People often write on these forums of the importance of maintaining social ties with like-minded people, your neighbors, and your community. Life is harder for loners. Here's a concrete example of how this paid off for me, even though I am a pretty a-social person who stays close to home and doesn't spend a lot of time socializing.
Yesterday I went into my local purveyor of dubious alcoholic beverages. (It was 10%-off Tuesday, which just about covers the local sales tax.) While checking out my beverages, I chatted a bit with the cashier, who lives in the country and gardens in a fairly large way. We discussed diseases and pests of zucchini, and I was politely disregarding her suggestions for various chemicals that I should be applying, when she snapped her fingers and said "That reminds me, I was just in the Dollar General, and they've got all their seeds on 90%-off fall clearance sale. Some of them are as cheap as two cents a pack!"
Well, I've bought the Dollar General seeds, and they are no bargain even at the normal 4-for-a-dollar price; my experience has been very small numbers of seed per pack, dubious germination, and in some cases, totally the wrong seeds in the envelope. But I do like to throw seeds about and so for a cheap enough price, I'll take anything.
Off I went to the Dollar General. Long story short, I bought a whole shopping cart full of stuff, including probably 150 seed packets. They are a mix of veggies and flowers, including a lot of peas (which I scatter everywhere for soil improvement) and a bunch of wildflower mixes (which I scatter everywhere for fun). I also got a lot of those really flimsy seed-starting greenhouses and kits. They are totally not worth full retail, but at 90% off (thirty and forty cents apiece) it's a whole other story. They can be very handy for getting tricky seeds going. Plus, I can totally get behind bags of weed-seed-free starting soil for thirty cents apiece. I don't go into that Dollar General very often and there's no way I would have found the sale without garden-chatting while doing my weekly errands. Here's the goodies I got for less than $15:
Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work? Keep lowering the price until the demand for the product appears?
I really like the fall clearance sales for seeds, because a large segment of the market doesn't know that fall is the best time to plant veggies in the South. You won't find me snapping up the new seed arrivals in March, but for 90% off in August, that will get my attention.
I've learned that without chemical rust control, any snap peas or snow peas that I plant here in the spring will produce for no more than week before the plants are consumed by rust, and die. So now that I have a whole bunch of nearly free pea seeds to play with, I'm going to try some staggered fall plantings, to see if I can find a sweet spot where the vines are maturing under conditions where the rust is not rampant.
Being from Alaska, I'm used to the notion of a single (short) growing season; your crop thrives or fails, but either way, that was your one shot. It's taken me several years to really internalize the notion that I can plant things in the late summer or fall and still get production before first frost in late October or early November. (First frost is last week of August where I grew up.) This is the first year I'm really trying it on any kind of scale.
I'm also learning that the best way to break the weed monocultures in my former pasture area is to disturb the soil in a patch of whatever size and then plant something (anything!) that can grow there and compete with the weeds. Most of these seeds I bought yesterday will be used for that, and scattered pretty indiscriminately with no expectation of a crop. Doing this last winter and spring taught me several useful things, most important of which is that curly mustard greens can fight my weeds for a full ten rounds and come out winners. I'm still hoping to find a few more stalwarts of that sort.
I my local Agway store had Renee's Garden organic seed packets on clearance for .25 each.
They are regularly $3.79 a packet. I bought 96 packages for $24.00. I now have most of the seeds I will use next year.
Thanks for the heads up. Even at these prices I have a better place to get most of the seeds I found there, but I did clear out the flowers, something that I never by!
This spring my lil' girl will be throwing flower seed while I sling the veg!
Also got some gourd seeds to establish on the fence line of my "tainted" lot.
Good looking out!