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Why I have to grow from seed

Posted by rayinpenn 10 (My Page) on
Fri, May 25, 12 at 6:53

This year here in southeastern Pennsylvania the inexpensive 6 cell vegetable pack has become like the dinosaurs - extinct. I has been replaced by the larger single plant for $3.49. So the flat of 40 cucumbers that I grew from a single packet ($3.50) of seed would have cost over $120. I can not and will not pull the trigger on a $3.49 pepper plant . It's just insane! Clearly the margin on the large plant is higher and the retailer makes more money. The gardener on the other hand might be forced to scale down his garden to make it fit in his or her budget. That to me is a real shame. I discuss gardening budget issues and maintain a photo journal of my gardening at my website:

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

With the cost of lighting/electricity/pots & soil, and the time involved, I am not sure I am really saving that much money growing everything from seed. I do it because it is more rewarding, I get healthier plants than I could find around here, and the choices of types is almost limitless.

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

Years ago, I could get six annuals in a pack for around 59 cents. Over the years, the price increased by 10 cents or so (every year) and now the same six annuals are $2.79. Some places have even downsized to four per pack. I never buy the single annual in the 4" pot...what a rip-off.

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

I've switched to winter sowing since the germ rate jumps up close to 95% for the majority of seeds. I sowed a dozen tomato seeds in a recycled milk jug and have that many 6" seedlings looking for homes. I WS annuals this year for the first time and it would appear the germ rate on zinnias, snapdragons, Mexican sunflower, alyssum & a few others is equally high. The only annuals I bought this year were a 6-pack each of coleus & impatiens and I'm considering winter sowing those next year since I have already WS & grown so many perennials my beds are filling up.

I love growing from seed and with WS the plants are incredibly more healthy & robust than nursery-grown plants. My WS Siberian iris is a good 8" taller with more blooms than an established clump I bought at a nursery years ago. The WS Shasta daisies are HUGE; cushion spurge is lush and full and the WS hardy geraniums are growing by leaps and bounds.

I truly believe in supporting local business except when my seed-grown plants are twice as healthy and hardy.

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

A few years back I recall reading (correct me if I'm wrong)that the US was penalizing greenhouse growers because of the heating methods in their greenhouses - I can't recall if they are getting a heavier tax or how it was working out. I do know it is more and more expensive for them.

It's similar in Canada with our Canadian Tire, Rona, Home Depot and major grocery stores reducing the variety of plants. At this time of year there are still losses for these places when plants are not purchased. So I'm assuming they have paired down their purchase contracts for plants to the most popular selling plants.

And yes, if possible, it makes more sense dollar for dollar to grow from seeds. But that's not always viable for everyone given the lighting/space in people's homes.

Right now, for instance, Thompson & Morgan is having their summer liquidation sale on seeds of 75% off. I'm ordering now for next year.

Yup, the days of big cell packs of veggies are gone. This is my first year at a Farmer's Market as a small vendor. Most of my plant starts that I've grown were quickly gone. I don't charge a lot because I'm small, grow my seeds starts on a 5 tiered wire plant stand in front of my south facing patio door over the winter. Heck, all my windows are crammed with plants by spring as things get bigger.

I don't have the answer to this change only that it seems to be the same across a lot of "North America".

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

The grocery store has these living lettuce plants in a neat container. We eat the lettuce, punch holes in the container, and sew seed there. The lid, when closed keeps moisture in and makes a nice little greenhouse. I am currently working on 5 split leaf philodendron seeds purchased on Ebay. Two have sprouted. These are common house plants, but when grown outside in our climate, they will climb the highest tree, and produce an amazing fruit called Monstera Deliciosa. I put them outside during the day in partial shade, then bring them in to spend the night on a heating pad turned on low.

RE: Why I have to grow from seed

I buy my starter plants from a local mom & pop seed and feed store for $1.89 a four pack. I purchase heirloom seeds online from Baker Creek. As I get better at starting from seeds I buy less and less starter plants. I am not militant about it but seed saving and sowing just makes better sense. A lost art being revived.

container vegetable gardening 365 days a year in zone 9b.

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