OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. (WHNT) - Most people can agree 2014 has brought unusual winter weather, but the planting season is about six weeks away.
Now is the time to act to take advantage of what Mother Nature can provide in terms of things to spruce up your house and fill your tummy over the next six months.
WHNT NEWS 19 tracked down Master Gardener Dottye Pierce of Owens Cross Roads.
"I'm going to start my own this year instead of running to a garden center and buying them at that premium price later on and not really getting what I want," said Pierce.
She said with a little expense and work now, you can save money by beautifying your yard and reducing your grocery bills.
While it's too early to plant any seeds into the ground, other than pansies and English peas, it's the perfect time to buy packets of seeds and plant them in peat pellets.
She showed WHNT NEWS 19 a kit she just bought for $5.00 at a gardening center at a local home store. She added though, you can use even cheaper things. "You can plant them in a jiffy pot, or use a styrofoam cup or a sturdy paper cup."
She made the point that for about $1.50 now, you can save lots of money later. Each seed packet comes with about 20 seeds. That's 20 plants for $1.50 as compared to $3.00 for each ready-grown plant.
Pierce said she's already planting tomato and green pepper seeds in peat pellets.
"Nothing goes outside yet. You keep it in a warm spot out of direct sunlight to start out with."
Then in about five or six weeks, they'll be ready to go into the ground and produce home-grown veggies. She advises to hold off for planting in the ground until April 15th, even though some forecasters say the average final frost of the season is April 2nd.
"It's nice to be able to go out, pick a tomato, take it to my kitchen and eat something that I know what's happened to it," said Pierce. "It hasn't been trucked from California or somewhere like that."
If you're interested in learning all the tricks of gardening, you can take a Master Gardeners course through the cooperative extension office.
They offer a 13-week class in the spring and fall for a cost of $140. It's information that can save you money for years to come. Call the office on Cook Avenue in Huntsville at (256) 532-1578 for more information.