Thrifty Gardening – save money & the environment
With inflation running at levels not seen for over 40 years, mortgage rates on the rise and energy prices going through the roof, we’re all looking for ways to save money where we can. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, making it more crucial than ever that we all do our bit to help the environment.
Gardening isn’t just a creative and relaxing hobby, nor does it have to warrant the budget of a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner. There are ways of producing a beautiful garden without spending big, while still doing it in a way that’s good for the whole planet as well as our own wellbeing.
Here are some of our top tips:
Grow your own veg
For the initial price of a packet of seeds, you’re likely to get far better value than buying your vegetables from a supermarket. Courgettes are relatively easy to grow, and you can buy a pack of 25 courgette seeds for a couple of pounds. That should be enough to see you through a good two or three years!
Reuse and recycle
You don’t need to spend big at the garden centre on specialised equipment. There are plenty of everyday items that will do just as well, such as clear plastic bottles (cloches), mushroom containers (seed trays), white plastic (labels), old net curtains (protective netting) and loo rolls and tin cans (pots). And, of course, by reusing and recycling, you’re helping the environment at the same time as you’re saving money!
Form a propagation and sharing circle
If you don’t want to keep buying new plants, you can exchange cuttings and seeds with fellow gardening friends and acquaintances.
If you’re doing lots of growing, plenty of organic fertiliser will provide the nutrients that all plants need to grow stronger and healthier. If you have the space, it’ll be much cheaper to make your own compost as opposed to buying it from your local garden centre or DIY store – while also using up waste material you might otherwise just be throwing away.
Bare root plants
Bare root plants are dormant perennials supplied without soil, and are usually much cheaper to buy than plants that have been grown in a pot. You’ll have to order them online rather than get them from a garden centre.
Many of the perennials you buy from a garden centre can be divided to make more plants – just cut or pull the rootball in half. You’ll end up with (at least!) twice as many plants, so you’ll be able to fill up more of your garden or even split the cost with a friend.
Make your own cold frame
Buying a new, specially made cold frame can be expensive – so why not make your own? If you can source an old window from a local scrap yard, rest it on a frame of bricks and/or wood, and that will do just as well!
Check the bargain section
You can often pick up cut-price plants at DIY stores and garden centres that look past their best but which can be brought back to life if you have the magic touch.
Letting part of your garden go wild doesn’t just save you money on new plants – it will also prove extremely tempting to pollinators and other wildlife. Sometimes doing nothing can be the best way to help the environment!
Neil Sullivan & Sons can help with a range of great landscaping and gardening supplies, including railway sleepers and loose bags of aggregates and topsoil, with rapid delivery always available from our yard in Wickford, Essex.