Frugal + Friday = Frugal Friday! It’s clever, isn’t it? OK, maybe not, but every few Friday’s we’re going to be giving you a few tips on how you can save money doing the hobby you love – which is gardening of course! Like any hobby you can quickly rack up the costs with things like new gardening garden tools (here’s a look at the best gardening tools), planting and just general maintenance; so how do you keep these costs to a minimum in an era when we all have to tighten our belts? We don’t want our gardens suffering just because we’re a little short on cash, we just need to be more creative as gardeners instead.
Today we’re going to take a general look at some tips to save money gardening that will still let you do everything you could do even if you had enough money to throw at it.
Start Plants With Seed
Here’s a guide on how to turf a lawn. Before you head off and read it, have a think about the fact it’s a multiple of the cost of prepping and just planting seed. I love going to garden centres and picking out plants and flowers that I can neatly slot into my garden, but buying just a few can quickly become quite pricey.
Instead why not buy some packets of seeds and grow your own instead in plant trays instead? Sure, it will take a lot longer than simply planting an already grown plant but it will be far cheaper in the long run and you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped nurture the plant to its full growth. Plus when you get the lawnmower out for the first time you won’t be worrying about all the associated issue of a new lawn. Just remember to keep on top of watering them, especially in the dry summer months, or your seeds are never going to come to fruition.
Of course, you don’t need to buy seeds. You can get them for free by saving seeds from previous flowering. If you want to skip ahead a bit you can also get hold of seedlings, although these are more expensive. Experienced gardeners can also try cuttings, sharp knives, and secateurs a must, which I’ll cover in a future article.
Any gardener who lives in the UK will have no doubt lived through plenty of hosepipe bans, although I’ve always used a watering can instead as there’s less wastage of water, although arguably some kind of irrigation from an automatic watering system to the roots is likely to be more effective than a watering can, but anyway, I get exercise like this too. If you’re on a water metre you’re not going to be able to use as much water as you want when you’re watering your garden everyday during dry periods, unless you want to rack up your bill.
Instead use water left over from other activities carried out in the home. For example, after washing the dishes you can transfer that into a bucket and use it to water your plants; likewise with bath and washing machine water (the soap won’t do any harm).
Since we have plenty of rain in the UK it’s always worthwhile putting out some buckets to collect rainwater too, as this truly is a free source of water. This job becomes far easier if you get yourself a water butt.
Instead of buying fertiliser from the shop make your own by starting a compost pile instead. Here the cuttings from fruit and vegetables used in the kitchen can be of some use, rather than just ending up in the bin. Obviously the compost will take some time to become useful, but if you have one going all-year round – easily accomplished with a compost bin – you’ll always have a ready supply available.
If you look after your gardening equipment and make sure to regularly maintain it then you shouldn’t need to replace it regularly. If you need new tools you can try car boot sales or discount stores, although you may not always get the quality you’re after, I wouldn’t recommend cutting corners on big ticket items like leaf blowers, chain saws, strimmer, hedge trimmer, or pressure washers; you want some comeback if they don’t last their warranty period. Failing that you should do your research; there are plenty of companies, such as Garden Toolbox, who offer quality and reliable gardening equipment for a low price.
One of the most frustrating things for any gardener is watching all your hard work get literally eaten up within a matter of days. Pest control is always going to be on the agenda, but you don’t have to spend a lot to deal with them. We’ve given you cheap – if not free – methods to get rid of pests like red lily beetles or slugs. There are hundreds of methods to get rid of various bugs, and they’re all a quick Google search away!
As for animals you can protect plants with inexpensive chicken wire, or netting to protect from the onslaught of birds.