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It feels as if spring has been a long time coming this year. But now that it has arrived, I have been keen to sort out the garden.
We have had a couple of trips to our local garden centre, but honestly it is far too tempting to overspend when we visit. So many lovely plants! I don’t want to bust my budget, so I have been looking for ways to save money in the garden.
We have recently moved house and there is a lot to do, both indoors and out. But I have a strict budget for our outside space! Here are some of my plans to keep my spending low.
Grow from seeds and cuttings
It takes longer and requires a little planning and patience, but growing plants from seeds or cuttings is very cheap. It can even be free if you have nice friends and family members who let you help yourself to cuttings from their plants or share seedlings.
I keep an eye out for inexpensive packets of seeds in Lidl and Aldi, and have picked up both flower and vegetable seeds for the coming growing season. Later this year, I intend to collect seeds from plants we have grown to propagate for free next year.
This interesting post from Gardener’s World explains how to collect vegetable seeds.
We also have some wallflowers on the go, grown from cuttings we took from our last house. They are incredibly easy to grow in this way, as you can cut them and put them directly into a pot of soil.
Make your own compost
Applying compost to your garden adds nutrients and improves the soil, leading to better growing conditions for your plants. We make at least some of our own, and it’s very easy to do.
Making your own compost can be as simple as creating a heap and adding piles of garden waste like grass and hedge trimmings, as well as raw kitchen waste such as peelings, apple cores, teabags, etc. However, you can get a lot more scientific, as this post explains.
Compost tea is a nutrient rich liquid feed you can make cheaply. Another, often free or at least very cheap, option is to pick up horse manure from riding stables and horse owners. You do need to leave it to compost for several months before applying it to your garden, as explained in here.
Use what you have instead of buying new planters
I love to see unusual items being used as planters. The best example I ever saw was an old piano in a garden in Wales, which had hanging plants tumbling out of the top and over the keys.
Personally, I am not averse to using old boots as planters, but you can use anything as long as you can create some drainage holes. I know someone who has a broken trombone planted up and attached to the wall, as well as a bathroom sink and toilet that were destined for landfill.
My point is that you don’t have to buy fancy ceramic plant pots to create a fabulous display. Just use your imagination!
I don’t intend to buy any seed trays either. Instead, we are using the plastic trays that food like grapes and mushrooms arrive in, yoghourt pots, ice cream containers, etc. Again, if you are going to do this, create some drainage holes in the bottom.
Find cheaper places to buy plants
Garden centres aren’t the only place to purchase plants. You often find stalls selling low priced plants at car boot sales, at supermarkets, or outside people’s houses.
It is worth checking the discounted section at the garden centre, however, especially for perennials.
Talking of which, perennials do offer good value, coming back for your enjoyment year after year. I love foxgloves and hollyhocks, which self-seed and give a beautiful cottage garden look.
Shrubs can also be a good buy, offering displays of coloured berries, leaves and flowers throughout the season.
Find second-hand tools and furniture
Getting yourself kitted up as a gardener can be an expensive business if you buy all of your tools and equipment from new. It is worth exploring the second-hand market for items such as lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, spades, forks, rakes, wheelbarrows, etc. Buying second hand can really help you save money in the garden.
Again, we have found car boot sales good for well-priced garden equipment, as well as eBay and Facebook selling groups.
You can even find free tools via Freecycle or Freegle. If you need something specific, it is worth placing a wanted request.
Finally, and especially if we have another heat wave this year, conserving your water supply is important to save money in the garden. Most of us are on water meters, and if you use a hose regularly you will certainly notice your water bill increasing.
Installing water butts will save money in the long run, even if you have to invest initially. You can also reuse water from the home, known as ‘grey water’.
Waste water from your bath or shower, from washing up and even collected from your washing machine can all be used in the garden, although you cannot store it due to potential bacteria build up. The RHS explains how to use grey water here.
There are lots of ways to save money in the garden once you get into the habit. How do you stick to your budget as a thrifty gardener?
Photo Credits: Unsplash
Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.