The art of penny pinching for the gardener…part one

Being an utter cheap skate, there is nothing I find more rewarding than knowing that I have prevented a financial catastrophe. Money seems to run through our hands like water, or our pockets haemorage endless banknotes…bills bills bills…buy me buy me buy me…this is not an option for me! My purse has very tight strings, and so shoud everyones.

So my quest has begun to find ways to become the savviest gardener in town! I am very motivated to achieve this…but can you too? Here is the first blog post I will write on my journey down to cheap street! Enjoy!

Plant pots

Those cheap and nasty plant pots that always seem to rip or tare within less than a season are utterly annoying! Don’t you agree? You know the type! The ones that are always sold in abundance in the local pound store. No…I avoid these like the plague, and for good reason – they are a complete waste of my money!

Instead, if I wish to part with any money I will buy sturdy plant pots and I do have a supply of these which I reuse year in year out! However, I have other ways of recycling materials to ensure I avoid loosening the purse strings…newspaper! Let me explain…

I own a plant pot maker and it is absolutely fantastic…not only does it prevent me from wasting money on new pots, but it is biodegradable and I don’t even have to disturb the roots of my delicate seedlings as they get planted! A triumph of an invention and I insist that every gardener purchase one of these.

There are alternatives of course. Toilet paper rolls are a further option to make plant pots. These are possibly the best kind of root trainers for peas and beans in my opinion. Egg shells are another, but I think the most ingenious has to be paper mache pots.

Paper mache pots are stronger and if you have a little trick up your sleeves, you can make these totally organically without the need for glue! The secret ingredient is actually flour and water! Check out this post for more details.


Free fertiliser and mulch

There are many many mediums we can draw upon to use for fertilisation in our gardens, and many of them are chemical free and totally natural. Let’s begin by looking at…

Tea bags and coffee grounds: you’d better believe it, for these beauties who are mindlessly tossed into the trash can be used to mulch and fertilize your garden! They help retain moisture in the soil, are great for acid loving plants and both are packed full of slow release nitrogen. The worms absolutely love this stuff too! You can go so far as to contact your local coffee shops who have been known for saving tea and coffee grounds for gardeners. All you need to do is ask!

Muck/Urine: Yes I hear you…I am stating the obvious. But it is definitely one to explore further. If you live closeby to a farm, you can easily find yourself with a free supply of muck, all you have to do is build a friendship with the farmer! Bargain!

Another valuable and underused resource is liquid gold, yes, our own urine! It sounds utterly disgusting, but simply peeing into a bucket from time to time and diluting with water (10 parts water to 1 part pee) you are adding a powerhouse of nutrients. Would you turn your nose up at an NPK of 11-1-2.5? Human urine is actually sterile (just use it immediately rather than storing it up, because that WILL go rancid and stink). The way to use it is to pour it onto the ground around the plant, NOT the leaves of the plants. Always make sure to wash your produce and don’t use urine on crops you will be cropping within a couple of weeks either!

Fallen leaves 

We have all heard about the magnificent plant comfrey and what it can do for us, but what about other leaves? I love autumntime, it’s the beautiful colours in the trees. The yellows, the reds and oranges…utterly breathtaking. Who doesnt look forward to walking through the fallen leaves, hearing them crunch under your feet, kicking them here and there…and then all of a sudden, they’re all gone. Well, mother nature knows more than us and is the thriftiest of us all. She uses those fallen leaves as fertiliser and mulch. What better use is there for this free resource but to mulch our gardens? Get out there and bag up those leaves. What a fun activity that could be!






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