Photo Thumbnails from Burpee.com (note - they aren't paying me anything at all to post, or giving me any special deal or product - this is just my garden log. But I hope it's OK to include them in this discussion. Full sized photos can be seen at the Burpee website)
83139 Burpee Booster for Beans and Peas - 1-3oz. Pkg (40' row) 1 $8.25
53512A Snap Pea Super Sugar Snap V.P. 64 days - 1 Pkt. (200 seeds) 1 $3.95
56663A Tomato Northern Exposure Hybrid 67 days - 1 Pkt. (30 Seeds) 1 $3.95
56812A Tomato Cherokee Purple (Heirloom) 85 days - 1 Pkt. (50 seeds) 1 $3.95
52027A Tomato Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (Cherry) 70 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95
50724A Tomato Better Boy Hybrid 72 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $3.95
62120A Tomato Black Pearl Hybrid 65 days - Packet (30 seeds) 1 $5.25
54460A Eggplant Millionaire Hybrid 55 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95
65025A Eggplant Fairy Tale 50 days - Packet (30 seeds) 1 $5.25
57109A Zucchini Sweet Zuke Hybrid 48 days - 1 Pkt. (25 seeds) 1 $3.95
53231A Zucchini Butterstick Hybrid 50 days - 1 Pkt. (25 seeds) 1 $2.95
62810A Cucumber Palace King Hybrid (Oriental) 62 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $4.95
62802A Cucumber Early Pride Hybrid (Slicing) 55 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95
91056 Seedling Heat Mats - 1 Mat - 10in.X20-3/4in. 1 $36.75
This seems like a lot of expense, but I take the following into account:
1. It's a hobby.
2. Given the evaluations, and my past experience, I'm confident that most of these are high-potential varieties in my yard. I chose for early yield, reported disease resistance, and either my personal experience of reliability or multiple reviews. With storebought, it's more difficult to do this.
3. For tomatoes, varieties that turn out well - and a few are already proven performers - this is a 3 or 4-year supply of seeds. Some are admittedly experiments - 4th of July due to reported very early yield, Northern Exposure for reported good bearing in cool short summers. I usually experiment with a couple of new types - I love the black varieties, so will try Black Truffle. Cherokee Purple has always done well for me, as have Better Boy, Supersweet 100, and Lemon Boy. I'll see if my old Lemon Boy seeds sprout, if not see if some are locally available, since Burpee doesn't carry them. They should do fine, they are only 1 year old seeds.
4. For the beans, this will be enough for about 20 meals for two. Plus, when the plants quit bearing, they are fed to the chickens and become eggs. Both the Romas and the yellow beans are excellent, better than anything from the store.
5. For the zucchinis and cucumbers, two plants of each variety will be enough for many meals and snacks, plus some to give away, plus some for the chickens.
6. The pepper seeds may also last 4 years or more. I'm not sure about what to expect, but experience tells me they last longer than that.
7. The eggplants are listed as early bearing varieties. In fact, among the earliest. That's needed here, because they start late and bear late.
The seed mat is part of my master plan for peppers, especially, but also tomatoes and some of the others. Warmer start means faster start, and maybe even more seeds will sprout. It should last a long time. One year I used a heating pad - it seemed to help, but not recommended, they are not made for that.