Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cheap Gardening: Seeds and Plants

Hey, ya'll. It's time (at least for us Californians) to start thinking about planting gardens! Anyone can do it, even those who don't have a yard, and it's completely rewarding! I prefer plants of the edible kind, so I'm going to mostly cover information on those, but flowers are amazing, too!

For those of us who have planted gardens before, you know it can get kind of pricey to buy all things needed unless you just happen to have a perfect spot in the ground ready to go. My house is surrounded by a wood deck - it's nice, but there's not much ground we were able to use for plants, which meant buying a lot of containers and a ton of soil. Of course we also had to buy trees and other expensive rare plants because it can be a bit of an obsession. Let's just say I don't really want to think about how much money has been spent over the past year or two. In the process I have picked up some tips on how to get things done for cheap and even free.

Today we will start with plants and seeds.


Did you know you can use the seeds from some fruit and vegetables purchased at the grocery store? I've saved seeds from peppers, melons, and it also gave me an excuse to try "exotic" fruit that was pricey. You would have purchased the produce anyway, why not keep the seeds for free future food?
Here's an article on how to save them!

If you want to grow tomatoes, mail in a donation and wish list to this company - they have an amazing collection of heirloom tomatoes and will sometimes mail you extras (celery, flowers, whatever they have laying around). If you happen to have extra seeds, you can also send them in and they will pass them along to another gardener!

There's also quite a few seed swap forums. You can post what you already have and are willing to share and what your wish list is. I've exchanged seeds with a few people throughout the U.S. Here's one site and here's another!

Occasionally you can also find seeds and bulbs at your local dollar store, although there's no guarantee how old the seeds are. The germination rate might be a little lower, but you can usually still get most of the seeds to grow.


Check Craigslist! Quite often there's plants listed in the free section, whether it's extra vegetables they didn't need to plant in their garden, flowers they don't like anymore, or even trees that they want dug up and out of their yard. While you're there, look out for free dirt, bark/mulch, and planters!

Another way to get free plants is through propagation. With some varieties you can actually cut off a stem and plant it directly in the soil or let it sit in a glass of water and it will grow roots! You can also pick up rooting hormone, a powder you can drip the stems into to help stimulate root growth, but don't use it on edible plants.

Make sure the plants you want will grow well in your area and take note of the time frame each should be planted. There's no point in putting in all that effort if the plant is going to struggle to survive.

It's all worth it, kids. Old-fashioned, flavorful tomatoes, fresh herbs for cooking, strawberries waiting to be picked... whatever you choose to grow it will be amazing. Just a little bit of care and watching over, and the plants will flourish.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, I'm excited to start my own garden this time and stop eating yours!