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.