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Buying seeds from the bulk section of the grocery store

 
Steve Flanagan
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If I were to go to a store that had bulk food and herb bins which seeds could I expect to grow if I planted them?

Has anyone tried this before?
 
Jordan Lowery
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You always ask such good questions Steve.

Buy only organic or specialty seeds. Buy things that are not processed. It has to be raw.

Some people say it's bad because there most likely hybrids. Well in permaculture the problem is the solution. Sure the first year might not be perfect. Some will be ok, some fantastic, others normal. With proper selection in a few years you can have a strong open pollinated variety, possibly even a brand new one.

The list of things I've grown from the store is huge. It's better to give advice on how and let your mind go wild.

Don't forget about things that are roots or will root. Found an amazing carrot variety? Want seeds? Plant the carrot and let it bloom. Root things like parsley.

I can't stress enough on buying the best, it might be more but considering how much seed one item can have is well worth it. It reduces the chances of gmo if you stray from the normal mass produced items. And again it may take some plant selection to get super strong plants and for them to be exactly what you want, IMO you would want to do that even if you bought seed from a seed company.
 
Nick Williams
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The things that spring to mind for me are garlic, lentils, beans and potatoes. I've never tried to save the seeds from any of them, but the first generation usually turns out pretty well...
 
Jordan Lowery
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I would only do potatoes if they were some fancy variety you haven't seen. Otherwise the seed to price ratio is too much.

Where for a dollar you can get enough lentils to plant a field.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Jordan Lowery wrote:You always ask such good questions Steve.

Buy only organic or specialty seeds. Buy things that are not processed. It has to be raw.



Thank you. There is so much to learn.

I was planning on only buying organic.

The seeds I am especially interested in are Amaranth, quinoa, flax, sesame, mustard, fennel, and fenugreek. Any thoughts?
 
Judith Browning
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Steve Flanagan wrote:
Jordan Lowery wrote:You always ask such good questions Steve.

Buy only organic or specialty seeds. Buy things that are not processed. It has to be raw.



Thank you. There is so much to learn.

I was planning on only buying organic.

The seeds I am especially interested in are Amaranth, quinoa, flax, sesame, mustard, fennel, and fenugreek. Any thoughts?


All of my garlic is planted from "grocery store" garlic. I select something new every 6 to 8 years but otherwise replant the biggest cloves from the nicest bulbs over and over.
I sprout organic green lentils that I buy in bulk for us to eat and I see they have really great germination.
And I have planted organic bulk flax seed with good success but haven't saved the seed.
I bought organic fava beans to eat, we didn't like them so I planted them and it looks like they all came up.
 
chrissy bauman
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Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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Went to Fresh Market (who had a specialty seed vendor) and Whole Foods last spring...

things that germinated : Flax
things that didnt germinate: Cilantro, Coriander, Amaranth, Anise, millet

if your organic shop has a sprout section....thats usually the best price for high quality seed.

fresh bagged beans from the grocery store...my cowpeas did great this fall! also garlic aged for a month in the referigerator, sweet potatoes from sav-a-lot, etc. havent had much luck with grocery store onions, maybe they need aging in fridge too. garlic in boxes is really dried out. ginger and pineapples are usually too dry to make it worthwhile.

i get sorghum and BOSS cheap from the bird seed section. those are good for sprouting too.

just my personal experience, others may differ.
 
chrissy bauman
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Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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you should ask questions like this over at the Homesteading Today forum, where we talk about things like saving money on seeds, All The Time.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Steve I have done all of those on your list. The most important thing is to buy quality and whole/raw. Buy the 10$ beans instead of the 50 cent beans. Which reminds me that some plants will be kind of a mystery like beans. Was it a bush bean or a pole? With some varieties you can search online and find out but random varieties from farm stands might need some extra observation the first year. Good thing pole beans done need poles to grow good.

Onions get planted whole and they grow to set seed the next summer. Buy heirloom onions, modern onions suck.
 
Rion Mather
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Funny thing...some of the best and cheapest seeds I have ever bought were through Ebay.
 
Rion Mather
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The one bad thing about grocery store veggies is that they are varieties meant for long storage and surviving travel. Taste isn't a high priority.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Thank you for all your replies.
Do you think I can plant flax and sesame now?
 
Judith Browning
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Steve Flanagan wrote:Thank you for all your replies.
Do you think I can plant flax and sesame now?


I planted flax in late spring to early summer. It grew fast and set seed that I did not save. I am pretty sure it is not cold hardy, but might be one of those that if you go ahead and plant it it will choose when to sprout and grow when the conditions are right. I usually experiment with part, not all, of my seed this way.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Judith Browning wrote:
Steve Flanagan wrote:Thank you for all your replies.
Do you think I can plant flax and sesame now?


I planted flax in late spring to early summer. It grew fast and set seed that I did not save. I am pretty sure it is not cold hardy, but might be one of those that if you go ahead and plant it it will choose when to sprout and grow when the conditions are right. I usually experiment with part, not all, of my seed this way.


That's a good idea.
 
S Bengi
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I have planted garlic, onions, carrots, scarps of sweet potatoes, and $1/lbs beans/lentils this way.
I dump/bury my food trash outside. and I get citrus, pumpkin, squash and such growing up every year.

I think next year I am going to try some popcorn this way. $5/3lbs. I think its 3lbs.
 
leila hamaya
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i do this all the time and have been pleasantly surprised by how much came up and grew well.

of course, you have to be careful with the quality, get the stuff you want to sprout and experiment with from the good natural markets, especially the farmers market. i get garlic and other stuff that looks good to plant from the farmers market. whenever i get pretty potatoes, or onions, i cut the parts off that will sprout and throw them in the garden. just got some locally grown purple potatoes that were yummy, so got some pieces sliced off as i cooked them up and hoping they come up good.

been thinking of trying some fruit from store bought stuff, it seems it s easier to start fruit seeds from actual fruit- i think the sprouts like the extra sugar in a little bit of fruit planted with the seed. a lot of times with fruit seeds i buy as seed i dont always get good results, not many sprouts. seems to me fruit needs to be totally fresh, and right from the fruit itself is a better way.

also nuts, is something i have been thinking about anyway, starting nuts from store bought nuts. course it has to be TOTALLY raw, some things might seem raw, even call themselves raw but arent. but its hard to find nut seed, and super expensive. i bought some seeds for nut trees and didnt get any sprouts yet. wondering if i can get some totally raw nuts (maybe online looked up a few places) and start them from those...much cheaper. its all kinda experimental...and i suppose you have to be ok with ...the not named varieties and such, which i am good with. if it grows well and is edible, its good- i dont care what exact variety it is.
 
leila hamaya
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and ginger ...been trying to start ginger from store bought ginger.

been trying for a while, and when i dig a bit into the place i have put so much ginger slowly as i use it up and see good sprouting parts to cut off....and there will be some ginger there, maybe grown a tiny bit, and every once in a while a shoot comes up from the patch. but so far i have not harvested any, theres only small pieces in there looking barely bigger than when they started....maybe it will take off, maybe i need better variety than what i can get at the store...or maybe ginger is not that great in my bioregion, idk. but i keep trying.
its something i use a LOT of, so it would good if i can get the hang of growing it.

i suppose this is a good way if you approach it experimentally, no expectations, just see what works and what doesnt.....if you want to maximize yield, or on a different wave with your gardens this might not be a good way...

like with fruit, especially. the reading i have done is always saying this is not a good idea, to plant unknown varieties of fruit from seeds you have from food...but...well i tend to think that could be exaggerrated...i am stubborn like that i guess i want to try it for myself and tend to think those people could just be repeating what they read elsewhere.

i think it could be ok...as long as you dnt have grand expectations. some of it wont be great, some of it wont work at all, but some of it could be excellent =)

certain fruits are better than others, as far as that whole true to type, or cross pollinated thing that different kinds of fruit seeds are affected by.... seems like theres only a few (many popular fruits) that arent as likely to make good seed, especially considering all the weird hybrids and planting practices in fruit production.

but theres a lot of them that will work out ok this way, and some that will be very much like the fruit you ate. and again, it depends on the quality of the fruit to begin with, pick the best ones, organic and from the better markets to use for the experimenting.
 
Steve Flanagan
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that's interesting, leila.
I want to do a lot of experimenting this upcoming year.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Steve sesame doesnt like cold at all. We planted ours in June last year, gave it a few deep waterings and left it. Real drought hardy.

Flax like said can go out in spring.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Jordan Lowery wrote:Steve sesame doesnt like cold at all. We planted ours in June last year, gave it a few deep waterings and left it. Real drought hardy.

Flax like said can go out in spring.


Ill give sesame a try in may or june.
 
Judith Browning
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@Leila, Once,I found really fresh ginger here locally and planted it in a pot. I brought it in over the winter and out again until fall...it produced!...after more than a year.
 
leila hamaya
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Judith Browning wrote:@Leila, Once,I found really fresh ginger here locally and planted it in a pot. I brought it in over the winter and out again until fall...it produced!...after more than a year.


i will be patient then...maybe it just takes a long time.
i am tending to think it doesnt like the overly wet conditions here. i think it might need to be warmer too.
i did find what seemed to be another kind, thinner and looked really fresh at the co op, started that in a different patch but it also didnt produce. i think theres a few bulbs in there still, maybe in the spring it will get going. maybe i should grow them in pots, like you said, that actually might work out a lot better.
 
Brian Jeffrey
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I am having a planting party in a week or two and needed to get some cover crop seeds for everyone to throw around. I'm gunna try Sprouts bulk bins tonight and grab some beans, quinoa, flax, and peas. I'm hoping they all grow, but to be sure I want to sprout a bit of each over the next few days and see what actually grows.

This thread has been helpful in giving me hope it'll work and save some $$. Pretty cool too that Permies came up 3rd on Google, just after two links to the same magazine article.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Brian Jeffrey wrote: I am having a planting party in a week or two and needed to get some cover crop seeds for everyone to throw around. I'm gunna try Sprouts bulk bins tonight and grab some beans, quinoa, flax, and peas. I'm hoping they all grow, but to be sure I want to sprout a bit of each over the next few days and see what actually grows.

This thread has been helpful in giving me hope it'll work and save some $$. Pretty cool too that Permies came up 3rd on Google, just after two links to the same magazine article.


I would like to know how things go.
 
Brian Jeffrey
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Alrighty, so I got a handful each of some seeds at Sprouts. Put them between layers of napkins and misted. Then placed into a cookie sheet with some plastic wrap over it. Keeping it in the kitchen so I can mist it a few times a day, but I am going to wait a full three days before peeking between the napkins. Fingers crossed!



 
Brian Jeffrey
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We have germination! Everything but the lentils popped. The flax, chia seeds, quinoa, and ten bean soup. Great results if you ask me. The only part of the soup mix that did not sprout was the green cut in half ones, I'll call it 10% fertilizer included in the bean mix





And here is a close up of the different sprouted beans in the soup mix.




The bulk of the bean soup was nice and soft, but maybe two days away from all sprouting judging by the little white nubs I can see on their concave side. When I broadcast them for a cover crop I think I am going to soak them overnight in a inoculation/hormone cocktail. Hopefully it will help everything to get growing faster, aside from painstakingly planting pre-sprouted beans. The grains go so fast I'll soak them for maybe a hour before I toss them around.

I hope this helps everyone
 
William Bronson
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Great topic!
I call this "Whole Foods Farming", an I love it. We started with mung beans , juts for kicks, planted the second generation, presented my vegan father with the tiny handful of beans from the third generation.
I have chickpeas, buckwheat and pigeon peas sprouting now, in porch containers. I have been disappointed in the buckwheat and pigeon peas, but the chickpeas are going like gangbusters.
Of course I only tend to them when I wander out to grab some micro greens(Radish and Turnips), so what can I expect?
I have had success with cantaloupe and tomatoes-well my wife did the 'maters, I was so sure that they wouldn't breed true, but they where awesome!
I am told that squash will be inedible, but what does that really mean?
I have old wheat berries I will try, I wish dry peas were sold unsplit, but I have not seen them.

I have a pound or thistle and another of sunflower bird seed, but they may be treated in some way that will prevent sprouting. Still worth trying fore the price.

Is "BOSS" Black Oil Sunflower Seed? Seems likely, I hope so!
 
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