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A different approach? Small quantities of seed, or plugs?


 
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tippben
Rank attained: Vegetable garden tender


Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: A different approach? Small quantities of seed, or plugs? Reply with quote

We have a very small garden, and our community isn't great for seed/plant swapping. Commercial seed packets are too big for us. Does anyone know of a company that sells very small quantities of seed (5x cabbage, 10x tomato etc.) in variety? Is there a company where I could buy plugs of exactly what we need? We seem to always give seeds to the charity shops, or elsewhere, and give away plants. For the amount of compost, feed, and effort involved, it might be better to buy plugs. Unless I can buy very small quantities of seed...
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tagwex
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Wexford

PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I don't know of any companies as I have never needed to look as I usually sow everything in the packets anyways, its both a blessing and a curse having the space to do so. But, our local rural family run garden center does sell their own seed, no fancy packaging mind, as well as the big companies seed packets, So if you could locate a similar such outlet in your area you might be onto a winner.
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TRY THE GIY GROPUPS
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Sive
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you buy seeds, use as much as you need then store the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge and get two or three years' plants that way ?
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes you could but you would need to check their viability each year.
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Dirt Digger
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems you’ve already weighed the pros and cons, and have more or less established that it may prove better all round to invest in plugs.
If your growing area is that small, well then a time investment to produce ratio would suggest that plugs should be the obvious choice; however, with that said, part of the joy, contentment and sense of achievement with all aspects of gardening, is to begin with a tiny seed, and sow it and nurture it and water it and feed it, and pot it on, and harden it off, and plant it out, and mulch it, and net it, and try to keep the birds and slugs from eating it before you do, but yet we continue to do it, year after year after year…
And part of a potential drawback with sourcing packets of seed with just enough for a small sowing is, that should your first sowings fail, due to conditions or neglect, then, you’ll probably have no plan B, and likely having used all the seed from the small seed packet will probably resort to using plugs to play catch-up, thus catch 22…
However, another drawback with very select small packets of seed is the variety you purchase, and it’s ability to perform: this year I planted 2 varieties of tomatoes;
Marmande, a packet purchased 2 years ago from Lidl, 69cent. still about 100 seeds, proved viable, with good crops; plus a packet of seeds purchased for me by my daughter, Variety Superb, 6 (six) seeds in the packet, cost €3.99, and although in essence they did more or less what it said on the tin, ie. all would germinate and truss, they had to be the most disappointing variety of tomato I’d ever grown…
In all honesty, I’d say a mix of both plugs and seeds, keeps the hands dirty and the drawers uncluttered…

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Tippben! - To answer your immediate question, I can recommend Dobies of Paignton for their plug plants which are packed in specialised plastic containers and are of good quality in my limited experience. However, this is an expensive way of buying plants anyway and, by the time you've added P&P, it's not good economically.

In all respects it's cheaper and less involved to buy a packet of seed from your local shop and throw away what you don't use - or save them for the following year if you fancy risking it.

Another possibility, that I recall floating a couple of years ago, is to consider the possibility of increasing the amount of land at your disposal. IF, that big word, you have any elderly neighbours who are experiencing difficulty keeping their patches under control, they may be grateful for you to use it, especially if there are a few veg in it for them. Whilst I try not to put forward purely theoretical ideas, I have an elderly cousin (80) who allows a local chap the use of her sizeable garden on just that basis, so I know it can work.

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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been my experience, generally speaking, that the more seeds in the packets, the lower the success rate.

For example, a packet of courgette seeds will often contain only eight or ten seeds, but all of these will germinate. A packet of lettuce seed will contain 100 or 200 seeds, but you certainly won't see plants in triple-digits.

But this is just a side observation.

This year I found the vegetable plugs provided by Hennessy's very good; some good variety there too, even celery. Mostly reasonably priced, bar the leeks.
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Sive
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never given seeds too much thought, but now that you mention it, My Potatoes, you're quite right. It's the same with animals, when you think about it.....sea creatures lay eggs in their thousands as only a few will survive predators and grow to maturity, whereas primates produce only one offspring and rear it personally.
Presumably there is an equivalent success pattern with seeds.....a built-in failure rate...?
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