Ways to save money in the garden

f you have any kind of outdoor space there are lots of ways to make more of it without busting the budget. Not only that but you can use your garden to grow and create things that you might otherwise buy.

Vase of wild flowers

If you have any kind of outdoor space there are lots of ways to make more of it without busting the budget. Not only that but you can use your garden to grow and create things that you might otherwise buy. And if you put your mind to it, you can even use your garden or your garden expertise to make garden gifts or generate some income.

What to grow?

Look at what you buy in the supermarket? Are you a fresh herb fiend, buying bags of leafy herbs to augment your recipes? STOP right there and have a go at growing your own. We’ve got a handy article here. Or learn how to cheat with those living pots of supermarket herbs like basil to make them last longer and produce more leaves.

Make supermarket pots of basil last longer. Image: Martin Mulchinock

Lots of herbs can be grown from seed. Some once you’ve planted them, like chives, thyme, sage, rosemary, will provide fresh ingredients for years. 

If you buy salad then it’s time to look at growing your own. And looking to see if there are ingredients already growing in your garden that you can add to your salad. You might have spinach, broadbeans, Swiss chard and even wild garlic in the garden? Their leaves are a perfect addition to salad, tastier and full of vitamins. Or why not spout some dried peas and grow your own pea shoots. Garlic is another very easy to grow ingredient that if you use it a lot will save you £££ if you grow your own.

These are all easy things to grow especially if you are new to growing your own food. Plus, you don’t need a lot of leaves, especially herbs to really make a powerful difference to your meals. 

How to save money on seeds

Attend a seed swap where you can share surplus seed and take home something new to grow. Buy open pollinated seed (not F1 hybrids) these tend to be cheaper and have more seeds in the packets. Share your seed with other gardeners. Get together with a few friends and pool a few £££s together for one seed order that you all share. Every packet will have more seed than you are likely to need in a small or medium garden and it’s always best to sow and grow fresh seed if you can. So, make your order and then divide the seed packet contents into little dinner money envelopes. Label with the name and date to sow by and any important instructions or take a photo of the instructions for each packet and share with each person.

handwritten brown seed packet
Divide seed packet contents into little envelopes and write your own labels. Image: Adobe Stock

You don’t need new seed trays and pots to start gardening. You can make pots from newspaper with a paper potter device, or even use the inside of your toilet rolls. Yoghurt pots and other small containers are ideal for sowing and growing, just ensure that they have good drainage holes so that the compost does not become waterlogged.

The one thing you should not cut corners on is fresh seed compost. It’s formulated to ensure you get the best results from sowing your seeds and sterilized to keep it clean.

Easy Vegetables

If you have a little more space, or plenty of containers then you can choose to grow a few easy vegetables. It’s vital to choose things you love to eat or that you would normally buy in the supermarket. If you don’t like tomatoes there’s no point growing them, but if you do, they can be expensive to buy and if you can buy ready grown plants locally then growing them can be pretty cost-effective. Tomatoes can be high maintenance but well worth the effort.

Other easy peasy veg are runner beans. You can start sowing them indoors in April/May and keep sowing every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest. I like to sow some in June for a late harvest, the pods always seem a bit sweeter. Another high volume, high value crop is courgettes or other members of the cucurbit family like squash, pumpkins and even cucumbers. Courgettes are so versatile; you can add them to rosti and even make delicious cakes with them. Two or three plants will keep a family supplied with courgettes all summer.

home grown toms and courgettes
You can grow tomatoes and courgettes in a small space. Image: Adobe Stock

Save money on plants

Many perennial plants that form clumps can be divided into several new plants. This is a great way to share things you love with friends. Others can be propagated from cuttings. Check out our handy feature on you can save money on plants here.

Posies and presents

You don’t have to have a cut-flower garden to have flowers in the house. By growing a few extra plants, especially flowering annuals like cosmos, nigella, calendula, sunflowers, sweet peas, cornflowers and antirrhinums you can make small posies of fresh flowers for each room. Instead of buying presents, share your garden produce or take flower posies as gifts when meeting friends and family.

If you have a glut of something, make jams and chutney for presents. If you are pushed for time and have masses of something like raspberries, pop them in the freezer and use them to make jam or fruit liquors when you have more time.

Morning coffee

If you normally meet a friend out for coffee why not invite them to visit your garden instead? Make a fresh filter coffee, bake a cake or biscuits and sit outside in the sunshine. You don’t need an expensive dining set, just a couple of chairs and a simple table will suffice. Dress it up with some colourful fabric or pretty cushions and a posy of flowers. Take it in turns to host the event to share the costs. You’ll save a fortune in the process and get to enjoy everyone’s gardens at the same time. Gardening should be fun and it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

wild flowers in a teacup
You don’t need to buy cut flowers. Make your own displays with flowers from your garden. Image: Adobe Stock

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