With the spring approaching, my itch to “dig in the dirt”, is starting to get the better of me. To scratch this itch, I decided it was time to start me seedlings indoors, so I set up a card table near a south-facing window, dug out the seed packets I had purchased earlier on the year online, and my new little hothouse (it holds 72 seed cells). The hothouse, which I received as a Christmas gift, came with a heating pad for keeping seeds warm during germination, a clear plastic humidity cover, and a drip tray. I had also purchased two extra plastic trays. However, after assembling everything, I realized I had neglected to purchase a growing medium, so I made a quick trip to a local nursery.
I had pretty much decided on buying certified organic peat soil pellets, as I had used these before, and had found they make less of a mess and are easy to use. All you have to do is put them in a cell, soak them in water, and wait for them to expand before planting your seeds. I was ready to purchase soil pellets until I compared the price on the box with to the number of pellets in the box. A box of 16 organic peat soil pellets was $4.67. I looked three times at the price tag plastered to the front of the shelf below the boxes. This has to be a mistake, I thought to myself. These have never cost this much before. I then took a box and compared the bar code label with the one on the shelf price tag. They matched.
I did some quick math in my head to figure out how much this was going to cost me (approximately $23.35 for five boxes, not including tax), and gently put the box of organic pellets back on the shelf for fear I would damage it in some way and have to pay for it. I actually needed enough pellets for 144 cells, because my second plant tray was just as big as the one that came with my hothouse, so now I was looking at almost $50.00. Although I firmly believe in using organic matter in my garden, I was not going to purchase $50.00 worth of organic soil pellets.
Several shelves below the soil pellets, I noticed a bag of organic seed starter soil made by the same company. It was a ten-pound bag with a price tag of $5.95. I read the back of the soil bag for its content and the only difference between it and the pellets was the way the soil was packaged. I purchased the ten-pound bag.
I knew the organic bag soil would not be as easy to work with, but with the prices skyrocketing on a lot of consumer item, it pays to put up with a little mess and inconvenience in order to save some money. In this case, I saved a lot of money, and scratched my itch to “dig in the dirt.”