Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seeds on the Cheap & Organizing Your Garden Seeds.

With my miniature daffodils nodding their perky little heads, I think I'm finally mentally ready for spring gardening. I even bought some fun new seeds yesterday: artichoke seeds because a friend had such success with them, bright red Italian bell pepper seeds, because it's fun to try a foreign variety, and a crenshaw melon, because crenshaws are pure delicious. Yum!

I bought those seeds despite all the dozens of packages of seed I already have, organized with dividers in clear plastic shoe boxes, and despite the fact the packets were about $2 each. My looking at seeds is kind of like kids going through the Christmas toy catalogs, where they want simply everything they see.

By the way, organizing my seed packets has made both planning and planting so much easier! I used to throw all the seed packets in one huge plastic container and have to shuffle through the whole thing every time I planted. I got smart last year. Within a few seconds, I now have what I want. I have headings for the vegetables I plant a lot, and I throw everything that doesn’t fit under miscellaneous. I have two shoe boxes for vegetable seeds and one shoe box for flower seed.

The seed packets I bought yesterday were a little more expensive than what I usually buy, being special, but you don't need to spend big money on expensive seed if you’re buying more common seed varieties and if you only need a few seeds. Last year, I bought some seeds from the local dollar store at 20 cents per packet, and the seeds grew and produced very well. The dollar store packets have only 8 grams of seed, probably 1/4 less than average packets bought elsewhere for between $1.49-$3.00.

Generally, those smaller packets are not cost effective for larger and heavier seeds, such as beans, where you’d have to purchase several packets to get a good crop. Yet, those packets are a wonderful buy for small seeds like lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, where one packet is still enough for several years. Moreover, the dollar store (where we live, it’s Dollar Tree) has tried and true varieties you’ll see everywhere else seed is sold. It’s also a great buy if you’re wanting to experiment and try just a little bit of a different variety. My experience has been that the seed quality is the same as the expensive brands.

Be watching in the late summer and early fall for stores to clearance remaining seeds, and you can often pick up seeds for the next year at bargain prices. They don’t save seed packets to sell the next year.

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