Fruit & Vegetable Seeds to Plant Deep In The Mountains? (+Australian foraging & plant ID)

Mark E.
Mark E. Posts: 3 ✭✭✭
edited April 22 in Pacifica

Hi. I'm a noob, noob, newbie here. I'm at complete rock-bottom when it comes to gardening. I've never planted anything in my life. I've been listening to Mike Adams Situation Update podcasts. He has scared me into action by fearing an economic collapse, rising food costs, and food shortages. I had to quit playing video games so that I can hurry up and transform into a prepper. Because I have a mountain of information to research before I can begin planting seeds at home, I was wondering if somebody could help me.

While I'm busily collecting data on how best to grow a garden at home, it suddenly dawned on me that I could be planting seeds right now deep in the mountains. I'm thinking, because I'm taking far too long with the research, and because the world could come to an end tomorrow, I thought, what better way than to waste no more time but buy a whole heap of seeds and begin planting them deep in the mountains and see what happens.

Please let me know if you know of any fruit or vegetable seeds that I could plant deep in the mountains? I want to know what I could plant which doesn't require tending to. I just want to plant my seeds, go home, then return 3 weeks or 3 months later to a bountiful harvest. Is there any such food that grows above ground or underground that spreads like wildfire under all soil conditions whether it be rain, hail or shine, summer or winter? I live on the central east coast of NSW, Australia. We get tons of rain here. I'm surrounded on all 4 sides by mountains. I want to plant seeds in 4 hard-to-reach locations. At the moment, I'm far too busy to worry about the rightful season or the kind of soil that will allow these seeds to sprout. I just want to shove them in the ground, then hope for the best. All I'm asking for is a list of seeds to buy here in Australia that's guaranteed to sprout up the mountain. If I could get just one fruit or vegetable to grow that I could put on my dinner plate, then that would be great. Any help that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately, I think this is a pipe dream.

    Most soil deep in the mountains is rocky, and poor in nutrients. It isn't going to produce a bountiful harvest.

    Mountainous areas with decent soil are already growing forest and shrubs. This would have to be cleared for your crops, and as soon as you leave they will start encroaching on the good plants. Weeding is required.

    Your best bet is to plan a garden in your own yard, even if you are limited to a small space. It's possible to grow intensively in small beds of excellent soil that you prepared. Take a look at John Jeavon's book _How to Grow More Vegetables_.

    Even if you are in apartment and own no land, you can grow some food in pots, and purchase food locally, preserve it by dehydration, freezing, or canning, and have a good supply stored and ready.

    Start learning how to preserve food now. You can do it even in a small living space.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 6,009 admin

    @Mark E. Welcome to the forum.

    I'm going to tell you things that you may find quite uncomfortable to hear, but they are important and should be said if you are to be successful at growing your own food. You said you are very new to the idea & practice, so there are some basic things that you need to know to be successful before moving forward.

    Growing your own is best done without panic and step by step with a carefully thought out and non-fear based plan. Jumping into the prepper space will easily get you overwhelmed and not thinking straight because it is a fear-driven movement. This leads to bad decisions & outcomes. Its not the place to find wise & reliable answers.

    You also can't do everything all at once. If you do that, you are most likely going to get discouraged & fail.

    Mike Adams is anxiety inducing. My advice is to stop listening to him and switch to someone who is more down to earth and will guide/mentor rather than panic you with fear mongering. This is important. There are many much better & more complete sources of information out there.

    Relax & breathe, don't panic. Panic & fear is your worst enemy. The world is certainly going downhill politically, but our earth isn't going to end tomorrow, even though you may hear differently in the news (which is all politically motivated)...we aren't there yet.

    Secondly, take inventory of the growing space you have. You say "deep in the mountains". Is this where you live? Is it your land? Don't plant on someone else's property. Many city preppers forget that "the bush" that they want to run to when things go bad, is actually owned by someone, and they will protect it. I'm assuming you are in the city?

    Careful, calm planning & networking is wise. Anything else is foolish at any time, even now.

    Do you know your approximate zone (this will help indicate your growing days, which helps with seed choice)? Do you have rock or soil? What is your soil like? Should it be amended? What is your rainfall like? Whether you have time or not, you need to concern yourself with the soil & season, or the plants will not grow. Even native plants need this. Planting something invasive on purpose anywhere is a bad idea too.

    Most domestic garden seeds need tending...if it isn't weeds, its pests/wildlife or just improving on domething for a better harvest. The only thing that might give you what you are looking for is native plants indigenous to the area that are most likely already growing in that spot.

    You might want to learn about foraging. Even so, you will need permission from landowners to do so.

    @JodieDownUnder is in your area. She might be able to direct you to what might be most helpful.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Moderator Posts: 4,690 admin
    edited April 19

    I agree with the others that good, deep beds close to your doorstep are always best. There are some good books on "forest gardening" though that might give you some ideas. Generally, these are perennial vegetables that may take a while to establish... but, you may be surprised what you find using a couple of good foraging books, too. I'm not in your region, so I couldn't say. Growing mushrooms on logs is a great option in deep woods - shitakes, oysters, etc. Generally speaking, there is a lot more food growing all around us than we realize and even "guerilla gardening" strategies like Fukuoka's seed balls (seeds with clay) tossed in random (even public) areas often yield results. If possible, you may want to thin a few trees to let more sunlight in. As Laurie said, don't freak out - that is rule #1 in any situation but especially bad times. Rather, use any time and energy you have to come up with creative but practical solutions - keep paper and pen nearby and make notes of any ideas you have, but don't over think as in laying awake trying to solve problems. Small, simple steps add up - you'll be amazed what you can accomplish in a short time just by taking practical actions each day. BTW, as for things that grow super fast anywhere, bean sprouts and micro-greens are quick and easy. And, it is easy to keep the seeds stored for emergency use.... they also make good bait for trapping small animals, which is a good source of protein.

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 4,403 admin

    Welcome to TGN's forum @Mark E. I'm going to add seconds to everything mentioned above.

    We live in a very rural area, even more so when my kids were little. The first thing that I taught them about bush situations was to never panic. Panic and you won't survive.

    Its autumn for you right now, coming into winter so this is a good time for you to plan so that you are ready to plant in the spring.

    Don't head for the mountains to start. That can become a very dangerous situation if you aren't experienced with wilderness travel. Even if you only have a balcony, you will be amazed at how much you can produce.

    TGN's Academy is full of excellent courses from the soil up through growing and preserving. These will give you a good starting point.

    Check out farmers markets in your area. See what they are growing and ask lots of questions. Build community. Get to know who grows or makes products in your area that you could barter with. You don't have to grow or do everything yourself. What are your skills?

    Judson has mentioned adding foraging to your skills. Excellent idea. Great source of free (or almost free) food and medicine. Here is a link to a mushroom foraging class in NSW (hopefully close to you). And another site that has foraging and local food links. There is a Wildcrafting and Foraging course in the Academy, too.

    You have landed in a very good space for learning what to do and how to do it, so that you will be prepared as much as possible for whatever might come. Keep asking questions. We have a lot of knowledgeable people here on TGN.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 1,094 admin

    @Mark E. welcome to the forum. There is also lots of information on foraging. Instead of planting seeds, you might find out about using what already grows in your mountains. There might be many edible wild plants. The plants are there, they do not need planting, weeding, watering. You just find out which plants, when and how to forage and how to prepare your food out of them.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 454 ✭✭✭

    I second that fear based learning and panic has no real use.

  • Kuri and Kona
    Kuri and Kona Posts: 177 ✭✭✭
    edited April 21

    @Mark E. Hi, Mark. I hesitated to comment, as I have only been gardening for two years. There are many people on this forum with extensive garden knowledge, but I am not one of them! However, I did want to encourage you as one beginner to another. My first two years of gardening were not terribly encouraging. I didn`t know what I was doing. (I count my first year as summer of 2020, and then 2021 as a separate year. Two full years will not have passed until May, I suppose.)

    My garden was neglected for long stretches at a time due to prolonged illness. My area deals with typhoon season, rainy season, and long, hot summers. Through everything, even my neglect, the oregano survived. The sage, mugwort, rosemary, thyme, stevia, mint, etc. are still here as well. Also, some of my fruit bushes (blueberry, blackberry, mulberry) also pulled through. They look much happier now that I am watering and fertilizing and pruning as necessary. However, they survived hash conditioners.

    Even if you don`t have time for a `real garden`, herbs are super low maintenance and have both food and medicinal value. Maybe you could buy a pot for a container garden, and just look after that one pot of greens or herbs? If you get one pot started, two or three pots really will not add much time to your workload.

    Wishing you all the best! 😊

  • Mark E.
    Mark E. Posts: 3 ✭✭✭
    edited April 22

    Okay. Thanks for all that information, you guys. I really appreciate it. Having listened to the experts, I guess I won't be planting seeds up in the mountains anytime soon, but foraging or seeing what grows naturally within my local area could be a good idea. I was actually thinking of getting out into nature and taking long bush walks through our national parks and rainforests and collecting samples of mushrooms and plants ready for online identification. I took photos of the weeds growing in my garden and uploaded them to this website:

    Please let me know if you're aware of any other free online plant or mushroom identification websites that I may have missed. I can see that there are many other plant identification websites but unfortunately they all want me to download the app to a mobile phone. I refuse to own a genotoxic mobile phone. I just want to use my camera to snap some photos, then upload them directly to the internet for identification. This website should help greatly in determining which plants or mushrooms are safe to eat.

    Thanks, @JodieDownUnder, for mentioning The Greenpatch Seed Company & The Seed Collection. I've been wondering which Australian website sells the best quality organic seeds. If I'm to grow a garden, then I only want to invest in the highest quality products such as organic seeds, soil, compost and pots, etc... Talking about pots. I want to begin my first garden at home by planting in medium to large-sized pots. This is mainly so that I can reposition the pot around the house to see what grows and how fast it grows depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. This should give me a good idea where I should place raised beds in the future.

    Where I live, we are fortunate enough to have a decent-sized backyard. I could probably squeeze in 50 or more large-sized pots around the perimeter of the house if I wanted to, but whether or not the full rays of the sun can reach those pots is another story. I refuse to use the old soil that's already in the garden right now. Our garage is made of asbestos and an old garden full of weeds surrounds it. I don't trust the soil when it could contain asbestos.

    If I'm gonna be buying pots, I kinda don't want to be using anything that's related to plastic. I fear that if I were to use plastic containers, that microplastics may get released into the soil, which may then end up on my dinner plate. Please let me know if you're aware of any good pots that don't leech heavy metals or microplastics that I should look out for next time I visit the nursery or Bunnings. Also: It would be good to know of a few Australian brand names of soil, compost or mulch that is organic and of the highest quality. Because I consider my health and the health of my family my highest priority, these are the kind of things that I'm always researching, but unfortunately most good reviews of products are reviewed by American websites whose products cannot be found within Australia.

    How important is it to water your garden using filtered water? Does everybody here use filtered water or do you use tap water? Our tap water contains fluoride and chlorine which I don't think is very good on plants, not to mention all the heavy metals that would be leaching into the soil. So far in my research, I've been looking at the perfect water filtration system to buy. Should I buy a Big Berkey purifier, whole house filtration system or reverse osmosis, I wonder? Should I purify tap water or rainwater, I wonder? In my mind, I cannot begin a garden without first considering the source of water that my plants will be receiving.

    When I begin my garden, I first want to make sure that everything is 100% clean and organic. The food that me and my family will be eating, I want to make sure that it's free from as much heavy metal or microplastic contamination as possible.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 6,009 admin
    edited April 22

    First, I will give you a few more resources. @JodieDownUnder might be able to comment on these as well. It is best when learning about edible & medicinal plants to have more than one resource. I have found that some have some information, but sometimes can miss things that are important. To get a more comprehensive understanding and know what you are reading is accurate, its best to check multiple sources. If you can find an herbalist that offers plant walks, that would be good to attend a walk or two as well.

    Even though this is a guide to basics of North American plant families, it will certainly carry over to plant families in Australia. I've got this book. It's pretty good.

    This sounds like a good resource:

    This sounds specific to various regions:

    This will also be excellent:

    As for growing on the ground you have, try raised beds (edit to add: I see thats your plan after trying pots out). Do a search on the forum for those topics. Hugelkultur & what's called lasagna bed gardening is helpful in cases such as yours. @JodieDownUnder has some raised beds.

    Maybe someone else can offer advice on mushrooms. That is not my specialty.

    Now to reread your post. 😄 You have a lot of really good questions and if you are willing to do the work & keep at it, you will find success. There will be a few failures, but that's just opportunity to learn & improve.

    Perhaps if you can put certain questions in other categories on the forum, you can get more views & so then, more answers by doing so. Do some searches too. We have a lot of information already available on here that is practical enough to span the globe.

    Adding: You can do a water catchment system for your garden water purposes.

    I have the same issues with our municipal water. I hate using it in the garden. People look at me like I'm crazy and think its perfectly safe, but I don’t think its good to use, personally.

    Last year, I just resorted to using it in the garden because we are so dry here & we can't afford a good filter and had no rain catchment system set up (for IF it rained). We hope to set something up this year, and hopefully we get more moisture when it counts.

    We drink & cook with natural source spring water (we go to the spring to collect) because we can at least control that and not have the garbage chemicals added.

    There are plants that can be planted to help remediate the soil. I'm not sure what those may be in your area, though.

    I think @JodieDownUnder is your best resource for gardening in Australia. She has years of knowledge of how things work Down Under, and is better able to direct you to the resources you will need moving forward.

  • torey
    torey Moderator Posts: 4,403 admin

    @Mark E. Sounds like you have the start of a good plan.

    You do need to know where the sun is at optimal angles for each plant. Some plants require full sun all day long while others are shade lovers and will literally cook to death if they are out in full sun. And then there are the plants that like it in between. Most garden and seed catalogues will give you sunlight and water requirements, as well as length of season for each of their seed varieties.

    Clay pots are an option over plastic but they are quite heavy, especially for the larger sizes. They will dry out quicker than plastic pots but that can be a good thing if you have lots of rain. And clay pots will sometimes break. If you can get your hands on old wooden barrels, they make good planters when cut in half. Usually, you can get old ones that are no longer servicable for ageing wine. The down side for them is they can't easily be moved once filled with dirt and planted; too big and heavy. They don't last forever but you will get several years out of them.

    I see that TGN's Academy is going to be offering a course in detoxing your soil. That is something to look into when it gets posted. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on any Australian companies that sell good quality bagged soil. You can always ask at farmers markets about the possibility of purchasing composted manure or good soil if any has excess.

    A good solution for your water needs would be to set up some sort of rainwater collection. Rainwater doesn't need to be filtered. You just need some sort of a eaves trough or gutter system that will drain into a rain barrel. A Berkey filter won't filter enough water to do a garden if you are thinking of 50 or so pots. If you are concerned about the water your family is drinking, then you should invest in some sort of household filter that will remove chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. I don't have that kind of filter as I am on well water, so I don't know which kind to recommend. Its good to think of what your plants will be drinking but also what you and your family are drinking.

    Plant identification websites are very good at narrowing down plants to a few choices but they aren't always the best for coming up with exact species. Beginning foraging is always best done with an expert the first few times, especially for mushrooms. I have been on mushroom ID walks with experts in the field several times and I have a very good mushroom ID program but still don't trust my ID skills enough to harvest many mushrooms. There are 3 or 4 that I will eat and a couple more that I will use for medicine under my own identification skills, but the rest I am still uneasy about. There is a saying amongst mushroom harvesters. "There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters. But there are no old & bold mushroom hunters." The Wildcrafting and Foraging course in TGN's Academy will give you a list of tools and equipment that is necessary for wildcrafting. Be prepared before you go out! And don't forget a first aid kit.

    Books are my favourite sources of ID. If you check out the Educational Books and Other Resources section, you will find lists of gardening books, plant ID books and herbal medicine books, with suggestions all made by our members.

    Seconds on "Botany in a Day"; its definitely a good book to have in your library.

    This link will take you to some discussions that our members have started with regards to foraging.

    If you go to TGN's Blog main page, type foraging into the search bar. There are 60 articles on foraging. While some are specific to North America, you will find some general ones that have very good advice on the equipment you will need and how to learn about identification.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Moderator Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 1,328 admin

    @Mark E. the pot thing is going to be an issue, as most pots are made from plastic. Other options potato grow bags(could have traces of plastic) hessian bags(like sand bags but bigger) hard to get hold of & break down rather quickly! Besa bricks(cinder blocks) can be used for raised bed garden edging & then you can plant in the bigger holes provided for in the besa brick. Install a tank & put a filter on it, to water your garden, invest in a worm farm, compost bins & you’ll be a whole lot more self sufficient & healthy options for you & your family.

    Mark, I’ve been researching now for years on healthy lifestyle choices. There’s a lot of info out there, some confusing, misleading etc. In my experience I’ve narrowed it down to the following; in Australia there’s “self sufficient me” a guy who lives in sth east QLD, the only way I found him was on Facebook.He gives practical online advice. Ian Thomas of the gourmet, again Facebook. Other creditable people to take notice of is Marjory Wildcraft TGN, you’ve made the first step. Food/health wise Dr David Perlmutter, Dr Joel Furhman, Nick Polizzi, Brian Vasily, Ocean Robbins. All tending to be plant based and the info is backed by science. If you want to get into herbal etc, TGN, Rosalee De La Floret, Rosemary Gladstar, Kami McBride.

    These are some of my go to books, Marjory’s The Grow System, I’ve loaned to someone but that would definitely be in the mix. Get reading, get researching, get healthy & definitely get more self sufficient. Making things like nettle tea, fire cider & a simple salve for burns & cuts seems to extend from growing a vegetable garden. I get my herbal supplies & some live pants from Mudbrick Herb Cottage, great Aussie husband & wife team in QLD. Ask plenty of questions, we all had to start somewhere. All the best.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 6,009 admin

    @JodieDownUnder SSM has a website & is on YouTube as well. He's pretty knowledgeable.

  • thelinda
    thelinda Posts: 18 ✭✭

    I agree, don't panic. The fact that panic spurred you to start planning is good but the panic must end now. There is a sense of urgency and you must make this a priority... Maybe rather than seeds, you plant cuttings or small plants? Do a search on fast growing/fast producing plants that are native to your area. Do a search on vegetables that produce quickly. Radishes produce more quickly than say cucumbers. Some berry bushes such as blackberry can produce quickly. Asparagus produces every year for 20 years after established. You can buy established roots. Don't know your climate so I don't know if these would work for you. Patience, persistence, and research will be important. Sometimes you don't have time for research you just have to try things and take notes about what works. A friend plants seeds from the organic produce he purchases and grows them in 5 gallon buckets with drainage holes in the bottom. Not everything he plants grows.

  • thelinda
    thelinda Posts: 18 ✭✭

    Just thought of something... Goji. aka "wolfberry". They grow in all kinds of environments, cold to hot, and are quite nutritious. They produce a crop fairly soon, possibly a small crop the first year. I don't care for the taste but if I was hungry I would eat them.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Moderator Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 1,328 admin

    @Mark E. I went down this rabbit hole on the weekend. Alternatives to plastic pots, Geopot fabric, geofelt, root pouch.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 1,094 admin

    @JodieDownUnder i love the bags you shared! I have to look round whether something like that is available in Europe! Thank you for the idea!

  • Kuri and Kona
    Kuri and Kona Posts: 177 ✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder I also thought the cloth bags were fantastic. I am always looking for better alternatives to plastic for container gardening. Right now, cardboard boxes are my go to method.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 1,094 admin
    edited April 27

    @Kuri and Kona you use cardboard boxes? How long do they keep? What about watering inside. Do they not dissolve with water? We have so many cardboard boxes. Share your experience, please. You may write as a separate discussion.

  • Mark E.
    Mark E. Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    I love them bags as well. Toxic-free and made in Australia. Excellent! What more could I ask for? I've read and re-read everybody's comments. There's some really good solid information here. I've saved all the links and have written down the names of all them books. Once I begin my gardening journey and have gained some traction, I will then look into buying a few of these books, and/or the TGN Academy Courses. I first want to get things started and see how I go on my own for a while, but when I start running into problems, when I know I will end up running into problems, then at least I know that I have many good resources at my disposal I can always turn to. That answers all my questions for now. If I have any further questions, I'll be sure to create a new post. Once again, thanks for all your help, you guys, I really appreciate it. Take care :-)

  • Kuri and Kona
    Kuri and Kona Posts: 177 ✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe Okay, I will post about it separately😃.

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 278 ✭✭✭

    Your post made me laugh a little. I wish that I could go out and plant seeds, then come back a while later for the harvest. Actually, your best bet is to plant perennials as they return year after year to give you food. BUT even those need some tending. Laurie Loves Learning offered amazing advice so I won't repeat it. Most, if not all, gardeners have to experiment, and fail, multiple times on the road to successful gardening. Hope you learn quickly and get to enjoy the harvests.

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