Gardening is an area where there are many ways of saving money or reducing costs. A thrifty approach to gardening is not only possible it is highly desirable particularly in the early stages of gardening. It would be easy to buy the most expensive and decorative plants in the garden centre only to find that you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. The plant may die or fail in some other way because you didn’t understand its needs and the care required to look after it. So ask for advice.
Extra Plants for Free
Increase your own stock by collecting seeds from annuals and plants you like. Leave a few vegetables to ‘run to seed’ e.g. peas and beans are good examples – at the end of the season let them grow until the seed pod is mature then collect and separate to dry the beans or peas and sow them again in spring.
Increase your own stock by taking cuttings. Don’t worry about the occasional failure but take enough cuttings to cover losses.
Increase stock by dividing up large clumps of plants. Many plants like Iris need this division treatment to remain healthy.
Local horticultural and gardening clubs, neighbours, church fairs, friends, and family are good sources of cuttings, seeds and cheap but healthy plants.
Look in your own garden for self sown plants I had some great cowslips in the garden when I arrived probably from seeds dropped by birds.
Seeds or cuttings collected from positions where they are not needed to maintain the environment. (That is not to encourage theft from gardens or damage to the environment but there are many occasions when an opportunity won’t cause any problem)
Save on Consumables and Equipment
Water is costly when metered so mulch rather than water. Water key plants individually and deeply. Collect rainwater in a barrel.
Make your own seed pots from old packaging, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots or paper towel roll ends.
If you have several old marked labels clean then in a jar of bleach to be able to reuse.
Yesterday I ate a sharp, fresh Rhubarb crumble made from Rhubarb picked on my own patch and it was brilliant.
Special Tips for growing rhubarb .
Grow it in the West Riding of Yorkshire the heart of the Rhubarb triangle.
Do not pick all the stems from one crown, let some grow on and put energy back in for next year.
Do not pick late in the season for the same reason.
Water copiously in dry summers a couple of days before you pick the crop. Water even when it is raining.
Break off flowering stems as soon as you see them.
Pick and go so you eat fresh Rhubarb.
I do very little to my rhubarb crowns and leave them to their own devices in a corner of the veg patch.
They produce lots of stems and deserve a good autumn feed of well rotted compost …
Similar to spinach with a slightly bitter flavour Swiss Chard is pungent and slightly salty. It contains an exceptionally impressive list of health promoting nutrients. Although Swiss Chard is available throughout the year, its season runs from June through August when it is at its best.
Swiss Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red or yellow with wide fan-like green leaves.
It is ornamental enough to grow in the border.
Chard is easy to grow from seed and grows upto 18 inches tall and spread.
Eat and cook Chards like spinach. Both the leaves and stalk of chard are edible, although the stems vary in texture with the white ones being the most tender.
‘Ruby Red’ has stunning deep veins and can be picked young.
‘Bright Lights’ is a seed mixture ready within a month
Organic seed is available and if growing it organically watch out for slugs
‘Eat your greens’ and your reds, whites and purples in a mixed salad.
Grow leaf crops from seed and use the leaves as needed. When the leaves are 2-5 inches high, which will take four to five weeks, they’re ready to eat. Loose-leaf lettuces need to have leaves harvested regularly. In the fridge they’ll keep for three days or so.
Vegetables raised as cut-and-come-again crops can be planted much closer together than you normally would since the veggies are not going to be maturing into full sized plants before harvest time. …
Your Berberis may loose their leaves or remain evergreen through winter. This purple leaved variety, Berberis Thunbergii has turned from very dark to red coloured leaves and after another frost they will be gone. The red berries wont last long either as they are feeding small birds which have already thinned them out. The spines will remain as a deterrent to unwanted intruders and fresh new leaves will reappear in spring.
Best evergreen varieties include Berberis candidula x carmine, Berberis dawinii (flowering orange see below) or one of the hybrid Berberis stenophylia.
Best for red or blue-black berries, include Berberis aggreata, Barbarossa, Micrantha, Berberis microphylla and Berberis buxifolia. Berberis vulgaris which used to be eaten in Victorian times plus Berberis heterophylla and Berberis darwinii are all worth considering for cooking or eating dried.