Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time to plan and prepare

The picture is of my driveway, on the left side of which I have a bed in progress.  You can's see it for the snow, so now is the time to plan and prepare for spring. 

I have received several seed catalogs in the mail and I love to look at them.  They all have coupons that if you buy a certain amount you will get that amount free.  This is a great way to save but only if you are going to use what you buy.  A suggestion I have is to get together with your neighbors/friends/gardening group and buy together.  That way you have a use for all of the seeds you order and if you get enough people together, then you can buy several varieties to see what works for your area.  Also, you will also have some of everything, so if you want to grow zucchini (and you don't need many of these), but another in your group does not, everyone gets what they want. 

Most seed packets come with many more seeds than 1 gardener needs in a year.  Examples I just pulled from some seed packets. Spinach packet has 1200 seeds, corn, 250 seeds, pepper,100 seeds, peas, 225 seeds, beans, 150 seeds.  With new seeds the germination should be at least 90% (or you need to change seed companies) you don't need this many of anything unless you are doing a community garden, or you have a large family.  With the examples I gave above, 1200 spinach seeds would yield 1080 spinach plants, and the recommended plants per person is 10 plants.  That means you have enough seed for 108 people.   Sharing is a great idea, and the cost is (say $3.99 packet of 1200 seeds with 1080 germinated seeds so $3.99/1080 is $.00369 per plant or 3.7 cents for 10.  A can of spinach just doing a quick search is $1.49.  That is quite a savings. 

So continuing the example, now using my household, I have two teenage children, one of which I would testify must eat his body weight in food each day, I would plan for a 4 person garden.  So I would need 40 plants making the spinach a cost of 14.7 cents for my family for spinach.  So for 1/10 of the price of 1 can of spinach I can grow my own for my entire family.  I will go with this number for now but later I will also add in the cost of canning them. 

So go get those seed catalogs and your friends, and happy planning!

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