My first experience planting my garden from seed was 9 years ago as a young eager gardener. That early spring I was just a couple months pregnant with my 2nd child. (Do the math… and you will see why this was such a crazy idea … LOL!) I don’t know if it was the natural maternal instincts or the thought of growing my garden from pennies that took me down this road. I tend to lean to the first. With my love of homegrown tomatoes and great expectations of growing lots of them to eat in salads and sandwiches, and bottle my own spaghetti sauce for later use, I bought my paper cups, soil, and seeds. I thought I’d better make sure I have enough plants, so I planted 24! Why not, the package had enough seeds. I watered them and kept them protected from the wind and tried to give them a lot of sun. They transplanted into the backyard nicely and they grew and grew all summer. Can you imagine 24 Roma tomato plants at the end of August? Needless to say we had them growing out of our ears to the point I had no idea what to do with them! (I wondered why the older ladies at church chuckled at me when I told them I had 24 tomato plants growing in the backyard.) My spaghetti sauce and canning aspirations were dashed as I came down to reality that I had no air conditioning and being 8-9 months pregnant did not leave me with much energy. Lesson learned… start small!
If you haven’t already bought your seeds for this spring’s garden, buy them now! If you want to order them online from a nursery or specialty farm, you might run into a long wait to get your seeds. Two years ago when I first bought heirloom seeds, I thought I was getting ahead of everyone by ordering them in January. After purchasing them, I discovered their delivery was not going to be until March as they were so backlogged! Where I live in Zone 9, I can start seeds indoors in January for transplanting in the garden in early March.
You can find your plant zone by going to this link: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html
Now I order my specialty seeds in October when seed stores are having sales. They are selling the stock that wasn’t bought that previous spring. They are usually in very good condition and can be used the following year without any problem. Just store them in a cool and dry place. Check out your closest home and garden center as they probably will have the seed packets on the shelves at the appropriate time for your area.
Price Savings: $2.00 for a packet of 25 seeds = 8 cents per seed. If plant 2 seeds per cup so that you get at least 1 plant per cup and then pinch off one, you are left with about 12 plants. The soil for those plants probably costs you about 50 cents at the most. Ignore water costs. Those 12 plants at a home and garden center probably cost about $3 each = $3 * 12 = $36. Your home grown plants cost = $2.50, you just saved $33.50! Some seed packets cost a little bit more, but you would still save around $30 by growing your own.
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