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A Food Forest From the Grocery Store?  RSS feed

 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1732
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden hugelkultur rabbit trees
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What are all the things that you could buy in a grocery store to establish a ground cover for a new food forest site?

I just finished digging out the swales and hugel beds this past weekend. The chickens are working it over, smoothing out the rough spots and picking out the pests and seeds. By mid week I hope to have it all mulched with hay and straw, then it's just a matter of getting some cover crops down. I had good luck last year when I added beans, peas, popcorn and some other seeds from the grocery store bulk bins into my cover crop mixes. This year I saved all the seeds from my squashes, pumpkins and such, but I'm interested to know what else might work.

Any one have any Ideas as to what I could pull off the shelf/bin at a grocery store and throw into some mulch? This is all going in an area that won't be planted with anything else but shrubs and trees so I have to cover the ground and start building soil. Edibility isn't really an issue because I have a separate area for food crops. So it's another experiment I guess.

Input welcomed and appreciated.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3379
Location: woodland, washington
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if there's an 'ethnic' section in the produce department, you might find all sorts of things that will take root and grow.

a bulk foods aisle could also offer plenty of options: alfalfa, pumpkin, wheat and other grains, quinoa, sprouting mixes of brassicas, sunflowers, peanuts, chia, and others. both places that cater to unwashed hippies and wealthy foodies are likely to have more promise than a thriftway (do those still exist?).

then there are seeds from fruit. not great for groundcover, but could grow plenty of fuel, fiber, and mulch. stone fruits, pomes, citrus, cucurbits, nightshades (tomatillos will form a mat). fresh mint and rosemary are easily rooted. thymes and oregano are marginally more difficult. potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams will grow if they haven't been treated to prevent it.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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some grocery stores also sell plants of course in the garden centers but also in the herb areas of the produce department..you could plant root ends of plants like celery, etc..and you could get seeds from really ripe produce as well, I've actually had sprouting seeds inside of apples before as well. The spice aisle might have caraway, dill, fennel and anise seeds all of which are insectary plants. some good ideas here.

I wouldn't buy seed packets from grocery stores, they only have a couple dozen seeds where you can get them by the ounce or thereabouts from mail order..much cheaper.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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Don't forget the herb/spice section! Fennel, dill seed, cumin, coriander, even some pepper seeds from the pepper flakes can grow; Oh yeah, and mustard seeds (and poppy seeds but they make the illegal opiate-type poppies).

I've planted garlic and horseradish from the grocery store as well. And I've got some rosemary I bought on sale that rooted for me to plant out this year; you can easily root cut mint to plant as well.
 
Ben Plummer
gardener
Posts: 345
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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I posted earlier today about the book Don't Throw It, Grow It, you can view the ToC and get some ideas.
 
terry howard
Posts: 22
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Try buckwheat, beans, Jerusalem artichokes.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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i used amaranth as my pioneer crop for establishing a food forest. at 3$ a lb i covered my plot for under 10$. and i got a nice harvest of greens and grain and honey in the end of it. oh yea soil building too.
 
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