Friday, February 6, 2015

That Seed-Buying Time of Year

If your inbox looks anything like mine at this time of year, it is crammed with messages from seed companies that are hoping we all will  buy more seeds. This year, a great little ad came to my email from Park seed company that hints at how much money we can all save by buying seeds.

The ad reads:

Home Gardens Save Money

On average, a family that spends $50 on seeds and fertilizer will produce $1,250 in produce!

While I totally agree that home gardens can be a great source of less-expensive, healthy food for families, I have known people with quite small gardens to spend this much and harvest much less. Hopefully, though, all of my gardening friends have developed cost-effective plans to make the most out of whatever space is available for their gardens.

One of my gardening friends and I have worked out our annual seed-buying deal that saves us both a little money. This year, I will be placing our joint order for seeds from Sandhill Preservation, and she will be in charge of the order from Baker Creek/Rare Seeds. We will be getting together this weekend to finalize and place our orders. This is always a great way to spend time with a gardening friend!

I am not ordering as many seed packets as usual, because I have a surprisingly large supply of seeds in the fridge that are still new enough to have good-enough germination rates. As seeds age, they lose viability, and they can get so old that they just won't grow. That aging-time varies with crop type, but I seem to have bought a lot of seeds in the past couple of years. Very few packets have date stamps further back than 2012.

This weekend is forecast to be warm and sunny, with highs up around 60 degrees F. I plan to spend some of that beautiful weather pruning berry-canes, the persimmon, and the plum. Hope that everyone else has a great, garden-filled weekend!


  1. Orders placed and received from Baker Creek and Johnny’s this year. Usually order from Sandhill Preservation but I did not receive a catalog. I must have skipped ordering last year and got dropped. But Glenn has a terrific selection of seeds and sweet potato varieties.
    I’m going to try a couple of trials (I have more room to play with on the farm) of tobacco and mangles. If all goes well I’ll have hand rolled cigars in my future. And the lambs can be folded off next season on a quarter-acre of twenty pound roots and fodder.

  2. I would be sad if Glen dropped me from the mailing list! I have great luck with some of the varieties he carries, and many can only be found through his catalog.

    If I had actual livestock instead of pet bunnies, I'd be looking more closely at some of those immense mangles, too. Root crops are such a great source of easy-to-grow calories for people; it makes sense that growing some for livestock would be a good idea.

    Is there an old curing barn for tobacco on your property? I will be interested in hearing how the great tobacco experiment works! I've grown Tennessee Burley in my yard, but I just wanted the leaves for bee stings, so no curing was required.

  3. I showed your post to my husband so maybe he'll quit throwing the bills from my seed purchases at me, laughing! It is amazing though how much the seed prices have gone up over the last few years and how much they tack on for organic ones.....Denise at Green Meadows

    1. Hi Denise! -- If your seed-buying is anything like mine, I can see why he might be laughing (or crying?). However, as hobbies go, growing vegetables is usually not a big money-pit. I'm working with a little more than 300 sq ft, which probably makes a difference in my input/output ratio. For people working with smaller beds in community gardens, finding ways to share expenses/seeds can improve the economics of the venture. The ease of finding friends with whom to share is one of the great benefits of community gardens!

      Looking forward to planting many seeds. --Amy


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