Tuesday, July 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Starting your vegetable garden for pennies

By
From page C4 | April 13, 2014 |

Did you know you can start your vegetable garden for little or no cost?

Yes, you can choose to spend significant money finding unique varieties of vegetable plants, the perfect starting medium and the perfect starter pots.  But if you want to grow vegetables to enjoy their fresh taste and save money on your grocery bill, a few simple strategies can help you get started while saving money in the process.

Grow your vegetables from seed

The first strategy is to grow your vegetables from seed, instead of purchasing plants. The cost of a single vegetable plant can often cost more than a packet of seeds. Many vegetables, such as squash, melons, beans and corn, are very easy to grow from seed.

Get free and low-cost seeds

Although a packet of seeds is relatively inexpensive, you can also look for free seed sources. One source is the Seed Lending Library at the Springstowne Branch Library in Vallejo, where any Solano County resident can borrow seeds for free from their collection. Another source is the annual Master Gardeners’ Public Plant Exchange. It is held every fall, and in addition to plants, individuals can also pick up free seeds at the event.

If you do decide to purchase seeds, consider how many seeds you really need. You can always find packets of seeds for only a quarter for commonly grown vegetables at stores boasting prices of a dollar or less. The packets sold at these outlets usually contain a smaller number of seeds than those sold in the nursery section of big box retailers, but you may not want to grow a lot of the specific vegetable. But if you do decide to buy a large packet of seeds with more than you intend to plant this year, make sure the seeds are viable for planting in subsequent year so they won’t go to waste.

Some seeds, such as onions, spinach and parsley, are only viable for one year. While other seeds, cucumber, squash, melons and tomatoes, are viable for four or more years.

Make your own pots 

You can easily make your own seedling pots from black-and-white newspapers (do not use the glossy coated ads). Take a sheet of newspaper, lay it on a flat surface and fold it in half lengthwise twice. Take a glass and roll the newspaper around the glass leaving half the paper overlapping the top of the glass. Once rolled, push the newspaper into the open glass then pull the glass out. Push the bottom of the glass into the rolled pot to squish the extra paper down flat, forming the bottom of the pot. If you want, you can also fold the paper at the top of the pot into the pot about ¼ inch to reinforce the shape of the top rim.

Note you can use a can instead of a glass and just fold over the overlapping paper across the bottom of the can and flatten it to form the bottom. If desired, you can also mix a little water with flour to create a paste to help keep the paper at the bottom stuck together. Once your seedlings grow, you can plant the pot directly into the ground.

Make your own potting soil

You can also make your own potting soil. You can opt to spend money to obtain the ingredients for making perfect potting soil for your needs.  But again, you don’t need to spend any money to make a basic potting soil. You simply need to heat up some compost to kill any fungus or any bacteria in it, then mix it with soil.

Consider constructing a simple outdoor solar cooker to heat up the compost instead of heating it up in your house oven. You can find information on how to make your basic potting soil, plus the temperature requirements at various sites on the web.

If you don’t compost, but live in Vacaville, you can get free compost from Recology. For more information, go to www.recologyvacavillesolano.com/residentialYardWaste.htm.

Starting a vegetable garden is easy and inexpensive.  Plus it saves you money. And who can resist the flavor of a tomato picked right off the vine in your own backyard?

Kathy Low is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Weather for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Library friends set spring book sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
 
Carpenters training center set to expand in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Man, woman, comic and dance contest primed for box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Polk first to file for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

Rockville Trails hike on August calendar

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Groups plan Zombie Run to raise college scholarship cash

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Governor signs 2 bills by Frazier into law

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Video chair exercise class returns to senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

2 Vacaville homes hit by gunfire

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Mayor’s Commission on Crime to host forum

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

.

US / World

Detroit retirees vote in favor of pension cuts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Clinton: US, Europe should get tough on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Gaza death toll rises as truce effort intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Israeli aircraft hit more than 70 targets in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Rebels release train with bodies from downed jet

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Afghan vet who fought wounded gets Medal of Honor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Hopkins pays $190M in pelvis exam pix settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Ex-teacher convicted of pushing wife off cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Full-contact youth football practices restricted

By The Associated Press | From Page:

BART police enforce stretching ban at stations

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Obama back to California for Democratic campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Report: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Law blocks some brown lawn fees during droughts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
California won’t send troops to Mexican border

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Murder charges filed in California bank robbery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Cause of deaths in FedEx truck-bus crash released

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California reduces deportations for minor crimes

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Official: State can send inmates to medical site

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

 
Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

Batson’s column on Mideast peace is wrong

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Love and Manson guest on ‘Sons of Anarchy’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Fargo’ gets 2nd season on FX with new cast, crime

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Box office top 20: ‘Apes’ holds reign with $36.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
TVGrid July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Hugo Perez Elite Training Camp to be held in Vallejo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Lady Vols coach wants a stronger finishing touch

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Gail Goestenkors quits WNBA job, enters hoops hall

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chamberlain’s arm and beard fitting in with Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Big 12 commish’s dire warning about pending change

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Big Papi passes Yaz with 453rd career home run

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chargers bolt into camp with high hopes

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Broncos primed for another super run

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Seattle says what happened last season is history

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Tony Stewart riding high from sprint car victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Head of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics resigns

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
6 South Americans refuse to return to Donetsk club

By The Associated Press | From Page:

BMC, Team-Garmin Sharp back for USA Pro Challenge

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Witness: Sterling needs Clippers sale to pay debts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Jeter turns small part of attention to business

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders enter camp with ‘chip’ on shoulders

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

49ers start fresh after forgettable offseason

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cain heads to DL with elbow injury

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Microsoft makes design central to its future

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Allergan to cut 1,500 employees in restructuring

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Obituaries

Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics

Zits july 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5