Feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown, gardeners fear they won’t be able to have as nice a garden this spring as they have in the past. There may be a solution.
Gardening has always been a way for people—particularly women—to relax, express their creativity, socialize with fellow gardeners, and contribute to their families’ economic well-being.
In the past, women planted mostly vegetables but usually managed to plant a few flowers for their own enjoyment. Gardening changed, and women began growing more flowers than vegetables. Gardens are changing once again; in fact, it is in the midst of a pendulum swing, and gardeners are once again beginning to plant more vegetables than flowers.
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In this article:
- Vegetables are Coming Up; Flowers are Losing Ground
- Plant a Kitchen Garden and You can Have It All
- Harvest Your Own Seeds
- Shop Wisely for Seeds and Plants
- Watch for Seed Sales
- Swap Seeds and Plants
- Crushed eggshells can protect your plants from pests and be a good fertilizer as well
- Test old seeds on a wet paper to make sure they are still worth planting
- Get more succulents from leaves and cuttings
- Before sowing, soaking your seeds in warm water for 24 hours is a free way to help get plants ready to take root
- Sweeten your tomato plants by adding baking soda to the soil
- How to Harvest Onions When your onions finish developing
- Use PVC pipes to build vertical planter
- Grow 100 lbs. Of Potatoes In 4 Square Feet
- Use newspaper and water to stop weeds from growing in your garden bed
- Dig a hole and fill it with an empty plastic pot, so that you can easily replace your seasonal potted plants
- Grow Mushrooms in a Laundry Basket
- Repurpose a shoe organizer as a planter
- Nursery trays are a clever way to keep pets and animals from destroying your seedlings
- Grow tomatoes in a bag of soil and add a cage as trellis
- Growing tomatoes upside down can greatly increase the amount of tomatoes in a limited space
- Use an old photo album to create a clever seed packet organizer
- Use plastic water bottles and intravenous needles to give plants a slow recharge
- Staple garden cloth on the backside of the pallet fill with dirt and start growing
- Use cool vegetable cooking water to fertilize your garden or potted plants
- Easily build your garden table with wooden pallets
- Use Muffin Tin to Create Perfectly Spaced Holes for Seeds
- A clever way to water your plants by setting up a PVC pipes drip irrigation system
- Make plant markers out of broken pots
- Spruce your nest
- Vertical flower bed
- Crochet in garden
- Toilet Roll Seed-Starter
- 31. Protect your cuttings with plastic bottles
- 32. Regrow vegetables from scraps
- 33. Start your seeds in K-cups
Vegetables are Coming Up; Flowers are Losing Ground
USA Today reports, ‘Veggie seed sales are up double-digits at the nation’s biggest seed sellers this year. Hard economic times have been a real boost to an industry that had only been slowly growing before. Every indication suggests that home vegetable gardening will have a booming year.’ A spokesman for Burpee, the world’s largest seed company observes, ‘It’s weird to have everyone else you talk to experiencing plunging markets. We’re on a roll.’
USA Today goes on to observe, “The veggies are apparently squeezing flowers for space in the nation’s gardens. Ferry-Morse, along with others, is seeing a decline in sales of flower seeds, and Hamrick says the [Ferry-Morse] has switched its inventory mix from 50-50 to 40% flower seeds and 60% veggies.” To a great degree gardeners who focus on ornamentals may find themselves with a poor selection of seeds and a limited array of plants.
Plant a Kitchen Garden and You can Have It All
A kitchen garden is more than just a vegetable garden–true, it has vegetables but it also has flowers, fruits and herbs, all fresh and convenient to the nearby kitchen.
Harvest Your Own Seeds
It may be too late to harvest last year’s seeds, but familiarize yourself with techniques of harvesting seeds from the plants you have or plan to have in your garden next year. The International Seed Saving Institute is a good place to begin.
Many people harvest and store their seeds with the husks intact making them susceptible to mildew when they are first gathered. Don’t close up fresh seeds in a bag or envelope. Let them dry for several days, then bag them and label them. You can get a lot of seeds from some plants like anise hyssop and a few seeds from others like portulaca. But you won’t have to buy seeds for either plant.
Shop Wisely for Seeds and Plants
Perhaps the best way to shop wisely is to compare companies on the prices they charge for the particular plant you are interested in. One can compare the price of various plants from various national companies. For instance, with annual wild blanket flowers; from one supplier, for 150 seeds the price is @$2.50, with a minimum order requirement of $10 and $3.00 for postage. From another supplier, the price for the same seeds is $2.50 for 2000 seeds, no minimum order, and $2.00 for postage. With any produce you may find one particular supplier that becomes your favorite and may not expect to change your mind. However, you should continue to shop around.
Watch for Seed Sales
Most seed companies have sales on some of their seeds almost all the time. Others, like Anne’s Annuals hold garden parties which are plant sales as well as reviews of a season’t plants. In today’s computer environment, it is easy to put the computer to work creating a shortcut on your desktop for gardeners to get together and swap, not only plants, but which seed companies is having a sale.
Another way the swap sites works is to check each company’s websites to see what is on sale. You might also email their customer service staff and ask to be notified by email when sales go into effect. End of season sales are some of the most gratifying. You can get $1.25 azaleas and $.87 rhododendrons–not all the time but occasionally. And it can be fun to find such good deals.
Swap Seeds and Plants
Swapping or trading seeds and plants have always helped gardeners add new plants to their gardens. Computers and rapid telecommunications have opened all sort of new possibilities in this effort. The forum PlantSwap is an example of this. Gardeners, both veterans and newbies, join the group and immediately are plunged into friendly banter and a busy market of gardeners wanting to trade what they have for something they don’t have.
The system works a bit like eBay in that members rate each other in terms of quality of the plants or seeds received, the promptness of the shipments, etc. One member reported that 1/3 of her (there are guys there too) seeds have been purchased and 2/3 she has gotten by trading for them.
There is no buying and selling on this site. You can trade for plants or seeds or, in some cases, members send plants or seeds just for the cost of postage. As the cost of postage increases—like everything else—most PlantSwappers try to ship full packages, especially when it’s going across county. So you could say the PlantSwappers have become smarter shoppers too.
Crushed eggshells can protect your plants from pests and be a good fertilizer as well
Test old seeds on a wet paper to make sure they are still worth planting
Get more succulents from leaves and cuttings
Before sowing, soaking your seeds in warm water for 24 hours is a free way to help get plants ready to take root
Sweeten your tomato plants by adding baking soda to the soil
How to Harvest Onions When your onions finish developing
Use PVC pipes to build vertical planter
Grow 100 lbs. Of Potatoes In 4 Square Feet
Use newspaper and water to stop weeds from growing in your garden bed
Dig a hole and fill it with an empty plastic pot, so that you can easily replace your seasonal potted plants
Grow Mushrooms in a Laundry Basket
Repurpose a shoe organizer as a planter
Nursery trays are a clever way to keep pets and animals from destroying your seedlings
Grow tomatoes in a bag of soil and add a cage as trellis
Growing tomatoes upside down can greatly increase the amount of tomatoes in a limited space
Use an old photo album to create a clever seed packet organizer
Use plastic water bottles and intravenous needles to give plants a slow recharge
Staple garden cloth on the backside of the pallet fill with dirt and start growing
Use cool vegetable cooking water to fertilize your garden or potted plants
Easily build your garden table with wooden pallets
Use Muffin Tin to Create Perfectly Spaced Holes for Seeds
A clever way to water your plants by setting up a PVC pipes drip irrigation system
Make plant markers out of broken pots
Spruce your nest
Vertical flower bed
Crochet in garden
Toilet Roll Seed-Starter
31. Protect your cuttings with plastic bottles
32. Regrow vegetables from scraps
33. Start your seeds in K-cups