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