I know that I cannot possibly be the only person that gets this excited just because….
The gardening catalogs arrived!!!
All of the berry bushes. The fruit and nut trees. The special seed deals. The exotic and fun fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Bulbs, galore! Does it just give you that warm, fuzzy feeling too? Doesn’t it signal to you that this cold, dead winter is almost gone, and that you’ll soon be basking in the warm sunshine, sipping on some sweet iced tea?
It just makes me want to:
- Prepare a beautiful floral escape with exotic annuals!
- Build 10x more veggie beds!
- Plant all of my existing seeds!
- Plan an extensive orchard!
- Impulsively buy every seed packet I see in stores!
- Borrow the neighbor’s yard, and plant some more!
- Plan 371 cute garden projects that I’ll NEVER get to start on!
All it takes is for me to walk to my mailbox, and see that first little booklet hiding in there. Decorated with pages upon pages of perfectly grown vegetables, tender new blooms, and thriving mature trees. It really gets my imagination going and my head spinning! Is it already a given that I have a ton of seedlings started? Because, I do!
I’m probably a seed hoarder of sorts, and have more than enough seed to keep up with. I was buying all of my 2018 seeds by November; I wasted no time at all! I even hit clearance sales for 2018 seeds during the summer of 2017! While I definitely ride the organic, non-GMO train, I am still a bargain shopper. I still can’t resist a good deal. When I see a pack of carrot seeds, lettuce seeds, or pepper seeds for $0.05, I’m going to buy them. I simply cannot help myself!
After all, whatever we grow in our gardens is far better than what we buy in the grocery store; no matter how you look at it! Therefore, I’m in no way prejudiced against these clearance seeds. I only get picky when paying the ticket price; after all, these carrot seeds could come in handy if anything ever went wrong. For less than $1, I could produce over 100 pounds of carrots if it were necessary! You really wouldn’t get picky if it came between those non-organic (potentially GMO) seeds and starvation.
This year, these catalogs have me most interested in expanding our tiny orchard. We would love to add some pecan trees, maple trees, and hazelnut trees to our zone 7a homestead. I would also love to add walnuts, but I wouldn’t anticipate walnuts for a very longggg time. As a matter of fact, this is our beginner homestead, and I ache for far more land. Therefore, I don’t want to invest too much into our current homestead; we would like to save the extensive work for the future homestead site!
We practice a lot of frugal projects, and this entire homestead is just that: perfecting each and every skill that we practice! We do things such as:
- Build chicken coops from 100% recycled pallet wood & scrap wood
- Start seeds from fruits, rather than buying plants (such as strawberries)
- Recycle baby food and dog food containers into seed starting trays; you should give this a try if you have a lot of seedlings to start!
- Save and reuse plastic pots and seed trays
- Use hand tools and alternative gardening methods to avoid using tillers, chippers, and more
- Couponing for the things that we need
- Thrift shop for clothes, growing containers, storage, supplies for livestock, paint, tools, hardware, and more.
While that’s just a quick list, I absolutely love to get the best deals on my plants, too. As the days go by, I continue to find new ways to source incredibly cheap plants. Flipping through those inspiring catalogs just reignites that passion for growing, and since I cannot grow food outside just yet (still too cold, even though we’re doing better than we were in January), I resort to finding those plants at far lower prices.
Since many of the catalogs are quite expensive as far as perennial plants go, I will always look around and shop around before committing to that order. I love to:
- Scout local classifieds for live plants, that someone no longer wants.
- Start my own from seeds; either from food I’ve eaten (if possible) or through purchasing them.
- Purchase started plants from local farmers and homesteaders, as they are generally cheaper than retail.
- Purchase cuttings locally.
- Offer a friendly trade with someone who is interested in a plant I have.
- Check local garden centers and home improvement stores for end of season sales or plants that are “ugly”/dying. In case you were curious, many places WILL still honor a return on clearance plants!
I guess I’d better go and tend to my seedlings, including my beautiful Yellow Wonder Alpine Strawberries. They are one of the most exciting new crops that we will be adding this year; aside from our Mary Washington Asparagus!