A little double entendre here that will relate to the how our season this year began and how it is going to end. Let’s start at the beginning.
This year, we decided to really jump into starting as many plants from seed as we could. We have always started some of our vegetables from seed, but have always limited to what we would start. Mostly we have just gotten our tomatoes and peppers going as they always seem to be the most expensive items to buy. We have also done cucumbers and squash, but we found that we were better off just starting those in the ground. When we transplanted them, they seemed to stunt for a few weeks, so we weren’t really that far ahead by starting them in the house. All of the other plants that are best started prior to going into the ground we have purchased at one of our favourite nursery’s.
Since we have a very large living room patio window, we decided that it would be worth getting a few extra indoor greenhouses and utilize all the space we have. If you look back at any of our April or May posts, most will feature the greenhouses in all their glory. It was a huge success, so it will be our new go-to plan every spring to get those greenhouses up and running to get our seeds started.
Kurt also decided this year that he wanted to try starting some flowers from seed. He went with Marigolds, which we utilize for pest control in the garden; sweet peas, which he build some beautiful towers for; and snap dragons, which we will have to do in a different way next year. So far the flowers have been a great success, so we will definitely be doing more of those next year. I am already creating a list of the ones I would like to start in the spring to fill out our barrels and planters.
So, for the first part of the double entendre, our seed savings in regard to the cost of the plants that we saved this year by starting so many plants ourselves, was more significant than I would have thought. I figured it would be a couple hundred dollars saved, but nothing major. Well, I just did some scouting at some local garden centres to determine the equivalent costs of the plants that we grew, and when I did the math, it was quite surprising. We saved $1001.35 in vegetable plant cost by starting everything from seed. This costing is accounting for the seeds that we purchased to start the plants. I would definitely say that it was worth it! Plus, we have not purchased any vegetable plants this year. Everything in our garden is what we have grown from seed. We were even able to give some of our plants (veggies & flowers) to family & friends.
I need to do a little more scouting because I forgot to look at the price of the flowers that we grew from seed this year. I imagine it will be a decent amount that we saved by growing some of our own flowers, but nothing compared to our vegetable savings.
Here is where we get to the second part of the double entendre…seed saving. I have done this in the past with squash, cucumber, and other easy to see and harvest seeds. Moving forward, we would like to do more seed saving, and this fall will likely be a lot of us learning all about it. We have already started watching some great youtube videos on saving some of our flower seeds.
We use a lot of wave petunias in our planters. They are so colourful, vibrant and fast growing, that they are a great filler for our larger barrels and planters. We will definitely be saving some seeds from them. I did notice that they are quite a delicate plant to get going, so we may have to make a few attempts at them, but we will see. I am going to do my best to also keep the seeds separate and clearly labeled so that I know what colours I am planting for next year. I think we have bought 3 flats of them this year, so being able to start them from seed will be a major savings for us.
I would also like to start saving more seeds from our vegetables, and learn how to collect some of the smaller, more difficult seeds. As we are getting closer and closer to completing the landscaping work, I want to start learning more gardening skills. It will be a few years yet before the landscaping is done, but being able to spend more time on fine-tuning our gardening skills seems like a good transition. I think a great goal for when we are done landscaping and get to sit back and enjoy the gardening more, I would like to aim to grow everything in our garden and planters from seeds we have collected and saved. That will be a few years from now, once we have figured out how to do all this and gain confidence in doing it right.