The High Cost of Gardening
Have you seen the price of seedlings this year? It's appalling.
The biggest change this year is that many outlets are selling individual seedlings instead of the six or nine pack. But get this. They're selling the singles for the same price (and higher) than the multi-celled packs.
There are still some retailers that sell the multi packs, but they're few and far between. In my area, I've only seen the multi packs at farm and ranch stores.
When I started gardening back in the 80s, I could get a six or nine celled seedling pack for about 59 cents. Today that same pack is upwards of $3.59. (Usually more.) That's a pretty steep increase.
Granted maybe most people don't need more than one tomato plant, but is that any reason to jack the price up to ridiculous levels?
I used to divide my garden spending between seeds and seedlings, but I can see I'll have to start nearly all my plants from seeds from now on.
Some seeds are easy to start. Tomatoes, squash, corn, radish. They come up like weeds given the right conditions. Others are better bought as plants. I have a hard time starting cumin, parsnips, and rosemary from seed.
Peppers can be tricky from seed. They really need warm weather, but they'll grow like crazy once they get started. What plants do you have trouble starting from seed?
Greg has promised me a greenhouse/garden shed this year, complete with electricity. If he delivers, I'll be able to start my seeds in January and have them ready to plant by March/April.
So what can you do to offset your seedling costs?
- Start seeds at least 2 months before planting season.
- If you do get seedlings, look for pots that were over planted. If you're very careful, you can easily divide the seedlings. Easy to do with squashes and cucumbers, but trickier with longer rooted plants. Soak the soil block and gently pull apart.
- Keep an eye out for farm and ranch stores, flea markets, and your neighbors for big discounts.
- Don't forget the clearances. I was at a grocery store only yesterday and they had put plant bulbs on clearance. I stocked up on potatoes, garlic, horseradish and an assortment of flowers. Every box of bulbs for 50 cents each. Cha ching!
On the same token, I have noticed that people were loading up on mulch and soil at the garden centers, but far fewer people were buying seedlings even when they were on sale.
How do seedling prices look in your part of the world? Have you noticed any price increases? Do you prefer to buy plants or start from seed?