Tuesday, September 23, 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

.

US / World

California wildfire crews brace for weather shift

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
LA County sheriff’s deputies testing body cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bear suspected to have killed New Jersey hiker

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamist group kidnaps Frenchman in Algeria

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

Pennsylvania governor confident ambush suspect will be caught

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Focus on UVa employee in student’s disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Prosecutor: 800 rounds found in intruder case

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Islamic State offensive poses problems for Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Crews work to clear debris from Shasta mudslide

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoon for Sept. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Academia needs to act to protect college women

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page:

 
Question of the week: Will the drought end this year?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Kris Jenner files to divorce Bruce Jenner

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Alaska TV reporter quits on air to promote pot

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Shonda Rhimes lays claim to Thursday nights on ABC

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
Giuliani to help fight Noriega’s video game suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘The Lion King’ earns record box office

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Eric Lynch, Howard Stern’s diminutive foil, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Giants get closer, beat Dodgers 5-2 in 13 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys water polo: Mustangs go 3-0 in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Mustangs hold Indians to 0-0 draw

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
MNF: Bears hold on to beat Jets 27-19

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Jeff Samardzija pitches A’s past Angels 8-4

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Nebraska’s Abdullah: Jameis Winston must grow up

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders have to settle for moral victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Home of 49ers lineman Ray McDonald burglarized

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Undisciplined play sends 49ers to 1-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kicking game: It is called football, after all

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

US Soccer stands by Solo decision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
FIFA ethics judge hesitates on World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Royals beat Indians 2-0, gain on Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bettman says NHL proactive about off-ice conduct

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Silver: NBA will review domestic violence policies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Concern over McIlroy, McDowell more about results

By The Associated Press | From Page:

NFL vetting process: There are no sure things

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Owner: ‘No misinformation’ by Ravens on Rice

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kent creates scholarship for Cal women’s athletics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Treasury to unveil steps to curb tax inversions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tesco suspends execs over inflated profit report

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 21 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Apple: 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US existing home sales fall in August

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Investors fret Yahoo’s future, stock dips

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Businesses and investors pressing for green policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6