Saturday, 13 July 2013

How many!

With a view to getting something, anything, planted up on the allotment once I've finished cutting it all back, I've been browsing seed catalogues and seed merchant's websites.  I've also been having both a chuckle and a cynical shake of the head at the same time.

The vast majority of packets of seed - which are by far the best (and cheapest) way of raising most vegetables - contain what, to me, are silly numbers of seeds.  Given that a lot of seeds lose their viability relatively quickly, who in their right mind needs 2,000 or 5,000 carrot seeds for an allotment or garden plot?  Well, unless you're a commercial grower of course!

Using the square-foot gardening method, one needs even fewer seeds as the object of the exercise is to plant sensibly and to do away with the need for too much thinning out.  Even with successional sowing, I can't imagine us realistically eating our way through more than around 200 carrots a year, or needing more than a couple of cabbage a month, or at most, a half-dozen lettuces a week.

While I could just as easily spend 99p on a pack of 2,000 carrot seeds, I've decided instead to opt for the pelleted variety which I can also buy for 99p, but only get 250 seeds and therefore there's far less waste.  If 200 out of the 250 grow to useable size, there's our carrots for the year.

It might seem like a better deal to get 5,000 seeds for 99p instead of just 150, but unless you want to either be wasteful and throw away more than half your plants, or else eat cabbage for breakfast, lunch and tea, perhaps it's not the most economical deal after all.  Especially when a lot of seeds are best bought fresh each year.

There's always an exception to the rule though, and earlier this year while rummaging in the very depths of the tin I keep my seed packets in, I found an unopened packet of Swede seeds, best before 2001.  Yes, 12 years ago.  Just for the hell of it, I opened the pack and threw a handful of seed into a row (before I read about SFG) and ... you guessed it, they've all grown.

Until next time.

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