Seeds ‘n Such announces the return of our Farm & Field Seeds Program—a diverse offering of cover crop and green manure varieties designed to regenerate soil fertility, control weed competition, retain soil moisture, attract pollinator and beneficial insects and restore soil life, such as earthworms and pest predators, to allow us to reduce or eliminate the need for chemical intervention. This provides safe and nutritious food for our families and rebuilds our soil health for generations to come.
“Farm and Field Seeds, including cover crops, comprised one of the most important parts of the business of my prior R.H. Shumway Seedsman catalog,” says Seeds ‘n Such Owner J. Wayne Hilton. “Planting green manures is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to improve soils, as it is unsurpassed as a source of organic matter, when cut and then tilled under. It also protects against soil erosion, increases the capacity of the soil to hold water, smothers weeds and hosts beneficial insects. With so many excellent qualities, we certainly invite you to sow cover crops this spring and summer.”
Hilton is also quick to note that cover crop programs often require larger quantities of seed, especially in larger market-garden situations, but he still maintains his promise that all Seeds ‘n Such seed orders, no matter the total amount and weight, will never cost more than a flat rate of $2.95 for shipping and handling.
“Because it’s not uncommon for gardeners to buy a few pounds of several different farm seeds, many companies add a ‘Shipping Surcharge’ to cover the extra weight,” notes Hilton, “but not at Seeds ‘n Such. Your charge for Shipping and Handling is always a flat $2.95, no matter how much farm seed, vegetable seed or flower seed you purchase.”
Consult the Farm and Field Seeds attachment to the Order Form of your new catalog to determine the cover crop program that’s best for your climate and soil type. There are diverse offerings of varieties, including Crimson Clover, White Dutch Clover, Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover, Hubam Sweet Clover, Buckwheat, White Proso Millet, Mammoth Russian Sunflower and Permanent Pasture Mixture.
Here in the summer heat of the South, we have to be careful about the timing of our plantings and the varieties we choose, because certain varieties, especially some of the clovers, do not perform well in high temperatures. But most of these special crops adapt well to most climates and soil types.
One of our favorites is the annual Buckwheat, which is not only an excellent, fast-growing cover crop, but is especially attractive to honeybees and other pollinators and whose nectar makes excellent honey. “Buckwheat is one of the fastest-maturing green manure crops that grows virtually in any soil with minimal nutritional needs,” says Seeds ‘n Such Owner J. Wayne Hilton, “It can smother out almost any weed (including thistle) and also attracts beneficial insects.
“Buckwheat works to accumulate insoluble phosphorus that is released back into the soil when tilled in,” adds Hilton, “Sow anytime from May through July. Grows to 24 inches and begins flowering only 5 to 6 weeks after sowing. Till in when flowering starts. If growing for grain, sow 3 months before first fall frost and harvest after a killing frost. About 4,000 seeds in ¼-pound. Sow 1 pound per 500 square feet.
Another favorite is Hubam Sweet Clover—the “Beekeeper’s Clover.” Hilton describes Hubam as, “An annual form of white-blossom sweet clover that completes its life cycle the year sown. Since it produces its gigantic crop of white blossoms the year planted, it is especially preferred by beekeepers to quickly attract bees to the enormous nectar production. It is highly adaptable in all climates and is grown in all 50 states, even in heavy alkaline soils.
“In addition to its use for nectar production, Hubam also yields high quality hay in early summer and is excellent for fixing nitrogen,” adds Hilton, “Sow seed from early spring to July at a rate of about 2 to 4 ounces per 500 square feet.”