Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trip to Menards

On Friday, we went to one of our favorite stores with gardening supplies - Menards! This is the place where I've bought my organic seedlings the past 3 years, but as you know, this year I'm starting all my own plants from seeds. I'll be making my own starting medium and compressing it lightly with my newly-acquired soil blocker, so I need to find all of the ingredients required to make the seed-starting mix. The author of the book Mini Farming gives his recipe for starting medium:

Finely milled sphagnum peat moss, 4 quarts
Medium vermiculite, 1 pint
Well-finished compost sifted through a 1/4 inch screen made from hardware cloth, 1 pint
Worm castings, 1 pint

The author adds that you can experiment with the ingredients and that you do not have to rigidly adhere to these measurements. So far, I have located 2 ingredients in this recipe: the sphagnum peat moss and the organic compost. Menards sells 2.2 cubic feet bags of peat moss for $6.35, which converts to just under 30 quarts per bag. The compost is sold in 11 quart bags at $3.47 a piece. Not bad! This means that to make this starting medium recipe, it would cost about 86 cents for the peat moss and about 16 cents for the compost. As soon as I locate the vermiculite and the worm castings and figure out how many seeds I can start using this recipe, I will give you those numbers, as well. 

In addition to buying starting medium, I bought MORE seeds! Menards has an awesome organic and heirloom seed variety, and I couldn't resist buying a kaleidoscope carrot pack, sweet carnival pepper pack, beefsteak tomato, green eggplant, cantaloupe, and dill. At only $1.19 per pack, I was elated! I found trays to grow the seedlings in at 89 cents a piece, as well.

The last 2 items I bought were soil amendments for the raised beds were the seedlings will be transplanted when the time is right. I found blood meal and bone meal in 3 pound bags, each for $5.98. The blood meal will add nitrogen while the bone meal will add phosphorous. Now, I just have to find a potassium amendment which will be wood ashes, greensand, or seaweed. 

I will go over these soil amendments in a later post, as I do not wish to bombard you with too much info at once. It all seems overwhelming to me at times, but that's how it is when you're starting something new.

My total bill with tax came to $36.07, but I had expected it to cost more. After the seed order from Horizon Herbs, I'm glad to save money on the remaining necessities! Have you started to purchase your own garden supplies for this season? If so, where is your favorite place to shop? I have a few mom and pop garden centers on my list this spring, and I can't wait to pay them a visit!


  1. That is such a great savings. Just think of all the savings when the vegetables are put on the table. I can't wait to learn more.

  2. I love menards, we had a really small one and they opened a super store recently it has absolutely everything. I love it over walmart any day.

  3. I agree with Grandma Bonnie: You'll save a lot of money by growing your own vegetables and you'll also know what exactly went into them and what you're eating as opposed to buying groceries pumped full with chemicals. :)

  4. We are going to participate in a community garden this year. You got a good deal on your supplies. The best part of gardening to me is getting to eat something you grew.

  5. dang I thought you just needed some potting soil to start plants from seeds. guess that is why a green thumb i don't have. thanks for showing me the right way :)

    myfreebi3s at yahoo dot com

  6. I really need to try and grow my own veggies. My mother in law grows many things and I see her come home all the time with soil, seeds, and my mind spins with the cost of it. It looks like you got a great deal on everything you needed.

  7. You'll have to show us pics of your garden when it blooms. :) I love going to menards for our gardening supplies. :)

  8. I wish I could maintain a garden; this looks like a great variety.