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What type of place sells green manure and cover crop seeds cheaply in bulk?

 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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I'm not asking for a specific place since most of them would be in another country not here in Canada but what *type* of place? I've yet to find any reasonably priced source for bulk cover crop / green manure seeds.

I've found lot's of suppliers of very small quantities at high prices (garden centers, internet shops, traditional retail seed companies) and lots of suppliers of extremely large quantities only at very high prices (farm supply places) but nothing on the scale of what you'd buy to cover a quarter acre or so of ground.

For example: alfalfa. Farm stores have it in giant containers for big dollars and don't sell small bags, sprouting places online have the closest but still pretty pricey for organic edible sprouting seeds, not what I need.

I see lots of green manure type web sites based out of the UK selling seeds at hobby farm sized packages but seemingly nowhere else.

Any pointers on where to look greately appreciated.
 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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I wanted just a few alfalfa seeds and i had a horrible time finding small. I found small on ebay.

http://www.hancockseed.com/seed-varieties-241/clover-seed-3/?gclid=CL7BrIvV6bQCFehDMgod_iAAXQ has big

I googled Canada but that looks like american company
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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What you need is what in the US we call a "feed and seed"....sort of a farm supply store cross nursery cross feed dealer. There is still one in most rural towns in the US. It's not a Tractor Supply, and it's not a big-ag supplier, but sort of the predecessor to both. If you find one, there should be basic farm seeds in loose bins or open cans, for sale by weight. The biggest danger is that the choice of variety might be slim, although most varieties available are likely adapted to that area, and that, particularly in a hot or humid climate, seed sitting for an undisclosed time in open bins may have lost a lot of its viability.
The other alternative, if you have the patience for it, (and a lot of permaculture the very best way takes some patience) is to do your research, get starter seed from wherever, and then grow it out the first season, carefully, for seed; to be planted in bulk in succeeding seasons. This also gives you the opportunity to trial numerous varieties and some little-known exotics. I am doing this right now with multiple varieties of Fava Beans and a few other things.....
 
laura sharpe
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http://www.brettyoung.ca/html/forage-seed/index.cfm

definitely canadian

google wholesale x seeds
 
Tom Reeve
Posts: 16
Location: Seal Harbor, ME
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Not an endorsement. Covercropsolutions.com
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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J. Cardina wrote:I'm not asking for a specific place since most of them would be in another country not here in Canada but what *type* of place? I've yet to find any reasonably priced source for bulk cover crop / green manure seeds.

I've found lot's of suppliers of very small quantities at high prices (garden centers, internet shops, traditional retail seed companies) and lots of suppliers of extremely large quantities only at very high prices (farm supply places) but nothing on the scale of what you'd buy to cover a quarter acre or so of ground.

For example: alfalfa. Farm stores have it in giant containers for big dollars and don't sell small bags, sprouting places online have the closest but still pretty pricey for organic edible sprouting seeds, not what I need.

I see lots of green manure type web sites based out of the UK selling seeds at hobby farm sized packages but seemingly nowhere else.

Any pointers on where to look greately appreciated.


Feed stores here carry bulk seed you can buy by the pound or fifty pound bag if they have it. They have always been willing to order me a bag of most anything...Last summer I bought fifty pounds of buckwheat for fifty dollars...It wil last me a few years but the seed keeps well. I wanted that much vetch too but it was two dollars a pound so I found another feed store that had it in bulk but sold you any amount. If you haven't already, maybe see about getting some place like that to special order if you are talking about fifty pounds at a time. I think alfalfa is just expensive anywhere. I think any area that has ranchers would have bulk cover crops at reasonable prices.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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laura sharpe wrote:http://www.brettyoung.ca/html/forage-seed/index.cfm

definitely canadian

google wholesale x seeds


Laura, thank you but as I said in my post that's specifically the type of place I was referring to that only sell huge amounts, nothing like what I or most of us here I imagine would be after.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Tom Reeve wrote:Not an endorsement. Covercropsolutions.com


Tom thank you, but that's exactly why I said in my post that I'm specifically not looking for cover crop websites based in another country; I'm looking for a type of place and not a specific one, there are dozens of sites like that in the UK that actually also sell the seeds directly online. Unfortunately it''s not very economical to get big bags of seeds delivered from another country be it the UK or the USA.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Alder Burns wrote:What you need is what in the US we call a "feed and seed"....sort of a farm supply store cross nursery cross feed dealer. .


Thank you Alder, that''s very helpful, I recall seeing places like that years ago, mabye if I look further afield from here.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Judith Browning wrote:
Feed stores here carry bulk seed you can buy by the pound or fifty pound bag if they have it. They have always been willing to order me a bag of most anything...Last summer I bought fifty pounds of buckwheat for fifty dollars...It wil last me a few years but the seed keeps well. I wanted that much vetch too but it was two dollars a pound so I found another feed store that had it in bulk but sold you any amount. If you haven't already, maybe see about getting some place like that to special order if you are talking about fifty pounds at a time. I think alfalfa is just expensive anywhere. I think any area that has ranchers would have bulk cover crops at reasonable prices.


I did try that with the local feed store but the prices they quoted were very high and they would not get anything in under 25kg (55 pounds), sounds like they have a crappy supplier or maybe they just don't think it''s worthwhile. I'll have to drive to some other towns I think and walk in and see if they have anything in their stores in bulk bins or smaller sizes.

Alfalfa *is* expensive but it seems to be totally worth it, I'm very surprised there is not more talk of it here to be honest, it has very deep roots, lots of vegetation for cutting down and fixes nitrogen.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5548
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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I did plant a pound of alfalfa this fall along with several clovers and some rye grass. The problem here is that blister beetles are attracted to alfalfa.
I wonder what amounts in bulk you are needing and what you consider high prices? Those prices you are finding might just be the going rate for that particular seed especially if long distance shipping is involved.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Judith Browning wrote:I did plant a pound of alfalfa this fall along with several clovers and some rye grass. The problem here is that blister beetles are attracted to alfalfa.
I wonder what amounts in bulk you are needing and what you consider high prices? Those prices you are finding might just be the going rate for that particular seed especially if long distance shipping is involved.


It's the local feed store and as I said the minimum is 55lb / 25kg bags which is why it's high priced. I'm doing at a rough overestimate guess a quarter acre, the recommended sowing rate I've researched is 2.5 grams per square meter, a quarter acre is roughly 1000 square meters so that's 2500 grams or 2.5kg. I'd probably double that to have on hand / overseed when the birds inevitably eat it or something goes wrong.

So I need a tenth or a fifth as much as they are selling as their minimum order and I don''t know 9 other people with quarter acres interested in buying the rest.

It's an awkward amount: too much to get shipped cheaply or get a good price on and too little to buy locally or get a good price on. Hence my post asking about other possible sources I hadn't thought of.

I think I'm going to take the suggestion to start small and harvest my own seeds and build up from there (maybe not for the alfalfa since it's the major green manure I'm looking for but definitely for other even pricier stuff).

Cheers!
 
Shawn Aune
Posts: 4
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The cheapest and most accessible bulk seed I've been able to find is to grow Food Plots for Deer.

I've found big bags of alfalfa, clovers, chicory, rye grass plus many more useful plants.
 
J. Cardina
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 7A, Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest, Canada
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Shawn Aune wrote:The cheapest and most accessible bulk seed I've been able to find is to grow Food Plots for Deer.

I've found big bags of alfalfa, clovers, chicory, rye grass plus many more useful plants.


Great idea! I just discovered my notifications were going into spam so I didn't see this message before but this is an excellent idea and I'll look into it.

Cheers!
 
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