Are You Investing in the Future of Your Food?

by on March 12, 2012


As spring rolls around the time for getting our plants garden-ready is upon us. For many that means a trip to the local big box store and a trunk full of seedlings, but there are several reasons that you should consider starting your garden from seed this year.

For the average price of a retail tomato seedling, you could buy two packets of tomato seed, each containing several dozen seeds. Let’s look at it this way:

1 tomato seedling:               $3.00
1 pound of tomatoes:         $3.00

On average, your tomato seedling might produce anywhere from 7-15 pounds of fruit in its lifetime, which makes the purchase of a seedling far more cost-effective than buying them at the market. When you consider the cost of seed though, things get a little more complicated.

1 packet of tomato seeds: $3.00

For the sake of argument, let’s say that there are 2 dozen seeds in a packet. (That’s a low estimate.) That would make each seed about $.13. Now we know that not all of the seeds are going to germinate from every packet every time, so let’s figure that we will lose 20% (you probably wouldn’t lose that much). That brings our per seed cost to about $.16. Even factoring in costs for seed starting paraphernalia that you might need, it should still cost you less than $1.00 to grow that tomato seedling yourself.

Another point to keep in mind here is that if you are growing open pollinated heirlooms, you can save tomato seeds at home and avoid the cost of seeds the following year. This applies not only to tomatoes, but to many of the vegetables and herbs in the garden.

It helps if you look at the cost of growing your garden as an investment in the future of your food. Not only are you saving money, you are growing a healthier product and you know exactly what went into getting the food to your table.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Harriette Jensen January 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

What you didn’t point out is that even the first year, if the cost of growing the tomato plant is $1 and the yield is the minimum 7 pounds of tomatoes, that one $3 packet is going to produce at least 175 pounds of tomatoes. Around here, organic heirloom tomatoes cost about $3 a pound. If my math is correct, that’s $ 925 worth of tomatoes from a $3 packet! And, assuming that you don’t have room for all of the plants in your backyard, you can make a couple of bucks each from selling them on your local craigslist!


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