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Garden Seeds: Getting Your Monies Worth

Chris is a non-certified greenish thumb. He enjoys growing produce for his family and small collections of pollinator plants for his bees.


Avoid Extra Costs

Gardening can be an expensive hobby, so when the price is higher because of simple marketing gimmicks it is good to learn to avoid them. Understanding different aspects of gardening will help you to save your money.

We want to look into seeds more specifically in this article. There are many ways to save your money when it comes to seeds. There are multiple marketing ploys to get your money and some of them are ways in which you don't need to spend any money for the seeds themselves.


Time For Money

There are many fruits and vegetables that you can grow from the produce you purchase from the store. This does take a little research, I had assumed that I could do peppers and spent a little time trying this before reading into it. This is one that helps to understand that bell peppers take open pollination and the peppers are harvested before they have a chance to pollinate, hence the seeds are no good. The is a way that takes some time, but it saves you money since you were most likely purchasing the food anyways.

Pineapples can be purchased from the store and grown. The leaves need to be cut off and the flesh cleaned off, then soaking the base will develop roots. This can be grown and it will take a couple of years before it bears pineapple, and they will be smaller than the pineapple you grew it from. But it will be sweet still.

Tomatoes can be grown from the seeds that are harvested from the pulp. The seeds to need to be dried first, this is the case in any harvested seed. Fresh seed will simply rot on you. You can mash the pulp and strain the seeds out, then set them out in a window sill for a couple of days on a paper towel to dry them.

Greens such as lettuce and bok choy can have the bottoms submerged in water until they grow roots and then plant them in soil. They will continue to grow and develop their own seeds as well.

If you have ever purchased cilantro for a recipe and had a lot of leftovers, plant it. The cilantro will take to transplanting and will grow roots and you can skip growing it from seeds and save a little time on this one. And hopefully, you don't have cilantro go bad in your fridge either.

And the list does go on, generally, a simple search on the internet will give results on viable options and how to proceed for success. This is a method that many people do not think about but can give your grocery budget a dual purpose.


Non-GMO Seeds

Seeds that state they are non-GMO are attempting to give you the reassurance of the quality seed a company is selling and/or getting a little more money from you. At the time of writing this, there are no garden seeds that a store sells that are GMO.

In order to purchase GMO seeds you will need to go to a seed dealer and be licensed. You will need to sign a contract when purchasing and they will also give you information on how to use this technology effectively and efficiently. None of this is what occurs when you go to the store and buy a packet of seeds.

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And the list for GMO seeds are the lines of alfalfa, sugar beets, corn, cotton, canola, summer squash, apples, potatoes, papaya, and soybeans. And GMO seeds for a farmer cost more than non-GMO, a GMO bag of corn is roughly $150.00 more than a non-GMO bag and cost around $80.00 more an acre.

Overall, if you seed a packet of seeds claiming to be non-GMO then you know they are either trying to make you feel good about their packet or get more money from you. Their claim is true, but the packets that don't say anything about being non-GMO are also in fact non-GMO.


Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom seeds are great. They are not necessarily organic, it seems like one assumption is that this sort of gardening seed is automatically organic and this is not the case. There is a lot that goes into being organic, about the only thing that makes an heirloom seed is time. At the minimum, 50 years of time to be exact. There are some that use this term for seeds that come from a line that was started before World War II, but this isn't the technical definition.

These plants have survived through time because people have cared enough to reproduce them. This generally means that they have a quality that people are still looking for and that you may be looking for. This is the type of seed that I would most likely go to a seed swap for and talk to the person trading/selling these seeds to see how they grow them.

I raise the point of heirloom seeds mainly to make the distinction that they are not necessarily organic. There are many great reasons to get heirloom seeds but the term is often misunderstood. Should these seeds cost more than their counterpart, not necessarily because they have been around longer and should be more established than newer varieties of the plant. But since it is a specialty that they very well may, this is one that I would usually purchase and harvest my own seeds and share with friends. And heirloom seeds are open-pollinated so you will get the same harvest as they produced the previous season. When you purchase a hybrid seed, you would not get the same results. This is a seed type that is worth purchasing if you are going to save seeds from your harvest.


Treated Seeds

Treated seeds by the packet are more expensive than untreated seeds. They have more time and material invested into them and this makes sense. They are treated to increase yield. I don't think for a small garden that this is worth it, but this is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves. We don't use treated seeds simply because I don't want to have a pesticide on my seeds.

This is a question for you, many people have no issues with using treated seeds. The seeds are treated for a specific reason, to increase yield. And to achieve this there is a treatment on the seed to help against seed or soil-pathogens. If you are purchasing by the packet, then it will be more expensive than untreated seeds but you may have a better germination rate and increased yield.


Bulk Seeds

If you are planting a lot or selling some off to recoup your costs, then buying seeds in bulk can be very helpful to save you money. Bulk seeds will generally be bought from a farm store, online, or catalog. One of the things I am growing this year is lavender.

A packet of lavender seeds has a couple of hundred seeds for about $3.00 or I could purchase 5,000 seeds for $4.99 online. I plan on having a nice row at one of my bee yards, but I could sell or trade some of the seeds or sell some lavender plants to others. Easily off-setting the price of the seeds and letting someone enjoy a lavender plant with little time invested.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Chris Samhain

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