We thought it would be fun to share our garden plans this year with you and some things we do.
- First, we plant our own seedlings and between now and the next few weeks is perfect for pretty much any region in the US. This saves us loads of money over buying the plants and ultimately, tons of money is saved by harvesting our own produce to eat fresh and to preserve to use throughout the year!
- Second, about 5 years ago, we made our own garden light table for a fraction of the cost of buying one. If anyone is interested, we can share what we did. We still use this table for the fifth year now and it probably will last for another 20 years! It just sits in our kitchen against an open wall! We all enjoy watching our baby plants sprout and grow!
- Third, we use cheap seedling pots that are organic and sustainable, then when they get big enough, we transfer them into homemade recycled newspaper pots that we learned from Organic Gardening (and it is on their site here) and then finally transplant right from these newspaper/biodegradable pots into the ground for the season!
- The next step that I want to learn and haven’t fully yet to make this an even more self-sustaining and frugal way to go is by learning to harvest my own seeds. That is my goal this year. Otherwise, we get cheap seeds and this year we got a bunch of free ones (I will tell you later how).
So, the biggest expense was the soil and the pots. As seedlings, I invest in very good quality soil and so this cost me about $10 this year. I go with cheaper options for the other stages, including making my own compost. But for the very beginning, I want them to have very good rich soil.
The second investment is the organic, biodegradable seed starting pots. These are actually quite affordable over many options you can find at Walmart and other garden stores. I got each tray of 36 seedling pots for only $2 each. Walmart has them now, but in the past, once they sell out, they don’t get any more for the season. So you might want to check this option. And then for the cheap “greenhouse” effect, I just tie a Walmart sized grocery bag over the top. There is a small air passage at the top where the knot is and so it works perfectly and then I am recycling my plastic bags and not paying money for expensive plastic or covers. When these seedlings are big enough, I just cut them apart and place in the newspaper pots. So I don’t have to fuss with pulling them apart, but they have a better chance of sustaining with less fussing!
Yesterday, we planted 324 seedlings for about 1,000 seeds! Our girls are in charge of flowers this year, so they actually planted 3 of the 36 seedling trays for 108 flower plants. We will then transfer them into pots to place all over the front pathway.
Then my son and I planted the remaining 6 – 36 ct. seedlings for a total of 216 vegetable plants. Here’s the veggies we are planting:
- Organic non-hybrid yellow corn
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Lettuce Mixed greens and reds
- Green Peppers
- Yellow Squash
- Green Beans
- Spaghetti Squash
- Zucchini Squash
- Hot Pepper Mix
- Green Onions
In my experience the past several years, I usually lose about 1/3 of all plants. I don’t know exactly why, but I don’t naturally have a green thumb (I really have to work at it!), our weather is testy, and our soil is clay-based in our town and terrible soil. I think all of these factors contribute a little to make the total problem. So even though we’ve planted tons, we will lose some. I am really hoping that I have the opportunity to have an abundance of plants that I can give to friends and church members this year and then ultimately, have much produce to harvest, preserve and share!
The squashes, onions, and corn do very well, everything else is up and down for me each year. I also am going to be buying regular tomato plants, strawberry plants and finally raspberry bushes this year a little later, although we won’t expect much from the fruit this year, I am finally going to do this! After attempting to plant regular tomatoes and strawberries from seeds and failing, I will give into the plants on these 🙂 We will hopefully have a lot to plant around mid-May to end of May. We will keep you posted!
Do you do plant a garden? Any tips for those of us trying and for harvesting seeds or any thing else that you do? What thrifty gardening tips might you have?