Which plants are cheap to buy in 6 packs? Tomatoes, peppers, and
other warm season plants to me are cheaper to buy as small seedlings
instead of starting your own.
When it cost 10 cents just for the jiffy pellet, the only reason to
start your own is if you can't buy the seedlings.
Last year all the tomato plants I bought had some type of blight/problem.
The ones I did myself had tomatoes, that's it. This year I'm not buying any
My seedlings have three leaves. It's just fun to do my own.
I'm not sure what is the cost but the pay off is fabulous.
| Which plants are cheap to buy in 6 packs? Tomatoes, peppers, and
| other warm season plants to me are cheaper to buy as small seedlings
| instead of starting your own.
| When it cost 10 cents just for the jiffy pellet, the only reason to
| start your own is if you can't buy the seedlings.
That's ridiculous. If price is your concern you would be hard pressed to
beat the price of a supermarket tomato, or even a farm stand tomato. The
prime benefit of growing your own is to have something that's not only
fresh, but also to have varieties that are different from the commercial
varieties. This year I've decided to grow heritage tomatoes. I'm growing
a bunch of commie varieties, Paul Robeson's, Orange Russians, Alaska's,
plus one Italian variety. The tomatoes that you get in flats are always
the same few varieties, Big Boys, Early Girls, Romas, and a couple of
others. They are very reliable and they have huge yields, all good
characteristics if you are a commercial farmer or you are relying on them
for survival. But I'm not a farmer and I count on the supermarket to
provide my basic needs. I also have a farm stand on the corner so I get
get produce that's just as fresh as anything I grow myself. So I've
decided that this year I'm only going to grow varieties that I can't get
elsewhere. I don't care about yield, last year I grew from flats and I
had hundreds and hundreds of tomatoes, if this year I end up with just
10% as many I'll still have more than enough.
I am not much of a gardener, but there might be an advantage to starting
your own from seed. When I was a kid my mom saved some cherry tomato seeds
and started them from seed. In each progressive year the tomatoes got a
little bigger and tastier.
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
OK, I'm a month late in my response to your post. I don't read this news
groups as often as some others.
My experience is that the six packs of starter plants and 4" pots all
cost the same at the nursery. I'm guessing you want the biggest return
on your investment, lbs/$. This in turn is related to gardening
practices, agricultural zone, and length of season, in order of
My suggestion is that you grow what you like best, because it will taste
best straight from the garden. The most memorable flavors for many of us
come from tomatoes, fresh corn, string beans, red bell peppers
(grilled), and carrots. If you like to cook, start a kitchen garden for
herbs (thyme, oregano, tarragon, parsley, cilantro, basil, and mint).
These you may buy at the store fresh but you end up throwing away what
you don't use. Grow it and you only take what you need.
But gardening, as I have found out, isn't just
stick-it-in-the-ground-and-hose-it. Each plant is a universe unto
itself, with it's own needs and dislikes. In your knowledge, you form a
bond. It's hard to imagine the rage a farmer feels when he finds out his
crop has been trashed by birds, gastropods or, insects.
"Be careful when you walk out your front door", as Bilbo Baggins used to
say. "You never know where the path may lead you."
Cloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
I have a monster rosemary shrub and plant cherry tomatoes and basil. Last
year the best cherry tomatoes were orange and/or yellow, but we ate all of
them and I couldn't find any seeds for orange or yellow cherries, even at
the big REAL plant store. I finally broke down and bought a 6-pack of Sweet
100s just to stay in the game. We'll get 'em next year.
Basil produces copious seeds -- one package is a lifetime investment.
I understand your position, and with tomatoes costing upwards
of $2 a pound at Walmart, growing our own is very attractive...
There's something intangible about seeing one's growing plants
and knowing that we started them from seed. .... more to it than
just the money saved...
That being said, I do a little of both. As a beginning gardener, I
plant about 10 times as much as I need, to assure myself of at
least "something" coming up. The "six-packs" of Celebrity that I
buy from Home Depot seem to do better than my seedlings --
almost certainly due to my inexperience, and that may change
with time --- but I don't mind paying the 1.98 as insurance that I
will be able to see growing things in a couple months...
From a practical standpoint, buying canned vegetables would be
more cost effective. But, we wouldn't get the same feeling as
we do when we eat a nice salad, and know that it only cost us
a few dozen man-hours of garden work to gather ourselves....
.... Seems silly, but I really like that feeling.....and the more
I do "myself", the better it feels...... Heck, I can afford to
throw away a couple bucks a year to get up my learning curve.....
Andy in Eureka, Texas
(who is now planting lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, and cantalope)
For most gardeners, I don't think it's the 10 cent pellet or the $3.00
Every Sep/Oct, when I start cleaning up the previous summer's garden "mess",
I vow that I'm not doing it again. Too much money, too much work, the price
of tomatoes is now $.50 lb/$12.00 bushel...green beans are free for the
picking and people will pay you to haul away their zucchini and yellow
By Nov, I'm looking at the back yard and everything is brown and dead. My
straggly house plants have become my best friends.
By Christmas, I've overdone the decorations, just so I can see something
By January, I've convinced myself that you can't leave your Christmas greens
up too long...until the first seed catalogue arrives. I toss it aside,
remember all the work of the previous summer and make plans to go to a 12
step program. I'm told that I can't bring tomato sandwiches to the meetings.
By February, I'm asked not to come back. Someone noticed potting soil under
one of my fingernails. Plain brown envelopes begin arriving in the mail. I
don't know anyone named Burpee or Parks. I shake them, it sounds
like.....SEEDS! Embarrassed, I hide them in the basement.
By March 1, I remember that there are a few peat pots left from the previous
year. What harm could be done by potting a few seeds?? I tell myself that
they look lonely....They need little more little friends...I need MORE!
By April, there are glass shelves in the windows, bright lights mounted next
to them, black trays full of tiny plants everywhere, more seed catalogues...
just in case...I black out and order some tomato varieties I don't
have...They arrive too quickly. I call in sick to work and rush to Lowe's
for just a few more peat pots and a pass through their garden
May 1, everything is out of control!! My neighbor has dared to add another 2
feet of space to his pitiful little garden plot. I whip out the mother of
all rototillers and add 3 feet to mine. I have no intentions of planting all
of this space, but I want him to see that mine is bigger. The little plants
have to come out of the house and into the ground. It should only take a day
of work. I'm not planting much this year. I'll give away the extra seedlings
and let the grass grow back in that extended 3 feet I tilled.
May 10, Scratch the previous plan of cutting back. I'm almost done with the
planting. I just need to find a home in the ground for a few more of my
babies. We've bonded, I can't abandon them.
June...I wait...I water...I watch...I go to the grocery store and purchase
fresh salt, fresh pepper, new shakers, and only Hellman's mayonaise. I check
the price of tomatoes..."Vine Ripened" my a--!
July, August, September, October...Roadside/Store bought tomatoes...3 pounds
But I'm not going to do it again next year......
There are several things that motivate me to garden, but cost is pretty
far down the list. I am sure that if I took the actual cost of the
garden that I could buy more frozen/canned produce than I harvest from
But there are two things that stand out -- taste and satisfaction.
There is just nothing that compares with fresh asparagus. I mean REALLY
fresh, as in get the water boiling before cutting it. Another example
is tomatoes -- the commercial varieties are bred for good shipping and
consistency, not for taste. Farmer's market produce comes close, but
the taste of stuff fresh from the garden just cannot be beat. (Then
there's the experience of picking the raspberries off the bush and
popping them directly into the mouth.)
On the other hand, there are things that I can grow in my garden but
don't because I don't consider them worth the effort. Cauliflower is an
example -- I can buy frozen cauliflower at reasonable prices and the
taste compares favorably with what I can achieve by freezing it myself.
I just don't consider the incremental improvement worth my time to
plant, tend, harvest, and process it.
I do get satisfaction from growing my own food. I enjoy my vegetable
garden, but it's only one of the activities I enjoy in the summer. I
try to do two things to avoid burnout. First, I make an effort to limit
how much I plant. Second, I try to develop techniques like mulching
that reduce the amount of time it takes to maintain the garden. The
idea is to avoid standing in the garden in July, overwhelmed by the
amount of work that is needed to maintain it.
Your steaming your asparagus? Try grilling it for 3-5 minutes per side.
There should be little discolorization marks from the heat when you turn
them. Disregard, if you like them mushy.
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.