Make your garden grow without digging a hole in your finances: money-saving tips for gardeners

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring has sprung, with buds and shoots appearing everywhere. With this in mind, we've got some great money-saving tips for the garden - as you know, we're all in favour of saving money!

Here are our top 10 tips to help you make the most of your garden without spending a fortune.

1. Don't pay for compost and mulches - make your own

Gardening

You don't need anything posh, a simple heap of grass cuttings, vegetable peelings and cardboard in a sunny corner of the garden will do. Add food waste and garden waste in roughly equal measures and make sure you turn it (ie mix it up) occasionally with a fork. It will take about six months to mature.

Another good compost - or mulch - is leaf mould. You can make a simple leaf bin from galvanized chicken wire lashed to tree stakes or other pieces of wood to make a roughly square structure. Then all you have to do is bag up leaves this autumn and store them in your leaf bin for a year. If you don't have room for a leaf bin then jute sacks or even bin bags with holes in the side for drainage and air will do the job - just make sure you add a little water before tying up the bag. 

2. Alys Fowler's weed-busting wonders

Alys Fowler of BBC's Gardner's World offers this recipe to make short work of broad-leaved weeds such as docks and ground elder: mix four cups of vinegar to half a cup of salt and a few teaspoons of washing up liquid. When the salt is fully dissolved, wipe it on to the weeds. She also says that Coca-Cola is surprisingly good (if a bit sticky) for killing off weeds in pavement cracks, especially on a sunny day.

3. From small seeds…

It's much cheaper (and more satisfying) to grow plants from seeds than buy them ready-grown in pots from the garden centre.

4. Tap up the gardeners you know for cuttings

Keen gardeners are often more then happy to give you cuttings or surplus seedlings, which will save you money. They may even lend you gardening tools so you don't need to buy your own.

5. Make your own cloches

Cloches are basically mini greenhouses - you can make your own for individual plants by cutting the bottoms off old plastic drinks bottles to get seedlings off to a good start outside.

6. Eggspert seedlings tip

Use your old egg cartons for seedling pots. When it's time to plant them, just separate the sections and plant them directly into the soil - the carton bits will just rot in the earth.

7. Slug solutions

To keep slugs off your plants, scatter crushed up eggshells or coffee granules around them - and try rubbing Vaseline around the top of pots.

8. Recycle your clothes

Old pairs of tights cut into strips are perfect for tying up plants to poles or stakes, while an old woolly jumper can be used to line a hanging basket if you cut it to fit the container.

9. Drainage

Break up polystyrene packaging and put it into the bottom of garden pots and tubs - this way you don't use as much compost and also the pots are lighter and easier to move around the garden.

10. Double your sunlight

For plants that don't have much sunlight, put an aluminium foil-covered board angled towards the sun next to them, so the light reflects on them.

Happy gardening!

 
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