Tax Time Investment in Seeds and Plants Reaps Valuable, Nutritious Dividends for Americans in 2014
WARMINSTER, Penn. (April 10, 2014) – Whether or not a tax refund is due, a small investment in seeds and plants this spring can help Americans greatly reduce their household expenses in 2014 and beyond. Newly released data from Burpee, the first research-based seed company in the U.S., suggests that individuals and families could save thousands of grocery dollars in 2014 by growing their own fresh produce at home.
“Our data shows that by purchasing seeds and plants in the early spring, and investing time in planting a typical mix of vegetables, gardeners can expect to yield significant amounts of fresh and tasty produce that would cost many times more to purchase in a grocery store, even if it was available at such a high level of quality,” says Chelsey Fields, fruit and vegetable product manager and a horticulturalist at Burpee. Fields notes that at a conservative 80 percent germination rate, a $5.95 retail packet of slicing tomato seeds would yield a harvest of 630 pounds of flavor-packed fruit that would cost $2,028.60 if bought at an average supermarket. But this is no average tomato—vine-ripened fruits contain not only more flavor but more nutrients than store-bought. A $5.95 retail packet of cherry tomato seeds produces 240 pounds of fresh orbs that would cost an estimated $494.80 at the grocery store.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) data*, tomatoes, potatoes, head lettuce, romaine and leaf lettuce, and bell peppers are among the most commonly consumed vegetables in the United States. Apples, bananas and watermelons are the three most popular fruits consumed. Burpee data compared the cost of vegetable and fruit seeds to the value of total harvest weight, using average prices per pound from three U.S. supermarkets in January 2014. Burpee’s 2014 sales show that the most popular garden veggies this year are tomatoes, herbs, corn and squash.
To help Americans save money in 2014 while enjoying fresh, tasty produce, Fields offers these tax time planting tips:
- Plan ahead. Early spring is the time to decide on which fruits and vegetables to grow. Refer to seed companies for inspiration, plant selections, and how-to articles and videos.
- Make sure weather is warm and dry enough when planting in spring, and that the last chance of frost has passed – or have plans to cover plants during colder weather.
- Use containers and hanging baskets if space is limited. Varieties with bush habits such as zucchini and cucumbers, as well as determinate tomatoes are good choices.
- Consider planting cool season vegetables such as broccoli in both spring and fall to take advantage of early and late season harvests.
- Plant a variety of vegetables with varying days to harvest such as quick cucumbers and later fruiting tomatoes to ensure that there is always something to pick.
- Mulch and fertilize plants to nurture higher yields in the garden and produce healthier plants.
- Ensure a steady watering regimen. Fruiting plants need 1-2 inches of water per week during the growing season.
- Make use of seasonal produce with recipes that utilize one or more vegetables that are ripe to pick that week. Share the bounty with neighbors, or freeze and can for later use.
Gardeners can find the full array of Burpee’s new vegetable varieties, including ‘SteakHouse’ tomatoes which tip the scales at up to three pounds, at http://www.burpee.com/new-for-2014/. For more ideas and resources, including articles and videos, gardeners can visit the Burpee website at www.burpee.com.
Editor’s Note: To request JPEGs, or to set up an interview with Chelsey Fields, please contact Sarah Eykyn at 205-239-6445 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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A true heritage brand, the Burpee Co. was founded in Philadelphia in 1876 by W. Atlee Burpee, an 18-year-old with a passion for plants and animals, and a mother willing to lend him $1,000 of “seed money” to get him started in business. Within 25 years he had developed the largest, most innovative seed company in the world. By 1915 Burpee was mailing a million catalogs a year to America’s gardeners. Today, Burpee is owned and operated by George Ball. It is still a family seed and plant company and still in the Philadelphia area. Burpee’s seeds and plants are available — and guaranteed — for all growing zones and for all seasons. The company’s highly recognizable catalog is available in December each year. Seeds and plants can be ordered by mail, phone and online. For more information, gardening techniques, recipes, gift cards and more, visit http://www.burpee.com or call 1-800-888-1447.
* USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) data, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, released on September 16, 2013.