Sunday, March 28, 2010

I am so cheap-garden for a buck

 A few months back I read an article, that I now can not seem to find,  about a woman that planted her garden in nothing but seed that was under a dollar. I don't remember all the bits n pieces of the story other than her cheap seed and the  wonderful harvest that she reaped. What the article did do is remind me that the majority of my fall/ winter garden plants as well as many of my early spring  crops are from really cheap seed stock.

A few years ago I discovered that our local Dollar General store had a small rack of seeds and that the seed packs were four for a dollar. Due to inflation, they are currently three for a buck but  are still a good deal. Upon further inspection of the packs of seed I found that it was not just uber cheap but  it was also heirloom  seed stock. The seed variety does not tend to be all that great, at least at our local store.They seem  to o have many flower seeds and few veggies but I have found, collards,  green onions, lettuces, radishes, beans, peas, peppers, spinach kale, carrots, mustard and turnips. Because we only go to town once a month I may very well miss  out on some of the other veggie seeds that they may  sell, I don't really know.for all I know all I ever see are the ones no one else wants.

What I do know is that  these seeds do grow well, produce well and  that the seed can be saved. I know that my turnips have provided me with several meals and the mustard greens  survived the winter this year and provide us at least two meals a week and I only planted half of each packet. I just finished my dried green onions from  last season  and I still have kale. My sweet peppers that grew so well last year were from DG as is nearly all my lettuce seed.

I can't really say how much my cheap seeds produce for us in a given year as I never thought about it until I read the article and  we do not have a scale to weigh our produce. If I had to make a wild guess it would be near 200 or so pounds a year of mostly greens, not bad for  25-35 cent packs of seed that I just pick up   to have on hand and to  experiment with.

One of the reasons I started buying the cheap seed packs was because I was not a veggie eater in my former life, I was a meat n taters girl and you couldn't get me  to touch any other vegetable except iceberg lettuce. As we expanded what we grew and ate hereon the homestead,  it was a good way to sample the veggies without having too many and spending  loads of money  on  ordered seed. It also gave me an opportunity to see how a certain variety of a plant grew here on the land and if it didn't grow, woopty, it was a quarter thrown away.

For those that are new to gardening or just wanting to try it out to see how you do  this is a really  good way to  test your green thumb out. It's a nice small pack of seed, that is  heirloom  and is cheap.Heck, in our local DG one can get everything they need for a small  non fancy, maybe a bit cheesy gardening project. For kids this is  a wonderful , cheap, practical  birthday or other holiday gift that could inspire a life long love of gardening. For those  that think  they can't afford to garden, I tell you  that you are wrong. For under 25 dollars  and a bit of ingenuity  and gumption, you can grow one heck of a little garden chock full of nutritious, delicious  vegetables that will put a large dent in that grocery bill. For many that are on food stamps, seed and garden supplies can now be purchased in many states with the FS. What better way to  stretch  your money further.

Other stores do carry cheap seeds as well. I know Walmart carries 10 and 20 cents seed packs or they  did. I am sure some of the other dollar type stores carry them as well. Don't forget your local feed and seed  or even hardware stores as they often carry bulk seed at  literally pennies on  the dollar compared to ordering them and you decide how much or little seed you want. Seed companies are great for purchasing a certain variety of heirloom or a certain type seed that you are looking for but don't be a seed snob and overlook the bargains that are out there in seed land. More importantly, learn to save your own seed, become sustainable in that aspect of your life   and then swap with others that grow their own food. Trading is by far my favorite way  of acquiring new seed stocks. Not only do you get seed but  often times you get a story to go along with  the seed.

Here are just a few of the pictures of our cheap seed packs over the last year.What is shown is less than 2 dollars of seed.

          4 plants= 10 gallons of sweet peppers
     8 plants giant curled mustard= greens since November and still eating them

Turnips and turnip greens=  fresh greens all winter  and currently eating turnips and will be for at least another months
                                      green onions = year round  either fresh or dried at all times
   carrots, this was one pack of seed in a 32 sf bed.

Added: A friend knew the article I originally saw  so here is the  link to those interested


  1. Way back when we started gardening, places like Henry Fields, Gurneys, Burpees, all advertised in Organic Gardening & Farming. They had postcards offering seeds for 5 - 10 cents. Those were my first foray into gardening. It was an eclectic and fruitful endevour.
    I still go to the sale racks for seed. And saving some seeds really pays off. I started collecting marigold seeds 35 years ago. I used to have rows of marigolds running through my garden to help fight bugs. DD still remembers playing in the garden, picking flowers, and making leis out of them.

    Love this post!

  2. Hey Dilli! Yep, I do the same thing, I buy the cheap ones when I don't have that particular thing from seed saving. I love trying new stuff.

  3. dang you have a serious green thumb. I plant two packets of seed and get six plants. Also - ten gallons of peppers from four plants? What are you feeding them? I get two or three fruits per plant. ;(

  4. I have never had the peppers grow like I had them grow last season it was amazing and why i am planting 3 plants of peppers in total this year lol.. They ere in a bed that gets fed from the goat pasture. I sweep the nanny berries down the hill and into the bed.. and no i dont have a serious green thumb, I kill a lot of stuff :)