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?
I LOVE this idea! We have a pool and a very small yard for planting because of it. I have been brainstorming on how to get a garden since we moved to our new home in CA. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m inspired!
I am so glad to hear that! I want others to gain ideas and inspiration and know that if I can do it, then it can be done 🙂
I love the organic seedling pots!!!! So clever and cute =] I also have clay soil it was terrible last year for my veggies and fruits!! I would recommend buying a bag of coarse sand (not the beach sand) and mixing it with your soil. It’s the cheaper way of making your clay soil into loam soil so much better for the garden. Hope it works for you 😉 Happy gardening
Thank you so much for that tip! I am going to try that! I am willing to try anything that helps my garden grow. I hate to see some of my plants bite the dust. Again, thank you for your tips and I will keep you posted as to the success/progress of the garden!
I am trying seedlings for the first time this year! (I used the APS system from Gardener’s Supply CO) Going to check out the newspaper pots! Also, I went from a brown thumb to a green thumb last year by making a Back to Eden garden–so easy and fun. Just google “Back to Eden Film”. My green thumb dad didn’t think it would work, but this year he is doing his own Back to Eden garden!
I’m so far behind! So envious of your timely planting. That’s ok, it will encourage me to get started. One thing I wanted to say, in case you’re not aware, is that I applaud your desire to collect and save seed for your next garden. However, you may want to stay away from hybrid seeds because often they don’t reproduce true to type (they might the first year but after that it’s a crap shoot). Heirlooms, however, are pretty reliable. Also, saved seed over time will develop resistance to any local diseases or pests. I have some tomato seeds that an Amish lady gave me nearly 30 years ago – she had been growing them in her garden all her adult life and she was in her 70s and before that the tomatoes had been in her family plot and before that had come over from Europe! They have totally adapted to South Bend, Indiana and although there is a lot of wilt in this area, and I’ve lost other (hybirds) to wilt, those Amish plants just press on, paying no mind. Now that’s resistance! Good luck with your garden, I look forward to seeing how it grows.
I promise I’m not spamming you. lol Old World Garden Farms is a blog that a local friend has that is fantastic for simple, frugal, and accurate tips! I had my first garden in years using their techniques last year and even with the drought it was a success. http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/
I spent so much money on all the supplies last year, i decided I wasn’t going to grow again, as I literally got no produce from anything..if tomato worms didn’t get something, the drought did, couldn’t keep up with the watering, which had to be more than once a day…ugh it is so frustrating for me – they were in pots becuase I had no where I could plant in the ground..the only thing I had luck with was the basil – before we went on vacation and the drought killed it too. When I used to plant in the ground (at a different house) the bunnies would eat everything, no matter what deterent I put down.. here I am, bought one of those little $1 grow kits at Target – of basil because my toddler son, loves growing plants.. so much for not growing anything. I will check out the organic pots and ideas here to make it less expensive to try out again.
Hi, I know this is an old post but I was wondering how you got some of the seeds for free. I have been doing a garden for the last 4 years and always start from seeds. Thanks a bunch. Amber
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