Ask a Question forum: Budget gardening resources

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Name: Kateri
Philadelphia, PA (Zone 7a)
Feb 25, 2018 2:43 PM CST
I am looking for recommendations as to where to purchase plants, that will not break the bank.

I'm pretty much starting from scratch and
Am fairly new to gardening. I have a medium sized urban garden plot that I am trying to fill in Philadelphia. I am currently overwhelmed with all the online seed and plant companies and catalogues out there. My main interests are in vegetable gardening and growing a cutting flower garden. I also have a shady spot I would like to fill with flowering perennials.

Are there any recommendations for affordable resources for seeds and bulbs? I'm finding that my local big box stores are a bit too pricey for filling the amount space I would like to grow in.

Any tips are happily appreciated!

Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Only dead fish go with the flow!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Cat Lover Greenhouse Tropicals Bulbs
Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus Hybridizer Garden Sages Butterflies
Feb 25, 2018 3:20 PM CST
Hi Kateri and welcome to NGA!

First check with local garden clubs and see if there are any Plant Swaps planned for Spring and ask them for good places to get seeds and bulbs. Second, you can buy seeds, vegetable and flower and bulbs at the Family Dollar Stores as well as the Dollar Tree. Another source is the "dead" rack of big box stores and Walmart. That's where they put their not so nice looking half dead plants on sale for usually half price or more ... now don't be saying NO WAY because if you choose wisely you can find some really nice plants that just need some TLC.

You can also save seeds from produce you buy like tomatoes. Just dry them out a bit then plant.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Feb 25, 2018 6:55 PM CST
Kat ! This time of year, there are lots of stores, from A to Z, that have seed packets for ten, or twenty cents a packet,😮???
Places from, mini market's, gas stations, and on up !
There fresh seeds, also ? 👍
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Feb 25, 2018 7:08 PM CST
Pinetree Gardens Seeds packets are less expensive and smaller than some others, but great variety, and they are plenty for a couple years worth of gardening. I've ordered from them for years. But you do have to add shipping and handling.

Any produce farms near you? Some sell extra plants in spring. Farmers market? Plant wholesalers? (There is one in White Marsh Maryland, but that's too far to be worth it. They do sell to individuals on cash basis.)

Some vegetables yield more dollar per starting cost than others. If you like tomatoes and jalapenos, any plant will pay for itself many times.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
Feb 25, 2018 7:13 PM CST
Kateri, there looks to be a slew of community gardens in Philadelphia. Would wager that one or more would be happy to give/trade plants and seeds. Maybe plants for labor? Or plants and seeds for future shares with them? Smiling
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Feb 25, 2018 10:27 PM CST
Bulb wise, Colorblends are a good resource.
Take a visit to Longwood Gardens, to get great gardening ideas.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Feb 25, 2018 10:47 PM CST
Don't try to do it all in one year.
You could fill in flower beds with less expensive wild flowers, until you can afford the more expensive perennials.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Feb 26, 2018 3:01 PM CST
CarolineScott said:Don't try to do it all in one year.

Was going to be my suggestion...

Far more important to put your energy into improving the soil... plant annuals, and collect seeds as soon as they ripen, and then you will have plenty for next year... and... at my house, I can plant seeds as soon as the plant produces them for fresh blooms... not sure your season is long enough for that...

also... many garden plants root extremely easily...

One year, I took cuttings of my rose of sharon shrubs... and didn't get around to planting them... the cuttings sat in a bucket of water until the leaves all fell off... I eventually planted those dead looking sticks, and they had flowers within a month.

Incidentally, I was watching QVC yesterday... they were offering a rose of sharon for the bargain price of $80! Pretty pricey for something that you could just cut off a limb and have the same tree...

So... talk to the neighbors, find out who you can convince to let you collect seeds and cuttings... most of us are happy to share... and... sadly, most people are busily cutting the seedpods off their plants and throwing them away!
[Last edited by stone - Feb 26, 2018 3:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Feb 26, 2018 3:25 PM CST
That said well what I was going to say.. patience is great budget resource. Grow from seed, buy just one perennial That will expand, etc.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Feb 27, 2018 2:52 PM CST
Kateri : Howdy again I tip my hat to you.
I stumbled on a place for you to get free garden seeds and other free garden stuff.
Free garden stuff
So I thought of you.
I just found it, so I don't know of any catches there might be.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Al
South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Feb 28, 2018 3:52 PM CST
Kateri, you have excellent resources right there in Philly. On radio station WHYY there is a show and podcast featuring Mike McGrath. He has a website as well. You should also attend the Philadelphia Flower show that starts this weekend, March 3-11. I'm sure you can find free seeds and lots of ideas there.

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