Discussing where people buy seeds from in an urban farming group I’m a member of, reminded me to post about an often overlooked place.
I really dislike paying $5 and being sent 10 seeds from a seed saver. Sometime it’s so they can maximise sharing, others it’s about profit (It’s not a dirty word and I still buy from some seed savers). However if there’s a low germination rate it’s not a very economical way of getting seed.
So I often go to organic/health food stores and buy seeds from the bulk bins. People often forget that those bins are filled with seeds! For a couple of bucks you can get hundreds if not thousands of seeds to plant in the garden. Also look in the snacking aisle. There’s a reason people joke that those health snacks are bird seed. Because they literally are! I recently bought some cow pea in the lentils section of my spice store. It worked out to be ~$3.50/kg, my last purchase of cow pea was ~$2/kg but that was in a 25kg sack! So while throwing a 1kg lentil packet onto your shoulder and walking to the car isn’t going to make you look or feel anywhere as awesome as carrying a sack of farm grade cover crop seed, it’s a great purchase for a suburban block. And yes it sprouted extremely well.
It’s bizarre how price is based on perspective. A friend mentioned you can grab a 2kg bag of sunflower seeds from the birdseed section of the supermarket for $3- So I grabbed some and soon had a lovely patch of yellow. A gardening store would charge over $30/kg for or in those tiny packets $3 for 25 seeds! So look around and you’ll be surprised at the many places seed opportunities are hiding.
Don’t forget your grocer / fruit market has plenty of seed hiding inside all that fruit and vegetable. For instance, I bought some spaghetti squash seeds a while back at $4/10seeds. I’ve had zero germination from them. I recently saw one in the local grocer. $6- gives me a whole squash worth of seeds plus a delicious feed thrown in! It’s a perfect try before you buy because after all how many times have you looked at a new fruit or vegetable and thought “Will I even like eating it?”, let alone buying seed and spending all those resources to grow it.
So if you see that unusual fruit/veg in the markets buy it and try and grow from it’s seeds. Worst case is you get a meal out of it.
Happy seed sourcing.