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ways to do gardening on the cheap

(46 Posts)
mamacoffee Sun 19-May-13 22:31:59

ive recently started to attempt to do something with our garden but when i look into it it all seems very expensive especially if i buy annuals in pots from the garden centre!

so what is the cheapest way to do gardening?and if the answer is in something to do with growing from seed/cuttings- do i need to have lots of space to store said seedlings in pots before they're ready to go out?

also i read something about capturing seeds from plants before they die so that you can plant them again the following year, how easy is this to do? dh said it also depends on whether they've been pollonated by bees, how can i tell?

CairoPrankster Sun 19-May-13 22:38:29

Car boot sales - its not free but you can get old tools very cheaply - today I got a hoe and a rake for £3.50

Swap plants with friends/ ask friends (or just everyone!) for cuttings

Freecycle - our local one regularly has cuttings offered and I get things like paving slabs and old bricks from freecycle

I grew all my tomatoes from seed on the sitting room window before planting them outside

get to know other gardeners they really are very generous with plants and seeds that are superfluous to requirements

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 19-May-13 22:39:50

Cheapest way probably is to grow your own from seed or buy little plug plants and grow them on. You need (obviously) to factor in the cost of the compost, pots and other kit. If you're growing perennials from seed you need somewhere for all the pots to live until they are ready, but many annuals can be sown in the patio pots or flowerbeds where you want them to flower.

If you're interested in saving your own seed, look out for books by Carol Klein, as she is the great guru of this. some seed needs to be sown as soon as it's gathered, others need to be dried and sown later.

Lidl and Poundstretcher sell seeds very cheap, although their range is quite limited.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 19-May-13 22:41:06

Yes to everything that Cairo suggests. Also, school fairs, church fetes and your local gardening society for plant stalls.

HeathRobinson Sun 19-May-13 22:43:09

Here's a guide to saving your own seeds from the Real Seed Catalogue.

I've also bought seed from them and saved my own from ones I've bought, iyswim.

funnyperson Mon 20-May-13 02:09:52

A good organic compost is essential because it helps keep your plants growing well so you don't get wastage
Buy the younger cheaper plants: look in the offers section of the garden centre, (lots of those at the moment) and online shops
Ask neighbours with interesting plants if you could have some cuttings
(now is a good time) or divisions. Take cuttings of your own plants.
Lidl, and poundland do great cheap plants
Avoid Sainsbury's home base and similar as their corporate prices are often high. Ditto Sarah Raven , crocus.
However T and M, Hayloft, Telegraph, Spalding bulbs often do very good reader offers.
If growing from seed do not buy expensive seed trays, use egg boxes.

Set a budget. e.g £60 a year or something similar. (This was my budget for 5 years) Decide how you want your garden to be and make a wish list of plants and that really helps focus what you are looking for for bargains and stops you buying what you dont need.

CairoPrankster Mon 20-May-13 13:54:25

Also, although I hate it, groupon and other sites like it sometimes have very good deals on. We populated an entire boarder last year for £10 from a groupon deal. The plants arrived as roots so I was a little pissed off at the time but they all came up really well and look great again this year.

I have recently ordered some potato growing kits (spuds and growing bags for the patio) that came free with a grow your own magazine (£5 P&P) and also four kiwi plants from the same company which came to something like £5 too. I have no idea how kiwis will fair in my garden but I loved the idea of it smile.

Also free with a mag were four packets of seeds so I am growing cucumber for the first time this year.

I get all organic compost from a local livery stables - they give it away but you do have to dig it and bag it yourself, I don't think it would be great for pots though. Actually I have just remembered that our local council are giving away potting compost that they have made from all of our kitchen waste. Must go and get some this week...

cantspel Mon 20-May-13 17:36:56

Poundland, lidl and morrisons all bulbs and seeds are cheap and i have had a good success rate with them.
Morrisons shrubs are good value and start at £2 each.
Compost i buy when i see it on offer and stock pile it.
Peralite i buy from wilkinsons as it is the cheapest i have found at £3.78 a bag. Old loo rolls make good pots for seedlings.
I compost everything i can to make my own compost and mulch and i collect leaves to make leaf mold.
And Poundland sells slow release plant pellets which are just as good as any other but half the price.

mamacoffee Wed 22-May-13 10:41:55

thank you so much for all your ideas!!! thanks

after reading this we made a trip to morrisons yesterday and bought loads of seeds and some petunias and also a few berry bushes (blueberries/raspberries/tayberries) and a couple of what i think are called climbers smile

me and 3yo ds were v excited so we got planting straight away with 11mo dd on my back, and the petunias have been planted, and also we put some sweet pea seeds in a lovely pot by the front door and planted some tall nasturtium seeds into little pots to be potted out at a later date.

we won't be able to plant the berries for a while do you think that will be ok to leave them in teh pots?

mamacoffee Wed 22-May-13 10:44:31

funnyperson is it really possible to do a garden in just £60??? even with buying compost in etc? i cant imagine how id make enough compost (when i start to do this). also is that with an established garden (i'm starting from scratch)? i can't see how i could do that though i love the sound of just 60 quid!!!

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 22-May-13 12:00:12

If you have a lot of space to fill you are often better buying a good sized herbacious perennial (ie a bushy plant that comes back year after year) and splitting it into smaller plants. Something like a hardy geranium or a lady's mantlle will romp away and give you lots of good sized plants really quickly.
Another thing to bear in mind is that plants you find on church fetes and car boots are normally things that are very easy to propagate or self seed really easily (people are getting rid of their extras).

wiganwagonwheelworks Wed 22-May-13 12:01:23

B and M Bargains and Wilkinsons do some very good cheap plants too.

CairoPrankster Wed 22-May-13 12:21:49

mamacoffee it is possible to garden for £60 a year but you may not get it all done in a year!

Check your local stable for good rotted manure they are often grateful to have it taken off their hands. Also do check your local council for free compost - ours really are giving it away because they make it out of our recycled kitchen and garden waste.

I think that fruit bushes will be fine in pots for now but to be honest if you are on a budget I wouldn't bother buy them till you are ready to plant out, remember if you wait till later in the season they may be on special offer anyway.

funnyperson Wed 22-May-13 21:19:17

mamacoffee it is of course possible to garden for £0 per year assuming one already has a lawnmower, secateurs, spade fork, trowel: with a policy of weeding, getting cuttings and seeds from family and friends and creating one's own compost. £60 per year is a budget to include seeds, bulbs, the occasional plant from lidl or telegraph offer etc and a bag or two of compost. Perfectly adequate for a small garden. I say this because at a time when every spare penny went on the DC's education, gardening really was a very nice non elitist creative thing one could do practically for free. This is one reason why, on principle, I have hitherto avoided going to Chelsea flower show. The idea that amazing gardens can only be created by fancy designers spending thousands of pounds has never really appealed.
Of course it is possible and pleasurable to spend lots on plants: but it isn't essential. Just make sure you always have a spare plastic bag to take cuttings into when visiting friends.
I love my woodland clearing flowery garden. I was sitting having coffee in it this evening.

mamacoffee Sun 26-May-13 22:59:01

thank you so much everyone for all your advice! i'm so so glad i started this thread as i have learnt so much from it and its changed the way i look at our plans, i'm really glad i can do it all without having to spend loads! i think i need to prioritise setting up my own compost. and i've been reading up on leafmould too! also need to learn the art of cutting! grin

plipplops Tue 28-May-13 22:06:57

Cuttings and propagating are really really easy, really rewarding and a great way to get going (I found it much easier than seeds - I've only got a small garden so all the faff of thinning out, potting on etc was too much bother for me). Freecycle is great, and if you're on Facebook I'd ask on there if anyone has any perennials they want to divide, as my space is so small I'm always having to take stuff out to squeeze new things in and would be happy to give a chunk of anything away When I first planted my garden I took a load of them from my MIL, I dug out chunks from her garden and you could barely notice but it made loads of difference in mine. If you can afford it (or see it as market research? Or go haves with a friend), gardening magazines (I get Gardener's world) are brilliant for 'what to do now' type advice and special offers. Most gardeners want every one else to have a lovely garden so are happy to spread the love by sharing advice/seedlings/cuttings. Good luck!

funnyperson Wed 29-May-13 05:25:02

Getting plants on special offer from the 'just going out of season' section of nurseries is fine. Once they are planted in your garden, cut back a bit and given a feed, they often get a new lease of life and flower for ages. Sometimes mail order companies do really silly offers like 20 lavender plants for a pound, so it is well worth biding your time till these come up. Actually gardening on the cheap makes one a better gardener because of having to be careful not to loose plants by poor planting or forgetting to water them. Incidentally just because you are gardening on the cheap doesn't mean you can't have a plan. It is even more important to have a plant wish list and plan because that saves wasting money on what you dont really want.

mamacoffee Wed 29-May-13 10:37:20

Thanks! Im really looking forward to learning about cuttings! How do I choose plants for cuttings? I mean, in a garden they don't come with a label to tell you what it needs!!

I can see how being economical would mean a better more thought through garden. Thanks all.

funnyperson Wed 29-May-13 19:21:49

Here you are mamacoffee
http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=307

When you make your plant wishlist dont be afraid to put 'expensive' plants on. For example I was so surprised when I googled tree peony rockii (a plant on my wish list) as one site told me it was 'very rare' costing £79 and another gave me 2 for £6.00 so there you are!

mamacoffee Fri 31-May-13 11:47:17

Thank you!

I will lookthat up.

I don't have a plant wishlist atm, bc I wouldn't know where to start! I just had a general idea of roses few bedding plants and some veg!

I might try that crocus garden planning tool I've read about for ideas ( but obviously not to buy!(

NotAnotherNewNappy Fri 31-May-13 22:50:32

Hi mamma, I'm really enjoying this thread as my gardening ambition is also bigger than my budget!

I try not to go to garden centres too often as I could so easily spend hundreds on plants. Whenever I do go to B&Q etc I can't resist the dead plant trolley and love finding things that have been heavily reduced that I know will come back with a bit of TLC or even the next year (I got some lovely lilies for 10p each at the end of last season which are just coming up).

Instead I try to push myself to think creatively and re-use whatever I've got or get something for free that will do the job. I've been hankering after some expensive willow trells this week but, after watching GW tonight, I've realised I can make a wig wam from some old bamboo for my cling fuchsia & clematis to run up instead.

I find myself lurking around my neighbours houses on bin day skips and have found some lovely pots and outside toys or the DC this way blush

If you do grow roses... someone on here told me to feed mine with cutted up bits of banana skin, which I did and my miniature rose is now completely covered in buds grin

mamacoffee Sat 01-Jun-13 00:00:37

I've loved this thread too- it's one of the best I've seen on MN!! ( testimony to the advice given rather then me, I just asked a simple question!)

How do I do the banana skin, just mix it in on top of the soil? And how often? My pound land rose bush is v small but imreliably informed it should thrive in the right conditions!!

cantspel Sat 01-Jun-13 00:39:54

I have never fed my roses with banana skin mainly because no one in the family likes bananas so i never buy them. But a friend of mine always plants a full banana skin skin side up with any new rose. They can be used in many ways and have heard of people doing everything from putting them through the blender and mixing with water to use as a liquid fertilizer to just cutting them up a throwing them around the base of the rose bush. i dont think it really matters as the sole object is to get potassium from the skin into the soil.

If you drink tea or ground coffee roses also love a feed with the tea leaves and coffee grinds just ding them into the soil around the rose bush.

JoyMachine Sat 01-Jun-13 01:15:13

This is such a useful thread! Many thanks for all your helpful suggestions...

Marking place!

CairoPrankster Sun 02-Jun-13 20:19:53

I have had a very busy weekend in my garden and have come up with a couple of cheap ideas, re hanging baskets, that I thought I would share.

I spent ages raking the lawn as we have moss all over it. I then put the moss in last years hanging basket as a liner (it looks great!) I have also used a disposable nappy instead of crystals to keep the soil moist. I saw this idea on pinterest so I thought I would give it a go but I have no idea actually how to do this so I just cut all the extra stuff off the nappy and shoved the absorbent bit in the bottom and put the soil on top - I shall let you know how this works out for me smile

I grew lobelia from seed this year and have hundreds of plants so it looks like I may have quite a few lobelia hanging baskets grin

I have two shrubs that I dug up last weekend that are sitting in water and not dead yet, anyway I don't want them so if you live in South Wales and would like a euonymus and the other one is pritit, I think though I could be wrong, they are a little less than 1m high and variegated.

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