Saturday, February 25, 2012

Budgeting for Seed

Way back in December I drew up a plan for the 2012 garden and a budget to go with the plan.  I allotted $20 for seeds in the vegetable garden.  Well the first step towards this season's vegetable garden has been taken and after much flipping through catalogues and online perusing, the orders have been filled and my seed compartment in the fridge is overflowing.  Let's see how I did.


From Heritage Harvest Seed in Manitoba came the heirloom seeds.  Australian Brown Onion, Andrina cherry tomato, Bison and Martino's Roma tomato.  This company has the most ridiculously huge selection of heirloom tomatoes I have ever seen and it was incredibly difficult to choose.  In all I spent just under $20 - the amount I had originally intended to spend on my ENTIRE seed order this year.

Oops.

In my defence, these are hard to find seeds and worth the money.  I also forgot to budget for shipping.  Something to remember next year.  On the bright side they sent me a bonus packet of Starfire tomato seeds.  After an entire winter without homemade tomato soup due to last summer's blight I'm dreaming of a huge harvest this year to make up for it.


The second order came from the Halifax Seed Company.  Luckily I found myself in Halifax recently and was able to buy the seeds myself so there were no shipping charges.  Still $18 later I have spent almost double what I said I would.  I walked out with Chantenay carrots, Early Sugar Pie pumpkin, Laurentian rutabagas, Black Beauty zucchini, Mr. Big peas and a package of innoculent.  I've never grown rutabagas or zucchini before so this will be a fun year.  The pumpkins were a last minute addition and will likely end up growing not in the garden but on my loose compost pile.  I've heard this is a good way to grow squash as they are heavy feeders and frankly, there's no room in the garden for that huge vine!  But I couldn't resist.  Pumpkin is a winter favourite here in cookies and sweet bread as well as soup.  I also received a complimentary packet of mesclun lettuce when I purchased Niki Jabour's new book The Year Round Vegetable Gardener.  Another bonus!



And then just when I thought I was done a dear relative emailed to say she had sent seeds in the mail for me!  Peas, beans, chinese cabbage, kale, cauliflower, corn salad, giant red mustard, arugula, four kinds of lettuce, and two kinds of tomatos!!  whew, that's a load of seed.  So despite the fact that I overspent this year I've gotten much more than my money's worth with all the freebies.

Now it's back to the drawing board with the budget.  Obviously $20 wasn't nearly sufficient for what I needed but I'm not keen for the whole budget to continue this way.  Perhaps the extra $20 I spent can be deducted from somewhere else but what will I give up?

24 comments:

  1. Keep in mind, all those seeds will turn into an awful lot of saved $$$$ in the long run and many of those, will keep another year or two at least.

    Oh to have wonderful relatives who send seeds. Precious gift, both relative and seeds ;-)

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    1. It's true most of this seed will last for several years, not to mention the money saved at the grocery store. and of course the pleasure of harvesting straight from the garden!

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  2. You are going to be one very busy gardener this year!! I've never had a Roma tomato though I've heard such great things about them. Sure hope this is a better year for tomatoes!

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    1. Jane, I don't normally buy roma tomatoes but they are said to be better for paste and sauces. Since I like to make and freeze tomato sauce I thought it would be interesting to try these and see how they do. I have my fingers crossed this is a good tomato year too but I"ll be trying some preventative measures just in case.

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  3. I sort of suspected you might not be able to stick with the budget. I'm not a seed grower at ALL and I bet I spend around 20 bucks a year on them. :)

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    1. I think I was a bit delusional budgeting just $20 but it felt like I had so much seed already. Next year I really have no excuse to overspend as my fridge is now bursting with seeds.

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  4. You will have a wonderful harvest this fall with all your glorious veggies. It is a bargain at any price!

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    1. Hopefully most everything will grow, that's the trick isn't it? ;))

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  5. Wow, you're going to have a lot of produce this year! Hopefully you have a freezer. BTW, zucchini bread and pumpkin bread freeze well. Soup might, too.

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    1. We do have a large freezer in the basement thank goodness. and there's nothing I like better than batches of soup frozen in fall to pull out as an easy dinner come winter!

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  6. Marguerite I will have to start calling you "Queen Seed" you are amazing with the zest you have for veggies to grow .. I will be so interested in your pumpkin adventures .. assorted reasons but we both know the main one ? LOL
    Joy

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    1. You've got me there Joy!! I can't resist carving pumpkins come Halloween and this year I hope to have an endless supply.

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  7. What a great selection of seeds you purchased! I would find it very difficult to stay on a $20 budget too. I look through the magazines and it is hard to resist.

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    1. Almost impossible to resist I'd say but I will pat myself on the back for sticking to the 'no flowers' rule. I bought only vegetable seed and hopefully I'll use up some of the flower seed that's been hanging around for several years already.

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  8. It's all money well spent at harvest time.

    I picked up that book yesterday and had my nose buried in it all night! Now I'm rethinking my seed order wondering if I can pull off lettuce in January. How exciting!

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    1. Me too!! I was so glad my cousin sent me arugula, mustard and kale as Niki suggests these as good cold crops. My whole way of thinking about how to plant has been severely altered these last couple weeks.

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  9. Oh Marguerite I too overspend every year on seeds but I don't plant them all . Some of my seeds have lasted 5 years or more, eventually I use them up. Tomato seeds last even longer than 5 years. I've had some of mine since 2005 and they are still viable. I hope your tomato crop this year is HUGE :)

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    1. Very true Melanie. Tomatoes are one of the longest lasting seeds I know of. Thank goodness as I have enough seed now for 4 or 5 years. It will be awful fun to have so much variety though.

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  10. Have you checked out the sale seeds at Johnny's Selected (internet sales on sidebar there) and there is an online coupon for free shipping..google. Found all this today.

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    1. oh Brenda don't tempt me!! That will be the hardest thing -staying away from seed racks for the next couple months. One downside to buying so early.

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  11. I thought the same thing this year - that because I'd spent so much stocking up on seeds last year ($60 or so) I wouldn't need so much this year. But my order from Hope Seeds this year was about $50 and I still need to buy potato seeds.

    This year I'm going to add up all my vegetable gardening expenses with my grocery expenses to see how it all comes out at the end of the year.

    That said, even if it costs more to garden at home, I'll still keep doing it for the environmental, health, taste, and general happiness benefits :)

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    1. Marcelle, I was thinking the same thing for next year - I won't have to buy as much. But the reality is I will likely want just as many or more seeds next year. Gardening is definitely worth the money but this year I'm trying to budget a bit more as we have house expenses that are taking priority.

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  12. lol Marguerite you have low willpower the thinking the free seeds are a bargain made me think of people who buy in a sale not because they need or even want but because if they buy they have saved!!
    how will you keep your hands off the seed catalogues next year even though you will still have most of this years unplanted ;o)
    your veggie plot will take over the wildflower meadow, Frances

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    1. That reminds me of something my hubby always says 'how much did you have to spend to save?'. Luckily we still have oodles of space to expand the vegetable garden so no worries about losing out flowers to veggies just yet.

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