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Frugal living tip #8. February 23, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , ,

Silence Dogood here. It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to start the week with another Frugal Living Tip from Poor Richard’s Almanac. Today’s tip comes to you courtesy of Becca over at BrightHaven Times (http://brighthaven.wordpress.com/).

Becca e-mailed to let us know that she was participating in a seed swap this year, which both saved her money and allowed her to try lots of new things in her garden. Our friend Ben and I think a seed swap is a fantastic idea! Not only does it save money—you don’t have to buy a whole packet of every single seed you want to try, which can add up to serious money faster than you can say “Boxcar Willie Heirloom Tomatoes”—but it means you can pass along extra seeds while they’re still at peak viability. (The percentage of seeds that germinate drops, sometimes very dramatically, with each year that you store a pack of seeds. That’s why seed companies put “Packed for 2009” or whatever the year is on their seed packs, so you know you’re getting fresh seed with the highest percentage of germination.)

That’s the sensible, frugal part: Free seeds!!! The fun part is, as Becca pointed out, that you might have a chance to try something (or many things) you wouldn’t ordinarily grow. I headed over to Becca’s gardening blog, Little Green Bees (http://www.littlegreenbees.com), to check out the list of seeds she was receiving and sending, and noted that broomcorn, a plant I always thought would be a lot of fun to grow, was on the list. (See Becca’s February 12 post, “Seed Swap/Round Robin,” to check it out for yourself.)

Great idea, Becca, and thanks for sharing it with us! If you’re a gardener with seeds to spare, this is definitely a win/win for everybody.

           ‘Til next time,




1. shibaguyz - February 23, 2009

Great tip! We haven’t done a seed swap yet because we didn’t really save a significant amount of seeds. However, this year we are saving everything we can get our hands on. We’ll definitely do this for next season!

We agree, guyz! Maybe we can even talk Richard Saunders out of some of his secret stash of prized ‘Bhut Jalokia’ hot Hot HOT pepper seeds!!!

2. Becca - February 26, 2009

Why am I just finding out about this post? So sorry I’m so far behind!! You say you want broomcorn?? Please, take my broomcorn! It grew to about 20 feet tall. The little birds loved it and I could have made numerous brooms (which I didn’t do…) I have taken to ripping the stalks out of the ground because it looks to be perennial as well–at least in our zone.

Perennial?! And 20 feet tall! Good heavens, Becca! Sounds like an instant privacy fence to me! Do you think the cut stalks could be used for fencing and trellising, like bamboo, or are they too fragile? I hope at least it was pretty!

3. Becca - February 27, 2009

Oh, they could absolutely be used like bamboo, for trellising and so forth. I planted a row of it to use as a fence but we had a frost before the sprouts could get well established. I have some sorghum to try this year as well. I’m all about making my own sugar cane!

Homemade sugar cane, good deal! All I know about that is this: I own parrots (sadly, just one parrot, Plutarch the Parrot, at the moment; Marcus Hookbill and his piratical personality are sorely missed), and an upscale parrot treat is a section of sugar cane (aka sorghum), which they chew on ecstatically to extract the sweetness. I don’t know anything about extracting sugar from homegrown sugar cane, but I hope you’ll tell us all about it !f nothing else, you could sell 6-inch lengths of cane to the pet stores as parrot treats…

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