Friday, February 27, 2015
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

 
Fairfield mayor ready to share a whale of a tale

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Nonagenarian recounts life as spy in World War II

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
2-day event will focus on bullying prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Republican women to hear about immigration reform

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Wolk to chair committee on state’s wine industry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Kaiser offers Capoot scholarships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Llamas on the loose trends on Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Two inured in hazmat explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

No charges yet for train crash truck driver

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Not guilty plea for suspect in Hollywood exec murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
After 67 years of marriage, couple dies holding hands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Missing 400-year-old Italian books found in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sacramento man pressured to remove swastikas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Feds: 3 accused in Islamic State plot vocal about beliefs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Saudi man convicted of conspiracy in ’98 US embassy bombings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Panel: Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House GOP weighs new approach on Homeland Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet’s vulnerability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Prosecutor: Mom craved attention, poisoned child with salt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Jihadi John’ raised in UK, studied computers, reports say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I’m worried about how my wife’s erratic behavior is affecting our kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Conan O’Brien takes his show to Cuba for a special hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in sharp ‘Focus’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Custom dress Lupita Nyong’o wore at Oscars reported stolen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

ABC’s Sawyer does prime-time prison special

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Q&A: Writer-director-actor Mark Duplass is a busy guy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Actor Will Patton charged with DUI in native South Carolina

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
AP Exclusive: Redmayne lends voice to “Thomas & Friends”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Tea Leoni in a happy state as star of ‘Madam Secretary’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Graceland brings Elvis back to his Las Vegas home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

LeBron scores 42, Cavs beat Warriors for 18th win in last 20

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
A’s begin baseball’s mandatory domestic violence training

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Earthquakes set to open new MLS stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
IOC member, once critical of Rio, now sees ‘great progress’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Judge rules for Peterson, opening door for reinstatement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Herman survives windy day; McIlroy stumbles at Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Roberts, NBA writers open discussion over locker room access

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IOC relaxes rule on athletes and sponsors during Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Nevada gambling regulators sign off on Olympic betting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Video shows Hernandez dancing near gas pump before killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kings’ Collison to have surgery, re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP source: 49ers to bid to host college football title game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Bulls say Rose to have surgery on Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NASCAR back on track for extra day of testing in Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
No word on possible MLB discipline for Angels star Hamilton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Giants closer Casilla hit on shin during batting practice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Business

Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasure to live with, not just to gawk at

By Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
5 things to know about ‘net neutrality’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Strong reliability scores should help Buick brand’s rebirth

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Nissan executive known as ‘father of the Z’ dies at 105

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Walmart CEO wading through mounting issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Facebook allows users to ‘fill in’ gender option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Medical marijuana passes tough first hurdle in Utah

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Google looks for more revenue from ads in Android app store

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Grimm

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9