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
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
Some are home saved seeds so would include squash, pumpkin, melon, etc.
Many are old packaged seeds.
Let me know?
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...
There is no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the
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?
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
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
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.
On 29 Mar 2005 08:21:02 -0800, fake_fake firstname.lastname@example.org 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
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
You might want to start with Euell Gibbons' "Stalking the Wild
((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.
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
increases to the threshold of availble shelter or water.
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
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.
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
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!
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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