Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Latest Frugal (& Food) Interest: Trying to Decide

Okay, I've learned how to make bread so that is one frugal goal accomplished. It isn't perfected yet, of course, but it's progress so I'm off and thinking about the next one.

Continuing along on the subject of food (hmmmm, interesting coincidence)... This weekend I saw a small display of young plants--lettuce, broccoli, and other assorted staples--for purchase so now I am wondering whether to try to start from seed or to go ahead and spend the $3.50 or so for a pack of young transplants of each. I'm planning on growing them (whether they are grown via seed or via purchased transplants) in containers, so either form can be protected by being placed somewhere protected from any freezes.

I like the frugality of growing from seed, but my one venture at growing ornamentals from seed was unsuccessful. Gauging the necessary level of moisture was difficult and then I lost what few were still living to damping off, I believe it's called. So I'm not terribly optimistic about the odds of success from seed, but I'm willing to try. So what do you think? Should I start with some transplants (is that the proper term?) or go with the cost-saving seed?

9 comments:

countrypeapie said...

I'm still grappling with the seed vs plant question myself. I just received a free catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com). The catalog is amazing! This guy started it when he was 17 years old. I am awestruck. So I will probably be ordering some seeds, and I bet I'll also end up buying some plants locally as well. We'll see what happens....

Rurality said...

I don't know, I haven't tried any of those things from seed (don't have room). But starting this early, if you try starting seeds now and it doesn't work, then there will still be time to buy the plants later...

Kristin said...

Depends what you want. If all you want are standard varieties of things, then plants are a lot easier and less nerve-wracking (and less work, of course). But the selection at nurseries is pretty limited usually, so if you want any heirlooms or special kinds, you have to go with seeds.

However, if you're not very experienced and comfortable with growing things yet, get the plants. You'll still get way more food value out of them than you spend on the plants, and you can save yourself a lot of aggravation. I would never have started growing things from seed if I didn't have the benefit of my MiL's 50 years of gardening experience. Because it is, quite frankly, kind of a pain. And sometimes they just up and die.

edifice rex said...

The lettuce you should be able to grow from seed easily. Broccoli, onions and cabbage etc. I have never had luck starting from seed and just buy the starts. So, I don't know!

The Country Experience said...

This is definitely the perspective I needed.

Rurality, that's true about still having time if the seeds don't work out.

Kristin, you hit the nail on the head. It's a lot of work and I'm not sure of the return on the seeds. I think I'm trying to find a middle-ground on the gardening thing, which is a whole 'nother (yep, that's proper Alabama grammer, lol, CPP) post. There is yet another advantage for having a multi-generational household.

ER, thanks for sharing your experience!

The Country Experience said...

Countrypeapie, I forgot to add that I too have been drooling over Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds' catalog. When it comes down to ordering, though, I've been comparing the catalog's varities to those recommended for our area by the ACES and Baker Creek doesn't always have the varities listed as good for our climate. So keep an eye on that when you're ordering. (Not that I've gotten carried away and made a pretend list of their products--no!)

Some of these seeds catalogs....well, I would be in trouble if I even tried to come up with a real order right now. I want one of almost everything--except for those things I might want two of. :)

Journey2thepast said...

O.K. - I'll admit it...I have no experience whatsoever with growing anything. My house plants even suffer, but logic leads me toward the seed packets...either way - good luck!!

cara said...

I'm planning on growing my own food this spring too. I've debated the seed vs. plant thing, and since I'm notorious for my black thumb, I think I'll try plants. Good luck, keep us updated!

countrypeapie said...

Thanks for the tip -- I'll definitely stick to the sourthern heirlooms like okra and greens and such. But it sure is fun to drool over the rest of the catalog!