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ideas for seed mixtures

 
                                    
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i'm looking for novel seed mixtures for different times during the season similar to the fukuoka or holzer type seed mixtures mostly of vegetables and flowers.... basically i've already been developing these in the vegetable beds based on companion planting, planting times, and the general habits of the plants.... but I want to develop a seed mixture that i can use in open areas after a year of lasagna mulching on top of existing vegetation.... I want to be able to pull the mulch away in the spring and have a clean bed for seeds to start the next phase of succession with.... I have had some luck with sunchokes, borage, alfalfa and buckwheat in the spring but I am looking to diversify this with different groups of plants that could go in at different times in the growing season, maybe also groups adapted to more or less sun or moisture.. I would like the plants to self seed or be perennial... insectaries, veggies, dynamic accumulators, green manures etc...  basically i'm trying to eliminate as much of the grass in my orchards as i can and this is the method that i'm using.... I don't live close to the land right now so I would like to have plants or seeds that take care of themselves and self seed... this may be asking a lot but I wanted to open up this thread

z5 northeastern ohio
 
John Polk
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If you are using buckwheat for green manure, it could go into any seasons mix.  It is a very quick grower.  It is often mowed down 3 weeks after sowing!
 
                                    
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that's great....i have limited experience with buckwheat but i'm thinking of mixing it with clover or some other type of nitrogen fixer and maybe poppies? i have seen it sold as a summer cover crop mix....i have been using borage a lot during the summer as well...  i dunno... i would like to slash a portion of the plants and maybe leave some of them there to self sow or so i can save the seed for the next year
 
Tyler Ludens
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Be careful what kind of poppies you include -  corn poppies - those famous red ones - are especially aggressive;  they can take over a field and push other plants out.
 
                                    
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part of me is ok with some more aggressive plants in the mix... I have a lot of grasses and sedges that i am trying to move out, and they are especially aggressive... I just want something that can compete and work on it's own... if a plant is invasive in any way I am hoping that i will be able to control it by slashing or grazing.... i just want the grasses out and the flowers and nitrogen fixers in.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally, I suggest choosing native plants for those jobs, if you can get seeds for them.    That way if they go nuts you won't be worrying about having introduced an "invasive exotic" 
 
                                    
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plants have been on the move since they came into being...and we have been moving them around for that long... the part of ohio that i'm from has been under water at certain times in history and also quite tropical and arid... and the plant communities have been changing ever since... in this new world people have been moving things around more and more... I am of the camp that we should use and monitor these plants... i know that if you go into the forest and eradicate garlic mustard or honeysuckle without a proactive planting scheme for the next stage of succession that it simply won't work, all you will get the next year it garlic mustard from the seed bank and coppiced honeysuckle... and there is a reason these plants are doing so well.. many of them are especially good at colonizing areas that have received a lot of disturbance, ie... everywhere humans are.... they are remediating the ecosystem and for us to take them out of it means that we are dependent on native plants that themselves are no longer acclimated to the changes in soil and climate that we have brought about... we are also moving succession backwards.... an age old thing we do... we can fight this process or we can work with it and help it along the path to stability
 
            
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A mixture that is somewhat common for a cover crop/nitrogen fixer/biomass is 60% Field Peas, 25% Oats, and 15% hairy vetch.  Inexpensive as well!
I think including some radishes would be good too.
 
                                    
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do you know if that can be sown all throughout the summer or just in the spring and early fall? i think it would be good to grow the vetch all summer and overwinter it .... same with the peas. .. there is probably some barley varieties that may overwinter here too... i'm not sure..... they get a big head start on the weeds in the spring!
 
George Lee
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I like the mix suggested by Ryan above...

I have crimson clover, vetch, and borage going.. Buckwheat goes heavy in another patch on my property (really trying to draw the bees over and keep them here)...

The radish would be great for soil-breaking/soil-building/aeration, especially Daikon...

 
                                    
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@LivingWind--what time of year can you sow it? and do you sow the all the seeds at the same time?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Conversely a lot of native plants are becoming rare because of being pushed out by agriculture or exotics, so one might want to plant them to help maintain that genetic diversity.

Just my big fat opinion. 


It almost seems like some permies are becoming "anti-native"! 
 
                                    
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look at the funding behind the invasives issue.... cargill and monsanto
i use natives first... but I don't get bent out of shape when they are not available or just simply don't grow in the regions that they previously did because of changing environmental conditions.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm not talking about the "invasives issue"  Personally I think the worst invasives are the products of Monsanto and Cargill.   

I'm glad you use natives first - but yes, they are often hard to find.  In my region (Central Texas), many natives are probably still among the best adapted to changing environmental conditions.  My biggest problem with natives is they are often inedible or if edible, yucky tasting. 
 
George Lee
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gobeaguru wrote:
@LivingWind--what time of year can you sow it? and do you sow the all the seeds at the same time?
Yo...I get a few friends and skim the land with field rakes and broadcast in/around February...when the ground can be worked. I'm in zone 7, SC. Clover enjoys cool over hot, so it germinates just fine, and then really takes off come April. It flowers in mid-may (which mine has lived up to...) Good luck bro. All of them can go in, by the way.
 
            
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I choose to plant the mix in Spring, because that is when we have water.  I think a fall seeding is important as well.  The peas, oats, and vetch can be planted all together, mix them all up in a bag, the peas will climb the oats and the vetch will cover earth.  This is a good mix for the bees as well, not as good as buckwheat though.  Buckwheat is great for smothering any "weeds"(sorry I dislike that word lots).  The radishes will do better if sowed alone as the oats and vetch would probably smother them, maybe not but I have not tried(things to try list is getting huge).  I want to try planting sweet peas they are a great perennial in my zone 6/7.
Go spread some seed!
I would love to hear some chatter on natives for this task. 
 
                                    
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i'm finding this site has very few natives present that aren't grasses...i was just looking up melilotus albus and found out it's an invasive! but it's everywhere on the property... i noticed the bees all over it last year... does anyone know anything about our native thicket bean.... phaseolus polystachios?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ryan H wrote:

I would love to hear some chatter on natives for this task. 


Thing about natives is they tend to be native to a specific region, so one usually has to do some research on what might supposed to be there if things hadn't been plowed or grazed out. 

My region used to be mixed tallgrass and midgrass prairie savannah but a lot of the natives, especially the legumes and good forage plants have been grazed out  and are almost impossible to find in the locale. 

 
Tyler Ludens
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gobeaguru wrote:
does anyone know anything about our native thicket bean.... phaseolus polystachios?


How cute!  And it is edible!  http://www.missouriplants.com/Pinkalt/Phaseolus_polystachios_page.html
 
                    
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I wander around the farm and surroundings and see what grows up all by itself.  The ones that I think look quite pretty, I take seeds from and try encourage those in my grassy / nettle areas.  I have found camomile grows wild here and re-seeds itself nicely.  There is also a pretty creeper thing that gets small flowers and then pea-like pods.  Clover is really nice too and comes in many wild varieties.

Basically note the 'good' wild plants and then collect seeds from them to sprinkle out in autumn.  By the next spring you should have a nice covering of pretty weeds!
 
Lee Einer
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I'm not talking about the "invasives issue"  Personally I think the worst invasives are the products of Monsanto and Cargill.   

I'm glad you use natives first - but yes, they are often hard to find.  In my region (Central Texas), many natives are probably still among the best adapted to changing environmental conditions.  My biggest problem with natives is they are often inedible or if edible, yucky tasting. 


One strategy is to observe what is already growing well on your land, and just go a little sideways with it to get to a related plant with a human use. So wild sunflowers might suggest sunchokes, wild salsify might suggest scorzonera, etc.
 
Jeff Hodgins
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For fall to early spring I recomend leeks, onions, garlic, lettuce, parsly, rubarb.
The leeks in my perents garden are as thick as grass.
 
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