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wildflower and herb planting for my food forest... information needed

 
pioneer
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i have decided it is time i need to empty my seed saving storage containers this year and replace them with new seeds...so let it begin :)  bought these long term storage seeds years ago...and haven't NEEDED them...which is always a good thing (or not) but...i need to rotate them on out of here...

and i have LOTS of need for advice from my permie mentors!!! :)  our summers are HOT and this particular site is scattered with hardwood...drainage not an issue--ill be working around that...but they are gonna have to suffer some heat and plenty of scattered shade...some super wet days and some droughty days...no getting around that...

starting with my medicinal and culinary seed...i live in zone 7 (arkansas)....on top of a mountain...lots of hard rock underground...lots of hardwood sparced out...screaming for life...the drainage is now pretty much going the way i want it too...and i am ready to throw those little boogers out...

1.  when is the best time to do this?  wait until last frost or before grass starts getting on up?  grass will come up before the last frost...we already have daffodils and dandelions making an entrance...but, some winter is yet to come.  i have plenty of hardwood leaves, pine and wheat straw with which to cover, should i do that?  i have lots of seed, bulbs are not in question...

2.  do i need to do a simple rake job north to south, then west to east before i throw them out?

3.  i will not be 'babying' these seeds...they are wild flowers and will have to survive once planted on their own...just want to give them a good start...so, companion planting any combination? does anyone know if any of these seeds will NOT grow here?  any listed that LOVE shade?  any other thing i could benefit from knowing?  any groupings that would look great together and play nicely with each other?  any particularly good with animal and/or pest control?

i am going to list what will be my first planting...PLEASE...any advice would be soooooo helpful...this planting is going to take place in my food forest... NOT my main garden...i do not need information on building beds...not gonna do that out there...and not gonna hugelkultur this area...just scatter seed...is there any you see that will NOT survive under these conditions at all?  

4.  any vegetable you know of that would do great out here...remember, im not making beds per se...but groupings and companion planting are on the table...a path will be smack through the center of all this goings on...my huglekultur rows will be on the other sides of these plantings...

chamomile
burdocst johns wort
horehound
amica
calendula
stinging nettle
milk thistle
echinacea
peppermint
black elderberry
dandelion
cayenne
yarrow
ashwagandha
oregon grape

basil
chives
garlic chives cilantro
dill
fennel
oregano
parsley
peppermint
rosemary
sage
anise
summer savory
marjoram
thyme



 
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Teri, that is a great list of things to plant.  

I tried last year (Oct 2017) to plant wildflower seeds by just sowing them into my grassy areas.  I have not gotten any flowers to come up yet.  Some still might show up one of the days.

Our usual method is to rack the ground, then sow the seeds using a broadcast spreader.  After spreading, we then drive over the area with our golf cart or mule.

The seeds need to make good soil contact so that is why we drive over the area.  A roller or even just walking and stomping the area would work.

We usually like to do this just before a rain is predicted.  That way the seeds have a chance to germinate.
 
gardener
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Teri, what I do is wait till around the last 1/3 of march and then I just rake leaves back, sow and pull the leaves back over the new seeds.
Like you I live on a mountain top and I've found that the above method works very well for a low work effort way to get things growing.
If it is something that I only have a few of, and really want all of the seeds to do well, I rake the leaves back, do a little more raking to scratch up the soil, spread the seeds, use the back of the rake to level the soil then I pull the leaves back over the area.
So far these two methods have worked really well for me.

Redhawk
 
teri morgan
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Teri, what I do is wait till around the last 1/3 of march and then I just rake leaves back, sow and pull the leaves back over the new seeds.
Like you I live on a mountain top and I've found that the above method works very well for a low work effort way to get things growing.
If it is something that I only have a few of, and really want all of the seeds to do well, I rake the leaves back, do a little more raking to scratch up the soil, spread the seeds, use the back of the rake to level the soil then I pull the leaves back over the area.
So far these two methods have worked really well for me.

Redhawk



HEY BRYANT!!! YOU ARE AN ARKIE!!! YEEHAW :) NOW I FEEL RIGHT AT HOME!!! :) funny how i roll like that...i tell ya...tell me you are from arkansas and there is instant attention, tell me you are from RURAL ARKANSAS and there is instant cohesion... tell me you are homesteading and therein there is INSTANT trust!!! and that is a wonderful feeling :)  SOOOO EXCITED!!!

ok...so....wait on all of those seeds??? and plant in the last 1/3 of march??? you are asking A LOT from me!!!  uggghhh....we moved up from southwest arkansas...and time to plant is a little different than here on the mountain. when you put the leaves back..how thick do you pile em on after you have raked and laid the seeds...unmulched oak and hickory and some pine needles are what i have to work with...actually, i also have some wheat straw and some mulch from the electric co....but, am afraid to use the much...cause i dont want to smother them...it is actually still in wood chips if you are asking me...but what most people would call mulch...

also...i am tinkering with those black elderberry seeds...planted a few bushes just in case...should do good up here...they grow everywhere wild...but...i like to tinker...the package calls for soaking 24 hrs...then warm stratification for 30 days...then cold for 3 mos!!! i CANT DO THAT!!! :)...well, i don't want to, but i can...any way around that you know of without 100% failure rate? i REALLY feel like this mountain is looking at me with a big ole smarty grin...saying, 'do it, throw those seeds on down,  i dare ya!!!'  LOL

hey, by the way...do you know what these red  flowers are named?  they grow all over arkansas round peoples trees...my dad had them on his farm, but, i don't know what they are named...english is fine...latin im not fluent in :) just need a word to go shopping with...i want some...

im soooo excited you are from arkansas!!! :)
flower.jpg
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Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Elderberry is something I really want but don't have yet.
I've been told by a friend that has them that he just lets the berries plant themselves (this apparently happens in the fall, the berries simply drop to the ground?), he does nothing and in the spring he can watch them sprout and he collects the babies about the middle of July or he waits till that fall to collect the seedlings.

When I am spreading seeds I simply put back the leaves I moved out of the way, I try to make it look just like it did before I disturbed the leaf litter. (Hickory, slippery elm, white and red oak)

For any tree seed the best time to plant it is when the tree drops the seed.
For things like cone flower and everything else, I've found that I have to wait till it looks like the soil will be able to dry out somewhat, (especially this year since we keep getting rain to the point that even my mountain top soil is still saturated)

Those are Arkansas Surprise Lillies, The white with pink/purple ones below it are a species of crocus.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Elderberry is something I really want but don't have yet.
I've been told by a friend that has them that he just lets the berries plant themselves (this apparently happens in the fall, the berries simply drop to the ground?), he does nothing and in the spring he can watch them sprout and he collects the babies about the middle of July or he waits till that fall to collect the seedlings.



I love elderberry! So do the wildlife here, birds, deer, etc. It is a race with the birds to harvest the berries for medicine and jams. In the 4 years since I planted my shrubs (I just got root pieces, planted them, and they flourished), there have been no berries survive long enough to drop to the ground. If you are interested in getting elderberries, be sure to get more than one variety for pollination. I was really happy with the roots I got from Fedco. I was a little skeptical when they arrived, as usually what I get from Fedco is big, and these weren’t. But I planted them and they took off and grew like crazy. My shrubs are already about 9 or 10 feet tall.

They keep flowering for quite a long time, so that they are fruiting while they are still putting out flowers. This would be a PIA if I was doing commercial production and wanting to harvest all at once, but I am just making medicine and jams and such for family use. I love the long flowering period, as they keep the bees and butterflies happy.
483541DA-9E04-47CA-B8B2-0F0C0F923C5B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 483541DA-9E04-47CA-B8B2-0F0C0F923C5B.jpeg]
Closeup of elderberry flower
 
teri morgan
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Myrth Montana wrote: I was really happy with the roots I got from Fedco. I was a little skeptical when they arrived, as usually what I get from Fedco is big, and these weren’t. But I planted them and they took off and grew like crazy. My shrubs are already about 9 or 10 feet tall..



myrth...thanks for the link to fedco...have not heard of them...they offer the asian pear trees that i have been looking to replace since moving  as well as mushroom plugs...and you give them a thumbs up? that is good news to me...reputable suppliers in this line of work seem to be getting shrinking...

your elderberry looks great  the two that i have planted are already waking up from their winter's sleep...look forward to having some on the place...

pretty much everything i plant this year im gonna have to fight the wildlife for...i work from out to in...


Bryant RedHawk wrote:Those are Arkansas Surprise Lillies



VERY VERY GOOD...thank ya mr bryant...

2 new things to explore i appreciate you both!  enough to keep me busy for a while
 
Myrth Gardener
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Thanks Teri!

I really should figure out the review system here and write up a formal review. I like to support cooperatives in this era of big corporations taking over much of our seed and nursery stocks.
 
teri morgan
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Myrth Montana wrote:Thanks Teri!

I really should figure out the review system here and write up a formal review. I like to support cooperatives in this era of big corporations taking over much of our seed and nursery stocks.




YES YES YES...AND ILL HELP YOU WITH THAT!!!  i always try to look on dave's garden....can find some reviews there...but, site is pretty hard to navigate...have to think too much to get to what you need...not what i want to do when im looking to play in the dirt

also, let me say...i have ALWAYS tried my level best to support local or at least state growers to get my stuff...HOWEVER this year....i have been very disappointed...like so many markets...this one is becoming flooded...and seems to be lots of novices out there pretending to be experts...maybe they think they are,  even i ordered an apricot tree...from a 'been in business 50+yrs' down the road about an hour and a half from me...safe?...someone local told me about them...oh, how lots of people here used them...established website full of cute kiddos and family pics...etc etc...what they didnt tell you was that they apparently....grab up a bunch of root bound plants from wherever at the end of one growing season...trees that no one wanted...misshaped and/or bad grafting...whatever the case might have been...and sell them as 'their' 50 years of growing fruit trees' business...why do i think this??? duhhh...could it be that someone there left the little paper instruction tag string tied and cutting into the base (btwn the graft and root) of my little home grown apricot!!!  such as it is...frustrating...

bought it for 25....they held up my credit card for 30+ days with my order...shipped just packed as tight as possible...and not one tree of my order made me smile...lots of folks out there tryin to make a dollar any way they can...i see NOTHING wrong with trying to make a dollar...but, i take issue with the any way they can mentality...cause that usually involves one big ugly deceitful LIE!  

meanwhile...15 days after  putting them all in the ground...which i hated to do...walmart gets their fruit trees in...BEAUTIFUL!!! BEAUTIFUL...big healthy trees...branched out...for guess what $25..

my loyalty only goes so far...for so long... problem there is that you know nothing about the rootstock, etc....oh yea, i forgot...that tree i got at my local home grown nursery...it once lived at walmart!!! a little pissed i am about it all
 
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We took all of our extra seeds last year and combined them willy nilly. Then we took then and dug a few furrows and covered them lightly with dirt and then some light straw. The leaves that Bryant uses would probably be even better and easier foe you. For us, we will water for a few days, but after that its up to the seed how it wants to grow.  If its something that is too finiky and needs special care, its normt worthwhile to us.

I think the combination of your wildflower and herbs will make a nice 5 senses planting. It will have good colors as well as good scents especially. It would be neat once they are established to see about creating a meal based on these seed strewings. Not quite wild foraging, but not quite  managed growing and harvesting either.

As far as elderberries- we live in maryland, and its considered a native here. We got ours from the state nursery for $1 per plant, with a min order of 25 plants. We could order any native tree or shrub from them for $1. Ours are grown in maryland so they are already accustomed to conditions here. Anybody looking for elderberry should start with their state nursery

Cheers
Bryan
 
teri morgan
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Bryan C Aldeghi wrote:We took all of our extra seeds last year and combined them willy nilly. Then we took then and dug a few furrows and covered them lightly with dirt and then some light straw. The leaves that Bryant uses would probably be even better and easier foe you. For us, we will water for a few days, but after that its up to the seed how it wants to grow.  If its something that is too finiky and needs special care, its normt worthwhile to us.

I think the combination of your wildflower and herbs will make a nice 5 senses planting. It will have good colors as well as good scents especially. It would be neat once they are established to see about creating a meal based on these seed strewings. Not quite wild foraging, but not quite  managed growing and harvesting either.

As far as elderberries- we live in maryland, and its considered a native here. We got ours from the state nursery for $1 per plant, with a min order of 25 plants. We could order any native tree or shrub from them for $1. Ours are grown in maryland so they are already accustomed to conditions here. Anybody looking for elderberry should start with their state nursery

Cheers
Bryan



hey bryan...thanks...i talked to cowboy and told him about your post...what a beautiful day yesterday...we got the horses out and groomed them and worked some on the place...we were needing that :)  today is another beautiful day in arkansas, it looks like...could change, hope not :)  anyway...we are taking your advice and mixing it all up...'willy nilly' (havent heard that in a long time :)

i would never have even thought of that for whatever reason...sounds so 'us' ...i really appreciate the shout out!!!
 
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Teri,

Glad I could inspire! :)

It was fun to see what came up and what was out- competed. We got some great results.

We designated that area as the permanent place to spread random seeds after planting all else.

If you remember later in the summer share some pics of how it turned out
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:When I am spreading seeds I simply put back the leaves I moved out of the way, I try to make it look just like it did before I disturbed the leaf litter. (Hickory, slippery elm, white and red oak)
Redhawk



What size are the largest fallen leaves you have been successful with? For example, my bush beans would not push through 5 inch diameter maple leaves (not shredded). But maybe your flowers have smaller leaves when just sprouting, letting them grow up through the fallen leaf mulch?
 
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