Where are diverse Bulk Seeds?

I'm looking for a big bucket filled with every seed that could possibly grow into something edible in the North Eastern USA.
My goal is not to garden these plants, but to help them become wild. I want to roam the local land, planting random seeds in areas where I think they might flourish, and just let them be.
Diversity is very important. I don't want all lettuce, or all tomatoes... I want the whole catalog.
Since only a fraction of those I plant might end up thriving, I don't want to waste all of my money. That is why I'd like to find a cheap source. Since I want huge diversity, it would take hours to click through every item in an online store to 'add to basket'. I just want someone to get a box, and start throwing in some of everything they have that might grow here.
I've read about these heirloom seeds, or antique seeds. That sounds very cool... but I imagine they are very expensive and you probably can't get them in bulk. Am I wrong?
I'm hoping someone knows of a source for what I want. I probably don't want to spend more than a few hundred dollars, and hopefully once they are planted they will procreate in the wild so that the investment grows.
Thank you
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fake_fake snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Where are you??? I have a very large box of seeds in the house that have been being collected over several years... Don't know how many are still viable as some are between 5 and 10 years old, but I know that I'm never going to use them all.
If you'd be willing to pay for postage, it'd give me an excuse to go thru all of these seeds and get rid of a bunch. I hate to throw them away!
Some are home saved seeds so would include squash, pumpkin, melon, etc. Many are old packaged seeds.
Let me know?
Kat
--
K.

Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...

There is no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the
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G'day, Don't you already have enough weeds in your environment? If they naturalise at all, they will soon revert back to their pre-cultivation wild state, and displace native species. Common garden pests will reign unchecked. Why not spend your time discovering the many edible local indigenous species and help your local ecosystem?
China Wingham NSW
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I was excited when I saw Katra's reply last night, and thought it was perfect. Then I woke up and saw China's words and now feel bummed out over the idea.
I'm not sure if what you're saying has any merit. I don't know if there really are "many edible indigenous species", and if there are I don't know how I'm supposed to discover them. There are some trees, and various wild plants here and there, but mostly I see road, concrete, and houses surrounded by manicured lawns.
Besides, what is so wrong with change? It seems like you want to make me feel guilty over spreading "weeds", but I myself am a weed by your definition. Should I go back to Europe and tell the native americans to try and make things how they were? It is impossible. We are passed the point of no return, so why should we tip-toe around doing the same with plants?
I don't know what to think about these ideas raised. I did a quick search to try and see what indigenous plants are edible, but didn't see anything. The problem is that all of these teachings seem to be lost, or remain only in a few diehards and academic circles. Everyone goes to the grocery store, and spends all of their time on non-edible gardening in order to create an image that makes their neighbors envious. It seems like if the stores were gone, there wouldn't be enough native plants for me to survive.
But I guess I have some things to think about before proceeding. I just dream of a land where I can be out for a walk, miles from home, and be able to pick fresh foods right off the vine. Faster than the fastest fast food, and infinitely more fulfilling. Imagine if there were fruit and nut trees in every yard, in every strip of land, even amongst the city landscape.
I have grown tired of the commercialization of every nuance of life and want to break free... becoming self-sustained by the land around me, and I want the same experience to be available to everyone else so that they can remember what has been forgotten.
If you have ideas for how I should go about doing that with native plants, I am listening. Otherwise I don't see why I shouldn't cover my area with melon weeds, squash weeds, pepper weeds, etc. Anything would be better than sterile, lifeless lawns that can't be eaten.
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I've found an interesting document that I will read. Here it is if anyone else is interested: http://www.mass.gov/envir/mwrc/pdf/More_Than_Just_Yard.pdf
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On 29 Mar 2005 08:21:02 -0800, fake_fake snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It's sounds to me like you haven't really through this through. There are books and web sites galore on the subject. Here are the first two I googled.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) http://therucksack.tripod.com/edibleplants.htm

So, where were you going to plant the seeds you get? You can't plant them on someone else's property or even on public land. If you try and utilize commercial road easements, you run the risk of having all kinds of chemicals contaminate what you're planning on eating; and that's if the local highway department doesn't mow everything down.

Yeah, what's wrong with acres and acres of kudzu! It's edible, after all, and can be made into paper or medicines.

Well, your melodrama aside, because indiscriminate introduction of non-native plants can damage the environment. Pernicious non-natives can replace native plant species that native animal species depend on for food. Once again, a quick google can give you some good information.
http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/seagrant/aquinv.html#theproblem http://www.invasiveplants.net/impsal.htm
Now, I don't think most of the plants that you're thinking of are likely to be an environmental hazard, but since you were pretty vague about what you wanted, I thought it was worth mentioning.

Actually, there's been a pretty strong movement in the home gardening sphere to use more native plants and flowers. There are nurseries that offer only native plants, and organizations that support their use.
http://www.nanps.org/index.shtml is a good place to start.
Edible landscaping is another trend that has grown in popularity. Google on "Edible Landscaping" and look at all the hits.

You come on my land uninvited and steal pecans, blueberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatoes, or whatever else I have, and you're gonna be in for a world of hurting.
Pilfering and trespassing are against the law, and well they should be! I know pilfering can be a real problem for farmers whose fields are next to roads. People help themselves to corn, watermelons, tomatoes, apples, or oranges, among others. A farmer's profit margin can be very slim, and the pilfering can really hurt them.

So, if the city plants ornamental kale and cabbages, everyone should be able to stop pick some on their way home? How long do you think the kale would last? The university here uses rosemary and ornamental peppers as part of its landscaping, should everyone who passes by be able to pick some? What about the people who get there too late to get any peppers, what about them?

How much land do you think it takes to sustain one person for a year?
And what about the other wildlife? Do we kill all the squirrels so we can all go for a walk and pick up pecans? Do we poison the birds so that there are plenty of berries in the woods for us?
I have a friend who has three huge sour cherries in his yard. Every spring it's a race to see who gets the cherries, him or the birds. Oh, he complains loudly, but I think he secretly enjoys the birds. At least, he adamantly refuses whenever it is suggested that he put nets on the bushes.

I really don't think you have a grasp of what it takes to grow melons, squash, or peppers. Most won't survive without some assistance. Sure, zucchinis will pop up all around the compost pile, but what happens if there are a couple of weeks of really dry weather? I have a pepper that reseeds itself every year, and is spread by the birds, but I really can't see anyone picking and eating a handful of those hot little suckers! You haven't been very specific about what part of the Northeast you live in, either, but it might be too cold for most veggies to reseed from year to year.
What zone are you in?
Penelope
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Hi Penelope
I'm in Massachusetts, I think zone 6a or 5b.
I will purchase a field guide, thank you.
I have access to over 10 acres where I was given permission to plant. It only takes a few minutes to ask someone, and most people don't say no.
I don't mind if you come on my private property to take whatever you want. That holds true for any wildlife as well. Keeping the animals healthy is in our interest, since if there were a food shortage they would make for tasty snacks. :)
You might be right that I don't have a grasp of what it takes to grow those things. But last summer I did a small experiment, planting various things in a patch of dirt, and besides watering them every now and then, I did no other maintenance. The result was the ugliest garden you'd ever see, but plenty of squash, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs grew fine.
The melon plants grew into something, but never produced anything I could eat. I would call it a success since it required no work. The animals did eat some... but they seemed to mostly just take bites and leave the rest for me. If the animals were to get more aggresive and take more, my solution would be to plant more.
I think that the minimum area of land required to sustain one person for a year would be around half an acre. Depending on the types of foods you eat, and the quantity, it might take 4-10acres.
The native plant movement is interesting, but it might be futile. Yes, non-indigenous plants can throw the entire local ecosystem upside down, but the Earth is not static. The fact is that I am genetically adapted for a specific region, and that right now I am non-indigenous to the USA. My people came here and wreaked havoc on the natives. Change is scary, but it is necessary and good.
To pretend that your polluted yard, and asphalt smothered landscapes can somehow restore balance with the old local ecosystem is odd when you yourself don't belong here. Go home, tear down the city, and let nature restore itself. Otherwise, I think the effort is naive. Things change, and while many natives will die in the process, new adaptations will emerge.
I have a list of native plants to my area... but I don't know how I could help propogate the already established wild plants. I guess I'd have to find some local nursery that could sell me a bunch of seeds (didn't see a place listed in the link you gave), or I'd have to learn to identify them in the wild, as well as how to get the seeds from them.
I definitely have a lot to learn, and am not afraid to do so. But I don't think that planting various plants everyone is familiar with, and are available in stores, is going to be a concern. Afterall, when you eat them outside the seeds end up in the ground anyways.
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fake_fake snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You might want to start with Euell Gibbons' "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" ((Amazon.com product link shortened)12136655/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-9814151-2451123?v=glance&s=books) to learn about some edible species. I'm sure you've got some of the plants he talks about in your area. The dandelion, for example, was one of the most regularly eaten plants in North America until we started to subarbanize and it became a lawn "weed." And all those acorns you have in the northeast are a food source as well.
It is unlikely that broadcasting garden seeds would do anything long term to change your local ecosystem. Most of these plants are pretty domesticated and won't compete with wild varieties.
That said, despite your mantra that change is good, the willy nilly altering of ecosystems is not something to be entered into without much thought. It's not just a matter of change being inevitable. Some times small changes can have unintended consequences. Would you really want to be the one who causes a wetland to dry up? Or to be the cause of a species going ixtinct? Sure, it happens. And it is often an unintended consequence of some human activity. So, I encourage you to learn as much as you can.
My goal is to live within my ecosystem, not to remake it to my own liking.
David
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yes. usually the local plants are fed upon by local insects, squirrels, birds. etc. all of these may include species of "weedy foreigners".
excess fruit and nuts will support a nice populatoin of rats, until the rat populatoin increases to the threshold of availble shelter or water.
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When people view themselves as separate from the ecosystem there are two things that can happen. Either they become overly dominant, completely disrupting any balance in the ecosystem out of fear that nature is out to destroy them... or they become overly submissive, tip-toeing around everything out of fear that they are going to destroy nature. Both sides are an exhibition of an insane viewpoint.
Humans are as much a part of the ecosystem as anything else. Our actions are not good nor bad. The only time the natural balance gets a bit out of whack is when we mistakenly view ourselves as separate, and overly compensate in one direction. It is equally harmful to the ecosystem when you constrict your movements.
Imagine if the birds travelling to the islands carrying seeds stopped and said, "Oh no! We brought non-indigenous seeds with us. Hurry, everyone destroy those plants so they don't spread!" Such thinking would've created a twisted environment where humans never could've grown.
As long as you don't suffer from the prevailing mindset that has led to such irrational behavior, then your selfishness cannot harm the environment and actually helps it. It is a tug of war between every participant, and if you stop tugging, it actually hurts the balance as much as if you cheat.
In the case of edible plants... if I had a favorite food that I wouldn't want to live without, and I had a favorite place to live where that food wasn't native, but was still able to grow and thrive, then not only is there nothing wrong with planting it there, but it helps the entire ecosystem, even if in the short term it appears to harm it.
That being said, you won me over with this, "Most of these plants are pretty domesticated and won't compete with wild varieties." I realize that this is the gardening newsgroup, but I dislike domestication. My thinking was that if I planted any plant in a wild setting, it would eventually become wild. I didn't know that some are too domesticated to reseed and survive on their own.
I will take the advice given in the thread and will buy many field guides and books to try and learn what was once common knowledge. Then as spring and summer approach I will try and apply the knowledge by foraging the local land. Assuming I don't poison myself, I'll then have a better idea of what is out there and what it would take to help spread the edible plants so that there is more available to eat.
I'm already excited because I know I've seen acorns, and I believe dandelions as well. I can't wait to gather them from their wild habitats and prepare them as the natives of this country once did.
Thanks for the interesting thread.
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G'day again fake_fake-666 , Sorry if I brought you down, I wasn't having a go at you. I just feel that often we try to fight nature for our food without seeing the larder for the trees. For instance, here in Aus. we have cut down most of our forests and butchered the grasslands to grow beef and sheep and then winged about the bloody kangaroos eating the pastures when we just should have eaten the 'roos. We fight pests with chemicals and ancient soils with fertilisers in order to grow plants from Europe, Asia and both the Americas. Yes its to late to change history and the knowledge of our indigenous people is disappearing fast. Yet those nations were doing fine before we farmed the land, while our convicts starved in the bush when they tried to escape their gaolers, their bodies found lying under the edible ferns and greenery of the region. Yes, my diet is mostly of European origin and largely comes from the supermarket, but these species have been selected and domesticated over thousands of years. What if we spent some time doing that with local species, or working out how to cook a wallaby so it tastes as good as a leg of lamb? Despite Australia being of a similar size to the USA, I understand we have only ever found two native plant species to export to the world as a food source (Macadamia nuts and Warrigal greens). Every year we have plagues of things like bogong moths and locusts, spend a fortune on spraying and eradication, when the natives thought they were a godsend of easy tucker and in Asia locusts are a delicacy. On the other hand, if you really want a lot of seed, allow some of your own vegies to mature and go to seed. You will be surprised at the quantities you get, and many will self seed back into your yard. I have may species coming up year after year from the compost I spread around (especially tomatoes), and from the old plants of lettuces and all types of cabbages I let go to seed after I cut of the leafy heads and let the root die of old age. My best melons and pumpkins seem to just come up by themselves from the seed I just chuck out each year. Anyway, I just think we should consider these things, and often the hardest thing for a gardener to do is nothing, just see what happens. It's tough in paradise mate, but someone's got to do it, ay!
China Wingham NSW Australia
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fake_fake snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

possibly
I
why not start with the wild chicory selection that Territorial sells? They are chicories, yes, but extremely variable, if there is a mongrel green this is it, lime, green, speckled, red, maroon, purple, you name it. You plant 30 plants one year, the next you will have a bag of seeds (they are biennial). I used the seeds in my lawn and they are still there years later, despite the mowings. These are plants that will survive in the wild, huge plants too. If you plant lettuces, you might as well plant your money directly.
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"Roam"..like Cain in Kung Fu? Grow a garden.
wrote:

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