How I Find Plants, Whether I Need Them Or Not

By Laura Miller | March 7, 2021
Image by Geshas
by Laura Miller
March 7, 2021

Amongst seamstresses there is a familiar saying, “She who dies with the most fabric, wins.” I sometimes feel that applies to my gardening as well. After all, I’m a textbook impulse buyer when it comes to plants and seed packets. 

I buy vegetable seeds I don’t need and plants I don’t have room to grow, with nothing more than a passing thought that I’ll find somewhere to put my newly-discovered treasures. While this isn’t the best course of action for creating a carefully thought out garden design, it does give me the inside track for where to find the best deals on garden greenery

Where To Find Plants

Farm stores – You may be surprised to learn these stores carry much more than livestock feed and tractor parts. In fact, farm stores are one of my favorite places to buy vegetable seeds late in the season. Long after other stores have clearanced off their seasonal supply of seeds, farm stores will have their seed displays standing. The varieties may be a bit picked over, but farm stores are my go-to place for purchasing vegetable seeds for a fall garden. 

I’ve also discovered these stores carry a nice selection of fruit plants and trees at a reasonable price. The secret is to buy fruit plants as soon as they arrive at the store. From patio citrus fruit to full-sized berry bushes, these plants are often packaged as year-old twigs in a handful of soil. Wrapped in a plastic bag and tucked away in a cardboard sleeve, the packaging is not designed for watering. With a little patience and TLC, these plants do well in the garden.

Discount and close-out stores – Buy it today because it will be gone tomorrow is the motto for shopping in these establishments. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the bargain prices these stores offer when shipments of overstocked seeds and plants arrive. But it’s definitely buyer beware if you purchase fruit plants here. I’ve learned the hard way to check the vitality of the plant before bringing my next bargain blueberry bush or apple tree home.

Nurseries and greenhouses – These are the places I head when I’m specifically looking to purchase fruit plants or I want to buy vegetable seeds. Not only is the selection good, but I have the assurance I’m receiving healthy, well-cared-for plants. This is, of course, reflected in the higher prices, but the complimentary expert advice offered by the staff is money well spent.  

Online – The internet version of the local nursery is another place I satisfy my plant shopping needs. To save on shipping costs, I usually limit purchasing vegetable seeds and ordering fruit plants online to once per year. Although I can’t sort through and handpick my plants, I find the varietal selection to be far superior to brick and mortar establishments.

Saving seeds and plant cuttings – Propagating my own plants and saving seeds from heirloom varieties of vegetables is the least expensive way I acquire garden greenery. Some of the easiest vegetable seeds to save include tomatoes, peppers and large-seeded cucurbits, such as pumpkins, zucchini and squash. Likewise, mastering the techniques for propagating additional fruit bushes and trees from hard and softwood cuttings is not as difficult as one might think.

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  • Margy Lindemann
    Comment added March 11, 2021Reply

    Kudos to you and everyone that reads you. I, too, am a lifelong gardener, 79 yrs., and am still learning. Your site has been invaluable to me. Keep up the good work!

  • Carol Smith
    Comment added March 9, 2021Reply

    I'm new to GardeningKnowHow but not to gardening from my first house plants to trying to garden in seven different states across the USA. I learn something new continually and have experienced many failures but never give up! I love plants inside and all around my home. They give me joy even in the toil of labor that hurts! Thank you for the great information. I also gave to Feed America as a FB fundraiser in December for my birthday. Keep up the great help to all of us life long learners of gardening & growing!

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