be needed, the stored seeds are almost entirely dead, with only a small percentage of a few varieties still viable. So why worry about the SWAP constraints of dead seeds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmartin798 View Post
The whole seed issue does need to be addressed in some manner, as they are present in so much of game canon. Third edition has agricultural teams and seeds explicitly listed in Delta Base. Fourth edition also has agricultural teams and says they have seed stores and frozen livestock as well. So all these agricultural teams are either just some additional farmers with a supply of fertilizer trying to improve on some wild plants they find or they have the ability to quickly start up some new farms with their supply of seeds and start churning out lots of food and surplus seeds within three years. Either way could be a scenario for your game.
The presence of the seeds and the teams and the facilities makes absolute sense - that they would be present is not an issue for me. But just because those resources were laid down doesn't mean that they will be able to do their jobs 145 years after they were expected to operate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmartin798 View Post
As to who would use the seeds in game, back in 1981 my group used them to help a community that had recently be attacked by raiders that burned their fields. So play group vary too.
And did the variety or mass or volume of those seeds factor in any significant way to game play? How about the percentage of viable seeds? I've had teams that distributed seeds to communities as well (mostly at Starnaman) but never in circumstances where the details would be anything but a way to unnecessarily complicate part of the game that no one cared about.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by .45cultist View Post
AG-1? A central seed vault, farm animal freeze tubes.
It makes a lot of sense for me for there to be a few locations using more advanced preservation techniques on a relatively small quantity of seeds and animals - they can be used as emergency stocks, as biological experimental and reference samples, and as a hedge in case something goes wrong with the less-protected seed stocks issued to field teams. But that doesn't do anything to make the tubs/sacks/whatevers of seeds in the boltholes anything but mostly dead.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:27 AM
cosmicfish cosmicfish is offline
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Quote:
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I think there is a lot of variation in game groups out there. The one I was involved in was heavily into rebuilding civilization. Of course it took killing off some of the more trigger happy characters, not the players they realized the PDs stance quick after the first couple Ye Haw! adventures.
That's great! And if that was the focus of the game did anyone consider that the vast majority of their seed stock would not survive 150 years? In such a case, I would hope the PD would look a little more into the challenges of actual rebuilding and realize that the stored seeds would be mostly dead and that existing civilizations would already have developed their own agriculture and accumulated their own seed stocks. Teams in such a campaign are not trying to reintroduce agriculture (the purpose of the seed stocks) but rather to improve necessarily existing agriculture.

Put another way, a Team focused on regional security faces very different challenges and will need very different tools depending on whether they are dealing with a war+5 population or a war+150 population. If the Team in question had, for some reason, one or more systems that depended on gasoline, they would in the latter case need to deal with the fact that their gasoline stores are no longer viable and that using those systems would require looking outside Morrow stocks. This is one of the reasons I am against jet aircraft in Project inventories and why I think the seed stocks (although both more durable and necessary) represent a resource that the Teams will need to replace.
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