Wal-Mart seeds are not actually inexpensive

weirdtrevMarch 2, 2008

I already posted this message in the Growing from Seed forum, but I thought I should post it here as well.

I was just at Wal-Mart yesterday looking at their seeds and they had some great prices, they even carry Burpee seeds. However, when I picked up the packet it felt very light. Then I looked on the front of the packet only to see it was a 20mg packet of tomato seeds and it had maybe 5 or 6 seeds in it. It was only $1.07 but for $1.99 at any other store that carries Burpee seeds you could get 100mg packet of the same seed.

It was the same for all of Wal-Mart's seeds they were cheaper than their competitors but the packets contained far fewer seeds. So in reality they were much more expensive than their competitors by weight.

If you only want a few seeds, then I guess it is a good deal and you can pay for the convenience. I just want people to be aware that while the prices appear cheaper, you would actually pay more if you want to get the same amount of seed that you would get from another store.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you're underestimating the seed count. Last year my Porterhouse seed packet from WM contained 24 seeds - I counted. I still have some left. If you need more than 24 seeds, you're not growing enough varieties. I don't need 100 tomato seeds of one type. My seeds grow. Last year I also bought 2 10 cent packs of basil (from WM), broadcast planted them, and had way, way more than me and my extended family needed. And we ate and froze lots of pesto. . .
I think the cheap seeds are a tremendous bargin and bought even more from WM this year.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am certain that I am not underestimating the seed count. While I agree that I cannot be certain of the count without opening a packet, I assure you that the packet I held did not have anywhere near 24 seeds. There wasn't a lump at the bottom of the packet as with all other packets I have felt at other stores, but rather I could feel the seeds individually. If you don't mind me asking how many milligrams was the seed packet with 24 seeds? I would guess it is 60 milligrams.

I just counted the seeds in a 100 mg packet of tomato seeds and there was 41 which would make a 20 mg packet only have approximately 8 seeds. Maybe the small packets are new this year as part of their efforts to reduce prices. I definitely won't use 41 seeds in one season I will use them over a period of many years.

I agree that the prices are great if I don't want a lot of seeds. However, I know that if I wanted the same amount of seeds that I would get at any other store I would end up paying more at Wal-Mart. I don't dislike Wal-Mart in general, I go wherever the prices are the best. I just know that for seeds I can get them cheaper elsewhere.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with rsb. Does one person really need more than, let's say, 24 tomato seeds? Even with a 1/3 germination rate (I know that is low), that is 8 plants! That is plenty!

Besides, wether it be Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Home Depot or you local garden center, you will find less seeds per pack as the cost of "producing" are increasing. With the cost of oil increase, which impact industry, shipping and packaging, not to mention the cost of living and inflation, it is inevitable for prices to increase. Sure they could keep the same amount of seeds per pack, but would you buy them at the increased prices?

If you still want x amount of seeds, then figure out how many are in one packet and buy however many packet you need. It is that simple.

I hate waste and having too many seeds and paying for them is wasteful.

Just my two cents!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

wierdtrev, I was curious as i just bought some seeds at a discount lumber yard and walmart. I have my used seed packets in front of me now. I bought from ly rutgers tomato which were pelleted for $1.79 for 20 seeds. not sure mg might have cut top off. walmart brandywine tomato 200mg $.97. ly beefsteak 175mg $.59.The fewest seeds was pelleted 20 seeds. I bought 2 types of lavender seeds at wm,wmgarden brand 200mg $.97, and 670mg burpee $1.07, but i guarantee you there were no more seeds in the burpee than the wm even though there was the huge difference in mg. Maybe wm is seed weight only and burpee includes pkg wt also? I never noticed by feel any noticeable difference in the weight of the two different pkgs. If I did i would have bought the burpees.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You said, "If you still want x amount of seeds, then figure out how many are in one packet and buy however many packet you need. It is that simple." That is exactly my point, when I do that I find Wal-Mart costs more. I realize everyone has different requirements for seed and in some cases even I might only want a few seeds, such as zucchini because they are so productive or pumpkins because they take up so much space. In those cases it might be appropriate for me to get a smaller packet at Wal-Mart. I posted because I when I was at Wal-Mart I was excited about their prices until I picked up the packets and realized how small they were. I felt as if they were trying to trick the consumers.


I think it is interesting you found pelleted tomato seeds, I haven't come across that before. I am glad you found some good deals. That is very strange about the weights, maybe we will just have to compare by feel if the weights aren't a good enough indicator.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I agree totally. I am noticing that with a lot products and not just seeds. It seems to keep prices reasonable, actual products are decreasing in size and weight, ever so slightly. For example, I noticed that a basic candy bar has stayed pretty consistant in price, but that they just seem to be smaller. Not a great example, but, I hope it gets my thought accross.

I guess this is the price we will pay until the government figures out that the cost of food products and gasoline NEED to be included in the calculations to figure out the cost of living increases for each year.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 2:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like to have seed left over. I keep my left over seed packets in a plastic container in the refrigerator. They remain viable for many years. I would not be very happy to buy a packet of seed and only get 8 in the packet.

I do think there is some variation from packet to packet and maybe even from WMT to WMT. My daughter in Tulsa can find things at her WMT that I can't find at my supercenter only 50 miles away. But I often think what a waste it is to have a seed packet that measures 3x5 with only the bottom half inch containing seed.

This is the first year I tried wintersowing and therefore I also tried the seed exchange for the first time. I have met so many really nice people there who have shared seed with me. Some of them have sent me many packets in exchange for my measley little one or two packets that they were interested in. And I have almost always gotten more than 8 seed from them, too, sometimes quite a bit more. I would really recommend that you go to both the wintersowing site and to the seed exchange site, even if you have nothing to trade right now. Seed saving is alive and well and there are lots of people who are really generous. That's just my two cents. ;~)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I stopped at Walmart on the way home and found they have 10 cent packs of seeds. And they are pretty darn full.

Then they have the 97 cent packs of seed which state they are 12 regular packs of seed in there. Doing the quick math, it was pretty close, if not more seed!

These are the American Seed Company seed packs. So if you want some seed leftover and want a bargain, get to Walmart!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ya know hubby and i were talking that if sam was still alive this would not be going on, just like we bought a dvd there. it was unrated, not noticing the notrated til we got home, it was walmart for goodness sakes. OMG!!! turned it off, kids out of the room. it woulda been ok if i was prepared for it, but i wasn;t. and your right on the seeds!! and i do want seeds left over, if my plant fails, i want that seeds for more. walmart "prides" itself on their ya know, bargains. but here lately, yuck even on the clothing. my mom is a trucker and says in the midwest it sucks, (not her exact words) LOL she gets stuff out in the west cuz its alot nicer than here. and if you have alot of walmarts in one town, check the prices, sometimes we can get something cheaper at one. it's stupid. LOL :'))

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zengeos(5 Maine)

The burpee seeds @walmart are indeed overpriced compared to other retailers in my area.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 10:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can grow seeds for many years after you get them. This year I started Eggplant seeds I first got in 1998 - that's 10 years, folks. I usually save my true-breeding seeds, but for hybrids, I keep using seeds from the pkg until they're gone. 10 years is a record, though[grin]


    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
emagineer(z5 CO)

Have you guys found the germination on cheaper seeds to be less? For some reason last year, the lower priced seeds just didn't do well for me. And this year, jeesh, there really aren't many seeds in the packets. Sure glad I harvested from plants for spring ahead.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

When you factor in our tax dollar paying for Wal-mart employees to have health care when most of the the country can't afford health care on their own (the largest employer in America and they don't pay for health care so we can). Then of course our tax dollars to pay for the "long-term employees" being laid off because they make too much money and now they're on unemployment. Don't forget the millions of American buy foreign made garbage instead of investing in American made products... yup, the cost of those seeds are pretty high.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, nwnatural, that's exactly why I don't shop at WalMart. Think globally, act locally!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not that I am sticking up for Walmart, but in today's economy, saving money is vital for many people. I personally do not want to spend twice as much for everything just to make a point of their practices. I mean, it is retail, there are plenty of other stores to work at.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I know we're getting off topic, so I'll answer this one. It's a false economy to think that you're saving money at WalMart. You have to pay in extra taxes for the services that they don't provide. Those employees without health care coverage often wait until an emergency to get medical treatment at a hospital. Your taxes subsidize the hospital care that they get, so more emergency visits instead of steady medical care means higher taxes.

I'm short of money too, but I make a distinction between what I "need" and what I "want"


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Like I said prior, there are plenty of other places to work at.

False economy? I choose to spend my money how I want. The government taxes us to spend money how they want. I don't think that most of my taxes go to pay for healthcare. I would think that most of my tax dollars go a war that costs a billion dollars a day to pay for it!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
midnight_jasmine(z6, OR)

I would steer clear of buying anything to do with gardening from Walmart, especially seeds. I buy seeds that are grown locally to where I live. I live in the Northwest, so I buy Territorial seed, which is with 100 miles or so. Don't be fooled by the pretty pictures on the Walmart seeds. I bet it is all genetically enhanced and pretty much everything that I stand against in this world. Support true seed growers and buy seed from companies that are still offering heirlooms and 'true' seeds. Supporting Walmart will be the down fall of our society. Support local.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok we are totally off topic here, but here goes:

WalMart - I have about ten of the darn things on my side of town. From one to the next they carry different products. And if I compair their prices to Target, Kmart of the local grocery (Safeway), Walmart is usually more expensive. Plus I have to wait 15-20 minutes for a real person to check me out as unlike the grocery stores, a WalMart cashier does not have to meet a certain speed. Not to mention every one of those self checks that Walmart and Home Depot are putting in costs someone a job.

Packaging vs. Product - this game has been going on for years. Cereal, the package gets bigger, the price goes up, the consumer thinks they are getting more, but the ounces remain the same. Ever picked up a bag of chips and wondered if they forgot to put some in it cuz there are only about 5 crumbs at the bottom.

Seeds - I save my seeds from one year to the next, no matter how old. I have Brussels Sprouts that are going out here soon that were started from seeds from 1994 I think. I too keep all my seeds in recycled mayo containers in the door of the spare fridge. They stay cool, dry and happy this way. Oh and by the way, the Burpee onion seeds that I found this year in the wrong container were Redman from 1996, a 1.5g packet was $1.49 and 90% germinated. So much for onion seeds are only good for two years 8:]


    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The best buy on seeds where I live is the neighborhood farm supply. Not one of those chains like Tractor Supply. A real farm supply. All the ones around here carry transplants and seed. Their seed is bulk and they bag it up themselves, so you're not buying pictures. It's not as good a deal on the stuff where you only need a few seeds (like maters), but it is tons cheaper on stuff like corn and beans. Plus, generally they're going to have the tried and true varieties for your area.
In defense of WalMart, (an Arkansan) it provides a lot of jobs for people with very little education where I live. One of the secretaries at my workplace works part time there and she buys just nearly everything at WM and gets the employee discount. She knows all the sales and all the clearance. I think it really helps her family out a lot. Of course, she gets her health insurance through our work.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Billie Just want to clearify something. Cereal and chips are sold by weight not volume.

They fill the bags with nitrogen to expand the bags to protect the product. You wouldnt want to buy a bag of crushed Dorito crumbs would you???

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 4:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

billinpa - "this game has been going on for years. Cereal, the package gets bigger, the price goes up, the consumer thinks they are getting more, but the ounces remain the same." This is what I said. THE OUNCES STAY THE SAME. I know it is sold by weight. They make the package bigger making the people who do not read labels think they are getting more. It's a marketing trick. Just like spraying fruit with wax etc to make it prettier before it gets to the store. There are so many tricks that most people do not have a clue what they are really buying.

"They fill the bags with nitrogen to expand the bags to protect the product." Well they are not doing that too much here. By the time they truck it in from those low altitudes to the high country, the contents of the bags would be all over the truck.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Stay Away from Michigan Bulb
Just wanted to warn others that I had a bad experience...
My frugal methods :)
Where do I start??? My biggest expense was the rain...
Frugal raised bed
I need a suggestion for a raised bed to go in my very...
Mother Lode This AM
I have been collecting 5 gallon buckets from several...
need ideas for old trampoline pipes, etc.
My neighbors just took down their 4 yr. old trampoline...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™